The Permissibility of Mut'ah Marriage

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

‎اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ


Nikah mut'ah (literally "pleasure marriage") refers to a temporary marriage contracted in Islam. Muslims universally believe that mut'ah was allowed during the lifetime of the Prophet (ﷺ) and was practiced by his companions both before and after his death (authentic sources will be provided later in the article). However, its lasting permissibility to today is a contested topic, with most Sunni scholars holding it to have been forbidden and Shi'a holding it to be permissible. This article will discuss this matter in detail and provide proof from Quran and authentic hadith to support its position. We will begin by first mentioning the famous verse of mut'ah in the Qur'an:

فَمَا استَمتَعتُم بِهِ مِنهُنَّ فَآتوهُنَّ أُجورَهُنَّ فَريضَةً ۚ وَلا جُناحَ عَلَيكُم فيما تَراضَيتُم بِهِ مِن بَعدِ الفَريضَةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كانَ عَليمًا حَكيمًا

So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. (4:24)


One may wonder, what does this verse have to do with mut'ah? Ibn Kathir elaborates in his tafsir:

Tafsir Ibn Kathir 4:24

"Mujahid stated that,

﴿ فَمَا ٱسۡتَمۡتَعۡتُم بِهِۦ مِنۡہُنَّ فَـَٔاتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً۬‌ۚ ﴾

(So with those among them whom you have enjoyed, give them their required due,) was revealed about the Mut'ah marriage. A Mut'ah marriage is a marriage that ends upon a predetermined date."



Mut
'ah (متعة) comes from the same root as the word ٱسۡتَمۡتَعۡتُم, both relating to enjoyment or pleasure. However, this is not the only explicit tie the verse has to mut'ah marriage:


IslamQA quotes from at-Tabari, al-Hakim, Ibn Abi Dawud, and Ibn Kathir, with an authentic hadith attributed to Ibn Abbas:

روى الطبري في "تفسيره" (8/ 177) والحاكم في "مستدركه" (3192) وابن أبي داود في "المصاحف" (ص204) عن أبي نضْرَةَ، قال: قَرَأْتُ عَلَى ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا، (فَمَا اسْتَمْتَعْتُمْ بِهِ مِنْهُنَّ فَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً) قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ: ( فَمَا اسْتَمْتَعْتُمْ بِهِ مِنْهُنَّ إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى ) .

قَالَ أَبُو نَضْرَةَ: فَقُلْتُ: مَا نَقْرَؤُهَا كَذَلِكَ.

فَقَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ: " وَاللَّهِ لَأَنْزَلَهَا اللَّهُ كَذَلِكَ ".

وصححه الحاكم على شرط مسلم .

at-Tabari narrated in his "Tafsir," and al-Hakim in his "Mustadrak," and Ibn Abi Dawud in his "al-Masahif," from Abi Nadrah, who said: I recited to Ibn Abbas (RA), 'So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation.' Ibn Abbas said, 'So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them for a specified term.'

Abu Nadrah said: So I said, 'We do not recite it like that.' So Ibn Abbas said, 'By Allah, Allah revealed it like this.'

And al-Hakim authenticated this by the standards of Muslim.


قال ابن كثير رحمه الله :" كَانَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ وَأُبَيّ بن كعب وسعيد بن جبير والسدي يقرءون : ( فما استمتعتم به منهن إلى أجل مسمى فآتوهن أجورهن فريضة) ، وقال مجاهد: نزلت في نكاح المتعة، ولكن الجمهور على خلاف ذلك " .

انتهى من "تفسير ابن كثير" (2/ 226) .

Ibn Kathir (RH) said: Ibn Abbas, Ubayy ibn Ka'b, Sa'id ibn Jubayr, and as-Suddi used to recite: 'So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them for a specified term, give them their due compensation as an obligation.' And Mujahid said: 'This was revealed about mut'ah marriage.



This recitation of the verse of mut'ah by Ibn Abbas is even
authenticated by Dhahabi and is also attributed to Ibn Masud:

فقال الحاكم في المستدرك بعد تخريجه (2/ 305) : هذا حديث صحيح على شرط مسلم ولم يخرجاه ووافقه الذهبي.

al-Hakim said in "al-Mustadrak" after narrating: This hadith is authentic by the standards of Muslim but they did not narrate it.

And al-Dhahabi agreed with it.


