Chapter Two: What is Mut’ah?


Mut’ah is a type of marriage, used in the same way as a permanent marriage (Nikah) in order to make a man and woman physically halaal to each other. A Mut’ah is a temporary marriage that ends at a fixed period. Imam of Ahl as-Sunnah Waheed ad-Deen az-Zaman, in his footnotes of Sunan ibn Majah, defined Mut’ah as follows:

Mut’ah is a type of Nikah until an agreed time. It can be for a day, two days, a month, one year, three years etc.
Waheed ad-Deen az-Zaman. Sunan Ibn Majah. Volume 2, p. 76

Imam Nawawi in his commentary of Sahih Muslim, relied on the definition of Mut’ah advanced by Imam of Ahle Sunnah Qadi Iyad as follows:

وَاتَّفَقَ الْعُلَمَاء عَلَى أَنَّ هَذِهِ الْمُتْعَة كَانَتْ نِكَاحًا إِلَى أَجَل لَا مِيرَاث فِيهَا , وَفِرَاقهَا يَحْصُل بِانْقِضَاءِ الْأَجَل مِنْ غَيْر طَلَاق

“Ulema agree that this Mut’ah is a Nikah in which the husband and wife do not inherit from eachother and separation would take place on the completion of the Specified time without Talaq”.
Sharh Sahih Muslim, Volume 4 page 13

The Sunni scholar Allamah ‘Abd Ar-Rahman al-Jazeri in his Al-fiqh ‘Ala Al-Madhahib al-Arba’ said:

أما حقيقة نكاح المتعة، فهو أن يقيد عقد الزواج بوقت معين، كأن يقول لها: زوجيني نفسك شهراً. أو تزوجتك مدة سنة. أو نحو ذلك، سواء كان صادراً أمام شهود وبمباشرة ولي، أولا

The reality of Nikah Mut’ah is that, in the marriage recital performed with a woman, words are added which stipulate that the marriage is for a fixed time. For example a man shall say ‘she shall remain as my wife for a month, or I shall have Nikah Mut’ah with you for a year.” The parties themselves act as witnesses. It can occur in the presence of a Wali or witnesses, or without them.
Al-fiqh ‘Ala Al-Madhahib al-Arba’ (Lahore Edition) Volume 4, page 167

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The Sunni and Shi’a have no disagreement as to its original permissibility, though in recent years a number of Wahabis have claimed that Mut’ah was never permissible at all (contradicting the mainstream Sunni attitude). Sunnis believe that, in spite of its original permissibility in Islamic law, it was later abrogated, whereas the Shi’a reject this view. According to the teachings of the Imams (as) who came after the Prophet (s), Mut’ah was never abrogated and continues to be halaal until the Day of Judgement. The Prophet (s) neither deemed it haram, nor put an end to it, nor did Allah (swt) send a verse abrogating it. Rather, Mut’ah was declared impermissible by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, in direct contradiction to the command of Allah (swt) and His Prophet (s).

How is Mut’ah Contracted?

The contracting of Mut’ah is just like that of Nikah, both require specific words to make the contract halaal – both types of marriage have Dower. The difference between Mut’ah and standard Nikah is that there is no specified time scale, whilst a time scale is necessary with Mut’ah. Mut’ah has many Shari’ah rules / regulations if one wishes to learn further they should consult Shi’a books of fiqh.

Which type of women can you contract Mut’ah with?

Similar rules that apply for Nikah apply for Mut’ah – if certain types of women are haram for a man to contract Nikah then the same rule applies with Mut’ah. A man cannot contract Mut’ah with a married women, as is the case with a normal Other rules along this line are stipulated in our books of fiqh, which will be discussed in the appendix.

Iddah (Waiting Period) in Mut’ah

Iddah is obligatory upon women in Mut’ah, just like in Nikah i.e.

  1. A woman cannot enter into Mut’ah marriage, till the time she has become pure by observing the ‘iddah (waiting period) from her earlier husband.
  2. And after expiration of Mut’ah marriage, again she has to observe ‘iddah, before getting married (either Nikah or Mut’ah) to any other person.


What is the position of children born from Mut’ah?

There is no difference between the children of Nikah or Mut’ah. Both are considered legitimate under the Shari’ah – they inherit from their parents, and all Islamic laws apply with regards to paternity.

Do all principles that apply on women in Nikah also apply in Mut’ah?

Yes the same principle/rights apply – two people cannot contract Mut’ah with the same woman at one given time, and so forth. We will discuss this further in our appendix.


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