World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Nikah mut‘ah

Article Id: WHEBN0030864397
Reproduction Date:

Title: Nikah mut‘ah  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Islamic economics, Takaful, Islam and masturbation, Islamic concept of sovereignty, Islamic criminal jurisprudence
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Nikah mut‘ah

Nikāḥ al-Mutʿah (Arabic: نكاح المتعة‎)," is a type of marriage used in Twelver Shia Islam, where the duration of the marriage and the dowry must be specified and agreed upon in advance.[1][2](p242)[3](p47–53) It is a private contract made in a verbal or written format. A declaration of the intent to marry and an acceptance of the terms are required (as they are in nikah (marriage in Islam). al-Mutʿah marriage was also practiced by the pre-Islamic Arabs. Zaidi Shia, Ismaeli Shia and Sunni Muslims do not practice Nikah Mutah. The practice is often viewed as a cover for promiscuity or prostitution.[4]

Mutah is practiced under the Twelver Shia jurisprudence. The bride must not be married. She must be Muslim or belong to ahl-e-kitab (people of the book). She should be chaste and not be addicted to fornication and she should not be a young virgin (especially if her father is absent and cannot give consent).[5] These conditions must be established through due diligence.

At the end of the contract, the marriage ends and the wife must undergo iddah (a period of abstinence from sexual intercourse, usually the length of two menstrual cycles). The iddah is intended to give certain paternity to a child should the wife become pregnant during the contract.[2][6]

Generally, the Nikah mut'ah has no proscribed minimum or maximum duration.[7][8][9] However, one source, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, indicates the minimum duration of the marriage is debatable and durations of at least three days, three months or one year have been suggested.[6]


Mut'ah, literally meaning joy, is a condition where rules of Islam are relaxed. It can apply to marriage (the nikah mut'ah) or to the Hajj (the obligatory pilgrimage) (the Mut'ah of Hajj). Mut'ah is a sensitive area of disagreement between those who follow Sunni Islam (for whom nikah mut'ah is forbidden) and those who follow Shia Islam (for whom nikah mut'ah is allowed).[1] Shias and Sunnis do agree that, initially, or near the beginning of Islam, nikah mut'ah was a legal contract.[3][10] Beyond that time, the legality of the practice is debated.

Historical examples

An historical example of nikah mut'ah is described by Ibn Hajar Asqalani (1372 - 1448 CE (852 AH)) in his commentary on the work of Sahih al-Bukhari.[11] Muawiyah (602 - 680 AH), a mediaeval Sunni caliph, entered into a nikah mut'ah contract with a woman from Ta'if. She was a slave who was owned by a man called Banu Hazrmee. She received a yearly stipend from Muawiyah.

The scholar, ‘Abd ar-Razzaq as San‘ani (744 CE), described how Saeed bin Jabeer Jubayr frequently visited a woman in Mecca. When asked why, he said he had a contract of nikah mut'ah with her and seeing her was "more halal than drinking water".[12]

Where as in the Sahih al-Bukhari it self, Mutah marriage is classed as forbidden because said that Ali bin Abi Talib said that he heard Muhammad say that it is forbidden. Narrated by 'Ali bin Abi Talib "On the day of khaibar, Allah's Apostle forbade the Mut'a (i.e. temporary marriage) and the eating of donkey-meat. " Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Number 527 [13]

In another text Ali bin Abi Talib also said that it was forbidden in Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 9, Book 86, Number 91

Many early Shia texts also state that Ali said Mutah marriage was forbidden and for this reason the Zaidi Shia, the oldest branch of the Shia do not practice Mutah marriage. Shia book like Tahdeeb: vol. 7, pg. 251, rewaya 10 and Istebsar: vol. 3, pg. 142, rewaya 5 also said that Ali said that Mutah marriage was forbidden because Muhammad told him.

Other early Shia books also recorded that Imam Baqir forbade Mutah Marriage 'Tahdeeb al Ahkam' and 'Furu al Kafi':Pp476.V2/Pp34.V5 and there was no recorded case of it in Alis family.

