Can Sunnis and Shiites marry
Arabic, literally: "marriage of pleasure".
Special form of marriage that a man can enter into in addition to his / her first marriage. The Mutâ marriage is a temporary marriage based on Islamic law, which is especially concluded by men who are absent from home due to long journeys. The marriage contract can be valid for a period of three days to several years and is concluded orally in front of witnesses. Precise information must be given about the length of time (adjal) of the marriage contract and the remuneration to be transferred to the woman (adjr), which will become her personal property. The woman must be unmarried and respectable ('afifa) at the time of the contract. Such a marriage is usually only valid between Muslims. For the duration of the relationship, the man undertakes to pay for the woman's maintenance and to provide her with living space. If offspring result from this connection, they are assigned to the male kinship group (patrilinear); they thus enjoy the rights of legitimate children. The marital relationship ends after the stipulated time has elapsed and can only be extended by concluding a new contract. At the end of this marriage, the woman must wait two menstrual periods ('iddah) before entering into a new marriage.
There are contradicting Islamic legal traditions regarding the form of marriage, which is covered by the term mutâ: According to the first group, which includes Shi'ite Muslims in particular, the institution of Mutâ is said to have existed among the Arabs as early as the pre-Islamic period and was still used by the Prophet Muhammad and his contemporaries practiced. However, while it was later largely abolished by Sunni orthodoxy, they defend Shi'ites by accusing the caliph 'Umar of deliberately changing a custom approved by the Prophet, and referring to Sura IV, 28 (or 24) which reads as follows:
"And besides this, you are allowed to desire women with your money, for marriage and not fornication. And give those who you have enjoyed their morning gift." [The Koran, Henning 1989: 92]. Nonetheless, the Muta marriage seems to be relatively rare; it is not practiced by the Arab Shiites of Lebanon and Iraq, and even in Iran it seems to have little importance. According to a second group, consisting mainly of Sunnis, Isma'ilites and Zaydites, this passage does not refer to the ordinary marriage, denoted by the term nikah, from which it derives
- by the temporary character and
- differs through the precisely prescribed reward for the enjoyment.
Mutâ is therefore condemned as barely veiled prostitution. According to a third group, mutâ was once only allowed for a short time (e.g. three days) and on certain occasions, based on traditions relating to the conquest of Mecca (war, campaigns) or the first pilgrimage (hadjdj). Tradition has it that after the Prophet allowed muta, Sabra and a friend visited a woman. Both men offered her their coats as a reward. The woman chose the younger man with the shabbier coat and slept with him for three nights. Thereupon the Prophet forbade mutâ. According to other traditions, mutâ was allowed for the pilgrimage:
However, after the women wanted to limit mutâ to a certain and fixed period and they had agreed on ten days and nights, the Prophet forbade it after the first night, saying: "Whoever has married a woman for a certain period of time, should give her what he has promised her and ask nothing in return, and then he should part with her. God has forbidden this until the day of resurrection. " Still others are of the opinion that it was not until the end of his caliphate that the caliph Umar abolished muta as fornication; anyone who violated this prohibition was threatened with stoning. Despite the fact that in the Sunni perspective mutâ is usually not recognized as marriage, it can be practiced in another form, namely by not including in the contract the limited period of marriage; all agreements outside of this contract (which were concluded orally prior to the contractual relationship) are not affected by the applicable law. In this way a marriage can be recognized as matrimonial on the condition that the unspoken decision (niyya) to enter into it only for the duration of the stay in a certain place or only for a few days is not expressis verbis stipulated in the contract.
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