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December 8th, 2014

Case Study 6: Consort Yes, but ‘Escort’ (—Mata`a) is a No! No! in Quran

6:101. He is Wonderful and Primary Originator of the heavens and the earth! How (and whence) can there be a son for Him, when He has no consort [Arabic: Sâhibatun[2] – Spouse; Consort; Wife]? He has created all things and He has perfect knowledge of everything.[3]

Marriage is such a pristine institution in Quran that even Allah uses its sacred standard to rebut the allegation of son-ship of Jesus Christ i.e. How (and whence) can there be a son for Him, when He has no consort? The choice of words clearly implies the prerequisite of a marriage to children. Quran is replete with verses that outline the morality of relationships and laws and obligations of a public marriage of one kind only that which is solemnized by an agreed upon dower, ceremony of Nikah, and that which can end only by a formal public divorce or death of the spouse.

The word 'consort' used in the title of the chapter is taken from Merriam Webster Dictionary[4] for its meaning of spouse, which according to Quran is a status obtained only through a full legal and public marriage contract in which there are monetary safeguards for the woman at its inception, commitment of love and affection, provisions for maintenance for the wife during the marriage as well as at its end if the contract is terminated by a formal divorce or by inheritance if the spouse dies.

In pre-Islamic period, five kinds of unions were in the cultural norms of Arabia[5]. Permanent marriage – which with some modification is the one in vogue in Islam; Mata‘a – Temporary marriage; Istibdza or Extra-marital consented conjugal acts – same as Niyoga[6] in India; Polyandry, in which determination of paternity was at the sole discretion of the mother; and Prostitution.

Apparently, the practice of Mata‘a, the temporary 'marriage' was so much the norm in Arabia that it needed a repeat prohibition by the Prophet namely before the Khaibar expedition and during the Umra in the year following the Peace Treaty of Hudaybiah in seventh year of Hijrah, during conquest of Makkah and immediately afterward in Autas expedition in the eighth year of Hijrah, during Tabuk expedition in the ninth year of Hijrah and during the final pilgrimage of the Prophet in the tenth year of the Hijrah.

It is noteworthy that the Prophet is on the record prohibiting the Mata‘a especially when it was traditionally expected to be practiced the most when there were more men congregated then women, that too when men were far away for an extended period from their own wives and in war conditions when the androgenic impulses have run amok in the world history. This re-emphasis of prohibition continued during the reign of successors to the prophet, which only proves the deeply entrenched nature of this custom in pre-Islamic Arabian culture. Neither the Prophet indulged into a Mata‘a, nor his successors nor the (Shite) Imams after them.As Islam expanded beyond the cities of Makkah and Medina, it needed a constant reminder by the state for its prohibition for the new entrants into its fold.

Interestingly, when Hadiths are sliced and diced, the common factor that emerges is that all Hadiths point to prohibition rather allowance of Mata‘a. The advocates of Mata‘a can only hinge on one Hadith in which “The caller of the Prophet of God came to us and said: `The Prophet of God has permitted you to perform Mata‘a, that is the Mata‘a with women.'” This is usually attributed to the expedition of Autas, contrary to above mention of the same. Of note is that this hadith is not directly attributed to the Prophet, but to a third unidentified person who attributes it to the Prophet. It is just impossible for the Prophet to go against Quran, which allows only one kind of union and that is of full marriage, hence such a hadith seems to be a miscommunication or a misquote.

Before one even gets into the discussion of merits or demerits of Mata‘a one must keep in mind the definition of Prostitution[7] and how similar, not different is it from the former:

: the work of a prostitute : the act of having sex in exchange for money
: the use of a skill or ability in a way that is not appropriate or respectable

The main driver for Mata‘a is lust pure and simple. It is to this caving in to lust that all the justifications for this abominable practice are concocted contrary to injunction of Quran which is for one to remain chaste:

24:33. And those who find no (means of) marriage should (exercise restraint and) keep themselves chaste until Allâh grants them means (to marry) out of His grace and bounty…[8]

