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  1. Mutah Forbidden in Stages The reality is that Mutah was permissible in the early days of Islam, but was eventually banned categorically by the Prophet (Õáøì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå æÓáøã). This is very similar to wine, which was at first permissible in Islam, and it was only later in time that the Prophet (Õáøì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå æÓáøã) forbade it. The prohibitions against wine were expounded slowly over a period of time. In the beginning, drinking wine was permissible and many of the Sahabah did it. Then, the Quran declared that wine was harmful and bad. After some more time, the Quran forbade approaching prayer whilst drunk. After the people had become accustomed to this, it was only then that they were ready so that Allah and His Messenger (Õáøì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå æÓáøã) completely forbade wine. Why did the Prophet (Õáøì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå æÓáøã) first allow wine and then later forbid it? This was only because Islam was revealed in stages, and the faith was going through a transitional period, with the Shariah being expounded during the life-span of the Prophet. If the Prophet (Õáøì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå æÓáøã) had not banned wine in stages, and instead had he (Õáøì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå æÓáøã) simply banned wine immediately, it would have been very hard for the early Muslims who were accustomed to wine-drinking, which was a hobby of the pagan Arabs. Many of them were early converts and their faith was weak. They had an addiction to wine, and many of them would become apostates if wine was suddenly banned outright. So, the Prophet (Õáøì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå æÓáøã) banned wine in gradual stages so that it was easier on the people. Likewise, Mutah was a hobby of the pagan Arabs. Hence, it was not forbidden in the beginning. This is because Islam was in a transitional stage. The Prophet (Õáøì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå æÓáøã) initially allowed Mutah on a few occassions because there were many new converts to Islam who had weak faith. They were often in times of war away from their wives, in which their desires got the best of them since they were not accustomed to the chastity of Islam. In order to prevent the apostacy of these new converts over the issue of Mutah, the Prophet (Õáøì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå æÓáøã) did not forbid Mutah immediately. (And these are the Hadith which the Shia quote to “prove” that Sunnis believe in the permissibility of Mutah.) Once the Muslims became stronger in faith, the Prophet (Õáøì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå æÓáøã) categorically banned the practise of Mutah. The Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam also states that Mutah was a common practice among Arab travelers and goes back to the fourth century: “When a stranger came to a village and had no place to stay, he would marry a woman for a short time so that she would be his partner in bed and take care of his property.” Caetani also concluded that Mutah in the pagan period was religious prostitution that took place during the occasion of pilgramage. Thus, Mutah was a loose sexual practice during the pre-Islamic days of ignorance in Arabia. Being an old and established institution, it continued during the early days of Islam. The Prophet (Õáøì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå æÓáøã) also allowed it temporarily on two other occasions, but only under strict, exceptional conditions during the conquest of Khaybar and during the conquest of Mecca - fearing that those Muslims whose faith was not yet strong might commit adultery during Jihad. The Shia widely quote Hadith in relation to these events to support their continued belief in Mutah. Sunnis accept these Hadith but add that they happened before all of the revelations of the Quran were revealed and the religion completed. Historians and commentators on the Quran and Hadith agree that Islam eradicated most social evils in a gradual way. It is well known that practices like gambling, drinking, and the eating of pork and blood were common during the early days but were gradually prohibited. Likewise, it seems probable that Mutah was first forbidden to those at Khaybar in the year 7 A.H. and was then completely prohibited to all upon the conquest of Mecca in 8 A.H.
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