Personal laws

This article is written by Tisha Agrawal. In this article, she discusses the practice of Muta Marriage under Islamic law, Conditions for Muta Marriage, registration and termination of Muta Marriage, consequences of the breach, statutes dealing with Muta Marriage, benefits and risks of Muta Marriage, Indian case laws, and practice in Britain and Iran. 


As per Islamic Jurisprudence, elaborated by many schools of thought, the main objective of a marriage contract is to make intercourse between man and woman lawful. It also gives legitimacy to the offspring of such a union. 

Muta’h or Muta is one such type of marriage under Islam. A Muta’h Marriage is done for a temporary and a fixed period of time. This feature distinguishes Muta from other types of marriages. Muta’h is only practised by the followers of Ithna Ashari School under the Shia Muslims. It is considered void under Sunni Law. It is believed by the Shias that performing Muta makes them stronger as a believer.

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The word Muta’h means ‘Enjoyment, Pleasure, or Delight’. It is considered as a marriage for pleasure and enjoyment. The duration is fixed at the time of marriage itself. However, a Muta marriage is rarely found in India. This is a unique type of arrangement and is followed around the world in some Islamic countries. It is most prevalent in Arab countries like Iran and Iraq. It is also practised in Britain and the United States of America. Muta’h is a distinct practice. In Islam, marriages are of a contractual nature, and Muta Marriage is one of its forms. 

Let us understand the concept and the legal stand behind such a type of arrangement. 

What is Muta marriage

Marriages under Islamic Law are contractual by their very nature. Muta’h Marriage is one of its forms. The contractual nature of such marriages allows the Islamic people to make changes in the agreement at the time of marriage and incorporate terms to their liking. They can incorporate anything as far as it is legally allowed in that country. The agreement and the terms of the marriage shall be legal and enforceable in the court of Law. In the Quran, Mutah Marriages have been referred to as,

“And you are allowed to seek out wives with your wealth in decorous conduct, but not in fornication, but give them their reward for what you have enjoyed of them in keeping with your promise. (4:24)

Muta’h is a survivor of pre-Islamic Arabic customs. In ancient times, Arab women used to entertain men in their tents. This union gave rise to the concept of Muta. The men entering the tent had to pay an entrance amount. The woman could kick out the man anytime she wanted. They shared no rights and responsibilities and came together just for pleasure. If any child was born out of such a union, it belonged to the woman. This concept later on developed to become a fixed-term arrangement upon the payment of some consideration by the man. Another story suggests that men used to contract concubines to harvest their crops, leave them during winter and hire different concubines the next year. This led to the rise of the Muta. 

A very distinct aspect of Muslim marriages is that the conditions and customary practices are sometimes beneficial for the women. The wife is given a sum of money before marriage called the ‘Dower or Mehr’. The purpose of Mehr is to protect and support the rights of women. 

In Mutah Marriages, partners have to predetermine the dower and the duration of the contract. The wives cannot claim maintenance from the husband upon the dissolution of the marriage unless it was expressly included in the agreement beforehand. The Calcutta High Court has taken a different stand on this matter which we will discuss ahead in this article. The wife cannot claim any right in the property of the husband. This is a significant and extraordinary nature of the Muta Marriage. Over the period of time, there have been certain legal developments which are discussed ahead in this article. 

Conditions for Muta marriage

A Muta Marriage is a distinct arrangement between the man and the woman. There are a number of essential conditions which need to be fulfilled. There are four pillars for a Muta Marriage to be valid and enforceable as per the Mohammedan Law: – 

Contract of Muta marriage 

The contractual form of the Muta Marriage requires an act of Ijab-O-Qabool, i.e.offer and acceptance, to become legally valid. Essentials of a valid contract shall also be fulfilled. The declaration of such marriage is a prerequisite for the women. The words ‘I have married you’ (ankahtuka) or ‘I have espoused you’ (zawwajtuka) are generally used in the Nikah Nama or the marriage contract. The agreement shall not contain any terms or conditions which are against the Muslim Law or are considered unreasonable. Such marriage would be held void under Islamic law.

