Islam considers marriage as a solemn family relationship between a man and a woman, based on mercy and love. More information about marriage and married life in Islam, including courtship, the marriage ceremony, and the spousal relationship.
From a legal point of view Islam views marriage as an 'aqd or contract. Like any other contract the marriage contract requires full and free consent of the parties concerned. The parents or guardian of any of the parties may give advice, choose a marriage partner or use persuasion, but the final decision to enter into a marriage must be the result of a free choice on the part of each partner, even though this freely made choice may consist of nothing but accepting the choice of one's parents or guardian. This right of free choice is fairly well recognized in the case of men but (unfortunately) not in the case of women. In the Holy Qur'an we read:
"Do not inherit women against their will"
Just as any adult can enter into any legal contract, so also any adult man or woman can arrange his or her own marriage, provided that during the process of arranging the marriage there is no sexual contact, in other words, there is no dating in the North American style.
In Islam there are two common types of Marriage:
1) Nikah (Permanent Marriage)
2) Nikah Al Mut'ah (Temporary Marriage)
Nikah is the matrimonial contract between a bride and bridegroom within Islamic marriage.
Nikah is a great bounty from Allah Ta'ala. The affairs of this world and the hereafter are put in order through marriage.
There is a lot of wisdom and many benefits in marriage. A person saves himself from sinning and his heart is put at ease. He does not have any evil intentions and his thoughts do not begin to wander and stray.
The greatest virtue is that there are only benefits and only rewards in this. This is because a husband and wife sitting together and engaging in a loving conversation, joking with each other, etc. is better than nafl salat.
1. Mutual Agreement of Bride and Groom
Marriage (nikah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between bride and groom. This contract is a strong covenant (mithaqun Ghalithun) as expressed in Quran 4:21). The marriage contract in Islam is not a sacrament. It is revocable. Both parties mutually agree and enter into this contract. Both bride and groom have the liberty to define various terms and conditions of their liking and make them a part of this contract.
The marriage-gift (Mahr) is a divine injunction. The giving of mahr to the bride by the groom is an essential part of the contract. Mahr is a token commitment of the husband's responsibility and may be paid in cash, property or movable objects to the bride herself. The amount of mahr is not legally specified, however, moderation according to the existing social norm is recommended. The mahr may be paid immediately to the bride at the time of marriage, or deferred to a later date, or a combination of both. The deferred mahr however, falls due in case of death or divorce.
One matrimonial party expresses 'ijab" willing consent to enter into marriage and the other party expresses 'qubul" acceptance of the responsibility in the assembly of marriage ceremony. The contract is written and signed by the bride and the groom and their two respective witnesses. This written marriage contract ("Aqd-Nikah) is then announced publicly.
The assembly of nikah is addressed with a marriage sermon (khutba-tun-nikah) by the Muslim officiating the marriage. In marriage societies, customarily, a state appointed Muslim judge (Qadi) officiates the nikah ceremony and keeps the record of the marriage contract. However any trust worthy practicing Muslim can conduct the nikah ceremony, as Islam does not advocate priesthood. The documents of marriage contract/certificate are filed with the mosque (masjid) and local government for record.
Prophet Muhammad (S) made it his tradition (sunnah) to have marriage sermon delivered in the assembly to solemnize the marriage. The sermon invites the bride and the groom, as well as the participating guests in the assembly to a life of piety, mutual love, kindness, and social responsibility.
The Khutbah-tun-Nikah begins with the praise of Allah. His help and guidance is sought. The Muslim confession of faith that " There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His servant and messenger" is declared.
The Muslim officiating the marriage ceremony concludes the ceremony with prayer (Dua) for bride, groom, their respective families, the local Muslim community, and the Muslim community at large (Ummah)
Marriage (nikah) is considered as an act of worship (ibadah). It is virtuous to conduct it in a Mosque keeping the ceremony simple. The marriage ceremony is a social as well as a religious activity. Islam advocates simplicity in ceremonies and celebrations.
4. Walima (The Marriage Banquet)
After the consummation of the marriage, the groom holds a banquet called a walima. The relatives, neighbors, and friends are invited in order to make them aware of the marriage. Both rich and poor of the family and community are invited to the marriage feasts.
