Rafed English

Inheritance in Mut'a

Adopted from the Book : "Temporary Marriage in the Islamic Laws" by : "Sachiko Murata"


According to the most widely held view, there is no inheritance between husband and wife in mut'a unless it should be specifically mentioned as a condition of the contract. One of the spouses may be named heir to the other, in which case the inheritance is one-sided; or it may be stipulated that if either spouse should die, the other will inherit.

If no such conditions are mentioned, there is no inheritance. According to the Imam Ja'far: ' Among mut'a's statutes is that you do not inherit from the woman, nor does she inherit from you.1

The reason that inheritance is permissible provided that the condition is entered into the contract is first the universal applicability of the prophetic hadith: 'The believers hold fast to their conditions.' Second, according to the Imam Ja'far: 'If they should stipulate the condition of inheritance [in the contract of mut'a], they must hold fast to this condition.'2 Third, the Imam al-Rida has a similar saying: 'If they should stipulate the condition [of inheritance], it takes place; and if they should not, it does not take place.'3 This position concerning inheritance is that held by such authorities as al-Shahid al-Awwal, al-Shahid al Thani, al-Shaykh al-Ansari, al-Muhaqqiq al-HiIIi, al-Shaykh Muhammad al-Hasan, and al Tabataba'i.4

Two other positions are worth quoting on this question, each of which finds its basis in the hadith.

Certain ulama' hold that inheritance cannot take place as a result of mut'a, whether or not it is mentioned in the contract. They base this opinion on the first hadith related from the Imam Ja'far above on the question of inheritance, a hadith which they interpret to apply to every case without exception.

Certain ulama' hold that inheritance takes place as long as there is no condition negating it in the contract. They base this opinion on the words of the Imam al-Baqir: 'The two of them inherit from each other (as a result of mut'a) as long as they do not mention a condition to the contrary.'5

There is also the question of inheritance by a child born as the result of a temporary marriage: its inheritance from its father is one-half of that of a child by permanent marriage, while its inheritance from its mother is the same as it would be in permanent marriage.

1. Wasa'il, XIV, 486, hadith 8.

2. Ibid., hadith 5.

3. Ibid., 485, hadith 1.

4. Luma, text, and Sharh al-lum'a, v, 297-98; Masalik, I, 543; Matajir, II, 301; Shara'i', II, 25; Mukhtasar-i nafi', 232; Jawahir, v, 274; Riyad, II, 117.

5. Wasa'il, XIV, 486, hadith 2.

Share this article

Comments 0

Your comment

Comment description