If one gleans the nature of Mata‘a it becomes obvious that the parties agree to a fixed 'dowry' i.e. gift given to woman by the man for the contract to last for an agreed fixed time period before the woman declares that she gives herself to the man in 'marriage' against the monetary terms agreed upon for a fixed duration only. This declaration is only verbal, does not necessitate any witnesses and is neither registered with the authorities. There is no terminating formality of divorce. After the verbal contract, the two can choose to live together and have conjugal relations as ordinary ‘husband and wife’ with the difference that children born will be responsibility of and attached to the 'husband'. However, 'husband' is not required to maintain and support the 'wife', both during the contract and when the term of the contract is over. If the 'husband' dies during the contract, she has no right to inheritance from the 'husband' and vice versa. There are other commonalities practiced that are similar to a regular marriage e.g. woman can only contract with a Muslim whereas the options for man expand to include woman of the Book. After the contract is over, the woman cannot contract another Mata‘a or a marriage till a prescribed number of menstrual cycles completed by her. A simple question needing answer is that can the time period of agreed upon Mata‘a be longer than the expected life span of the parties, for example a hundred years, which essentially becomes a contract for life?

Interestingly, there is no bar on number of concurrent Mata‘a that the man may contract and the existing Mata‘a(s) does not limit the man from concurrently having up to four wives as well. The duration of Mata‘a can be as little as half an hour. On the reverse, there is no lifetime bar for a woman to continue to contract different partners and she possibly can make a living by being with different men, one after the other without observing the mandated menstrual cycle as there is no monitoring system in place. Another simple question for the proponents of Mata‘a is that a regular marriage draws its rules and regulation from Quran itself, and then what is the source for the details of Mata‘a ? Answer is that the source for Mata‘a and its details are entirely human that try to draw some of the injunctions from Quran about regular marriage, whereas, for all and sundry Muslims the source of Law and its details is none but Quran, not humans.

Proponents of Mata‘a quite proudly publicize the fairness of contract to the woman in that she is given a dower upfront. If Mata‘a is a contract that includes monetary or equivalent exchange then according to Quran any such contract has to be written down and witnessed, which paradoxically is not a requirement for Mata‘a which is neither witnessed nor written down:

2:282. O you who believe! when you deal with each other in contracting a debt for a fixed time, then write it down; and let a scribe write it down between you with fairness; and the scribe should not refuse to write as Allah has taught him, so he should write; and let him who owes the debt dictate, and he should be careful of (his duty to) Allah, his Lord, and not diminish anything from it; but if he who owes the debt is unsound in understanding, or weak, or (if) he is not able to dictate himself, let his guardian dictate with fairness; and call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses, so that if one of the two errs, the second of the two may remind the other; and the witnesses should not refuse when they are summoned; and be not averse to writing it (whether it is) small or large, with the time of its falling due; this is more equitable in the sight of Allah and assures greater accuracy in testimony, and the nearest (way) that you may not entertain doubts (afterwards), except when it is ready merchandise which you give and take among yourselves from hand to hand, then there is no blame on you in not writing it down; and have witnesses when you barter with one another, and let no harm be done to the scribe or to the witness; and if you do (it) then surely it will be a transgression in you, and be careful of (your duty) to Allah, Allah teaches you, and Allah knows all things.[9] [Shakir] [Emphasis added]

Mata‘a is factually just another dignified name for prostitution which eerily becomes obvious as a daylight by merely replacing the word Mata‘a with 'Escort' and 'dower' with money in the above paragraphs. One wonders at to what happens when the man refuses to pay-up before the term of the contract expires? Who will enforce the contract since it is neither witnessed nor registered with any competent authority? What if a woman or for that matter a man fabricates an alleged Mata‘a with another person, how will the other party disprove the allegation, while knowing the fact that there are no witnesses required? What if the contract is for one night only and thereafter each of the two go their own way, the woman some time later becomes pregnant, who then determines the paternity and who bears the expenses of child rearing if the father disowns the child, whereas per Quran a pregnant mother cannot leave the home till she gives birth? How justifiable is such a contract where children may be raised away from their mothers? Can a married woman undertake Mata‘a, which is not allowed when verse 4:23[10] is read in conjunction with verse 4:24?