The contract can consist of a declaration and acceptance in any order. If a man says, ‘I have married you’, and the woman agrees to the same in a sound manner, then the contract is valid. Further,  the marriage can also be concluded by their representatives and their father. If the father says that I give my daughter to you, then that shall also be considered valid. The legal deliberations also say that the person contracting must be worthy of such a contract.

Parties to a Muta marriage 

As per Islam, a non-believer of Islam or an enemy of the Prophet cannot enter into Muta Marriage. The contract can only be concluded between a Shia male and a Muslim, Christian, Jew or fire-worshipper woman. The following exceptions need to be followed: – 

  • A Muslim woman cannot marry a non-muslim man. 
  • If a man has a permanent wife, he cannot enter into a Muta marriage without his wife’s permission. If he does so, then such a marriage will be held invalid until the wife gives her permission to such an arrangement. 
  • If the woman is already in a Muta marriage with someone else, then the permission of such a man is required. There are many Hadiths which have recorded this practice. 
  • A man cannot marry the daughter of his Sister-in-law or brother-in-law without obtaining permission from his wife.

Besides these exceptions, the ones present in the permanent marriage shall also be followed. It is also advised to the Muslim man to conclude a temporary marriage only with a chaste woman,i.e., the one who follows Sharia in all her activities. In general, a woman who is honest and uptight. A Quranic Verse also says that a man cannot marry a fornicator. 

“The fornicator shall marry not but a fornicatress or an idolatress, and the fornicatress- none shall marry her but a fornicator or an idolator; that is forbidden to the believers”(24:3).

Time period of a Muta marriage

The time period for such a fixed-term marriage shall be predetermined. There cannot be any increase or decrease in the duration of the contract. As per the Imam Al Rida, a muta is a stipulated thing for a stipulated period of time. The absence of such duration would render the agreement void, and the absence of Mehr would render the agreement invalid. Besides this, the contract may mention certain sexual acts. If the contract contains a number of sexual acts which is to be fulfilled within the fixed term, then the woman would be free upon such completion. The time duration cannot bind the woman further to stay in the arrangement, it is forbidden.  It is similar to general contracts. When the object of the contract is fulfilled, the contract is concluded. The same is the case with Muta marriages. 

The woman shall be rendered free of any obligation towards the man if the specified sexual act is fulfilled. However, if the fixed time period comes to an end and the sexual acts are not performed yet, then the contract will conclude. The time period cannot be extended beyond what was incorporated at the time of marriage without the consent of both parties. If the cohabitation continues even after the expiry of the term, then it will be inferred that the marriage has become permanent. 

If, by any chance, a time period is not specified in the Muta Marriage contract, then the marriage will be a permanent marriage. A wife can also inherit the property of the husband in such circumstances. This has been held by the courts in India. Hence, it is very crucial that the terms of marriage are specified. 

Dower in Muta marriage

In Islam, Dower, also known as Mehr, is the money or property given to the wife by the husband to show respect and support before, during or after the marriage. It is an essential part of the Muslim marriage. The purpose of the Dower is to protect the rights of women. 

A very important prerequisite of a muta marriage is the Dower. The contract shall mention the Dower of a known property, whether in cash or kind. In order to make sure of the Dower, it is sufficient that the woman sees it. Measuring or weighing is not mandatory. Any confusion which might arise from not seeing the dower shall be removed beforehand by showing it to the woman. The woman should not have any doubt or suspicion regarding the Dower. 

Dower is a very important part of Marriage in Islamic Culture and more important in Muta Marriages.  The Hadith says that a woman who enters into a Muta Marriage is rented. If the Dower is not mentioned, then the contract will be rendered invalid as there is no consideration. There are plenty of Hadiths which confirm the same. The woman might ask for a complete dower before the marriage. Husband cannot claim any part of the Dower in any circumstance. He is only entitled to it in case the marriage was rendered void. The contract for a Muta Marriage is not just an exchange of goods but a marriage. Sometimes, it is referred to as a Rental. 