هذا عن ابن عباس وأما قول ابن مسعود وقرائته فقد نقلها النووي في شرحه لصحيح مسلم (9/ 179) والعيني في عمدة القاري شرح البخاري (18/ 208) :

This is from Ibn Abbas, and as for the statement of Ibn Masud and his recitation, it was transmitted by al-Nawawi in his commentary on Sahih Muslim and al-Ayni in Umdat al-Qari Sharh al-Bukhari.

So, it has been established by authentic hadith that the verse was revealed including the phrase "for a specified term (إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى)". Prominent companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) such as Ibn Abbas, Ibn Masud, Ubayy ibn Ka'b, and others used to recite the verse with this phrase included, even after the Prophet (ﷺ) passed away (for a related discussion about how we can reconcile this with the current reading and whether we can conclude with certainty that this verse was abrogated see here).

One may wonder, what about the hadith that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) prohibited the practice of mut'ah at Khaybar? Does that not mean that the application of this verse to mut'ah was abrogated? The hadith is as follows:

Sahih Bukhari 5115 (67:52)

حَدَّثَنَا مَالِكُ بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ عُيَيْنَةَ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ الزُّهْرِيَّ، يَقُولُ أَخْبَرَنِي الْحَسَنُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ، وَأَخُوهُ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ، عَنْ أَبِيهِمَا، أَنَّ عَلِيًّا ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ لاِبْنِ عَبَّاسٍ إِنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَهَى عَنِ الْمُتْعَةِ وَعَنْ لُحُومِ الْحُمُرِ الأَهْلِيَّةِ زَمَنَ خَيْبَرَ‏.‏

Narrated 'Ali:

I said to Ibn 'Abbas, "During the battle of Khaibar the Prophet (ﷺ) forbade (Nikah) Al-Mut'a and the eating of donkey's meat."


This prohibition at Khaybar was in fact only a temporary prohibition, and this is firmly established in authentic hadith. We find, for example, that mut'ah was once again allowed and practiced at the time of the conquest of Mecca:

Sahih Muslim 1406 f (16:27)

حَدَّثَنَا إِسْحَاقُ بْنُ إِبراهيم، أخبرنا يحيى بن آدم، حدثنا إبراهيم بن سعد، عن عبد الملك بن الربيع بن سبرة الجهني، عن أبيه، عن جده، قال أمرنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بالمتعة عام الفتح حين دخلنا مكة ثم لم نخرج منها حتى نهانا عنها‏.‏

'Abd al-Malik b. Rabi' b. Sabraal-Juhanni reported on the authority of his father who narrated it on the authority of his father (i e. 'Abd al-Malik's grandfather, Sabura al-Juhanniy Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) permitted us to contract temporary marriage in the Year of Victory, as we entered Mecca, and we did come out of it but he forbade us to do it.


So, the claim that mut'ah was forbidden forever at Khaybar has been proven to be incorrect. However, the question remains: was mut'ah then forbidden permanently at the conquest of Mecca? This, too, was only a temporary prohibition, for we find that it was once again allowed after the Battle of Hunayn:

Sahih Muslim 1405 f (16:21)

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا يُونُسُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْوَاحِدِ بْنُ زِيَادٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو عُمَيْسٍ، عَنْ إِيَاسِ بْنِ سَلَمَةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ رَخَّصَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَامَ أَوْطَاسٍ فِي الْمُتْعَةِ ثَلاَثًا ثُمَّ نَهَى عَنْهَا ‏.‏

Iyas b. Salama reported on the authority of his father that Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) gave sanction for contracting temporary marriage for three nights in the year of Autas 1847 and then forbade it.


Again we find that the prohibitions on mut'ah were only temporary. Once again we find hadith stating that mut'ah was allowed on the Farewell Pilgrimage, before apparently being prohibited forever:


