A misyar marriage (Arabic: نكاح المسيار‎, romanizednikah al-misyar or more often زواج المسيار zawaj al-misyar "traveller's marriage") is a type of marriage contract in Wahabi sects of Islam (some aspects are similar to mutah marriage in Shia Islam). The husband and wife thus joined are able to renounce some marital rights such as living together, the wife's rights to housing and maintenance money (nafaqa), and the husband's right to homekeeping and access. The practice is often used in some Islamic countries to give a legal recognition to behavior that might otherwise be considered adulterous via temporary, contractual marriages.[1]

Background and causesEdit

Some people[who?] consider the misyar marriage can meet the needs of young people whose resources are too limited to settle down in a separate home; of divorcees, widows or widowers, who have their own residence and their own financial resources but cannot or do not want to marry again according to the usual formula, and of slightly older people who have not experienced marriage.

Some Islamic lawyers[who?] add that this type of marriage fits the needs of a conservative society which punishes zina (fornication) and other sexual relationships which are established outside a marriage contract. Thus, some Muslim foreigners working in the Persian Gulf countries prefer to engage in misyar marriage rather than live alone for years. Many of them are actually already married with wives and children in their home country, but they cannot bring them to the region.[citation needed]

In practiceEdit

The Sheikh of al-Azhar mosque, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi and theologian Yusuf Al-Qaradawi note in their writings and in their lectures that a major proportion of the men who take a spouse in the framework of the misyar marriage are already married men.[2] The Arab News reported in 2014 that the “misyar marriages became a widespread reality” in the Saudi kingdom.[3]


Misyar marriage fits within the general rules of marriage in Wahhabi law, on condition merely that it fulfill all the requirements of the Shariah marriage contract, i.e.:

  • The agreement of both parties
  • Two legal witnesses (shahidain)
  • The payment by the husband to his wife of mahr (dower) in the amount that is agreed[4]
  • The absence of a fixed time period for the contract
  • Any particular stipulations (shuroot) which the two parties agree to include in the contract and which are in conformity with Muslim marriage law

However, there have been some Sunni scholars and organizations that have opposed the concept of Nikah Misyar altogether.[5]

In the view of the Saudi Islamic lawyer and member of the Higher Council of Ulema of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Sulaiman bin Menie, the wife can, at any time as she sees fit, retract her renunciation of her financial rights and require of her husband that he give her all of her marital rights, including that he live with her and provide for her financial needs (nafaqa). The husband can then either do so, or grant her a divorce.[6]

For these reasons, Professor Yusuf Al-Qaradawi observes that he does not promote this type of marriage, although he has to recognise that it is legal, since it fulfills all the requirements of the usual marriage contract.[7] He states his preference that the clause of renunciation be not included within the marriage contract, but be the subject of a simple verbal agreement between the parties.[8] He underlines the fact that Muslims are held by their commitments, whether they are written or verbal.


Misyar has been suggested by some authors to be a comparable marriage with Nikah mut'ah (temporary marriage) and that they find it for the sole purpose of "sexual gratification in a licit manner".[9][10] According to Karen Ruffle, assistant professor of religion at the University of Toronto, even though mutʿah is prohibited by Sunni schools of law, several types of impermanent marriage exist, including misyar (ambulant) marriage and ʿurfi (customary) marriage, which gained popularity in parts of the Sunni world.[11] According to Florian Pohl, assistant professor of religion at Oxford College, misyar marriage is controversial issue in the Muslim world, as many see it as practice that encourages marriages for purely sexual purposes, or that it is used as a cover for a form of prostitution.[12]

Islamic scholars like Ibn Uthaimeen or Al-Albani claim, for their part, that misyar marriage may be legal but not moral. They agree that the wife can reclaim the rights which she gave up at the time of contract at any time.[13] But, they are opposed to this type of marriage on the grounds that it contradicts the spirit of the Islamic law of marriage and that it has perverse effects on the woman, the family, and the community in general.[14] Some ulama (scholars) have issued fatwas (legal opinions) in which they contend that misyar is zina (fornication).[15] For Al-Albani, misyar marriage may even be considered as illicit, because it runs counter to the objectives and the spirit of marriage in Islam, as described in this verse from the Quran :

"And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts)…"[16]

Al-Albani also underlines the social problems which can result from the misyar marriage, particularly in the event that children are born from this union. The children raised by their mother in a home from which the father is always absent without reason may suffer difficulties.[17][14]

Ibn Baaz was asked about misyar marriage with the intention of divorce. He replied that it is permissible, but it is haram not to state your intention to divorce in the future. The Permanent Council of Mufis states that it is not permissible, because it includes deceit and cheating and if the woman or her guardian were told of it, they would not agree to marriage.[14][18][19] Earlier ulama (scholars) also noted consensus upon misyar marriage with the intention of divorce.[20][21]

Shaykh al-Albani was asked about misyar marriage and he forbade it for two reasons:

  1. That the purpose of marriage is repose as Allah 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.
  2. 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.[22]

Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid states:

"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."[23]

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ "Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf : Misyar marriage". Archived from the original on 2011-01-04. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  2. ^ "Arab News". Arab News. Archived from the original on 2006-05-26. Retrieved 2006-08-08.
  3. ^ "Misyar now 'a widespread reality'". Arab News. Archived from the original on 2017-04-30. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  4. ^ Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf : Misyar marriage Archived 2011-01-04 at the Wayback Machine et Zawaj al misyar, p 11
  5. ^ "Prostitution Legalized". CIF INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION. Archived from the original on 2013-07-11. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  6. ^ "quoted by Al-Hakeem, Mariam : Misyar marriage gaining prominence among Saudis". Archived from the original on 2005-05-24. Retrieved 2005-08-20.
  7. ^ Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf : Zawaj al misyar p.8
  8. ^ Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf : Zawaj al misyar , pp.13-14
  9. ^ Lodi, Mushtaq K. (1 July 2011). "Islam and the West: The Clash Between Islamism and Secularism". Strategic Book Publishing. Archived from the original on 2016-05-29. Retrieved 2016-09-24 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Elhadj, Elie (30 July 2017). "The Islamic Shield: Arab Resistance to Democratic and Religious Reforms". Universal-Publishers. Archived from the original on 2016-05-20. Retrieved 2016-09-24 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ "Mutʿa - Islamic Studies - Oxford Bibliographies - obo". Archived from the original on 2015-01-11. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  12. ^ Pohl, Florian (September 1, 2010). Muslim World: Modern Muslim Societies. Marshall Cavendish. pp. 52–53. Archived from the original on 2016-06-24. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  13. ^ "Bin Menie, Abdullah bin Sulaïman : fatwa concerning the misyar marriage (and opinions by Ibn Uthaymeen, Al-albany) (in Arabic)] [http://www.metimes.com/articles/normal.php?StoryID=20000407-042210-7478r Yet another marriage with no strings - fatwa committee of al azhar against misyar". External link in |title= (help)[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ a b c "Marrying with the intention of getting divorced is haraam - Islam Question & Answer". islamqa.info. Retrieved 2020-01-16.
  15. ^ Otto, J.M. (2010). Sharia Incorporated: A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present. Amsterdam University Press. p. 165. Retrieved 2013-04-10.
  16. ^ Quran, 30 : 21
  17. ^ Wassel quoted in Hassouna addimashqi, Arfane : Nikah al misyar (2000), (in Arabic), p 16)
  18. ^ "Website of Bin Baz". Archived from the original on January 20, 2004.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  19. ^ Fataawa ‘Ulama’ al-Balad al-Haraam (p. 450, 451) and Jareedah al-Jazeerah issue no. 8768,
  20. ^ Al-Nawawi. "Commentary upon Sahih Muslim". Archived from the original on May 15, 2016.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  21. ^ Jareedah al-Jazeerah , Friday 15 Rabee' al-Thaani 1422 AH, issue no. 10508.
  22. ^ Ahkaam al-Ta'addud fi Daw' al-Kitaab wa'l-Sunnah (page 28, 29)
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-22. Retrieved 2018-09-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit