Mutah (Temporary Marriage)

Private and verbal marriage contract between a man and an unmarried woman for a specified period of time; a temporary marriage. A pre-Islamic tradition that still has legal sanction among Twelver Shiis, predominantly in Iran. The length of the contract and the amount of consideration must be specified. The minimum duration of the contract was hotly debated. Some required a three-day minimum; others required three months or one year. The object of mutah is sexual enjoyment and not procreation. After dissolution of the mutah, the wife must undergo a period of sexual abstinence (iddah); in case of pregnancy, iddah serves to identify a child's legitimate father. Sunni jurists reject the validity of this type of marriage.

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