The Prohibition of Mut`ah in Light of the Rulings of the `Ulamaʼ of Ahl al-Bayt

Proof of the Shi`ah for the Permissibility of Mut`ah
October 29, 2015
The Prohibition of Mut`ah in the Light of Hadith
October 29, 2015

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The Prohibition of Mutah in Light of the Rulings of the Ulamaʼ of Ahlul Bayt


1. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates:


قال حرم رسول الله (صلى الله عليه و سلم) لحوم الحمر الاهلية و نكاح المتعة

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam forbade the meat of donkeys and Nikah al Mut’ah.[1]


This narration makes it clear that Mut’ah is not permitted in Islam. This narration has been reported by ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and it has been reported in the most recognised of the Shia books.


The famous Shia Doctor Musa al Musawi writes:


‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu continued to regard it as prohibited during his khilafah and did not declare it permissible. According to the tradition of the Shia and the opinion of Shia scholars, the actions of an Imam is legitimate proof, especially when the Imam has choice, freedom to express his opinion and is able to expound on the instructions and prohibitions of Allah. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu adhering to the prohibition of Mut’ah in such circumstances can only mean that it was prohibited in the era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. If it was not prohibited that it was incumbent upon him to oppose its prohibition and relay the correct decree of Allah. The actions of an Imam is binding to follow according to the Shia, I cannot understand how our Shia fuqaha’ have the nerve to abandon this principle.[2]


2. Mufaddal narrates:


سمعت ابا عبد الله (عليه السلام) يقول فى المتعة دعوه اما يستحيى احدكم ان يرى فى موضع العورة فيحمل ذلك على صالحي اخوانه و اصحابه

I heard Imam Jafar al Sadiq saying regarding Mut’ah: “Abandon Mut’ah! Do you not feel ashamed to see the private parts of a woman and then discuss it with your righteous brothers and friends.”[3]


This narration proves that Imam Jafar al Sadiq rahimahu Llah also regarded the practice of Mut’ah in a bad light and therefore encouraged people to abandon this practice as it spreads shamelessness and immorality. How is it then possible that Imam Jafar rahimahu Llah could have permitted such an act, which the Qur’an itself branded as immoral and prohibited? An act which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as well decreed to be haram.

3. Sheikh al Tusi says that when ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umair asked Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah if his wives, daughters and paternal cousins perform Mut’ah:


فاعرض ابو جعفر حين ذكر نساءه و بنات عمه

Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah turned away when his wives, daughters and cousins were mentioned.[4]


One meaning of this could be that they performed such acts and when he heard about it from others he turned his face away in shame. Another meaning — which is more fitting with the character of the Imam — is that Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah was angered at such a suggestion. It is uncertain why the Shia prefer the first meaning so much.

One learns from this narration that Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah regarded Mut’ah as a shameful and disgraceful act. How is it possible for a noble and illustrious personality such as Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah to encourage people to perform Mut’ah with the wives, daughters and cousins of others but when the women of his household are asked about, he turns his face away in anger and makes his disapproval known. Our opinion is that Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah is amongst the most pure and chaste individuals of this ummah and one having such a status will never permit such shameless and vile behaviour, neither for himself nor for others.

4. ‘Ammar narrates:


قال ابو عبد الله لى و لسليمان بن خالد قد حرمت عليكما المتعة من قبلى ما دمتما بالمدينة لانكما تكثرا ان الدخول علي و اخاف قد اخذا فيقال هؤلاء اصحاب جعفر

Imam Jafar said to Sulaiman ibn Khalid and I: I have made Mut’ah haram on you before as long as you are in Madinah. The reason being that you remain in my company frequently and I fear that you will be caught, and people will say that you are the friends of Jafar.[5]


One learns from this narration as well that Imam Jafar rahimahu Llah regarded Mut’ah as a shameless act and would makes its prohibition known to others. In addition he would not tolerate others having even the slightest suspicion of him committing such an act. One should ponder deeply that if Mut’ah was permitted in the Qur’an and hadith then why did he prohibit them from performing it?

Instead he would have publicly encouraged others to perform it. Why would he be afraid of acting upon the Qur’an and hadith? Why would he be ashamed? The narration on the other hand clearly indicates that this act was reviled and abhorred by Imam Jafar al Sadiq rahimahu Llah as well.

The aforementioned narrations of the Shia clearly prove that the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt also regarded Mut’ah as a shameless and vile act. They would turn their faces away in disgust at the mere mention of Mut’ah. They never indulged in this atrocious act because it is Haram (forbidden) and it has been proven without any doubt that it will remain forbidden until the Day of Qiyamah.

Understand and ponder deeply O intelligent ones.


