If you have given your wife a huge treasure, Qintar, (everything big or small that a husband gives to his wife), take not the least bit of it back. Quran 4:20

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Quran: Chapter 4, ‘Lan Tanalu’ ‘By no means shall you attain’, Sura: 4 ‘An-Nisa’ ‘The Women’, Verse: 20

Verse 20: But if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given one of them a huge treasure, Qintar, (everything big or small that a husband gives to his wife) take not the least bit of it back; would you take it wrongfully without a right and (with) a manifest sin?

Explanation by Ibne Kathir (‘Imad Ad-Din, Isma’il bin ’Umar bin Kathir b.702 Hijri in Basra, Syria– d.774 H/ b. 1301 Christian Era– d. 1373CE)

The Prohibition of Taking Back the Dowry

Allah said,

وَإِنْ أَرَدتُّمُ اسْتِبْدَالَ زَوْجٍ مَّكَانَ زَوْجٍ وَآتَيْتُمْ إِحْدَاهُنَّ قِنطَارًا فَلاَ تَأْخُذُواْ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا أَتَأْخُذُونَهُ بُهْتَاناً وَإِثْماً مُّبِيناً ﴿٢٠﴾ 

But if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given one of them a Qintar, take not the least bit of it back; would you take it wrongfully without a right and (with) a manifest sin.

The Ayah commands:

When one of you wants to divorce a wife and marry another one, he must not take any portion of the dowry he gave to the first wife, even if it were a Qintar of money.

We mentioned the meaning of Qintar in the Tafsir of Surah Al Imran.

{Samia2010oct; In Al Imran,  http://www.quran4u.com/Tafsir%20Ibn%20Kathir/003%20Imran.htm , Ibn Kathir explains ‘Qintar’ as (Scholars of Tafsir have conflicting opinions about the amount of the Qintar, all of which indicate that;

the Qintar is a large amount of money, as Ad-Dahhak and other scholars said.

Abu Hurayrah said: “The Qintar is twelve thousand Uwqiyah, each Uwqiyah is better than what is between the heavens and earth.”

This was recorded by Ibn JarirIbn Jarir: Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari born 224 H 838 CE in Amol, Tapuria Iran– died 310 H. 923 CE Baghdad.) }

This Ayah is clear in its indication that the dowry could be substantial.

Umar bin Al-Khattab used to discourage giving a large dowry, but later on changed his view.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Al-Ajfa As-Sulami said that he heard Umar bin Al-Khattab saying,

{samia2010oct: Full name Imam Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hambal (164 A.H. /780 CE. — 241 A.H. / 855 CE) http://www.renaissance.com.pk/mjuletfor96.html}

“Do not exaggerate with the dowry of women, had this practice been an honor in this world or a part of Taqwa, then the Prophet would have had more right to practice it than you. The Messenger of Allah never gave any of his wives, nor did any of his daughters receive a dowry more than twelve Uwqiyah.

{ samia2010oct; (1Uqiya= ¼Pound/ 128 grams) [Uqiyas: 1 ratl = 12 uqiya = 1 pint, 1 Makkuk = 7.5-18.8 liters dry measure [This is an article from Cariadoc’s Miscellany. The Miscellany is Copyright (c) by David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook, 1988, 1990, 1992.] http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/introduction.html ] uqiya = approx. 1.3 oz http://www.nibblesnbites.com/tag/recipes/ }

A man used to pay a substantial dowry and thus conceal enmity towards his wife!”

Ahmad and the collectors of Sunan collected this Hadith through various chains of narration, and At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih”.

Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la recorded that Masruq said,

“Umar bin Al-Khattab stood up on the Minbar of the Messenger of Allah and said,

`O people! Why do you exaggerate concerning the dowry given to women! The Messenger of Allah and his Companions used to pay up to four hundred Dirhams for a dowry, or less than that. Had paying more for a dowry been a part of Taqwa or an honor, you would not have led them in this practice. Therefore, I do not want to hear about a man who pays more than four hundred Dirhams for a dowry.’

He then went down the Minbar, but a woman from Quraysh said to him, `O Leader of the Faithful! You prohibited people from paying more than four hundred Dirhams in a dowry for women!’

He said, `Yes.’

She said, `Have you not heard what Allah sent down in the Qur’an?’

He said, `Which part of it?’

She said, `Have you not heard Allah’s statement, وَآتَيْتُمْ إِحْدَاهُنَّ قِنطَارًا  (And you have given one of them a Qintar).’

He said, `O Allah! Forgive me…’

He then went back and stood up on the Minbar saying, `I had prohibited you from paying more than four hundred Dirhams in a dowry for women. So, let everyone pay what he likes from his money.”’

The chain of narration for this Hadith is strong.

http://www.quran4u.com/Tafsir%20Ibn%20Kathir/004%20Nisa.htm#يُوصِيكُمُ

Notes by samia2010oct: In this verse Allah Orders that a husband is stopped, banned and forbidden to take even a penny back if he has given a huge treasure to his wife. This verse is about a situation when a husband wants to replace a wife, it means when a husband wants to divorce his existing wife, when a husband is leaving his wife he is not allowed to take back even a penny from what he has already given in the past.

Now the question arises what about the existing wife, the wife who is living with the husband and the husband has no intentions of leaving her. Can a husband take back things which he has given to his this existing wife? The answer is, NO, a husband cannot take anything back once he has given it to his wife, may it be a penny or may it be a treasure. The rule stands for each and everything that a husband gives to his wife (one wife or all wives rule is the same for each individual wife). Because in Allah’s eyes whatever a husband spends on his wife or whatever a husband gives to his wife, becomes a gift from the husband to the wife which the husband can never ever take back from his wife. Allah gives the husband great rewards for what ever the husband gives to his wife.

It is Big Sin, Gunaahe Kabira, for a husband to take back even the least bit of what he has given to his wife. For Big Sins, Gunaahe Kabira, there is the punishment of unbearable burning of whole body by Unending Fire. At this point we also remember that there are many sins for which the punishment is given by Allah in this world too and this sin is one of them.

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