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April 30, 2009

How I Met Your Mut’ah

Filed under: Religion — posted by Chris @ 9:39 am

What’s a young Shiite Muslim to do when his religion forbids sex outside of marriage and he wants to have sex? Get married of course! Hey, if you can end the marriage with a text (technically it would take three text messages) why not wed your hookup? Actually, Betwa Sharma points out in this fascinating Daily Beast article, it is only a subset of Shiites who believe the Quran provides a loophole of temporary “pleasure marriages” called Mut’ah. Sharma profiles a twentysomething Shiite in New York who’s been “married” 25 times.

Like permanent marriages in Islam, Mut’ah marriages are only allowed with other Muslims, Christians, and Jews. His partners have been Catholic and Muslim-American, Spanish, Lebanese, Turkish, Palestinian, and Pakistani. Selman says many of the women he meets express “shock” when he explains he must marry them before he can proceed.

Yeah, I think a marriage proposal might disrupt my flirty patter. But only for a minute:

According to Selman, the woman has to say, “I marry you, myself.” The man replies, “I accept.” A token bridal gift must be given-in Selman’s case, usually tea, juice, or chocolates.

Wow. I thought I at least had to buy her a meal.

While some might say these Muslims aren’t taking marriage very seriously, I think we can all agree they seem to be taking hooking-up very seriously. As Muhsin Alidina of the Al Khoei Islamic Center in Queens explains Mut’ah:

Alidina says the crucial components of the Mut’ah marriage are the mutual acceptance of the marriage, a bridal gift to the wife paid in cash, and her obligation to stay single for two menstrual cycles after the marriage ends to ensure she is not pregnant before entering into another. The husband is responsible for a child conceived during the marriage, even if the marriage lasts only a few hours, and religious leaders recommend that the contract be put in writing so women can claim their rights in Islamic courts that recognize Mut’ah marriages.

Ugh. Forget it. I’m just gonna stay home Friday night and watch Dollhouse instead.

Check out the full must-read article here.

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