Zaidi Shia view

The Zaidi also reject Mutah marriage

In many early Zaidi books like Mujmoo Imam Ali Pp 498 V112. 2) Hadiths narrated by Ali bin Abi Talib state:

“Allah’s Messenger forbade the temporary marriage in the year of Khaybar.” Mujmoo Imam Ali Pp 499 V112. 3) Ali bin Abi Talib said to a man who was engaging in Mutah: "You are a straying person, the Messenger of Allah has forbidden temporary marriage " [14]

Zaidites and Ismailites dismissed all claim made by Athana Asheri, The Twelver Shia about Mutah legality and class text that try to justify it as fabrications.

Zaidites and Ismailites argue that it is narrated from Imam Jaffar ul Sadiq to Imam Ismail Ul Mubarak that these texts are fornication and that it is adultery, Zina bil raza [15]

Zaidites and Ismailites argue that the traditions banning Mutah are classified as Muthawathar, highly authentic [16]

Nikah mut'ah in Sunni Islam

In the sixteenth century, during the reign of Akbar, the third emperor of the Mughal Empire, who was believed to be a Hanafi Sunni, debates regarding religious matters were held weekly on Thursdays. When discussing nikah mut'ah, Shi'ite theologians argued that the historic Sunni scholar Malik ibn Anas supported the practice.[2][17] However, the evidence from Malik's Muwatta (manual of religious jurisprudence) was not forthcoming. The Shi'ite theologians persisted and nikah mut'ah was legalized for the twelve Shia during Akbar's reign.[2][17]

While according to the actual book Muwatta by Malik ibn Anas, the oldest book on Islamic Jurisprudence, Mutah was banned because Ali ben Abu Taleb said that Mutah was banned by Muhammad him self on the day of Khaibar. For this reason the Zaidi Shia do not practice Muatah marriage. According to Malik ibn Anas in Muwatta Volume I, Chapter 18, Hadith 1151 43 "Both Abdullah and Al-Hasan, the two sons of Muhammad ben Ali Abu Taleb, from their father Muhammad ben Ali ben Abu Taleb from Ali ben Abu Taleb, that the Messenger of Allah had forbidden temporary marriage, and the eating of the flesh of the domestic donkey on the day of Khaibar"


The Hanafi school of Sunni jurisprudence argues that although the nikah mut'ah contract itself is valid, marriage is regarded as a permanent condition and therefore, the temporary element of the contract makes it void.

The only Sunni Arab jurisdiction that mentions nikah mut'ah is Jordan; if the nikah mut'ah meets all other requirements, it is treated as if it were a permanent marriage.[3]

The thirteenth century scholar, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi said,

Amongst the Ummah there are many great scholars who deem Mut'ah to have been abrogated, whilst others say that Mut'ah still remains.[19]

The 20th century Sunni scholar, Waheed uz-Zaman, Deobandi said,

On the topic of Mut'ah, differences have arisen amongst the Sahaba, and the Ahl'ul Hadith, and they deemed Mut'ah to be permissible, since Mut'ah under the Shari'ah was practised and this is proven, and as evidence of permissibility they cite verse 24 of Surah Nisa as proof. The practise of Mut'ah is definite and there is ijma (consensus) on this and you can't refute definite proof by using logic.

The Gharab al Quran, the dictionary of Qur'anic terms states,

The people of Faith are in agreement that Mut'ah is halaal, then a great man said Mut'ah was abrogated, other than them remaining scholars, including the Shi'a believe Mut'ah remain halaal in the same way it was in the past. Ibn Abbas held this viewpoint and Imran bin Husain.[20]

The Tafsir Haqqani, a critical explanation of the Quran states,

Some Sunni scholars deem Mut'ah permissible, in the same way the Sahaba Ibn Abbas and Imran bin Haseen deemed it permissible.[21]

Nikah mut'ah in Twelver Shia Islam

The Twelver Shias give arguments based on the Quran, hadith (religious narration), history and moral grounds to support their position on mut'ah. Firstly, the word of the Quran takes precedence over that of any other scripture, including the An-Nisa, 24, known as the verse of Mut'ah.

A twelve Shia hadith attributed to Ali bin Yaqtheen, notes that Musa al-Kadhim, the seventh of The Twelve Imams, when asked about nikah mut'ah, said,

Why do you [ask], when you [Ali], with the blessing of Allah, have a wife at your side? He [Ali] replied, 'No, I just want to know.' Imam Kadhim replied, "The permissibility is present within the Book of Allah".[22]

Hadiths also record the use of nikah mut'ah during the time of Abu Bakr, a caliph and sahabi. Later, in 16 AH (637 CE), Umar, also a caliph and sahabi, prohibited mut'ah. Shias allege Umar's prohibiting nikah mut'ah was an incident of challenge to Mohammad.[23][24][25]

Other relevant hadiths include those of Imran ibn Husain (see Hadith of Mut'ah and Imran ibn Husain), and Abdullah Ibn Abbas. The opinion of Ibn Abbas is cited in Fatih al-Qadir ("Ibn Abbas said the verse of Mut'ah"); in Tafseer Mu'alim al Tanzeel (Ibn Abbas said, "The verse of Mut'ah was an order and it's Halal."); in Tafseer Kabeer (The verse of Mut'ah appears in the Qur'an, no verse has come down to abrogate it."); and in Tafsir ibn Kathir and by Ibn Hanbal ("Mut'ah can be utilised when needed.") and by Abu Jamra (in Bukhari) ("On that, a freed slave of his said to him, "That is only when it is very badly needed and (qualified permanent) women are scarce, or similar cases." On that, Ibn Abbas said, "Yes."").

Historically, Twelver Shias see that nikah mut'ah has varied in its spiritual legality, changing from halal to haraam and back again over time, and thus cannot be considered in the same light as, for example, taking alcohol, which was never advocated by Mohammad.[26]

Finally, the Twelver Shias do not accord value to the argument that nikah mut'ah is immoral because it can be used to hide prostitution.[27][28][29][30][31][32][33]

Other Twelver Shia hadiths are not so in favor of Mutah marriage because Imam Baqir and Imam Jafar were not in favor of it.

Imam Baqir, recorded in 'Tahdeeb al Ahkam' and 'Furu al Kafi':P p476.V2 / Pp34.V5

Abdullah Bin Umair asked Abi Ja'far [as]: Is it acceptable to you that your women, daughters, sisters, daughters of your aunties do it (Mut'ah)? Abu Ja'far rebuked him when he mentioned his women and daughters of his aunties.

In another Twelver Shia hadith narrated from Imam Jafar Ul Sadaq Narrated by A'maar: Abu Abdullah, Imam Jafar Sadaq said to me and to Suliman Bin Khaled: "I made Mut'ah Haram on you". AL Kafi Pp 467.V5.Wiasal Shia Pp22.V21." [34]

In other books Ja'far Al-Sadiq said in a narration by Abdallah bin Sinan: "I asked Abu Abdullah about Mutah. He said: "Don't defile yourself with it" [35]

The classical Twelver Shia books like AL Kafi, AL Istabsar, Tahzeeb Ul Ahkam, Min La Yadrhu Fiqa say "The Holy Prophet [s] and the Imams of Ahlubayt never practised Mut'a [36]

According to many early Shia books Imam Jaffar Ul Sadaq classed Mutah as Adultry [37]

Following the 2014 release of an 82-page document detailing Iran's rampant unsanctioned sexual relationships, mutah marriage has been suggested by Iranian parliamentarians as a solution to the problem - where couples would be allowed to publicly register their union through the institution of mutah marriage.[38] The establishment of Chastity Houses, as a similar remedy, has been proposed in Iran in the past.

