Shi’ah Concept of Temporary Marriage (Mut’ah)

by Dr. Ahmad 'Abdullah Salamah


The religious beliefs and practices of Shi'ahs differentiate and segregate them from the entire Muslim Ummah. The Shi'ahs have specific beliefs about the attributes of Allah, the attributes of Allah's messengers, the position and mission of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and the reliability of the Qur'an. They even have their own unique moral codes. Unfortunately, because of their clannish nature and secretive preaching, very few people have proper knowledge of their beliefs and practices.

History vouches for the fact that since its inception, Shi'ism has been shrouded in mystery. The initial preaching and propagation of Shi'ism was only through word of mouth.

None of the Shi'ah Imams left any documentary evidence of their teachings.   It is a strange paradox that the Shi'ahs claim to follow Imam Ja'far when, in fact, Imam Ja'far (may Allah be pleased with him) did not even leave any evidence of having compiled a Fiqh. And later, when the Shi'ahs started writing about their beliefs, such writings were meant only for Shi'ahs. Sunnis did not even have access to them.

Contrary to the universal and basic teachings of monotheistic religion, Shi'ism teaches its followers to conceal their faith and hide their beliefs. Two of their basic doctrines, known as kitman and taqiyyah, are primarily designed to achieve this purpose. The belief in kitman commands the Shi'ahs to conceal their religion from non-Shi'ahs. The following two so-called "hadiths" from the sixth Shi'ah imam, Ja'far as-Sadiq, clearly elaborate this point:

"One who exposes something from our religion is like one who intentionally kills us." 1

"You belong to a religion that whosoever conceals it - Allah will honor him; whoever reveals it Allah will disgrace and humiliate him. 2

Furthermore, the belief in taqiyyah commits Shi'ahs to put up a hypocritical show and to act in such away that non-Shi’ahs may never be exposed to real Shi'ism. It even allows them to tell a lie if their intention is to hide their religion from non-Shi’ahs. The following Shi'ah narrations testify clearly to this effect:

Imarn Ja'far as'Sadiq said: "Associate with your opponents outwardly and oppose them inwardly. "3

ZarSrah narrated: "I asked a certain question of Imam Baqir, and he gave me its answer. Another person then asked the same question, and the imam gave him a different answer. Later, a third person asked the same question, but the imam's answer that time was different than the previous two answers. I then asked him, 'O son of the messenger, the two persons who just came here to ask you questions were from Iraq and were Shi'ahs, yet you gave them contradictory answers.'   The imam then answered, 'O Zararah, this is good for me as well as for you, and this will help us survive and prosper."4

Because of such beliefs both the Muslim Ummah and Western scholars have very little genuine and reliable knowledge of Shi'ah beliefs and practices. However, most of the openly declared Shi'ah beliefs revolve around the concept of imamah, the superiority of 'All (may Allah be pleased with him), and the so-called love of the Prophet's family members. As a result, the intense love that Sunni Muslims carry for the Prophet's family members combined with the magnanimous personality of 'All has led some Sunnis to accept the Shi'ahs as part of the Muslim Ummah.

However, the brutal fact remains that under the pretense of 'Ali's superiority and the so-called love of the Prophet's family members, Shi'ahs have literally evolved an entirely new religion, grossly distorted the teachings of the Holy Qur'an, and completely rejected the sanctity and authenticity of the Hadith. They have elevated the sayings of their imams to the level of the Prophet's sayings and have classified them as Hadith.   For all practical purposes, they reject the most authentic sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) and base their religion on the so-called hadiths attributed to their imams. By doing so they have rejected one of the most fundamental principles of

Islam:   the law can only be derived from the sayings and actions of the Prophet (PBUH), not any other human being.

This work is the third in a series comparing Sunni and Shi'ah beliefs. The first two booklets are Sunni and Shi' ah Perspectives on Islam and Sunni and Shi'ah Perspectives on the Holy Qur'an. The Shi'ah belief in the sanctity and blessings of temporary marriage, called mut’ah, is dealt with here.

The present study gives only a glimpse of the Shi'ah belief regarding mut’ah. All quoted citations used in support of their beliefs come from the most authentic and original source books of the Shi'ah faith - two of the earliest Shi'ah commentaries on the Qur'an, two of the earliest Shi'ah books of Hadith, and two of the earliest Shi'ah books of fiqh, along with a few other references, including words from the late Shi'ah imam, Ayatullah Khomeini.

