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July 9, 2013

Temporary marriage becomes popular among young UK Muslims

July 9, 2013

LONDON: Young British Muslims are increasingly turning towards Mut’ah or temporary marriage for better understanding with each other and to assess if the couples are compatible and can last long but also to balance their religious beliefs with their modern Western lifestyle.
A research by the BBC has shown that Mut’ah, an ancient Islamic practice that unites man and woman as husband and wife for a limited time, is being adopted by young people from all Muslim backgrounds including those of Pakistani heritage.
Researcher and journalist Shabnam Mahmood, who investigated the Mut’ah practice in Britain, told The News that there are no official statistics available for the number of people who carry out the ‘Nikah Mut’ah’ because the contracts are performed between a man and woman and it is a private affair. “Many people are willing to talk openly about the subject. Many are reluctant to admit that they have had or are in a ‘Nikah Mut’ah’.
She added: “Many use it during the engagement process until the day of their marriage is fixed. I found that it was mainly carried out among the Shia population but there are many Sunnis I spoke to who had also done a ‘Nikah Mut’ah’. In Britain there are many Shias from the Pakistani community who have done ‘Nikah Mutah’. The Sunnis tend to do it less but still I met some Pakistani Sunnis who said they would do it if they needed to.”
The BBC featured a Pakistani origin girl Sara, a 30 year old pharmacist from Birmingham, who explained that she entered into a ‘Nikah Mut’ah’ because she didn’t want to break the bounds of Sharia and wanted to know her prospective husband in a relaxed atmosphere. She was temporarily married for six months before committing to a full marriage with her partner.
“We stipulated the duration, my father’s conditions, and I requested what you would call a dowry where the guy gives a gift to the girl. It’s simple, straightforward and doesn’t take

long at all,” Sara said.
Mut’ah is a controversial topic and while some sections of the Muslims societies consider it Islamic and halal, some think its haram and forbidden. While some Muslims clerics have called the practice “prostitution”, others have argued that Mut’ah exactly prevents “prostitution”.
Omar Farooq Khan, president of the Ahlul Bayt Islamic Society at Bradford University, said the practice is on the increase among Shia students on university campuses. He agreed that it was a taboo subject but provides a buffer to the “girlfriend or boyfriend” culture.
Khola Hassan, a spokesperson for the UK Islamic Sharia Council, said the practice is strictly not allowed.Sayyad Fadhil Milani, spiritual leader at the Al-Khoei Centre in Brent, north-west London, said: “Islam does not permit relationships like those between a boyfriend and a girlfriend. So a nikah mut’ah gives them an opportunity to get to know each other before committing themselves to a full marriage.”
Omar Ali Grant, a convert to Islam from London, told the programme he has had around 13 temporary marriages but argued that he was just trying to find the right person to spend his life with.
The News is aware that many well-known converts to both Shia and Sunni Islam have entered into Nikah Mut’ah but in many instances have kept it a secret. A former showbiz celebrity who became Muslim several years ago, told The News on condition of anonymity that she has had three ‘Nikah Mut’ahs’ because she didn’t want to rush into a full marriage to find that the man was not of her liking. A practising Muslim from European background, she is currently in a Niakh Mut’ah and lives in London.

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