Tag archive for ‘misyaar’

Misyar marriage: definition and rulings

Saudi Arabian women walking

Saudi Arabian women walking. Misyar marriage has become common in Saudi Arabia.

Source: Islam Q&A


Misyaar marriage was mentioned on your website. What is this marriage? Is it halaal or haram?


Praise be to Allaah.


Misyaar marriage is where a man does a shar’i marriage contract with a woman, meeting the conditions of marriage, but the woman gives up some of her rights such as accommodation, maintenance or the husband’s staying overnight with her.

The reasons that have led to the emergence of this kind of marriage are many, such as:


Increase in the number of single women who are unable to get married, because young men are put off marriage due to the high cost of dowries and the costs of marriage, or because there is a high divorce rate. In such circumstances, some women will agree to be a second or third wife and to give up some of their rights.


Some women need to stay in their family home, either because they are the only care-givers for family members, or because the woman has a handicap and her family do not want the husband to be burdened with something he cannot bear, and he stays in touch with her without having to put too great a burden on himself, or because she has children and cannot move with them to her husband’s house, and other reasons.


Some married men want to keep some women chaste because they need that, or because they need variety and halaal pleasure, without that affecting the first wife and her children.


In some cases a husband may want to conceal his second marriage from his first wife, for fear of the consequences that may result and affect their relationship.


The man travels often to a certain place and stays there for lengthy periods. Undoubtedly staying there with a wife is safer for him than not doing so.

These are the most prominent reasons for the emergence of this kind of marriage.


The scholars differed concerning the ruling on this type of marriage, and there are several opinions, ranging from the view that it is permissible, to the view that it is permitted but makrooh, or that it is not allowed. Here we should point out several things.


None of the scholars have said that it is invalid or is not correct; rather they disallowed it because of the consequences that adversely affect the woman, as it is demeaning to her, and that affects the society as this marriage contract is taken advantage of by bad people, because a woman could claim that a boyfriend is a husband. It also affects the children whose upbringing will be affected by their father’s absence.


Some of those who said that it was permissible have retracted that view. Among the most prominent scholars who said that it was permissible were Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz and Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez Aal al-Shaykh; and among the most prominent scholars who said that it was permissible and then retracted it was Shaykh al-‘Uthaymeen; among the most prominent scholars who said that it is not allowed at all was Shaykh al-Albaani.


Those who said that it is permissible did not say that a time limit should be set as in the case of mut’ah. And they did not say that it is permissible without a wali (guardian), because marriage without a wali is invalid. And they did not say that the marriage contract may be done without witnesses or without being announced, rather it is essential to do one of the two.


Opinion of the scholars concerning this type of marriage:


Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about Misyaar marriage; this kind of marriage is where the man marries a second, third or fourth wife, and the wife is in a situation that compels her to stay with her parents or one of them in her own house, and the husband goes to her at various times depending on the circumstances of both. What is the Islamic ruling on this type of marriage?

He replied:

There is nothing wrong with that if the marriage contract fulfils all the conditions set out by sharee’ah, which is the presence of the wali and the consent of both partners, and the presence of two witnesses of good character to the drawing up of the contract, and both partners being free of any impediments, because of the general meaning of the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “The conditions that are most deserving of being fulfilled are those by means of which intimacy becomes permissible for you” and “The Muslims are bound by their conditions.” If the partners agree that the woman will stay with her family or that her share of the husband’s time will be during the day and not during the night, or on certain days or certain nights, there is nothing wrong with that, so long as the marriage is announced and not hidden. End quote.

Fataawa ‘Ulama’ al-Balad al-Haraam (p. 450, 451) and Jareedah al-Jazeerah issue no. 8768, Monday 18 Jumaada al-Oola 1417 AH.

However, some students of the Shaykh said that he later retracted the view that it is permissible, but we could not find anything in writing to prove that.


Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez Aal al-Shaykh (may Allaah preserve him) was asked:

There is a lot of talk about misyaar marriage being haraam or halaal. We would like a definitive statement about this matter from you, with a description of its conditions and obligations, if it is permissible.

He replied:

The conditions of marriage are that the two partners should be identified and give their consent, and there should be a wali (guardian) and two witnesses. If the conditions are met and the marriage is announced, and they do not agree to conceal it, either the husband, the wife or their guardians, and he offered a waleemah or wedding feast, then this marriage is valid, and you can call it whatever you want after that. End quote.

Jareedah al-Jazeerah, Friday 15 Rabee’ al-Thaani 1422 AH, issue no. 10508.


Shaykh al-Albaani was asked about Misyaar marriage and he disallowed it for two reasons:


That the purpose of marriage is repose as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect” [al-Room 30:21]. But this is not achieved in this kind of marriage.


It may be decreed that the husband has children with this woman, but because he is far away from her and rarely comes to her, that will be negatively reflected in his children’s upbringing and attitude.

See: Ahkaam al-Ta’addud fi Daw’ al-Kitaab wa’l-Sunnah (p. 28, 29).


Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) used to say that it was permissible, then he stopped saying that because of the negative effects, as it was poorly applied by some wrongdoers.

Finally, what we think is:

That if Misyaar marriage fulfils the conditions of a valid marriage, namely the proposal and acceptance, the consent of the wali and witnesses or announcement of the marriage, then it is a valid marriage contract, and it is good for some categories of men and women whose circumstances call for this type of marriage. But this may be taken advantage of by some whose religious commitment is weak, hence this permissibility should not be described as general in application in a fatwa, rather the situation of each couple should be examined, and if this kind of marriage is good for them then it should be permitted, otherwise they should not be allowed to do it. That is to prevent marriage for the sake of mere pleasure whilst losing the other benefits of marriage, and to prevent the marriage of two people whose marriage we may be certain is likely to fail and in which the wife will be neglected, such as one who will be away from his wife for many months, and will leave her on her own in an apartment, watching TV and visiting chat rooms and going on the internet. How can such a weak woman spend her time? This is different from one who lives with her family or children and has enough religious commitment, obedience, chastity and modesty to help her be patient during her husband’s absence.

And Allaah knows best.

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Misyar Marriage: Legalized Promiscuity?

Riyadh Saudi Arabia, with the Al Faisaliah Hotel in the center

Riyadh Saudi Arabia, with the Al Faisaliah Hotel in the center

Zawaj.com Editor’s Note: I am against misyar marriage, as I think it is damaging to women and to the family, and robs women of the rights given to them by Islam.

In California, where I live, any contract that coerces someone to forfeit their rights under the law is invalid. That’s a good policy.

A Muslim woman with no resources and few options should never be asked to forfeit the rights that have been granted to her by Allah SWT.

I realize there are numerous social and economic reasons why this this has become a growing trend in parts of the Muslim world.

I believe we must address those reasons and create a climate where it is easy and encouraged for Muslims to marry in the normal Islamic way.

However, the opinions expressed in the article below (and the comments about “Wahhabis” etcetera) are those of the author alone, and do not necessarily express the views of Zawaj.com.

Misyar Marriage: Prohibition does not eliminate promiscuity

BY RAFIA ZAKARIA, APRIL 5, 2010, altmuslimah.com

Guardian report, published in August 2009 regarding the prevalence of misyar marriage in Saudi Arabia, has generated much hubbub in the Muslim world. There are few religiously-sanctioned occasions for discussing issues concerning sexuality but it seems that in addressing this above topic the Saudis and their Wahhabi fans around the world have found one.

In simple terms, a misyar marriage is the Wahhabi (we will use the term Sunni from here on) counterpart of the Shi’a mutaamarriage. The misyar or “traveler’s” nikah is carried out through normal Sunni Muslim contractual procedures and involves a waiver of certain rights, predominantly by the wife.