Dr. Ahmad 'Abdullah Salamah

                                                                                        Sha'ban 1414 / January 1994

A Summary of the Shi’ah Concept of Mut’ah

Mut'ah is Arabic word which means "enjoyment." Actually, it has a deep religious connotation and draws a line of demarcation between the Shi'ahs and the rest of the Muslim Ummah. The books of Hadith and Fiqh written by Shi'ah scholars define mut'ah as "a temporary marriage contracted for a fixed period in return for a compensation." The belief in the sanctity and virtues of mut'ah is an integral part of the Shi'ah faith. In contrast, the rest of the Muslim Ummah considers mut’ah as prostitution.

Shi'ahs justify their belief in mut’ah with the following verse of the Qur'an, and they claim that this verse was revealed specifically to declare the sanctity of mut’ah:

"Also [prohibited to yon are] women already married, except those whom your right hands possess.   [This is what] Allah has ordained upon yon. Except for these, all others are lawful, provided yon seek them [in marriage] with gifts from your property, desiring chastity, not lust. So for whatever yon have enjoyed from them, give them their compensation as an obligation. “5

The Shi'ahs also claim that mut'ah was openly practiced during the Prophet's lifetime and that it was the second caliph, 'Umar, who forcefully prohibited this practice. They even go to the extent of saying:

"The believer is perfect only when he has experienced mut’ah. "6

Sunnis acknowledge that mut’ah was a common practice during the pro-Islamic days of ignorance (jahiliyyah) in Arabia. It is stated in at-Tirmidhi's book of hadith in the chapter on marriage that when a man would go to a strange village where he had no acquaintance, he would marry a woman for as long a period as he thought that he would stay so that she could take care of him and his property. This practice continued during the early days of Islam until the Qur'an revealed:

"...And those who abstain from sexualintercourse except with their wives or those [women] whom their right hands possess. "7

The Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam also states that mut'ah was a common practice among Arab travelers and goes back to the fourth century A.D. "When a stranger came to a village and had no place to stay, he would marry a woman for a short time so that she would be his partner in bed and take care of his property." Caetani also concluded that mut’ah in the pagan period was religious prostitution that took place during the occasion of hajj.8

Thus, mut’ah was a loose sexual practice during the pre-Islamic days of ignorance in Arabia. Being an old and established institution, it continued during the early days of Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) also allowed it temporarily on two other occasions, but only under strict, exceptional conditions during the conquest of haybar and during the conquest of Makkah - fearing that those Muslims whose faith was not yet strong might commit adultery during jihad. Shi'ahs widely quote hadiths in relation to these events to support their continued belief in mut’ah. Sunnis accept these hadiths but add that they happened before all of the revelations of the Qur'an were revealed and the religion completed. Historians and commentators on the Qur'an and hadith agree that Islam eradicated most social evils in a gradual way. It is well known that practices like gambling, drinking, and the eating of pork and blood were common during the early days but were gradually prohibited. Likewise, it seems probable that mut’ah was first forbidden to those at Khaybar in the year 7 A.H. and was then completely prohibited to all upon the conquest of Makkah in 8 A.H. Several traditions of the Prophet (PBUH) regarding mut'ah are well documented in books of. hadith, such as the following:

'Ali reported:   "On the day of the conquest of Khaybar the Prophet (PBUH) forbade mut'ah and [eating] the flesh of a donkey. "9

Sabrah bin Ma' bad al-Jihani reported: "I went forth with the Prophet (PBUH) for the conquest of Makkah, and he (PBUH) allowed us mut'ah with women. But we had not even left the city [yet] when it was prohibited by the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)."10

According to al-Bayhaqi, Ja'far as-Sadiq, the sixth Shi'ah imarn, regarded mut'ah as fornication."11 And ‘Ali is reported by ad-Darqutni to have said that mut'ah was abrogated when the Qur'anic verses about marriage, divorce, 'iddah.'12 and inheritance were revealed."13 Additionally, there are four hadiths quoted in Saheeh al-Bokhan under the title "The Prophet Finally Forbade Mutah." Three of these relate to the incidents of mut’ah during the early period of Islam. In the fourth hadith 'Ali said to lbn 'Abbas that the Prophet (PBUH) forbade mut’ah and the meat of domesticated donkeys on the day of Khaybar. And in Saheeh Muslim a group of traditions, which go back to Sabrah bin Ma’bad, substantiate that the Prophet (PBUH) permitted mut’ah in the year of the conquest of Makkah. Sabrah went with a companion to a woman, and each offered her a cloak in exchange for mut’ah. She chose the younger person with a shabbier cloak (i.e., Sabrah) and slept with him for three nights. Thereafter, the Prophet (PBUH) forbade it forever.

