Does Muta marriage amount to legalization of prostitution?

This research talks about various questions that arise under Muta marriage. And mainly it answers to the question “Is Muta marriage a legalized form of prostitution?”

Muta Marriage” is a short term contractual relationship, lasting hours or a few days, where the man gives something of value to a woman and they “marry” and engage in sex for an agreed length of time. Once the contractual time expires the marriage is over and they go their own ways. This is legalized Islamic prostitution. Men get satisfaction and women get something of value, be it money, or clothing, or even a Quranic recital.

1) What is Muta marriage?
2) Is it a legalized form of prostitution?

The Shia law recognizes Muta marriage or temporary marriage; a Shia of the male sex may contract a Muta marriage with a woman professing the Mohamedan, Christian or Jewish religion, or even with a woman who is fire-worshipper, but not with woman following any other religion. But a Shia woman may not contract a Muta marriage with a non-moslem. Refer – (Baillie, II , 29,40)

It is essential to the validity of a Muta marriage that the period of cohabitation should be fixed, and this may be a day, a month, a year or a term of years, and that some dower should be specified. When the term and the dower have been fixed, the contract is valid. If the term is fixed, but the dower is not specified, the contract is void. But if the dower is specified, and the term is not fixed, the contract is void. But if the dower is specified and the term is not fixed, the contract, though void as Muta marriage, may operate as “permanent marriage”.

The following are the incidents of Muta marriage:
a Muta marriage does not create mutual rights of inheritance between the man and woman , but children conceived while it exists are legitimate and capable of inhering from both parents. Refer Shoharat Singh Vs. Musammat Jafri Bibi . Where the cohabitation of a man and woman commences in a Muta marriage, but there is no evidence as to the term for which the marriage was contracted and the cohabitation continues, the proper inference would, in default of evidence to the contrary, be that the Muta continued during the whole period of cohabitation, and that children conceived during the period were legitimate and capable of inheriting from their father. Even if there is no evidence of the term for which the Muta marriage was fixed and cohabitation continues after the expiry of that term, the inference is that the term was extended for the whole period of the cohabitation and that the children conceived during the extended term are legitimate. Refer – Hasan Ali mirja v. nushrat Ali Mirja(1935) 62 Cal. L.J. 428

A Muta marriage is dissolved ipso facto by the expiry of the term. No right of divorce is recognized in the case of a Muta marriage, but the husband may at his will put an end to the contract of marriage by ‘making a gift of the term” (hiba-i-muddat) to the wife , even before the expiration of the fixed term. Refer – Mahomed Abid Ali Kumar Kadar Vs. Ludden Sahiba, Minor, through her Guardian Srimati Amir Bahu

If a Muta marriage is not consummated, the woman is entitled to half the dower. If the marriage is consummated, she is entitled to full dower, even though the husband may put an end to the contract by giving away the unexpired portion of the term. If the woman leaves her husband before the expiry of the term, the husband is entitled to deduct a proportionate part of the dower.
A woman married in the Muta form is not entitled to maintenance under the Shia law but it has been held that she is entitled to the maintenance as a wife under the provisions of sec. 488 of the criminal procedure code Refer – In Re; petition of Luddun Sahiba Vs. Mirza Kamar Kudar

