Time to End Prostitution in the Muslim World

Posted on September 30, 2012


Prohibition against prostitution from the Qur’an:

Allāh says in Sūrat An Nur:

A painful punishment waits in this world and the next for those who like indecency to spread among the believers. God knows and you do not.  [Qur’an, Sura An Nur, 24:19].

[…] Nor shall you compel your handmaidens to whoredom–for they too ardently desire to be chaste–in order for yourselves, thereby, to seek the fleeting things of the life of this world. Bus should one so compel them–then the compeller is guilty, while after their having been so compelled, God is All-forgiving of such handmaidens, and mercy giving towards them  [Qu’ran, Sura 24, An-Nur Ayah 33]

Prohibition against Prostitution from the Hadiths of the Prophet (s):

Narrated Abu Juhaifa: The Prophet cursed the lady who practices tattooing and the one who gets herself tattooed, and one who eats (takes) Riba’ (usury) and the one who gives it. And he prohibited taking the price of a dog, and the money earned by prostitution, and cursed the makers of pictures. [Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith (Hadith 7.259)]

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: Musaykah, a slave-girl of some Ansari, came and said: My master forces me to commit fornication. Thereupon the following verse was revealed: “But force not your maids to prostitution (when they desire chastity).” [Sunan of Abu-Dawood – 954]

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul used to say to his slave girl: Go and fetch something for us by committing prostitution. It was in this connection that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, revealed this verse: “And compel not your slave-girls to prostitution when they desire to keep chaste in order to seek the frail goods of this world’s life, and whoever compels them, then surely after their compulsion Allah is Forgiving, Merciful” (xxiv.33). [Sahih Muslim Hadith – 1415]

Fatwa Against Temporary Marriage or Mutah by Islam’s Global Leading Scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al Qardawi

On “muta marriage” marriage from a Sunni view:

Fatwa, posted 4.22.2010, from Qatar, by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi
Website URL:

http://www.islamonline.net and reprinted on Islamopedia

Marriage in Islam is a strong binding contract based on the intention of both partners to live together permanently in order to attain, as individuals, the benefit of repose, affection, and mercy mentioned in the Quran, as well as to attain the social goal of the reproduction and perpetuation of the human species. Almighty Allah says: “And Allah has made for you spouses of your own nature, and from your spouses has made for you sons and grandsons….” (An-Nahl: 72)

Now, mutah marriage is a marriage that is contracted by the two parties for a specified period of time in exchange for a specified sum of money. While the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) permitted mutah marriage during journeys and military campaigns before the Islamic legislative process was made complete, he later forbade it and made it haram on a permanent basis.

It was initially permitted because the Muslims were passing through what might be called a period of transition from jahiliyyah (the pre-Islamic period) to Islam. Fornication was widespread among the Arabs before the advent of Islam. After Islam, when Muslims were required to go on military expeditions, they were under great pressure as a result of being away from their wives for long periods of time. Some of the believers were strong in faith, but others were weak. The weak in faith feared that they would be tempted to commit adultery, which is a major sin, while the staunch in faith, on the contrary, were ready to castrate themselves. Ibn Masud narrates: “We were on an expedition with the Messenger of Allah and did not have our wives with us, so we asked Allah’s Messenger “Should we not castrate ourselves?”(The reason for this request was the desire to preserve their chastity, which was in danger of being affected by their unmet needs.) He forbade us from doing so but permitted us to contract marriage with a woman up to a specified date, giving her a garment as a dowry (Mahr).” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Thus, mutah marriage provided a solution to the dilemma in which both the weak and the strong found themselves. It was also a step toward the final legalization of the complete marital life in which the objectives of permanence, chastity, reproduction, love, and mercy as well as the widening of the circle of relationships through marriage ties were to be realized.

