SHIA REJECTION OF MUTAH
IT is astounding how we Shias quickly accept the ‘evidence’ that private sex contracts called Mutah are allowed in Islam but we never make an honest consideration of the Quranic evidence against it. Evidence one is the fact that in verse 5:5 the Quran totally forbids ‘secret lovers’ which is a simple but effective challenge against the surreptitious practice of mutah. Needless to say that verses that forbid ‘secret lovers’ are never mentioned by those who have succeeded in convincing us that Mutah is Islamic. They have ‘islamised’ this pre-Islamic pagan practice without ever engaging in a meaningful exploration of the issue. Instead they have diverted us by making it a Sunni versus Shia issue. By doing this our whole community has missed out on the true value of husband-wife relationship in the Quran.
Interesting is how mutah was first forged into our early Shia literature. One of the early references by Sheikh Thani describes Mutah as ‘Iraj Ul Furuj’ giving it a legal status of ‘hire.' Sheikh Thani writes in the 10th Century and says that ‘hired women’ are not the same as 'permanent wives' and so do not have the same legal rights. This claim by Sheikh Thani means that women in mutah are not ‘Quranic’ wives otherwise they will be part of the ‘4’ limited by the Quran. According to Shia Fikh there is no limit to the number of 'temporary wives' you can have which openly flaunts the Quranic limits. In addition it is bizarre that while the Quranic conditions for polygamy is ‘fair treatment’ the ‘hired’ women or the so-called temporary wives of mutah do not get fair treatment as they are kept secret, have fewer rights and have a sell-by date to their ‘temporary marriage.’
Nevertheless, we are told that mutah is a marriage in Islam because in Islam marriage is just a ‘contract.’ This claim is promoted by Al-Islam.org where the writer concludes that in Islamic law the only difference between marriage and adultery is IDDA – the waiting period of divorce. Nowhere does the writer acknowledge that the fundamental aspect of any marriage is the intention of a life-long commitment which has nothing to do with IDDA or a contract.
And since marriage has been reduced to ‘contracts’ we have created the belief that in Shia Islam marriages can be of different types. In the tafseer Al Mizan we witness the oddity that in Shia Islam there are two types of marriages thus: Permanent and Temporary even though such a thing is not in the Quran.
In addition according to a fatwa a father can legally marry off his infant or minor daughter on the basis that her ‘private parts are not harmed’ even though the so-called ‘husband’ is allowed to use her thighs for his satisfaction. This, we are told, is a permitted marriage ‘contract’ even though it actually constitutes child abuse.
The use of marriage as a ‘fikh’ cover has also given men the permission to do ‘temporary marriage’ with prostitutes provided we admonish prostitutes to stop being prostitutes once we have had sex with them. Is this not a behavior of a community that has created a parallel universe where we can remain in the deception of how ‘Islamic’ we are while doing the most un-Islamic deeds? Are we not acting as though Islam is our property and in our pockets to do with it whatever we deem fit?
2. THE QURANIC DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE
So given all these disputations let us start at the beginning by asking that does Islam really endorse the idea that marriages comes in categories of temporary and permanent or is marriage in Islam defined as a life-long commitment. Let us see what the Quran says:
[30:21] “Among His proofs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves, in order to have tranquillity and contentment with each other, and He placed in your hearts love and care towards your spouses. In this, there are sufficient proofs for people who think.”
Clearly two of the key words that stand out in this verse are love & care. So can love & care be 'contracted' or are these the fundamental foundations of a marriage in the Quran? A contract is about agreed dos and don’ts while the foundations of marriage are intentions & aspirations. If love & care is not there then the Quranic foundations are missing regardless of the contract you may make. And to add to this concept are more verses of the Quran thus:
[24:32] You shall encourage those of you who are single to get married. They may marry the righteous among your male and female servants. If they are poor GOD will enrich them from His grace. GOD is Bounteous, Knower.
[25:74] And they say, "Our Lord, let our spouses and children be a source of joy for us, and keep us in the forefront of the righteous."
[40:8] "Our Lord, admit them into the gardens of Eden that You promised for them and for the righteous among their parents, spouses, and children. You are the Almighty, Most Wise.
Astonishingly people who have derived mutah have always bypassed all these fundamental verses in their voluminous justifications. In fact far from their derivation what we find is that the Quranic standards of marriage are high. The ideals of Quranic marriage are such that a husband-wife relationship is intended to be everlasting as the Quranic verses tell us that this relationship is meant to bring couples together in the gardens of Eden. What is meant by this is that a marriage should be about a partnership of souls. When the Quran says that couples come together in the spiritual gardens of Eden we are told that marriage is a spiritual partnership. This is why we are hearken to marry 'soul mates' and not just hire out women for a period of time.
