The Prohibition of Mut`ah in Light of the Noble Qur’an

The Prohibition of Mut`ah in the Light of Hadith
October 29, 2015
Virtues of Mut`ah
October 29, 2015

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The Prohibition of Mut‘ah in Light of the Noble Qur’an


The era before the risalat of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam — commonly referred to as the period of ignorance — was an era without morality and shame. The primary purpose of marriage was completely forgotten. Shame and modesty had left the people. The moral degradation had fallen to such a level that one would not regard sharing his wife with another man as wrong and a wife would not feel ashamed of abandoning her husband to engage in relations with another man. The Noble Qur’an put an end to these deplorable and appalling social norms once and for all.


1. It is mentioned in the Noble Qur’an:


وَ لَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنٰٓی اِنَّهکَانَ فَاحِشَةًؕ وَسَآءَ سَبِیْلًا

And do not even draw (go) near to fornication (do not indulge in anything that may lead to it). It is truly an indecent (shameless) act and the worst of ways (because it leads to immorality and illegitimate children in society and also leads one to Jahannam)[1]


In this verse it has been warned that committing fornication is far from permissible, one is even not allowed to go near to it. Any deed, word or even action that might lead one close to zina is abhorred and disliked in light of the Qur’an. It is for this reason that one is encouraged to safeguard himself from all of its avenues. While enumerating the harms of zina, Imam Fakhr al Din al Razi rahimahu Llah writes:

  • One genealogy is cast into doubt. One will unable to say with certainty who the father of the illegitimate child really is. The ultimate result of this will be that no man will take responsibility for the upbringing of that child. (The child will be left impoverished or the mother will eventually kill or abandon her child. The consequences thereafter are only disastrous and catastrophic). This will lead to the termination of procreation and the destruction of man.
  • No one will have a right over the woman because nikah had not taken place with her. The result of this will be that every man will try to claim rights to that woman, and it will be impossible to give preference to either one over the other. The grievous and dreadful consequences that arise in such instances can be studied in the history of lovers and the unscrupulous.
  • A woman who indulges in zina becomes accustomed to the act, and men who have pure personalities will be disgusted by such woman. The result of this will be that no man will even be willing to marry such a woman, let alone love her. This is the reason why people generally display their hatred to a woman who is known to commit zina, and she is regarded among the detested and dejected ones in society.
  • Once the doors of zina are opened then no law and principle will remain. A man will no longer have attraction to one specific woman only. Instead wherever one finds the opportunity to indulge himself, he will do so. This is the practice of animals, thus there will remain no difference between humans and animals.
  • The purpose of marriage is not only satisfying one’s passions but to join together in matrimony and become a partner and companion to each other. This applies to the housework, preparation of meals, upbringing of children as well as other necessities of life. To be companions to each other in times of sadness and happiness, in poverty and in wealth. This is only possible when a woman will remain with one man in a permissible manner. The manner of achieving this is to decree zina as completely haram and restrict the relations between men and women under the laws of nikah only.
  • The aspect of sexual intercourse is something that is clandestine. It is for this reason that it is discussed in an ambiguous and vague manner, and performed when concealed from others. Thus, it is obvious that it should be done in the least possible manner, which is only possible when a man remains attached to one woman only in a permissible manner. If not then this will be impossible to achieve.

These six harms of zina are those which are apparent, whereas there are many more harms as well.[2]


This research and explanation of Imam al Razi teaches us that the harms and evils of zina are so manifest that it is impossible for any person to deny.

Now worth pondering over is that encouraging the performance of Mut’ah and passing a legislation in this regard is in actual fact opening the doors of zina because there is no difference between Mut’ah and zina. You have also read what are the harms and evils of zina. This verse strictly prohibits the performance of Mut’ah, making it clear that there is no room for such practices in Islam, even if the president of Iran declares that this is a divine decree and encourages the youth to indulge in it.


2. Allah says in the Noble Qur’an:


وَالَّذِیْنَ هُمْ لِفُرُوْجِهِمْ حٰفِظُوْنَۙ ﴿۵﴾ اِلَّا عَلٰٓی اَزْوَاجِهِمْ اَوْ مَا مَلَکَتْ اَیْمَانُهُمْ فَاِنَّهُمْ غَیْرُ مَلُوْمِیْنَ ۚ ﴿٦﴾ فَمَنِ ابْتَغٰی وَرَآءَ ذٰلِكَ فَاُولٰٓئِكَ هُمُ الْعٰدُوْنَ

