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27. Marriage

By means of a marriage contract, a man and woman become lawful (ḥalāl) for each other. A marriage contract is of two types: permanent (dāʾim) and temporary (munqaṭiʿ) [also known as ‘mutʿah’]. A permanent marriage contract is one in which no period of time is specified for the marriage. A woman who is married in such a contract is called a ‘permanent wife’ (dāʾimah). A temporary marriage contract is one in which a period of time is specified for the marriage, such as a marriage contract that is concluded with a woman for a period of one hour, one day, one month, one year, or longer. However, the period specified for such a marriage must not exceed the lifespan of the husband and wife, or one of them, otherwise the contract is invalid (bāṭil). A woman who is married in such a contract is called a ‘temporary wife’ (mutʿah).1

1 In the Persian original, the terms ‘mutʿah’ and ‘ṣīghah’ are used to refer to both temporary marriage and a temporary wife. In his Arabic work Minhāj al‑Ṣāliḥīn, al‑Sayyid al‑Sistani refers to a temporary wife as ‘mutʿah’, ‘al‑mutamattaʿ bihā’, and ‘munqaṭiʿah’ (vol. 3, p. 16).

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  • Ruling 2382

    To conclude a marriage contract, whether that be for a permanent marriage or for a temporary one, a formula (ṣīghah) must be said; the mere consent of the man and the woman is not sufficient, nor is writing …

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  • Ruling 2383

    The agent does not have to be a man; a woman can also be an agent on behalf of a party to say the formula of the marriage contract.

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  • Ruling 2384

    As long as the man and the woman are not confident (i.e. they do not have iṭmiʾnān) that their agent has said the formula, they cannot consider themselves legally married. Merely supposing (i.e. having a ẓann) that the …

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  • Ruling 2385

    If a woman appoints an agent to marry her to a man for ten days, for example, but she does not specify a starting date for those ten days, the agent can marry her to the man for …

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  • Ruling 2386

    One individual can be an agent for both parties to say the formula of the marriage contract, be it temporary or permanent. A man can be an agent for the woman to marry her to himself, both in …

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  • Ruling 2387

    If the man and the woman are to say the formula of a permanent marriage themselves, then after specifying the amount of dowry (mahr), the woman commences by saying:زَوَّجْتُكَ نَـفْسِي عَلَىٰ الصِّدَاقِ الْمَعْلُومِzawwajtuka nafsī ʿalaṣ ṣidāqil maʿlūmI wed …

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  • Ruling 2388

    If the man and the woman are to say the formula of a temporary marriage themselves, then after specifying the period of time and the amount of dowry (mahr), the woman says:زَوَّجْتُكَ نَـفْسِي فِي الْمُدَّةِ الْمَعْلُومَةِ عَلَىٰ الْمَهْرِ …

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  • Ruling 2389

    A marriage contract must fulfil the following conditions [in order for it to be valid]:based on obligatory precaution, the formula must be said in Arabic. If the man or the woman are unable to say the formula in …

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  • Ruling 2390

    If one or more letters is wrongly said in the marriage contract but the meaning does not change, the contract is valid.

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  • Ruling 2391

    If a person who says the formula knows its meaning, albeit in a general way, and he intends to bring its meaning into effect, the contract is valid and it is not necessary for him to know the …

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