There is no word “Mata‘a” in Quran.The entire thrust for legitimacy of Mata‘a is based upon extra-Quranic sources, conjectures and hearsay. The word Mata‘a itself does not even mean “temporary marriage”.The advocates of Mata‘a also try to justify their entire practice by overstretching a single verse of Quran which is reproduced below from a plagiarized[11] translation by the author who belonged to the same sect which defends its practice:

4:24. And all married women except those whom your right hands possess (this is) Allah's ordinance to you, and lawful for you are (all women) besides those, provided that you seek (them) with your property, taking (them) in marriage not committing fornication. Then as to those whom you profit [–Istamta‘tum] by [marriage, hence], give them their dowries as appointed; and there is no blame on you about what you mutually agree after what is appointed; surely Allah is Knowing, Wise.[12][Shakir]

The keyword in above verse that is twisted to justify Mata‘a in Quran is Istamta‘tum[13] which in Arabic means: 'You people enjoyed', whereas Mata‘a itself too means: 'Comfort; Ease; Enjoyment'. Through word, play a flimsy logic is put forth that since both words mean enjoyment, hence by implication Mata‘a is parenthetically insert-able for Istamta‘tum in above verse. Since, Mata‘a was a pre-Islamic practice of a socially acceptable temporary marriage (read prostitution), hence the argument is made that the said verse permits the act of Mata‘a in the same manner as it was practiced before Islam. Fact is that there is nothing in this verse or anywhere else in Quran which can even provide an iota of a notion about a marriage that is started with non-permanence of intention right from its inception. The very nature of a time-limited marriage is against the spirit of marriage in Quran which equates the importance of a marriage relationship to that of a blood relationship which has no inherent time bar on it:

25:54. And He it is Who has created man from the water, then He has made for him blood relationship and marriage relationship, and your Lord is powerful.[14] [Shakir]

Of note is that in verse 4:24 before even the word Istamta‘tum is reached, implying any enjoyment, physical or emotional or both, there is a clear injunction to fully marry the woman before resorting to that enjoyment – provided that you seek (them) with your property, taking (them) in marriage not committing fornication. With regards to women except those whom your right hands possess [Arabic: ma malakat aimanukum], reader is referred to the chapter which explains this term that by it is meant prisoners of war who can be married – “Case Study 4: Slavery, Concubines, Extra-Marital Relations – Zilch, Nada In Quran!” [Link]. Slaves which are different from prisoners of war, for them too besides the general injunction on singles to marry, Quran emphasizes their marriage, Quran identifies them by their gender, both males and females, and orders them to be kept chaste and marriages were to be obligatorily arranged for them, either by marrying them within the household or being given away in marriage, as married state is a natural state for adults in Quran and is an assurance for their chastity, whereas Mata‘a by its very time limited nature negates this injunction of Quran:

24:32. And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves; if they are needy, Allah will make them free from want out of His grace; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing.[15] [Shakir]

The word Istamta‘tum is also used elsewhere in Quran that makes its use plainly clear. For example, while addressing the hypocrites:

9:69. Like those before you; they were stronger than you in power and more abundant in wealth and children, so they enjoyed [–Istamta‘tu[16]] their portion; thus have you enjoyed [–Istamta‘tum[17]] your portion as those before you enjoyed [–Istamta‘a[18]] their portion; and you entered into vain discourses like the vain discourses in which entered those before you. These are they whose works are null in this world and the hereafter, and these are they who are the losers.[19] [Shakir]

With the clarity of usage of Istamta‘tum in the above verse which is anything but Mata‘a, if the proponents of Mata‘a in verse 4:24 still insist as before, then they need to read the contextual outcome in following verse of a lustful contract for sexual relationships:

46:20. And on the day when those who disbelieve [in allowance of sexual relations only in a full marriage] shall be brought before the fire: You did away with your good things in your life of the world and you enjoyed them [–Istamta‘tum] for a while [read: Mata‘a , the so called temporary marriage for a while], so today you shall be rewarded with the punishment of abasement because you were unjustly proud in the land and because you transgressed [by indulging in Mata‘a ].[20] [Shakir]

If for the sake of argument the case for Mata‘a in verse 4:24 as an implied replacement for Istamta‘tum is accepted, then using the same standards, the above verse 46:20 squarely points to the destination of Mata‘a participants as nothing but the hell fire. With this, we rest our case and for the proponents of Mata‘a we leave them with these verses to self-reflect therein:

68:35. What has happened to you? How do you judge?

68:37. Or have you a book wherein you read,

68:38. That you have surely therein what you choose [as the basis of Mata‘a ]?[21] [Shakir]

Even to give room for discussion for an implied altering for Mata‘a the words of Quran is an unwarranted accommodation because according to Quran:

18:27. And recite what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord, there is none who can alter His words; and you shall not find any refuge besides Him.[22] [Shakir]

The verse fragment in 4:24 – Then as to those whom you profit by [–Istamta‘tum], implies the mutually beneficial and affectionate relationship between couples that emanates from the wedlock which Quran frequently shores up and emphasizes from various angles. For example:

30:21. And (it is one) of His signs that He has created spouses for you from your own species that you may find comfort in them. And He has induced mutual love and tenderness between you. Behold! there are signs in this for a people who would reflect.[23]

2:187. (Though during Fasting you must abstain from all the urges of nature including the sexual urge) it is made lawful for you on the nights of the fasts to approach and lie with your wives (for sexual relationship). They are (a sort of) garment for you and you are (a sort of) garment for them. Allâh knows that you have been doing injustice to yourselves (by restricting conjugal relations with your wives even at night), so He turned to you with mercy and provided you relief; now enjoy their company (at night during Ramadzân) and seek what Allâh has ordained for you…

25:74. And who (in their prayers) say, `Grant that our wives and our children be (a source of) comfort for (our) eyes and make us a model for those who guard against evil.'[24]

7:189. It is He Who has created you from one living entity, and from the same stock (that He created a human being) He brought into being his mate that he might find comfort in her. When he covers her (in conjugal relationship) she conceives a light burden and carries it about, then when she grows heavy (with the child), they both pray to Allâh, their Lord, (saying) `If You give us a good one (- a child with a sound mind in a sound body), we shall surely be of the grateful (to You).' [25]

Maulana Muhammad Ali in his landmark work “Religion of Islam” under section on “Marriage”[26] discusses the moral, psychological and social aspects of Islam in light of Quran, which is excerpted below:

Multiplication of the human race through marriage: It will be noted that, in the above verses [4:1, 7:189, 16:72, 30:21, 42:11], the multiplication of the human race is mentioned as one of the objects of marriage. But it may be said that the multiplication of the race can be brought about without marriage, as with the lower animals; that is to say, without uniting one man with one woman for their whole life. This would be only true if man lived upon earth like other animals, if there was nothing to distinguish him from the brute creation, if there were no such thing as civilization, no society, no sense of respect for one's own obligations and the rights of others, no sense of property and ownership. Deprived of its civilization there would be no human race at all, but a race of brutes in human form. The family, which is the real unit of the human race and the first cohesive force which makes civilization possible, owes its existence solely to marriage. If there is no marriage, then there can be no family, no ties of kinship, no force uniting the different elements of humanity and consequently, no civilization. It is through the family that humanity is held together and civilization made possible.

