has been a lot of discussion going on about Mut’a (Temporary Marriage) in the
Islamic world. The issue so crucial and critical that it has become one of the
main points of difference between Shias and Sunnis.
discussion or debate on Mut’a holds three aspects:
2. Its legitimacy.
3. Its moral point of view.
There is no point of
difference between the Shi’is and Sunnis about the definition. Among Sunni jurisprudents
there is a discussion concerning whether or not the marriage of mut'a is
the same as 'temporary marriage'. Most of them have agreed that they are
The Features of Mut’a are:
Since it is a contract, mut'a requires a
declaration and an acceptance. As in permanent marriage, the declaration is the
prerequisite of the woman. It must consist of one of three Arabic formulas, the
same three which are employed by the Shi'as in permanent marriage.
There is a time period defined for the marriage.
It cannot be done with a virgin, without her father's consent.
Woman does not inherit the husband.
Children are legitimate. Children inherit the father. Their status is equal to same of permanent marriage.
The women should be Afifa.
A Proper declaration and Acceptance (Qaul-o-Iqrar) is there.
Only allowed with Muslim women or women from The People of The Book.
The persons allowed or not allowed to do Mut’a with, are the same as for permanent marriage.
The Dower is to be paid.
The Idda or The Waiting Period, is same as in permanent marriage.
these conditions show that Mut'a is an agreement, not fornication.
who stand against Mut’a present:
A sermon of Umer.
Some Traditions of Prophet.
Quranic verse which is presented for the annulment of Mut’a is:
are the believers ... who guard their private parts save from their wives and
what their right hands own.’ (23:1-6).
Shii answer to this argument is that:
verse mentioned as abrogating mut'a was revealed in Mecca, while the
verse establishing it was revealed after the Prophet had emmigrated to Medina.
But a verse which abrogates another verse must be revealed after it, not before
it, as the law of Fiqh is.
In the sura entitled 'Women', after listing those women to whom marriage is
forbidden, the Qur'an states as follows: 'Lawful for you is what is beyond
all that, that you may seek, using your wealth, in wedlock and not in licence.
So those of them whom you enjoy, give them their appointed wages; it is no
fault in you in agreeing together, after the due apportionate. God is
All-Knowing, All-Wise' (4:24). All Shi'i ulama' and some Sunni ulama'
hold that this verse-especially the words: 'Such wives as you enjoy (istamta'tum)'-refers
to the permissibility of mut'a. The Shi'is present several arguments
to prove this point.
This verse was revealed towards the beginning of the Prophet's stay in Medina,
which lasted from AH 1/CE 622 to 10/632. At that time the men of Medina used to
'seek enjoyment' from women for a limited period of time in exchange for a
specified sum of money. By its revelation this verse in effect confirmed an
existing situation; and it emphasized that men must fulfil their promises
concerning the agreed upon sum. In Medina this custom was looked upon as one
kind of temporary marriage and was referred to by the term istimta', the
same word employed in the Qur'anic verse-even though the literal meaning of the
word is 'to seek benefit' or 'to take enjoyment'. Hence the meaning of the
Qur'anic verse must be understood in terms of the conventional usage of the time,
for as is well known in the science of Qur'anic commentary and Islamic
jurisprudence, the Qur'an follows the conventional usage of the people in all
statutes and legal prescriptions. If someone wants to understand a word in the
Qur'an in other than the conventional meaning of the time, he must supply a
strong reason for doing so.
Sermon of Umer The famous sermon of Umer is
presented as an evidence that It was annulled by the second righteous Caliph.
This evidence is invalid proved by the sermon itself. The famous sermon starts
with the words:
"Two Mut’as were
practiced during Prophet’s time (i.e. temporary marriage and mutat al-hajj) but I forbid both of them and will punish anyone who practices
If the two Mut’as were allowed
during Prophet’s time then how can Umer disallow them. How could something be
disallowed which was allowed by the Prophet? An answer comes from our
Ahl-e-Sunna brothers "Umer did Ijtihad". My dear Ahl-e-Sunna
brothers!! Ijtihad is only allowed when there is no specific verdict found on a
certain matter from the Sunna of the Prophet or Quran. All ulama' agree
that independent judgment can never gainsay the Quran or the hadith.
Some Sunni Ulama also agree
that Mut’a was permitted during Prophet’s time. For Example:
"Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d.
606/1209), the famous Sunni theologian, writes in his Great Commentary on the
Qur'an that mut'a was at first permitted. The Prophet made a 'lesser
pilgrimage' ('umra) to Mecca, and the women of Mecca made themselves up
especially for the occasion. Some of the Companions complained about their long
separation from their wives, and the Prophet replied: 'Then go and enjoy
(istimta') these women."
Some Traditions of Prophet:
traditions of Prophet are presented by the Sunnis against Mut’a.
1. It is reported from 'Ali that he said "Verily the Prophet of God banned
the mut'a of temporary marriage and the eating of the meat of domesticated
asses.' In many of these sources, and in Shi'i sources as well, the
words:'on the day of the Battle of Khaybar' are added."
Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Ahmed Bin Hanbal (Three of the most authentic Sunni
collections of Ahadith or traditions) report these traditions in these
words"The Prophet banned the Mut’a of marriage on the day of Khayber, as
well as the meat of domesticated asses".
Shi’i answer to this argument is that this Hadith is fabricated. The prove is
that every one knows that Mut’a was allowed at the conquest of Makka, How could
Prophet disallow it on the Day of Khayber i.e. three years back.
Ibn Sabra relates from his father the following: 'I came upon the Prophet of
God in the early morning ... leaning against the Ka'ba. He said: "Oh
People! I commanded you to 'seek enjoyment' (istimta') from these women, but
now God has forbidden that to you until the Day of Resurrection. So if you have
a temporary wife, let her go her way; and do not take back anything of what you
have given her."
Although his hadith has been related by many chains of authority, they
all go back to Ibn Sabra himself, and thus the hadith is of the type
known as 'wahid, i.e., it derives from a single Companion. And a
Qur'anic verse cannot be abrogated even by the most authentic kind of hadith,
much less by a relatively weak one. Moreover the very content of the hadith
shows that it is not correct. It is hardly conceivable that the Prophet
could have stood before the Ka'ba in front of a large group of Muslims and ban
something until the Day of Resurrection, and that then only one
person-Sabra-should have heard him or related his words. Where were those
Companions who recorded even the gestures and the glances of the Prophet?
Certainly they should have joined Sabra in reporting the prohibition of muta
until the Day of Resurrection. And where was 'Umar himself? He certainly
should have known about the prohibition so that it would not have been
necessary to attribute the banning of mut'a to himself.
Finally, there are discrepancies in the various versions of Sabra's hadith. In
some versions the prohibition is said to have occurred in the year of Mecca
(8/630), in others in the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage (10/632). This
discrepancy makes the hadith even more untrustworthy.
Sabra himself is the only source for his father's words, but no one knows
anything about him. He is not mentioned in any of the books on hadith as
a transmitter, nor has any other hadith been related from him. For this
reason al-Bukhari-the most famous Sunni authority, and generally considered the
most reliable-left Ibn Sabra's hadith out of his collection.
is related from Salma b. al-Akwa'. Through his father he reported that the
Prophet of God permitted mut'a in the year of Awtas (8/629) for
three days; but then he prohibited it. This particular hadith is related
in many sources, with many discrepancies in the text.
Shi’i point of view for this Hadith is that how is it possible that only Salma
reports that Prophet banned it? There are other very authentic narrators who
say that Mut’a was permitted by Prophet and Umer banned it. And after all No
Hadith can gainsay the Quranic verse.
think that sufficient evidence is provided about the legitimacy of Mut’a.
legitimacy of Mut’a is proved but there are some objections from moral point of
thing which should be kept in mind is that Mut’a is just a permission, not
obligatory like permanent marriage. One should consider the fact that Mut’a was
allowed because of the need of the people. It was allowed when the companions
could not resist their sexual desires. It was a kind of relief from sexual
stress. The conditions that the women should be an Afifa and that the women
should not be a virgin proves that it is not fornication.
It is just like the permission of keeping four wives. Why is a man permitted to
keep four wives? The answer is sex. Sex is not a bad thing in Islam. Marriage
is the legitimacy of sex. If Mut’a can be abused for fornication then the same
can be done by permanent marriage. A friend of mine said:
"It is very easy to use Mut’a for fornication. Go
to a women ask her price, decide the time and have sex."
"It is also very easy to use permanent marriage
for fornication. Go to a women, ask her price, have sex and divorce her."
An objection is made by the women that because of this permission of Mut’a they
do not feel safe. Well! I am afraid same is the case with the permission of
four marriages. And after all when women are allowed to choose a man then
they should choose a man who is strong enough to restrict his sexual activities
to his wife.
there is a question of priority. If the primary objective of marriage for a man
is to have sex, then he’ll use all available resources and permissions to
fulfil his desires. And if the primary objective of a marriage is to have a
life partner and sex is just a secondary objective or even it not an objective
at all then he’ll restrict himself to his wife. Women who feel unsafe with
these permissions given to men should marry a man who’s primary motive for marriage
is the need of a life partner (not a sex partner).
and emotions are also very important aspect. If you love someone and that
someone loves you too, then I don’t think that he’ll think of going anywhere
else except you.
In Islam, women have complete freedom of choosing, accepting or rejecting a man
question is asked very often to Shias in Pakistan and India that:
"Why don’t you do Mut’a when it is permissible?"
to this question are:
The question itself is invalid in the first place, as Mut’a
is optional not obligatory. If we suppose that the question is valid then
there are a lot of things allowed in Islam which we do not do because there are
not in our customs and due to not being in custom they are not usually in
practice. Similarly there are things which are not mentioned in Islam and we do
them due to our customs. For example there are certain rituals in marriage
ceremony which are not mentioned in Islam, but we practice them. Another good
example is dower. Dower is to be paid at the time of Nikkah (Contract), but
this is not the practice of Indian and Pakistani Muslims.
point of agreement between Shias and Sunnis is that there is nothing wrong in
doing or not doing things which are optional in Islam.