A Shi'ah might object to the aforementioned information because it is from Sunni sources. The fact is, however, that the Qur'an itself negates the Shi’ah concept of mut’ah. But first, the verse the Shi'ahs present in support of their belief in mut’ah, describing the classes of women with whom marriage is forbidden, should be examined. The last part of the verse reads:

"Except for these, all others are lawful, provided you seek them [in marriage] with gifts from your property, desiring chastity, not lust. So for whatever you have enjoyed from them, give them their compensation as an obligation. " 14

This verse clearly emphasizes the concept of chastity through regular marriage. Mut’ah, on the other hand, is an open license for sexual pleasure with as many women as one can financially afford. The women who engage in mut’ah are hired women; thus, it can be performed with all women irrespective of their age, character, conduct or religion. It requires no witnesses, nor is there any obligation on the man's part to provide food and shelter to the woman. The only precondition is that the woman agrees to the price and the length of the mut'ah and that the man pays her the compensation when he has relations with her. One can discern for himself whether such a practice leads to sheer promiscuity or promotes chastity.

Two terms in the verse under discussion are used by Shi'ah commentators to allow mut’ah. The first word is "ujur" (pi.of ajr), which means "compensation"; the second is "istamta'tum" which can be translated as "what you have enjoyed." So the end of the verse could be translated: "But give them their compensation for what you have enjoyed of them [in keeping with your promise]." Shi'ah commentators claim that "ajr" refers to the price of mut'ah agreed upon by the two parties. On the contrary, Sunnis state that it refers to the mahr (bridal money given by the husband to the wife).

Similarly, Shi'ahs explain the term "istamta'tum" as the physical act of consummation. However, this is contradicted by the following Qur'anic verses:

"There is no blame upon you if you have divorced women whom you have not touched [i.e., the marriage has not been consummated]or specified for them a mahr. But give them [a gift of] compensation [matti’uhunna]. The wealthy has his capability and the poor has his capability – a provision [mata’an] according to what is acceptable, an obligation upon the righteous.”15

They had their enjoyment [fastamta’u] of their portion, and you have had enjoyment [fastamta'tum] of yours as those before you enjoyed [istamta'a] theirs.” 16

"Their friends among men will say, 'Our Lord, we enjoyed [astamta'a] each other but have reached our term " 17

"O Prophet, say to your wives, if you desire the life of this world and its glitter, then come, I will provide for you [umatti'kunna] and set you free in a handsome manner."18

“O you who have believed, when you marry believing women and then divorce them before you have touched them, no period of waiting have you to count in respect to them. So give them provision [matti'uhunna] and set them free in a handsome manner.” 19

"And on the Day that the disbelievers will be placed before fire, [it will be said to them], 'You used up your good things in the life of this world and   enjoyed [wastamt'tum] them.'” 20

All of the aforementioned Qur'anic verses contain words with the root letters of the word “mut'ah” (m-t-'a), such as “istamta'tum", which is a derivative. Yet, none of the verses gives even a hint or connotation of the meaning interpreted by the Shi'ahs. The Shi'ahs do not relate any of these verses to the their concept of mut'ah. One may thus raise the question that if a word used on six different occasions in the Qur'an does not refer to temporary marriage, then how can the same word in a single verse refer to temporary marriage? It should be noted that the Qur'an continues with this statement:

"So many them with the permission of their families and give them their dowers according to what is reasonable. " 21

Such a case is only possible in a regular marriage since these conditions are not necessary in mut'ah. Although the Shi'ahs present the previous verse in support of their belief in mut'ah, they completely ignore this verse, which follows immediately thereafter. The fact is that Shi'ahs are very selective in their quotation of both Qur'anic verses and hadiths. They always present only those that agree with and corroborate their specific beliefs while completely ignoring others. Thus, while quoting verse twenty-four of Surah an-Nisa' and ignoring verse twenty-five, they also "forget" the six other verses that use the same terminology.