Feelings of love and service developed through marriage: The institution of marriage is also responsible to a very great extent for the development of those feelings of love and service which are the pride of humanity today. The mutual love of husband and wife — a love based not on momentary passion but lifelong connection — and the consequent parental love for offspring leads to a very high development of the feeling of love of man for man as such, and thus to the disinterested service of humanity. This love is described as a sign of God in the Qur'an: "And of His signs is this, that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find quiet of mind in them, and He put between you love and compassion" (30:21). The natural inclination of the male to the female and of the female to the male finds expansion through marriage and is developed, first, into a love for the children, then a love for one's kith and kin, and ultimately into a disinterested love for the whole of humanity. The home, or the family, is in fact the first training ground of love and service. Here man finds real pleasure in the service of humanity, and the sense of service is thus gradually developed and broadened. It is in fact a training ground for every kind of morality, for it is in the home that a man learns to have a sense of his own obligation and responsibilities, to have a respect for others' rights and, above all, to have a real pleasure in suffering for the sake of others. The Prophet is reported to have said: "The best of you is he who treats his wife best" (IM. 9:50).

Marriage and 'free love": The Western world is undoubtedly leaning more and more to "free love" in the place of marriage, but "free love" will certainly prove the ruin of Western civilization. Marriage is being discarded, not on account of any inherent defect in it, but simply because it entails certain responsibilities on both parties to the marriage contract, and it is really these responsibilities that are shirked in avoiding marriage. Marriage undoubtedly strengthens the ties of the natural love of the two mates, but it also requires them to share each other's cares and sorrows; for human life has its cares and sorrows as well as its pleasures. "Free love" makes each of the mates selfish in the extreme because, while the male and the female become each other's partners in happiness, each is free to leave the other, uncared for, in his or her sorrow. Marriage again makes the two mates jointly responsible for the welfare of the children, but in "free love," either the procreation of children is altogether avoided, and thus the end which nature has in view in the union of the male and the female is defeated, or when either of the parents has had his or her satisfaction of the other, the children may be left without a shelter. The institution of marriage is found in all countries and all nations, has been practised in every age for thousands of years and has worked to the advancement and welfare of humanity on the whole. Free love, if practised on so large a scale for half a century, would either put an end to the human race altogether, or bring such chaos in society as would destroy its very foundations. It may suit a few irresponsible, selfish persons who are the slaves of their passions, but there can be no spark of true love in a union which may end abruptly at the whim of either, and it can serve no useful purpose for humanity in general.

In light of elucidation of institution of marriage in Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali above Mata‘a if at all is close to ‘free love’ and steers clears of other virtuous objectives that a marriage naturally entails. He writes further, excerpted below:

Mut'ah[27] or temporary marriage disallowed: A marriage for a fixed period was recognized before Islam. It went under the name of mut‘ah, meaning profiting by or enjoying a thing. Besides the temporary marriage, four kinds of union of man and woman were recognized by the pre-Islamic Arabs (Bu. 67:37). The first of these was the permanent marriage tie which, in a modified form, was recognized by Islam. The second was known as the istibdza' [footnote: " From bidz' meaning a portion or a large portion of wealth, sufficient to carry on a trade (R)]." The following explanation of this word is given in Bukhari and other authorities: "A man would say to his wife, Send for such a one and have cohabitation with him; and the husband would remain aloof from her and would not touch her until her pregnancy was clear" (Bu. 67:37; N.). This is exactly the form which goes under the name of niyoga in the reformed Hindu sect, Arya Samaj. The third form was that in which any number of men, less than ten, would gather together and have cohabitation with a worn-an, and when she became pregnant and gave birth to a child, she would call for all those men and would say that the child belonged to such a one from among them, and he was bound by her word to accept the responsibility. Fourthly, there were prostitutes who were entered upon promiscuously and when one of them bore a child, a man known as qa'if (lit., one who recognized) was invited and his decision, based on similarity of features, was final as to who was the father of the child. The last three forms only legalized adultery in one form or another and Islam did not recognize any of them, nor was any such practice resorted to by any Muslim at any time.