And those who safeguard their private organs (from adultery, fornication and other illicit acts) except from their spouses and the slave women whom they own. They will surely not be blamed about (cohabiting with) them. Whoever seeks more than this, then such persons are transgressors indeed.[3]


These verses describe the success of the Mu’minin who possesses these qualities. One of which is that he safeguards his chastity. One is not permitted to have any relation with any woman besides his wife or female slave, and if he has any relation with a strange woman then this falls under zina and makes one deserving of punishment. This makes it clear that Mut’ah is not permitted in the shari’ah of Islam. If it was permitted then it would have been mentioned with the spouses and female slaves that were excluded from its prohibition. However, this verse does not mention the permissibility of a third avenue. In fact, it has been refuted and such people have been referred to as those who exceed the limits, which clearly illustrate the prohibition of Mut’ah.


3. Allah says:


وَلْیَسْتَعْفِفِ الَّذِیْنَ لَا یَجِدُوْنَ نِکَاحًا حَتّٰی یُغْنِیَهُمُ اللّٰهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهٖ

Those who are unable (who have no means) to marry (despite their desire and efforts) should preserve their chastity until Allah grants them both independence through His grace (and they are able to marry).[4]


This verse informs us that when one is unable to marry, due to financial restraints then he should control himself and preserve his chastity and when he is financially stable and able to marry then he should do so. In both these instances emphasis has been placed on preserving his chastity. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has advised people, who are in such a position to fast because this will subdue his passions and desires, which is what ultimately pushes one into taking a step in the wrong direction.

There are many such incidents reported in hadith where the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum due to financial difficulty were unable to marry even though they longed to. Instead of advising them to adopt another path, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed them to fast so that they would be able to control their passions. These Sahabah acted in accordance and saved themselves from indulging in sin. Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instruction in this regard is as follows:


يا معشر الشباب من استطاع منكم الباءة فليتزوج فانه اغض للبصر و احصن للفرج من لم يستطع فعليه فعليه بالصوم فانه له وجاء

O group of young men, those of you who have the means should marry, as this is best to lower one’s gaze and safeguard one’s chastity. Those who do not possess the means should fast as this will subdue his passions.[5]


Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam advised the youth to marry as this preserves one’s chastity and is a means of safeguarding one’s gaze. If due to certain reasons he is unable to marry, and is unable to control his passions, then he has been ordered to fast as this will restrain his passions, thus preserving his honour and chastity.

It is obvious that if Mut’ah had the slightest hint of permissibility then Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would have mentioned it here by saying that if one is unable to marry then he should perform Mut’ah. However, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not say this and instead instructed such a person to fast continuously.[6] Thus, there is no mention of the permissibility of Mut’ah in the Qur’an and hadith, instead its clear refutation can be found.


4. After mentioning those women whom one is forbidden to marry, Allah says:


وَّالْمُحْصَنٰتُ مِنَ النِّسَآءِ اِلَّا مَا مَلَکَتْ اَیْمَانُكُمْۚ کِتٰبَ اللّٰهِ عَلَیْكُمْۚ وَاُحِلَّ لَكُمْ مَّا وَرَآءَ ذٰلِكُمْ اَنْ تَبْتَغُوْا بِاَمْوَالِكُمْ مُّحْصِنِیْنَ غَیْرَ مُسٰفِحِیْنَؕ فَمَا اسْتَمْتَعْتُمْ بِهٖ مِنْهُنَّ فَاٰتُوْهُنَّ اُجُوْرَهُنَّ فَرِیْضَةًؕ وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَیْكُمْ فِیْمَا تَرٰضَیْتُمْ بِهٖ مِنْۢ بَعْدِ الْفَرِیْضَةِؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ کَانَ عَلِیْمًا حَکِیْمًا

Besides these (women mentioned above), all other women are lawful for you (to marry), (provided) that you seek (their hands in marriage) with your wealth (by paying the dowry) as properly married men (with the intention of preserving your chastity) and not as fornicators (not merely to gratify your desires). 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.[7]


This verse clearly explains that those women one is allowed to marry can be wedded under certain conditions. That is to say that marriage is permissible with them on these conditions, especially “As properly married men and not as fornicators”, which clearly highlights the prohibition of Mut’ah.


“As properly married men”

Marriage to these women should not be temporary or momentary but rather permanent. It must not be that one marries her for just a few days of pleasure and then divorces her, such an approach is completely wrong. When you marry a woman then it should be with the intention to remain with her forever. It is a separate issue altogether if due to incompatibility they are unable to live in harmony with each other and are forced to separate. Initially the intention must be that they wish to remain with each other forever.