The Muslim ummah unanimously upholds that mut'ah is abrogated by all of the Qur'anic verses that speak about marriage, divorce, inheritance, dower, the guardian's permission, the 'iddah of divorced and widowed women, etc. And the following verse leaves no doubt that mut'ah is completely forbidden and unlawful:

"...And those who abstain from sexual inteicomse except with their wives or those [women] whom their right hands possess.” 22

Explaining this verse, lbn 'Abbas said, "All other ways of sexual contact except these two are forbidden." 23

As previously mentioned, Shi'ahs claim that it was 'Umar who forbade the practice of mut'ah and that mut’ah was openly practiced during the lifetimes of the Prophet (PBUH) and Abo Bakr. In fact, Sunnis acknowledge that 'Umar again24 declared mut’ah to be illegal, but they also state that he did not make the ruling from himself. 'Umar was elected caliph just two and a half years after the Prophet's death. Present around him were the respected family inembers and noble companions of the Prophet (PBUH). Had 'Umar's declaration been contrary to the Prophet's practice, a number of these noble people would have objected to it. Yet, nowhere in Islamic history is recorded a single protest against his announcement. Furthermore, since 'Umar was later succeeded by 'Uthman and then 'All, had 'Umal's statements been contrary to the ruling of the Prophet (PBUH), at least one of them would have reestablished the sanctity of mut'ah. Again, there are no records of such abrogation. Oddly enough, ‘Ali left behind a voluminous book, Nahjil-Balaghah, wherein he presented various aspects of Islam and the Muslim state. However, not a single word in favor of mut'ah is mentioned in it. Had 'Umar been wrong, nothing would have prevented 'All from condemning it in his writings. The fact is that ever since the Prophet's death there has been a consensus among the Muslim ummah about the illegality of mut'ah. Perhaps some people might not have been aware of its prohibition and subsequently contracted it after the Prophet's death; however, when 'Umar found out about it, he made another public declaration against it and enforced the ruling as the caliph and head of the Islamic state.

The Shi’ah Fiqh of Mut’ah from Their Own Sources

The following citations from the most authentic Shi'ahbooks, regarded as the basic sources of Shi'ah beliefs and practices, elaborate on the concept of mut'ah. They need to be analyzed in order to determine if mut'ah promotes chastity, as desired by Almighty Allah or if it, instead, leads to religious prostitution and debauchery.

The Proceeded for Contracting Mut’ah

When Hisham Salim asked how one should contract mut'ah, Imam Ja'far as-Sdiq answered that one should say, "I am marrying you for this period of time for this amount of money. When the prescribed period is over, there will be annulment, and there will be no 'iddah after this." 25

No Divorce or Inheritance Involved in Mut'ah

The narrator asked Imarn Baqir about the women of mut’ah. The imam said, “She is not among those four [women classified as wives] because she neither needs a divorce, nor is [a child born of her] entitled to any inheritance. She is like a hired woman!" 26

No Need for Witnesses or Open Declaiation

"There is no need for witnesses or any open declaration in mut’ah.” 27

The Price of Mut’ah

The narrator asked Imam Ja'ftr as-Sadiq, "What should be the minimum compensation for mm'ahl' The imam said,"Anything that the two parties agree upon."28

The Inexpensiveness of Mut’ah

The narrator asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq what the minimum compensation for mut’ah could be, and he answered, "One fistful of wheat."

The Least Costly Mut'ah

Mut’ah is a marriage that may last for a very short time. It needs no witnesses, and it has no period of 'iddah. The minimum compensation that could be paid to the woman for sexual relations is one dirham (i.e., less than 25 cents)."29

The Convenience of Mut'ah

Aban bin Tughlaq related that he said to Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq, “Often during my travels I come across a very beautiful woman and am not sure if she has a husband or if she is an adulteress or if she is one of dubious character," The imam responded, "Why should you worry about all of these things? Your duty is to believe what she engage in mut'ah with her.” 30

Mut'ah is Allowed with Women of Dubious Character

The narrator asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq, "In al-Kufah there is a woman known for her dubious character. Can I engage in mut'ah with her?" The imam said, "Yes, you may engage in mut'ah with her."31

Mut'ah with Numerous Women

Zararah said, "I asked the imam [i.e., Ja'far as-SSdiq] with how many different girls one can contract mut’ah. He answered, ‘with as many as one likes. These women are like hired girls.” 32

Numerous Sexual Gratifications in Mut'ah

One my have sexual relations with the woman contracted for mut'ah any number of times he desires."33

An Open License with All Women

Mut'ah is allowed with all types of women. She may be a virgin, married, widowed or may belong to any sect, group or religion. She may be a Christian, Jew or Muslim.34 However, mut'ah with a Majusi (Magian) woman is permissible only when one is helpless."35

Mut'ah with One Thousand Women

If one desires, he may have mut'ah with one thousand women since these are like hired women."36

Mut'ah with a Young Girl

Jameel bin ad-Dari said that he asked Imam Ja'fiar as-Sadiq if mut'ah was permissible with a virgin girl. The imam said, "There is no harm in it if the girl is not too young. However, all of the collectors of hadith agree that a nine-year-old girl is not considered too young."37

The Commission of Mut’ah

'Ali asked the Prophet (PBUH),38 What is the reward of the person who participates in the virtuous deed of arranging the mutual meetings of a man and woman?" The Prophet (PBUH) said, "He will receive the same reward as the two who engage in mut’ah.”

