The Waiting Period in Mut'a
- :Sachiko Murata
Adopted from the Book : "Temporary Marriage in the Islamic Laws" by : "Sachiko Murata"
The Waiting Period
As in permanent marriage, so in muta there is a waiting period which must be observed after the time period of the marriage has expired or the man has returned the remainder of the period to the woman. It consists of two menstrual periods, provided she menstruates. This statute is based upon the following two hadith: 'To divorce a slave, one must pronounce the formula of divorce twice; her waiting period is two menstrual periods' (the Imam Musa),1 The Imam al-Baqir was asked about the waiting period of a wife by mut'a if her husband should die. He answered: 'For every marriage, if the husband should die, the wife must observe a waiting period of four months and ten days, It makes no difference whether she is free or a slave, and whether the marriage was permanent or temporary. The waiting period of a divorced [free] woman is three months, and that of a divorced slave one-half of what is required of a free woman. What is required of a wife by mut'a is the same as what is required of a slave.'2
It has been related that al-Shaykh al-Mufid,3 al-'Allama al-Hilli, Ibn Idris,4 and a number of the other ulama' hold that the waiting period of a wife by mut'a is two fuhrs i.e., two major ablutions following menstrual periods. They base this opinion on the hadith related from the Imam al-Baqir: '. ..If he is a free man married to a slave girl, he divorces her by pronouncing the formula of divorce twice; her waiting period is two fuhrs.'5 And in the hadith quoted above, it is seen that the waiting period of a wife by mut'a is the same as that of a slave girl.
Al-Shahid al Thani, al-Shaykh al-Ansari, al Tabataba'i, and al-Shaykh Muhammad al-Hasan all state that caution demands that we prefer the first of these opinions-that the waiting period of a wife by mut'a is two menstrual periods, since the time period is longer. Besides the fact that a number
1. Ibid., XV, 470, hadith 5.
2. Ibid., 484, hadith 2.
3. Muhammad b. Muhammad b. al-Nu'man al-'Ukbari al-Baghdadi (d. 413/1022), author of numerous works on theology and jurisprudence.
4. Muhammad b. Idris al-Hilli (d. 598/1202).
5. Wasa'il, xv, 469, hadith 1.
Share this article