Under misyar, the husband and wife retain their homes and arrange for visits for a certain number of nights. The husband relinquishes his right to unlimited sexual access (otherwise assumed in Saudi law) and housekeeping (since the wife does not live with him). The wife, predictably, gives up much more, including her right to the equal attention of the husband (in case of polygamy) and her right to maintenance or nafaqah and housing. In the event of children born to the union, custody goes to the father or his family after age seven.

Misyar is routinely presented as a pragmatic solution to sate the sexual appetites of men in a society where sexual promiscuity is strictly prohibited and even prosecuted through hadd punishments. The argument in favor of misyar normally runs along the following lines: misyar marriage allows those who are unable to provide a home or support a wife full-time an opportunity for female companionship, broadly interpreted.

The female beneficiaries of this “marriage lite” are supposedly the hapless spinsters, divorcees and other marginalized women who otherwise have no hope of male attention or companionship. Through this arrangement, they too can have a shot at marriage, though without most of the rights. Misyar, while socially unpalatable to Saudi jurisprudence because it showcases the centrality of male sexual appetites in Saudi culture, is presented as the low-budget alternative to traditional marriage, which appears to be reserved for virginal brides and rich men.

Misyar then is marriage for discarded women and economically unstable men. Instead of agonizing over the gender iniquities of a system that treats widows and divorcees as unworthy of marriages in which their rights and human dignity are respected, a “lower” form of marriage has been invented to allow them a chance at having some male companionship. The sociological aspects of the fact that these women continue to be marginalized and treated as unworthy are left unquestioned.

Further arguments for misyar marriages focus on their legal defensibility. Shaikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi, quoted in the Guardian report, instructs Muslims to look at such marriages as a “legal relationship between a man and a woman.” The Sheikh requests that a misyar marriage be evaluated on the grounds that it is a contract between a man and a woman that is sanctioned by religion in that the limited liabilities and duties of both parties are clearly stated by both and hence known to and agreed upon by both. This argument rests on the legal premise that when conditions of a contract are explicit, consented to by both parties and within the parameters set by the religion’s tenets, the ensuing contract is then rendered legitimate and binding.

Yet the irony of this line of reasoning is that the legal argument makes no mention of the completely unequal bargaining power of the two parties and the fact that the women have little power to insist on any condition being stipulated in the contract. The fact that a woman acquiesces to a marriage that provides her with fewer rights than those she would be entitled to otherwise, is a testament to her inferior bargaining power both as a contracting party and as a citizen within a patriarchal society. To argue that the contract should be evaluated entirely as a legal entity between two parties consensually coming to an agreement, is to ignore the very gender inequality that led to the creation of the legal instrument in the first place.

Some attention is due also to the moral aspects of misyar marriage. Strictly prohibitive societies like Saudi Arabia operate on the premise that if the state regulates all aspects of life, then the most repugnant moral failings will simply be eliminated. In other words, with the imposition of strict penalties against sexual promiscuity, short-term dalliances will be eliminated and society will be safely ensconced in marital bliss.

The existence of misyar marriages and the fact that they are being advertised on websites similar to western ones proposing sexual flirtations exposes the hollowness of the idea that prohibition eliminates the desire for promiscuity. In the case of Saudis, misyar marriages demonstrate that sexual promiscuity or the desire for “no strings attached” relationships has been far from stamped out. Instead, legal loopholes, under the sanction of faith, have been found to justify un-sated desires.

Finally, there are the tangible human costs of such legal loopholes that cater to male libidos and further subjugate women into destructive choices. In 2008, Saudi Arabia had nearly 200,000 widows most of whom received no support from their blood relatives. The requirement that they produce mahrams to provide them with permission to work and travel often forced them into misyar marriages for the sole purpose of obtaining livelihoods or permission to travel.

Relegated to periphery of society due to the personal tragedies, these women are victimized first by the widespread social denial of their inferiority and second by a legal fiction that uses their misery as a means for providing sexual gratification through a version of marriage that denies what few rights they would be provided with otherwise.

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