Q1: Is it permissible to conduct a temporary marriage with a woman who does not believe in temporary marriage due to her creed, such as a Sunni or one of the People of the Book, but she pronounces the [temporary] marriage contract for the sake of obtaining the money or for sexual enjoyment?
A: Marrying her temporarily is permissible if she understands the meaning of the contract and intends it in its reality, as a temporary marriage that requires a dowry and allows sexual enjoyment, not as an enjoyment for which a wage is paid as is the case with adultery. If she does not intend it in its true sense, marrying her temporarily is not permissible.
Q2: The Muslims have differed in the legislation of temporary marriage and its revocation. So, could you please provide us with an overall picture about the reality of the matter?
A: Muslims have agreed that temporary marriage was legislated and sanctioned by the Sharia during the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny), and it is known that the view of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) is that it continued and was never revoked. The other sects have maintained that it is prohibited despite the existence of many narrations in their books and authenticated compilations [Saheeh Books] which indicate the continuation of this law until the time of Umar ibn al-Khattab who frankly banned it. It has been narrated that he delivered a sermon in which he said, "There used to be two types of Mut’a during the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) and I now ban both of them and punish anyone who undertakes them: Mut’a of women and the Mut’a of Hajj."[i] Many companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) and the subsequent generation of Tabi’een (followers of the companions) did not adhere to this prohibition, so much so that even Umar’s son, Abdullah, is reported as having regarded temporary marriage as permissible, saying, “By Allah, during the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny), we were not fornicators, nor were we adulterers [in practicing temporary marriage].”[ii]
Providing a detailed discussion on this matter is not possible here, but many authors have already done so. In fact, some authors have written complete books about it. Sheikh Al-Amini has provided some details about it in his book, Al-Ghadir.[iii]
Q3: There are some people who deny the temporary marriage having been legislated and say: if it was permissible, why did the noble people avoid it, and not undertake it?
A: Who said that noble men used to avoid it when it was newly legislated? In fact history affirms that some of them did undertake it. Maybe some may have refrained themselves from temporary marriage due to their lack of need for it, or due to the pressure of customs and traditions, or due to the ruler prohibiting it.
In any case, raising such objections against something that is proven to be sanctioned by the Sharia has no value, as the Sharia law is not taken from the nobles, nor anybody else, but it is taken from the valid sources, like the Holy Book and the traditions of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny), and the Ahl Al-Bayt (peace be upon them).
As for the nobles, it is difficult for them to allow a woman to marry a man who is lesser than them in social standing, and it is difficult for them to allow a widow or a divorcee to marry again, especially if she is older than the age of marriage, and it is difficult for them to allow the marriage of a woman whose father has died without the acceptance of her other elders – and other such social taboos that cannot be considered as prohibited because of disapproval by some people.
Q4: What is the difference; in as far as the Sharia is concerned, between temporary marriage and adultery?
A: Temporary marriage is a legitimate contract which results in a marital relationship between two parties. It is similar to the permanent marriage and without any difference from the latter except in the continuation of marriage in permanent marriage and determining the end of the marriage term in the case of temporary marriage, in addition to some other particularities as the books of Islamic jusprudence indicate.
There is the Iddah (waiting period), which is common between the permanent and the temporary marriage. A wife in both cases has to wait for four months and ten days when her husband passes away. If the woman is divorced, in the case of permanent marriage, or if her marriage term has ended, in the case of temporary marriage, she cannot marry another man during the Iddah, if the marriage was consummated, although the exact period of the Iddah differs between the two.
Similarly, the child is associated with both parents and inherits them both, and the child has to be looked after by both parents in permanent and temporary marriages. The rulings of in-laws apply to both permanent and temporary marriages.
All of this is not present in adultery. Thus, there is a big difference between both matters (adultery and temporary marriage).
Q5: If there is a woman who is over thirty years old, and she did not have the fortune of permanent marriage, and there is someone who is willing to marry her temporarily without informing her guardians, is her contract valid?
A: Temporary marriage is not valid without the permission of the guardian except if intercourse does not take place. It is necessary to obtain his permission in order for intercourse to be permissible in such a marriage.
[i]Al-Qurtubi, Tafsir, Vol. 2, p. 392; Ibn Abd al-Birr, Al-Tamhid, Vol. 8, p. 355; al-Mazzi, Tahdhib Al-Kamal, Vol. 31, p. 214; Dar Qutni, Ilal Al-Dar, Vol. 2, p. 155; Ibn Hazm al-Zahiri, Al-Muhalla, Vol. 7, p. 107; Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughni, Vol. 7, p. 136; Ibn Rushd, Bidayat Al-Mujtahid, Vol. 1, p. 244 and al-Tahawi, Ma'ani Al-Aathar, Vol. 2, p. 146.
[ii]Ahmed, Musnad, No. 2, p. 95; Ali ibn Abu Bakr al-Haithami, Mujma' Al-Zawaaid, Vol. 7, pp. 332-33; Sa'eed ibn Mansour, Sunan, Vol. 1, p. 252 and Abu Ya'li, Musnad, Vol. 10, p. 68.
[iii]Sheikh al-Amini, Al-Ghadir, Vol. 6, pp. 205-240.