Chapter Four: Qur’anic evidences for the legitimacy of Mut’ah


The first set of evidences for the permissibility of Mut’ah lie in the Holy Qur’an itself. It is commonplace that, when arguing with the enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (as), any and all Sunni narrations that support the stance of the Prophet (s) and his family are dismissed as being “weak” (da’eef), even when the book is found in one of the allegedly sahih collections (such as that of Bukhari or Muslim). No reason is ever given for why the hadeeth is weak; rather, the claim serves as a failsafe when the Ahl al-Bayt (as)’s enemies are backed into a corner by their own hadeeth literature. As such, we will first deal with the text of the Holy Qur’an itself, and discover how the Qur’an legitimises Mut’ah, and how the vast majority of Sunni scholars have accepted this.

The Verse of Mut’ah (4:24)

The most important verse of the Holy Qur’an which establishes the legitimacy of Mut’ah is verse 24 of Surat an-Nisa, known to all hadeeth commentators (Sunni and Shi’a) as “the verse of Mut’ah.” This verse provides a clear and unshakeable permission for the practice of temporary marriage. In the same way that Islam has established principles to protect human beings, via rules and regulations, it has at the same time provided for legitimate means by which man can enjoy himself, and Mut’ah is one of these ways. The Shari’ah prohibits fornication, but at the same time allows the practise of Mut’ah. If anyone is unaware of this blessing from Allah (swt), then let us set out the evidences from the Holy Qur’an:

[Forbidden to you] are married woman, except what your right hand possesses. This Allah has written for you, and all other women besides these are permitted to you, so that you may seek them out with your wealth, seeking chastity and not fornication. So when you have contracted temporary marriage [istimt'atum] with them, then give them their words. There is no sin on you for whatever you agree to after this. Indeed, Allah is Knowing, Wise.
Al-Qur’an, Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 24

Allah (swt) has used the word istimta’tum, which is the verbal form of the word Mut’ah. While the word has many other numerous meanings (as will be discussed below), we see that in the same way that the terms Zakat, Saum, and hajj carry a specific Islamic definition, so does the word istimta’. The specific, Islamic meaning which the word refers to is the performance of a temporary marriage, and nobody has denied this.

Four main evidences that prove that verse 4:24 refers to Mutah

We initially submitted Sunni materials that prove that amongst the numerous Qur’anic verses, there exists a specific one regarding Mutah, namely the 24th verse of Surah Nisa. In that verse Allah (swt) has used the Arabic word istimta’tum, which is the verbal form of the word Mut’ah. Many Nawasib try their best to prove that istimta’tum does not in any way refer to Nikah al-Mutah, but all such Nasibi attempts fall flat since there are three key pieces of evidence that negate the Nasibi notion.

First evidence- The fact that authentic Sunni books are replete with traditions informing us of episodes wherein the Sahabah performed temporary marriage (Mutah) and many of these traditions contain the same Arabic word istimta. Let us cite two such examples, first from Sahih Muslim, the second most authentic Sunni Hadith book.

حدثني الربيع بن سبرة الجهني، أن أباه، حدثه أنه، كان مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال ‏”‏ يا أيها الناس إني قد كنت أذنت لكم في الاستمتاع من النساء

“Sabra al-Juhanni reported on the authority of his father that while he was with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon hm) he said: 0 people, I had permitted you to contract temporary marriage with women…”
Sahih Muslim Book 008, Number 3255

We read the following episode in Muwatta by Imam Malik:

۔۔۔ عمر بن الخطاب فقالت ان ربيعة بن امية استمتع بامراة فحملت منه ۔۔۔

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Urwa ibn az-Zubayr that Khawla ibn Hakim came to Umar ibn al-Khattab and said, ”Rabia ibn Umayya made a temporary marriage with a woman and she…”
Muwatta Imam Malik, Book 28, Number 28.18.42

Second evidence – The fact that all Sunni commentators have recorded arguments regarding the permissibility or impermissibility of Mutah and have recorded the practices and views of the Sahaba, Tabaeen and Ulema regarding Mutah under the commentary of no other verse but 4:24. For those Nawasib who advance the notion that this verse does not deal with Mutah, we would like to ask them:

“Did the Sunni commentators of the Quran including the Nasibi’s favourite Ibn Kathir, along with Imam Tabari, Qurtubi etc have no understanding as to what they were doing when they were advancing their arguments about Mutah under the commentary of 4:24?”

Third evidence - The fact that many of the prominent Sahaba and Tabayeen that present day Nawasib adhere to would read the cited verse with some extra words, making it crystal clear that the verse referred to temporary marriage. They would recite the verse in this manner:

“And those of whom ye seek content (by marrying them) for a specified period…”

The recitation of the words ‘for a specified period’ by the Sahaba and Taba’een proves this to be the verse dealing with Mutah in which the period of marriage is specified.

Fourth evidence – The fact that the leading Sahaba, Tabayeen and scholars clearly stated that verse 4:24 refers to ‘temporary marriage’ leaves no ground for our opponents to bring absurd excuses. We read the testimony of the great jurist, Mujahid who stated:

“This (verse) revealed for Mut’ah marriage”

Famed Sunni commentator of Holy Quran namely Maqatil bin Sulaiman himself would read the verse in this manner: ‘Then as to those whom you profit by for a specified period” making it clear that according to him this verse refers to temporary marriage.

We will inshallah expand on second and third evidences later in this chapter.

Nasibi arguments about verse 4:24; the verse of Mut’ah

Nonetheless, the Wahabi Dr Salamah has published a critique of the Islamic belief that this verse deals with Mut’ah. This article has been trumpeted as being one of the best critiques of the Shi’a belief in Mut’ah, though what it only demonstrates is the author’s utter disbelief in the Islamic revelation. The article revolves around a crass critique of Mut’ah, arguing that it is a form of fornication which violates Islamic norms of chastity. Rather than reading like the reasoned work of an Islamic scholar, it reads more like the tired moralism of Orientalists who attack Islam for having a positive attitude towards sex. The question of whether or not Mut’ah constitutes any type of moral outrage, or whether or not it will lead to the sexual corruption of society, will be dealt with in a later chapter. Here, however, we will deal with his argument that Mut’ah is a type of fornication (zina).

To claim that Mut’ah is fornication is to claim that it is a haram sexual act. This is all the word fornication means: sexual relations that are not permitted by Allah (swt), the Lawgiver. If Allah (swt) permits a type of sexual practice, then it by definition ceases to be fornication. If one accepts that Allah (swt) has permitted a certain type of sexual practice, and yet continues to argue that such a practice is immoral and evil, then such a person has ascribed a direct insult against his Creator, Allah (swt). Before anybody can begin to say that Mut’ah is evil or an act of impiety, one must first ask if Allah (swt) has forbidden it. To do otherwise would be to merely be follow one’s own whims and desires and introducing an impermissible innovation (bid’a) into Islamic law.

The Wahabi author Dr. Salamah makes a critique of the above quoted verses where the verbal form of the word Mut’ah is used, in which he makes several key errors:

Two terms in the verse under discussion are used by Shi’ah commentators to allow Mut’ah. The first word is “ujur” (pi. of ajr), which means “compensation”; the second is “istamta’tum” which can be translated as “what you have enjoyed.” So the end of the verse could be translated: “But give them their compensation for what you have enjoyed of them [in keeping with your promise].” Shi’ah commentators claim that “ajr” refers to the price of Mut’ah agreed upon by the two parties. On the contrary, Sunnis state that it refers to the mahr (bridal money given by the husband to the wife). Similarly, Shi’as explain the term “istamta’tum” as the physical act of consummation.

