4. The Sunni Contradictions

When exactly was mut’ah banned permanently? This is a question which Sunnis will never be able to firmly answer till the end of the world. This is due to the severe conflicts between their “authentic” ahadith on the matter. For instance, Imam Muslim (d. 261 H) reports:

وحدثنا محمد بن عبدالله بن نمير حدثنا أبي حدثنا عبيدالله عن ابن شهاب عن الحسن وعبدالله ابني محمد بن علي عن أبيهما عن علي أنه سمع ابن عباس يلين في متعة النساء فقال مهلا يا ابن عباس فإن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم نهى عنها يوم خيبر وعن لحوم الحمر الإنسية

Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah b. Numayr – my father – ‘Ubayd Allah – Ibn Shihab – al-Hasan and ‘Abd Allah, sons of Muhammad b. ‘Ali – their father:

‘Ali heard Ibn ‘Abbas allowing mut’ah with women. So, he said, “Don’t be hasty, O Ibn ‘Abbas, for the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, forbade it on the Day of Khaybar as well as the flesh of domestic asses.”1

The incident, allegedly witnessed by Muhammad b. ‘Ali, apparently took place after the death of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi. Of course, this eye-witness was born only after the Messenger of Allah had passed away. Here, we see Amir al-Muminin, ‘alaihi al-salam, supposedly citing the ban at Khaybar to stop Ibn ‘Abbas from allowing mut’ah after the Prophet had died. This suggests that the ban at Khaybar was a permanent one. It is the only logical explanation for the action attributed to ‘Ali. Interestingly, we often see the Ahl al-Sunnah quote this hadith as well as evidence of the permanent prohibition of mut’ah. The Battle of Khaybar occurred in 7 H. So, mut’ah supposedly had been banned eternally since then.

But, Imam Muslim has another interesting report:

حدثنا إسحاق بن إبراهيم أخبرنا يحيى بن آدم حدثنا إبراهيم بن سعد عن عبدالملك بن الربيع بن سبرة الجهني عن أبيه عن جده قال أمرنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بالمتعة عام الفتح حين دخلنا مكة ثم لم نخرج منها حتى نهانا عنها

Ishaq b. Ibrahim – Yahya b. Adam – Ibrahim b. Sa’d – ‘Abd al-Malik b. al-Rabi’ b. Sabrah al-Juhani – his father (al-Rabi’) – his grandfather (Sabrah):

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, ORDERED us to perform mut’ah in the Year of the Conquest as we entered Makkah. Then, we did not come out of it until he forbade us from it.2

What? But, this was in 8 H, a year after Khaybar! What happened to the permanent ban, which ‘Ali supposedly quoted against Ibn ‘Abbas?

Meanwhile, this must be put in its proper context. Sabrah was one of the soldiers who conquered Makkah with the Messenger of Allah, as Imam Muslim reports:

حدثنا أبو كامل فضيل بن حسين الجحدري حدثنا بشر ( يعني ابن مفضل ) حدثنا عمارة بن غزية عن الربيع بن سبرة أن أباه غزا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فتح مكة قال فأقمنا بها خمس عشرة ( ثلاثين بين ليلة ويوم ) فأذن لنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم في متعة النساء

Abu Kamil Fuḍayl b. Husayn al-Jahdari – Bishr b. Mufaḍḍal – ‘Amarah b. Ghaziyyah:

Al-Rabi’ b. Sabrah reported that his father was on an expedition with the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, during the Conquest of Makkah. He (Sabrah) said: “So we stayed there for fifteen days (including thirteen full days), and the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, permitted us to do mut’ah with women.”3

As such, when Sabrah “entered Makkah”, he was doing so as part of a military force that had conquered the holy city. As the soldiers were entering as conquerors, the Prophet commanded them to do mut’ah, and they camped in there for fifteen days.

