Guide to Understanding Islam



What does the
Religion of Peace
Teach About...

Temporary Marriage



Does Islam have a loophole for prostitution called 'temporary marriage'?

Summary Answer

It is called Nikah Mut'ah, a fixed-time arrangement between a man and a woman that dissolves once the duration expires.

The Qur'an:

Qur'an (4:24) - "And those of whom ye seek content (by marrying them), give unto them their portions as a duty. And there is no sin for you in what ye do by mutual agreement after the duty (hath been done)"

Qur'an (5:87) - "O you who believe! do not forbid (yourselves) the good things which Allah has made lawful for you and do not exceed the limits; surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits"  Surprisingly the context for this verse (found in Bukhari (60:139) is temporary marriage, in this case, trading an article of clothing for a few days of access to a woman's body.  By calling this a "good thing," Muhammad really stood traditional morality on its ear.

From the Hadith:

Bukhari 62:13 - "We used to participate in the holy battles led by Allah's Apostle and we had nothing (no wives) with us. So we said, "Shall we get ourselves castrated?" He forbade us that and then allowed us to marry women with a temporary contract (2) and recited to us: -- 'O you who believe ! Make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, but commit no transgression.' (5.87)"

Muslim (8:3252) - Muhammad clearly allowed his men to use temporary marriage as a sanctioned form of prostitution.  (To be fair, the end of the hadith also seems to suggest that the practice was later forbidden.  Islamic scholars disagree as to the historical context, and whether or not it is enough to supersede verse 4:24 of the Qur'an).


Additional Notes:

Since temporary marriage is a euphemism for prostitution, Sunnis believe that it should only be practiced in certain times (such as the lifetime of Muhammad... oddly enough).  The Shia take a more liberal position and freely allow the practice. Home Page


© 2006-2016 All rights reserved.