The author is clearly ignorant of Shi’ism and the Shia Tafsir. He writes that the word ujur, which the author translates as “compensation,” is understood as the “price” which a man pays to a temporary wife. He then argues that Sunnis say it refers to the mahr, the dowry. It is difficult to see what the author is intending to say here, in fact, there is absolutely no disagreement between Sunnis and Shi’as on this issue. The “compensation” paid by a husband to his temporary wife is the mahr for the temporary marriage. It is absolutely no different than the “compensation” paid by a husband to his permanent wife. The word is general and covers the dowry of a permanent or temporary wife. It would seem that the author is attempting to imply that the Shi’as are reading something into the verse that is not there; however, what exactly we are reading into it that Sunnis say is not there remains unknown. In refuting Dr. Salamah’s argument, we are burdened by the fact that he is a very bad writer, with a bad grasp of both English and Arabic, and so it is often difficult to understand what he is talking about. In any case, it seems that he means to imply that Shi’as say that this ayat does not refer to a mahr but refers to something different, and that this somehow proves that the ayat is about Mut’ah, and not about permanent marriage.

If this is what Dr. Salamah means (and his poor grasp of English and bad writing style makes it hard to tell), then the author is entirely wrong, because not only is the dowry of Mut’ah also referred to as a ‘mahr’ but the tendency amongst many scholars has been to refer more to the dowry of Mut’ah with the word ‘mahr’ and to refer to the dowry of a Nikah with the word ‘Sidaq’. The common fatwa about how to recite the seegah (marriage vows) of a temporary marriage uses the word mahr: “Zawajtuka nafsi fi al-mida al-ma’lumah wa ‘ala al-mahr al-ma’lum” which means “I marry myself to you in the known time limit and on the known dowry (using the word mahr)” whereas the seegah for a permanent marriage is commonly ruled to be “Zawajtuka nafsi ‘ala al-sidaq al-ma’lum” which means “I marry myself to you on the known dowry (this time using the word sidaq to refer to the mahr).”
Cf. Ayatullah Kho’i, Al-Masa’il al-Muntakhibah, p. 327

What we see from this is that Shi’as have never denied the obligation of mahr in Mut’ah; and in fact, the use of the word mahr is more emphasised with Mut’ah than with Nikah. In any case, it is difficult to see the precise point behind Wahabi author’s argument about the word ajr. There is no disagreement between Sunnis and Shi’as about this ayat referring to the marriage dowry; the difference between Shi’as and some contemporary Wahabis is whether or not this verse refers to permanent marriage, or temporary marriage.

The author then moves on to the part wherein he demonstrates not only his contempt for the Holy Qur’an, but also his contempt for the great commentators of Qur’an amongst the Sunni ‘ulama. He says that we explain the term “istimta’tum” as meaning the physical act of consummation. He writes:

Similarly, Shi’as explain the term “istamta’tum” as the physical act of consummation. However, this is contradicted by the following Qur’anic verses: “There is no blame upon you if you have divorced women whom you have not touched [i.e., the marriage has not been consummated] or specified for them a mahr. But give them [a gift of] compensation [matti'uhunna]. The wealthy has his capability and the poor has his capability – a provision [mata'an] according to what is acceptable, an obligation upon the righteous.”15

It is difficult to tell, but it seems that Dr. Salamah has got something reversed here: the Shi’a argue that it refers to Mut’ah, temporary marriage, and not the physical act of consummation. Those Wahabis who attempt to deny Mut’ah are the ones saying it refers to the act of consummation, in their attempt to deny the verse’s indication (dalalat) upon the permissibility of temporary marriage. An example of some Wahabi writings on this issue comes from the author of ‘The Illegitimacy of Temporary Marriage in Islam’:

Allah Most High says: “So whatever you enjoy from them, give them their recompense, this is an obligation.” [4:24]. This is the verse relied on by those who support temporary marriage. They rely on it either in ignorance or in order to fool others, giving a superficial meaning to the verse without referring to the interpretation of it, and without availing the correct interpretation to the general public. The following is the interpretation of it: Imam Qurtuby says in his commentary on this verse, the payment in the context is the dowry, it has been called recompense because it is a fee for the enjoyment. This is a support for dowry being a recompense. Alhasan, Mujahid, and others said: The meaning relates to what you have ‘enjoyed’ through your union with women in proper marriage, so “give them their recompense” that is, their dowries. Ibn Khuwayz Mindad said: There is no support and it is not permissible to use the verse as a permission for temporary marriage as the Messenger of Allah (swt) has warned against and has forbidden temporary marriage as Allah Most High said: “So marry them with the permission of their families.” It is natural for the marriage to take place with the permission of the parents, this is a proper marriage which has a trustee and two witnesses, temporary marriage is not like that. ‘A’isha said: “It has been forbidden in the Qur’an in the words of the Most High: “And those who preserve their private parts except with their spouses or what their right hands posses, then they would have no blame.” [23:5]. Temporary marriage is not regarded as a proper marriage, and the spouse does not fall into the category of what the right hand possesses.

Here, we see several Sunni authors being quoted by “Nida ul Islam magazine” as saying that the verse has absolutely nothing to do with marriage, rather that it has to do with sexual act itself, viz.:

Alhasan, Mujahid, and others said: The meaning relates to what you have ‘enjoyed’ through your union with women in proper marriage, so “give them their recompense” that is, their dowries.

The same argument has also been put forward by former Head of Sipah-e-Sahaba in his wonderfully titled ‘Muta (Temporary marriage Or Legalised Prostitution)’:


Dr. Salamah, then, seems to be very confused. He has all of his arguments backward: the entire point of the debate about the verse of Mut’ah is that some Wahabis claim that it does not refer to Mut’ah at all, but rather that it refers to the sexual act itself and therefore does not establish the permissibility of Mut’ah. The Prophet (s), the Holy Imams (as) and the community of the Shi’a have always argued that the use of the term “istimta’tum” refers to the permissibility of temporary marriage, of Mut’ah, while their enemies have argued that the verse refers only to the sexual act of a Nikah. This Wahabi clearly has everything backwards! It is shocking, but the author attributes the Wahabi argument to the Shi’a, and then under the confused belief that it is a “Shi’a” argument goes on to refute his own belief system!

Dr. Salamah states:

Similarly, Shi’as explain the term “istamta’tum” as the physical act of consummation. However, this is contradicted by the following Qur’anic verses: “There is no blame upon you if you have divorced women whom you have not touched [i.e., the marriage has not been consummated] or specified for them a mahr. But give them [a gift of] compensation [matti'uhunna]. The wealthy has his capability and the poor has his capability – a provision [mata'an] according to what is acceptable, an obligation upon the righteous.”15

We could not have said it better ourselves. The author deserves great congratulations for refuting those Wahabi ‘ulama who have argued that this verse refers to the sexual act as opposed to temporary marriage. What he did not realize in his argument is that Allah (swt) has, in this verse that he quotes (“There is no blame…”) already specified the obligation of dowry, which is made obligatory by the marriage contract, not by the consummation of the marriage. It does not make sense for Allah (swt) to say if you do not have sex with your wife, you must pay her the dowry, and then to later on say: “If you have sex with them, you must pay them their dowry.”

In the same vein, Allamah Tabataba’i writes:

If the meaning of the verse is tamt’atum [meaning physical enjoyment in this case], then this does not fit with the part of this verse which follows, i.e. “Give them their compensation.” This is because the dowry (mahr!) is obligatory (wajib) by the simple establishment of the marital contract (aqd), and it does not rely upon the actual act of physical enjoyment…Rather, one half is made wajib by the contract, and the other half is made wajib by sexual penetration (dukhul). Furthermore, the ayat which was revealed before is sufficient in making clear the dowry has to be paid under all circumstance, and so there is no point in repeating. This is the verse [4:4] that says: “And give the women their dowries as a gift,” as well as the verse “There is no sin upon you if you divorce your wives before you have touched them or specified a dowry. But give them a gift of compensation, the wealthy what he can, and the poor what he can” until He says: “And if you divorce them before you have touched them, and you have decided upon a dowry, then give them half of what you have agreed upon.”
Tabataba’i, Al-Mizan, vol. 4, p. 280

The fact is that Allah (swt) has already explained all of the ahkam of dowry before this in quite a detailed fashion. There is no point in then repeating it, in a much more general fashion, later on.

