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MUTA TEMPORARY MARRIAGE IN ISLAM

By Yasin T. al-Jibouri [This brief paper is extracted from Vol. Two of the manuscript for my forthcoming book titled Dictionary of Islamic Terms to be published in the U.S. in few months, Insh-Allh.]

Mut`a :literally it means: enjoyment; temporary marriage; refer to verse 24 of Chapter 4 (an-Nis) of the Holy Qurn: where the root word for it is: ,that is, you enjoyed. Temporary marriage existed during the time of the Prophet ( ,)of first caliph Ab Bakr and part of second caliph, Omer ibn al-Khattab who, because of a certain incident, banned it although his son, the famous and highly respected narrator of hadth, namely Abdullh ibn Omer, kept practicing despite his fathers prohibition. He is

reported as having regarded mut'a as being Islamically permissible.


Ahmed, Musnad, No. 2, p. 95; Ali ibn Ab Bakr al-Haithami, Mujma' AzZawid, Vol. 7, pp. 332-33; Sa'eed ibn Mansour, Sunan, Vol. 1, p. 252 and Ab Ya'li, Musnad, Vol. 10, p. 68 quote Abdullh ibn Omer (son of

caliph Omer ibn al-Khattab) saying, " ( ) By Allh! During the time of the Messenger of Allh ( ,)we were neither adulterers nor fornicators." In two places of his Sahh, al-Tirmithi indicates on p. 143, Vol. 3 and p. 175, Vol. 1, that a man from Syria asked Abdullh ibn Omer about the muta. Ibn Omer said, It is halal (lawful, permissible). The man said, But your father banned it. Ibn Omer said, ! Do you see that if my father bans something which the Messenger of Allh () permitted, should we abandon the Sunna and follow what my father says?! This statement is also quoted by imm Ahmed ibn Hanbal in his Musnad in three places: on p. 95 and 104 of Vol. 2 and p. 436, Vol. 4. Likewise, it is cited on p. 365, Vol. 2 of al-Qurtubis Tafsir and on p. 21, Vol. 5 of al-Bayhaqis Sunan. Also, refer to p. 185, Vol. 1 of Mujma al-Zawad where it is quoted. Although all these references are reliable classic Sunni references, only Shites now perform this marriage The reader may think that only the renown renown of hadth, Abdullh son of second caliph Omer ibn al-Khattab, insisted on practicing the muta marriage, but a review of other classic Arabic books reveals contrariwise. Read the following as an example: : ) ( :) ( : )( )( : . Muslim has narrated from Qatadah from Ab Nadhra saying that [Abdullh] ibn Abbs enjoined the practice of muta, whereas [Abdullh] ibn az-Zubair used to prohibit it. He said: I mentioned this to Jbir ibn Abdullh [al-Ansri]. He [Jbir] said, I witnessed the talk. We practiced muta during the time of the Messenger of 2

Allh ( .)When Omer came to power, he said, Allh used to permit His Messenger whatever He willed however He willed. The Qurn has reached its full stages, so you should complete the pilgrimage and the umra as Allh, the most Exalted, the most Great, commanded you and keep away from cohabiting with these women, for I shall never be brought a man who cohabited with a woman for a set period of time without stoning him. Refer to p. 206, Vol. 7 of al-Bayhaqis Sunan where the author says that Muslim has quoted it in his Sahh through other sources from Humam. Muta marriage is never a substitute for the blessed institution of permanent marriage. As a matter of fact, top Sha faqihs and scholars caution the faithful about abusing this institute which provides a bitter pill for a much, much more bitter ailment. On p. 720, Vol. 2 of Man la Yahdhuru al-Faqih by allama Shaikh al-Sadq, the following is stated: )( : : . Al-Hassan ibn Mahbb narrated from Aban from Abu Maryam who quotes (Imm) Abu (father of) Jafar (al-Bqir) ( .)He said that al-Bqir was asked about the muta. He (Imm al-Bqir) said, Muta now is not what used to be. They (women) used to believe then; nowadays, they do not believe; so, ask about them. What the Imm ( )means is that women used to be closer to the fountains of true Islamic knowledge, but nowadays they are not; they are quite distant from them. This is why he recommended that one should inquire about a womans Islamic conduct which reflects the depth of her imn, conviction, before considering marrying her for a pre-determined period of time. Imagine how the status of women has suffered, deteriorated, from the time of Imm al-Bqir ( )and till now! On the same page of the reference cited above, we read the 3

following about the founder of the Sha Jafari fiqh, namely Abu Abdullh Imm Jafar al-Sdiq ( )also cautioning about getting involved in this type of marriage with women who are not fmiliar with its ahkam, rules and regulations: : : )( : : : : : : : : : : . Dawd ibn Ishq narrated from Muhammed al-Faydh saying, I asked (Imm) Abu Abdullh (al-Sdiq) ( )about the muta. He said, Yes, if she knows it. I said, May I be sacrificed for your sake, what if she does not? He said, Then turn away from her and speak to her; if she accepts, marry her, but if she refuses and does not accept your statement, leave her alone. Beware of women who reveal themselves, who solicit, who are prostitutes and who practice polyandry. I said, Who are those who reveal themselves? He said, They are those who reveal their ornaments and whose houses are well known (to the public), and they are visited (by stranger men). I said, Who are the solicitors? He said, They are the ones who try to attract others to themselves, and they are known to be corrupt. I said, Who are the prostitutes? He said, They are the ones known to be committing adultery. I asked, Who are those who take many husbands? He said, They are the ones whose divorces are not conducted according to the Sunna. As you can see from this quotation, many categories of women must be excluded when one contemplates on getting married for an agreed about term. Nowadays, we see many married and single solicitors walking down streets with make-up, tight clothes and making suggestive gestures. It is one of the signs of the time, folks, the last period of time before the end of time, so beware. Some Sha Muslims still practice muta marriage the rules, regulations, permissions and prohibitions, rights and obligations, etc. 4

for which are available in fiqh books. They do so on a very limited basis, i.e. in rare situations. They do not encourage it except when there are legitimate reasons for it. For example, adult students who study in non-Muslim countries are prone to surrender to temptation, and many of them fall victims to temptation. Some businessmen stay abroad for extended periods of time. The sexual urge of both of these categories of strangers in foreign lands has to be met legitimately in both of these situations; it is not healthy to suppress this perfectly natural urge. Another situation is one who has no financial ability to bear the expenses of a permanent marriage. Temporary marriage must be dealt with as a bitter medicine for a much, much more bitter situation. On the other hand, some Sunnis, notably Shafiis, seem to have found a number of almost similar types of marriage the most famous of which is misyar (or misyr) marriage, as well as marriage with the intention to divorce, coworkers marriage, etc. Have they found a verse in the Holy Qurn similar to 4:24 or a tradition of the Prophet ( )referring to misyar or other types of newly invented temporary marriages?