Shia mosque
Media playback is unsupported on your device

UK Muslims revive temporary marriages

The temporary marriage, or Nikah Mut'ah, is an ancient Islamic practice that unites man and woman in marriage but for a limited time only.

Thousands of years ago it was used so that men could take on a wife for a short period of time when travelling long distances - so why are young British Muslims doing it?

Sunni Muslims do not practice the Nikah Mut'ah but it is permissible among Shias.

Senior UK scholars and student groups say they are seeing young British Shias using it as a way of getting to know their partners before committing to a full marriage.

Critics of the practice say it is no more than a way of sleeping with someone before committing; some go as far as to say it is prostitution.

"Bella" - who did not want us to use her real name - is a white British women in her 40s from London.

She met a Lebanese man in a London bar and had a series of temporary marriages with him so that they could have a physical relationship.

You can hear the full radio documentary Married for a minute on BBC Asian Network on Monday 13th May at 1700 BST or listen back on BBC iPlayer.

  • 13 May 2013
  • From the section UK