And as for those who don’t know the Quran it is a shock for them to discover that in the whole of the Quran even the word MUTAH does not exist. Could it be that a pure divine book does not want to even include such a dirty word in it's lofty verses of marriage! In fact, nothing relating or resembling mutah is in the Quran: Not even one law! Not even the 2 months of Idda and even the so-called ‘formula’ of mutah is missing: Nothing!
Yet our Shia books are full of it! Every Shia writing on marriage proudly broadcasts Mutah as though it is something to highlight and be proud of. But when it is not in the Quran and is against the Quranic definition of marriage then how did we manage to make it so Islamic? How did mutah get so tightly woven in to our version of Islam? How did it become a blessing in our Islam for men to do as and when they want, and while their lonely wives languish at home - which is yet another injustice on women committed in the name of our version of Islam?
Could it be similar to the three talaqs of Sunni Islam or the Nikkah Halala or Misyar? None of these are in Islam but they are proudly defended by Sunni scholars. Are we not in the same boat?
What is true is that a lot of ‘religiously’ incited men find it uncomforting and even sacrilegious to question anything their minds cannot deal with and in particular we Shias don't like questions on mutah. This is because mutah is given the 'shia' tag and people are emotionally incited to become passive whenever anything that is labelled as 'shia' is put under the microscope. How narrow we have become when the Quran tells us to question and think for ourselves!
In our passive mentality which we think is religion we cannot even use the Quran to challenge our mis-concepts, our contradictions and our injustices. One convenient way we by-pass the Quran is to claim that the Quran is too ambiguous & difficult to understand. This way we sidestep the Quranic definition of marriage and don't have to answer so much against mutah.
For us it is now an acceptable 'shia' practice to do mutah even when going to ‘ziyarats.’ It is 'holy sex' because it is 'mustahab.' The earning potential for those who arrange mutah must be comparable to earning in the red light zones in Denmark or London as war has created widows and surplus of young Shia women. Even men with beards and turbans are religiously at it. Even hijabi women are at it. How holy and thou! But how ridiculous!
And if you challenge it then you become an outcast or a target of derision. “You are spoiling the earning potential of widows who need to do mutahs. You are a spoil sport. This is a need for today's youth. You are against Ahlul Baith ….”
But clearly no consideration or honest discussion about what the Quran says. No consideration of why even the word Mutah is not in the Quran. Why the Quran 5:5 categorically forbids secret lovers. In fact repeatedly the Quran urges Muslims not to live in 'lust' but this too has no bearing on the advocates of mutah who have fathomed religious excuses to by-pass the Quran.
3. THE WORDINGS IN THE QURAN
However, we must not shy away from asking the basic question that since the Quran has nothing about mutah and it's ideals are against mutah then how did it become ‘islamic.’ So to get a proper understanding of how mutah has been woven in to our Islam and made in to a recommended or mustahab act we need to go deep even to the point of considering the words in Arabic and what they mean. Let us start this exploration regardless of the insecurity it creates in passive minds.
Mutah is an Arabic word for pleasure, enjoyment or fulfilment. It is a word that ‘describes’ a noun. In other words it is an adjective. So you can have mutah of watching football or mutah of eating tasty kebabs! When we go for Hajj then the relaxation period after Hajj E Tamatu is called the Mutah of Hajj
‘You are allowed mutah’ means you are allowed pleasure; but pleasure of what! Mutah is not a word that can be used without a noun. This is why modern day literature uses the words Mutah Nikkah or Nikkah Mutah as the word Mutah on its own is meaningless.
There are, therefore, two challenges for anybody who seeks to insert mutah in to the Quran. First is to find a word similar to mutah and try to argue that it means mutah. Secondly, change the grammar in order to use an adjective (mutah) to place of a noun (marriage).
It is in the tafsir Al Mizan where these two things are done. First the word ISTIMTATUM is changed to Mutah. The justification is that Istimtatum and Mutah have the same root and so it is fine to remove the Quranic word and replace it with the word mutah. This is done for verse 4:24. Read it in http://www.almizan.org/
The question then is that did God use the wrong ‘root’ word such that people have to change the Quranic word to mutah? And does not changing words constitute a form of forgery?
But even if we accept that someone with high status and a lifetime of scholarship can interchange words and extract word that don’t fit his interpretation then the issue still remains about grammar as ‘mutah’ is an adjective and needs a noun to qualify it, and so how does Al Mizan get out of this?
