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Question 201:  What is mutah and zinah??

Answer 201: Zina denotes copulation with other than one’s legal spouse (permanent or temporary), which the Quran labels as a grave sin, about which Allah has said: “Do not approach fornication. It is indeed obscene and an evil way.”,[1] Temporary marriage refers to a marriage in which a man and woman without any restrictions of getting married, willingly, along with mentioning a specific mahr (dowry) and time length for the marriage, perform a marriage contract. This type of marriage has no talaq (divorce) and the couples are separated when the marriage contract’s time ends.

The reasons for its permissibility: Verse 24 of surah Nisa’ and traditions narrated by the Sahabah (companions of the Prophet [pbuh]) from the Prophet (pbuh) all say that the permissibility of such a marriage was indeed legislated by him.

Doubts and questions on mut’ah:

  1. a) The whole purpose of legislating the permissibility of marriage is for the establishment of a family and the continuation of generations, while temporary marriage defeats this purpose because the only reason for such a marriage is sexual satisfaction.
    Answer: This question comes up because one mixes up the benefits of a specific ruling and its “subject” (In order to see what is meant by the subject of a ruling , pay attention to the following example: “Prayer is wajib” ; This ruling has a ruling and a subject; its ruling is wujub, or in other words, being mandatory. The subject of this ruling is the act that has been made mandatory, which in this case is prayer.). What was mentioned was one of the benefits of marriage, but its ruling doesn’t solely depend on that particular benefit, thus, getting married to a barren or ya’esah woman (one who has reached menopause), or a girl who is still a child is also acceptable (although the abovementioned benefit isn’t possible with them). Many young couples get married only for fulfilling reproductive desires in an Islamically legitimate way and don’t even think of bringing a child (although it might accidentally happen), yet their marriage is right and no one says that such intentions are problematic.

What is strange is that sexual desires are counted as its only benefit, while in many cases like in permanent marriage, one gets temporarily married for other reasons such as bringing a child, managing and taking care of the home, or nursing and growing children etc.

The question we have from those who oppose mut’ah is that if its purpose contradicts that of permanent marriage, then what do you have to say about couples who get married with the intention of getting divorced after two months? Is their marriage correct or not? Clearly, no faqih and alem (scholar) says such a marriage is incorrect unless he wants to say something completely illogical. So what is the difference between the two, other than one being timely and the other, permanent?

The author of al-Minar says: “The strictness of past and present ulema (scholars) and them prohibiting mut’ah, necessitates the prohibition of permanent marriage with the intention of getting separated by divorce afterwards. Yet, they say that if one has this intention at the time of marriage but doesn’t mention it when performing the contract as one of the contract’s conditions, the contract is correct (and the two become husband and wife, although if it is mentioned, it will surely make the contract void), nevertheless, hiding this intention is considered deceit, thus, such a contract deserves to be void (although it isn’t) more than a contract in which such intentions have been mentioned in (because when it isn’t mentioned, it is considered deceit).”[2]

We the Shia believe that if the couple themselves are content (in order for it not to become a form of deceit), and make a time limit one of the contract’s conditions, it is still correct and they are husband and wife.

  1. b) The permissibility of mut’ah contradicts the verse that says: “And those who guard their private parts; except from their spouses or their slave women, for then they are not blameworthy; but whoever seeks (anything) beyond that it is they who are transgressors.”[3] This verse is saying that anyone who goes after anything other than the mentioned instances has crossed Allah’s red line and entered the domain of haram acts. Mut’ah doesn’t cause any legitimate relationship between two people, so one who has intercourse with his mut’ah “wife” has committed a haram act.

Answer: This is merely a claim that has no backup. Such a woman is the man’s wife and has her own rulings. Just because her sustenance (nafaqah) isn’t the man’s responsibility and the fact that she doesn’t bear the qismah right (which says the different wives of one man equally share his sleeping with them, each “owning” the same number of nights), doesn’t make her not be his wife. The nashizah woman (one who doesn’t do tamkin) is considered one’s wife although she lacks the nafaqah and qismah rights, and the same goes with a girl who has become one’s wife while merely being a child.

It is completely wrong to say that since there is no ruling, there is no subject of the ruling. Sometimes the subject is there, but its ruling isn’t. Being husband and wife is a relationship between a couple that is followed by numerous rulings and decrees, if some of them cease to exist, it doesn’t mean that the relationship in its entirety doesn’t exist either. There are chances that some of these rulings exclusively belong to some types of marriage, not all of them.

  1. C) One who performs temporary marriage, isn’t after companionship and a life free of adultery and sin, on the contrary, his/her sole intention is adultery. And although there is a responsibility of the man taking care of his spouse and therefore somewhat causing an obstacle for him committing adultery, there is no obstacle for the woman to commit it and she is able to offer and present herself to other men anytime she desires, becoming one of the instances of the poem that speaks of a ball that is struck back and forth by polo-sticks.[4]

Answer: Who says that being protected only belongs to men? If this marriage is right, both men and women can protect themselves from adultery. Three things prevent young women from wrongdoing:

1- Permanent marriage

2- Temporary marriage with the conditions that were mentioned earlier

3- Controlling and dominating one’s sexual drive

The first choice isn’t a practical one for young girls and boys because of the low salaries that they receive from their families or the government or anywhere else. Taming the sexual drive is also impractical and almost impossible except for a few exceptional individuals. The only option that remains for youth in order not to fall into sin and corruption is temporary marriage.

Islam is Allah’s final religion and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is His final messenger, his book being the final book and his decrees being the final ones. Such characteristics call for this religion to have a solution for every social problem that might occur in order to keep the respect and greatness of Muslims. Sexual problems aren’t an exception and Islam surely needs to provide a solution.

Imam Ali’s (as) voice can still be heard, warning mankind of the negative consequences of not taking this solution serious: “If it wasn’t for him (Umar banning mut’a) no one would ever commit adultery other than the shaqiyy (wretched).”[5]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Permanent or Temporary marriage of a married man without the permission of his wife, answer 565.

Index: Essential Requirements of a Successful Marriage in Islam, answer 515.

Index:  Rules regarding temporary or permanent marriage with people of the book, answer 080.

Index:  Premarital relation with non-Mahram is impermissible, answer 082.

[1] . Israa’:32 “وَ لا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنى إِنَّهُ كانَ فاحِشَةً وَ ساءَ سَبِيلًا”. Regarding the impermissibility of adultery, see: Furqan:68 and 69; A’raaf:33; An’aam:151; Kulayni, Yaqub, translated by Mustafawi, Sayyid Jawad, Usul Kāfī, vol. 3, p. 391, Wafaa’ Press, 2004; Najafi, Muhammad Hasan, Hurr Amili, Wasa’il al-Shia, vol. 28, book of hudud; Jawaahir al-Kalaam, vol. 41, pp. 258 and 260, Daar Ihyaa’ al-Turaath al-Arabi, Lebanon, 1981.

[2] . Tafsir Al-Minar, v.3, pg. 17.

[3] . Surah Mu’minoon, verses 5-7.

[4] . Tafsir Al-Minar, Vol. 5, Pg. 13.

[5] . Mustadrakul-Wasa’el, v.14, pg. 478. ” فَلَوْلَاهُ مَا زَنَى إِلَّا شَقِيٌّ أَوْ شَقِيَّة”.

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