Sunday, 8 May 2011

Temporary marriage

Arguably one of the more popular Shia myth's revolves around the concept of temporary marriage, Muta. Our critics claim that we are a bunch of womanisers and that Muta, is an attempt to legitimise prostitution! We are apparently allowed to engage in a temporary marriage for as short or as long as needed and do whatever we want in that time period with no consequence and no responsibility for our actions. It is an act that is apparently haram, against the teachings of the Holy Prophet and the Holy Quran. It is an act which proves that we are somehow non-Muslims and deserve to be condemned as such.

So, with that in mind, here is my straight-forward, but accurate take on the topic and I leave it you to draw your own conclusions. As always, the best place to start is with the Holy Quran. The concept of Muta, revolves around one main verse:
"(...Except the forbidden women) the rest are lawful unto you to seek them with gifts from your property (i.e., dowry), provided that you desire protection (from sin), not fornication. So for whatever you have had of pleasure (Istamta'tum) with them by the contract, give unto them their appointed wages as a duty. And there is no sin for you in what you both agree (in extending the contract) after fulfilling the (first) duty. Lo! Allah is ever Knower, Wise." (Surah 4, Verse 24)
The word 'marriage' is specifically not mentioned in this verse, it is instead the word 'istamatatum' which translates to muta. It was a practice that was allowed during the time of the Prophet and according to many Sunni books was later prohibited by the second caliph, Umar. "The Verse of Hajj-at-Tamatu was revealed in Allah's Book, so we performed it with Allah's Apostle, and nothing was revealed in Qur'an to make it illegal, nor did the Prophet prohibit it till he died. But the man (who regarded it illegal) just expressed what his own mind suggested." (Sahih Bukhari, Book 60, Number 43). The man mentioned was Umar the second caliph.

Furthermore, in Sahih Muslim, the claim that Umar banned the act of Muta is confirmed in the following hadith: "Abu Nadra reported: While I was in the company of Jabir b. Abdullah, a person came to him and said that Ibn 'Abbas and Ibn Zubair differed on the two types of Mut'as (Tamattu' of Hajj 1846 and Tamattu' with women), whereupon Jabir said: We used to do these two during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). Umar then forbade us to do them, and so we did not revert to them." (Sahih Muslim, Book 8, Number 3250) So, with the aid of Sunni sources, it seems as if Muta is allowed as according to the Quran, practiced during the time of the Prophet and was subsequently forbidden by the second Caliph. As a Muslim, I think it's important to follow the Prophet rather than the second Caliph, don't you?

Having tried to prove the authenticity of Muta, obviously it is a topic that raises much debate because of what it means. I don't want to get into the rights and wrongs of Muta. It was introduced at a time when fornication and prostitution was rife, it was used at a time when men went to war and would be separated from their wives for long periods. Like any other rule or act, it is open to abuse. By all means criticise those who abuse the laws of Islam, but to abuse the act and furthermore Shias for practicing the act in a correct manner, when it is clearly allowed by God and his Prophet is wrong.


  1. Salaam!
    Ah-mazing post again. I'll admit I've not been very well informed about Muta (even though I find nothing wrong in it) but I need to go a little more in detail with this Inshallah.

    JazakAllah khayr for your efforts. May Allah SWT guide us to His path and help us follow the sunnah of the Prophet (S) and his Ahlul Bayt (a.s). Ameen.

  2. This was short and precise. I love it.

    People seeking Truth will recognize that this issue is not as complex as it seems. It comes down to the ahadith that support/nullify the practice of Muta and their chain of narrations. If someone simply sits down and analyzes the various ahadith, they will come to the conclusion that none of it adds up.

    How can some of the companions after the Prophet (sawws) say that it was practiced during the time of the Prophet (sawws) and then later banned by the 2nd caliph and others say that it was prohibited by the Prophet (sawws)? That just doesn't make sense.

    Also, there is the issue of the ayah never being abrogated. Then arises the question: can a hadith abrogate an ayah?

    If we really just think and have an open-mind to this subject, it's very obvious that Muta was never prohibited.

    Also, the concept of misyar marriage is essentially no different than Muta. Do we not have the right to call that a 'bidah'? It's really much people twist things around to meet their own agenda.

    Anyways, jazakAllahu khair once again!