The Year of the Conquest of Makkah is also known as the Year of al-Awṭas, and this is another relevant riwayah of Imam Muslim concerning it:

حدثنا أبو بكر بن أبي شيبة حدثنا يونس بن محمد حدثنا عبدالواحد بن زياد حدثنا أبو عميس عن إياس بن سلمة عن أبيه قال رخص رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم عام أوطاس في المتعة ثلاثا ثم نهى عنها

Abu Bakr b. Abi Shaybah – Yunus b. Muhammad – ‘Abd al-Wahid b. Ziyad – Abu ‘Umays – Iyas b. Salama – his father (Salama):

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, allowed mut’ah for three days during the Year of Awṭas. Then, he forbade it.4

The annotator, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Baqi, explains:

( عام أوطاس ) هذا تصريح بأنها أبيحت يوم فتح مكة وهو ويوم أوطاس شيء واحد

(Year of Awṭas) this is an explicit statement that it was allowed on the day of the conquest of Makkah, which is also the same as the Day of Awṭas.5

So, mut’ah was supposedly made compulsory as the conquering soldiers entered Makkah, and was banned again three days later.

Interestingly, Imam Muslim has this “sahih” report which overturns everything:

وحدثنا أبو بكر بن أبي شيبة حدثنا ابن علية عن معمر عن الزهري عن الربيع بن سبرة عن أبيه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم نهى يوم الفتح عن متعة النساء

Abu Bakr b. Abi Shaybah – Ibn ‘Ulayyah – Ma’mar – al-Zuhri – al-Rabi’ b. Sabrah – his father (Sabrah):

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, forbade mut’ah with women on the Day of the Conquest.6

That same day? Not three days after it? What then are we supposed to believe?

Meanwhile, ‘Umar supposedly considered the ban of mut’ah after this three-day allowance – which alleged occurred only during the conquest of Makkah - as permanent. Imam Ibn Majah (d. 273 H) tells us:

حدثنا محمد بن خلف العسقلاني. ثنا الفريابي عن أبان بن أبي حازم، عن أبي بكر بن حفص، عن ابن عمر، قال: لما ولى عمر بن الخطاب، خطب الناس فقال: إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أذن لنا في المتعة ثلاثا، ثم حرمها. والله !لا أعلم أحدا يتمتع وهو محصن إلا رجمته بالحجارة إلا أن يأتيني بأربعة يشهدون أن رسول الله أحلها بعد إذ حرمها.

Muhammad b. Khalaf al-‘Asqalani – al-Faryabi – ‘Aban b. Abi Hazim – Abu Bakr b. Hafs – Ibn ‘Umar:

When ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭab became the wali, he addressed the people and said, “Verily, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, permitted us to practise mut’ah for three days. Then, he made it haram. I swear by Allah, if I know of any married person doing mut’ah, I will stone him with stones except if he brings to me four people who testify that the Messenger of Allah (later) declared it halal after prohibiting it.”7

Shaykh al-Arnauṭ and two others say:

حديث صحيح وهذاسند حسن

A sahih hadith, and this chain is hasan.8

NOTE: This hadith is actually ḍa’if. Concerning one of its narrators, al-Hafiẓ (d. 852 H) states:

أبان بن عبد الله بن أبي حازم بن صخر بن العيلة بفتح العين المهملة البجلي الأحمسي الكوفي صدوق في حفظه لين

Aban b. ‘Abd Allah b. Abi Hazim b. Sakhr b. al-‘Aylah al-Bajali al-Ahmasi al-Kufi: Saduq (very truthful), there is weakness in his memory.9

Then, Imam Ibn Hibban (d. 354 H) gives more details:

أبان بن عبد الله البجلي من أهل الكوفة وهو الذي يقال له أبان بن أبي حازم، يروى عن أبان بن تغلب وأهل الكوفة، روى عنه الثوري ووكيع والناس. وكان ممن فحش خطؤه وانفرد بالمناكير، أخبرنا الهمداني قال سمعت عمرو بن علي يقول: ما سمعت يحيى بن سعيد القطان يحدث عنه بشئ قط - يعنى أبان البجلي.

Aban b. ‘Abd Allah al-Bajali, from the people of Kufa, and he was the one called Aban b. Abi Hazim. He narrated from Aban b. Taghlib and the people of Kufah. Al-Thawri, Waki’ and the people narrated from him. He was one of those whose mistakes were terrible, and who narrated manakir (repugnant reports) without corroboration. Al-Hamdani informed us, and said: I heard ‘Amr b. ‘Ali saying: “I never heard Yahya b. Sa’id al-Qaṭṭan ever narrating anything from him” – he meant Aban al-Bajali.10

In normal circumstances, a narrator like this is not just ḍa’if, but also munkar. So, his reports are very weak and thrown away. But, here we are again with our Sunni ‘ulama!

