Nikah mut'ah

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In certain forms of Islam, Nikah mut'ah is a form of marriage. It is also called Sigheh. Unlike Nikāḥ, which is the other form of marriage in Islamic law, a marriage according to Nikah mut'ah only has a limited duration. Nikah mutah is focused on (sexual) pleasure. The Twelver Shia Muslims say that Nikah mut'ah is legal, most other Muslims disagree.

Conditions[change | change source]

There are conditions for the Nikah mut'ah

  • The bride must not be married
  • If she has never been married, her legal guardian must agree
  • She must be a Muslim, or among the People of the Book (a term used for Christians, Jews and Muslims, mostly)
  • After the contract ends, she must not have sex for some time. This is to know who the father of the child is, if she becomes pregnant. Very often, this time is fixed at three months.

Nikah mut'ah is different from the other form of marriage in other ways too:

  • The husband is not required to provide alimony, shelter, or a living quarter to his wife
  • There's no way to settle an inheritance in favor of the partner, if one of the two dies

Note that the Nikah mut'ah does not have to be publicly announced. While Muslims are limited to four wives at a time, this only applies to Nikah-marriages.

According to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the Nikah mut'ah is the only way a Muslim can marry a person of the people of the Book. In his view, Nikah is not possible with non-Muslims. Other Ayatollahs say that Muslims can marry people of the book.

Criticism[change | change source]

Nikah mut'ah has been used to cover child prostitution.[1][2] Some Western writers have argued that mut'ah is similar to prostitution.[3] [4] Julie Parshall writes that mut'ah is legalised prostitution which has been sanctioned by the Twelver Shia authorities. She quotes the Oxford encyclopedia of modern Islamic world to distinguish between marriage (nikah) and Mut'ah, and states that while nikah is for having children, mut'ah is just for sexual gratification.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. "BBC - Undercover With The Clerics - Iraq's Secret Sex Trade - Media Centre". Retrieved 2020-01-16.
  2. Al-Maghafi, Nawal (2019-10-06). "In Iraq, religious 'pleasure marriages' are a front for child prostitution". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2020-01-16.
  3. Meri, Josef W.; Bacharach, Jere L. (1 January 2006). Medieval Islamic Civilization: L-Z, index. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780415966924.
  4. In Iraq, religious ‘pleasure marriages’ are a front for child prostitution The Guardian, 2019
  5. Parshall, Philip L.; Parshall, Julie (1 April 2003). Lifting the Veil: The World of Muslim Women. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 9780830856961. Archived from the original on 3 May 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2015.