4. CLAIM THAT THE ORIGINAL READING HAS CHANGED
What we find is an extensive change of verse 4:24 in order to transpose it to fit the meaning required. In fact words like 'to seek' are added to it. The Tafseer also entertains the idea that the original reading of the verse had words like ‘limited time’ until these words were removed presumably by Umar Khatab who is a convenient scapegoat for us Shias for altering Islam. But the issue is the wholesale change of verse 4:24 by a shia tafsir that even entertains the idea that the words ‘limited time’ were in the original reading of the verse. Clearly the addition of the word Mutah and then the tempering with the grammar with the view that additional words existed in the ‘original’ verse is clear and unequivocal proof that the Quranic verse is being tempered with to fit in with the meaning required. And this is done in the so-called Shia Tafsir.
By altering the verses the very definition of the Quranic marriage is changed. Hence we have moved away from the notion that a true marriage is about love, care, life-long commitment, guidance and even unison in paradise to that of the pre-Islamic notion that marriage is a contract, a hire deal and just another arrangement. What we have done is returned to the Jahil definition of marriage and called it Islamic. Yet paradoxically in our nikkah ceremonies we idealise the marriage of Khadija & the Prophet or of Ali & Fatima. I wonder how many of us Shias are willing to accept that the marriage of Ali & Fatimah was just a contract and not a divine union inline with the Quranic definition of a marriage!
Never before have these facts come out and so there has been no need to give the Muslims the explanation of why, since the Quran is a perfect book in every word and grammar, do scholars need to change words and grammar in their tafsirs. The mere fact that the word mutah does not exist in the Quran but exists in the tafsirs of scholars has never been explained.
5. A NEW EXPLANATION
It is only now that Dr Sheikh Amaar Nakshawani has tried to make an explanation of why ‘mutah’ is not mentioned in the Quran. He asserts that the people in the 6th Century did not use the word Mutah to mean a temporary marriage or a hire deal but instead they used the Quranic word ISTIMTATUM (an adjective) to mean temporary marriage (not an adjective).
But his claim is actually a contradictory claim to that of Al Mizan which says that the word mutah was ‘in vogue in the life and time of the Prophet.’ Hence both scholars - despite being from the school of the Ahlul Baith - are saying contradictory things. I feel that this proves how subjective is the so-called ‘Islamic’ sciences of derivation from man-made books and how the holy names of the Ahlul Baith are misused to hide the inadequacy & contradiction in derivations.
In addition, what Sheikh Nakshawani misses is verse 46:20 where the same root word ISTIMTATUM is used thus: ‘The infidels seek istimtatum in this world and for them is hell.’ So if Sheikh Nakshawani was right that ISTIMTATUM meant temporary marriage then it would mean that it is the infidels who ‘seek temporary marriage’ and for them is hell. This is a shock for mutah lovers who remain ignorant of the Quran despite all their religious pretences and it is yet to be reconciled by Sheikh Nakshawani who has a video in which he claims that Istimtatum was the word used instead of mutah in the time of the Prophet.
One final stance that is often taken by those who keep defending mutah despite all the Quranic evidence against it is to dismiss the analysis of Quranic words and make an assertion that only ‘experts in Quranic grammar’ who have spent a ‘life-time’ in studying the Quran can tell us what the Quranic words mean, even though the forgery and tempering with Quranic words is done by so-called experts. In any case, if any person is a true expert in Arabic then he or she should have no difficulty in answering the above points.
Given the above arguments against mutah the advocates of mutah are left with no choice but to give blind edicts of how good it is to do mutah and use the name of the Alhul Baith to pacify us. They want us to accept narrations blindly like the ghusal (bath) water from the body of a mutah woman is collected by angels as it is now divine water! There are many such absurd mutah narrations that promise us high rewards if we hire women for sex and we are supposed to accept them blindly because we are told it is a blessing for us as the followers of the Ahlul Baith. But surely our duty as people of the Ahlul Baith is to stop the misuse of the names of the Alhul Baith. So I feel we are duty bound to ask that if mutah is allowed then why is mutah not even mentioned in the Quran, why the grammar of verse 4:24 does not fit if we insert mutah in to the verse and why if it is mustahab did the Prophets or Imams never do it as forgoing a mustahab act is itself a ‘tark e oula!’ Have we ever had the open-mind to contemplate the question that if mutah was such a blessing for us Shias then how come not one Imam did it and not one Imam was born of it. Surely if Mutah was endorsed by our Imams then they should have done it more than us as it is a mustahab act and as they had a duty to lead by example!