Sunan ibn Majah 1962

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدَةُ بْنُ سُلَيْمَانَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ بْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنِ الرَّبِيعِ بْنِ سَبْرَةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ خَرَجْنَا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ فِي حَجَّةِ الْوَدَاعِ فَقَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ الْعُزْبَةَ قَدِ اشْتَدَّتْ عَلَيْنَا ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏"‏ فَاسْتَمْتِعُوا مِنْ هَذِهِ النِّسَاءِ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ فَأَتَيْنَاهُنَّ فَأَبَيْنَ أَنْ ينكحننا إلا أن نجعل بيننا وبينهن أجلا فذكروا ذلك للنبي ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ فقال ‏"‏ اجعلوا بينكم وبينهن أجلا ‏"‏ ‏.‏ فخرجت أنا وابن عم لي معه برد ومعي برد وبرده أجود من بردي وأنا أشب منه فأتينا على امرأة فقالت برد كبرد ‏.‏ فتزوجتها فمكثت عندها تلك الليلة ثم غدوت ورسول الله ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ قائم بين الركن والباب وهو يقول ‏"‏ أيها الناس إني قد كنت أذنت لكم في الاستمتاع ألا وإن الله قد حرمها إلى يوم القيامة فمن كان عنده منهن شىء فليخل سبيلها ولا تأخذوا مما آتيتموهن شيئا ‏"‏ ‏.‏

"We went out with the Messenger of Allah on the Farewell pilgrimage, and they said : 'O Messenger of Allah, (ﷺ) celibacy has become too difficult for us'. He said : 'Then make temporary marriages with these women'. So we went to them, but they insisted on setting a fixed time between us and them. They mentioned that to the Prophet and he said : 'Set a fixed time between you and them.' So I went out with a cousin of mine. He had a cloak and I had a cloak, but his cloak was finer than mine, and I was younger than him. We came to a women and she said: 'One cloak is like another.' So I married her and stayed with her that night. Then the next day I saw the Messenger of Allah standing between the Rukn (corner) and the door (of the Ka'bah), saying : 'O people, I had permitted temporary marriage for you, but Allah has forbidden it until the Day of Resurrection. however had any temporary wives, he should let them go, and do not take back anything that you had given to them.' "


Leaving aside the problems with this hadith, even if we take it to have an authentic chain, a hadith cannot abrogate Qur'an. Any hadith that contradicts the Qur'an is rejected. Major 'ulema including the likes of Imam Shafi'i, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ibn Taymiyyah, and Ibn Qudamah believed that even a mutawatir hadith (one that is widely reported through a number of unique chains) could not abrogate a verse of Qur'an. It is only a verse of Qur'an that can abrogate the ruling of a verse of Qur'an. What, then, of the argument that the following verses abrogated the permissibility of mut'ah?

وَالَّذينَ هُم لِفُروجِهِم حافِظونَ

إِلّا عَلىٰ أَزواجِهِم أَو ما مَلَكَت أَيمانُهُم فَإِنَّهُم غَيرُ مَلومينَ

فَمَنِ ابتَغىٰ وَراءَ ذٰلِكَ فَأُولٰئِكَ هُمُ العادونَ

And they who guard their private parts

Except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they will not be blamed -

But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors.

(23:5-7)

This is an absurd argument, as Surah 23 (al-Mu'minun) and these verses are well-known to have been revealed during the Makkan period, while even the first prohibition of mut'ah did not take place until Khaybar, years after the Hijra to Medina! Surah 4 (an-Nisa), in contrast, is known to have been revealed in the Medinian period, and includes the verse of mut'ah.

Another argument making it very unlikely that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) forbade mut'ah forever during the Farewell Pilgrimage is that eminent companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) continued to practice mut'ah beyond the time of his death and denied that it was ever prohibited or abrogated. If such a proclamation was made during the Farewell Pilgrimage, a time in which countless companions were gathered around the Prophet (ﷺ), surely they would have been aware!

Sahih Muslim 1405c (16:18)

وَحَدَّثَنَا الْحَسَنُ الْحُلْوَانِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّزَّاقِ، أَخْبَرَنَا ابْنُ جُرَيْجٍ، قَالَ قَالَ عَطَاءٌ قَدِمَ جَابِرُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ مُعْتَمِرًا فَجِئْنَاهُ فِي مَنْزِلِهِ فَسَأَلَهُ الْقَوْمُ عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ ثُمَّ ذَكَرُوا الْمُتْعَةَ فَقَالَ نَعَمِ اسْتَمْتَعْنَا عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَأَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ ‏.‏

Ibn Uraij reported:

'Ati' reported that Jabir b. Abdullah came to perform 'Umra, and we came to his abode, and the people asked him about different things, and then they made a mention of temporary marriage, whereupon he said: Yes, we had been benefiting ourselves by this temporary marriage during the lifetime of the Prophet (ﷺ) and during the time of Abu Bakr and 'Umar.


Sahih Muslim 1405d (16:19)

حَدَّثَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ رَافِعٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّزَّاقِ، أَخْبَرَنَا ابْنُ جُرَيْجٍ، أَخْبَرَنِي أَبُو الزُّبَيْرِ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ جَابِرَ بْنَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، يَقُولُ كُنَّا نَسْتَمْتِعُ بِالْقُبْضَةِ مِنَ التَّمْرِ وَالدَّقِيقِ الأَيَّامَ عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَأَبِي بَكْرٍ حَتَّى نَهَى عَنْهُ عُمَرُ فِي شَأْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ حُرَيْثٍ ‏.‏

Jabir b. 'Abdullah reported:

We contracted temporary marriage giving a handful of (tales or flour as a dower during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and durnig the time of Abu Bakr until 'Umar forbade it in the case of 'Amr b. Huraith.


Sahih Muslim 1405e (16:20)

حَدَّثَنَا حَامِد بن عمر البكراوي، حدثنا عبد الواحد، - يعني ابن زياد - عن عاصم، عن أبي نضرة، قال كنت عند جابر بن عبد الله فأتاه آت فقال ابن عباس وابن الزبير اختلفا في المتعتين فقال جابر فعلناهما مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ثم نهانا عنهما عمر فلم نعد لهما ‏.‏

Abu Nadra reported:

While I was in the company of Jabir b. Abdullah, a person came to him and said that Ibn 'Abbas and Ibn Zubair differed on the two types of Mut'as (Tamattu' of Hajj 1846 and Tamattu' with women), whereupon Jabir said: We used to do these two during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ). Umar then forbade us to do them, and so we did not revert to them.

In fact, Ibn Abbas continued to issue fatwas allowing mut'ah even after Ibn Zubayr threatened to have him stoned for it:

Sahih Muslim 1406k (16:32)

وَحَدَّثَنِي حَرْمَلَةُ بْنُ يَحْيَى، أَخْبَرَنَا ابْنُ وَهْبٍ، أَخْبَرَنِي يُونُسُ، قَالَ ابْنُ شِهَابٍ أَخْبَرَنِي عُرْوَةُ بْنُ الزُّبَيْرِ، أَنَّ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ الزُّبَيْرِ، قَامَ بِمَكَّةَ فَقَالَ إِنَّ نَاسًا - أَعْمَى اللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ كَمَا أَعْمَى أَبْصَارَهُمْ - يُفْتُونَ بِالْمُتْعَةِ - يُعَرِّضُ بِرَجُلٍ - فَنَادَاهُ فَقَالَ إِنَّكَ لَجِلْفٌ جَافٍ فَلَعَمري لقد كانت المتعة تفعل على عهد إمام المتقين - يريد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم - فقال له ابن الزبير فجرب بنفسك فوالله لئن فعلتها لأرجمنك بأحجارك ‏

'Urwa b. Zabair reported that 'Abdullah b. Zubair stood up (and delivered an address) in Mecca saying:

Allah has made blind the hearts of some people as He has deprived them of eyesight that they give religious verdict in favour of temporary marriage, while he was alluding to a person (Ibn 'Abbas). Ibn Abbas called him and said: You are an uncouth person, devoid of sense. By my life, Mut'a was practised during the lifetime of the leader of the pious (he meant Allah's Messenger, may peace be upon him), and Ibn Zubair said to him: just do it yourselves, and by Allah, if you do that I will stone you with your stones.


Imam al-Tahawi records in a hasan hadith in his Sharh Ma'ani al-Athar:

حَدَّثَنَا صَالِحُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ قَالَ : ثنا سَعِيدُ بْنُ مَنْصُورٍ قَالَ : ثنا هِشَامٌ قَالَ : أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو بِشْرٍ , عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ قَالَ : سَمِعْتُ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ الزُّبَيْرِ , يَخْطُبُ وَهُوَ يُعَرِّضُ بِابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ , يَعِيبُ عَلَيْهِ قَوْلَهُ فِي الْمُتْعَةِ . فَقَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ : يَسْأَلُ أُمَّهُ إِنْ كَانَ صَادِقًا , فَسَأَلَهَا , فَقَالَتْ : صَدَقَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ , قَدْ كَانَ ذَلِكَ . فَقَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَنْهُمَا : لَوْ شِئْتُ لَسَمَّيْتُ رِجَالًا مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ وُلِدُوا فِيهَا

Salih b. Abd al-Rahman has narrated from Sa'eed b. Mansur from Hushaym from Abu Bashr from Sa'eed b. Jubayr who said:

I heard 'Abdullah b. Zubayr giving a speech mentioning Ibn Abbas and rebuking his view on mut'ah. Ibn Abbas then said, "Ask your mother if I am truthful." So he asked her and she said, "Ibn Abbas has told the truth." Then Ibn Abbas said, "If I wished I could name men from Quraysh who were born from mut'ah."

