Marriage Until Childbirth
Temporary marriage is a mit[ah marriage which is invalid according to religious texts and the unanimous agreement of Sunni Muslims.
Marriage Until Childbirth
· Temporary, or mit'ah, marriage.
A man goes through a marriage contract with a woman but states in the contract that if she gives birth to a child, then she is divorced. The purpose of such a marriage is clearly to have sexual pleasure for a period of time, whether defined or not.
Contemporary scholars are in agreement that a marriage terminating at childbirth is invalid.
This is confirmed by the Islamic Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League in its eighteenth session held in Makkah, 10–14 Rabi[ I 1427 AH, (2006). A fatwa by the Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa also considers such a marriage forbidden. It says: ‘Temporary marriage is a mit'ah marriage which is invalid according to religious texts and the unanimous agreement of Sunni Muslims. A hadith reported by Ali ibn Abi Talib and entered by al-Bukhari and Muslim in their authentic anthologies of hadiths states that “God’s messenger prohibited temporary marriage, and eating donkey meat at the time of the expedition of Khaybar.” Another version mentions that the Prophet “prohibited temporary marriage at the time of the Battle of Khaybar.”
A hadith quotes the Prophet as saying
I had permitted temporary marriage, but now God has forbidden this until the Day of Judgement. Whoever has a woman on these terms must let her free, but do not take back any part of what you have given them in dowry.
Related by Muslim, hadith No. 1,406
Intercourse in a temporary marriage is considered adultery which incurs all the rulings applicable to adultery, if he is aware of the invalidity of such a marriage. Lawful marriage is that which is initiated by a marriage contract with a woman with the intention that the marriage will be for life if it goes well, or else is terminated by divorce.
Divorce may be [revoked] twice, whereupon a woman may either be retained in fairness or released with kindness
A fatwa by Shaikh Abd al-Azeez ibn Baz also considers such a marriage forbidden. It says: ‘There are relationships that are at variance with legitimate marriage. One of these is mit'ah marriage, which entails that the marriage is intended to last for a specific period and is terminated at the end of this period. The man may under such an arrangement marry the woman for one, two or three months or any other period the two may agree. Such mit'ah marriage was permitted under Islam for a short while, but the permission was subsequently abrogated when God made it forbidden. An authentic hadith quotes the Prophet as saying: “I had permitted temporary marriage, but now God has forbidden this until the Day of Judgement. Whoever has a woman on these terms must let her free, but do not take back any part of what you have given them in dowry.” It is confirmed in hadiths reported by Ali, Salamah ibn al-Akwa', Ibn Mas'ud and others that the Prophet prohibited mit'ah marriage, and this is the final verdict in Islamic law, making it absolutely forbidden. A legitimate marriage is the one in which a man desires to marry a woman and there is no time limit for such a marriage. It takes place because of genuine willingness to marry.
Shaikh Abdullah ibn Zayd al-Mahmood also discussed mit'ah marriage and concluded that it is invalid. He said: ‘Mit'ah marriage is a type of taking a mistress, who is then attached to one man for a specific period of time. It is often done by many adulterer women who wish to cover up their relationships.
God says in the Qur’an
Marry them, then, with their people’s consent and give them their dowries in an equitable manner, as chaste women who give themselves in honest wedlock, not in fornication, nor as women who have secret love companions
He also says
[Lawful to you also are] the virtuous women from among the believers and the virtuous women from among those who were given revelations before you [are also lawful to you] when you give them their dowries, taking them in honest wedlock, not in fornication, nor as mistresses.
The Islamic Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League discussed the question of New Forms of Marriage Contracts in its eighteenth session held in Makkah, 10–14 Rabi' I 1427 AH, 2006. It discussed ‘marriage until childbirth’ and stated that it is a marriage contract that fulfils all requirements, but one of the two parties includes in the contract a condition that the marriage is automatically terminated, or the woman is divorced, if she gives birth to a child. Such a marriage is invalid because to assign a time limit to the marriage, whether specified such as one month, or unspecified such as childbirth, makes it a mit'ah marriage, which is unanimously agreed to be unlawful.
Another fatwa by contemporary scholars was issued by Professor Wahbah al-Zuhayli and published on his website. He says: ‘All four schools of Islamic jurisprudence and the great majority of the Prophet’s companions agree that mit'ah and similar marriages are invalid. When God mentions pleasure and enjoyment with regard to the relation between men and women, this is a reference to marriage, as in the verse that says:
To those with whom you seek to enjoy marriage, you shall give the dowries due to them.
This verse occurs in the context of marriage, as this is clear in the previous and following verses. Two verses earlier,
Do not marry women whom your fathers have previously married, unless it be a thing of the past. Surely, that is an indecent, abominable and evil practice.
And in the following verse, He says
Any of you who, owing to circumstances, is not in a position to marry a free believing woman may marry a believing maiden from among those whom your right hands possess. God knows all about your faith: you belong to one another. Marry them, then, with their people’s consent and give them their dowries in an equitable manner, as chaste women who give themselves in honest wedlock, not in fornication, nor as women who have secret love companions.
It is clear that whatever enjoyment is sought must be through proper marriage, not through a mit'ah marriage, which is clearly forbidden in Islam. This is further clarified by the mention of dowry, which is paid by the man to the woman as an essential requirement of a valid marriage contract. This is also clear in the verse that addresses the Prophet:
Prophet! We have made lawful to you the wives whom you have paid their dowries
The permission of mit[ah marriage during some expeditions during the Prophet’s lifetime was given in particularly difficult circumstances. This was later changed as the Prophet made clear that mit'ah marriage is forbidden forever. Numerous hadiths make this absolutely clear.
· Ali ibn Nayef al-Shahhood, Al-Khulasah fi Fiqh al-Aqaliyyat, 1 and 9, vol. 1, p. 335.
· Fatawa by the Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa.
· Islam Question and Answer: www.islamQA.info.
· Decisions of the Islamic Fiqh Council.
· Prof. Zuhayli’s website: www.fikr.com/zuhayli/index.php.
- Collected Fatawa and articles by Shaikh Ibn Baz, vol. 20, p. 274.