Yet, even this “backup” provided by Imam al-Bayhaqi (d. 458 H) does no good either:

وقد حدثنا أبو محمد عبد الله بن يوسف الأصبهاني أنبأ أبو محمد عبد الرحمن بن يحيى الزهري القاضي بمكة ثنا محمد بن إسماعيل الصائغ ثنا أبو خالد الأموي ثنا منصور بن دينار ثنا عمر بن محمد عن سالم بن عبد الله عن أبيه عن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه قال صعد عمر على المنبر فحمد الله وأثنى عليه ثم قال ما بال رجال ينكحون هذه المتعة وقد نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم عنها ألا وإني لا أوتي بأحد نكحها إلا رجمته

Abu Muhammad ‘Abd Allah b. Yusuf al-Asbahani – Abu Muhammad ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Yahya al-Zuhri al-Qaḍi – Muhammad b. Isma’il al-Saigh – Abu Khalid al-Umawi – Mansur b. Dinar – ‘Umar b. Muhammad – Salim b. ‘Abd Allah – his father – ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭab, may Allah be pleased with him:

‘Umar climbed the pulpit, and thanked Allah and extolled Him. Then, he said, “What is the problem of men who are contracting the nikah of this mut’ah despite that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, had forbidden it? Take note: if anyone who has contracted its nikah is brought to me, I will stone him.”11

Al-Bayhaqi himself expresses doubt about the authenticity of this riwayah immediately after quoting it:

فهذا إن صح يبين أن عمر رضي الله عنه إنما نهى عن نكاح المتعة لأنه علم نهي النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم عنه

So, this one, IF AUTHENTIC, shows that ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, only forbade the nikah of mut’ah because he knew of its prohibition by the Prophet, peace be upon him.12

This was perhaps due to the presence of Mansur b. Dinar in the sanad. Al-Hafiẓ documents about him:

منصور بن دينار السهمي :عن الزهري قال النسائي ليس بالقوى وقال البخاري روى عن نافع وحماد في حديثه نظر * وقال يحيى بن معين ضعيف قلت … وذكره العقيلي في الضعفاء … وذكره ابن حبان في الثقات … وقال أبو زرعة صالح وقال أبو حاتم ليس به بأس وقال العجلي لا بأس به

Mansur b. Dinar al-Sahmi: he narrated from al-Zuhri. Al-Nasai said: “He is not strong.” Al-Bukhari said, “He narrated from Nafi’ and Hammad. THERE IS PROBLEM WITH HIS HADITH.” Yahya b. Ma’in said: “Ḍa’if.” I say: ... And al-‘Aqili has mentioned him in al-Ḍu’afa ... and Ibn Hibban mentioned him in al-Thiqat ... Abd Abu Zur’a said: “Salih” while Abu Hatim said, “There is no problem with him.” Al-‘Ijli also said, “There is no problem with him.”13

We have capitalized, in particular, the statement of Imam al-Bukhari (d. 256 H), because it is a jarh mufassar. Imam al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H) has narrated that al-Bukhari himself said:

إذا قلت فلان في حديثه نظر، فهو متهم واه.

When I say “there is problem with the hadith of so-and-so”, then he is accused (of fabricating ahadith), weak.14

This changes everything, since a jarh mufassar supercedes any praise for the narrator. That then makes this second report mawḍu’ or at least ḍa’if jiddan.

Meanwhile, having exposed the weakness of both riwayahs above, we will nonetheless proceed to take them into consideration within our discourses, in order to leave our opponents with no excuse anywhere.

So, simply put, the second permanent ban of mut’ah occurred a year after the first one. ‘Umar here challenged everyone to bring forward any evidence that the Prophet ever allowed it after this second ban – and none, it seems, ever came forward. But, what was he even suggesting? Has the Qur’an not banned zina several years before Khaybar and the conquest of Makkah? Was ‘Umar implying that the Prophet could have permitted fornication after the ban by Allah?