Syed Amanullah Hussain (Died) And Vs Rajamma (Died) And Ors.
Mohammedan Law, particularly with regard to Muta Marriage, which is the form of marriage that was performed in the present case according to the respondents. In the case of a marriage under Mohammedan Law it is to be noticed that neither writing nor any religious ceremony is essential. All that is necessary is that there should be a proposal and an acceptance in the presence of witnesses. In this case we are concerned with the law applicable to Shias. Under the Shia law a marriage between a Muslim and a non-Muslim is unlawful and void, but a valid Muta Marriage can be contracted with a Kitabia, which includes a Christian or a Jew but not a Hindu. Muta Marriage is a temporary marriage as distinguished from the ordinary permanent marriage. Shia of the male sex may contract a Muta Marriage with a woman professing Mohammedan. Christian or Jewish religion or even with a woman who is a fire-worshipper but not with a woman following any other religion. It is essential to the validity of a Muta Marriage that the period of cohabitation should be fixed, though such period may even be as short as a day, and some Marriages may be established by direct proof or by indirect proof, i.e., by presumption drawn from certain factors. It may be presumed from prolonged cohabitation combined with other circumstances or from acknowledgment of legitimacy in favour of a child or the fact of the acknowledgment by the man of the woman as his wife. It is true that the presumption does not apply if the conduct of the parties is inconsistent with the relationship of husband and wife. But if there is no impediment for a lawful marriage, such presumption will be raised by the aforesaid circumstances. In Abdool Razak v. Aga Mohammed , the Privy Council observed that if the conduct of the parties were shown to be compatible with the relation of husband and wife, every presumption ought to be made in favour of the marriage when there is lengthened cohabitation. In that case, however Bearing these principles in mind, it has to be considered whether there is in this case sufficient evidence to establish lawful marriage of the first defendant with Habeebulla Hussaini and the legitimacy of the second defendant. There is no direct proof of the marriage which, according to the respondents’ witnesses, was in the form of a Muta Marriage. Both Habeebulla Hussaini the husband and the first defendant, the wife, are dead. The other persons who speak to it merely depose that they were informed that there was such a marriage by Habeebulla Hussaini and they are not direct witnesses to that marriage. Hence the learned advocate for the respondents had necessarily to rely upon circumstances giving rise to a presumption of marriage and legitimacy. production. He submitted that the marriage certificate of Habeebulla Hussaini would be conclusive evidence. The marriage certificate of the second defendant would contain some recital as to the name of the father of the second defendant. D. W. 7 admitted that there was such a certificate. As far as Habeebulla Hussain’s marriage certificate is concerned, the marriage must have taken place long before 1930 when the second defendant was born, there being some evidence that after him another girl was born and she died. Further the evidence is that the marriage was contracted in the form of Muta marriage. In those circumstances, it is probable that the marriage certificate, if any, might not have been preserved. In this view, it is unnecessary to consider the question, on which the advocates for both sides were not agreed, whether in the olden days there used to be a marriage certificate. It is true that the second defendant marriage certificate could have been produced. But having regard to the various circumstances which have been set out by me. I am not prepared to hold against the respondents on the ground that such marriage certificate was not produced.

Mohamed Abid Ali Kumar Kadar vs Ludden Sahiba
It becomes necessary, therefore, in dealing with this appeal, to determine the exact effect of a Muta marriage under the Shia law, and whether it can be dissolved in the manner stated by the plaintiff, and found by both the Courts. The word Muta signifies “enjoyment,” and as applied to a particular form of marriage indicates a marriage of a temporary character, “the extent of the period being left entirely to the parties who may prolong or shorten it to a year, a month, or a day; only some limit must be distinctly specified, so as to guard the period from any extension or diminution.” (Baillie’s Digest of Mohamedan Law, Part II, on the Imamia Code, page 42). In the Tagore Law Lectures, 1874, by Shama Charan Sircar, on the same subject, at page 373, Section 517, the law is expressed in the same terms, the Tahrir-ul-Ahkam being –Tahir-ul-Ahham–it is clear that the result of a Muta marriage is to place the person of the wife, without any restriction in any sense of the term, at the disposal of the husband for the term agreed upon, the sole consideration being the dower stipulated between the parties. Her children are entitled to inherit, but unless there is some special contract with this object, the husband and the wife [284] cannot inherit inter se. No doubt Rule 6 declares that, under this form of marriage, the ordinary divorce cannot be affected, inasmuch as the marriage is dissolved on the expiration of the period agreed upon under an obligation to be at his will and pleasure, and he is not in return bound to contribute to her maintenance or even to provide her with a place of habitation, and if a reference be made to the circumstances under which this form of marriage was created by Mahomet himself, it was intended to legalize sexual intercourse for any time agreed on by the parties concerned. It was probably for this reason thought unnecessary to extend to it even the easy form of divorce prescribed for dissolution of a permanent marriage. A dissolution of a Muta marriage by efflux of time is, however, subject to this limitation. It is stated on the authority of the Tahrir-ul-Ahkam that, although “there is no divorce in the muta or temporary marriage, still separation (Bain) would take place upon the term being given away to the wife, or upon the expiration thereof.” So also, the Sharaya-ul-Islam declares that, “if the husband were to make the woman a gift of the term before coition, he would be liable for half the dower, and if coition should have taken place, she is entitled Whole dower on condition of her keeping the term, and if she has prevented him, he is entitled to deduct a proportionate part of the dower.” Mr. Baillie’s translation of this passage, page 41, is not altogether accurate, and has been in some respects corrected ; I not her words, so far as we understand the authorities, the conditions of a Muta marriage are these: A dower and a period for cohabitation are mutually agreed upon; the dower being fixed, the woman is at her husband’s disposal for the term agreed on. If the marriage is not con-summated, the woman is nevertheless entitled to half the dower, as it were by way of damages; but if the marriage is consummated, she is entitled to the full dower, whether the parties continue to cohabit for the stipulated period or not, provided that, if cohabitation ceases through any fault on the part of the woman, the husband is entitled to make a proportionate deduction from the amount of the dower. But the husband, having paid or agreed to pay the dower, is not bound to cohabit with the wife.

Temporary “Muta” marriage is practiced today and often arranged by Imams and other Islamic leaders in Europe (the city centre’s where Shia Muslims cluster), America (Shia parts of Dearborn, Michigan), and of course in the Mideast. The most common victims of Muta marriage are destitute widows and orphaned girls who are sold to old men. These females are driven to extreme means to pay rent and feed themselves and their children. These females are abused by both the men who purchase them and the Islamic leaders. Muhammad’s system allows them to be abandoned and then exploited rather than responding with charity and compassion.
Sunni Muslims do not normally practice Muta marriage. But many Sunni Muslims today are ashamed of what Muhammad did because they know that Muhammad allowed prostitution to satisfy his men’s wants. And that’s the same story with Muhammad again and again. Like Felix and his bag of tricks, Muhammad always managed to pull a “revelation” out of thin air and change the rules of the game. If one reads the “Sirat Rasulallah”, (“The Life of Muhammad”, by A. Guillaume), one will find that Muhammad allowed, then disallowed, then allowed, then disallowed Muta marriage, etc. several times. Muhammad’s rules and religion depended on circumstances, not on God’s will.

Al-Ahzab (The Confederates) 33:36 reads:
Now whenever God and His Apostle have decided a matter, it is not for a believing man or a believing woman to claim freedom of choice insofar as they themselves are concerned: for he who [thus] rebels against God and His Apostle has already, most obviously, gone astray.
An-Nisa (The Women) 4:24, if this is not clear just open your Qur’an.
وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ النِّسَاء إِلاَّ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ كِتَابَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأُحِلَّ لَكُم مَّا وَرَاء ذَلِكُمْ أَن تَبْتَغُواْ بِأَمْوَالِكُم مُّحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ فَمَا اسْتَمْتَعْتُم بِهِ مِنْهُنَّ فَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً وَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا تَرَاضَيْتُم بِهِ مِن بَعْدِ الْفَرِيضَةِ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا (4:24)
An-Nisa (The Women) 4:24 reads:
And [forbidden to you are] all married women other than those whom you rightfully possess [through wedlock]: this is God’s ordinance, binding upon you. But lawful to you are all [women] beyond these, for you to seek out, offering them of your possessions, taking them in honest wedlock, and not in fornication. And unto those with whom you desire to enjoy marriage, you shall give the dowers due to them; but you will incur no sin if, after [having agreed upon] this lawful due, you freely agree with one another upon anything [else]: behold, God is indeed all-knowing, wise.

In the above translation, the word Istamtatum is the translation of “enjoy marriage” In Arabic you look up a word’s meaning by the root. I was at an Islamic institution for 4 years. But if you do not understand, ask anyone who can read the Arabic to read it to you and you will hear the word “Istamtatum”, the root is MTA(meem ta ein).

Without even looking anything up in the Arabic dictionary, this looks like MUTA without the u, do you believe your own eyes when you see something or are you among the deaf, dumb, and blind Allah speaks about in the Quran. When you look up MTA(meem ta ein)in the Arabic dictionary, the meaning is temporary marriage.

Without MUTA, societies are heavy fornicators and adulterers. For example A young man not ready for permanent marriage, for example, may not be financially stable until he is 25-30, can he abstain that long? Or saying fornication is better than a marriage of any sort.

Thus, we can see both the sides of argument for the research question. Some jurists say both man & woman entering the Muta marriage is fully aware of their purposes. Nobody exploits anybody & everyone is a matured adult in this relationship. In no way Muta marriage can be called prostitution or degraded. One should refrain unnecessary callings.
Whereas some jurists say that , A lot of hadith are not legitimate because they were recorded generations after the Prophet passed away, clearly there was room for people to change the hadiths for personal gains be it social,economic,etc.I’d suggest that people self-value hadith to determine their authenticity coz a lot of hadith seem very suspicious and are probably fabricated, a lot of us view the people of the past of having such great iman that they wouldn’t fabricate hadith, this is an immature perception, Muslims back in the days had their own issues just like we do now, no one can value someone’s iman, only Allah knows what is in our hearts, lest we 4get,they had a fair share of hypocrites among the Muslim ummah during those times.

Mulla, principles of mahomedan Law , lexis nexis , Butterworths Wadhwa , pg 231-232

1 thought on “Does Muta marriage amount to legalization of prostitution?

  1. I wanted to share this, how come the watermelon wendors are dumping there stuff on footpath and selling, this is happening in Whitefield opposite to munisigh hospital, main road footpath is blocked with there stock, do they have any approval from. BBMP. You have so nicely designed and layed the footpath for pedestrian to walk which is used by these people to sell there product, When I called to complaint the lady rep is saying Hw is it bothering you, we cannot take complaint and check these petty cases. She is not even ready to give her name.. Hw will people believe in body such as BBMP when we receive these kinds of response… Can some one please initiate and check are these from sellers have required approvals if not they hav no right to ruined footpath layed with taxpayers money…

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