Blessings of Mut’ah

The Prophet (PBUH) said,39 "The man who contracts mut'ah once will be saved from the Hellfire. One who contracts it twice will be in the company of vitreous men [in Paradise]. And the one who contracts it three times will be my companion in firdaws [the highest level of Paradise]."

Mut’ah - A Blessing from Allah

No one can close the door of blessings which Allah opens for His servants, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq said, “Mut' ah is one of the blessings of Allah."40

Mut'ah - A Security for Paradise

If a man contracts mut'ah once in his lifetime, Allah will grant him Paradise.41

Mut'ah - A Savior from Shirk

One who contracts mut'ah is saved from shirk (the greatest sin of ascribing partners to Allah).42

Mut'ah - A Pardon from All Sins

The father of Saleem bin 'Aqabah said that he asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq if there was reward in agreeing to mut’ah. The imam said, "Yes, if it is practiced for seeking the pleasure of Allah and to oppose those who deny the sanctity of mut'ah.

Thus, when a person engages in mut’ah, all of his private talking to the woman is recorded as virtues. When he extends his arms towards the woman, this is also written as virtue. When he engages in the sexual act with the woman, Allah forgives all of his sins. When the two take a bath, Allah showers His blessings upon them and forgives their sins equal to the amount of hair [on their bodies]." The narrator inquired in surprise, "Equal to the amount of hair on their bodies?" The imam replied, "Yes, for every one single hair [wet by the water]. But their reward is reduced by the amount of hair that may not be wet."43

Mnt'ah - A Pardon of Sins for Practicing Women

It is narrated by Imam Baqir that the Prophet (PBUH) said, "When I was being taken to Heaven during the Mi'raj (ascension), Jibreel met me and told me, '0 Muhammad, Allah has promised to forgive all of the sins of those women who practice mut’ah.”44

Denying Belief in Mut'ah

One who does not believe that we (i.e., the Shi'ah imams) will reappear and role (the world in the future) and one who does not believe in the sanctity of mut'ah is not from among us.45

Punishment for Not Performing Mut'ah

The Prophet (PBUH) said, 'The men and women who die without performing mw'ah even once in their lives will appear on the Day of Judgment with their ears and nose cut and [their faces] deformed.” 46

Mut’ah - A Safeguard Against the Hellfire

Imam Ja'ftr as-Sadiq narrated from the Prophet (PBUH) that one third of the body is saved from the Hellfire if one contracts mut’ah once. Two thirds of the body is saved if one contracts mut’ah twice, and the whole body is saved from Hell if one contracts mut’ah three times. " 47

Mut'ah - A Deed of Allah's Virtuous Servants

It is narrated that once the Prophet (PBUH) was sitting among his companions and the discussion came to the topic of mut'ah. The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Do you know what is the reward of mut'ah?” The companions answered, "No," The Prophet (PBUH) then said, "Jibreel just came to me and said, '0 Muhammad, Allah sends His blessings to you and commands you to instruct your ummah to engage in the practice of mut'ah since this is the practice of [Allah's] virtuous servants.” 48

Mut'ah - A Ladder to the Stages of Piety

One who engages in mut'ah once gets the status of Imam al-Husayn. One who engages in it twice becomes equal in status to Imam al-Hasan. The one who performs it three times reaches the position of Imam 'Ali. And he who practices it four times acquires the level and position [equal to that] of the Prophet(PBUH)." 49

Great Reward for Women Who Donate Their Compensation

For the woman who donates back her compensation to the person who contracts mut'ah with her and for the woman who foregoes her dowry, Allah will reward her with 40,000 cities of light and 70,000 dresses of velvet and tfi3/(silk brocade)...And Allah will reward her with 70,000 more dresses from Heaven for each quarter of a dirham she donates back... And for each quarter of a diiham Allah will also assign 1,000 angels who will continue writing virtues in her account until the Day of Judgment. 50