Yet, there is a further report of a third permanent ban on mut’ah two years after the conquest of Makkah! This is the hadith by Imam al-Darimi (d. 255 H):

أخبرنا جعفر بن عون عن عبد العزيز بن عمر بن عبد العزيز عن الربيع بن سبرة ان أباه حدثه أنهم ساروا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم في حجة الوداع فقال استمتعوا من هذه النساء ... ثم غدوت فإذا رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قائم بين الركن والباب فقال يا أيها الناس اني قد كنت أذنت لكم في الاستمتاع من النساء الا وان الله قد حرم ذلك إلى يوم القيامة فمن كان عنده منهن شيء فليخل سبيلها ولا تأخذوا مما آتيتموهن شيئا

Ja’far b. ‘Awn – ‘Abd al-‘Aziz b. ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz – al-Rabi’ b. Sabrah – his father:

We journeyed with the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, during the Farewell Hajj and he said, “Do mut’ah with these women”.... Then, in the morning, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, stood between al-Rukn and the door and said, “O mankind! Verily, I have been allowing you to do mut’ah with women. But, surely, Allah has made that haram till the Day of al-Qiyamah. So, whoever has something of them with him, let him free her, and do not take back anything from what you gave them (as dowries).”15

Shaykh Asad comments:

إسناده صحيح

Its chain is sahih16

Imam Ibn Hibban (d. 354 H) has documented it too17, and al-Albani (d. 1420 H) says about it:

صحيح

Sahih18

And al-Arnauṭ agrees:

إسناده صحيح

Its chain is sahih19

Here, we are back again at the beginning! Our Sunni brothers consider mut’ah to be a form of fornication, and also declare that the mut’ah wife is no “wife”. Rather, she is a fornicator. Alhamdulillah, fornication was made haram during the Makkan era, before our Prophet migrated to Madinah. Therefore, by Sunni logic, mut’ah was already banned before the Hijrah. But, their books tell us that the following occurred after the Hijrah:

1. The Messenger re-ban mut’ah permanently at Khaybar seven years after the Hijrah. This makes sense since he was only repeating the Qur’anic ban on fornication and adultery.

2. However, the same Prophet “ordered” his Sahabah to indulge in mut’ah – read: to indulge in fornication – during his conquest of Makkah in 8 H!

3. Moreover, after three days – or on that same day – he banned mut’ah again permanently.

4. Then, during his Farewell Hajj in 10 H, he ordered his Sahabah once more, saying: “Do mut’ah with these women”. By Sunni logic, he was only saying: “Do fornication with these women”! Thereafter, he banned it permanently again, for the last time!

If this is not mockery of Allah and His Messenger by the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, what then is it? Al-Hafiẓ Ibn Kathir (d. 774 H), meanwhile, thinks he has an explanation:

فقد نص الشافعي على أنه لا يعلم شيئا أبيح ثم حرم ثم أبيح ثم حرم غير نكاح المتعة وما حداه على هذا رحمه الله إلا اعتماده على هذين الحديثين كما قدمناه .وقد حكى السهيلي وغيره عن بعضهم: أنه ادعى أنها أبيحت ثلاث مرات وحرمت ثلاث مرات وقال آخرون أربع مرات وهذا بعيد جدا والله أعلم.

واختلفوا أي وقت أول ما حرمت فقيل في خيبر وقيل في عمرة القضاء وقيل في عام الفتح وهذا يظهر وقيل في أوطاس وهو قريب من الذي قبله وقيل في تبوك وقيل في حجة الوداع.

Al-Shafi’i had explicitly stated that he did not know of anything that was made halal, then made haram, then made halal and then made haram other than the marriage of mut’ah. Nothing drew him, may Allah be merciful to him, to this conclusion except his reliance upon these two hadiths, as we previously discussed. Al-Suhayli and others have also narrated from one of them that he claimed that it (mut’ah) was made halal three times and was made haram three times. The others said: four times. But, this is very unlikely, and Allah knows best.

