The following question was put forward by a Muslim woman to al-‘Allaamah Ibn Baz –may Allaah have mercy on him-:
Q: Is it permissible that I ask that the Book of Allah; the Noble Quran is my Mahr (dowry)? My intent is to meet (the reward) of this in the Hereafter. Being that, the reciting of a (single) letter is worth ten rewards, (I mean) I desire to accumulate (the reward) for the Hereafter, not in this world, and also for the ease and simplicity in my Mahr (dowry)?
A: What is legislated is that the dowry is of wealth; as Allaah has said:
(Thus has Allâh ordained for you. All others are lawful, provided) that you seek (them in marriage) with Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) from your property… (An-Nisa:24)
And the prophet – salallahu alahi wa salam – when there came to him the woman who gave herself to him, he did not accept and he desired to marry her to one of his companions. He (salallahu alahi wa salam) said (to him) “seek even a ring from iron”.
Therefore, what is legislated is that there is wealth, even if it is little. And if the husband is incapable and does not find any wealth (to give as a dowry), it is permissible in the correct view, to marry him (to her) for some verses (of the Quran) that he teaches the woman, or something from the Chapters (of the Quran), which he teaches the woman, and there is no harm in this.
And for this reason, the Prophet –salallahu alahi wa salam- married off the woman who gave herself to him, to a companion that he teaches her from the Quran such and such, and such and such.
However, if there is wealth which is available, then the wealth takes precedence even if it is little. And the teaching (of the Quran) afterwards, if she wishes that her husband teaches her, then let him teach her what he is able and this is from good companionship. That he (the husband) teaches her and cooperates with her upon goodness, this is something else.
Allaah says: And accompany them honorably… (An-Nisa: 19)
(And He says): And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses, etc.) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect, etc.) to what is reasonable…
Thus if he accompanies her in a companionship which comprises of teaching her the Quran, teaching her the Sunnah, teaching her the Rulings of Allaah, then this is much good.
However, this is not sufficient in the Mahr (dowry), except when there is a need and an inability to (give) money.
In summary, we benefit from this that what is legislated in the Mahr (dowry) is that it is of wealth. However, if the one seeking marriage is incapable of giving wealth and the woman is satisfied and content to make her Mahr (dowry) that she is taught some verses or chapters of the Quran, then there is no harm in this. As for him merely memorizing a portion of the Quran, then this alone is not sufficient in being a Mahr (dowry). Allaah is Most High and knows best.
Abu ‘Atiyah Mahmood al-Kanadi