Temporary marriage stood on a different basis, and reform in this matter was brought about gradually. Recently the idea has appealed to the Western mind which is seeking in temporary marriage, by way of experiment, a remedy for the rigidity of the Christian marriage laws. Islam, however, discarded the idea of temporariness in marriage, because it opens the way to loose relations of the sexes, and entails no responsibility of any kind on the father for the care and bringing up of the children, who, with the mother, might thus be left quite destitute. Occasions may arise for the dissolution of a permanent marriage, and will continue to arise as long as human nature is what it is, but the remedy for this is divorce and not temporary marriage. The moment the idea of temporariness is introduced into marriage, it loses its whole sanctity, and all responsibilities which are consequent on it are thrown off. According to the Qur'an, the union of the two sexes is only lawful because of the acceptance of the responsibilities consequent thereupon, and the idea of a temporary marriage is not in accordance with it. A union of the sexes with the acceptance of the consequent responsibilities is called ihsan (marriage), and without such acceptance it is called safah (fornication), and the Qur'an allows the first while it forbids the second (4:24).

Deceptively, Mata‘a for what it means and what it tries to achieve, whether in pre-Islamic history and even now, is primarily carnal enjoyment. In a reverse relationship the word Istamta‘tum has been implied to mean Mata‘a, irrespective that the two words are poles apart in their usage and the heinous immorality that Mata‘a engenders. The advocates for Mata‘a are only trying to launder a pre-Islamic pagan practice by concocting a legitimacy through Quran.

Mata‘a is anything but marriage. Its proponents will also agree upon the principles of marriage and what it stands for in light of Quran.

Firstly, there are no secret marriages in Quran, while Mata‘a can be a secret contract as witnesses are not a requirement:

4:25. And those of you who have not the means (- social or financial) to marry free believing women (may marry) such of your believing bonds women as your right hands own (by being captives in war). Allâh knows very well (the state of) your faith, you are all (sprung) one from another, so marry them with the permission of their guardians and give them their dowers with equity, they being properly married, not (committing fornication), to pursue their lust nor taking secret paramours[28][Emphasis added]

5:5. This day all good and pure things have been made lawful for you. And the food of those who have been given the Scripture is lawful for you (provided the food does not include anything forbidden in Islam), and your food is lawful for them. And (lawful for you for marriage are) the chaste women from among the believing women and chaste women from among those who have been given the Scripture before you, provided that you pay them their dowers (to live with them) after contracting valid marriage, not committing fornication, nor seeking secret love affairs by taking secret paramours. And whoever denies the commandments of (the true) faith, no doubt (he will find) his deeds have gone in vain and he will be of the losers in the Hereafter.[29] [Emphasis added]

Secondly, marriage mandates husbands to be responsible for supporting their wives and family, while in Mata‘a there is no such expectation of the husband or even from the wife:

4:34. Men are the maintainers of women…[30]

Thirdly, in Quran no marriage can be terminated without appointed arbiters from each side for reconciliation before decreeing a divorce, while Mata‘a is a self-expiring contract:

4:35. And if you fear a breach between the two, appoint an arbiter from his people and an arbiter from her people. If they both desire agreement, Allah will effect harmony between them. Surely Allah is ever Knowing, Aware.[31]

Four, in Quran for a marriage to be revoked by a divorce, it is a must to have two witnesses, a condition that does not exist in Mata‘a.

65:2. And when they are about to reach their prescribed term (of `Iddat) either keep them (by revoking the divorce) in an honourable and fair manner or part with them in honourable and fair manner and two honest and just persons from among you witness (your decision). (Let the witnesses) bear true testimony for the sake of Allâh (regarding the situation that resulted in the pronouncement of divorce). Thus the person (who acts according to these guidelines and) who believes in Allâh and the Last Day is exhorted. And he who takes Allâh as (his) shield, He will always make a way out (of his ordeals) for him.[32]

Five, even in a divorced state, men are responsible for provisions for the woman, a requirement that does not even exist in Mata‘a:

65:6. Lodge (the divorced) women (during the prescribed period in some part of the house) where you are lodging, according to (the best of) your means. Do not harass them so as to make (their stay) hard for them. If they be pregnant, bear their expanses until they are delivered of the child. And if they suckle (the child) for you (as the period of waiting is over with delivery) pay them their dues (for suckling), and (in order to settle it) consult together in all fairness (making only reasonable demands on one another). But if you find it mutually difficult (to come to a settled agreement) then let another woman suckle (the child) for him (- the father).