After entering into a Muta contract, if the husband does not wish to continue, then he can give the remaining time period to the wife. It is considered a gift of time given by the husband to the wife. In such cases, the marriage will be considered as terminated. The woman can still claim full Dower if the marriage was consummated. If not, then she will have a right to claim half of the Mehr. This is similar to a divorce before the consummation of a permanent marriage. In simple terms, one-half of the dower must be paid if the marriage has not been consummated, but the full dower will be paid if the marriage is consummated, even if the man wants to step out of the contract. 

Dower is very important because of the temporary nature of the marriage. The woman shall get her dower for giving herself into the temporary marriage. As this marriage is considered Rental, this is her consideration for marrying the man. 

If the woman fails to provide the man with conjugal rights because of the reasons sanctioned by the Sharia, that is, Menstruation or fear of an oppressor, then the dower may not be reduced. The death of the woman during such a period also does not reduce her dower. 

There are certain situations in which the woman will have to return the dower. Those situations are as follows: – 

  • The wife already has a husband, or she is forbidden to marry a man by familial relationships or If she is in a waiting period from a previous marriage. 
  • When the marriage has been consummated, and the woman is ignorant of the fact that the contract was invalid during the time of sexual intercourse, then she will be given the fixed dower. 
  • If a woman was aware of the invalidity of the contract and still consummated the marriage, she cannot claim a dower since she is considered as a fornicator under Islam, and there is no dower for fornication. 

Legal incidents of a Muta Marriage 

  1. A Muta marriage does not create mutual rights of inheritance between a man and a woman. 
  2. Children conceived out of this arrangement are legitimate and can inherit from both the parents. 
  3. When the cohabitation commences in a Muta but there is no evidence as to the term of the Muta then it will be inferred that Muta continued during the entire period of such cohabitation. Children conceived during this period shall be considered legitimate. 
  4. When the cohabitation continues after the expiry of the term, the inference would be that the term was extended. 
  5. When the term expires, a muta marriage is dissolved unless it is extended by the parties. 
  6. There is no right to divorce in Muta marriages. 
  7. Dower is a necessary requisite of a Muta marriage. 
  8. A wife of Muta union is not eligible for maintenance. 

Consequences of breach in Muta marriage

The breach of a valid agreement of a Muta Marriage will give the wife certain extra rights that she would not have in the normal course of such marriage. In case of an illegal agreement, there won’t be any rights or affect on the marital rights and duties of the parties because the court will not intervene in such an illegal contract. In case of breach of a contract, the result may be: – 

  • The wife is allowed to live separately and the husband would not be given conjugal rights. 
  • The wife might get the right to divorce in extreme situations. 
  • Rights to dower may arise
  • The marriage may get dissolved Ipso facto. 

Since marriages are a contract in Islam, they might be rendered void or invalid if any unlawful object is added. In a valid marriage, the husband has the right to restrain her movements, but this power is subject to contract which is contrary in nature. A marriage contract can confer many rights and duties decided by both parties consensually. 

Concepts dealing with Muta marriage

As Islamic traditions and practices are not codified, only the holy books, Hadiths and other ancient texts are used to govern their marriages and other relations. As per the available texts and history on Muta Marriages, the following concepts govern such marriages. 

Muta marriage contract can include conditions like: – 

  • A specified time period for meetings between the husband and wife. 
  • A specified number of sexual acts and what type of sexual acts in a fixed time period. 
  • Not consummating the marriage would not have any impact on other duties and liabilities. 

Coitus Interruptus 

Coitus Interruption is a family planning method where the man is supposed to pull out the penis before ejaculation to prevent pregnancy. In cases of Muta Marriage, it is necessary to perform Coitus Interruptus even though it is not mentioned as a specific condition. If precaution is not taken and the wife becomes pregnant during the marriage, then the child will belong to the husband, even if he claims that he performed Coitus Interruptus. Several Hadiths also mention that a man can expend his semen as he wishes. But the objective of a Muta Marriage is enjoyment and avoiding the production of offspring. However, if a child is born out of such an arrangement, then the child will be considered legitimate. Although, the husband can still deny paternity. 

A man has the right to deny the child born out of Muta Marriage. It does not require a sworn allegation like in a permanent marriage. It is considered that the bed of Muta is like the bed of a slave girl and is not considered as high as that of the permanently married wife. They hold different positions and values in Islam, however, between the statute established between a man and the god, which is considered as very pious and of great significance. The man shall not deny his child. 

