Question 079: What is the rules of Mut’ah (temporary marriage) in Islam? My husband told me that its not allowed for single women ( whom never been married which consider as virgin) to enter mutah marriage? The reason im asking this in this forum because I’m tired to hear many of Sunni ‘s Muslim disrespect Shia Muslim. Thanks
Answer 079: Before beginning this debate, two points need to be mentioned:
1) This issue is a fiqhi one, therefore it originally needs to be analyzed in the right place by Sunni and Shia fiqh experts (fuqaha’) along with Quranic and hadithic reasoning and without any negative propaganda and making noise or insult by any of the two sides.
2) Analyzing this issue along with propaganda and insult (as seen in some websites and opposing books) is not the right way to analyze it and is far from proper Islamic behavior.
In order to be able to reach a conclusion, the following points need to be mentioned and analyzed:
1) The definition of temporary marriage
2) The Quranic and hadithic reasoning behind it being permissible
3) Has its ruling been nullified?
4) What the sahaba and tabe’in’ viewpoints were on it.
5) Some of the doubts and questions regarding this issue
1) Its definition: Mut’ah means for a free woman (who isn’t a slave) to willingly get married to a man for a limited and specified time, along with the mahr (dowry) they have agreed on, given that there aren’t any sababi (restrictions that are caused by certain causes eg. when one gets married to a woman, he can no longer get married to her mother even if he divorces her and in other words, marrying her mother is haram forever), nasabi (restrictions that are a result of certain family relationships eg. one cannot get married to his sister, mother or aunts), and rezai (restrictions caused by a woman breast feeding a child of course only certain breastfeeding with the necessary conditions) restrictions to getting married, that the woman isn’t married to another man, that she isn’t in her Iddah (the waiting period in which a woman must observe after divorce before being able to get married to another man) or any other restrictions.
In this marriage contract, there is no divorce, and whenever the specified time of the marriage ends, the couples are no longer “husband” and “wife”. If they have had any intercourse and at the same time she isn’t ya’esah (referring to a woman in menopause) she has to the observe the divorce Iddah after their separation. If she doesn’t have a menstrual period, but is in the age that she is supposed to see blood, she has to observe Iddah for forty-five days.
The child of such a marriage, regardless of whether it is a girl or boy, is the father’s and is called by his name and inherits from both his mother and father. All of the general rulings pertaining to fathers, mothers, their children, and the child’s aunts and uncles go here too.
2) The reason behind its permissibility:
All Muslims agree and no one argues the fact that the permissibility of such a marriage has been legislated by Islam such that all Islamic scholars of all sects (with all of their differences) have no objection here. Of course, Sunnis believe that its permissibility has been nullified. We will analyze this claim as we go on.
As for its Quranic reasoning: Allah (swt) says: فَمَا اسْتَمْتَعْتُمْ بِهِ مِنْهُنَّ فَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَريضَةً
Ubayy ibn Ka’b, Ibn Abbas, Sa’id ibn Jubayr, Ibn Mas’ud, and Al-Sadi all would recite the mentioned verse in the following manner: فَمَا اسْتَمْتَعْتُمْ بِهِ مِنْهُنَّ إِلى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى (In other words, they would add the underlined phrase).
Agreed, the writer of Tafsir Al-Minar (Rashid Rhidha) insists that this verse was revealed concerning permanent marriage, but this theory is incorrect because:
- a) A large number of the sahabah believe that this verse was revealed concerning temporary marriage, not permanent marriage. The reason for such a claim is that they would always add this phrase «إِلى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى» to the end of the verse. Back then, this phrase was used and added to a marriage contract to indicate its temporariness (showing that when they would add it to the above mentioned verse, they believed that it is talking about temporary marriage). This phrase literally means until a certain mentioned time.
- b) Although the word mut’ah (and its derivatives, like the one in the previous verse) can also be used for permanent marriage, its frequent usage is for temporary marriage, therefore if it is used, it is apparently pointing to temporary marriage. On the other hand, the word “nikah” can be used for temporary marriage, although its usage for permanent marriage is stronger. Therefore, this verse is most probably and apparently speaking of temporary marriage.
Even if one doesn’t accept that mut’ahs apparent meaning isn’t temporary marriage, the least is that it denotes temporary marriage and as a result, will be one of the cases in which a word is used in a sentence for more than one meaning.
- c) Using mut’ah in the verse to convey permanent marriage entails an unnecessary repetition in the verse. That is because in the beginning of surah Nisa’ (which has expressed most of the rights and decrees pertaining to women) all of the different types of marriage have been mentioned in a special order. As for permanent marriage, it says: “If you fear that you may not deal justly with the orphan (girls), then marry (other) women that you like, two, three, or four. But if you fear that you may not treat them fairly, then (marry only) one…”
Regarding the mahr (dowry) of a marriage, it says: “Give women their marriage-portion freely, (without any restraint), but if they themselves (voluntarily) remit to you anything thereof, then you may consume it with pleasure.”