6. PART 2 – THE SUNNI FACTOR
In the whole saga of mutah what is astonishing is the contradictions from the Sunni scholars who too seem to have ‘dug-their-heals’ on their sectarian viewpoints in using their man-made books to derive their logic. They often hide behind textual sources and make self-satisfying assertions of how they follow the ‘Sunnah’ and how mutah was allowed at the beginning as Muslim transited from Jahiliyat to Islam. But the fact is that the Sunnis too have blind spots in their derivations. Let us look at the evidence of this.
One blockage for Sunnis is that they have a blind reliance on text without going in to a full critique of what is written. Remember that most of the narrations were written over 100 years after the Prophet and during the era of turmoil when books were burnt if they did not match with the view of tyrants. Yet the Sunnis have a passivity towards what is written and even though it can be proved to be flawed they are obliged to believe things because they are written in the ‘early sources’ and verified by the science of rijal or chains of narrators.
7. NONSENSICAL STORIES OF MUTAH
So here it the evidence of the nonsense in the books! One famous story from various Sunni sources is that the Prophet allowed ‘mutah’ up to and until the Battle of Khybar when he forbad three things namely Mutah, donkey meat and eating garlic. This is followed by another story of two ‘Companions’ who while travelling with the Prophet to Hunain pleaded to the Prophet to allow them to ‘castrate’ themselves due to them not having had sex for over two weeks! We are told to believe that the two men preferred to be castrated and ruin their sex lives permanently only because they could not get a temporary fix in the middle of the desert. And had they never heard of masturbation instead of seeking permission to castrate? Let us look at more nonsensical bits in the story that we Shias use to justify mutah from Sunni sources.
First the narration says that the Prophet was alarmed at the pitiful state of these two men and so told them they could seek sex by getting a woman to do ‘mutah.’ We are then told that the two men went off to see if they could find - in the middle of the vast desert - any available woman to do mutah. Then we are told that miraculously the young man found a woman in the middle of the desert sitting alone who agreed to do mutah. But we are not told what the older man did when he too was desperate to relieve his sexual frustrations but did not find a woman. We are also not told that why the woman could not satisfy the older man first by an oral act and then do intercourse with the younger man as - according to our Shia fikh - there is no IDDA for just oral. So the burning question remains that did the old man ultimately castrate himself! Or was he just bluffing to the Prophet who was deceived in allowing mutah to this exploding companions! What a mockery of Islam within the man-made books which are accepted on the basis of Rijal and are 'early sources.'
Let us also look at this from another angle. Question one is that if this narration is true then why did the Prophet not make it clear at Khybar whether this was a total ban on mutah or a partial ban? As the Prophet did not make it clear then we need to ask that can a Prophet ever issue a confusing ban that would leave people ill-informed about what kind of ban it was such that it led to the two men – his close Companions – at the verse of castration? Should we accept stories that are a slur on the Prophet when they depicts him as someone who came up with impromptu banning without explaining to his followers why, what and how the ban was to be implemented. Is this not the stuff orientalist and Zionist look for against the Prophet Muhammad (as)? Is this not what the Umayads left behind for us in order to confuse us and create a version of the Prophet that does not make sense? And was it not the Umayads like Muawiya who practiced mutah without limitations while Imam Ali and the Ahlul Baith never did mutah? So could this kind of nonsensical narrations not have been written by the forgers from the Umayad courts?
The only people who are served by these types of dubious story telling are those who want to cause confusion on how the Prophet made rulings just so that they could insert mutah in to the story of Khaybar. In fact, a common thread in all the stories of mutah is that they end with a slur on the Prophet. May be the aim is just that so that we turn away from the Islamic moral living and instead harbour the notion that the Prophet Muhammad gave confusing edicts based on his whims which then gives scholars – both Sunni and Shia – a repertoire of excuses for their bizarre derivation including giving permission to a man to marry infants and the permission to ‘marry’ prostitutes on a temporary basis.
And we can another take step further in the critique of this story thus: The Quran forbids Muslims to mutilate living things saying ‘don’t spoil what Allah has perfected - don’t even mutilate animals!” Yet the Companions who came to ask the Prophet to allow castration were ignorant of this verse. They wanted to castrate themselves which is the worst form of mutilation for a man. Hence what the Sunni Shahees are claiming is also a slur on the Companions as it depicts them as ignorant, sexually out of control and ready to blackmail the Prophet in to allowing them the pagan practice of mutah.
8. CAN'T GIVE UP NO MATTER WHAT
Even with all these issues against mutah the advocates of mutah don’t give up. Their will often even quote selective bits of stories that suit them. An example is Umar saying: “I now forbid you Mutah which Muhammad allowed you!” But the truth is hidden behind the whole story which we are never told.