Divorce in a Muta marriage

According to the views of Ulama, a divorce cannot take place in a Muta Marriage. A muta marriage is for a fixed period of time. Such duration is decided at the beginning of the marriage. Therefore, a Muta marriage is concluded after the expiration of the time period. It can be concluded even when the man returns the remaining time to the woman at his own will. 

Sworn allegation in a Muta marriage

Sworn Allegations are not a part of the Muta Marriages under Islam. It is said in hadiths that a free man does not make a sworn allegation against a slave girl, a non-muslim or a wife by Muta. In the case of denying parentage, it is unnecessary for the man to take a sworn allegation. 

Forswearing in a Muta marriage

A forswearing deals with divorces in Islam. Therefore, it has no relevance in the Muta Marriages. A woman cannot demand any right to sexual intercourse in a Muta Marriage. She is only entitled to the Dower and can demand it since she is considered as a rented woman in a Muta Marriage. 

Zihar in a Muta marriage

Zihar is considered as an insult in Islamic Law. It means that the man declares his wife similar to his mother, such a man is guilty of committing sin. There is no clear position as to whether Zihar can take place in a temporary marriage or not. The Quranic pronouncements are general in nature and do not restrict the meaning. The Quranic verse indicates that Zihar can be with any woman with whom the man is having legitimate intercourse. But, some other schools of thought say that it cannot happen in a Muta Marriage because, ultimately, you are leaving your wife.

Those of you who say, regarding their women: ‘Be as my mother’s back’, they are not truly their mothers’ (58:2) 

Inheritance in a Muta marriage

In Muta Marriages, there is no right to inheritance between husband and wife unless it is expressly incorporated into the marriage contract. One of the spouses can be named as an heir to the other. If not such conditions are prescribed then there would be no inheritance in a Muta Marriage. 

Imam Jafar says that Among Muta Statutes, you do not inherit from the woman, nor does she inherit from you. Inheritance as a condition is only permissible because of the universal applicability of the prophetic hadiths, the believers hold fast to their conditions. 

If they stipulate such a condition in the contract of Muta Marriage, they must follow it. A child born out of such wedlock will have inheritance rights over the property of the father. But, the child will have one half of that of a child born out of permanent marriage. However, inheritance rights from the mother would be the same as permanent marriage. 

Some Ulama hold a different stand and declare that no condition for inheritance could be added in a Muta Marriage contract. 

Waiting period in Muta marriage

In Islam, there is a waiting period to be observed by the woman before marrying again. This is applicable to both permanent and Muta Marriages. The waiting period shall consist of three menstrual cycles for a woman, which simply means that she must get three of her periods before marrying anybody else. This is mandated to make sure that the woman is not bearing the offspring of her former husband. If she is pregnant, then she will have to wait till the child is born to marry again. This practice finds its basis in two hadiths, which say that “to divorce a slave, one must pronounce the formula of divorce thrice, her waiting period is three menstrual periods” 

According to the Quran, in instances where the husband dies, the wife is required to wait for four months and ten days. This time period won’t change upon the fact that she is a free woman or a slave or whether the marriage was temporary or permanent. 

The waiting period for a divorced woman is three months, and for a slave woman, it is one-half of three months. If the wife was a slave, then her waiting period shall be two months and five days. When the woman remarries the same man, there is no waiting period for her. 

In cases where the woman is of menstruating age but for some reason doesn’t menstruate then the waiting period shall be of 45 days. The waiting period for Muta is weaker than the period of permanent marriage since Muta marriage is also considered weaker than permanent marriage. 

Renewing of Muta marriage contract 

A Muta marriage agreement cannot be renewed before the expiration of the time period set forth in the beginning of the marriage. If the parties wish to renew the term, the husband can return the remaining time to the woman, which implies divorce in the Muta marriage. In such cases, they may conclude the contract and start a fresh contract with a new time period. When the wife remarries the same man, there is no waiting period. This method has been established by the Hadith related to Imam Jafar. 