Concerning female slaves (Ima’): “And whosoever of you who has not the means to marry free-believing men, may marry believing girls from among those (captives and slaves) whom you own; and Allah is The Knower of your Faith; you are Fellow-creatures; then, wed them with the permission of their masters and give them their marriage-portion according to what is reasonable, provided that they are chaste, not adulterous nor taking secret lovers…”
Here, when Allah (swt) says ” ما مَلَكَتْ أَيْمانُهُمْ ” (those whom you own), He is pointing to the marriage between a person and his female slave. This issue has also been mentioned in this verse: “Except from their spouses or their slave women, for then they are not blameworthy. “
Finally this statement that says: ” فَانْكِحُوهُنَّ بِإِذْنِ أَهْلِهِنَّ ” (then marry them with the permission of their masters) indicates the marriage between a man and the female slave of a third person.
Till this verse, all of the different types of marriage have been counted. The only one left is temporary marriage, which has been also been stated in the previous verse. As a result, interpreting this phrase ” فَمَا اسْتَمْتَعْتُمْ ” as something pertaining to permanent marriage and the phrase ” فَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُن” (so grant them their dowries) as its mahr and dowry both entail repetition that is not needed at all, because both have already been mentioned in the previous verses.
Anyways, by taking a look at this surah, one can conclude that it is trying to list all of the different types of marriage in a specific order and this list doesn’t come out to be complete unless temporary marriage is meant by the above mentioned verse (as the verse’s apparent meaning also shows).
- d) If permanent marriage is meant, then why has it been claimed that temporary marriage has been nullified? In this case there is no meaning in temporary marriage being nullified, because when the Quran hasn’t legislated it in the first place, how it can be nullified?
- e) In this verse, paying the mahr or dowry has been announced as subject to estemta’ (sexual pleasure) when it says: “For the enjoyment you have had from them (sexual intercourse) thereby give them their dowries…” and this matter suits temporary marriage, not permanent marriage because in the latter, the woman becomes owner of the dowry as soon as the marriage contract is performed, although paying all of it depends on the marriage being consummated (while in the former, she only becomes owner after the contract being consummated). Of course, how and when it is paid all depend on the society where the couple live in and the traditions there. Some might even give it before the contract is performed, while others might delay it until after the husband’s death for the wife to inherit it.
These were a few of the many Quranic reasons for temporary marriage.
Now the reasons for it from the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):
The followers of the Prophet’s tradition all know that there are many genuine and authentic hadiths on the permissibility of temporary marriage during his time, here are a few:
- a) Jaber ibn Abdillah al-Ansari reports: “We would perform temporary marriage during the time of Rasulullah (pbuh) and it was also allowed during Abu Bakr’s time until Umar banned it.
- b) It has been quoted from Ibn Abbas that: “The verse of mut’ah (that says that mut’ah is halal) is of the muhkam verses of the holy Quran (verses that are clear statements accepting no interpretation) which hasn’t been nullified.”
- c) Both Hakim and Ibn Jarih report that Imam Ali (as) said: “If Umar hadn’t banned mut’ah, no one would ever commit adultery other than shaqiyy (wretched) individuals.”
- d) It has been quoted that ‘Imran ibn Hasin said: “The Quran contains the mut’ah verse and there is no other verse that (has come after it that) nullifies it. The Prophet (pbuh) ordered us to it and never banned it during his lifetime. After his demise, someone came and banned it on his own behalf and according to his own opinion.”
This hadith shows that mut’ah was halal until the second khalifah’s time which this hadith refers to as “someone who banned it on his own behalf and according to his own opinion”.
Till here, one can conclude that the argument over mut’ah’s permissibility doesn’t go back to whether or not the Prophet (pbuh) legislated its permissibility or not, or whether or not any of the Sahaba performed it or not, or whether or not they believed in its permissibility after the Prophet’s demise or not (before the second khalifa’s reign). On the contrary, the root of this argument is whether this action, which was allowed during the Prophet’s time and was acted upon by his companions, was nullified or not. Also, a part of this argument goes back to the fact that some have considered its permissibility as nullified, while others don’t.
3) Has the ruling of temporary marriage been nullified or not?
Some Sunni scholars believe that mut’ah’s permissibility has been nullified, yet there is a great argument over exactly how. Some say that the Quran itself is responsible for its nullification. Others say that the Prophet (pbuh) himself banned it. In the second case, there are also arguments which will be pointed to.
The different opinions on its exact nullifier:
a) The Holy Quran. Some claim that these two verses nullify the decree expressed in the mut’ah verse: “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”.
Both of these verses are Makki ones (have been revealed in Makkah) while the mut’ah verse is a Madani one (has been revealed in Madinah). It is clear that a verse which has been revealed prior to another, can’t be a nullifier of the one revealed afterwards, because there is no meaning in nullifying something which hasn’t come yet.
The two Makki verses are saying that thos
b) Another group say that the verse of Iddah is the nullifier: “divorce them in their prescribed time ” (meaning that one should divorce them when they aren’t in their period) They say when Allah (swt) demands Iddah, it shows that mut’ah is haram because it has no divorce or Iddah.
Mut’a also has an Iddah that must be observed afterwards. Yes, it doesn’t have any divorce, and if we prove that in Islam there are two types of marriage (permanent and temporary), the verse of divorce will be exclusively for permanent marriages, not temporary ones, because it is a permanent union in which when broken, needs to be announced by divorce. (On the other hand, temporary marriage has no need for any divorce since its time eventually runs out resulting in the end of the union without any need for any type of “breaking).” Thus, this verse is in no way related to temporary marriage in order to be considered its nullifier.
c) The verse of inheritance is its nullifier because in temporary marriage, there is no inheritance.
The same things that were said in answer to the previous opinion, apply here too. In addition to the fact that when some of the signs of something aren’t seen, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t there. For instance, if a woman doesn’t submit herself and allow her husband to have sexual pleasures with her (tamkin) and as a result becomes nashizah (a women who doesn’t fulfill her matrimonial duties towards her husband), she is no longer entitled to the nafaqah (the expenditures and sustenance of the wife which are the responsibility of the husband). Although she is no longer entitled to nafaqah, which is one of the signs of being one’s wife, she is still his spouse. Another example: If a woman from the people of the book gets married to a Muslim, she doesn’t inherit from him (unless she converts), yet she is still his wife (although inheriting is one of the signs of being one’s spouse).
This variation in opinion on the nullification of the permissibility of temporary marriage itself is good evidence that it hasn’t been nullified in the first place (or else there wouldn’t be any argument over how or when or who).
The different opinions on the time of its nullification:
The Prophet (pbuh) prohibited it in the year of Khaybar (the year in which the battle of Khaybar took place in).
The year of Fath (The year in which the Prophet conquered and freed Makkah).
The Prophet (pbuh) prohibited it in the battle of Tabuk. It was allowed in Hajjatul Wida’ (The final hajj in which the Prophet (pbuh) passed away afterwards), and subsequently prohibited.
It was allowed and subsequently prohibited three times.
There are also other viewpoints here which we won’t mention in order to keep this article short.
As was said before, this variation in points of view itself is concrete evidence that there wasn’t any nullification at all.
In his tafsir book, Qurtobi quotes Ibn Arabi’s saying that “This decree has been nullified twice” (meaning that it was allowed, then banned, and allowed once again). He (Qurtobi) goes on to say that other than Ibn Arabi of those who have analyzed the hadiths in this field, say that this decree has been permitted and prohibited up to seven times. He then counts the different claims in this field and concludes that it has been permitted and prohibited in seven different places.
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzi says: “We have no other examples of nullification in Islamic law like this one and no other will occur like it.”
In any case, the contradictions regarding this issue are numerous, and we will draw attention to some of them:
The difference of opinion on where it was nullified:
In the land of Hawazan
About when it was nullified:
They have narrated that Imam Ali (as) said that it was allowed in the battle of Khaybar and subsequently prohibited there.
They have narrated from Hasan Basri and Subratul-Juhani that it was only allowed in qadha umrah (an expired umrah that needs to be made up).
Ishaq ibn Rashed says that Zohari reported that the Prophet (pbuh) prohibited it in the battle of Tabuk.
It has been said that the Prophet (pbuh) made it permissible on the day of “Awtas”.
It has been said that he made it permissible on Hajjatul Wida’ (the final hajj in which he passed away afterwards).
The question here is that if this decree was to be nullified during the Prophet’s time, then why did the second khalifa claim responsibility of this nullification? If so, wasn’t it better for him to relate this nullification to his Excellency (pbuh)? On the contrary, we see him say: “I prohibit two mut’ahs that were halal during the Prophet’s time and will punish anyone who performs them; the mut’ah of women (getting married temporarily to them) and the mut’ah of Hajj.”
