Muslim Marriage Contract
Islamic law, like American law, views marriage as a civil contract. To have a valid, enforceable Muslim marriage, there must be an offer and acceptance before two witnesses.
A Muslim Marriage Contract which originated in the 7th Century Arabia could not be a prenuptial agreement as understood by 20th century American jurisprudence. Unlike in a prenuptial agreement, a husband cannot disinherit a wife or waive her right to alimony. A Muslim Marriage Contract is a simple contract between consenting adults providing for the payment of a certain lump sum at the occurrence of an event. It does not foreclose or waive the wife’s rights under state law – alimony, equitable distribution/community property and other rights.
Mahr or Saddaq
Every Muslim Marriage Contract contains a mahr or saddaq provision.
A mahr requires that the husband promise to give his bride a certain sum of money. This sum of money is divided into two parts: (1) advanced; and (2) deferred.
The advanced portion is paid immediately upon entering into the contract and the deferred portion is deferred to later date. Generally, the later date is either upon the dissolution of the marriage or the death of the husband.