Book: To Be With The Truthful, Author: Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi, Translator: Hasan M. Najafi, Original Publisher: Ansarian Publications, Proofreader For This Selection: Shah Murtaza,

From pp. 258-269




(Or Temporary Marriage) 


It means the Mutah marriage, or impermanent marriage, or temporary marriage to a determined term. It is like the perpetual marriage, in the sense that it can never be valid but only through a marriage contract including a consent and corresponding acceptance, when recited by the bride employing the words: I have married myself to you (Zawwaj tuka nafsi), with so and so dower, and for so and so period. Thereat the man says: I have accepted (Qabiltu).  

For this kind of marriage certain conditions are stated in the Fiqhi books of the Imamiyyah, such as determining the dower (mahr) and period. It will be valid with any condition agreed by both parties. The prohibition of concluding a marriage contract (temporarily) with female relations (al-muharramaat), due to consanguinity, stands true as in the case of the permanent marriage.  

The temporarily married woman should, after expiry of the term (ajal), undergo waiting without concluding another marriage contract (iddah) for two menstrual courses, and in case of the death of her husband for four mouths and ten days.  

There is neither inheritance nor maintenance (nafaqah) between the couple married temporarily, which neither of them can inherit the other side after death. But the child born due to temporary marriage has the same rights granted to the child born due to permanent marriage, in regards to inheritance and maintenance (nafaqah), beside all other breeding and material rights, and should be acknowledged as the legal child of his father.  

This is Mutah with all its conditions and limits, which can certainly never be like fornication, as claimed by some people.  

The Sunnis, like their brethren the Shi`ah, unanimously concur on the legitimacy of such a marriage being prescribed by Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted, in the verse 24 of Surat al-Nisa’:  

 "... And as such of them ye had Mutah with them, give them their dowries as a fixed re­ward; and it shall not be a sin on you, in whatever ye mu­tually agree (to vary) after the fixed reward; Verily God is All-Knowing, All-Wise."  

They also concur that the Messenger of Allah (S) has permitted this kind of marriage, and the Sahabah exercised it during his lifetime.  

But they (the Shi`ah and Sunni) differ regarding its being abrogated or not. Ahl al-Sunnah believe in its being abrogated and forbidden after it was lawful (halal), and that the abrogation was made by the Prophetic Sunnah and not by the Qur'an. Whereas the Shi`ah believe in its being not abrogated, and its being lawful till the Day of Resurrection.  

Hence, the dispute concerns only whether it was abrogated or not, and to review the beliefs of the two sects so as to elucidate to the dear reader where the truth lies, for being followed without any fanaticism and prejudice.  

Regarding the Shi`ah believing in its not being abrogated, and its being halal till the Day of Resurrection, their proof being: It is never confirmed for us that the Messenger of Allah (S) has ever forbidden it (Mutah), and our Imams from the Pure Kindred (itrah) believe in its being lawful (halal). Had there been any abrogation issued from the Messenger of Allah (S), the first to know it would have been the Ahl al-Bait Imams headed by al-Imam 'Ali (A), as the Ahl al-Bait (the household) are better aware of what is there inside it (the house). But it is established for us being that it is the 2nd Caliph 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, who has forbidden it and considered it unlawful (haram), through exerting his own opinion as testified by the Sunni 'Ulama themselves. But we can never leave the rules (ahkam) of Allah and His Messenger to be ordained by the opinion and ijtihad of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab! This was altogether the belief held by the Shi`ah regarding the lawfulness of Mutah, which is verily an apposite belief and a sober opinion, since all Muslims are required to follow and adhere to the precepts of Allah and His Messenger, refusing everyone other than them whatever high his position be, when his ijtihad being contradictory to the Qur’anic and Prophetic texts.  

Whereas Ahl al-Sunnah believe that the Mutah was lawful, a verse was revealed in its regard, and the Messenger of Allah (S) permitted people to practice it, and it was exercised by the Companions, but it was abrogated afterwards. But they differ concerning who has abrogated it, some saying that the Messenger of Allah (S) has forbidden it before his death. And some other hold that it was 'Umar ibn al-Khattab who forbade it, claiming that his words being authority (hujjah) in their view, due to the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (S):  

"Adhere to my practice (Sunnah) and the Sunnah of the rightly­guided successors after me. Hold on to it and cling on it stubbornly."  

Concerning those believing in its being unlawful due to its being prohibited by 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, and that his act being a binding Sunnah, we have nothing to do with them, nor any debate, since their belief is a mere bigotry and affectation. Otherwise, how is it feasible for any Muslim to abandon and contradict the precepts and sayings of Allah and His Messenger, and adhere to the words of a human being exerting his opinion, liable to err and be correct, in case his ijtihad being about a matter regarding which no text in the Book (Qur'an) and Sunnah is found. But how would be the case when a text (nass) is revealed in the Qur'an:  

"And it is not for a believer man or woman to have any choice in their affair when God and His Apostle have decided a matter, and whoever disobeyed God and His Apostle, indeed he hath strayed off a manifest straying." (33:36)  

Whoever disagrees with me regarding this rule (or principle), is asked to reconsider his information in respect of the concepts of the Islamic Law, and study the holy Qur'an and the Prophetic Sunnah. Because the Qur'an itself indicated in the above-mentioned verse, beside many other similar Qur'anic verses, that whoever does not adhere to the Qur'an and Prophetic Sunnah is verily but a disbeliever and strayed (misled).  