Even if we assume that Ibn Abbas, one of the most knowledgeable companions, somehow failed to hear that mut'ah was prohibited, would he not have recanted his view after other companions would have told him it was prohibited?

Sahih Bukhari 4518 (65:43)

حَدَّثَنَا مُسَدَّدٌ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى، عَنْ عِمْرَانَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو رَجَاءٍ، عَنْ عِمْرَانَ بْنِ حُصَيْنٍ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ أُنْزِلَتْ آيَةُ الْمُتْعَةِ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ فَفَعَلْنَاهَا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم، وَلَمْ يُنْزَلْ قُرْآنٌ يُحَرِّمُهُ، وَلَمْ يَنْهَ عَنْهَا حَتَّى مَاتَ قَالَ رَجُلٌ بِرَأْيِهِ مَا شَاءَ‏.‏

Narrated `Imran bin Husain:

The Verse of Mut'ah was revealed in Allah's Book, so we performed it with Allah's Messenger (ﷺ), and nothing was revealed in Qur'an to make it illegal, nor did the Prophet (ﷺ) prohibit it till he died. But the man (who regarded it illegal) just expressed what his own mind suggested.


Here we find that Imran ibn Husain, a companion of the Prophet (ﷺ), not only affirms that a verse regarding mut'ah was revealed in the Quran, but also that it was never abrogated! Note that the translation offered by sunnah.com is deceptive, making the phrasing, "The verse of Hajj-at-Tamatu" when in actuality the Arabic only says "آيَةُ الْمُتْعَةِ" - "the verse of mut'ah." And even if, hypothetically, it were referring to Hajj al-Tamattu, Umar was the one who forbade that too (Muslim 1405e), so he would be the one "express[ing] what his own mind suggested" in this case as well.

Sahih Muslim 1404 a (16:13)

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ نُمَيْرٍ الْهَمْدَانِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي وَوَكِيع، وابن، بشر عن إسماعيل، عن قيس، قال سمعت عبد الله، يقول كنا نغزو مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ليس لنا نساء فقلنا ألا نستخصي فنهانا عن ذلك ثم رخص لنا أن ننكح المرأة بالثوب إلى أجل ثم قرأ عبد الله ‏{‏ يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تحرموا طيبات ما أحل الله لكم ولا تعتدوا إن الله لا يحب المعتدين‏}‏ ‏.‏

Abdullah (b. Mas'ud) reported:

We were on an expedition with Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and we had no women with us. We said: Should we not have ourselves castrated? He (the Holy Prophet) forbade us to do so He then granted us permission that we should contract temporary marriage for a stipulated period giving her a garment, and 'Abdullah then recited this verse: 'Those who believe do not make unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, and do not transgress. Allah does not like trangressers" (al-Qur'an, v. 87).

Note that 'Abdullah b. Mas'ud recites the verse of Qur'an stating 'Those who believe do not make unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you' after narrating how the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had declared mut'ah as lawful, indicating that he believed it remained lawful and its prohibition by 'Umar was illegitimate.

So who really prohibited mut'ah? As previous hadith have mentioned, it was Umar during his reign who prohibited both mut'ah marriage and mut'ah of Hajj, known as Hajj Tamattu'. Such a prohibition is not binding in Islam, as it is neither the prohibition of Allah nor of His Messenger, as Umar himself admitted:

Mustakhraj Abi Awanah

حَدَّثَنَا يَعْقُوبُ بْنُ سُفْيَانَ ، نَا عُمَرُ بْنُ عَاصِمٍ ، نَا هَمَّامٌ ، نَا قَتَادَةُ ، عَنْ أَبِي نَضْرَةَ ، قُلْتُ لِجَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ : إِنَّ ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ يَأْمُرُ بِالْمُتْعَةِ ، وَإِنَّ ابْنَ الزُّبَيْرِ يَنْهَى عَنْهَا ، قَالَ : فَقَالَ جَابِرٌ : عَلَى يَدَيَّ جَرَى الْحَدِيثُ ، تَمَتَّعْتُ مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَنَزَلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ فَلَمَّا وَلِيَ عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ خَطَبَ النَّاسَ فَقَالَ : إِنَّ الْقُرْآنَ الْقُرْآنُ ، وَالرَّسُولَ الرَّسُولُ ، وَإِنَّهُمَا كَانَتَا مُتْعَتَانِ عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَأَنْهَى عَنْهُمَا وَأُعَاقِبُ عَلَيْهِمَا ، إِحْدَاهُمَا مُتْعَةُ الْحَجِّ فَافْصِلُوا بِحَجِّكُمْ عَنْ عُمْرَتِكُمْ ، وَالْأُخْرَى مُتْعَةُ النِّسَاءِ فَلَا أَقْدِرُ عَلَى رَجُلٍ تَزَوَّجَ إِلَى أَجَلٍ إِلَّا غَيَّبْتُهُ فِي الْحِجَارَةِ زَادَ هَمَّامٌ : فَافْصِلُوا حَجَّكُمْ مِنْ عُمْرَتِكُمْ وَقَالَ فِيهِ : فَإِنَّهُ أَتَمُّ لِحَجِّكُمْ وَعُمْرَتِكُمْ
Yaqoob bin Sufyan – Amr bin Asim – Hamaam – Qatadah – Abi Nadhra said: "I said to Jabir bin Abdullah that Ibn Abbas permits Mut’ah while Ibn al-Zubair prohibits it. He (Jabir) replied: ‘It is through me that this hadith has been circulated, I performed Mut’ah along with Allah’s Messenger () and a verse was revealed regarding it but then when Umar bin al-Khattab become the caliph, he addressed the people and said: "The Quran is the same Quran, the apostle is the same apostle, and there existed two types of Mut’ah at the time of Allah’s apostle, I forbid both and will punish whoever performs them, one is the Mut’ah of Hajj, surely you have to separate your Hajj from your Umra, and the other is Mut’ah of women, if I catch any person who is married for an appointed duration (Mut’a), I will certainly stone him (to death)."'"


However, we find that even Umar himself eventually relented on his prohibition of mut'ah:

History of al-Tabari, English version, v14, pp 139-140

Muhammad b. Ishaq-Yahya b. Ma'in-Ya'qub b. Ibrahim-'Isa b. Yazid b. Da'b-'Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Zayd-'Imran b. Sawidah:

I said the morning prayer with 'Umar, and he recited the Subhin chapter and one other. Then he left. I went off with him, and he asked if there was anything he could do. I told him there was, so he asked me to join him. I did so and, when he entered this house, he gave to join him. I did so and, when he entered this house, he gave me permission to enter. There he was on a bed with nothing on it. I told him I wanted to give him some advice. His reply was, "The person giving good advice is welcome anytime ." I said, "Your community finds fault with you on four counts." ('Umar) put the top of his whip in his beard and the lower part on his thigh. Then he said, "Tell me more." I continued, "It has been mentioned that you declared the lesser pilgrimage forbidden during the months of the (full) pilgrimage. The Messenger of God did not do this, nor Abu Bakr, though it is permitted." He answered, "It is permitted. If they were to perform the lesser pilgrimage during the months of the pilgrimage, they would regard it as being in lieu of the full pilgrimage, and (Mecca) would be a deserted place that year, and the pilgrimage would be celebrated by no one, although it is part of God's greatness. You are right." I continued, "It is also said that you have forbidden temporary marriage, although it was a license (rukhsah) given by God. We enjoy a temporary marriage for a handful (of dates), and we can separate after three nights." He replied, "The Messenger of God permitted it at a time of necessity. Then people regained their life of comfort. I do not know any Muslim who has practiced this or gone back to it. Now anyone who wishes to can marry for a handful [of dates] and separate after three nights. You are right."...



In conclusion, mut'ah's permissibility and sanctity is enshrined in the Holy Qur'an itself. Many notable companions continued to practice mut'ah after the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and even gave fatwas affirming it was permitted and denied that anything had abrogated it. Mut'ah was in fact prohibited by Umar during his caliphate, and such a prohibition is not binding in Islam.

