Within Islam, a temporary marriage generally implies a short-term marriage between a man and a woman that does not come with a long-term commitment and may or may not have an explicit, pre-established timeline or endpoint. The partial religious legitimation of temporary marriage via Islamic fatwas has recently revived the institution. Some suggest that the rising popularity is an attempt by individuals to fulfill sexual desires within the confines of a religiously-legitimized institution; while others argue that it can lead to exploitation and perhaps slavery of women and girls. Conclusions supporting both the positive and negative aspects of temporary marriage are largely anecdotal. There is an absence of systematic empirical work on this complex phenomenon, particularly with regards to its positive and negative effects on the women involved. This paper aims to answer how, and under what conditions, temporary marriage can be either exploitative or liberating for individual women. Our research utilizes first-hand accounts provided online to better understand how and why the institution of temporary marriage has been revived both within the MENA region and expanded into the West. We review narratives from individuals who have engaged in temporary marriages and analyze support for the competing views within the literature. Overall, we argue that temporary marriages can create a private space for the participants to feel better about their relationship, even if those outside still criticize and shame them. However, this private space also gives exploitative men more leeway to take advantage of their partner.
Badran, Sammy Z. and Turnbull, Brian
Contemporary Temporary Marriage: A Blog-analysis of First-hand Experiences.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 20(2), 241-256.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol20/iss2/17