The Ruling of Temporary Marriages (Mut`a) and the Importance of Avoiding Arguments
Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: I have some questions about the prohibition of mut’a (temporary marriage). First, how do Sunni/Hanafi scholars understand the meaning of the word normally translated as “enjoy” in sura 4:24, (I think “istimta'”)? The translation normally goes “And those of them you enjoy/seek content from/derive benefit from, pay them their dowers. Is this normally taken by Sunni scholars as referring to temporary marriage?
Answer: Walaikum assalam,
It refers to valid relations between men and women, through proper marriage, because it is decisively established that temporary marriage is both forbidden and invalid.
Imam al-Marghinani stated in his al-Hidaya:
“Temporary [mut`a] marriage is invalid. It is for a woman to say, I will be [f: lit, “enjoy you”] with you for such-and-such time for such-and-such amount of money.”
Imam Kamal ibn al-Humam stated in his commentary on al-Hidaya, Fath al-Qadir:
“The meaning of mut`a marriage is a contract that ends with the ending of the (specified) time.”
Imam al-Marghinani continued:
“(The permissibility of mut`a) was abrogated, as confirmed by the total consensus (ijma`) of the Companions (Allah be pleased with them).”
Imam Kamal ibn al-Humam explained:
“As for the evidence for the abrogation itself it is that which Muslim recorded in his Sahih that, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) forbade it on the Day of the Opening (of Makka). And in both the Sahih collections (f: Bukhari & Muslim) that, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) forbade it on the Day of (the battle of) Khaybar.”
This is understood to mean it was abrogated twice.
And in Sahih Muslim, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is recorded to have said, “…Allah has forbidden it [temporary marriage] until the Day of Judgement.”
The hadiths about this are many, and well known.
The prohibition is final, and there is no difference about this between the scholars of the lands, except some Shi`a.” [al-Hidaya with its commentary, Fath al-Qadir, 3: 246 – 247, Dar al-Fikr edition]
It is important to avoid arguments with Shi`as and others–unless one has a strong foundation and depth of sound knowledge of the Sacred Law and there is some clear religious interest to be served in such argumentation or debate.
Often, those given to argument spend a lot of time and energy arguing, and can be very good at it. So one can be swept away by their arguments and claims, often unwittingly, or end up misrepresenting the truth.
The truth remains true, whether someone can defend it or not. But the person involved and others can be shaken by such matters.
The way of the early Muslims and scholars of guidance is to avoid polemics and arguments as much as possible. When one fears fitna or harm, then one should go to reliable scholars of taqwa and wisdom to seek guidance and direction, for they are the inheritors of the Prophets.
May Allah protect us from trials and fitnas, outwardly and inwardly.