Temporary and permanent marriages are the only legal and legitimate ways for regulating sexual relations of men and women based on official law of the country. However, unlike permanent marriage, temporary marriage is not that welcomed in Iranian culture facing agreements and disagreements throughout history. The advocates consider temporary marriage as a factor preventing prostitution and immorality in society, while the opponents deem the marriage as a way for men’s pleasure seeking and hedonism and a tool for violating rights of women and children. On the other hand, the religious traditional society of Iran has accepted temporary marriage in the framework of Sigheh Mahramiat and is loyal to it. There is no clear image of temporary marriage and Sigheh Mahramiat, regarding legal and religious ambiguity of these two topics and because of not studying the pertaining clear and hidden reasons and consequences. Moreover, the topic is not turned into a social issue for executive organizations and legislators of the country. The law has kept silent over the issue of Sigheh Mahamiat which is an introduction to early marriage and it has no supervision on wide social and psychological consequences of the problem especially for women. The research works conducted so far mainly approved temporary marriage and none of them has studied the social issue comprehensively. This study analyzed historical, religious, legal and social foundations of temporary marriage/Sigheh Mahramiat for the first time. Moreover the phenomenon was studied comprehensively in three metropolitans of Tehran, Mashhad and Isfahan during 2016-17, applying qualitative and quantitative approach and field research method. The results indicate that temporary marriage/Sigheh Mahramiat is hedonism and facilitates child marriage, followed by consequences like stigmatization especially for women, and negative attitude in men over permanent marriage. We made an attempt in this study to analyze hidden and clear aspects of temporary marriage and Sigheh Mahramiat scientifically and impartially so that a meticulous attitude is formed in this regard and realistic substantial solutions are presented to legislators and executive officials. Based on these solutions, we hope that temporary marriage becomes organized socially and legally in Iran, so that rights of women and children are not violated and the family foundation and status of permanent marriage are protected accordingly.
Keywords: temporary marriage, Sigheh Mahramiat, early marriage, children, women.
Human sciences are among most vital necessities in human life, which can be heeded from different historical, social, philosophical, and verbal aspects. There is a major difference in social humanitarian sciences compared to experimental ones in the process of research. Supportive or opponent feelings are among factors which always cause serious problems for social humanitarian sciences. Regarding my university major and my personal interest in anthropology, I have been studying social empowerment for many years. Since the years of studying at university in England and cooperation with international and human rights organizations in African, Asian, and European countries, I always tried my best to conduct research on topics which result in decline of injustice and inequalities especially among women and children. Having scientific unbiased approach is an important principle in social research, but it is not observed in Iran appropriately. Topics like Sigheh Mahramiat and temporary marriage have always caused challenges, owing to various religious and cultural reasons. Given that public values are not set impartially and as there is cultural and religious concern over the topic of temporary marriage and Sigheh Mahramiat, a vague image has been created for this social issue. Former studies on female genital mutilation in Iran, which were conducted for planning a comprehensive program and regulation to eradicate the practice in the country, provoked me to study child marriage as a social issue. The issue was not heeded significantly till then. Child marriage triggers spiritual physical harms especially for girls, which are followed by social consequences like child widowhood, continuation of poverty cycle and promotion of prostitution. Child marriage is prevalent in both rural and urban areas, derived from traditional common values. Early marriage of children is not a new issue and has presently attracted the attention of researchers, groups supporting rights of children, non-governmental organizations, and many international organizations. UNICEF defines early child marriage as any marriage which is practiced before the age of 18. Main reasons and consequences of the marriage were introduced to scientific society and legislative entities through a comprehensive study with a scientific approach; given that the issue was not adequately taken into consideration and there was shortage of official statistics in this regard. According to the study, traditional religious beliefs in Iran including Sigheh Mahramiat are factors of promoting child marriage. Sighe Mahramiat or temporary marriage is among the traditional religious values with legal legitimacy in the country. Based on article 1075 and 1076 of the Islamic Republic of Iran Civil Code, Mut’ah or temporary marriage is a marriage with specified Mahr and duration. However, the silence of legislator over many issues like Nafaqa, legacy, and annulment of temporary marriage that leads to violation of women’s rights are taken into consideration here. Also, children are made to marry each other in the framework of Sigheh Mahramiat and child marriage is facilitated accordingly. Quitting education is the most important consequence of Sigheh Mahramiat, especially for girls. Regarding the rise of marriage age and promotion of unconditioned relations like white marriage in Iran, the issue of temporary marriage is brought up every now and then by authorities of the country and by the clerics at Friday Congregation Prayers or on TV; but a number of opponents disagree the issue strongly every time, advocating the rights of women and children. Legal gaps and providing the grounds for hedonism by the middlemen make opponents regard temporary marriage as a religious cover. This is while the fans consider temporary marriage as the reason of social health. Several studies have been conducted on temporary marriage, which mostly had a value based attitude towards the topic. The present study analyzes temporary marriage and Sigheh Mahramiat comprehensively with a scientific approach in four sections, impartially and without a value based attitude. Reasons and consequences of the problem are explained scientifically and solutions are presented according to the pertaining legal gaps and social defects. Legislative and executive organizations can organize temporary marriage as a social issue.