Is Mahr (mandatory gift to a bride from her groom) regarded as a debt which
has to be paid?
The wife is entitled to the stated Mahr when the marriage is consummated or her husband dies. She is entitled to half of it if she gets divorced before the marriage is consummated. In all cases, this amount is regarded as a debt which has to be paid by the husband. If she willingly waives all or part of it, the waiver is acceptable. Allah (Exalted be He) says:
And if you divorce them before you have touched (had a sexual relation with) them, and you have appointed unto them the Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), then pay half of that (Mahr), unless they (the women) agree to forego it, or he (the husband), in whose hands is the marriage tie, agrees to forego and give her full appointed Mahr. And to forego and give (her the full Mahr) is nearer to At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness). And do not forget liberality between yourselves. Truly, Allâh is All-Seer of what you do.
He (Exalted be He) (Part No. 19; Page No. 58) also says:
And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allâh has made it lawful).
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions.