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Nikah Mut'ah: Temporary marriage in Islam - Part I
Nikah Mut'ah or temporary marriage is part of Islamic marriage system that is what I had discussed in the article titled, "Nikah Mut'ah-Temporary marriage in Islam is not the prostitution instead freedom to men and women" on this news portal.

The subject needs further discussion due to prevailing misconceptions and misrepresentation of facts by pseudo-intellectuals. Reasoning and logic are very important facets of human life and if we don't use these God's gifts, we are no more different than animals. 

We humans have been blessed with intelligence to use it for proper understanding of all subject matters within the realms of human understanding rather than following anyone/anything blindly. Islam bashers have a habit of calling Muslims blind followers and Islam as a religion of the medieval era which needs to be modernised. The same modernists are adamant on their views that Nikah Mut'ah is a form of prostitution rather than discussing the subject with logical interpretations and understanding. Such duality of behaviour is completely against the just ways of discussion.

Due to immense importance of the topic in society and dispute among the intellectuals, it is not possible to cover all aspects of the subject in a single discussion, therefore, I am trying to discuss things in smaller chapters. Modernists need to understand the reasons due to which Mut'ah is not prostitution, adultery or fornication. We need to educate ourselves about Mut'ah, rules governing it, its historical background, original permissibility, its validity and its importance in society. I will deal with all that in different chapters, whereas in this section, I am going to discuss the origin of Mut'ah marriage and its validity at the time of Prophet (saww).

Quran is the primary source of all Islamic laws and jurisprudence and hence, we need to see this basic source first.  Whether it has any verse related to Mut'ah marriage or not, after checking the presence or absence of verse, our course of action would be to find out whether the verse if any, present in Quran, literally deals with Mut'ah marriage or not. And finally, we need to explore the collections of hadiths and historical accounts to find Mut'ah marriage during the lifetime of Prophet (saww).  

Following is the verse of Holy Quran which deals with Mut'ah or temporary marriage of Islamic marriage system:

Forbidden to you are married woman, except what your right hand possesses. This Allah has written for you, and all other women besides these are permitted to you, so that you may seek them out with your wealth, seeking chastity and not fornication. So when you have contracted temporary marriage [istimt'atum] with them, then give them their words. There is no sin on you for whatever you agree to after this. Indeed, Allah is Knowing, Wise.

Al-Qur'an, Chapter 4 Surah Nisa, verse 24

We don't need to accept it as Quran's verdict for Mut'ah when we are asking others to be rationale; we must follow the suite. First of all, we should check the verse itself on whether it is a verse of Quran or not? A rational mind used to observe everything before coming to the conclusion. I request all the readers to read Surah Nisa, chapter 4 of Holy Quran to find out the truth. So, first criterion of finding a verse in Quran is achieved and hence we should concentrate on other important things whether this verse of Quran deals with permissibility of Mut'ah or not and finally to check the sources regarding the presence or absence of the custom during the lifetime of the Prophet (saww).

Second important criterion is to find out whether this verse is in reality related to Mut'ah or not? We need to check the Quranic commentaries of learned scholars of Islamic world for this important point. Majority of commentators across the sections of Muslim community have accepted this verse as verse of temporary marriage means Mut'ah. Though, few scholars after the rise of Wahabi ideology tried to refute the claim that Mut'ah was ever permissible in Islamic world. Such scholars need to relook into commentaries of previous scholars and hadith collections. Most of the commentators of Quranic exegesis discussed Mut'ah while discussing this very verse of Quran. It proves that the verse in question is related to Mut'ah and therefore majority discussed the subject under this particular verse. The noted commentators who accepted that this verse is related to Mut'ah are mentioned below and any person can check the authenticity of these important citations:

1. Tafseer Ibn Katheer

2. Tafseer Fatah ul Qadeer

3. Tafseer Qurtubi

4. Tafseer Khazan

5. Tafseer Durr al-Manthur, Jalaluddin Suyuti

6. Tafseer Baydhawi

7. Tafseer Haqqani

8. Al-Ajaeb Fi Bayan al-Asbab by Ibn Hajar

9. Tafseer al-Thalabi

10. Al-Majmoo, by Nawawi

11. Tafseer Mazhari

It is not possible to quote all the learned scholars, but I will quote a few of them so that readers can understand what their stand was regarding this particular verse and Mut'ah while writing the commentaries of Quran. There may be some other commentators too, who had accepted this verse regarding the original permissibility of Mut'ah and I am unaware of them.

Ibn Katheer, recorded in his commentary, that Mujahid, a well known Tabayee (a person who had seen the companions of Prophet but not Prophet) stated that this verse was revealed for Mut'ah marriage.

Imam Jalaluddin Suyutiin, in his commentary, reported that Al Sedi (another tabayee) narrated about the verse, "this is the Mut'ah, and the man marries a woman on condition of a specified period."

Ibn Hajarreported, in the views of Maqatil ibn Sulayman as Maqatil informed that it was revealed regarding Mut'ah.

Deobandi Alim Abdul Haq Haqqani recorded in his commentary, "According to group of ulema this verse refers to Nikah Mut'ah which was permissible in the beginning of Islam then Shariat made it haram. Recitations of Abi ibn Ka'ab, Ibn Abbas confirmed this view due to addition words of specified period in the verse."

These should be taken as good enough proofs to believe that this particular verse was revealed in connection to Mut'ah or temporary marriage.

Now, we have to investigate hadith collections to find out whether this custom of marriage was permissible during the lifetime of the Prophet or not.

Sabra al Juhani, reported on the authority of his father, while he was with Allah's messenger, the Prophet said, "O people, I had permitted you to contract temporary marriage with women but Allah has forbidden it now till the day of resurrection."

Sahih Muslim book 8 No 3255

There are many more hadiths in Book 8 of Sahih Muslim regarding the permissibility of Mut'ah during the lifetime of Prophet (saww). There are several other hadith collections and historical accounts which conform to our views that it was originally permissible during the lifetime of Prophet (saww).

So, in reality, there is no doubt about its original permissibility though debate continues among the religious scholars of different sects and about its permissibility or impermissibility in later years of Islam as there are hadiths which say it was cancelled.

We will try to find out what is there about the debate of permissibility in the next article.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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