A Shi`i brother wrote me from the US with the protest that it was the Commander of the Believers `Umar ibn al-Khattab – Allah -be well-pleased with him – who banned mut`a or temporary marriage.
This is half-true. He banned it only after the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – as did other of the major Companions such as `Ali ibn Abi Talib himself – Allah be well pleased with him. The proof is in the following narrations:
`Ali said to Ibn `Abbas: “Allah’s Messenger forbade temporary marriage and the consumption of the meat of the domestic asses.” The timing of this narration is placed by many versions at the time of the campaign of Khaybar (year 7), and by more versions at the time of the conquest of Mecca (year 8). Both are narrated from `Ali and from the Companion Sabura in Bukhari, Muslim, the Sunan, the Musnads, and the Muwatta’. Some of these authentic narrations state that the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “It [nikah] is prohibited until the Day of Judgment.”
The above narration abrogates the narration of Ibn Mas`ud permitting mut`a. The proof to this was adduced by Imam Ahmad, that Ibn Mas`ud said the words: “when we were young men” (shabab) whereas at the time of Khaybar his age was over forty. This was mentioned by al-Bayhaqi in Ma`rifa al-Sunan wa al-Athar (10:175-176 #14098).
The ruling that mut`a is absolutely and unconditionally prohibited upon all until the Day of Judgment is the unanimous position of the Sunni scholars. They consider, in the light of the Prophet’s prohibition, that the practice of mut`a consists in a form of fornication (zina), and Allah knows best. . .
This said, even if it were `Umar alone that prohibited mut`a we would still have to follow his ruling just as we follow it in the matter of praying tarawih in congregation. The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – clearly said in his mass-narrated hadith, to “follow his Sunna and that of his rightly-guided Companions after him.” Therefore peace to all who follow guidance, and there is no enmity except against tyrants and wrong-doers.
Dr. G.F. Haddad, Damascus, Syria
© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America