We may recall that the Quran adopted a gradual course in prohibiting wine and usury, as these two evils were widespread and deeply rooted in the pre-Islamic society. In the same manner, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) adopted a gradual course in the matter of sex. First, he permitted mutah marriage as an alternative to zina (fornication and adultery), and at the same time coming closer to the permanent marriage relationship. He then prohibited it absolutely, as all and many other Companions reported. Muslim reports this in his Sahih (Authentic Collection of Hadiths), mentioning that Al-Juhani was with the Prophet at the conquest of Makkah and that the Prophet gave some Muslims permission to contract mutah marriages. Al-Juhani said: “Before leaving Mecca, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) prohibited it.” In another version: “Allah has made it Haram until the Day of Resurrection.”

The question arises: Is mutah marriage absolutely haram, like marriage to one’s own mother or daughter, or is it like the prohibition concerning the eating of pork or dead meat, which becomes permissible in case of dire necessity, the necessity in this case being the fear of committing zina?

The majority of the Companions hold the view that after the completion of the Islamic legislation, mutah marriage was made absolutely haram. However, Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) holds a different opinion, permitting it in case of dire necessity. A person asked him about marrying women on a haram basis, and he permitted him to do so. A servant of his then asked, “Is this not under hard conditions, when women are few and the like?” and he replied, “Yes.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari) Later, when Ibn Abbas saw that people had become lax and were engaging in haram marriages without necessity, he withdrew his ruling and retracted his previous opinion. (Zad Al-Ma`ad, vol. 4, p. 7

Fatwa of Sheikh Ibn Baz Against Temporary Marriage (Mutah or Sighe)

144- Some forms of marriage contradict with Shar`y (legal) marriage, including Mut`ah marriage (temporary marriage for a stipulated period) It means marrying a woman for a fixed period of time, after which their marriage comes to an end, such as a month or two. This form of marriage was allowed at one time, and then was abrogated and prohibited for the Islamic Ummah (nation based on one creed). It was reported in the Sahih (authentic) Hadith that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I permitted you to contract Mut`ah marriage (temporary marriage for a stipulated period), but Allah has forbidden it (now) until the Day of Resurrection. He who has any (woman with this type of marriage contract) he should let her go, and not take back anything you have given to them as Mahr (mandatory gift to a bride from her groom). It was authentically reported on the authority of `Aly (may Allah be pleased with him), Salamah ibn Al-Akwa`, Ibn

(Part No. 20; Page No. 274)

Mas`ud and others that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) prohibited Mut`ah marriage (temporary marriage for a stipulated period), so it was settled in Shari`ah (Islamic law) that it is prohibited and that Shar`y (Islamically lawful) marriage is one in which a man and a woman want to live with each other forever, for the purpose of achieving chastity, procreation and cooperation in goodness. This is the Shar`y marriage permitted by Allah, whose conditions were previously mentioned. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) made it goodness for the Muslim Ummah; it entails cooperation, increase of the progeny, chastity of men and women and their favor towards each other. The man does a favor to the woman by keeping her chaste, providing for her, maintaining her, protecting her from immoral men and so on. A woman, on the other hand, helps her husband in his worldly and spiritual affairs, keeps him chaste, and helps him during calamities. Mut`ah marriage (temporary marriage for a stipulated period) was abrogated in Islam forever. `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) used to threaten those who did it with stoning to death like an adulterer, because Allah prohibited it in Shari`ah (Islamic law) forever. However, Al-Rafidah (a Shiitic group) still consider this form of marriage lawful and practice it, as reported in their books. This is one of the matters that were used against them and one of their deviations from the straight path. Thus, no reasonable person should believe them;

(Part No. 20; Page No. 275)

we should beware of their falsehood. A Mu’min (believer) should unmistakably acknowledge that this form of marriage is invalid and prohibited by Allah (Exalted be He). It was already mentioned the Hadith of Samrah ibn Ma`bad Al-Jahni, on the authority of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he said: I permitted you to contract Mut`ah marriage, but Allah has forbidden it (now) until the Day of Resurrection. He who has any (woman with this type of marriage contract) he should let her go, and do not take back anything you have given to them as Mahr.(Related by Muslim in his Sahih)

This Nas (Islamic text from the Qur’an or the Sunnah) and others that carry the same meaning indicate that Naskh (abrogation) remains in effect until the Day of Resurrection; there is no way that it is still Halal (lawful). Rather, it was abrogated and will remain so until the Day of Resurrection. Temporary marriage is in which a man and a woman agree to marry for a fixed period of time. When this period comes to an end, they separate without the need for Talaq (divorce pronounced by a husband). They might stipulate divorce, but it is Mut`ah Talaq (temporary divorce) as well; they might agree upon marrying for two or three months, then he divorces her and she observes `Iddah (woman’s prescribed waiting period after divorce or widowhood). Temporary marriage is Mut`ah marriage (temporary marriage for a stipulated period) in all cases, whether there is divorce or just separation at the end of its fixed time. It is Haram (prohibited) according to the legal text

(Part No. 20; Page No. 276)

and Ijma` (consensus of scholars) among Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream).


Slavery and Prostitution in Pakistan

Muslim prostitute speaks about prostitution in Lahore, Pakistan

Saudis traveling for “Halal Sex” To Indonesia

Prostitution behind the Veil: Iran

Minna and Fariba are neighbours and good friends. They support one another. Both have to live under the pervasive curtailment of women’s rights and the double standards of today’s Iranian society. They make a living walking the streets looking for men. They have a choice between leaving their small children at home alone or bringing them along when they have sex with men.

The film is a sympathetic portrait of the two women, exploring their day-to-day life and the workings of prostitution in a country that bans it and prosecutes adulterers, sometimes with the penalty of capital punishment.

Many of the clients find a way to buy sex and still comply with Muslim law: they marry the women in what is called ‘Sighe’, a temporary marriage sanctioned in Shia Islam. Sighe can last from two hours up to 99 years. Both Minna and Fariba enter into Sighe with clients, and Fariba is in a Sighe marriage with a neighbour, Habib, that lasts six months. Giving his perspective on temporary marriage, Habib says that Sighe is a way to help poor women, it is an act of mercy in the name of Allah.

The film follows the two women for more than a year. It describes their middle-class backgrounds and their submission to treacherous men and drugs. We see how Fariba manages to quit drugs and prostitution, only

Please note that that the Shi’ite continuation of Mut’ah or Sighe (temporary marriage)  is against what the Prophet (s) himself and Caliph Omar (r) allowed.  Please see Fatwa above by Sheikh Yusuf Al Qardawi, one of the foremost global Islamic scholar.

Sex in Bangladesh

Sex Trade in Malaysia

Child Labor and Prostitution in Egypt

The Fate of Prostitutes in the Muslim World

By Aishah Mohd. Nasarruddin, trainee lecturer in women’s health development unit, Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Drifted and Forgotten

The flourishing of prostitution in Muslim countries is a paradox that we often overlook as a problem of our ummah. As prostitution is condemned and forbidden in Islam, and these women, to an extent, are marginalized and invisible in our community, many of us are not aware of the magnitude and realities of this problem. We do not consider them as a cause worth fighting for as we do for the betterment of the poor, abused, homeless, oppressed and ailing. To make matters worse, misinformation is widespread and the voices of former prostitution victims are systematically silenced.

Among the factors contributing to the widespread practice of prostitution among Muslim countries include:

  • The denial of the existence of such problems in our community
  • Spreading of the truth impedes men’s comfort and pleasure in using women
  • Hindrance of profitability of the industry, especially for those players who are politically connected
  • Prostitution is too horrible of a practice, a highly stigmatized taboo subject, that people would rather not hear details about

Majority of us may have the idea that prostitution is a choice and the women enjoy what they do. The reality is quite the contrary for many of them. On many occasions, deprivations, conflicts, and difficult circumstances often lead to desperation, and desperation forces these women into the practice of prostitution. Many are uneducated women who live in poverty and possess few marketable skills. My research finds that prostitutes are many times:

  • single mothers making ends meet for their children.
  • victims of incest and sexual abuse.
  • manipulated homeless teenagers.
  • displaced sufferers of human trafficking.
  • They are distraught girls with failed early marriages.
  • They are refugees who fled from their war-torn countries.

While we criminalize them for living in adultery, spreading diseases, disrupting family institutions, and giving birth to innocent, illegitimate children who suffer for having dishonorable mothers, we fail to see the other spectrum of the consequences of prostitution. The consequences are not only devastating to the society, but also to the prostitute herself as a person. It completely destroys her already shattered life, being reduced down to a depersonalized, sexual object.  She develops a personality where she is unable to develop trust in relationships and slowly numbs herself, to the point where she loses the ability to feign attachments to anyone or anything.  In order to survive this overwhelming, daily ordeal, she dissociates from her real self, originally as a defense mechanism; sadly, it reaches to the point of complete shut down, where she is stripped of her identity, and over time, she disappears. […]

What can we do to help?

1. Reach out wherever possible to our sisters who are prostitutes: In regions where prostitution remains legal, it may be easier to reach out to them because they are registered under the profession and therefore can be identified. For example, in Turkey, sociologists and psychologists interviewed 3,000 registered prostitutes working at brothels to determine whether they had been forced into the job and if they would prefer another line of employment.

On the other hand, where prostitution is generally illegal, it is difficult and rather unsafe to reach them. Many things can happen if you are at the wrong place at the wrong time. They fear that ‘outsiders’ would turn them in to the authorities to be penalized, especially the prostitutes who are linked to pimps, traffickers, and corrupt officials.  […]

2. Put prostitutes in touch with reputable and experienced, relevant NGOS. What we can do to reach out is put them in contact with experienced volunteers from reputable organizations such as NGOs working on reproductive and health education, or NGOs that conduct programs to keep children from red-light districts in school.  […]

3. Include prostitutes in legitimate and Islamic income-generating programs. We should include them in income-generating programs so that they can have a regular income, which hopefully would decrease the chance of them resorting back to prostitution. […]

4.  Criminalize the trafficking and buying of sex. On a larger scale, there should be a focus shift to criminalize the buying rather than the selling of sex. The burden of punishment should be on the clients who perpetuate the sex trade rather than the women who are trapped in the situation. For example, in Sweden, prostitution is officially acknowledged as a form of male sexual violence against women and children. Swedish policy addresses the issue of prostitution and trafficking by focusing on the root cause […].

[Please click here to read more.]

The Prohibition of Temporary Marriage or Mutah in Islam

Caliph Umar’s (r) Control Of Sexuality Laxity

In the days of ignorance sexual laxity was the order of the day. Islam stood for reform in the moral and social fields, and condemned sexual laxity in all forms. Under Islam a limitation was placed on the number of wives one could marry. Such number was not to exceed four, and it was enjoined that all the wives should be treated alike with due justice. Lapidation was provided as the punishment for those found guilty of adultery.

When Umar became the Caliph he took further steps to rid the society of sexual laxity.

In the days of ignorance poetry was pressed into service as an instrument of moral laxity. The poets indulged in ribald poems. They named their sweethearts in their poems and by indulging in poetic licence compromised the honour and integrity of ladies. Then where ladies were no party to love the poets in their imagination made their beloveds return their love in passionate terms. Such poetry did considerable social harm, and disturbed domestic peace in many a home. Umar took cognisance of this unsocial practice. He commanded the poets not to mention the names of ladies in their poems. He also issued directions that the poets should not indulge in any versification calculated to encourage moral depravity. Where some poets inadvertently or otherwise contravened these instructions they were flogged or punished.

Mutah in some form or the other was permissible or at least not expressly forbidden before the time of Umar. Umar felt that Mutah “hereunder a man married a woman for a specified number of days amounted to disguised prostitution and this led to moral laxity. Umar accordingly passed an order prohibiting Mutah. He declared that it was open to a person to divorce a woman after regular marriage for any valid reason, but a marriage which was stipulated to be dissolved after a specified number of days was repugnant to the spirit of Islam which stood for stability of domestic homes. Umar elaborated that the purpose of marriage was to set up homes with a view to getting children and Mutah negated such objects. Moreover in the case of Mutah the children born of such union were to be subject to social disability which was detrimental to social order.

Under the Islamic law divorce was permissible. The Holy Prophet however took pains to explain that divorces which disrupted family life were distasteful to God. People were enjoined not to be hasty in the matter of divorce. Divorce could be effective only when three divorces were given. The idea was to provide some opportunity for reconciliation. When under Umar more countries were conquered and women from other countries became available for the Muslims, some Muslims resorted to the practice of announcing three divorces simultaneously. In order to put a stop to this unsocial practice Umar laid down that if a person gave three talaqs simultaneously such divorce would be irrevocable.

With the conquest of Iraq and Syria, Iraqi and Syrian women became available to the Muslims. Attracted by the beauty of these women, the Muslims divorced their Arab wives. That created a social crisis which led to sexual laxity. Umar accordingly ordered that marriages with foreign ladies should be permitted under exceptional circumstances. Hudhaifa was the administrator of al Madina and he married a Christian beauty of Iraq. When this was brought to the notice of Umar he required Hudhaifa to divorce the Christian beauty, Hudhaifa said that he would not comply with the order unless he was told whether his marriage was unlawful or else; the Caliph referred to the authority under which he wanted him (Hudhaifa) to divorce his legally wedded wife. Umar wrote to say that the marriage he had contracted was not unlawful, but he had been advised to divorce the Christian beauty as it was bound to adversely affect the interests of Arab ladies. Moreover if the Muslims married non-Muslim ladies merely for tbeir beauty that would encourage sexual laxity. Thereupon Hudhaifa divorced his Christian wife.

Besides four lawful wives Islam permitted any man to take over any number of slave girls to bed. These slave girls were to be the property of the Master and he could sell them any time. With the extension in conquests the number of available slave girls increased and Umar felt that this would promote sexual laxity. He ordered that Umm ul Walad that is such slave girls who bore children to their masters would stand emancipated. This had the effect that such women could no longer be treated as concubines and were to be given the status of regular wives or divorced when they could, as free women, marry other persons.

Source: Hadrat Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman, Ali (ra) 4 Vol. Set

Upon being critiqued by Umman bin Sawad for his decision, Umar (r) explained why he prohibited Mutah:

About the Mutah, Umar said:

“Mutah was an ancient practice with the Arabs. The Holy Prophet did not like the practice though he tolerated it on some occasions due to special circumstances. Even then on at least two occasions he prohibited the practice. God has spoken of the sanctity of the marriage ties, and if the marriage is held sacred on one side and Mutah is allowed on the other that would be inconsistent. If Mutah is allowed that would be a sort of sanctioned prostitution. That is repugnant to Islam. If any person marries the idea is to establish a home. If a person marries for a few specified days that is foreign to the establishment of a home. Mutah is thus repugnant to Islam. If any person wants to dissolve the marriage after a few days it is open to him to give the divorce in the usual way. I have prohibited Mutah in the interests of the sanctity and integrity of Muslim homes. That is a social reform. There is no express injunction allowing Mutah and by disallowing it I have not contravened any provisions of Islamic law.”

WHy Islam Prohibits Fornication and Adultery

This video explains the beautiful wisdom of Islam prohibiting having girlfriends, fornication and adultery. It also explains a little bit on the relationship between husband and wives. http://www.TheDeenShow.com, speaker: Abdur-Raheem Green

Fighting Zina in Islam

Additional related articles:
1. Islam and Extra-marital Affairs in the Workplace.

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