65:7. Let a man with (plentiful) means spend (for the maintenance of the suckling woman) according to his means. And let him whose means of subsistence are limited spend according to what Allâh has given him. Allâh burdens no person (with responsibility) beyond what He has given him. Allâh will soon bring about easy times after hardships. [33]

Six, upon the death of either spouse, the living spouse and children in absence of a will of the deceased are assured a default portion, while Mata‘a has no such provisions for the 'wife' or the 'husband':

4:12. And for you is half of that which your wives leave behind, if they have no child; but if they have a child, then for you is one fourth of what they leave behind, after (the payment of) any bequest they may have bequeathed or (still more important) of any (of their) debt. And for them (- your wives) is one fourth of what you leave behind if you have no child; but if you leave a child, then, for them is an eighth of what you leave after (the payment of) any bequest you have bequeathed or (still more important) of any debt. And if there be a man or a woman whose heritage is to be divided and he (or she – the deceased) has no child and he (or she) has (left behind) a brother or a sister then for each one of the twain is a sixth; but if they be more than one then they are (equal) sharers in one third after the payment of any bequest bequeathed or (still more important) of any debt (provided such bequest made by the testator and the debt) shall be without (any intent of) being harmful (to the interests of the heirs). This is an injunction from Allâh, and Allâh is All-Knowing, Most Forbearing.[34]

Seven, even in case the deceased husband had bequeathed his house to someone other than his wife, her rights and welfare are to be guaranteed by the deceased husband’s family, whereas in Mata‘a there is no such thing as widowhood and the corresponding responsibilities for the society:

2:240. And [for] those of you who die and leave wives behind, there is a binding injunc-tion (of God) for their wives for a year's maintenance without being turned out (of their homes). But if they go out (of their own accord during this period) there is no blame on you with regard to what they do about themselves in an equitable and decent manner. And Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise.[35]

In summary, by the standards of Quran for marriage, whatever Mata‘a maybe, it for sure is not a marriage if nothing else for its temporariness and it fails all the requirements of what marriage means and what a marriage achieves. There is no room for a temporary marriage in Quran and such a justification in none but a fabrication, because it is not only immoral, it depreciates the status of woman, makes her more vulnerable to exploitation, removes safety net around her and destroys the institution of family, the cornerstone of any society. Mata‘a is not a marriage, rather an adultery pure and simple. Any adultery in any shape or form, be it in the garb of temporary 'marriage' is condemned in Quran:

17:32. And Keep away from adultery and fornication; surely, it is an abominable act and an (extremely) evil practice.[36]

The indulgers in Mata‘a are no different than what the following verse expounds in regards to relationships outside the allowable marriage in Quran:

24:3. The fornicator and adulterer cannot have sexual relations (without lawful marriage) except with a fornicatress and adulteress or polytheistic woman (of low morality), and the fornicatress and adulteress, none can have sexual relations with her except a fornicator and adulterer or a polytheistic man (of low morality). And this (adultery and fornication) is forbidden to the believers.[37]

Mata‘a is essentially sexual relations outside wedlock. Such a relationship is a sure recipe for moral failure whereas restrained sexuality within the bounds of a full marriage is a requisite for moral success:

23:1. Truly, success in this life and in the Hereafter does come to the believers,
23:2. Who turn (to God) in all humility in their Prayer,
23:3. And who keep aloof from all that is vain and idle,
23:4. And who act conscientiously for the sake of purity (and regularly present the Zakât),
23:5. And who guard their private parts,

23:6. Except from their spouses, that is those whom they justly and rightfully own in proper wedlock, in that case they are not to be blamed,

23:7. But those who seek anything else (to satisfy their sexual desire) beyond this, it is they who are the transgressors,
23:8. And who look after their trusts and their covenants,
23:9. And who are strict in the observance of their Prayers.
23:10. It is they who are the real heirs;
23:11. Who will own Paradise where they shall abide for ever.[38][Emphasis added]

Reader are encouraged to read “Part Three – Chapter 6: Marriage” in “Religion of Islam” by Maulana Muhammad Ali [pdf link] for a comprehensive yet a broad view about Marriage in Islam and is various legal and social aspects including a discussion about Mata‘a and its historical ambiguities.