In any case, the fact of the matter is that the word istimta’ has many different meanings. In order to understand it, we must turn to the context of the verse, which is marriage. It is pointless to say that the word istimt’a only refers to “taking benefit” in the sense of taking sexual pleasure, for this would imply that dowry is only obligatory when the sexual act is consummated. This argument is contradicted by verse 4:24, as Allamah Tabataba’i has pointed out, and is also contradicted by the verse 2:236 which Dr. Salamah cited. Dowry is not made obligatory by the sexual act; it is already made obligatory by the marriage contract, albeit only in part.

Misunderstanding this, the Sunni author at Islamic Voice Magazine also criticizes the proper interpretation of this verse when he writes:

Below are the verses of Qur’an which in some companions’ opinion and in the opinion of Shi’as, legitimize the Muta’.”…All women other than these (described in 5:22,23) are lawful to you, provided you seek them with your wealth (Mehar) in modest conduct, not in fornication. Give them their Mehar as a duty for the ‘ISTAMTA’ (benefit) you have had with them.”(5:24)The relevant Arabic word in the above verse is ‘Famastamta’tum’ which means, ‘when you have had benefited with them’. Those favouring the Muta’ translate it as ‘when you had made Muta’ with them’. There is one clear proof in Qur’an that they are mistaken. This particular word has been used as it is in two other verses of Qur’an viz 9:69 and 46:20. I am presenting the translation of one of these. You can check the other verse yourself. First, see the translation of the verse preceding 9:69 so that the context could be known that the description is of hypocrites.”Allah has promised the hypocrites, both men and women, and the unbelievers, the fire of Hell. They shall abide in it. It is sufficient for them; theirs shall be a lasting torment”. (9:68)

And now, the next verse with the actual translation of the relevant word in question:

“As in the case of those before you, they were mightier than you and had greater riches and more children. They had BENEFITED from their portion and you have BENEFITED from yours as did those before you. You indulge in idle talk as they did. They! Their works are fruitless in this world and in the Hereafter, and they are the losers”. (9:69)

I am again reproducing the same verse below but this time I am putting the word Muta’ in the translation of the word FAMASTAMTA’TUM, which Shias claim to mean Muta’, the same word, which occurred in (5:24

“As in the case of those before you, they were mightier than you and had greater riches and more children. They had their portion of Muta’ and you have had your portion of Muta’ as did those before you. You indulge in idle talk as they did. They! Their works are fruitless in this world and in the Hereafter, and they are the losers”. (9:69)

I have no hesitation in saying that those companions who against the opinion of other companions thought that the verse (5:24) of Qur’an authenticated Muta’, erred in its interpretation.

Salamah, then, has (in the midst of his confusion) accidentally made the same point that the Shi’as do: that this verse does not merely refer to the physical act of sexual enjoyment. However, Salamah does not seem to go on and ever say what it does mean. The root m-t-’ has a great number of meanings, some of which are listed by Ayatullah Maghniyah in his book Fiqh al-Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq:

Mut’ah has many meanings. In some cases it may mean to take benefit, such as when Allah (swt) refers to “They take the benefits of the worldly life.” It may refer to increase, or it may refer to remaining, such as when He says: “He let them remain for a while.” It may also refer to a gift, such as when He, Blessed be His Names, says: “They are gifted of knowledge.” As far as the legal scholars, they talk about Mut’ah in the meaning of a gift, in the sense of what they make obligatory on a man who has married a woman without specifying a dowry, and then divorces her before having sexual relations. They would necessitate that the divorced woman be a gift that is appropriate for his economic status. This is based upon the ayat 236 of Surah al-Baqara: “There is no sin on you that you divorce women whom who you have not touched, and that you give them a gift (Mut’ah), the rich man based on his ability, and the poor based on his ability, a righteous gift which is a right over the pure ones.” They also talk about Mut’ah in terms of hajj, which we have discussed elsewhere. Alongside of these uses, the scholars of law talk about Mut’ah in terms of a fixed-time marriage. There is universal consensus amongst Sunni and Shi’a scholars that Islam has legislated this, and that the Prophet (s) made this permissible. This is based upon ayat 24 of Surat an-Nisa’: “When you have done Mut’ah with them, so give them the agreed upon dowry.”

The Hans-Wehr dictionary gives the following meanings for the root m-t-’:

“Verbal form: to carry away, take away; to be strong, firm, sold…To make enjoy; to furnish, equip supply; to give as a compensation…to gratify the eye; to make enjoy, to have the usufruct; to be blessed and to enjoy, savour, relish”

Noun form: enjoyment, pleasure, delight, gratification; recreation; compensation paid to a divorced woman; Muta’h, temporary marriage, usufruct marriage contracted for a specified time”.
Hans Wehr dictionary, p. 1045

Now, given that this verse comes in the context of marriage, it can only mean one of three things:

  1. Enjoyment, in the sense that it is used to refer to the sexual act itself
  2. Giving a woman her dowry or other compensation after divorce
  3. Temporary Marriage

The Wahabi author has already refuted those who argue that the use of the word istamta’ means the first, because it is either contradictory or repetitive (depending on how one wants to look at it), and we have seen that it does not fit with the context of the overall Surah. As far as the second meaning, it is entirely prohibited by the verse, for otherwise we would have to translate it as:

“As for those women who you compensate, then compensate them.”

Such a translation is obviously meaningless. As such, we can only predicate the meaning of the verb on the third meaning, i.e., temporary marriage.

The author makes another critical mistake as well:

It should be noted that the Qur’an continues with this statement: “So marry them with the permission of their families and give them their dowers according to what is reasonable.” Such a case is only possible in a regular marriage since these conditions are not necessary in Mut’ah.

Firstly, a large number of Shi’a Fuquha have argued that it is obligatory to seek the permission of parents for a temporary marriage with a virgin girl, so the author has demonstrated his complete lack of knowledge with regards to Shi’a fiqh. Ayatullah Kho’i, for example, writes:

It is an obligatory precaution that an adult, mature, virgin girl seeks the permission of her father or paternal grandfather in her marriage.
Cf. Kho’i, Ibid. pp. 329-330

In any case, there is dispute on this issue amongst the Fuquha of the Shi’a, just as there is dispute about it amongst the Sunnis. But this verse has nothing to do with that, for the author has quoted the verse out of context. There is a gap between the verse of Mut’ah and this verse, where Allah (swt) says:

If any of you do not have the means to marry a chaste, believing woman, then take those handmaidens from whom your right hand possesses. Allah has full knowledge of your Faith. You are from one or another, so marry them with the permission of their people, and give them their compensation.
Al-Qur’an, Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 24

Allah (swt) uses the word Ahl, which means people or family. Now, since it is clear that this verse is referring to slave-women, it is clear that the word Ahl is referring to the owners of the slave-girls, and to this end Yusuf ‘Ali has correctly translated it as:

Wed them with the leave of their owners.

As such, this verse has nothing to do with marriage between free parties. The beginning of the verse makes this clear:

If any of you do not have the means to marry a chaste, believing woman…

Clearly, then, this verse deals with people who cannot marry, and so has nothing to do with either Mut’ah or Nikah. Once again, it remains unclear what the point of the author’s argument was: he seems to be implying that, since all the Shi’a supposedly believe that the permission of the guardian is not necessary in a temporary marriage (which, as we have seen, is not the case), than since this second verse mentions the condition of seeking the guardian’s permission, it somehow proves that the first verse has nothing to do with temporary marriage. However, we have seen that a clear reading of the entire verse shows that it is entirely unrelated to marriage at all; the Qur’an has, in fact, moved on to a separate discussion at this point. If the Wahabi author chooses to disagree, then let him reference the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir:

Allah said, those who do not have, (the means), financial capability (Wherewith to wed free believing women) meaning, free faithful, chaste women. (They may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess,) meaning, they are allowed to wed believing slave girls owned by the believers. (And Allah has full knowledge about your faith; you are one from another.) Allah knows the true reality and secrets of all things, but you people know only the apparent things. Allah then said, (Wed them with the permission of their own folk) indicating that the owner is responsible for the slave girl, and consequently, she cannot marry without his permission. The owner is also responsible for his male slave and they cannot wed without his permission. A hadith states, (Any male slave who marries without permission from his master, is a fornicator.)
Reference at

It is then established, without a doubt, that Allah (swt) is referring to temporary marriage in the ayat al-Mut’ah. This is agreed upon by the Sunni Tafsir writers. If it does not refer to temporary marriage, the only thing it could refer to is the sexual act itself, something that the Wahabi author refutes! As such, this leaves only one possibility, namely that the Imams (as) as well as the Sunni Tafsir commentators were all correct in understanding this verse as referring to Mut’ah.