They disagree on the exact time when it was FIRST made haram. It is said that it was at Khaybar, and it is said that it was at the ‘Umrah al-Qaḍa. It is said that it was during the Year of the Conquest, and this is the most likely; and it is said that it was at Awṭas, and this is nearer to the one before it. It is said that it was at Tabuk, and it is said that it was at the Farewell Hajj.20

But, this only worsens things for the Ahl al-Sunnah. On the specific question of zina (fornication and adultery), this is also what this Makkan ayah says:

ولا تقربوا الزنا إنه كان فاحشة وساء سبيلا

And do not approach zina. Verily, it is an indecency, and an evil way.21

This verse – by the ijma’ of the whole Ummah – has never been abrogated. It has been in force since before the Hijrah; and it continued unimpeded till the death of the Messenger. In other words, during all those times that the Prophet and his Sahabah were practising mut’ah, this ayah was well in authority. It is thus either of two things (i) mut’ah is a form of zina too or (ii) mut’ah is NOT a form of zina. The Sunnis maintain that temporary is fornication. So, what they are saying – in essence – is that Prophet Muhammad was contradicting his Lord repeatedly, by “allowing” or “commanding” and even “practising” what his Lord had long declared haram! Apparently, if they joined the Shi’ah in saying that mut’ah is NOT a form of zina, then some of their unintentional mockeries of Allah and His Messenger would disappear.

But, even then, they would have to show us which verse of the Qur’an abrogated mut’ah? Of course, this ayah must be proved to have been revealed after the Verse of al-Mut’ah and Surah al-Maidah, and it must be explicit in its ruling against temporary marriage. We say categorically here: no such verse exists. Meanwhile, since only an ayah can abrogate an ayah (as the Qur’an itself declares), then the Verse of al-Mut’ah remains in force till this day, and till the end of days.

This automatically leads us to another conclusion: all the reports about how mut’ah was banned permanently – only to be unbanned sometime later - are careless fabrications. They were “rushed up” to justify ‘Umar’s ban of that legitimate form of nikah. No wonder, they contain so many serious contradictions among themselves, even in reports by the same individuals, and all of them altogether also oppose the Qur’an!

Unsurprisingly, all these alleged repeated bans of mut’ah were completely unknown to the generality of the Sahabah, as Imam Muslim reports:

حدثني محمد بن رافع حدثنا عبدالرزاق أخبرنا ابن جريج أخبرني أبو الزبير قال سمعت جابر بن عبدالله يقول كنا نستمتع بالقبضة من التمر والدقيق الأيام على عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم وأبي بكر حتى نهى عنه عمر في شأن عمرو بن حريث

Muhammad b. Rafi’ – ‘Abd al-Razzaq – Ibn Jurayj – Abu al-Zubayr:

I heard Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah saying, “We used to contract mut’ah by giving a handful of dates and flour (as the dowry) during the eras of the Messenger of Allah and Abu Bakr UNTIL ‘Umar forbade it in the case of ‘Amr b. Hurayth.22

They continued to practise mut’ah till the death of the Prophet, and he did not warn, stop or penalize them. Abu Bakr too allowed them to freely go ahead with it throughout his rule. There is a usual Sunni excuse that the information concerning the ban on mut’ah did not reach these Sahabah, and that they continued it due to that! But, does that make any sense? The ban on mut’ah was supposedly announced at least three times in public; and yet, the generality of the Sahabah – including even Abu Bakr - never heard it?! Moreover, did the Sahabah not know of any of the ayahs in the Qur’an which make fornication and adultery haram? If they did, why did they continue to perform mut’ah (considering the Sunni claim that it is fornication), and why did the Messenger and Abu Bakr allow them?

Even more interesting is the dogged refusal of Ibn ‘Abbas, raḍiyallahu ‘anhu, to back down on mut’ah till his death. The Ahl al-Sunnah say that Imam ‘Ali allegedly informed him that mut’ah had been banned at Khaybar:

وحدثنا محمد بن عبدالله بن نمير حدثنا أبي حدثنا عبيدالله عن ابن شهاب عن الحسن وعبدالله ابني محمد بن علي عن أبيهما عن علي أنه سمع ابن عباس يلين في متعة النساء فقال مهلا يا ابن عباس فإن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم نهى عنها يوم خيبر وعن لحوم الحمر الإنسية

Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah b. Numayr – my father – ‘Ubayd Allah – Ibn Shihab – al-Hasan and ‘Abd Allah, sons of Muhammad b. ‘Ali – their father:

‘Ali heard Ibn ‘Abbas allowing mut’ah with women. So, he said, “Don’t be hasty, O Ibn ‘Abbas, for the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, forbade it on the Day of Khaybar as well as the flesh of domestic asses.”23

Yet, long after ‘Ali’s death, he was still defending mut’ah. Imam Muslim again:

وحدثني حرملة بن يحيى أخبرنا ابن وهب أخبرني يونس قال ابن شهاب أخبرني عروة بن الزبير أن عبدالله ابن الزبير قام بمكة فقال إن ناسا أعمى الله قلوبهم كما أعمى أبصارهم يفتون بالمتعة يعرض برجل فناداه فقال إنك لجلف جاف فلعمري لقد كانت المتعة تفعل على عهد إمام المتقين ( يريد رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ) فقال له ابن الزبير فجرب بنفسك فوالله لئن فعلتها لأرجمنك بأحجارك

Harmalah b. Yahya – Ibn Wahb – Yunus – Ibn Shihab – ‘Urwah b. al-Zubayr:

‘Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr stood in Makkah and said, “Allah has made blind the hearts of some people as He made blind their eyesight. They give fatwas allowing mut’ah.” He was referring to a certain man. So, he (the man) called him and said, “You are an uncouth person, devoid of sense! I swear by my life, mut’ah was practised during the time of the Imam of the pious” - he meant the Messenger of Allah. So, Ibn al-Zubayr said to him, “Just do it yourself. By Allah, if you do it, I will stone you with your stones.”24

We know the identity of that man in this further hadith of Imam Muslim:

حدثنا حامد بن عمرو البكراوي حدثنا عبدالواحد ( يعني ابن زياد ) عن عاصم عن أبي نضرة قال كنت عند جابر بن عبدالله فأتاه آت فقال ابن عباس وابن الزبير اختلفا في المتعتين فقال جابر فعلناهما مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ثم نهانا عنهما عمر فلم نعد لهما

Hamid b. ‘Amr al-Bakrawi – ‘Abd al-Wahid b. Ziyad – ‘Asim – Abu Naḍrah:

I was with Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah, a person came and said, “Ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn al-Zubayr disagree concerning the two types of mut’ah.” So, Jabir said, “We practised both of them along with the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. Then, ‘Umar forbade us from them both, and we have not reverted to them.”25

It was Ibn ‘Abbas, and he had become blind at that time – apparently during the rebel “caliphate” of Ibn al-Zubayr in Makkah. That was towards the very end of the lifetime of Ibn ‘Abbas. Commenting on these reports and others, ‘Allamah al-Albani concludes:

وجملة القول: أن ابن عباس رضى الله عنه روى عنه فى المتعة ثلاثة أقوال:

الأول: الإباحة مطلقا.

الثانى: الإباحة عند الضرورة.

والآخر: التحريم مطلقا , وهذا مما لم يثبت عنه صراحة , بخلاف القولين الأولين , فهما ثابتان عنه.

The summary is: three opinions are narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allaah be pleased with him, about mut’ah:

The one: he permitted it unconditionally.

The second: he permitted it in cases of necessity.

The last: he forbade it unconditionally, but this is from what is NOT authentically transmitted from him, unlike the first two opinions which are authentically transmitted from him.26

So, basically, there is solid evidence that Ibn ‘Abbas continued to defend mut’ah even in his old age, and there is none that he ever retracted his statements on it. Meanwhile, Sunnis generally excuse the pro-mut’ah positions of the generality of the Sahabah after the Prophet on an desperate argument that the information of its abrogation had not reached them. But, will they say the same about Ibn ‘Abbas? In that case, was he really a stubborn heretic who dared to openly and knowingly oppose Allah and His Messenger? Was that his character? Well, with the persistent Sunni claim that Imam ‘Ali informed him about the ban of mut’ah, we are afraid, there is no other possible conclusion other than that Ibn ‘Abbas was from the Ahl al-Bid’ah.

Interestingly, when he defended mut’ah by stating that it was practised during the time of the Messenger, Ibn al-Zubayr – also a Sahabi – became silenced. Ibn al-Zubayr did not mention anything about its alleged “abrogation” or “ban” as a counter-argument, which is extremely baffling. No doubt, if he had known of any rejection of mut’ah by the noble Prophet, he would have instantly corrected Ibn ‘Abbas on his submission, and would have saved his face. The fact that Ibn al-Zubayr was unable to bring down Ibn ‘Abbas’s suggestion that mut’ah was accepted throughout the Messenger’s lifetime raises a lot of question marks about all Sunni ahadith against it.