Registration of a Muta marriage

In India, Muta Marriage is not recognised. It is also void under Sunni law. Some sects of Shia Muslims follow this tradition but there is no statute which talks about the registration of the Muta Marriage. Muta Marriage is a contractual agreement entered by the parties. It can be executed similarly to that of a permanent marriage. The contract shall contain details of the parties such as Name, Address, Signature of the Parties, Name of the Guardian/Parents of the parties, Name of witnesses, Name of Officiating Priest, Details regarding the Dower being paid to the woman, Mode of Payment, Express clause regarding the Muta Marriage and time period. 

All the above mentioned details shall be there in the deed of marriage, also known as the ‘Nikah nama’. Such a document will become legally enforceable in the court of Law then. While entering into the contract, the essentials of a contract shall be kept in mind and followed precisely. Any error in the requirements might render the contract invalid. 

Can a Muta marriage be terminated

A Muta Marriage can be terminated before the expiry of the stipulated time period in certain exceptional situations. Generally, it cannot be terminated before the expiration of the fixed time period. However, the husband may return the remaining period to the wife and that would be considered as termination of the contract before the duration expires. 

A Muta Marriage contract will be terminated under the following circumstances: – 

  • Expiry of the stipulated time period. 
  • Upon the death of either party.
  • The husband gives the remaining time period to the wife as a gift.  

It is believed that Muta Marriage was developed to fulfil the philosophy of Islam. Every man must marry at least once during his lifetime to support the religion of Islam. Therefore, if a Muslim man is going to war, then he can enter into a muta marriage even just for a day or week to fulfil this philosophy. 

Benefits of a Muta marriage 

Muta marriage has a lot of potential benefits. Some of them are: – 

  • A temporary marriage allows a man and a woman to explore what they want and end the relationship without any commitment. 
  • It provides a way for people to explore different sexual partners.
  • It gives people multiple opportunities to identify their compatible partner and then marry permanently. 
  • It allows people to fulfil their sexual needs in an emotionally and socially acceptable manner. 

Risks of a Muta marriage 

There are a lot of risks involved in Muta Marriage. Some of them are: – 

  • In some instances, the men exploit and abuse the women. 
  • It increases the risk of spreading sexually transmitted diseases. 
  • This arrangement of marriage causes psychological problems in women. 
  • Women do not get equal rights. 

Indian jurisprudence on Muta and surrounding case laws

The practice of Muta Marriage is not very prevalent in India. Regions dominated by Sunni Muslims or women of high society do not practise this type of marriage. As in Muta marriage, the wife is considered as a rented woman. This concept is not fruitful for society and for the betterment of the status of women. Because of this type of arrangement, men consider women as objects and disrespect them. However, it is followed by certain sects of Shia Muslim men. Hyderabad is considered as the epicentre of Muta marriages

Indian Laws do not recognise temporary marriages like Muta. There have been several instances where people have knocked on the doors of courts for clarity on Muta Marriage Contracts. Let us understand the current legal position by reading some of the judgements by the Hon’ble Courts in India: – 

  • Syed Amanuallah Hussain and Ors. vs. Rajammand and Ors. (1976) – In this case, a Shia male Habibulla entered into a Muta Marriage with Rajamma. This marriage lasted till the death of the husband in 1967. Upon his death, Rajamma inherited all his properties. Habibulla’s Brother challenged this inheritance as the marriage was a Muta Marriage, and in such marriages, the wife has no right to inheritance. Upon careful consideration and interpretation, it was held by the court that the term of the Muta Marriage was not specified in their contract. If the term is not specified, then it will be considered as a normal permanent marriage. The most important feature of a Muta marriage is the fixed term, therefore, if the contract did not mention the term, then it would not be considered as a Muta marriage.

Therefore, the marriage was held to be a permanent marriage, and the wife had inheritance rights over the properties of her husband. The claim by the brother was not accepted by the court.  

  • Shoharat SIngh vs. Musammat Jafri Bibi (1914) – In this case, the court dwelled upon the meaning of a Muta Marriage and its importance amongst Muslims. It was stated that a muta marriage, as per Islamic law, is followed by the Mohammedans of the Shia Sect. It is a temporary marriage for a fixed period of time. This type of marriage does not confer any right to the woman on the property of the husband. Dower is a key component of such marriages. 