Sunni commentaries of the verse 4:24 prove that it refers to Mutah

The Wahabi author not only demonstrates his contempt for the Qur’an, but also his disregard for the Sunni Tafsir writers who have all agreed that this verse deals explicitly with Mut’ah and nothing else. We shall now cite 18 books of Ahl’ul Sunnah who testify from Companions it referred to Mut’ah. Sunni Ulama undoubtedly confirm that this verse refers to Mut’ah. As proof we have relied on the following Sunni texts:

  1. Tafseer Kashaf, Volume 1 page 20- commentary of Nisa
  2. Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Volume 1 page 84
  3. Tafseer Tabari, Page 9 part 5
  4. Tafseer Fatah ul Qadeer, page 14
  5. Tafseer Gharaib Qur’an, page 2 part 5
  6. Tafseer Qurtubi, Volume 5 page 60
  7. Tafseer Mu’alim al Tanzeel, Volume 1 page 63
  8. Tafseer Khazan, Volume 1 page 63 Ayat Mut’ah
  9. Tafseer Kabeer, Volume 3 page 95
  10. Tafseer Durr al-Manthur, Volume 2 page 140
  11. Tafseer Akham of Quran, Volume 2 page 45
  12. Tafseer Baydhawi, Volume 2 page 9
  13. Tafseer Haqqani, Volume 2 page 3
  14. Tafseer Ahmadi, Volume 1 page 10
  15. Al-Ajaeb Fi Bayan al-Asbab, Vol 2 page 858
  16. Tafseer al-Thalabi, Volume 1 page 363
  17. Al-Majmoo, by Nawawi, Volume 16 page 253
  18. Tafseer Mazhari, Volume 3 page 18

We may quote some of these authors and their views on Mut’ah. Qadhi Thanaullah Paani Patti records in Tafseer Mazhari, Volume 3 page 18:

“According to a group, this verse refers to Mut’ah marriage, which means a marriage in which the both dowry and the time are specefied and when the specefied time expires, the woman gets free and there is no need of divorce and in order to be sure of the womb, waiting for one menstrual cycle is necessary”

On the next page we read:

“Abdurazak in Musnaf has narrated the statement of Atta through Ibn Juraij that Ibn Abbas still believed that Mutah is Halal and in his proof he used to cite this verse”
Tafseer Mazhari, Volume 3 page 19

Similarly we read in Tafseer Thalabi:

وقال ابن عباس أيضا وغيره إن الآية نزلت في نكاح المتعة

“Ibn Abbas and some others said that the verse was revealed regarding Mutah”

We read in Tafseer Qurtubi:

وقال الجمهور : المراد نكاح المتعة الذي كان في صدر الإسلام

“The majority said that it refers to Nikah al-Mut’ah which existed during the beginning of Islam”
Tafseer Qurtubi, commentary of the verse 4:24

Fatah ul Qadeer:

وقال الجمهور: إن المراد بهذه الآية: نكاح المتعة الذي كان في صدر الإسلام

“The majority said that this verse refers to Nikah al-Mut’ah which existed during the beginning of Islam”

Tafseer Khazan:

قوم المراد من حكم الآية وهو نكاح المتعة

“A group said that the meaning of the verse is Nikah al-Mut’ah”

We read in Allamah Baghwi’s authortiy wotk ‘Tafseer Mu’alim al Tanzeel’ popularly known as Tafseer Baghwi:

هو نكاح المتعة وهو أن ينكح امرأة إلى مدة

“This verse refers to Mut’ah Nikah, that is to perform Nikah for a specific period”.

We read in Tafseer Beydhawi:

نزلت الآية في المتعة

“This verse was revealed regarding Mut’ah”

Imam of Deobandies Allamah Abu Muhamad Abdul Haq Haqqani states in ‘Tafseer Haqqani’:

This verse refers to Nikah al Mut’ah, which was permissible in the beginning of Islam then Sharyah deemed it Haram. And in the recitations of Abi bin Ka’ab, Ibn Abbas and Saeed bin Jubayr i.e۔ ila ajal al Musama (for a prescribed period) confirm this.
Tafseer Haqqani, Vol 2 page 3 (published in 1956, Deoband UP. India)

Ibn Katheer records:

وقد استدل بعموم هذه الآية على نكاح المتعة

“This verse refers to Nikah al-Mutah”

Ibn Katheer also recorded the belief of famed Tabayee namely Mujahid:

وقال مجاهد : نزلت في نكاح المتعة

“Mujahid said that this (verse) was revealed for Nikah al-Mut’ah”

Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti records the views of a great Tabayee, Ismaeel bin Abdulrahman al-Sedi (d. 127 H):

Narrated Ibn Jarir from al-Sedi about the verse: ‘This is the Mutah, the man marries a woman on a condition of a specified period, if the period ends, neither he will be related to her nor she will be related to him, she has to perform istebra for what is in her womb, there is no inheriting between them, one of them inherit the other’
Tafseer Dur al-Manthur, Volume 2 page 140

Imam Ibn Hajar in Al-Ajaeb Fi Bayan al-Asbab records the views of Maqatil bi Sulaiman:

قال مقاتل نزلت في المتعة

“Maqatil said that it was revealed regarding Mutah”

Imam Nawawi stated:

وقيل في قوله تعالى (فما استمتعتم به منهن فآتوهن أجورهن) المراد نكاح المتعة

“It has been said about His (Allah’s) statement ‘{Then as to those whom you profit by, give them their dowries as appointed}’ that referred to Nikah al-Mut’ah”

We have cited 18 books confirming that a verse regarding Mut’ah with women appears in the Qur’an. The Qur’anic evidence destroy Nasibi claims that there is no base for Mut’ah in the Quran, and the verdicts of these 18 Sunni ‘ulama shall suffice to destroy the claims of these Nawasib. A further analysis of these texts also shows that Sunni scholars acknowledged that Mut’ah was (originally) permissible:

  1. Tafseer Kabeer, Volume 3 page 95
  2. Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Volume 1 page 84
  3. Tafseer Ruh al-Maani, Volume 1 page 5
  4. Tafseer Gharaib al Qur’an, p. 2 Part 5
  5. Tafseer Mu’alim al Tanzeel, Volume 1 page 20
  6. Tafseer Maarif al Qur’an, Volume 1 page 28
  7. Tafseer Muraaghi, Volume 5 page 10
  8. Fatawa Abdul Hai, page 20

Tafseer Kabeer:

إنا لا ننكر أن المتعة كانت مباحة

“We don’t deny that Mut’ah was Mubah”.

Tafseer Ibn Katheer:

ولا شك أنه كان مشروعا في ابتداء الإسلام

“There is no doubt that in the start Mut’ah was Halal”.

Ahmad bin Mustafa al-Muraaghi (d. 1317 H) records in Tafseer Muraaghi:

“In the beginning of Islam Mut’ah was allowed”.

All of these texts point to a single, irrefutable fact that Mut’ah was originally allowed in Islam. Furthermore, many Sunni scholars have argued that Mut’ah is a legitimate type of Nikah (marriage). For example:

  1. Tafseer Qurtubi, Volume 5 page 36
  2. Tafseer Baydhawi, Volume 2 page 9
  3. Tafseer Jama al Bayan, Volume 1 page 66
  4. Tafseer Muraaghi, page 1

For example, we read on the above-cited page of Tafseer Qurtubi:

“The majority said that it refers to the Nikah al-Mut’ah which existed during the beginning of Islam”

And we read in Tafseer Baydhawi:

وهي النكاح المؤقت بوقت معلوم

“Mut’ah is Nikah for a specefied time.”

There can be no doubt that the Qur’an bears witness that Mut’ah was originally halaal. Supporting this are the actions of the Companions themselves Nasibi of course know this, but as is their habit prefer to deny this fact so as to keep their subjects living in ignorance. Imam Ibn Hajr Asqalani in ‘Talkhees al Habeer fi Takhreej al Hadeeth al Rafa al Kabeer’ Volume 3 page 159 (printed Cairo) provides a list of all those Sahaba and Tabayeen ‘revered’ by the AhleSunnah who deemed Mut’ah permissible:

“After the death of Holy Prophet (s), a group of Salaf deemed it Halal. Amongst the Sahaba they were Asma bint Abi Bakr, Jabir bin Abdullah, Ibn Masood, Ibn Abbas, Mu’awiya, Amro bin Huraith, Abo Saeed, Salama and Mu’abed bin Umaya bin Khalaf. He said that Jabir reported from the companions that (it was valid) during the reign of the Prophet, Abubakr and some part of Umar’s reign. He said that it is reported from Umar that he forbade it only if there were not two just witnesses. Some of Tab’een deemed (it halal) such as Tawous, Atta, Saeed bin Jubair and the majority of the jurists of Makka.”

Moreover we read:

“What has been reported from Asma, al-Nesa’i narrates it from Muslim Quri: ‘We went before Asma bint Abu Bakr and we asked her about Mut’ah al-Nisa, she replied: ‘I performed this Mut’ah during the lifetime of Rasulullah (s)”
Download book from (Volume 3 No. 1506)

Despite such clear evidence some modern day adherents of Mu’awiya have decided to rewrite history altogether, by denying that Mut’ah was ever allowed in Islam! Take the Fatwa on Mut’ah by the Deobandi Madrassa ‘Darul-Iftah Jamia Ashrafia’, based in Lahore, Pakistan. In response to a query on Mut’ah this is the Fatwa they give:

Assalaam o Alaikum
MUTTA has been declared HARAAM from the very outset of Islam. The usual MUTA, in force amongst AHL-E-TASHEE, was never permitted in Islam. This wicked thing was in vogue before Islam in the dark ages. (Ahsan ul Fatawa page 42 Vol. 5) Hazrat Shah Abdul Aziz has refuted the permission of MUTA from the very beginning of Islam. (Ahsan ul Fatawa page 52 Vol. 5)

The falsity of such a fatwa is clear when we have testimony of the Sahaba that Mut’ah was allowed and they practised it accordingly, claims that exists in works such as Sahih al Bukhari! Clearly this revision has history has been created with the sole of objective of defaming the Shi’a, we are in no doubt that this Nasibi Mullah is fully aware that the vast number of Sunni ‘ulama (the clear majority) have all argued that Mut’ah was originally halaal. It is unfortunate to see that this Deobandi mullah is not even aware of the comments of his late Imam Allamah Abu Muhamad Abdul Haq Haqqani. Regarding verse 4 of Surah Nisa Haqqani recorded:

“This verse refers to Nikah al Mut’ah, which was permissible in the beginning of Islam then Sharyah deemed it Haram. And in the recitation of Abi bin Ka`ab, Ibn Abbas and Saeed bin Jubayr i.e۔ ila ajal al Musama (for a prescribed period) confirms this. Mutah is a type of Nikah in which man keeps a woman for a prescribed period with a prescribed amount and its acceptance from both sides is also a condition therefore it is useless to call it prostitution… Some Ulema have said that Mutah is still valid just like among Sahabah Ibn Abbas and Imran bin Hussain, they say that this woman is also a wife”
Tafseer Haqqani, Vol 2 pages 3-4 (published in 1956, Deoband UP. India)

If according to the above quoted website Mut’ah was Haram from the very beginning then what views will such people maintain about Sahaba like Ibn Abbas and Imran bin Hussain and Ulema of their sect as Allamah Haqqani pointed who deemed Mut’ah to be Halal?

For further evidence we shall rely on the following Sunni sources:

  1. Tafseer Kabeer, Volume 4 page 41
  2. Tafseer Gharaib al Quran, Volume 5 page 5
  3. Tafseer Qurtubi, Volume 5 page 132
  4. Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Volume 1 page 474
  5. Tafseer Muraaghi, Volume 5 page 8
  6. Tafseer Waheedi, page 107
  7. Tafseer Tarjamun ul Qur’an, Volume 1 page 624 part 5
  8. Tafseer Baydhawi, Volume 2 page 79
  9. Tafseer Fatah ul Qadeer, Volume 1 page 414
  10. Tafseer Zia ul Qur’an, Volume 1 page 134
  11. Tafseer Haqqani, Volume 2 page 6
  12. Fatah ul Bari, Volume 9 page 173
  13. Sharh Muslim, by Nawawi Volume 9 page 179
  14. Au Jaza al Masalik fi Sharh Muwatta Imam Malik, Volume 9 page 404
  15. al Muhalla, Volume 9 page 519 by Ibn Hazm
  16. Ma’alim al Sunan ma Mukhthasar Sunan Abi Daud, Volume 3 page 18
  17. Nail al-Autar, Volume 6 page 153
  18. Sharh Zurqani, Volume 3 page 152, Dhikr Mut’ah
  19. Mirqat Sharh Mishkat, Volume 6 page 220
  20. Zaad al Maad, Volume 2 page 205

We read in Tafseer Kabeer:

واتفقوا على أنها كانت مباحة في ابتداء الاسلام

There is no doubt that at the beginning of Islam, Mut’ah was permissible.
Tafseer Kabeer, Volume 4 page 41

We read in Tafseer Muraaghi:

“At the beginning of Islam, Mut’ah was permissible”.

We read in Tafseer Gharaib al Quran:

“The scholars are in agreement that in the beginning of Islam, Mut’ah was Mubah.”

We read in Tafseer Fatah ul Qadeer:

وقال الجمهور: إن المراد بهذه الآية: نكاح المتعة الذي كان في صدر الإسلام

“The majority said that this verse refers to Nikah al-Mut’ah which existed during the beginning of Islam”

Tafseer Qurtubi:

“The majority said that it refers to the mutah marriage which existed during the beginning of Islam”

Tafseer Waheedi:

“Many scholars have said that when Islam started Mut’ah was allowed”.

We read in Fatah ul Bari that even the early Sunni scholars deemed it permissible:

قال بن المنذر جاء عن الأوائل الرخصة فيها ولا أعلم اليوم أحدا يجيزها الا بعض الرافضة

Ibn al-Mundher said: ‘It has been narrated from the early (scholars) that it is permissible while nowadays no one allow it except some Rafidhis’

In Sharh Muslim:

قال المازرى ثبت أن نكاح المتعة كان جائزا في أول الاسلام

Al-Mazeri said: ‘Nikah al-Mut’ah was allowed during the beginning of Islam’.

