Sharia friendly prostitution

By Razib Khan | April 23, 2009 3:37 pm

Misyar: Prostitution By Another Name:

Over the past year many Muslim converts have had the “opportunity” to discover something called a “misyar marriage”, or Sunni version of temporary sexual relationship sanctioned by shariah law. From where I stand as a convert, the entire affair appears to be nothing more than prostitution by another name. I just find it interesting how in the over twenty five books on Islamic marriage that I read in English, not once was this little business about temporary marriage mentioned. The fact is that it was hidden from western students and converts to Islam because we would recognize it for what it is and be repulsed. This practice breeds fraud and duplicity in both men and women. For example…

As I told a Muslim friend who pointed this piece to me, humans will do as they wish. Religion is man made, and so at the service of man. In this case, literally. Here’s the original article that the blog post is based on….

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Anthroplogy
  • Shadow Caster

    This just proves your ignorance of the Islamic laws. From what I’ve understood Misyar to be I conclude:
    Misyar or even mutah are not prostitution because the girl has to observe the iddah period, about 4 months without sex. Prostitutes use regular sex to get money to live on. Misyar is not a regular means of obtaining money. Misyar is a legal marriage.
    Secondly, the girl needs permission from her parents to marry… I wouldn’t call that prostitution.
    Third, the Misyar marriage is legally registered by the state.
    Fourth, if you think the involvement of money is the factor that makes it prostitution then the mahr, a dowry given to the wife by the husband in a regular marriage, should also be seen as paying for sex.
    Both male and female enter into the marriage knowing their rights and expectations so they know what will eventually happen and they are fine with it otherwise they wouldn’t have signed the agreement.
    What really annoys me is that you look down upon the law of God (not man’s law) and ignore the filth that ensues in godless countries. For shame.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp razib

    shadow caster, LOL.

  • pconroy

    Is Shadow Caster trying to pull a Chet Snicker or what??
    That’s funny – LOL
    OTOH if he is serious – LOOOOOOOOLLLLLL

  • B.B.

    Shadow Caster, none of the things you listed disqualifies misyar marriage as prostitution. All it means is that misyar marriage is an arbitrary, inefficient and needlessly bureaucratic form of prostitution.

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

    Shadow Caster, nothing you have said makes it not prostitution. The bottom line is that Misyar involves money being transferred in exchange for short term sexual relation. That’s almost the definition of prostitution. Indeed, it is most telling that the defense you give is that “Both male and female enter into the marriage knowing their rights and expectations so they know what will eventually happen and they are fine with it otherwise they wouldn’t have signed the agreement.” This is essentially the argument for legalized prostitution.
    Incidentally, Razib has criticized other legal systems before and no doubt will continue to do so when they do something he disagrees with. And even if he had not that would not lessen the validity of this particular criticism about Sunni law.

  • Zora

    I thought that misyar marriage was countenanced only by Shi’a and that Sunnis regarded it as a loathsome Shi’a practice.

  • toto

    The bottom line is that Misyar involves money being transferred in exchange for short term sexual relation.
    There’s nothing “short term” in the original definition. According to the Great Oracle of All Truth and Knowledge, the main point is that the spouses remain separated.
    By contrast, the Shiah Mutah is a fixed-term marriage. However, it is not supposed to be particularly “short-term”.
    It actually emerged as an interesting example of pragmatic realism from religious authorities. Back then, the mullahs realised that preaching abstinence to young people simply doesn’t work. OTOH, you can’t require 16 years old to take up a lifetime commitment and start a family. Thus the concept of a temporary (as in, a couple of years) marriage for young people came to be seen as an acceptable way to reconcile the law of God with the laws of biology.
    Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s always (or even mostly) used that way in practice.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp razib

    Indeed, it is most telling that the defense you give is that “Both male and female enter into the marriage knowing their rights and expectations so they know what will eventually happen and they are fine with it otherwise they wouldn’t have signed the agreement.”
    simply a “capitalist act between consenting adults” :-)
    zora, i think you are talking about mutah. and there’s some difference on the margins which makes the shia practice loathsome to the sunnis. one person’s whore is another person’s legit wife, and sometimes the shoe is on the other foot.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp razib

    OTOH, you can’t require 16 years old to take up a lifetime commitment and start a family.
    well, i know that saying that life expectancy of 25 years in pre-modern environments is skewed by high infant mortality, but nevertheless the mortality rate was closer to a uniform distribution today. so there’s a rather high chance that two individuals married at 16 won’t be together at 40, because at least one (or both) is dead by ten. also, divorce is acceptable in islam, and not too hard for a man, so it wouldn’t be lifetime in any case even assuming longevity.

  • Mohammad fourkan

    So far i know as a muslim,the legality of the prostitution is violation of quranic principle. If any muslim or arabic country gives the validity to the prostitution by making law it will be violation of the same. So the state instead of giving the validity can provide any other works to the sex workers. Because they are victim of the enviroment.

  • abc

    The world sees what is followed by the muslims, and not what is written in holy Quran. Why can’t muslim stick to only one woman till he or she dies? If you can’t respect a woman to this extent; then whether it is allowed by any holy book or a spiritual body it provokes anti social sense.

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Gene Expression

This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com

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