Children conceived from wedlock are considered legitimate and capable of inheriting from their father. A nikah is a religious ceremony, whether it is permanent or temporary, and thus confers the position of a wife on the woman completely. 

  • Mohammed Abid Ali Kumar Kadar vs. Ludden Sahiba (Minor) (1886) – It was held that the husband and the wife do not have the right to divorce. But the marriage can be terminated if the husband returns the time to the wife. A woman can also terminate the contract, but in that case, the husband can deduct some portion of the money from her Dower. 

If the parties continue to cohabitate even after the expiration of the contract, then it is presumed that the contract is extended. 

  • Bacchoo vs. Bismillah (1935) – In this case, the husband had agreed to pay a certain amount of maintenance to the wife for a certain period of time. Allahabad High Court held that the failure to do so could be considered as a ground for divorce and the contract itself will be a Talaqnama. Since the husband failed to perform his duty, the wife has accrued a right to divorce. Because of the default, the Talaq became effective without any pronunciation. 
  • Shahzada Qanum vs. Fakher Jahan (1953) – In this case, it was clarified by the court that there is no difference between a muta marriage with an unspecified time period and a permanent nikah marriage. A muta marriage will be considered as a permanent marriage if no duration is specified. For a Muta marriage to be considered as a temporary marriage, it is necessary to specify a fixed time period for the marriage. Otherwise, it is a marriage like any other.
  • Luddun vs. Mirza Kumar (1882) –  The petitioner in this case filed an application under section 536 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for obtaining an order of maintenance for herself as the wife. She was into a Muta Marriage. The parties to the marriage were both Shias. She alleged that the period was 50 years, while her husband alleged that it was only for a month and a half.

The magistrate observed that as per Shia law, a wife of Muta Marriage has no right to claim maintenance. However, this does not take away the statutory right to maintenance under Section 536 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. A right to maintenance, depending upon the personal law capable of being enforced, forms the subject of a civil suit. Therefore, the Calcutta High Court held that the wife was qualified for claiming maintenance under the Code of Criminal Procedure. 

  • Sadiq Hussain vs. Hashim Ali (1916) – In this case, the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court held that children born out of Muta Marriage have inheritance rights over the properties of both the parents, and they will be considered as legitimate. 
  • Akbar Hussain Sahib vs. Shoukah Begam Shaiba (1915) – In this case, it was discussed that the lowest form of marriage considered in the Mohammedan Law is Muta Marriage. Some consider it to be a low form of marriage so as to be non distinguishable from Concubinage. The two conditions for muta marriage are – there must be a specific time period, and there must be a consideration amount for the wife. 
  • Hassan Ali Mirja vs. Nushrat Ali Mirja (1934) – In this case, it was stated that a muta marriage can be extended from time to time upon expiration of the time period. If the parties are willing to continue the marriage, they can do so in a Muta Marriage form. 

Practice of Muta in Britain 

In Britain, temporary marriages amongst Muslims are on the rise. Muta Marriage, which is an ancient practice under Islam, is a temporary form of marriage. In Britain, it is known as Nikah Al Mutah. The Nikah Al Muta consists of a verbal or written contract in which both parties enter consensually. This type of union can last for a few hours or for a few years. There is no time limit. The wives of such marriages cannot be counted among the four wives allowed in Islam. 

Over the past few years, this practice has been revived in Great Britain. It is most popular amongst the new generation of Muslims in England and Wales. It is also known as ‘wife swapping’ in some parts of the country due to its nature and generality. The popularity of this practice shows how Muslims in Britain are using Islamic Sharia Law to establish different forms of marriage, which otherwise is illegal. Some schools of thought believe that temporary marriages are like religiously sanctioned prostitution, which makes the men feel good about their conduct and that they are not committing any sin. 

A muta marriage, also known as the pleasure marriage, was established by the Muslim Prophet Mohammed himself. Due to the informal nature of temporary marriages, there are no official statistics to show how many unions are there in Britain. But in a documentary, it was revealed it is widespread and especially popular amongst the younger generation of Muslims. 

