I discuss the concept of temporary marriage, or mut’a, in my book Islam Unveiled. This is the practice of entering into a marriage with a time limit: the couple is married only for a night, or a week, or whatever time period their agreement specifies. So in other words, it is prostitution under the guise of morality. Temporary wives are found in large numbers in seminary towns where young clerics-in-training are away from home and lonely. It is a Shi’ite concept that mainstream Sunnis reject; the Shi’ites point out that it was allowed by the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, while the Sunnis maintain that he later abolished the practice. In any case, here is evidence that it is catching on among Sunnis in Afghanistan. From AFP, with thanks to Fjordman:
MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan — Twenty-nine-year-old mechanic Payenda Mohammad was married last month in a simple ceremony in this northern Afghanistan town, but the marriage only lasted four hours.
Which was exactly what he wanted.
“Nobody would give me their daughters to marry because I didn’t have family or money,” says Payenda, who ended up in Iran after his parents and a sister were killed in a bombing raid about 15 years ago.
“I started doing short marriages in Iran,” he says. “When I came back to Mazar-I-Sharif, I continued,” he says. He has now been married 20 times.
In a country where most marriages are for life and all divorces are a scandal, the idea of the contract or temporary marriage is beginning to catch on.
Afghanistan’s majority Sunni Muslims ban the marriages, known as fegha in the main Dari language, but the Shias accept them and some people here, like Payenda, got the idea from Iran.
Such marriages were rare in Afghanistan before the Sunni-dominated Taliban regime was overthrown in late 2001, ending 25 years of war.
But with the return of many of the nearly 2 million Afghans who fled to Shia Iran during the conflict, contract marriages have been gaining popularity – although they are still unusual.
The process is simple. To get married, a couple takes an oath in front of an imam that makes them man and wife for a stipulated period of time – from a few hours to a few years.
Read it all.