The Reality of Mut’ah in the Early Years of Islam

The form of Mut’ah that was permitted in the earlier years of Islam is in no way the same as the Mut’ah described in the books of the Shia. The Mut’ah practiced by the Shia is zina and has never been permitted for any individual in this ummah. Zina is a vile and immoral act, which is detested in the shari’ah of Islam. In fact, the shari’ah has stipulated severe punishments for the perpetrators of zina, in order to safeguard one’s honour and chastity, and put an end to this illicit practice.


Molana Muhammad Idris Khandhlawi rahimahu Llah writes:


The Mut’ah that was permissible, i.e. not prohibited, in the early years of Islam was actually Nikah Muwaqqat. Nikah Muwaqqat is when a person marries a woman for a fixed period, in the presence of witnesses and with the permission of the representative of the bride. When the stipulated period expires then she was separated from him without talaq but it was incumbent upon her to observe a period of waiting of one menstrual cycle, in order to confirm that no child was conceived from this marriage. This form of nikah had a doubtful status, between that of an orthodox marriage and zina.

In Nikah Muwaqqat it was essential for it to be performed before witnesses and with the permission of the representative of the bride. If another person wished to marry her thereafter then he would have to wait until the period of waiting of one menstrual cycle was completed, and marriage before that was not permissible.[6]


This makes it clear that the Mut’ah which was permitted in the early period of Islam is not the same as the Mut’ah propagated by the Shia. They are entirely different and in fact contradict each other. This was in actual fact Nikah Muwaqqat and not the Shia Mut’ah. The words of nikah and marriage are clearly mentioned in narrations.


1. ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu says:


فرخص لنا ذلك ان نتزوج المرؤة

We were permitted to perform nikah (Mut’ah) with a woman.[7]


In another narration it is mentioned:


نهى عن نكاح متعة

Nikah al Mut’ah was prohibited.[8]


Imam al Bukhari rahimahu Llah, Imam Muslim rahimahu Llah, Imam al Tirmidhi rahimahu Llah and other Muhaddithin have all dedicated separate chapters to the topic of Nikah al Mut’ah, where they prove that it was a formal nikah. The words of marriage mentioned in these narrations prove beyond doubt that this Mut’ah is not the same as the Mut’ah of the Shia, and in fact this was Nikah Muwaqqat.


المتعة المذكورة هى نكاح الموقت

The Mut’ah mentioned (in these narrations) is actually Nikah Muwaqqat.[9]


Molana Shabbir Ahmed ‘Uthmani rahimahu Llah writes:


ان المتعة التى ياثرها من الصحابة انما كات لبى اجل اعنى النكاح الموقت و هكذا وقع فى حديث بسرة عند ابن جرير بلفظ تزوجتها كان هو النكاح الموقت

The Mut’ah which the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum mention is in actual fact Nikah Muwaqqat. The narration of Busrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, reported by Ibn Jarir rahimahu Llah, which contains the words tazwij (to wed) proves that this was Nikah Muwaqqat.”[10]


One can easily conclude that the Mut’ah which was permitted in the early years of Islam was in actual fact Nikah Muwaqqat. According to the elucidation of the ‘ulamaʼ of Ahlus Sunnah in this form of nikah it was incumbent upon the husband to provide maintenance and shelter to the wife as opposed to the Mut’ah which the Shia describe. Once again one should bear in mind that this very Nikah Muwaqqat was also prohibited by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam through divine decree, yet the Shia Mut’ah continues to remain permissible.


اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَ اِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ

To Allah do we belong and unto him shall we return.


2. In addition, Nikah Muwaqqat was not permitted for a long period. Instead it was permitted for only three days under extreme circumstances. Allamah al Qurtubi rahimahu Llah writes:


الروايات كلها متفقه على ان زمن اباحة المتعة لم يبطل

All the narrations are agreed on one point that the period when Mut’ah was permitted was extremely short.[11]


This means that all the ahadith support the fact that Nikah Muwaqqat was permitted only for a few days. Some narrations mention that it was permitted for three days only, after which it was announced that it has been forbidden perpetually. After Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has decreed its prohibition then no person has the authority to issue a ruling of its permissibility.

Whichever person or group issues a ruling of its permissibility will in other words be claiming to have the right of nubuwwah and will be defying the din of Islam, after which it is impossible to include such a person in the fold of Islam.

3. Nikah Muwaqqat would take place in the presence of witnesses and with the permission of the representative of the bride. This did not take place in secret and was not a covert affair. Instead it was public and made known to all that a certain woman had entered into Nikah Muwaqqat with a certain man.