I'arat al-Furuj (Loaning of Vaginas)

The Shi'ah books of fiqh carry a separate chapter entitled "I’arat al-Furuj" This could literally be translated as "The Loaning of Vaginas." Under this heading the Shi'ah imams have discussed the various conditions under which a woman can be temporarily given to another person. The books give details as to how a woman can be loaned only for the pleasure of seeing her naked body or for the pleasure of enjoying her lasses or for the pleasure of having sexual intercourse with her. Most of these descriptions are very explicit and are not even worthy of being reproduced here. The following are a few of their milder quotations:

A man asked Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq if it was permissible to temporarily loan a woman to another person. The imam said, "It is not permissible." Then he hesitated for a moment and added, "There is no harm if one offers his slave girl to one of his brothers." 51

Imam Abu 'Abdullah [Ja'far as-Sadiq] said, "If a person allows another person to kiss his slave girl, then such a kiss is permissible, and the man should be contented with the kisses alone; but if he offers him her vagina, then everything is permitted. "52

A narrator stated, 'I said to Imam Abu 'Abdullah [Ja'far as-Sadiq], 'a few of our friends have narrated from you that if a person offers his slave girl to another person, she is permissible to him.' The imam responded, this is correct... ' I asked, 'a certain person has a fine, beautiful slave girl who is a virgin. He keeps her only for himself but says to one of his brothers to enjoy the girl except her vagina. Would sexual intercourse be lawful with her?' The imam said. No, enjoy what is permitted to yon by your brother.' I further asked. What if that man gets carried away by his desire and engages in sexual intercourse?' The imam said, this would be very improper.' I then asked, Would that man be called a fumigator?' The Imam said. The man would not be called a fomicator. Rather, he would be called dishonest. If the girl was a virgin, he should pay to the master one tenth of her price; otherwise, the fine will be one twentieth of the price of the slave girl.’” 53

It must be pointed out that these sayings of the Shi'ah imams and their interpretation of the Holy Qur'an should not be taken as their personal views. The Shi'ahs claim that it was Allah and His Prophet (PBUH) who made mut’ah a blessing for the Muslim ummah. The following citations by Imam Abu 'Abdullah Ja'far s-Sadiq further explain this Shi'ah point of view:

"The Qar'an was revealed to declare the sanctity of mut’ah. The Prophet(PBUH) also practiced mut'ah. " 54

"Allah has prohibited'all intoxicating drinks for the Shi'ahs, but instead He has granted them mut'ah. " 55

"The Qur'an was revealed to justify mut’ah, and people practiced it in accordance with the sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) "56

Two basic points should be made concerning the aforementioned quotations. The sayings of the Shi’ah imams in Shi'ah doctrines are classified as 'hadith’ Technically; Shi'ahs make no distinction between the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) and those of their imams. The quotations given in earlier pages thus occupy the status of 'hadith" in their eyes and serve as the foundation of the Shi'ah faith and practice. Furthermore, all of the citations in the preceding pages are from the most authentic and original Shi'ah sources. Tafseer al-Qummi and Tafseer Minhaj as-Sadiqeen are two of the earliest and most reliable Shi'ah commentaries on the Qur'an. Additionally,

Usul al-Kafi and Furu' al-Kafi the most fundamental and original sources of Shi'ah hadith. The earlier editions of both "Kafis" had an inscription on the title page, reading: According to Imam al-Mahdi, this book is kafi [sufficient] for our Shi'ahs." The other two books quoted from are Tahdheeb al-Ahkam and Man La Yahduruhul-Faqeeh. These are classified among the four, basic source books of Shi'ah beliefs called al-Kutub al-arba'ah and are regarded as the most reliable sources of Shi'ah fiqh.Usul al-Kafi and Furu'al-Kafi are the other two books from these four.

All citations given in the preceding pages thus come from the most respected Shi'ah sources of hiadth and fiqh. Consequently, the belief in the sanctity, blessings and merits of mut’ah constitutes an integral part of the Shi'ah faith. Thus, it is not possible for someone to consider himself a Shi'ah and not believe in the sanctity and merits mut'ah.

Now it is left to the reader's judgment to decide if the practices of mut’ah are in harmony with the tenets of the Qur'an and the Prophet's teachings. Would such a practice establish a society based upon piety, righteousness and chastity, or rather, would it open the doors for lust, lewdness and debauchery? It is clear from the aforementioned presentation that this type of society would necessarily be opposed to a society based upon the Sunni interpretation of the Qur'an and hadith, in which mut’ah is totally forbidden and regarded as fornication, adultery and prostitution.

