Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Muta Definition:

Muslim law: a temporary marriage; for a fixed period.

Related Terms: Nikah

A muta, or a marriage for a fixed period, is not valid in all schools of Muslim law. But those which allow them recognize that such a temporary marriage must be fixed as to the period of time and there must be consideration in the form of a dowry associated with it.

Witnesses are required and other restrictions related to a permanent nikah apply such as a prohibition on Muslim women against marrying non-Muslims men.

What are the benefits of a muta, as opposed to a nikah, is that no inheritance rights are created and, according to Verma:

“A wife is not entitled to any maintenance unless it is expressly stipulated in the (muta) contract.”

Children issue of a muta are nonetheless legitimate children of the marriage.

A muta is automatically dissolved on the expiry of the stated term.


  • Mulla, D., Principles of Mahomedan Law, 14th Ed. (Bombay: The Eastern Law House, 1955), page 239
  • Verma, B.R., Islamic Law-Personal Being Commentaries on Mohammedan Law in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, 6th Edition (Allahabad, India: Law Publishers, 1986), page 132-133

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