Responses to other common objections to mut'ah:

  1. Mut'ah was only allowed temporarily as a concession to the people like alcohol, until its eventual prohibition!

The Prophet (ﷺ) never encouraged the drinking of alcohol, nor was a verse of Qur'an revealed proclaiming its legality. In contrast, we see that not only was a verse of Qur'an revealed permitting mut'ah, but the Prophet (ﷺ) himself explicitly encouraged people to do mut'ah:

Sahih Bukhari 5117, 5118 (67:54)

حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيٌّ، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، قَالَ عَمْرٌو عَنِ الْحَسَنِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ، عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، وَسَلَمَةَ بْنِ الأَكْوَعِ، قَالاَ كُنَّا فِي جَيْشٍ فَأَتَانَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ ‏ "‏ إِنَّهُ قَدْ أُذِنَ لَكُمْ أَنْ تَسْتَمْتِعُوا فَاسْتَمْتِعُوا ‏"‏‏.‏

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah and Salama bin Al-Akwa:

While we were in an army, Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) came to us and said, "You have been allowed to do the Mut'a (marriage), so do it."


  1. Mut'ah is prostitution/zina!

Would Allah and His Messenger allow prostitution or zina, even temporarily, and would a verse of Qur'an be revealed permitting it? One who makes such a claim has accused Allah and His Messenger with a serious charge. Nikah mut'ah comes with a number of conditions that are not associated with prostitution, and the act which seals its sanctity in Islam is the marriage contract which is agreed upon by the man and woman and verbalized. In short, mut'ah is a part of the sunnah and calling it "prostitution" or "zina" is a serious blasphemy that may amount to kufr because

a) It slanders the Prophet (ﷺ) and sahaba such as Ibn Abbas and accuses them of permitting & telling people to do zina or prostitution

b) It is part of the Shariah and a valid contract according to many great companions & scholars, both of the Shi'a and the Sunnis.


  1. Ibn Abbas merely did not hear that mut'ah was forbidden, that is why he was mistaken.

Alright, let us suppose that Ibn Abbas, who the Prophet () prayed for to be a faqih and to have understanding of Qur'an, did not hear of the prohibition of mut'ah during the lifetime of the Prophet (), despite it being allegedly announced at the Farewell Pilgrimage where virtually all the sahaba were present. Why then, if it was merely a matter of ignorance, did he not recant his position after hearing from numerous companions such as Abdullah b. Zubayr that mut'ah was prohibited?


  1. Why do you cite companions like Ibn Abbas when 'Ali b. Abi Talib (AS) himself stated mut'ah was forbidden?

The hadith that gets cited to prove that Imam 'Ali (AS) forbade mut'ah is the hadith where Imam 'Ali (AS) said that mut'ah was prohibited at Khaybar. The problem with this hadith is that mut'ah (as was demonstrated in this article) was abrogated at times later than Khaybar as well. Imam 'Ali (AS) was present for all of these times when mut'ah was prohibited and therefore he would have known of its prohibition. For example, Imam 'Ali (AS) was present for the farewell pilgrimage, and allegedly mut'ah was allowed and prohibited then as well. However, the hadith which is supposed to refute Ibn Abbas alleges that Imam 'Ali used the earlier, abrogated prohibition to prove a permanent prohibition of mut'ah. There are two possibilities then, either Imam 'Ali (AS) is being illogical and using poor evidence for his claim, or that this is a mistake from a sloppy fabricator who did not catch his own anachronism.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that these two possibilities are equally valid (and they are not equally valid- the suggestion that Imam 'Ali (AS) is being illogical is already a strongly disfavored assumption). To decide between these two possibilities, we can show a hadith of Imam 'Ali (AS) where he endorses mut'ah and claims that its prohibition is from Umar:

قال ابن جريج : وأخبرني من أصدق أن عليا ، قال بالكوفة : " لولا ما سبق من رأي عمر بن الخطاب - أو قال : من رأي ابن الخطاب - لأمرت بالمتعة ، ثم ما زنا إلا شقي .

...'Ali said in Kufa, "Were it not for what preceded from the opinion of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab-" or he said, "from the opinion of ibn al-Khattab- I would have ordered mut'ah. Then no one would have committed zina (fornication) except for a shaqi (wretched person)."

Musannaf 'Abd al-Razzaq

This contradicts the claim that he held mut'ah to have been permanently abrogated by the Prophet (), and therefore the hadith alleging that Imam 'Ali refuted Ibn Abbas about mut'ah is a fabrication.


-Silverado