The practice of giving dowry is not a part of Islam, although it is wide spread in Asian countries. In fact issue of dowry is a practice which has never been authorized by Islam. Issue of Dowry is a simulation of early Hindu culture in which daughters were not given any share in the family property, but were given payments, part of which might be in the form of goods. Islam granted daughters a rightful share in their family property and inheritance.
Islam does not restrict a father from giving his daughter gifts, money or property, or arranging for a wedding feast but to make anything a demand and a way of exploitation of the bride’s father is in my view nothing short of an immoral and corrupt act which must be condemned.
Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W.W) gave his daughter Hazrat Fatimah (rta) various gifts when she married Hazrat Ali (rta), but there is no record of his having given anything to his other daughters on the occasion of their marriages. Moreover, the gifts given to Hazrat Fatimah (rta) were extremely modest household articles.
Dowry and Mahr:
People confuse issue of dowry with Mahr. Dowry is not English translation of Mahr. Mahr is the gift to bride from groom. Because Islam enjoins the groom to give a bridal gift or dower as a token of love and assurance to his would be wife at the time of marriage. In fact without payment of this sum, the marriage cannot get solemnized.
The Holy Quran instructs the believers:
“And give the women (whom you marry) their dower (obligatory bridal gift) happily”. (4:4)
“If I don’t kill her today; tomorrow she will kill me financially or someone else will burn her for the sake of dowry”.