In al-Muhala:

وَهُوَ النِّكَاحُ إلَى أَجَلٍ، وَكَانَ حَلاَلاً عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم

“And it is a temporary marriage, it was lawful during the time of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh)”

Unfortunately, some ‘scholars’ have dispensed with centuries of Sunni scholarship and begun to argue against all of these ‘ulama. Hanafi author, Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi, gives another strange and hitherto unheard of Tafsir of this ayat:

The root of the Arabic word, istimta’ is ? – ? – ? (meem, taa, ‘ain) which means to derive benefit. Any benefit derived from a person or from wealth, property, assets, etc. is called istimta’. According to Arabic grammar, the addition of the letters ? (seen) and ? (taa) to the root of any word gives the meaning of seeking. Based on this lexical explanation, the simple and straight sense of the Qur’anic expression, Istamta’tum (you have benefited), as understood by the entire Muslim Ummah from the revered early elders to their successors and followers, is just what we have stated a little earlier. But, a sect [1] says that it means the conventional Mut’ah and, according to its adherents, this Ayat proves that Mut’ah is halaal (lawful). Therefore, it is pertinent here to give a brief account of Mut’ah and its unlawfulness.Mut’ah, which was in vogue before the advent of Islam, was a temporary contract between a man and a woman for having sexual relationship between them for a specified period in exchange of money or a specified kind offered by the man to the woman. This type of contract, which was never meant to create permanent rights and obligations of marriage, was clearly prohibited by the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah; however, this particular sect claims that it is still halaal. They sometimes seek support to this claim from the present Ayat just on the ground that the word Mut’ah has been derived from the same root wherefrom the word Istamta’tum used in this Ayat has been derived. Obviously, this argument is too far-fetched, and the present Ayat itself is sufficient to refute it, because before the word, Istamta’tum, Allah uses the words “binding yourself in marriage and not only for lust,” which clearly prove that the sexual relationship approved by Allah (in the Holy Qur’an) is the only one which aims at chastity through the permanent bond of marriage, and not a relationship based on satisfying lust for a temporary period which has been termed by the Holy Qur’an as flowing water.Now, it is obvious that the contract of Mut’ah has nothing to do with this concept. It neither creates permanent rights and obligations, nor does it bring about a family set-up, nor does it aim at having children and maintain chastity. It is nothing but to satisfy the sexual desire for a short period of time

This Mufti’s arguments are so badly written it is difficult to understand what he means in some places (the “flowing water” reference, for example). In any case, if the meanings of his arguments are vague, the flaws in his argument are obvious. As far as his translation of the verse, he says that the words istimta’tum means “to take benefit,” and this is how it has always been understood. We have already seen that the great Sunni Tafsir writers did not understand the verse this way, and so “Maulana” Shafi’s comments that this verse has “always” been understood by all generations as referring to the “taking of benefit” is entirely invalid.

In any case, if this is the meaning of the verse under discussion, than the Wahabi must provide an answer as to what benefit is being taken. It is not enough to merely say that this verse means “to take benefit.” The verse is giving several different hukms (ruling) on Islamic Law, and in order for us to be able to know and understand what those rulings are, we would have to understand what benefit is being referred to here, i.e. what benefit the husband must compensate his wife for. However, this is not made clear in the verse: and so if we deny that the words istimta’tum refers to Mut’ah and say that it refers to a general taking of benefit, then we really have no idea what Allah (swt) is telling us here. As such, if we accept Shafi’s translation, then we must say that this verse has no meaning and that we cannot possibly decipher what it refers to.

This is because of the way the verse has been written: Fama istimta’tum bi minhun fatuhunna ujurahunn. This line of the verse begins with the words Fa and Ma, meaning “So” and “What.” As such, if we were to accept Muhammad Shafi’s translation, the verse would mean “And so from what you have taken benefit from them, give them their rewards.” If istimta’tum means to take benefit, then we would have to understand the verse as being an order to compensate your wives for the benefit that one takes from them. However, we would have to then ask: Which benefit? Since the ayat is unconditional (mutlaq), we would therefore have to assume any benefit. Does a husband, therefore, have to pay his wife for sex? Does he have to pay her for having children? What does he have to pay her for, and what does he not have to pay her for? If we accept Shafi’s idea that the word istimta’tum means taking any benefit, than this would mean that a husband would be obligated to pay his wife for every task that she does. It would, therefore, be obligatory for a man to pay his wife for sex, since this would fall under the classification of “taking benefit.” As such, we see that after this Wahabi condemns Mut’ah for being a type of prostitution, he then gives a Tafsir of the Qur’an that makes prostitution (the paying of money for sex) obligatory in marriage. What hypocrisy!

However, if we understand the words as referring to Mut’ah (as have all the Shi’a and Sunni ‘ulama through history), then we do not have this problem: the verse refers to the obligation of paying the ajr, or the dowry, to the temporary wife.

Furthermore, his argument that the verses “binding yourself in marriage and not only for lust” indicate that the verse does not have anything to do with Mut’ah is entirely invalid, for the simple reason that no such verse exists. Rather, this translation is an example of Wahabi distortion (tahreef) in the Holy Qur’an. The word lust does not occur in this verse. Rather, the word used is musafiheen, and the Qur’an tells the believers that they should seek marriage as muhsineen and not as musafiheen. The word muhsineen in this context refers to those who keep themselves chaste, who protect themselves from fornication through marriage. The word musafiheen refers to prostitution or fornication. The word “lust” does not occur anywhere here, and so the believers are not being told to avoid their lust, but rather that they should satisfy their sexual desires through halaal ways. Since Mut’ah is one of these halaal ways, it does not qualify as fornication.

However, if the Wahabi author believes that this verse is telling believers not to satisfy their sexual desires, then this would obviously mean that all marriage is haram, as well as concubinage. Does the Maulana really believe that it is haram for a husband and wife to engage in sexual relations solely for the sake of sexual desire? If Maulana Shafi really believes that this ayat is a prohibition on satisfying one’s sexual desires, than he should probably contemplate a change of religion from Islam to Christianity. The idea that it is wrong to engage in marriage for the sake of sexual desire has nothing to do with Islam, and the tired moralism of anti-Mut’ah Wahabis is something truly foreign to Islam. Maulana Shafi seems to believe that the only purpose for marriage is to establish a family. According to his logic, then, it is not permissible to marry a barren woman who cannot have children, since sexual relations with her would only be for the sake of sexual desire and not for the sake of having children.

Nasibi’s attempt to prove Mut’ah is Haram by incorrectly translating/interpretating verse 4:24

A very interesting situation occurs when Nawasib try to prove that this verse 4:24 does not legitimise Mut’ah Marriage, they wrongly translate or misinterpret it to conclude that the verse in fact proves that Mut’ah marriage is Haram. Let us first give their translation and then their interpretation:

[Yusufali 4:24]
Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath Allah ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property,- desiring chastity, not lust (Ghair Musafihin).

The literal meaning of word ‘Musafihin’ is ‘spilling of semen’ that occurs in all kind of sexual relations irrespective of one’s own wife, slave woman or prostitute. When this spilling of semen is done according to rules and regulations prescribed by Sharia, then it is Halal. And when it is done against these rules and regulations, then it is Haram and constitutes Zina.

Therefore, here the word ‘Musafihin’ means ‘Spilling of semen in Haram ways’ [i.e. Zina aka fornication]. We don’t know on what basis Nawasib deem it to be ‘LUST’ and their further claim that whilst Mut’ah is done in order to satisfy sexual lust, hence this verse prohibits Mut’ah marriage. Such efforts demonstrate the worst type of deception by Nawasib in order to prove Mut’ah to be Haram, they are playing with the verses of the Quran in order to achieve their evil wishes. We shall advance further arguments which will prove these enemies of Allah have played with the verses of the Quran.

Reply One: Mut’ah was practiced long after the revelation of this verse

Surah Nisa was revealed in first years of Madinan period (see any Tafsir of Quran for time of revelation of this Surah). This was at a time when the Islamic society was initially established in Madina and Sharia laws were revealed for the nascent society.

As compared to this Surah, the whole Ummah is unanimous that Mut’ah was practised at least until 7th Hijri i.e. long after the revelation of this verse. It is therefore impossible to conclude that this verse made Mutah Haram. We shall later on cite the names of various renowned Sunni Ulema, who declared that this verse could not abrogate Mut’ah, as Mut’ah was practiced long after it’s revelation. Hence, this verse was recited by Rasul Allah (saw) too, and he never took the literal meaning of “Musafihin” here and allowed/ordered the Sahaba and Sahabiat to contract Mut’ah marriage. Do the AhleSunnah understand the Quranic verses better than Rasul Allah (saw)?