Unfortunately, very few people realize the significant differences between Sunni and Shi'ah beliefs. Most Shi'ah writings and preaching revolve around the emotional issues of love for the Prophet's family members, the virtues of 'Ali, the martyrdom of al-Husayn, etc. A number of people are attracted to Shi'ism because of the sensitivity and emotional nature of these issues. They do not realize that Shi'ahs have grossly misrepresented the Qur'an, as well as distorted and forged hadiths. The concocted belief in the sanctity and virtues of mut'ah is a classic example of such distortion.

Islamic history has shown that wherever Shi'ahs have gained political power, the sanctity of mut'afi was enforced even at the cost of human life. During the reign of Akbar (the great Mongol emperor in India), the chief justice, Qadhi Ya'qub Manikpuri, was sentenced to death for his verdict that mut’ah was not permissible in Islam.57 Many people coming from the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent would testily to the fact that a number of Sunni heads of state in undivided India embraced Shi'ism only to justify their lust for free sex, while claiming to practice mut'ah. The brutal fact is that when prostitution was legalized by the British in undivided India, a great many prostitutes were initially from the Shi'ahs, perhaps practicing it as a virtuous deed.

It seems appropriate to conclude this discussion with the following questions; If an Islamic state is established based upon Shi'ah doctrines or if the Shi'ahs are allowed to practice their religious beliefs, who would organize the "religious duty" of supplying young girls with which one could engage in the practice of mut'ah? Would the state or the Shi'ah community issue religious licenses to a few virtuous women to take up the profession of mut'ah on a full-time basis or would devout Shi'ahs allow their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters to participate in the virtues of mut'ah in their free time? Moreover, how would these girls be religiously different from the prostitutes sitting in a brothel? Indeed, not one of the Shi'ah books of hadith or fiqh has yet answered these questions.


As previously mentioned, none of the references cited in the previous pages come from the earliest and original Shi'ah sources. Therefore, one could perhaps say that these sources are obsolete and that the contemporary Shi'ah scholars and literature do not propagate such beliefs about mut'ah. In order to dispel such misconceptions, presented below are two citations from the work of Mullah Baqir Majlisi, whom Ayatullah Khomeini considered to be an authority on Shi'ah beliefs.

It should be recalled that Majlisi (d. 1111 A.H.) is one of the most respected Shi'ah scholars. He wrote approximately sixty very comprehensive and voluminous books. In several of his writings Khomeini has referred to Majlisi's works. As a matter of fact, Khomeini recommended in his Kashfal-Asrar that Shi'ahs read Majli’s books.58 One of Majli’s books deals exclusively with the virtues of mut'ah. It has been translated into Urdu by a contemporary Shi'ah scholar named Syed Mohammad Jafar Qudsi and is entitled Ijala Hasna. The following quotations are from these recent sources:

"The Prophet (PBUH) said, 'One who performs mot'ah with believing woman is like the one who visits the House of God [i.e.,theKa'bah] seventy times”59

"[For the] one who excels in this virtuous deed [of mut'ah], Allah will raise his levels [of faith and piety]... [On the Day of Judgement] he will pass on the bridge over Hell with the speed of light...   Seventy rows of angels will accompany him... and he will enter Paradise without giving the account [of his life]. 0'Ali, one who helps fellow Muslim brother [to contract mut'ah] will also receive these blessings and rewards. "60

To conclude this discussion, aquotation from Ayatullah Khomeini is presented:

It is permissible to engage in mut’ah with a fornicator woman but with a disliking in [one's] heart, especially if she is a well-known and professional fornicator. When a person contracts mut'ah with her, he should advise her to quit the profession of fornication."61

In other words, a man should first have his sexual gratification with a prostitute and then should advise her to quit her profession. Could this be Islam? Isn’t it obvious which belief Sunni or Shi'ah, represents the authentic religion of Islam? Should one enjoy the "virtues" of mut'ah or accept Islam, which is free from such corrupt practices?

For the benefit of a casual reader, who may have been grossly mislead by the references given in earlier sections, it must be reiterated that never did the Prophet (PBUH), 'Ali, or Ja'far as-Sadiq declare the "sanctity and blessings" of mut'ah. The fact is that none of the authentic books of hadith document any of these statements; instead, in order to justify mut'ah, Shi'ahs have wrongfully attributed these statements to such noble people and have subsequently hurt the reputations of these magnanimous personalities of Islam.