“Not as fornicators”

Your purpose of this marriage should not be to merely satisfy your passions and lust, as is the case in zina.

Thereafter “Give the specified dowry to those from whom you derive benefit” was said, which means that you should give the dowry that was previously agreed upon to those women from whom you have derived benefit (with whom you have had intercourse), after marrying them on these conditions. One will have to issue her mahr (dowry) to her. If a talaq is issued before having intercourse then he will have to pay her half of the mahr and if they were in seclusion then the entire mahr will have to be given. There is no leeway in this regard. One will not be sinful if the couple gladly reduces or increases upon the specified mahr; that is if the wife out of her own free will reduces the mahr or the husband out of his own will increases it, then neither will be sinful.

This verse has absolutely nothing to do with Mut’ah, but the Shia seeing the letters “م”, “ت” and “ع” in this verse use it to substantiate its permissibility and issue a fatwa of permissibility for their technical term of Mut’ah. However, those who study the preceding and following verses to it will never use this as a proof for the permissibility of Mut’ah. The reason being: the preceding verse discusses those women who are forbidden and this verse discusses those who are permissible. Forbiddance and permissibility are two uniform opposites. On other words, in the same manner that it is forbidden in the previous verse, it is permissible in the same manner here. Allamah Zamakhshari writes:

That interpretation or commentary which weakens the miraculous eloquence of the Qur’an is not permissible.


Now what form of forbiddance (hurmat) was intended in the preceding verse? Was it temporary forbiddance or permanent? In order to determine this, let us look at the verse:


حُرِّمَتْ عَلَیْكُمْ اُمَّهٰتُكُمْ وَبَنٰتُكُمْ وَاَخَوٰتُكُمْ وَعَمّٰتُكُمْ…الآية

Forbidden for you are (it is haram for you to marry) your mothers (and your grandmothers), your daughters (and granddaughters), your sisters…[8]


It is obvious that this prohibition is permanent and the permissibility that is mentioned in the next verse will also be permanent, so that the eloquence of the Qur’an will not be tainted.

The Shia are so adamant on legitimising the performance of Mut’ah that in order to make the permissibility of this verse temporary they have said that the prohibition of marrying these women is also temporary and only until one does not have a silk cloth with him. We know full-well that the practice of donning a silk cloth, in order to refute the permanent prohibition of this verse, is not the practice of all the Shia sects. This is why those who do not believe in the practice of donning a silk cloth (when engaging in Mut’ah with one’s blood relatives) have added the words “الي اجل مسمي” which means “until a stipulated time”, claiming that these words were removed from the Qur’an.

We say that the need to add these words is sufficient proof that the Shia also understand this verse to mean permanent permissibility (which is called nikah). If not then what is the need to add these words to the verse.

The words “As properly married men not as fornicators” in this verse removes all possibility for the performance of Mut’ah. The reason for his is that in Mut’ah a woman does not achieve the permanent status as a wife. This pleasure is temporary and momentary. In the same manner no one refers to a woman with whom Mut’ah is made as a wife and neither is issuing of maintenance, clothing and shelter considered to be a duty to her. The only purpose of this is to satisfy one’s passions, which the words “not as fornicators” completely refutes and does not condone under any circumstances.



NEXT⇒ The Prohibition of Mut’ah in the Light of Hadith

[1]  Surah Bani Isra’il: 32

[2]Tafsir al Kabir, v. 5 p. 394

[3]  Surah al Mu’minun: 5-7

[4]  Surah al Nur: 33

[5]Mishkat p. 267, Sahih Bukhari, v. 2 p. 758

[6]  Molana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi rahimahu Llah says regarding the hadith:


“Those who do not possess the means should fast as this will subdue his passions”: only continuous or incessant fasting will benefit one in such situation and not just one or two fasts kept randomly. The word “عليه” suggests necessity, which is of two types, 1- I’tiqadi (status) 2- ‘Amali (practice). In this case I’tiqadi (status) is not implied as this fast is not fard (compulsory) but ‘Amali is implied here. This is only possible by repetition and by making it a necessity, in the sense that it becomes a habit. I have said that there is clear support to this; one fasts continuously for one month in Ramadan. It is commonly experienced that in the beginning ones passions are not subdued but rather due to the excess waste being excreted by the body one’s passions and excitement is heightened. As time goes by his strength diminishes and it is only at the end of the month, when his strength is thoroughly drained, that his passions are completely subdued because only then has he kept incessant fasts. (al Ifadah, v. 9 p. 192)


[7]  Surah al Nisa’: 24

[8]  Surah al Nisa’: 23