On the contrary those who perform Mut’ah do not have the courage to make such a public announcement nor will they ever have because they are committing zina and fornicators lack such ability. Molana Shabbir Ahmed ‘Uthmani rahimahu Llah writes:


كان هو النكاح الموقت بحضرة الشهود كما يدل عليه حديث سليمان بن يسار عن ام عبد الله بنت ابلا خيثمة عن رجل من اصحاب النبى (صلى الله عليه و سلم) فى قصة عند ابن جرير و فيه فشارطها و اشهدوا على ذلك عدولا

This was Nikah Muwaqqat which took place before witnesses, just as the narration of Sulaiman ibn Yasar, reported by Umm ‘Abdullah, the daughter of Abu Khaythamah, from a Sahabi of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and which Ibn Jarir referred to, proves that this condition was made with a woman and two reliable individuals witnessed this.[12]


Molana Muhammad Idris Khandhlawi rahimahu Llah writes:

In this form of Nikah al Mut’ah was necessary for the proposal and acceptance as well as the permission of the representative to occur before witnesses.[13]


Ibn ‘Atiyah rahimahu Llah writes:


و كانت المتعة ان يتزوج الرجل بشاهدين و اذن الولى الى اجل مسمى

Mut’ah was when a man married a woman before two witnesses and the permission of the bride’s representative until a stipulate time.[14]


When differentiating between Nikah Muwaqqat and Mut’ah, the fuqaha’ write:


و عدم اشتراطها للشهود فى المتعة و فى الموقت الشهود

Mut’ah (of the Shia) witnesses are not required and in Nikah Muwaqqat they are.[15]


Molana Muhammad Hassan Samali rahimahu Llah writes:


ان حضور الشهود غير مشروط فى المتعة و امدنما هى فى الموقت و هذا هو الفرق بينهما

Witnesses are not a condition (for it to be valid) in Mut’ah whereas it is a condition in Nikah Muwaqqat, and this is the difference between the two.[16]


It is evident from these references that in Nikah Muwaqqat, which was permitted in the early years of Islam, witnesses, permission of the bride and public announcement were all essential whereas it is not required in the Shia Mut’ah. Ponder deeply over the differences between the two.

If you are unsatisfied with the statements of the ‘Ulamaʼ Ahlus Sunnah then listen to the Shia scholar Sheikh al Tusi, who affirms our substantiation. Mu’alla ibn Khunays says that he asked Imam Jafar al Sadiq rahimahu Llah:


و جعلت فداك كان المسلمون على عهد النبى (صلى الله عليه و سلم و أله) يتزوجون بغير بغية؟ قال لا

May I be sacrificed for you! Did the Muslims marry without witnesses during the time of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Imam Jafar al Sadiq replied: “No!”[17]


Sheikh al Tusi writes:


انهم ما تزوجوا الا ببينة و ذلك هو افضل

Verily they would not marry without witnesses and this is best.[18]


We learn from this that the Nikah Muwaqqat that was permitted in the early period of Islam would occur in the presence of two witnesses and they never performed a nikah without witnesses being present. However, despite them adhering to this, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam still announced its prohibition. Where is Mut’ah from Nikah Muwaqqat? Mut’ah was never permitted before or after and nor can it be ever permitted.

4. The permission that was granted for Nikah Muwaqqat was given in extreme circumstances and not permitted for every single individual. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, whom the Shia cite as proof the most, explained the circumstances in which it was permitted and the level of its permissibility, when the ruling of its permissibility was attributed to him. He said:


و الله ما بهذا افتيت ولا اردت ولا احللت منها الا ما احل الله من الميتة و الدم و لحم الخنزير

I take an oath by Allah, I never issued any such ruling nor have I intended to do so. I have not permitted anything from it except to the extent of what Allah has made permissible from carrion, blood and the meat of pigs.

It is narrated that his servant once asked him regarding this, that if it was only permitted in extreme conditions and he replied that it was.[19]


Ibn Abi ‘Amrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu also says:


انها كانت رخصة فى اول الاسلام لمن اضطر اليها كالميتة و الدم و لحم الخنزير ثم لحكم الله الدين و نهى عنه

Nikah Muwaqqat was permitted in the early years of Islam for those in extreme circumstances, just as carrion, blood and meat of pigs (is permitted in extreme circumstances), then Allah established the laws of din and forbade it.[20]


One learns from this that Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu denied the outright permissibility of Nikah Muwaqqat and that it was never his intention to rule on its permissibility. Instead he only regarded it as permissible in extreme circumstances, just as it is permissible for a person to consume carrion, blood or swine in extremes circumstances, and there will be no admonishment for doing so.

However, not one single person claims that they are halal in all circumstances. These laws pertain to extreme circumstances and not in normal conditions and Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu even went as far as displaying his abhorrence to its permissibility by including it with the likes of carrion, blood and swine.

Nevertheless, one should keep in mind that when Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu heard the proofs and substantiations of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the other Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum he withdrew his previous opinion and ruled that it is forbidden in all circumstances. In doing so he removed any chance of its permissibility.