The art of writing bibliographies in Eastern literature is vastly different from that in Western literature. Most Eastern bibliographies quote only the book's name, followed by the author. Citations of publishers and the publication year are not generally found. This is because, in the past, most books were published by the authors, and each book had only one publication. As such, it is very difficult to write the bibliographies of Shi'ah sources. Shi'ah publishers consistently alter the sequence and contents of their original books. Two recent publications of the same book often have two different sets of information. Strangely enough, when a Shi'ah publisher reprints a book, he often changes its contents. Thus, two editions of the same book by the same publisher may also have two different sets of information. Consequently, a researcher may find difficulty in locating the cited pages of Shi'ah books. All of the references given in the preceding pages, however, are authentic and come from reliable Shi'ah and Sunni sources. In order to help the reader to appreciate the reliability and authenticity of the references utilized in this discussion, the bibliography presented here has been annotated, and Shi'ah and Sunni sources have been duly classified.


Abu Isa, Muhammad bin Isa (d.279A.) Sunan at-Tirmidhi; Cairo: Egypt, Maktabah Mustafa al-Babi, 1949. A source book of Sunni hadith containing 2028 original collections.

Babawayh, Shaykh as-Sadiq bin Ja’far Muhammad bin 'Ali (d. 381AH.), Man Li Yahduruhul-Faqeeh, Najaf, Iraq: Matba'ah an-Najaf, 1376 A.H. A source book considered being one of the four original collections of Shi’ah Hadith.

Gibbs, H. A. R. and Kramer, J. H Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam, Leiden: J. R. Brill, 1961.

Ikram,   Shaykh   Muhammad, Roodh-e-Kausar, Lahore: Pakistan, Ferooz Sons, 1958. A classical Urdu work used as a university textbook.

Kashani, Fathullah (d. 988 A.H.), TafseerMinhaj as-Sadiqeen,Tehran, Iran: Dar al-Kutub al-lslamiyyah, 1396 A.H. One of the most famous and respected Shi'ah Qmr'amc conmimlaries.

Khomeini, Ayatullah, Tahreer al-Waseelah, Najaf, Iraq: Matba'ah al-Adab, 1390 A.H. A most voluminous work on Shi'ah fiqh by the recent Shi’ah imam and leader of the Iranian revolution. It consists of two volumes, consisting of 656 and 650 pages, respectively.

Kulayni, Muhammad bin Ya'qub Abu Ja'far (d. 329 A.H.), Furu'al-Kafl, Tehran, Iran: Dar al-Kutub al-lslamiyyah, 1374 A.H. The most famous and original collection of Shi'ah hadith dealing with the furu (details) of Shi'ah beliefs and practices. It contains 16.199 original collections.

Kulayni, Muhammad bin Ya'qub Abu Ja'far (d. 329 A.H.), Usul al-Kafi, Tehran, Iran: Dar al-Kutub al-lslamiyyah, 1374 A.H. The most famous and respected collection of Shi'ah hadith. The earlier editions carried an inscription on the title page that read:

"According to Imam al-Mahdi this book is kafi [sufficient] for our Shi'ahs."

Muslehuddin, M., Mut’ah, Lahore, Pakistan: Islamic Publication Ltd., 1974, A contemporary book that discusses the illegality of mut’ah according to the Qur’an and the sunnah.

Muslim, lbn al-Hajjaj (d. 261 A.H.)Saheeh Muslim, Delhi, India: Alsah Almatabi, 1349 A.H. A source book of Sunni hadith containing 12,000 original collections. It is regarded to be the most reliable work after al-Bukhari.

Qudsi, Syed M. Jafar, Ijala Hasna, Lahore, Pakistan: Imamia General Book Agency, n.d. An Urdu translation of Mullah Biqir Majlisi’s book on mut’ah. Several different editions of the book have been published in India and Pakistan.

Qummi, 'Ali bin lbraheem (d. 381 A.H.), Tafseer al-Qummi,Najaf, Iraq: Matba-ah an-Najaf, 1386 A.H. Regarded to be the oldest and most respected Shi'ah Qur'anic commentary.

Tusi, Shaykh Abu Ja'far (d. 460 A.H.), Tahtheeb al-Ahkam,Tehran, Iran: Dar al-kutub al-lslamiyyah, n.d. A source book of Shi'ah Hadith. It is considered to be one of the four original collections of Shi'ah hadith.