Hadiths regarding the legality of Nikah Mut'ah
There are several recorded oral traditions (Arabic: a hadith) from Muhammad used either to prove or to disprove the legality of nikah mut‘ah, an Islamic marriage form. This article lists those ahadith and provides the classical and modern Shi'i and Sunni interpretation provided by Islamic scholars.
According to classical Muslim Scholars, nikah mut‘ah is one of two marriage forms that is authorised in the Qur'an. The other form is called simply nikah, hence nikah mut‘ah is popularly shortened to simply "mut‘ah".
Sunnis deem nikah mut‘ah to have been abrogated (Arabic: Naskh) by some teachings of Muhammad that were not part of the Qur'an, while Shi'i Muslims disagree. Hence, according to Shi'i jurisprudence, it is a legal marriage form.
The Shi'a view of divorce is a last conflict resolution step in permanent marriages before ending it. The Shi'a do not engage in any divorce procedures at the end of the pre-determined period of nikah mut‘ah, they just annul the marriage, since there is no conflict to resolve.
When engaging in a nikah, a permanent contract for marriage is signed, marrying until divorce or death takes place, resembling the western concept of marriage. On the other hand, upon entering a nikah mut‘ah, a pre-set date of expiration is set to the marriage contract, and the marriage is automatically annulled at the arrival of the date, without any conflict resolution step.
Muslims believe that the Qur'an is complemented by the way and examples set by Muhammad, this is called "(his) way" (Arabic: Sunnah). Initially, much of the Sunnah was transmitted between people orally. Although some collection are claimed to be early written reports of the Sunnah, most of it remained in oral traditions until 800 AD. This produced chained of narrators that spanned several generations and also several traditions that became considered as fabricated. Since the names of the narrators were included in the oral traditions themselves, the Scholars used arrived to different methods to determine which ones to trust and regard authentic. This became known as the hadith studies.
The present validity of nikah mut‘ah is a heavily controversial issue among the Shi'a and Sunnis. While Sunni scholars are prone to view that the hadith literature support the notion that nikah mut‘ah is illegal, Shi'i scholars are prone to arrive to the opposite conclusion. This is a list of the most prominent of those ahadith, and the views of the scholars of those individual ahadith.
The Islamic term mut‘ah (lit. "joy") has several connotations:
- nikah mut‘ah — The second Qur'anic marriage form.
- Mut'ah of Hajj — relaxation between a Umrah and a Hajj.
Those two terms should not be confused with each other, as they are separate things and the term "mut‘ah" can denote one or both of mut‘ah of Hajj and nikah mut‘ah.
Umar ruled the Ummah between 634 to 644. While the Shi'a view him as an unprincipled usurper, Sunni view him as one of the Rashidun or Rightly Guided Caliphs. As narrated in the hadith of Umar's speech of forbidding Mut'ah, Umar banned it during his time as Caliph.
While Shi'a are prone to interpret that Umar was the first one to historically ban nikah mut‘ah and mut‘ah of Hajj, Sunnis view that nikah mut‘ah had already been abrogated by Muhammad, and Umar was merely re-enforcing Muhammad's practice, as well as ban mut‘ah of Hajj.
Categories of hadith
There is a consensus among Shi'i and Sunni scholars that nikah mut‘ah was lawful during Muhammad's era. However, there is a small disagreement on how long these periods were, how frequent, or if they were legal all the time. In either case, all scholars agree based on the ahadith that Muhammad even told people to engage in the temporary marriage.
|“||All the early scholars have no disputes that mut‘ah is marriage for a set period of time, this marriage has no inheritance and man and woman separate when the time expires.||”|
Prohibition by Muhammad
There is a total of seven hadith that state that nikah mut‘ah was abrogated. These seven ahadith each narrate their own occasion, thus resulting in seven different times when it is supposed to have been abrogated.
Most Sunni scholars disregard most of this occasions, and argue that it was forbidden in three, two or at only one time. Yet other Sunni scholars argue that they are all fabricated and that Umar was the first one to forbid it, but that he was entitled to do so, since Muhammad had ordered the Muslims to follow the Rashidun. The Shi'a take the stance of those Sunni scholars, but do not accept that Muhammad had ordered to follow the Sunnah of the Rashidun, referring to the Hadith of the two weighty things.