Progress… or not?
Mutaa is making a comeback in Iraq:
The Shiite practice began 1,400 years ago, in what is now Iraq and other parts of the region, as a way to provide for war widows. Banned by President Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led government, it has regained popularity since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq brought the majority Shiites to power, said clerics, women’s rights activists and mutaa spouses.
According to Shiite religious law, a mutaa relationship can last for a few minutes or several years. A man can have an unlimited number of mutaa wives and a permanent wife at the same time. A woman can have only one husband at a time, permanent or temporary. No written contract or official ceremony is required in a mutaa. When the time limit ends, the man and woman go their separate ways with none of the messiness of a regular divorce.
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Some call this prostitution.
The relationships are quite often kept secret.
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq’s most revered Shiite cleric, sanctions it and offers advice on his Web site.
A woman cannot terminate a temporary marriage before it expires unless the man agrees.
Big Pharoah has more on this Shiite practice.