Reply Two: Sexual relationships with slave-women are ‘only for lust’ in Sunni Fiqh

If the Ahle Sunnah still insist that word ‘Musafihin’ is used in literal meaning of ‘lust’ then they have to explain this tradition from Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3371:

Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa’id al Khadri (may Allah be pleased with him): 0 Abu Sa’id, did you hear Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) mentioning al-’azl? He said: Yes, and added: We went out with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them (by selling them). So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing ‘azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid-conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.

This tradition of ‘Azl can be found at many places in authentic Sunni Hadith books. Moreover, this tradition also contradicts another Sunni claim that sexual relationships in Islam are only done in order to bear children. Ahle Sunnah also use this excuse in order to prove that Mut’ah Marriage is Haram since the objective is not to bear children. They are entirely wrong as Mut’ah marriage can also be performed with the intention to bear children and Nikah can be performed with the intention of having no children. That is why Sunni Fiqh allows impotent men to marry even though they cannot procreate.

Reply Three: Why is the ‘lust’ of ‘Misyar Marriage’ not Haram in Sunni Fiqh?

Misyar Marriage or a marriage with the intention to divorce the wife is allowed by Sunni scholars in order to curtail sexual lust even if your objective is to deceive the woman as you actually intend on divorcing her later. It is indeed a strange logic that deems Mut’ah Haram because it involves Lust, but permits Salafies to fulfill their lust through Misyar Marriage on the proviso that is implemented through deception!

We hope and pray that our readers are able to see the contradictions in relation to the Sunni interpretation of this verse. We end this topic by quoting Imam Fakharudin al-Razi, who wrote under the explanation of this verse:

والمتعة ليست كذلك ، فان المقصود منها سفح الماء بطريق مشروع مأذون فيه من قبل الله

“Mut’ah is not so (fornication), Mut’ah refers to spilling of sperm [Safah] through legal way as revealed by Allah.”

Sunni doubts as to the correct recitation of the verse of Mut’ah

Beyond these facts, we see that not only do the majority of Sunni ‘ulama accept that this verse was revealed about Mut’ah, a large majority also believe that there has been tahreef (change, distortion) in this verse in order to create confusion as to its real meaning. A number of Sunni hadeeth claim that this verse was read in a different way than it is today, in a way that makes it clear that it refers to Mut’ah. Imam of Ahl as-Sunnah Abu Hayyan Andalusi in his book ‘al Bahar al Maheet’ Volume 3 page 218 states:

“Ubay ibn Ka’b, Ibn Abbas and Ibn Jubayr would read the verse with the words ‘for a prescribed period’.

A number of Sunni Tafsirs claim that the words “for a prescribed period” were read by the Sahaba when they recited this verse:

  1. Tafseer Durre Manthur, Volume 2 pages 140-141
  2. Tafseer Tabari, Volume 5 pages 14-15
  3. Fatah ul Qadeer, Volume 1 page 14
  4. Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Volume 1 page 84
  5. Tafseer Ruh al Maani, Volume 5 page 5
  6. Tafseer Kashaf, Volume 1 page 20
  7. Tafseer Mazhari, Volume 3 page 19
  8. Tafseer Ahkam al Quran, Volume 2 page 47
  9. Tafseer Mu’alim al Tanzeel, page 414
  10. Mustadrak Al Hakim, volume 2 page 47
  11. Al Musahif by Abi Bakr Sijistani, page 3
  12. Tafseer Mawahib al Rahman, page 4 part 5
  13. Tafseer Haqqani, Vol 2 page 3 (published in 1956, Deoband UP. India)
  14. Tafseer Jama Al Bayan, Volume 1 page 66
  15. Neel al Autar, Volume 6 page 53 Chapter: The abrogation of Nikah al-Mutah
  16. Tafseer Qurtabi, Volume 5 page 30
  17. Zarqani Sharh Muwatta, Volume 1 page 54
  18. Kitab al Musahaf, page 342
  19. Al Bahar al Maheet, Volume 3 page 218
  20. Maini al-Quran, Volume 2 page 61

The companion Abdullah ibn Masu’d recited the verse on Mut’ah with the additional words ‘for a prescribed period’ confirming its legitimacy as cited in the following sources:

  1. Tafseer Manar, Volume 5 page 5
  2. Tafseer Jama al Bayan, Volume 6 page 9
  3. Tafseer Ruh al-Ma’ani, Volume 5 page 5
  4. Sharh Sahih Muslim of al-Nawawi, Volume 9 page 179
  5. Umdat al-Qari Shrah Sahih Bukhari, Volume 18 page 208

All of these sources agree that Ibn Masud would read the verse of “Istimatum” followed by the words ‘for a prescribed period’. Can we conclude that these Sahaba were liars or were they suggesting that words were missing in the Quran collected by Uthman? The companion Ubay Ibn Ka’b is also said to have stated that the verse of Mut’ah included the words “for a prescribed period” and that the Companions remained silent when he recited the verse in this way.

Further evidences in this regard as are follows. Imam of Ahl as-Sunnah Sulayman bin Ashash Sijistani the son of the author of Sunan Abu Daud in his renowned Sunni work ‘al Musahaf’ page 286 records as follows:

“Ubay bin Ka’b and Saeed bin Jabayr would read this verse with the words ‘for a prescribed period’”

Allamah Baghwi records:

Ibn Abbas [ra] used to believe that the verse is muhkam (i.e. was not abrogated) and was used to sanction Mutah.
And it has been narrated that Abi Nadhra said: ‘I asked Ibn Abbas [ra] about Mutah, he replied: ‘Don’t you read in Surah Nisa that ‘ye derive benefit from them till specific period’?’ I replied: ‘I don’t recite it like that’. Ibn Abbas replied: ‘Allah revealed it like this’. He repeated it thrice.

Tafseer Al Baghawi, Al Musami Mu’alim al Tanzeel, page 414

Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti records:

Narrated Abed bin Hamid, ibn Jarir, al-Anbari in his book al-Musahif and al-Hakem and he declared the chain as Sahih from Abi Nadhra who said: ‘I recited before Ibn Abbas ‘ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers’. Ibn Abbas said: ‘ye derive benefit from them for specific period’. I said: ‘We don’t recite it like this’. Ibn Abbas said: ‘By Allah it was revealed like that.’
Tafseer Durre Manthur, Volume 2 pages 140-141

This recital was also recorded in Tafseer Tabari, on the authority of Ibn Ka’ab:
Tafseer al-Tabari, pages 14 & 15

Qadhi Thanaullah Paani Patti (d. 1225) records:

Abdur Razak in Musnaf has narrated the statement of Atta through Ibn Juraij that Ibn Abbas still believed that Mutah is Halal and in his proof he used to cite this verse and Ibn Abbas also stated that according to Ubai bin Kaab’s recitation of this verse, it also contain ‘for the prescribed time’”
Tafseer Mazhari, Volume 3 page 19

Beside Ibn Abbas, Ibn Masud, Ibn Jubayr and Ubai bin Ka’ab, many other prominent figures likewise used to recite the verse with the words “to an appointed time” and that includes Al-Sedi (Tafseer Tabari v5 p18, Tafseer Ibn Kathir v1 p486), Talha bin Musraf (Tafsir Thalabi v3 p286) and Muqatel (Tafsir Samarqandi v1 p320, Al-Ujab fi bayan al-asbab by Ibn Hajar v2 p858).