The story starts with an old man called Amr Harith who coerced a young girl in to sex. The girl’s father complained to Umar who confronted Amr. Amr was trying to abscond from Medina but when he saw Umar with a whip in his hand he pleaded that Umar should believe him that the Prophet had allowed him such things. Umar was faced with a ‘companion’ claiming that the Prophet had allowed him to do such things. It was then that Umar first used the above words which are always used to justify mutah in our ‘Shia’ books without ever elaborating the circumstance or context in which he used it.
The story says that Umar did not believe the claim of Amr that the Prophet had allowed hiring girls for sex because Umar had been with the Prophet since the early days in Mecca and had never known such things. But Amr Harith was a devious man and would not stop at anything to justify things. He was influential and rich. He had a big clan and big links. And among his old chums was Abbas who was one of the uncles of the Prophet. Abbas said that Amr was right that ‘mutah’ was allowed but when challenged by his own slave he changed his stance and said it was allowed only in desperation.
Ultimately Umar turned to Imam Ali who (even according to Shia narrations) said that it was forbidden. Some of our scholars quickly dismiss this as it based on a ‘weak chain of reporters’ or weak rijal. We are told that this story of Imam Ali telling Umar that it is forbidden cannot be ‘trusted’ as it is not ‘mutawatir.’ Once again, the dismissal of this narration is not based on a critical analysis but on the criteria of a ‘minority’ report. And the added fact that is always missed out is that Imam Ali had quoted verse 4:25 against mutah. Until today no advocate of mutah will quote this verse as it is a death-nail for mutah. Once again the Quran has nailed the coffin of Mutah but the advocates of mutah who pretend to be so religious choose to ignore the Quranic verse.
And then there are those people who claim that Imam Ali was in ‘taqayaa’ (hiding the truth for the sake of saving his life) when he told Umar that mutah was forbidden. But they forget that Imam Ai used the verse 4:25 as concrete evidence from God and God can never be in taqayya! The verse categorically says that if an ummarried man cannot afford a wife but is desperate for sex then he should ‘marry a slave girl’ or maintain self-control. The verse does not give mutah as an option, not even to a desperate man: So how then is it permitted in Islam at all?
The evidence that Imam Ali was against Mutah is not just the verse 4:25 but it is also a historical fact that when Imam Ali (as) became the 4th political Caliph he did not allow mutah. If he was in taqayya in the time of Umar then at least when he became the 4th caliph it was his duty to reinstate it, especially since it was a mustahab act!
There are those who even claim that Imam Ali (as) did not reintroduce mutah when he was the 4th Caliph because he did not want to agitate those who would turn against him. But this is a slur on Imam Ali (as) as he spared nothing to fight those who were agitators. He reformed much despite opposition. To depict him as playing politics with the definitions of Islam is not fair on him.
One common excuse for Mutah is the report that Imam Ali said that if Umar had not forbidden Mutah then only the wretched would commit adultery. But this does not make sense because one group of people who are not allowed mutah are our wives. If this saying is true then it will mean that if our dear wives commit adultery - because they may need more sex than what the husbands can give them - then we should not mind as they cannot be wretched. But this will go against the Quran as all adultery, including by married women, is punishable by harsh lashings.
Secondly if we agree with the Sunnis that the Prophet forbad it in Khybar, it will mean the Prophet caused wretchedness at Khybar! Would this not be yet another slur on the Prophet?
Thirdly, it is like the false argument that if prostitution was not allowed then rape will increase even though prostitutes get raped all the time. There is no correlation showing rape is reduced by prostitution just as mutah does not reduce wretchedness. In fact in Iran a man was caught doing mutah with a mother and her daughter while neither of the women knew of it. Is this not an example of how mutah has brought true wretchedness in to society that aspires to be Islamic? Why are we hiding these facts from our youth who we are told are exploding like those two companions?
The challenge to become Islamic is not in justifying what has been derived by so called experts but by being true to the definitions & principles of the Quran. Without the Quran we are lost and our ‘good deeds’ are wasted. We are not the only section of the Ummah in this boat. We desperately need scholars of courage to tell us the truth about Islam and Quranic definition. We don’t need those with cleverly rationalise things for us while the truth goes missing. We don’t need false justification for inserting pagan things in to Islam. The evidence against mutah is unequivocal and clear. Nothing about it makes sense. The real challenge for our generations now is how much we progress towards the Quran, and shed off that which is fake & false. The path ahead is for us to choose either to walk in the light of the Quran or turn our faces away from it and keep pretending how righteous we all are.
10 Questions on verse 4:24