Misyar marriage

Even though nikah mutʿah is prohibited by Sunni schools of law, several types of non-permanent marriage exist, including misyar (ambulant) marriage and ʿurfi (customary) marriage.[39] Some regard misyar as being comparable to nikah mut'ah: for the sole purpose of "sexual gratification in a licit manner".[3][40][41]

Other views

The practice of temporary marriage has been called a euphemism for religiously sanctioned prostitution[42][43] and a workaround for modern Muslims desiring a western-style dating relationship while still following the dictates of their religion and/or the laws of their country.[43][9][44] The Christian missionary Thomas Patrick Hughes criticized Mut'ah as allowing the continuation of "one of the abominable practices of ancient Arabia."[45]

See also


  1. ^ a b Berg H. "Method and theory in the study of Islamic origins." Brill 2003 ISBN 9004126023, 9789004126022. Accessed at Google Books 15 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Hughes T. "A Dictionary of Islam." Asian Educational Services 1 December 1995. Accessed 15 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Pohl F. "Muslim world: modern muslim societies." Marshall Cavendish, 2010. ISBN 0761479279, 1780761479277 Accessed at Google Books 15 March 2014.
  4. ^ Sexual mores in Iran: Throwing off the covers,
  5. ^ "(پايگاه اطلاع رسانى حضرت آية الله العظمى جناتى (مد ظله العالى." Jannaati website. Accessed in Arabic 15 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b Esposito J. "The Oxford dictionary of Islam." Oxford University Press 2003 p221 Accessed 15 March 2014.
  7. ^ "The four pillars of Mut'a: the time period (mudda)." website. Accessed 15 March 2014.
  8. ^ "Marriage, question 24." Alulbayt Foundation, Rulings of Grand Ayatullah Sistani. Accessed 15 March 2014.
  9. ^ a b Labi, Nadya. "Married for a Minute". Mother Jones. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Motahhari M. "The rights of woman in Islam, fixed-term marriage and the problem of the harem." website. Accessed 15 March 2014.
  11. ^ "Hadith" Fath al-Bari Vol 9 p143 - 144. At website.
  12. ^ "Musannaf of Abd al-Razzaq, Kitab al Talaq, Bab al Mutah, Hadith 14020." website.
  13. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Number 527
  14. ^ Mujmoo Imam Ali Pp 498 V112. 2)Narrated Ali, Mujmoo Imam Ali, From Imam Ali to Imam Hasan & Imam Hussain then Narrated to Imam Zian Ul Abideen to Imam Zaid bin Zian Ul Abideen.Pp 503 V112. Classified all above Zaidites narration as Mutawathar [Highly Authentic] By Imam Ziad bin Zian Ul Abideen in his Majmoo tul Biyan Pp212 V18.
  15. ^ Kitab ul Mola.Pp414.V21
  16. ^ Irshad Ul Imam.Pp112,V11. Darajat Ul AL Imam Azam Imam Ismail bin Imam Jaffar ul Sadaq.Pp421.V23.
  17. ^ a b Müller F. "Introduction to the science of religion." Kessinger Publishing 1882 p? reprint 1 December 2004. ISBN 141797401X, 9781417974016
  18. ^ The Muwatta of Imam Malik, By Imam Malik B Anas 95-179 AH Publisher Darul Ishaat Karachi Pakistan page 546
  19. ^ Tafsir al-Kabir (al-Razi), volume 3 p95, Sura Nisa verse 24
  20. ^ Tafseer Gharab al Quran part 5 p4, Sura al Nisa
  21. ^ Tafsir Haqqani Volume 2 p?
  22. ^ Furu al-Kafi "Mutah" Tehran 1391 AH, printed edition, Volume 5 p452.
  23. ^ Tabataba'i M. "Shi'ite Islam." The Other Press 2010 p210 - 213 Accessed 4 April 2013.
  24. ^ Winter K. "The woman in the mountain: reconstructions of self and land by Adirondack women writers." SUNY Press 1989. Accessed 4 April 2013.
  25. ^ "Temporary marriage in Islam." Al (a Shi'ite encyclopaedia) website. Accessed 15 March 2014.
  26. ^ "Hadith Sunnah." Bukhari 062.052 at University of Southern California website.
  27. ^ Pipes D. "Arabian sex tourism." Daniel Pipes website article.
  28. ^ Fard C. "Unveiled threats." The Village Voice. March/April 2001. Accessed at D. Hughes webpage The University of Rhode Island 15 March 2014.
  29. ^ Harrison F. "Iran talks up temporary marriages." BBC News, Tehran. 2 June 2007.
  30. ^ Trejos N."Temporary 'enjoyment marriages' in vogue again with some Iraqis." The Washington Post, 20 January 2007.
  31. ^ Haeri S. "Law of desire: temporary marriage in Shi'i Iran." Syracuse University Press 1989 p6 ISBN 0815624832, 9780815624837.
  32. ^ Clark M. "Islam for dummies." John Wiley & Sons 2011 ISBN 1118053966, 9781118053966.
  33. ^ Ruthven M. "Islam: a very short introduction." Oxford University Press, 1997 ISBN 0191540110, 1780191540110.
  34. ^ Minhaj Saduq Pp304.V7. Sheikh Sadra Hassan[With Good Chain of Narration] in his Commentry on AL Kafi.Pp461.V4.
  35. ^ Bihaar Al-Anwar, Volume 100, page 318 By AL Majlisi. Classfied as Hasan[With Good Chain of Narration] by him and sheikh Safar AL Shafi Saheeh[Authentic] in his AL Shafi,Pp61.V8.
  36. ^ AL Kafi.AL Istabsar.Tahzeeb Ul Ahkam.Min La Yadrhu Fiqa. [Mutawathar] Pp198,V12/Pp501.v6/Pp 241.V18.Pp34.V1.
  37. ^ Kitab ul Mola.P412.V21
  38. ^ Sexual mores in Iran: Throwing off the covers,
  39. ^ Ruffle K. Mut'a "Mut'a." Oxford Bibliographies website document.
  40. ^ Lod M. "Islam and the West: the clash between Islamism and Secularism." Strategic Book Publishing, 2011 p58 - 59. ISBN 1612046231, 9781612046235.
  41. ^ Elhadj E. "The Islamic shield: Arab resistance to democratic and religious reforms." Universal Publishers 2006 p51. ISBN 1599424118, 9781599424118.
  42. ^ Kern, Soeren. "Britain: Islamic Temporary Marriages on the Rise". Gatestone Institute. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  43. ^ a b Mahmoud, Shabnam. "I do...for now". BBC News. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  44. ^ Sharma, Betwa. "Islam's Sex Licenses". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  45. ^ "In permitting these usufructuary marriages Muḥammad appears but to have given Divine (?) sanction to one of the abominable practices of ancient Arabia, for Burckhardt (vol. ii. p. 378) says, it was a custom of their forefathers to assign to a traveller who became their guest for the night, some female of the family, most commonly the host’s own wife!" Hughes, T. P. (1885). In A Dictionary of Islam: Being a Cyclopædia of the Doctrines, Rites, Ceremonies, and Customs, together with the Technical and Theological Terms, of the Muhammadan Religion. London: W. H. Allen & Co.

Further reading

  • Imam, A. "Naskh al hadith: a review of the traditions on nikah al-mut." University of Ilorin (Ilorin, Nigeria). No date given. Accessed 16 March 2014.
  • "Mutah" in Encyclopædia Britannica 2007 Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2006.

External Shia links

  • Grand Ayatollah's official website.
  • Temporary marriage in Islamic law A Shi'ite Encyclopaedia. website.
  • Mut'ah, a comprehensive guide website.
  • Mut'ah Online dating website.
  • "Saudi based Islamic marriage website gaining popularity." About
  • Khamenei Fatwas from leader's office in Qom.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.