Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
What is our response to the person who argues for the permissibility of temporary marriage on the basis that some eminent Companions allowed it?
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
The foremost Companion who was alleged to have permitted temporary marriage was Sayyiduna Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him. And the answer to this is:
Temporary marriage was permitted and outlawed several times as you will find recorded in Fath al-Bari and other [works] from the words of the Imams of Hadith. And the end of the matter was the outlawing [of temporary marriage] as was established in the Sahihain and other [books].
Based on this, the issue is not without some possibility that Ibn Abbas was aware of the unlawfulness [of temporary marriage] or was unaware. Even with the two possibilities, there is no proof that he spoke of its permissibility. If he was unaware [of its unlawfulness] then the matter is clear and that is: he came to a verdict of permissibility based on what [was the case] initially, where it was allowed. Then its permissibility was abrogated by its unlawfulness and he was unaware of this, so he is excused. But it is not permissible for anyone to follow him in this [matter], because whoever knows a proof is [held up] over the one who doesn’t know. And the benefit of the doubt should be given to Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, as with the rest of the Companions, that they hastened to fulfill the commands [of the religion]. Thus, if Ibn Abbas had been aware of this, he would not have allowed himself to go against it.
But, supposing that he knew that the last of the matter was its unlawfulness and this has been established from him in Bukhari and others that Sayyiduna Ali and others informed him of it, then the response is:
That it was narrated from him that he went back on what he had said when he realized that the final matter was its unlawfulness. If this is established, then this is a non-issue and there is no debate.
If it can’t established that he went back [from allowing temporary marriage] then this is only what a Companion has said, and he and others [in this matter] cannot be proof in the face of clear, rigorously authenticated texts. The proof is in the Book of Allah and the tradition of His Messenger, peace be upon him. So what has been established from them textually takes precedence over anything else.
There is general conviction among the Imams after Ibn Abbas that temporary marriage is unlawful, with no difference among any of the Imams of Ahl al-Sunnah. The only ones who differed were the Shiites, and their differing is not considered. So the consensus of the Imams after Ibn Abbas is proof over everyone else.
But what of the question of how Ibn Abbas could have kept on saying that [temporary marriage] was permissible in spite of what was established in Bukhari and other [books] that he knew of its abrogation?
The answer: His persistence in saying that [temporary marriage] was permissible should be interpreted as his not having received evidence of its abrogation. For this reason, he kept saying that it was permissible. But if he had received evidence of its abrogation and conceded this, then far be it from him and other Companions that they would insist on going against a text of the Messenger, peace be upon him. So his excuse is that he was not certain of its abrogation until he was told of it by some of them [Companions].
Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Bari: “And the righteous predecessors differed about temporary marriage. Ibn Mundhir said: The earliest Companions allowed it, and I don’t know of anyone today that permits it, except some of the Rafidites [a Shiite sect]. And there is no significance for any saying which goes against the Book of Allah and the tradition of His Messenger.’ And Iyad said: Then occurred the consensus of all the scholars that it was unlawful, except for the Rafidites. As for Ibn Abbas, it has been narrated from him that he allowed it. And it has also been narrated that he went back on this [position].’ And Qurtubi said: The narrations all agree that temporary marriage was not allowed for very long and that it was outlawed. Then the predecessors and the successors come to a consensus that it was unlawful, except for those of the Rafidites, who are not paid heed to. And a number of the Imams have determined that Ibn Abbas was alone in permitting it. This is a famous question that is a rare example of a difference of opinion. But Ibn Abd al-Barr said: Ibn Abbas’s associates from Mecca and Yemen allowed it. Then the jurisprudents of the various Muslim lands agreed on its unlawfulness.”
As to narrations of its permissibility from other than Ibn Abbas from the Companions and the next generation, these have been explained by Ibn Hajar in al-Fath that some of [these narrations] have not been established, and who was established [to have permitted it] went back on [his position], so what he had said [previously] should be reviewed.
The upshot is that the consensus of the recognized Imams that temporary marriage is unlawful nullifies all controversy about this issue.
And Allah alone gives success.
[Translated by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari]