Women, Islam, and Marriage

Women do not fare very well under Islam. Talk about a patriarchal religion; this is arguably the most misogynist religion in existence today. Women are treated at best as second class citizens, and the whole culture is designed to exalt men and gratify all their desires.

This is certainly the case when it comes to marriage. Not only is polygamy of course sanctioned and endorsed, but we have other types of marriage in Islam. There are both permanent and temporary marriages found there. Even the permanent ones can be dissolved in an instant at the whim of the husband. He simply has to say “I divorce you” three times and he is free of his wife.

And only the man can initiate a divorce in Islam. But it is the temporary marriages I wish to draw your attention to here. These are practiced by both Sunni and Shiite Muslims. There is a secretive marriage called urfi which is not registered in the courts, and there is what is known as “pleasure marriage” or mutaa.

The latter is basically an Islamic-sanctioned one night stand. It can be as short as an hour-long “marriage” and it basically turns the woman into a prostitute. There is of course Koranic justification for these temporary marriages. The chief text is Sura 4:24. One English translation renders it this way:

“And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you. Lawful unto you are all beyond those mentioned, so that ye seek them with your wealth in honest wedlock, not debauchery. And those of whom ye seek content (by marrying them), give unto them their portions as a duty. And there is no sin for you in what ye do by mutual agreement after the duty (hath been done). Lo! Allah is ever Knower, Wise.”

Image of Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law
Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law by Darwish, Nonie (Author) Amazon logo

Nonie Darwish mentions how differing interpretations of this text exist, but concludes this way: “The Qur’an, without all the dressed-up interpretations, has given a man immense sexual rights over women, even with those whom he captures in war or who are in his house as slaves right in the presence of his wife or wives.”

The hadith also condone these temporary marriages, and we see it being practiced in various Islamic countries even today. Bukhari for example says, “While we were in an army, Allah’s Messenger came to us and said, ‘You have been allowed to do the Mut’a (marriage), so do it.”

But while we might expect such practices to occur in Muslim-majority countries, we in fact see them occurring in the West as well. Indeed there are even websites available for this, such as “Mutah Matchmaker” and “ShiaMatch”. See here for example:

But here I will spend the remainder of this article on the situation in Britain. There we find that such mutah marriages are on the rise. One article, based in part on a BBC documentary on this, is quite alarming. It begins: “The proliferation of ‘temporary marriages’ shows how Muslims in Britain are using Islamic Sharia Law to establish parallel forms of marriage that are otherwise illegal. An increasing number of Muslims in Britain are reviving the Islamic practice of temporary marriage, according to a recent BBC television documentary focusing on the ‘taboo subject.’

“Temporary marriage – a euphemism for religiously sanctioned prostitution – is an Islamic custom that unites a man and an unmarried woman as ‘husband and wife’ for a limited period of time (sometimes for less than half an hour). The proliferation of temporary marriages – combined with the spike in polygamous marriages – shows how Muslims in Britain are using Islamic Sharia law with impunity to establish parallel forms of ‘marriage’ that are otherwise illegal for non-Muslims in the country.

“The 30-minute documentary examining temporary marriages in Britain is called ‘Married for a Minute’ and first aired on the BBC on May 13. Called Nikah al-Mutah (‘short-term marriage’) in Arabic, the union consists of a verbal or written contract in which both parties agree to the length of time and conditions for the marriage. The union can last for a few minutes or a few years and when the contract ends so does the marriage. The ‘wives’ in such unions are not counted toward the maximum of four, and the offspring, if any, are often the exclusive responsibility of the woman.

“Also known as a ‘pleasure marriage,’ Mutah was established within Islam by the Muslim prophet Mohammed himself as a way to reward his jihadists for services rendered to Allah. Although Mutah is sanctioned by the Koranic verse 4:24, the practice was later outlawed by the second Muslim Caliph, Omar I (634-644), who said he viewed temporary marriage as legalized adultery and fornication.

“Because of the informal nature of temporary marriage, there are no official statistics to show how many of these unions there are in Britain. But Islamic scholars interviewed by the BBC say the practice is widespread, and anecdotal evidence suggests it is especially popular among the younger generation of Muslims in England and Wales. In Luton, a heavily Islamized city situated 50 km (30 miles) north of London, temporary marriage has become so commonplace that it has been referred to as ‘wife swapping’.”

The article concludes, “Critics of these informal marriages – with men, both Sunni and Shia – taking on multiple ‘wives’ for a number of hours – argue that they allow a Muslim man to have innumerable sexual partners (often underage girls), who are used as an ‘Islamic cover’ for prostitution and the exploitation of women.

“According to Khola Hasan, ‘There is no difference between Mutah marriage and prostitution. There is a time limit on the marriage, and the mahr [payment] given as a mandatory gift [from the man to the woman] is the equivalent as a payment to a prostitute.’ The BBC documentary concludes that temporary marriage is often being used simply as a way of religiously legitimizing sex.

“In an interview with the BBC, Omar Ali Grant, from London, and a convert to Shia Islam, says that he has had around 13 temporary marriages but argues that he was just trying to find the right person to spend his life with. He concedes they could be used as a cover for premarital sex, but adds: ‘Sex is not haram [forbidden] per se. In Islam sex doesn’t have negative connotations; it is not impure and is not dirty. What Islam is saying is sex has to be between consenting adults who are also responsible. Very often it is said that temporary marriage may amount to some prostitution, but it is not that. Prostitution does occur in certain areas of Muslim society, but then again prostitution happens everywhere.’

