I can't figure out why a woman would enter into nikah mut‘ah (temporary marriage). Al-Islam's main justification for it:

Mut’a is just a sanctification of the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.

However, unlike boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, (a) a wife cannot just break up with her husband when she wants to, as she's still under contract, (b) there is a fixed endpoint to the marriage. There's also the matter of a woman guarding her modesty and chastity. Thus, in my opinion, there are substantial downsides to temporary marriage, so there should be some substantial advantages to offset these.

Question: What are the advantages of a temporary marriage for the female partner?

  • Al-Islam also says that it can be upgraded into a permanent marriage, and the temporary marriage could be thought of as a kind if trial run.

    This gives an opportunity to the boy and the girl in order to know each other more closely and to see if they can live together for the rest of their life and if their personal feelings are sort of compatible.

    In this vein, temporary marriage allows the partners to test for physical compatibility. (I'm guessing most women would be devastated if they were to marry a man and then find out their new husband is not attracted to them physically.)

  • Another possibility I've thought of: It may be beneficial for a career-orientated woman to have a marriage which expires, allowing her to travel to another country for work.

Perhaps I'm missing something important here, or perhaps the constraints are not what I think they are. (I'd also like to note that, as far as I know, there's no obligation to enter into a temporary marriage. If one does not like it, then don't do it.)

As far as I'm aware, temporary marriage is only possible in Shia Islam, and I've seen some unfavourable attitudes expressed about Shia Islam surrounding this topic. Regardless of your opinion, please don't use this question as a platform to denigrate our Shia brothers and sisters.

  • 4
    Well, in shia sect also, there are quite different views in different sub-sects, some have very tight conditions on it. But in sunni islam its an agreement(IJMA) on this issue that mutta is HARAAM(forbidden). Nov 1, 2016 at 10:41

1 Answer 1


The advantage is the same as for the male partner: sinful actions can be prevented. If there is NO way to enter into a permanent marriage it is better to enter into a temporary marriage than to commit sinful acts.

BUT this does not mean, that the youth is encouraged to engage in the practise of temporary marriage.

In fact scholars disencourage especially young women to enter into mut'a as a first relationship. Ayatollah Fadhel Milani, Frequently asked Questions on Islam, Vol.1, p.123

Permanent marriage is the norm and temporary marriage is the exception and should be only used as a last resort.

[Inquiries about Shi'a Islam, Sayed Mustafa al-Qazwini, p.118]

Some misconceptions in the question need to be adressed:

It is NOT a sanctification of the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.

Temporary marriage is not meant to encourage a "trial period" or "trying out different potential wifes/husbands" before one enters into a permanent marriage. And its intention is far from giving the opportunity to try for physical attraction or compatability. This is the misuse of the lawful act of temporary marriage.

Before a virgin girl can enter into a temporary marriage, she needs the consent of her father/guardian. Which father would give his permission if not being pressured to prevent indecent and immoral behaviour of his daughter. Of course the loss of reputation needs to be considered in case of a virgin girl entering into a temporary marriage. For a woman who is widowed or divorced, it might be the only option to live in a physical relationship with a man.

Some families who found a permanent wife/husband for their daughter/son might agree to a temporary marriage, as a form of engagement period, which excludes a sexual relationship:

In Temporary marriage a girl and a boy have opportunity to live together for sometime to find if they will see a good future for their permanent marriage. As I said, the couple entered in temporary marriage contract may put the condition at the time of contract that the marriage is not to be sexually consummated. The guardian of the girl can also enforce such condition and the couple can just visit each other during the day to talk, study, and take part in any other non-sexual activities. Al-Islam.org

However, all Shia scholars underline the importance of an early permanent marriage and educate the young believers in the criteria of a good spouse and how to lead a successful lifelong marriage. Additionally they educate the parents on how to facilitate the early marriage to avoid their children falling into sins.

  • 7
    You say using mut'ah for sex is a misuse of the institution, but then you say that the contract can stipulate that no sex will take place - which seems to me to indicate that without such a stipulation, sex is perfectly acceptable in a mut'ah. Can you provide any references that entering a mut'ah in order to make sexual release halal is a misuse of the institution?
    – G. Bach
    Nov 1, 2016 at 15:00
  • The misuse is not regarding the sexual relationship, which is of course part of a mut'ah marriage as it is part of a permanent marriage. Misuse of mut'ah is, when it is used to legitimise a lifestyle of having sex with different people, trying out different partners, physical attraction etc.
    – Noor
    Nov 2, 2016 at 15:54
  • My request for references remains the same; it seems to me the option to have different sexual partners at different times and the possibility to evaluate sexual compatibility is inherent in a temporary marriage.
    – G. Bach
    Nov 2, 2016 at 15:59
  • I am not happy with the word "inherent" as it suggests that this kind of behaviour would be an inner part of mut'a and sort of unavoidable. This is not the case. But people might use it in this way. I want to compare it with the permission for a man to have 4 wifes. It was meant to be for special circumstances, e.g. when widowed women need protection, but some man mis-use it for their pleasure. I cannot fulfill your request for references as I did not state that "entering a mut'ah in order to make sexual release halal is a misuse of the institution."
    – Noor
    Nov 2, 2016 at 19:44
  • I've been told not to argue in comments; if you want to discuss this, you can open a chatroom and invite me.
    – G. Bach
    Nov 2, 2016 at 19:48

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