Further, many proofs are found in the noble Prophetic Sunnah, of which we suffice with this hadith uttered by the Messenger of Allah (S):  

"Whatever is deemed halal (lawful) by Muhammad is halal (for you) till the Day of Resurrection and his haram is haram (unlawful) till the Day of Resurrection".  

So no one is entitled to deem lawful or unlawful regarding any matter on which a text (nass) and rule is revealed and established by Allah or his Messenger (S).  

Due to all that is mentioned, we tell those trying to convince us that the acts and exertions (ijtihadat) of the Rightly-guided Caliphs are binding, i.e. we should follow them, we tell them this verse:  

"Say thou (unto the people of the Book), Dispute ye with us about God; whereas He is our Lord, and your Lord, and for us are our deeds and for you are your deeds; to Him (alone) we are (exclusively) loyal?" (2:139)  

But those believing in this proof agree with the Shi`ah in their claim, and will be verily a hujjah against their brethren from among Ahl al-Sunnah.  

Our debate is limited only with those claiming that it is the Messenger of Allah (God's peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny) who has prohibited it (Mutah), abrogating the Qur'an by the hadith.  

Such people are confused and non-established in their sayings, with their proof being unsubstantial and never established on a firm basis, even though the forbiddance (nahy) from it was reported by Muslim in his Sahih. Because had there been any nahy issued by the Messenger of Allah, it would have never been neglected by the Sahabah who practiced Mutah (temporary marriage) during the era of Abu Bakr and a part of the era of 'Umar himself, as reported by Muslim in his Sahih.(247)  

'Ata' said: “Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah came back from 'Umrah (short pilgrimage), when we visited him in his house. Then some of us questioned him about several matters, till referring to the Mutah, where he said: ‘Yes, we practiced it during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S) and that of Abu Bakr and 'Umar.’”  

Had the Messenger of Allah (S) forbidden the Mutah, it would have never been permissible for the Companions to practice it during the reign of Abu Bakr and 'Umar, as mentioned before. The fact is that it was not the Messenger of Allah (S) who forbade or deemed it haram, but the forbiddance was issued by 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, as reported in Sahih al-Bukhari.  

Musaddad said: “It is reported by Yahya, from 'Imran Abu Bakr, from Abu Raja', from 'Imran ibn Husayn, that he said: ‘The verse of Mutah is revealed in the Book of Allah, and we exercised it during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S) with no verse being revealed deeming it unlawful or its being forbidden (by anyone) till he (S) died. Then a man exerted his opinion, ascribing it to Muhammad, who is said to be 'Umar.’” (248)  

It is made quite clear that the Messenger of Allah (S) has never forbidden it till the end of his life, as expressed by this Companion who ascribed forbiddance to 'Umar so expressly and without any obscurity, adding that he exerted his opinion in everything, as he desired.  

Also Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah al-‘Ansari so explicitly says: ‘We used to consummate temporary marriage (Mutah) with (only) a handful of dates and flour during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S), and the era of Abu Bakr, until it was forbidden by 'Umar in the case of 'Amr ibn Hurayth.(249)  

It is no wonder to see some of the Sahabah were of the opinion of 'Umar, as previously mentioned during our discussion about the Thursday Misfortune, when they agreed with him in his saying: “The Messenger of Allah (S) utters obscene language and we suffice with the Book of Allah!” So when they supported him in that critical situation, implying that much defamation against the Messenger, how wouldn't they agree with him in respect of some of his ijtihadat? The evidence can be seen in this utterance of one of them: “I was with Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah, when someone entered upon him saying: Ibn 'Abbas and Ibn al-Zubayr disagreed about the two enjoyments (of hajj and marriage). Thereat Jabir said: ‘We did both of them during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S), till the time of 'Umar who forbade us, when we stopped practicing them both.’” (250)  

Therefore I personally believe that some Companions ascribed prohibition of Mutah to the Messenger of Allah (S), for the sake of justifying the position of 'Umar ibn al-­Khattab, and approving of his opinion.  

Otherwise, how would the Messenger of Allah (S) forbid what is deemed lawful (halal) in the Qur'an, as it is infeasible for us to find any of the Islamic rules being deemed lawful (halal) by Allah, the Glorified, while being forbidden by His Messenger. Such a claim can never be expressed but only by that who being obstinate and fanatic. Even when presuming so for argument's sake that the Messenger (S) has forbidden it, it was not for Al-Imam 'Ali (A), the nearest in kinship to the Prophet (S) and the most knowledgeable in the (Islamic) rules, to say:  

“Mutah is verily a blessing showered from Allah upon His bondmen, and had not been for 'Umar's forbiddance no one would have committed fornication but the wretched.” (251)  

It is to be known that 'Umar ibn al-Khattab himself has never ascribed the prohibition to the Prophet (S), but rather he uttered his widely known proclamation, so out­spokenly:  

“Two enjoyments were commonly practiced during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S), from which both I forbid and on which I punish: Tamattu’ al-Hajj (Mutah of Pilgrimage) and Tamattu’ al-Nisa (Mutah with women).” (252)  

The Musnad of al-'Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal is the best evidence proving the presence of great differences among the Sunnis concerning this issue, as some of them deem it lawful, heeding in this regard to the Messenger's precepts, while some others deeming it Haram (unlawful) following the opinion of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab. Al-‘Imam Ahmad is reported to have said: 

Ibn 'Abbas said: The Prophet (S) practiced the Mutah (temporary marriage) once, when 'Urwah ibn al-­Zubayr said: Mutah is forbidden by Abu Bakr and 'Umar! Thereat Ibn 'Abbas said: What is that uttered by 'Uryah? (belittlement for 'Urwah)? He said: He says that Mutah was forbidden by Abu Bakr and 'Umar. Then Ibn 'Abbas said: I am sure that they shall verily perish, and I say: “The Prophet said”, while they say: “Abu Bakr and 'Umar forbade!?”" (253)  

Also in Sahih al-Tirmidhi, it is reported that 'Abd Allah ibn 'Umar was questioned about the hajj enjoyment (Tamattu’ al-Hajj). In reply he said: It is halal. Then the questioner said to him: But your father has forbidden it? He replied: When my father forbids something practiced by the Messenger of Allah (S), what do you think me to do better: to follow the order of my father or that of the Messenger of Allah (S)? The man said: Certainly you have to obey the commandment of the Messenger of Allah (S).” (254)  

It is known that Ahl al-Sunnah obeyed 'Umar regarding the Mutah with women, and disobeyed him regarding Mutah of pilgrimage, though forbidding from them both was issued by him, altogether in one position, as previously referred to.  

The most important point in all this discussion and debate, being that the Ahl al-Bait Imams and their followers (the Shi`ah) contradicted and negated 'Umar's claim, considering it (Mutah) as halal (lawful) till the Day of Resurrection. This belief held by the Shi`ah was pursued also by some Sunni 'Ulama of whom I refer to the eminent Tunisian scholar, the leader of the Zaytunah Mosque al-Shaykh al-Tahir ibn Ashur (may God's mercy be upon him). In his famous Tafsir (exegesis) he cited for its (Mutah) lawfulness the verse: "... and as such of them ye had Mutah with them (marrying them), give them their dowries as a fixed reward...” (255)  

True, such should be the 'Ulama free in their creed, never being influenced by any prejudice or bigotry, and never fearing on the way of Allah the blame of any blamer.  

After this brief discussion, no justification or plea is left for Ahl al-Sunnah's vilification and defamation against the Shi`ah due to their permitting the marriage of Mutah, beside the fact that the decisive proof and evident argument being on the side of the Shi ah.  

Every Muslim is asked to portray in the mind the words of al-'Imam 'Ali (A) that:  

 "Mutah is verily a blessing showered from Allah upon His bondmen.”  

Actually, is there any blessing greater than such one which quenches a refractory desire that might overwhelm man, male or female, rendering, him/her like a beast of prey? 

All Muslims in general, and the youth in particular, have to know that Allah, the Glorified, has imposed upon the adulterer the punishment of death through pelting stones (rajm), when perpetrated against the married, males and females. It is not for Allah to forsake His servants with no mercy, while He being the Creator of them and their instincts, having full knowledge of what can ameliorate them. And when Allah, the Beneficent and the Merciful, has showered His mercy upon His bondmen through permitting them to practise Mutah, so no one would commit adultery thereafter, but only the mischievous, exactly like passing the sentence of amputating the thief’s hand. And in the same way, as long as there being a treasury dedicated exclusively for the destitute and needy people, no one will steal but only the mischievous.  



(247) Sahih Muslim, Vol. IV, p.158

(248) Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. V, p.158

(249) Sahih al-Muslim, Vol. IV, p.131

(250) Sahih al-Muslim, Vol. IV, p.131

(251) Al-Tha’labi in Tafsir al-Kabir, and al-Tabari in his al-Tafsir al-kabir too, in his interpretation of the verse on Mutah

(252) Al-Fakhr al-Razi, in al-Tafsir al-Kabir, in his interpretation of the verse: “And those of whom ye seek content (by marrying them). . .” (4:24)

(253) Al-Imam Ahmad in his Musnad, Vol. I, p.337

(254) Sahih al-Tirmidhi, Vol. I, p.157

(255) Al-Tahir ibn Ashur, al-Tahrir wa al-Tanwir, Vol. III, p.5