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Islamic Ruling on Temporary Marriage (Mut`a)

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
What is the ruling of Sharia on temporary marriage (Mut`a)? What are the Islamic texts supporting this ruling? Why had the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) permitted it at first then forbade it later?

Answer:

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May Allah`s peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

In principle, marriage is based on continuity so long as the two spouses are alive except in rare circumstances where separation is resorted to as the lesser of two evils since it leads to destroying the family, aggravating the misery of the children and disrupting social ties, which Islam is keen on preserving. Thus, Islam has forbidden temporary marriage and considered it void as it leads to lots of evils. Even scholars who say that this marriage is permissible are ashamed of stating that openly although it is written in their books; however, it is (This marriage) rarely found in society. In addition, the enlightened group from amongst these scholars blame whoever states that this type of marriage is permissible. 

The evidence that this marriage is forbidden is that Sabra al-Juhani reported on the authority of his father that while he was with Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) he said: "O people, I had permitted you to contract temporary marriage with women, but Allah has forbidden it (now) until the Day of Resurrection. So he who has any (woman with this type of marriage contract) he should let her off, and do not take back anything you have given to them (as dower)." {Related by Muslim}. Moreover, ‘Ali said that at the battle for Khaibar God’s Messenger forbade the temporary marriage (mut’a) of women, and eating the flesh of domestic asses. (Bukhari and Muslim.) What is ironic, here, is that those who say that this marriage is forbidden claim that they are the followers of Imam Ali Bin Abi Talib (May Allah honor his face) although they don`t apply what has been narrated by Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) kept silent about temporary marriage at first because it was amongst the common types of marriage during Jahilyah (Pre-Islamic times), however, it remained as such until it was forbidden by divine order as reflected in the previous hadith (but Allah has forbidden it). In addition, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) doesn`t deliver rulings out of his own desire. Allah the Almighty says, "nor does he speak out of [his own] desire. It is but a revelation that is revealed," {An-Najm, 3-4}. Ali Bin Abi Talib threatened the companion, who ruled that temporary marriage is permissible-because he didn`t receive the news that Allah has forbidden it-to be stoned to death if he issued that ruling again.

Dwelling on this type of marriage for some minutes leads to the realisation that it is tantamount to buying a prostitute for it isn`t meant to create a family or settle two spouses. Therefore, some states who follow the Shia Madahab combat this type of marriage and encourage women, who offer themselves for such purpose, by supporting them financially. This is in addition to offering vocational training to those, who weren`t lucky enough to get a husband, to enable them to make a living on their own. Finally, it is more appropriate to keep a lid on this topic. And Allah the Almighty knows best.

   

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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