The literal meaning of the word mut'a is "gratification" or "a gift". The world mut'a is used in two distinct senses in the context of marriage and divorce. It is com- monly used to refer to nikah al-mut'a or zawaj al-mut'a, a form of temporary mar- rage.' This is not, however, our topic here. The other usage of the world mut'a is in referring to mut'at al-talaq, or nafaqat al-mut'a, which is a payment by a hus- band to his wife upon divorcing her. In classical and contemporary jurisprudence there has been disagreement with regard to mut'a, not only as to whether it is in- tended to be real compensation or merely a form of consolation to a divorced wife, but as to whether or not it is actually compulsory and in what circumstances it is applicable. Both Jordanian and Egyptian law regulate mut'a in effect as a form of compen- sation to a divorced wife and a penalty to a husband who misuses his right of di- vorce. A tradition of the Prophet indicates that of all actions which are permitted, divorce is the most hateful in the sight of God. The right to unilateral divorce is,
Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law Online – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1995
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