This hot exchange between the two took place long after the death of ‘Umar and ‘Ali. Yet, neither Ibn ‘Abbas nor (especially) Ibn al-Zubayr seem to be aware of any claim that mut’ah had been banned by the Prophet of Allah! This tells us that all these anti-mut’ah reports were most probably manufactured only after the period of the confrontation between those two Sunni heavyweights.

  • 1. Abu al-Husayn Muslim b. al-Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naysaburi, Ṣahih Muslim (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi) [annotator: Muhammad Fuad ‘Abd al-Baqi], vol. 2, p. 1027, # 1407 (31)
  • 2. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 1023, # 1406 (22)
  • 3. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 1023, # 1406 (20)
  • 4. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 1022, # 1405 (18)
  • 5. Ibid
  • 6. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 1023, # 1406 (25)
  • 7. Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad b. Yazid b. Majah al-Qazwini, al-Sunan (Damascus: Dar al-Risalah al-‘Alamiyyah; 1st edition, 1430 H) [annotators: Shu’ayb al-Arnauṭ, Muhammad Kamil and Ahmad Barhum], vol. 3, p. 138, # 1963
  • 8. Ibid
  • 9. Ahmad b. ‘Ali b. Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Taqrib al-Tahdhib (Beirut: Dar al-Maktabah al-‘Ilmiyyah; 2nd edition, 1415 H) [annotator: Muṣtafa ‘Abd al-Qadir ‘Aṭa], vol. 1, p. 51, # 140
  • 10. Abu Hatim Muhammad b. Hibban b. Ahmad al-Tamimi al-Busti, Kitab al-Majruhin [annotator: Mahmud Ibrahim Zayad], vol. 1, p. 99
  • 11. Abu Bakr Ahmad b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Musa al-Bayhaqi, Sunan al-Bayhaqi al-Kubra (Makkah al-Mukarramah: Maktabah Dar al-Baz; 1414 H) [annotator: Muhammad ‘Abd al-Qadir ‘Aṭa], vol. 7, p. 206, # 13949
  • 12. Ibid
  • 13. Shihab al-Din Abu al-Faḍl Ahmad b. ‘Ali b. Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Lisan al-Mizan (Beirut: Manshurat Muasassat al-A’lami li al-Maṭbu’at; 2nd edition, 1390 H), vol. 6, p. 95, # 331
  • 14. Shams al-Din Muhammad b. Ahmad b. ‘Uthman al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala (Beirut: Muasassat al-Risalah; 4th edition, 1406 H) [annotators of the twelfth volume: Shu’ayb al-Arnauṭ and Ṣalih al-Samar], vol. 12, p. 441, # 171
  • 15. Abu Muhammad ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Darimi, Sunan (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-‘Arabi; 1st edition, 1407 H) [annotator: Husayn Salim Asad], vol. 2, p. 188, # 2195
  • 16. Ibid
  • 17. Abu Hatim Muhammad b. Hibban b. Ahmad b. Hibban b. Mu’adh b. Ma’bad al-Tamimi al-Darimi al-Busti, Ṣahih Ibn Hibban bi Tartib Ibn Balban (Beirut: Muasassat al-Risalah; 2nd edition, 1414 H) [annotators: Muhammad Naṣir al-Din al-Albani and Shu’ayb al-Arnaut], vol. 9, p. 454, # 4147
  • 18. Ibid
  • 19. Ibid
  • 20. Abu al-Fida Isma’il b. Kathir al-Dimashqi, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah (Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi; 1st edition, 1408 H) [annotator: ‘Ali Shiri], vol. 4, p. 220
  • 21. Qur’an 17:32
  • 22. Abu al-Husayn Muslim b. al-Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naysaburi, Ṣahih Muslim (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi) [annotator: Muhammad Fuad ‘Abd al-Baqi], vol. 2, p. 1022, # 1405 (16)
  • 23. Abu al-Husayn Muslim b. al-Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naysaburi, Ṣahih Muslim (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi) [annotator: Muhammad Fuad ‘Abd al-Baqi], vol. 2, p. 1027, # 1407 (31)
  • 24. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 1023, # 1406 (27)
  • 25. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 1022, # 1405 (17)
  • 26. Muhammad Naṣir al-Din al-Albani, Irwa al-Ghalil fi Takhrij Ahadith Manar al-Sabil (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami; 2nd edition, 1405 H), vol. 6, p. 319, # 1903