However, Nikah Al Mutah is practised by Shia Muslims and considered void by Sunni Muslims. Sunni Muslims follow a more liberalised form of marriage, that is, Nikah-Al-Misyar, which means Travelers Marriage. The Misyar marriage is not a normal marriage. In this type of arrangement, the husband and wife only meet to perform conjugal obligations. The man, in such instances, is usually married and cannot afford another wife. The sole object of Misyar and Mutah marriages is for sexual fulfilment and pleasure. This type of arrangement also favours men like other practices under Islam. 

Practice of Muta in Iran 

In Iran, temporary marriage in the form of Muta is very prevalent and widespread. It is a contract between a man and a woman which lasts for a fixed period of time. The time period might differ from one hour to ninety-nine years. It is practised mostly amongst the Shiites of Iran and Iraq. This type of arrangement allows single men and women or teens to engage in sexual relations in a legitimate and acceptable manner. Under the Iranian Law, if boys and girls are found anywhere in public, even holding hands, then they can be punished, arrested or fined. To safeguard from these problems, a temporary marriage is used as a solution. 

Such an arrangement is considered as a means of curbing sexual relations before marriage, which is considered unacceptable. It also allows men to have other temporary wives along with a permanent wife if they cannot afford more permanent wives. A wife from a Muta marriage does not hold any right over maintenance or inheritance. However, such a type of marriage is discouraged by educated families. 


Muta Marriage is practised mostly by the followers of the Ithna Ansari School of Shia Muslims around the world. It is also considered as a form of prostitution by some believers as women in these arrangements have limited to no rights and get money for engaging in sexual relations with the man. This type of union only favours the men. The traces of sadness and misery can be seen in South Asia and the Middle East. Young girls are tricked into Muta Marriages, abused and thrown away. Temporary marriages like Muta are only for men to fulfil their sexual needs. 

The association with Muta Marriages also spread the word that the woman is no longer a virgin and a blot of shame on the family. In this manner, women are insulted and used as objects in society. This arrangement shall be declared illegal by the central laws. For the betterment of society and to empower women, it is crucial to take a step ahead and discourage such types of marriages. In the end, the women suffer the most in such instances. 

Along with this, the second most important point is Health. Engaging in sexual relationships with multiple partners can cause a number of sexually transmitted diseases. Because of the changing partners, diseases can spread drastically. Muslim preachers sometimes encourage their men to engage in pleasurable marriages with teen girls aged 14 and 15 as a way of punishing their enemies. Such means of exploiting young girls shall be declared illegal. Women and girls are often trafficked in different parts of the world for the purpose of sexual exploitation. 

However, the men and women entering into such arrangements are fully aware of the consequences and the objective. It is their choice. There are different people under Islam with different opinions on Mutah Marriages. In today’s era, when women’s empowerment is a heated debate, with practices like these, we are moving backwards instead of moving ahead.

Some practices may be ancient and considered religious duty but are dreadful by their very nature. It is not necessary that everything is followed. Some practices like Triple Talaq, child marriage, and Sati Pratha were abolished and made illegal when it was realised that they were against the progress of society and women. Similarly, the practice of Muta marriage shall also be reconsidered. It is just a way for men to sexually exploit women and treat it as legitimate and acceptable. Despite many advantages of this, the disadvantages are more grave in nature. In the end, it is up to the people to decide whether to follow it or not. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Whether Muta Marriages are legal in India or not? 

In India, Muta Marriages are not recognised under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 or any other legislation. However, due to the contractual nature of the marriages in Islam, Muta marriages are also enforceable in a court of law. Under Islam, there are many practices which are per se not allowed by other religions of India and, therefore, not incorporated in the statute. Muta marriage contract is enforceable and there are many judgments of the High Courts and Supreme Court wherein they have decided conflicts arising out of Muta Marriages. 

Are Mutah Marriages practised outside India? 

Mutah marriages are a very common practice found in different parts of the world. Especially in Iran, Iraq and other Arab Countries. Muta marriage is also practised in Britain. The younger generation of Muslims is practising this type of arrangement a lot. 



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