5. This permissibility of Nikah Muwaqqat was only allowed when on journey and was not permitted for those residing in the town. Imam Tahawi rahimahu Llah writes:


كل هؤلاء الذين رووا عن النبى (صلى الله عليه و سلم) اطلاقها اجزوا انها كات فى سفر و ان النهى لحقها فى ذلك فمنع منها و ليس احد منهم يجز انها كانت فى حضر و كذلك روى عن ابن مسعود

All those who narrated that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had permitted Mut’ah, narrate that it was permissible on journey and it was prohibited in that very same journey. Not one single narrator reported that this permissibility was when residing at home, as is apparent from the narration of Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu that this applies only while on journey.[21]


Imam Hazimi rahimahu Llah says:


و انما كان ذلك فى اسفارهم و لم يبلغنا ان النبى (صلى الله عليه و سلم) اباحة لهم عى بيوتهم

This permissibility was only while on journey and not one single narration has reached us that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam permit it for them while residing in their homes.[22]


One learns from the narrations of hadith that its prohibition was revealed whilst on that very journey and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ordered the Sahabah to separate from those women. This makes it clear that

  • This was restricted to that journey and was not permitted while at home.
  • Its prohibition was announced in this very journey.

Since Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam announced its prohibition until the Day of Qiyamah in accordance to Allah’s decree, whether on journey or at home it is forbidden in all circumstances.

The Iranian president Rafsanjani, abandons all these proofs and permits it entirely, saying that one can perform Mut’ah wherever one pleases. Whereas this permission was only granted for a short period of time whilst on a journey and thereafter prohibited. The level to which the Iranian president has stooped to defame the noble teachings of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is indeed disgusting.

6. It was incumbent in Nikah Muwaqqat that when the couple separates, the woman should observe a period of waiting equivalent to one menstrual cycle. She should not marry any other during this period of waiting so that there will be no doubt to the parentage of the child had she conceived. ‘Ammar says that he asked ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu:


هل عليها عدة قال نعم حيضة

Does she have to observe a period of waiting and he replied: “Yes, one menstrual cycle.”[23]


This implies that if she did conceive then the child will be named after his father. This is the reason why witnesses and the representative of the bride were necessary, so that they will be able to bear witness that it is his child.

However, according to the Shia definition of Mut’ah there is neither need for witnesses, representative of the bride nor any need for public announcement. This would imply that if the woman does conceive then the child will have no father. It is uncertain with how many men she might have performed Mut’ah with, in nine months. Will any person be willing to take responsibility in such a case?

Even the initial condition of Nikah Muwaqqat has been abrogated and its prohibition announced until the Day of Qiyamah. Now if any person were to rule on its permissibility then it will be direct contradiction with the law of shari’ah, which will open the doors of sin, shamelessness and immorality, which Islam strictly opposes.

In essence the narration of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu permitting Mut’ah should be read with the explanations mentioned above and then one should decide whether Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu actually regarded it as permissible or not. The truth of the matter is that he did not, especially after hearing the proofs from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Muhammad ibn Hanafiyyah rahimahu Llah as well as the other Sahabah. He then withdrew his previous opinion regarding Mut’ah and announced his repentance from his previous opinion.

Now for anyone to claim that Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu regarded it as opinion is a great injustice and a complete fabrication.


NEXT⇒ Proof of the Shia for the Permissibility of Mut’ah

[1]Al Istibsar, v. 3 p. 144

[2]Islah Shia, v. 192

[3]Furu’ al Kafi, v. 5 p. 453

[4] Tahdhib al Ahkam, v. 2 p. 186

[5]Furu’ al Kafi, v. 5 p. 467, Wasa’il al Shia, v. 7 p. 450

[6]Ma’arif al Qur’an, v. 2 p. 51

[7]Sahih Bukhari, v. 2 p. 664

[8]Sahih Muslim, v. 1 p. 452

[9]Muntaqa Sharh Muwattaʾ, v. 3 p. 33

[10]Fath al Mulhim, v. 2 p. 441

[11]Fath al Bari, v. 19 p. 208

[12]Fath al Mulhim, v. 3 p. 44

[13]Ma’arif al Qur’an, v. 2 p. 51

[14]Tafsir al Qurtubi, v. 5 p. 132

[15]Fath al Qadir, v. 2 p. 33

[16]Hashiyah Musnad al Islam, p. 336

[17]Al Istibsar, v. 3 p. 148

[18]  ibid

[19]Sahih Bukhari, v. 2 p. 767

[20]Sahih Muslim, v. 1 p. 452

[21]Tafsir al Qurtubi, v. 5 p. 131

[22]Kitab al I’tibar, p. 178

[23]Tafsir al Qurtubi, v. 5 p. 132

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