Islam contains very strict rules about sex outside of marriage. Basically it is haram or forbidden. What follows is a quick guide to what Muslims should do in the area of sex to make sure that they do not offend God. It is important to understand the Muslim view on temporary marriage, or muta, within the context of the entire biological sexual life of boys and girls.
Boys reach puberty at the age of 15, girls at the age of 9. This is according to the lunar calendar. Boys know they have reached puberty when they start having wet dreams or nocturnal emissions. If a young man masturbates, he will not have wet dreams because he is releasing his semen through masturbation. Wet dreams occur because there is a physical need for the semen to be released or else physical damage will occur for the male. As soon as puberty occurs for boys and girls in Islamic culture, they are encouraged to marry because of the gravity of the sin of sex outside the bonds of marriage.
Maturity of body is just one half of the equation. There must also be maturity of mind, also. However, one of the problems is that even if maturity on both planes exists, there is still the matter of finances. Most teenagers, no matter which culture they are from, can afford to get married, especially in today’s globally depressed economy. One way around this is for the government to support young couples who wish to marry. An alternative to this type of arrangement would be for the couple to live with one set of parents while they get their education, etc. Then when they are financially able, they can set up their own household but while they are married, that does allow them to have sexual intercourse without sin, because after all, they are married. In order to protect the reputation of the girl, parents should be involved in these matters.
Masturbation is not permitted according to Islam. Having flexible marital rules is far superior, Muslims say, to the sin of masturbation. If someone masturbates, they do not have the intimacy of sharing affection that traditional sexual intercourse brings with it. According to Islam, there is confusion as to whether or not anal sex is permitted.
However, the main topic of this article is temporary marriage. It exists because of the seriousness of the sin of sex beyond marriage. Muta, or temporary marriage, has traditionally been associated with the Shia branch of Islam, and the Sunnis have opposed it. However, that has not always been the case. Just to let people know who might not be aware, Sunnis, which make up around 80% of the Muslim population, believed that Aisha’s father Abu Bakr should be the one to succeed the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him), while Shias believed that his cousin Ali should succeed him because they were family members. By the way, Aisha is the girl who was married to Muhammad when she was 6 but they did not actually consummate the marriage until she was 9 or later (sources vary as to this). In any case, Aisha became the most famous Islamic scholar of her time and was well versed in all areas of Islamic doctrine.
Anyway, back to temporary marriage. Even the Sunnis agreed in the beginning that there was nothing sinful about temporary marriage. It was practiced for many years, in fact, by them, until the time of Umar ibn al-Khattab. It is fascinating to go back in history and see how things were done before, especially because people forget and things that are assumed today were not always true in the past.
A man can have as many temporary marriages as he desires, but a woman can only have one marriage at a time (an Islamic man can have 4). A Muslim man can marry a Christian woman, but a Muslim woman cannot marry a Christian man. As a result of such differences, many people feel that temporary marriage exploits women and is little better than prostitution because the system favours men, especially wealthy men. However, I think it all depends on a person’s perspective. What if a woman is powerfully attracted to a married man? A temporary marriage could allow her to realize her desires in a way that does not constitute sin. There are advantages to any situation. Human nature is what it is, and temporary marriage can represent a way out for people who have very strong sex drives, especially people like widowed women, young teenaged boys, etc. It should be added that temporary marriage is not all about sex; it is just that this is the focus of the current article. Other reasons include pilgrimages, war, etc.