Like any other contract, marriage under Muslim law is a social contract and there are some essentials to it ,they are
- Ijab-o-qabool – It simply means offer and acceptance
- Presence of witnesses (2 Males or 1 male and 2 females)
- The words of the ijab-o-qabool should be pronounced in a single meeting
- The communication of ijab-o-qabool should be the done in the presence of the witnesses or in the presence of the agents to the parties of marriage known as vakils
- The qabool should be unconditional
- The parties to the marriage should be competent to marriage
- Their should be free will and consent
- Consideration in the form of dower
Muta which refers to as pleasure ,is a temporary marriage which happens for a fixed period of time ,this kind of marriage was prevalent in Arabia and such a marriage is not recognized by any school of Muslim law in India ,it is only recognized by the Itha Asar Shia School ,however the practice and institution of Muta marriage is completely obsolete in India . In the earlier days when the Arabs had to live away from their homes for a considerably long period of time on account of wars, pilgrimage or trade journey the concept of Muta marriage came into existence for the purpose avoiding prostitution and at the same time to satisfy their sexual desires. Moreover, it conferred legitimacy upon the children born out of such union .This kind of marriage is void in sunni law because sunni law declares marriage for a fied period of time as void .
Essentials of Muta Marriage
- The time period should be fixed
- The dower amount should be fixed
- The parties to the marriage should be of sound mind, competent to marriage,
- Free will and consent (A guardian cannot force his minor children into muta marriage
- If the term is not specified then it would be a valid marriage
- The marriage can be solemnized between a shia male and a women professing the Mahomedan, Christian or Jewish religion, or even with a woman who is a fire worshipper but not with any woman following any other religion.
- A Shia woman cannot contract a Muta marriage with a non muslim.
- Muta marriage with hindu woman is void
Legal Aspects of Muta Marriage
- The cohabitation between the spouses is lawful
- Children born out of such marriage are legitimate
- Children have mutual right of inheritance from both the parents
- The spouses have no mutual right of inheritance
- Divorce is not recognized in Muta Marriage
- The wife is not entitled to maintenance , for she is not regarded as depended
- In case the marriage gets dissolved before the stipulated time period by the wife walking out of the marriage then the wife will be only entitled to the dower amount for the period which she has stayed.
- In case the husband dissolves the marriage before the stipulated period then the husband would make the gift of the unexpired period to the wife known as Hiba-I -Muddat .
- Where consummation has not taken place, the wife need not observe any Iddat. If the Мutа-marriage terminates after consummation, the wife is required to undergo an Iddat of two monthly courses. But, where the marriage dissolves due to death of the husband, the Muta-wife is required to observe an Iddat of four months ten days. Where the Мutа-wife is pregnant, the period of Iddat extends till delivery of the child.
There are several critics who are of the viewpoint that as a consequent of Muta Marriage, the women are left at the mercy of the man who in such an arrangement exercise a position of dominance. Further, it is felt that such sort of marriage is only for sexual gratification and legalizes prostitution. The pure and family-oriented notions of Nikah have become subservient or completely obliterated due to the practices of temporary marriage. Hence, it may be said that Muta Marriage should be discouraged as it perhaps, shakes the very essence of humanity and self- respect of the female sector of the society.
Author: Mauli Dogra,
MIT WPU SCHOOL OF LAW ,LAW STUDENT