[1] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 525 – Mata‘a (n.): Comfort; Ease; Enjoyment; Provision; Household stuff; Utensils; Goods; All kinds of things necessary for the life of human beings and cattles and goodly provisions for them. Matta‘tu (prf. 1st. p. sing.II.): I allowed to enjoy worldly provision. I gave comfort. Matta‘ta (prf. 2nd. pp. sing. II.): Thou bestowed the good thing of life. Matta‘na (prf. 1st. p. plu. II.): We have provided with good things. Umatti‘u (imp.1st. p. sing. II.): I will give comfort. I will provide worldy provision. Numatti‘u (imp. 1st. p. plu.): We shall grant provision. Yumatti‘u (imp. 3rd. p. sing.II.): He will cause to enjoy. Matti‘û (prt. m. plu.): You provide provision. Tamatta‘ûna (2nd. p. plu. pip.): You will be given comfort. Yumatta‘ûna (3rd. p. plu. pip.): They were allowed to enjoy. Yatamatt‘ûn (imp. 3rd. p. plu.): They enjoy themselves. Its imp. 3rd. p. plu. acc. Is Yatamatta. Tamatta‘a (prt. m. sing. V.): Enjoy. Tamatta‘û (prt. m. plu. V.): Enjoy yourselves. Istamata‘a (prf. 3rd. p. sing. X): Benefited. Istamta‘tum (prf. 2nd. p. plu.): You people enjoyed. Istamat‘û (prf. 3rd. p. m. plu. X.): They enjoyed. Amti‘atun (n. plu. its sing. is Matâtun). (L; R; T; LL) This root with its above forms has occurred about 70 times in The Holy Qur’ân.
[2] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 307 – Sâhibatun: Spouse; Consort; Wife.
[3] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
[4] Link: http://www.merriam-webster.com/consort
[5] 'Religion of Islam' by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 449-452
[6] Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niyoga
[7] Link: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prostitution
[8] Al-Nur – The Light: Nooruddin
[9] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[10] 4:23. Forbidden to you are your mothers and your daughters and your sisters and your paternal aunts and your maternal aunts and brothers' daughters and sisters' daughters and your mothers that have suckled you and your foster-sisters and mothers of your wives and your step-daughters who are in your guardianship, (born) of your wives to whom you have gone in, but if you have not gone in to them, there is no blame on you (in marrying them), and the wives of your sons who are of your own loins and that you should have two sisters together, except what has already passed; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [Shakir] – Al-Nisa – Women: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[11] Shakir’s Quran translation — blatant plagiarism of the first edition of Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation –
Deception perpetrated on readers of the Holy Quran. Link: http://ahmadiyya.org/movement/shakir.htm
[12] Al-Nisa – Women: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[13] See footnote 1 above
[14] Al-Furqan – The Criterion: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[15] Al-Nur – The Light: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[16] See footnote 1 above
[17] See footnote 1 above
[18] See footnote 1 above
[19] Al-Bara’at – Immunity: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[20] Al-Ahqaf – The Sandhills: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[21] Al-Qalam – The Pen: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[22] Al-Kahf – The Cave: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[23] Al-Rum – The Byzantines: Nooruddin
[24] Al-Furqan – The Standard of True and False: Nooruddin
[25] Isra – The Night-Journey: Nooruddin
[26] 'Religion of Islam' by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 447-449
[27] Also spelled as Mata’a
[28] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[29] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[30] Al-Nisa – Women: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[31] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[32] Al-Talaq – The Divorce: Nooruddin
[33] Al-Talaq – The Divorce: Nooruddin
[34] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[35] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[36] Isra – The Night-Journey: Nooruddin
[37] Al-Nur – The Light: Nooruddin
[38] Al-Muminun – The Believers: Nooruddin

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