4) The sahabas’ position and viewpoint regarding temporary marriage:
A large number of sahabis and tabe’in (those who followed the Prophet’s time but never saw him) see mut’ah as permissible and not nullified. They are as follows:
1) Imran ibn Hussain
2) Abdullah ibn Umar
3) Salamah ibn Umayyah
4) Ma’bad ibn Umayyah
5) Zubair ibn ‘Awamm
6) Khaled ibn Muhajir
7) Ubayy ibn Ka’b
8) Rabi’ah ibn Umayyah
11) Ibn Aws Madani
12) Anas ibn Malek
13) Mu’awiyyah ibn abi-Sufyan
14) Ibn Juraih
16) Sabib ibn abi-Thabit
17) Hakam ibn Utaybah
18) Jabir ibn Yazid
19) al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azeb
20) Sahl ibn Sa’d
21) Mughairah ibn Shu’bah
22) Salamah ibn Akwa’
23) Zayd ibn Thabet
24) Khaled ibn Abdillah al-Ansari
25) Ya’la ibn Umayyah
26) Safwan ibn Umayyah
27) Amr ibn Hawshab
28) Amr ibn Dinar
29) Ibn Jurair
30) Sa’eed ibn Habib
31) Ibrahim al-Nakha’i
32) Hasan Basri33) Ibn Musayyab
35) Rabi’ ibn Meysarah
36) Abi Zuhari Mutraf
37) Malek ibn Anas (in one of his two viewpoints)
38) Ahmad ibn Hanbal in some conditions
39) Abu Hanifah according to some cases
5) Doubts and questions on mut’ah:
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.
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 above mentioned 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).”
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.
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.” 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.
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.
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.
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).”
As for linking mut’ah to the poem mentioned above, it is a sign of this person’s ignorance regarding its essence and its borders and limits. The mut’ah that this person is thinking of, is one of the wrong statements that the Shia have always been accused of, while the Shia find this accusation false. They don’t believe that the temporary wife is one who other men can have turns with, how is that so, while they say that after every temporary marriage she has to observe an Iddah?! If she has to observe an Iddah, offering herself to others will no longer have any meaning. Subhan’Allah! How can they lie so much about the Shia?! This poem is an insult to divine revelation and heavenly legislation, while all interpreters of the Quran and narrators of tradition all agree that such a decree was indeed legislated, even though they claim that it was eventually nullified. So what this person is actually saying is that during the time this marriage was allowed by the Prophet (pbuh), it was an illegitimate act!
For further information on this issue, please read the following answers:
Index: Mutah and Zina: Shia consider Temporary Marriage permissible, answer 201.
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.
 . Nisa:24.
 . See: Tabari, Tafsir Kabir; Zamakhshari, Kashaf; and the sharh (explanation) of Sahih Muslim by Nawawi in the beginning of the chapter on marriage, and other great scholars have all considered this recitation as one that no one can doubt about. In this case, the phrase ” الی اجل مسمی” will only be an explanation added to the verse, not part of the verse; Ezdevaje Movaqqat (temporary marriage), pg. 14-15, The Ahlul-Bayt World Assembly.
 . Nisa’colonthree emoticon.
 . Nisa’:4.
 . Nisa’:25. 8.
 . Surah Mu’minoon: 6.
 . Surah Nisa’: 25
 . Sahih Muslim, v.4, pg. 131, Musnad Ahmad, v.6, Fathul-Bari, v.9, pg.149.
 . Kashaf, v.1, pg. 498, printed in Beirut.
 . Tafsir Tabari, v.5, pg. 9, Fakhr Razi’s Tafsir, v.10, pg. 5, al-Durrul-Manthur, v.2, pg. 140.
 . Sahih Bukhari, v.2, pg. 168 and v.6, pg. 33; Sahih Muslim, v.4, pg. 48, Sunan Nisa’i, v.5, pg.155; Musnad Ahmad, v.4, pg. 426 with an authentic chain of narrators.
 . Neylul-Atwar, v.6, pg. 271; Fathul-Bari, v.9, pg. 150.
 . Muminoon:6-7.
 . Talaq:1 “فطلقون لعدتهن”.
 . Ahkamul-Quran, 290, pg. 184-195, chapter of mut’a, Darul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah; Sahih Muslim along with the explanation of Nawawi, v.9, pg. 179, the chapter on mut’a Irshadus-Sari.
 . Sahih Muslim, v.2, pg. 130, Darul-Fikr Press, Beirut.
 . The tafsir of Qurtobi, v.5, pg.130-131.
 . Zadul-Ma’ad, v.2, pg. 204; Ezdevaje Movaqqat (temporary marriage), pg. 17-21, The Ahlul-Bayt World Assembly.
 . Al-Insaf fi Masa’ela Dama fihil-Khilaf, pg. 534.
 . Sharh Ma’anil-Athar, v.2, pg. 146.
 . Al-Ghadir, v.6, pg. 220, and Ezdevaje Movaqqat dar Islam, pg. 133, and Mut’a az Fakiki, and Ahkamul-Shar’iyyah fi Ahwalal-Shakhsiyyah.
 . Tafsir Al-Minar, v.3, pg. 17.
 . Mu’minoon:5-7.
 . Tafsir Al-Minar, v.5, pg. 13. 28.
 . Mustadrakul-Wasa’el, v.14, pg. 478.
 . Kitabul-Sunnah wal-Shia, pg. 65-66.