One of the glorious laws of Islam, from the point of view of the Ja’fari (Shi’ite) law, is that there are two kinds of marriage, a permanent and a fixed-time marriage. Some of the effects, which flow from these two kinds of marriage, are the same and some others are different. There are two distinctive features between them. One is that in a fixed -time marriage, a man and a woman enter into a contract to marry each other for a fixed period, on the expiry of which, if they wish, they can extend it, otherwise they separate.
The other distinguishing feature is that there is a greater freedom of choice in fixed-time marriage. The contracting parties may stipulate any conditions they like. For example, in a permanent marriage the husband is bound to maintain his wife and meet her daily expenses. Besides, he has to provide for her clothing, housing and other necessities of life like medicines and medical treatment etc. But in a fixed-time marriage everything depends on the terms of the contract. It is possible that the husband may not be able or may not be willing to bear the expenses of his wife, or the wife may not like to utilise her husband’s money.
In the permanent marriage the wife has to accept her husband as the head of the family and obey him within the limits of family interest, but in a fixed-time marriage this also depends on the terms of the contract. In the case of a permanent marriage wife and husband inherit from each other, but this is not so in a fixed-time marriage.
However, in the fixed-time marriage after the formula has been pronounced the couple is recognised as lawful wife and husband and they can then have intimacy but before that they are strangers and it is prohibited for them to have any kind of sexual relation.
Do Your Research
Firstly we would advise you to get acquainted with the background of Mutah and its Islamic legitimacy. There’s no substitute for getting your head down and reading about it! So if you haven’t yet read up on Mutah please visit mutah.com! Once you are convinced in your heart that Mutah is indeed a legitimate option in Islam and acceptable before the eyes of God, then move to the next level. . .
Know The Law
It is extremely important for you to now know the laws concerning Mutah. E.g. Are you and your potential spouse eligible to enter into a Mutah marriage contract? Are you aware of your mutual rights and responsibilities? Are you aware of your responsibilities in the event of pregnancy? Have you acquainted yourself with the possibilities of contraception? etc… To look into these matters further please go to the sections on Introduction To Mutah Marriage In Islam, and Mutah & Nikah Law.
Discuss Details With Your Partner
Now that you are well aware of what Mutah entails, it is time to discuss this matter with whom you intend to enter the Mutah contract with. They too need to be comfortable with entering into the Mutah marriage with you. It might help you if you refer them to this site (www.mutah.com) so like you they can also explore the topic.
Once you have mutually agreed that entering a Mutah contract is what you both want you need to discuss
- The time period for which your Mutah marriage will last,
- The Mahr (dowry)
- Any other conditions you may want to add.
- You need to mutually agree in clear terms how long the initial Mutah contract will last. This needs to be clear and should not be obscure – because as soon as the time runs out you are no longer halal for each other unless you renew the Mutah and repeat this procedure again.
- You need to mutually agree on a Mahr. Mahr is the gift that the man gives to his wife as part of the contract. It can be anything, and it is better if it is not extravagant in its value. Some hadith report that some of the Companions of the Prophet would enter into Mutah with a handful of dates or wheat as the Mahr.
- You can agree to other conditions if you two so wish. It is not obligatory to do this, however, once you do agree to any conditions at this point it becomes obligatory for you to abide by them once you are in the Mutah marriage.
Recite The Seegha (Arabic Formula of Words) To Commence The Mutah
You are now ready to recite the Arabic formula of words, which, once completed, means that you two are now halal for each other in the eyes of God and the Law of Islam. Please note that this procedure can be done by the two persons wanting to enter the Mutah marriage themselves. There is no need for a Wakeel (someone who recites the seegha on your behalf) nor the need for witnesses. However you can opt for a Wakeel and you can also opt for witnesses if you so wish. If you like, you could even put this procedure into writing with both your signatures. These are options if you feel you would prefer it that way – however not necessary for your Mutah to be valid.
The seegha is quite short but must be recited in Arabic. Below you will find the Arabic formula written in English transliteration, along with its meaning. There is also a link to an audio file with the vows for the Mutah marriage recited in Arabic. It has been recited slowly with gaps, so you can repeat after it (if you want to). Otherwise you can just use the text below.
First the lady says:
- Zawajtuka nafsi fil muddatil ma’loomati ‘alal mahril ma’loom.
Translation: “I married myself to you for the known period and the agreed upon dowry.”
Then man replies:
Translation: “I accepted.”*
Congratulations! That’s it! You are now halal for each other for the time period that you agreed!
Among the Muslims are some who believe that the temporary marriage is unlawful and others who believe that it is lawful and even very important. Those who believe it is unlawful believe that the Prophet of Islam (saw), through God’s command, allowed it for a very short period and then disallowed it. Those who believe it is lawful believe that the Prophet of Islam (saw) never disallowed it but rather it was a Caliph, after the death of the Prophet (saw) at which time Islam can not be changed, who made it illegal.
Further, those who find it lawful turn to a verse in the Qur’an in which they believe it (temporary marriage) is mentioned. They say that something which is lawful in Qur’an and not made unlawful somewhere else in the Qur’an must be permissible. The matter of dispute is in 4:24, here presented as in the Puya/Ali translation and tafsir of the Holy Qur’an
“As to those whom you married for a fixed time (Mutah), give them their agreed dowries; and there is no sin for you in what you mutually agree together after what has been settled.”
The corresponding tafsir follows:
“Famastamta-tum bihi [the Arabic in the text which refers to the marriage] provides for a temporary marriage, knows as Mutah. It has been specifically made lawful by the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet, therefore this provision subsists as unrescinded.
One day, for no reason at all, and having no authority to amend a law given and practiced by the Holy Prophet, the second caliph declared from the pulpit:
‘Two Mutahs (temporary marriage and combining hajj with umra) were in force during the time of the Holy Prophet, but now I decree both of them as unlawful; and I will punish those who practice them.’ (Tafsir Kabir, Durr al Manthur, Kashshaf, Mustadrak and others).
According to Tirmidhi even his [the second caliph’s] son, Ibna Umar, refused to agree with his father’s action because it was made lawful by Allah and His Prophet, whose pronouncements could never be revoked by any one after him.
Therefore the Shia school of thought holds both Mutahs lawful. Ali ibn abi Talib reversed the uncalled-for innovation of the second caliph, and thereafter it was never again prohibited.”