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said:
" Worst of the feasts are those marriage feasts to which the rich are invited and the poor are left out".
It is recommended that Muslims attend marriage ceremonies and marriage feasts upon invitation.
Mut'ah has many Shari'a rules / regulations. Similar rules that apply for Nikah apply for Mut'ah - if certain types of women are haram for a man to contract Nikah then the same rule applies with Mut'ah. A man cannot contract Mut'ah with a married woman, as is the case with a normal marriage.
A woman cannot enter into Mut'ah marriage, till the time she has become pure by observing the 'iddah (waiting period) from her earlier husband; just like in Nikah. Also, the same principle/rights apply - two people cannot contract Mut'ah with the same woman at one given time. After expiration of Mut'ah marriage, again she has to observe 'iddah, before getting married (either Nikah or Mut'ah) to any other person.
There is no difference between the children of Nikah or Mut'ah. Both are considered legitimate under the Shari'a - they inherit from their parents, and all Islamic laws apply with regards to paternity.
One of the glorious laws of Islam, from the point of view of the Jafari (Shiite) law, is that there are two kinds of marriage, a permanent and a fixed-time marriage. Some of the effects, which flow from these two kinds of marriage, are the same and some others are different. There are two distinctive features between them. One is that in a fixed -time marriage, a man and a woman enter into a contract to marry each other for a fixed period, on the expiry of which, if they wish, they can extend it, otherwise they separate.
The other distinguishing feature is that there is a greater freedom of choice in fixed-time marriage. The contracting parties may stipulate any conditions they like. For example, in a permanent marriage the husband is bound to maintain his wife and meet her daily expenses. Besides, he has to provide for her clothing, housing and other necessities of life like medicines and medical treatment etc. But in a fixed-time marriage everything depends on the terms of the contract. It is possible that the husband may not be able or may not be willing to bear the expenses of his wife, or the wife may not like to utilise her husband's money.
In the permanent marriage the wife has to accept her husband as the head of the family and obey him within the limits of family interest, but in a fixed-time marriage this also depends on the terms of the contract. In the case of a permanent marriage wife and husband inherit from each other, but this is not so in a fixed-time marriage.
However, in the fixed-time marriage after the formula has been pronounced the couple is recognised as lawful wife and husband and they can then have intimacy but before that they are strangers and it is prohibited for them to have any kind of sexual relation.
Once you have mutually agreed that entering a Mut'ah contract is what you both want you need to discuss:
The time period for which your Mut'ah marriage will last
You need to mutually agree in clear terms how long the initial Mut'ah contract will last. This needs to be clear and should not be obscure because as soon as the time runs out you are no longer halal for each other unless you renew the Mut'ah and repeat this procedure again.
The Mahr (dowry)
You need to mutually agree on a Mahr. Mahr is the gift that the man gives to his wife as part of the contract. It can be anything, and it is better if it is not extravagant in its value. Some hadith report that some of the Companions of the Prophet would enter into Mutah with a handful of dates or wheat as the Mahr.
Any other conditions you may want to add
Recite The Seegha (Arabic Formula of Words) To Commence The Mut'ah
You are now ready to recite the Arabic formula of words, which, once completed, means that you two are now halal for each other in the eyes of God and the Law of Islam. Please note that this procedure can be done by the two persons wanting to enter the Mut’ah marriage themselves. There is no need for a Wakeel (someone who recites the Seegha on your behalf) nor the need for witnesses. However you can opt for a Wakeel and you can also opt for witnesses if you so wish. If you like, you could even put this procedure into writing with both your signatures. These are options if you feel you would prefer it that way - however not necessary for your Mut’ah to be valid.
The Seegha is quite short but must be recited in Arabic. Below you will find the Arabic formula written in English transliteration, along with its meaning. There is also a link to an audio file with the vows for the Mut’ah marriage recited in Arabic. It has been recited slowly with gaps, so you can repeat after it (if you want to). Otherwise you can just use the text below.
The Vows For The Mut'ah Marriage
First the lady says:
Zawajtuka nafsi fil muddatil ma'loomati 'alal mahril ma'loom.
"I married myself to you for the known period and the agreed upon dowry".
Then man replies:
Congratulations! That's it! You are now halal for each other for the time period that you agreed!