“According to the Islamic Scholar Mushtaq Lodi, ‘Islamic society has evolved ingenious methods to bypass its own restrictions on premarital sex and promiscuity and to help one avoid committing the serious sin of zina – sex outside of marriage, which is considered illicit and calls for a very heavy penalty. The sole object of the Misyar and Mutah marriages is for sexual gratification in a licit manner. Like most practices in Islamic society, this is also skewed in favor of the male’.”

In the light of all this, it should come as no surprise whatsoever that throughout Britain and the West, Muslims are pushing for sharia law, including their own sharia family law courts. They know such religiously-sanctioned prostitution would not wash here, so they want their own legal system to allow this and other dodgy activities to take place.

So who says creeping sharia is not a real threat to the West?


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13 Replies to “Women, Islam, and Marriage”

  1. Bill, I notice that nobody has commented yet on this piece that you penned 24 hours ago.

    This is not because CultureWatch readers are not deeply concerned about the abominable practice of hour-long “pleasure” marriages, described in your post.

    It is just that we are too stunned to know what to say. Words fail us.

    John Ballantyne, Melbourne.

  2. Cruel and Usual Punishment is an excellent book & well worth the read.

    I have on any number of occasions been out shopping on steamy hot summer days and seen women dressed head to toe in black robes while their men feel free to wear shorts and thongs and western women wear light summer dresses and sandals. I wonder how to respond should I need to come into contact with these women. Do they really want to be ignored and seen as non-existent black ghosts, while western people greet each other – male & female – as friends and equals.

    And how can men be truly happy subjugating women in this manner. Of course Nonie Darwish points out how men also suffer under Islamic culture. What a tragic situation. My marriage, and yours and many others I imagine, are happy because we are equal partners and respect and trust each other without the need control(I can imagine trying to convince my wife to wear black robes in public. I’d be told to get off at the next stop, of course.)

    Bill, do you think what may be behind much Islamic violence is form of childish jealousy that western culture has much of what they would like but cannot have without giving up something they have sworn to but is serving them no good at all.

    David Williams

  3. Hi Bill

    Just wondering how we could best respond to a number of Muslim women who say they are happy to wear various coverings and rather than being repressed, find it liberating in what we both agree is a sexualised western culture.


    Jason Porter

  4. Thanks Jason

    If they really and freely seek to wear it, that is one thing. But most of course are coerced into it and don’t like it. And one can be modest without being covered from head to toe.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  5. Where are all the angry and brave feminists? If they actually were actually angry, brave and genuine, would be, should be, screaming from every angle about this sort of thing.

    Oh wait, stop and listen! There they are!………

    Sorry, I was mistaken, nothing, nada!

    George Kokonis

  6. Muhammed is definitely at odds with JESUS.
    Muslim men adhering to the Koranic teachings will have to look into the eyes of Judge Jesus and will be judged with the WORD of GOD.
    God instituted marriage between a man & a woman – to cleave together, to be one flesh.
    “Woe to those who call evil good”

    Barb Hoc

  7. To Mr Muslim, and to all those who uphold these beliefs and similar (e.g. Polygamy)
    Which God / god are you serving?
    Definitely not Almighty God, Creator of Heaven & Earth – definitely not the God of Truth who does not change!

    God created Adam & Eve – He didn’t create Adam & a Harem!!!
    God placed them in the Garden of Eden – and blessed them abundantly.
    God being a God of order and consistency gave the role of headship to Adam – that when points of conflict arose – his was the final word.

    Right throughout the INSPIRED WORD OF GOD – THE HOLY BIBLE, there are examples of women being mightily used of God e.g. Deborah a Judge in the Old Testament; Esther; Prophetesses; Ruth & Naomi; Rahab etc

    JESUS – Word of God manifest in the flesh – demonstrated the standard when a woman caught in adultery was brought before Him -He questioned those who were ready to stone Mary, regarding their lives.
    IF they were sinless / free of sin – then cast the first stone!

    Here is a clear warning by God regarding His standard of entry into Heaven
    (1Co 6:9) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
    (1Co 6:10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    JESUS had a message of “REPENT for the Kingdom of God is at hand”

    In the book of Isaiahthis warning is written:
    (Isa 55:7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
    (Isa 55:8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

    GOD has not changed – sin is sin!
    Woe to those who call evil good!

    Barb Hoc

  8. I’m not so sure the woman are against the one hour marriages given the abandon with which they do one night stands in the West.
    Julian DeSouza

  9. @ Julian
    True about western women and one night stands, but if you’re referring to the Muslim women, I guess the “pleasure” side of one hour marriages would be minimised – given that many would have undergone the awful practice of female genital mutilation.

    @ David Williams
    Yes true, and I feel particularly sorry for the Muslim women approaching menopause who may be experiencing uncomfortable hot flushes with little or no relief!

    Annette Nestor

  10. You mentioned contracts among “consenting adults” at least twice in your article re this issue. I can’t imagine any woman, even one who has been brain washed by Islam all her life would be consenting to such a contact without some intimidation or pressure put on her.
    A friend of mine was looking at “modest clothing” and interestingly found that what she liked best was those shown on Islamic web sites. Certainly, there is nothing immodest about a face or hands, it would be good if we could find God’s middle ground.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  11. Bill, how about telling your readers about http://www.halalchoices.com.au.
    People need to know that much of our food is now halal!!! Food companies are paying halal certification fees so they can tap into the muslim market. The halal certification companies are generally owned by mosques so when we support food companies such as Cadbury’s , Sanitarium, Nestles, KFC, we are now funding islam and aiding the spread of sharia law in Australia.

    Catherine Joseph

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