We have seen that many narrations claim that Ibn Abbas recited the verse in a fashion that clearly refers to Mut’ah. The famous hadeeth narrator and scholar Al-Hakim Nisaburi in ‘Mustadrak’ Volume 2 page 334 recorded the recitation of Ibn Abbas i.e. with the words ‘for a prescribed period’ and graded the tradition to be a Sahih as per the grading conditions set by Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim whilst Imam Dhahabi in his margin of ‘Mustadrak’ deemed it Sahih on the conditions of Muslim. No Sunni can deny the status of Hakim within their sect; the famous scholar Shah Waliyullah graded Hakim as the mujadid (reviver of the faith, perhaps the highest praise that can be given to a Sunni ‘alim by his community) of the fourth century. In Izalatul Khifa, page 77 part 7, al Muhaddith Shah Waliullah stated:

“A Mujadid appears at the end of every century: The Mujtahid of the 1st century was Imam of Ahlul Sunnah, Umar bin Abdul Aziz. The Mujadid of the 2nd century was Imam of Ahlul Sunnah Muhammad Idrees Shaari the Mujadid of the 3rd century was Imam of Ahlul Sunnah Abu Hasan Ashari the Mujadid of the 4rth century was Abu Abdullah Hakim Nishapuri”.

The scholar Shah Abdul Aziz relied heavily upon those narrations, which Hakim considered Sahih. An example would be his argument, based upon a sahih narration of Hakim, that Abu Bakr was stung by a scorpion while in the cave with the Holy Prophet (s), and that this demonstrates his loyalty to the Prophet (s). Abdul Aziz uses this argument against the Shi’a. We read in Tahufa Ithna Ashari p. 82, Part 15:

“A scorpion stung Abu Bakr hard twice, Hakim narrated this and graded this as Sahih”

Now, if Abu Bakr’s rank can be exalted by a Sahih narration in Mustadrak al Hakim as proof and can be advanced against the Shi’a, then by the same token we have narrated a tradition confirming the legitimacy of Mut’ah from the Quran narrated by Ibn Abbas with a Sahih chain recorded by the same Hakim. Is it not the height of intellectual dishonesty to rely upon one narration, and reject the other?

We have seen that many narration’s claim that Ibn Abbas recited the verse in a fashion that clearly refers to Mut’ah. The famous hadeeth narrator and scholar Al-Hakim Nisaburi in ‘Mustadrak’ Volume 2 page 334 recorded the words of Ibn Abbas claiming that the verse of Mut’ah included the words ‘for a prescribed period’ and graded the tradition to be a Sahih as per the grading conditions set by Imams Bukhari and Imam Muslim while Imam Dhahabi in his margin of ‘Mustadrak’ deemed it Sahih on the condition of Muslim. No Sunni can deny the status of Hakim within their sect; the famous scholar Shah Waliyullah graded Hakim as the mujadid (reviver of the faith, perhaps the highest praise that can be given to a Sunni ‘alim by his community) in the fourth century. In Izalatul Khifa, page 77 part 7, Muhaddith Shah Waliyullah stated:

“There are differences concerning the reciting of additional words [outside the Qur'anic verse], Qadhi Abu Tayib, and many other ‘ulama held such recitals to be permissible, Imam Abu Hanifa also adhered to this school of thought”.

Does Dr. Salamah claim that he is more knowledgeable than these companions? We have seen that Abdullah ibn Mas’ud and Ubai ibn Ka’b are listed as some of those companions that use to recite this verse in a way that made it clear that it referred to Mut’ah, and we read in Bukhari from one of the companions:

“I heard the Holy Prophet saying, ‘Take (Learn) the Qur’an from four: Abdullah bin Masud, Salim, Mu’adh, and Ubai bin Ka’b’.”
Sahih Bukhari Arabic – English Vol 6 hadith number 521

Now when these two great Sahaba both understood and recited the verse as referring to Mut’ah then what right does this Enemy of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) have to claim it has nothing to do with Mut’ah? We have cited 16 Sunni texts confirming the verse “istimatum” referred to Mut’ah as well as 8 Sunni sources confirming that Mut’ah was halaal at the beginning of Islam. Despite this we read comments from the likes of Founding father of Sipah-e-Sahaba Haq Nawaz Jhangvi claiming:


If to quote Jhangvi, Muslims do ascribe to the view that no verse on Mut’ah exists in the Qur’an then what can we say of these 16 Sunni scholars who in their Tafseer’s stated the verse referred to Mut’ah, were they kaffirs? And worse still what can we say of the great Sahaba such as Ibn Abbas, Ibn Masud and Ubayy ibn Ka’b who believed that verse 24 of Surah Nisa referred to Mut’ah, were they Rafidi Kaffirs? Jhangvi has openly defamed three companions of Rasulullah (s) famed for their knowledge of the Qur’an. Since Sipah-e-Sahaba advocate that those that defame the companions of Rasulullah (s) are apostates, their modern day Ulema clearly need to pass an appropriate fatwa on their founder whose comments in effect suggest that three of the esteemed Sahaba were kaffirs as they believed that there was a verse on Mut’ah in the Qur’an!

We ask these Nawasib if Mut’ah is shameless fornication and is it in fact prostitution – did Rasulullah(s) allow his Companions to engage in shameless activity? Did the Sunni Ulama testify to fornication being halaal? Clearly not. There is therefore no doubt that the Holy Qur’an has acknowledged the permissibility of Mut’ah. Only a tiny handful of Sunni ‘ulama have claimed that verse 4:24 does not deal with Mut’ah, and we (as well as Dr Salamah!) have firmly established that the verse does deal with the subject of Mut’ah.

The quality of Sunni scholars ruling on the impermissibility of Mut’ah

We may also take a brief look at the quality of the Sunni ‘ulama writing on this issue:

After the opinions of the four Mazahib, we report the opinions of scholars from other Mazahib below.Ibn Hazm said, “temporary marriage is not permitted; this is a fixed marriage which was permitted at the time of the Messenger (saww.), then Allah superseded it through His Messenger (saww.) until the day of resurrection.”Imam Shawkany: “We worship in accordance with what we learnt from the Messenger (saww.), and we have ascertained the authenticity of his eternal prohibition of temporary marriage. The fact that some companions were not aware of this does not negate the large number of companions who were aware and who have acted upon the prohibition and proclaimed it.”Qady ‘Ayyad said: “The scholars reached consensus that temporary marriage was a marriage for a term with no inheritance, its separation at the expiry of the term without dispute, the consensus after this was that it was prohibited according to all the scholars with the exception of the rejecters. Ibn ‘Abbas allowed it until he became aware of the prohibition and then forbade it and said: “If temporary marriage takes place now, it is void regardless of whether it had been consummated or not.”
Imam Nawawy said: “The truth of the matter is that it was permitted and prohibited on two occasions. It was permitted before Khayber, then prohibited, then permitted on the day of liberation, the day of Awtas, then prohibited forever after three days of the event.”

Notice how the discussion begins: “We report the opinions of scholars from other Mazahib,” i.e., from other than the four official schools of thought in Sunni Islam (Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, and Hanbali). Yet according to the standard Sunni view, anybody who is outside the four madhabs is a disbeliever. This is one of the main accusations made against the Shi’a, i.e., that they have split off from the Jamaa’ah (the majority) and are therefore outside of Islam. Yet in spite of that, this Wahabi has no problem quoting the opinion of these ‘ulama who, according to him, are outside of the four schools of thought. Is this justice, or is this the work of somebody who is taking an entirely bigoted approach to Shi’ism and the issue of Mut’ah?


When our detractors amongst Ahl as-Sunnah want to attack the Shi’a, they seek to describe Mut’ah as prostitution. Such insults are a sickening practice that is insulting to the Prophet (s), for we have proven that Mut’ah was both permitted in the Qur’an and practised widely by the Muslims during his (s) time. In Sharh Nawawi, Volume 1 p. 102 on Nikah Mut’ah we also learn that Ayesha gave the same fatwa as the Shi’a on Mut’ah. Hence, the train of insult and abuse which is thrown at the Shi’a of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) should also fall onto Ayesha and her sister Asma. If Mut’ah is prostitution then Ahl as-Sunnah need to apply an appropriate fatwa to the daughters of Abu Bakr, both of whom believed in Mut’ah, and especially on ‘Asma who practised it. This is unreasonable, but such unintentional slanders against the wife and sister-in-law of the Prophet (s) are the results of bigoted attacks on Mut’ah, attacks which have no basis in the Qur’an, Sunnah, or reason.


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