The marriage known as “al-Misyar” according to Shia


Often, we hear Shia criticizing other Muslims during Mut`ah debates concerning the Misyar marriage. Most Shia who criticize do not understand the laws of that particular marriage nor do they understand what their own sect teaches in this regard.

Below we will explain briefly about Misyar then quote relevant scholarly opinions.

Is Misyar an obligatory duty or prophetic-tradition?

To begin with a major difference, we can say that Mut`ah according to Shia is a recommended act that is praised and glorified in their traditions as well as being widespread and an integral part of Tashayyu`. On the other hand, Misyar marriage is an unpopular form of marriage in the Islamic world, Ahlul-Sunnah do not agree on its validity and so the Sunni can simply deem it as forbidden and reject it whereas the Shia cannot reject Mut`ah.

Why is it called Misyar?

If a man living in Madinah often travels to Makkah for business or trade, he already has one wife in Madinah he lives with yet he wishes to take another wife in Makkah so he can be with her during his long stays. This will cause an issue as the man won’t be able to divide his time justly between both women. However, if the second woman in Makkah accepts to give up her time in favor of the first wife then the issue is resolved. This marriage is called Misyar since it is derived from the root al-Sayr “السير”, it means to march or travel in Arabic. Thus, the man travels from Madinah to Makkah to visit his second wife.

What’s the definition of Misyar marriage?

It is a lawful marriage contract that meets all the necessary conditions for marriage. However, the husband or wife willingly accept to drop some of their marital rights such as: Housing, cohabitation, expenditure, sexual intercourse or anything else that may encourage the other side to marry them or remain married to them.

-The legality of Misyar marriage:

According to the above, Misyar marriage is a normal marriage but with condition(s) attached. The condition states that one of the two sides must willingly drop a right that the religion guarantees. The Dhahiri school among Ahlul-Sunnah reject any condition(s) that cancel religious marital rights and so Misyar in all its forms is rejected by them.

Other schools of thought among Ahlul-Sunnah disagree, since there is a concept of a woman dropping her right in favor of her husband. God says in His Book: {Give women their dowries freely, but if they are pleased to offer you any of it, consume it with wholesome appetite.} [4:4]

When such a condition is placed as part of the marriage contract, opinions are as follows:

A- The Dhahiri school as well as al-Shafi`i in one report both deem the contract and marriage altogether annulled. The evidence they hold is the prophetic-saying: “Every condition not backed by God’s Book is void.”

B- The main Shafi`i view, a report from the Hanbali Madhab as well as the Madhab of al-Thawri use the same evidence reported above but conclude that the marriage is valid while only the condition is void.

C- A report from Ahmad, the Madhab of al-Awza`i, Ibn Sirin, al-Hasan, `Ata’ as well as the Hanafi scholars all state that both the marriage and the condition are valid since the Prophet (saw) said: “The condition most worthy of being fulfilled is that which is made (to the wife) before marriage.”

Still, everyone agrees that placing such conditions has both its positives and negatives depending on what the conditions may be. This is why there is a wide variety of opinions that one needs not get into in this brief article.

Below we will quote some religious verdicts by contemporary Shia scholars to clarify their stance on Misyar.

Even though we have in our possession Fatwas by grand Ayatulla al-Sistani and grand Ayatulla al-Ruhani, both of whom deem Misyar as permissible yet we won’t include them since they are not contained in their books but simply on their official websites and are subject to change and removal.

Grand Ayatulla Sadiq al-Shirazi in the book “Jami` al-Masa’il” Dar-ul-`Ulum pg.362:

س : ما هو حكم الزواج المسيار وهو زواج دائم تسقط الزوجة فيها بعض حقوقها كحق المضاجعة والنفقة والإرث وغيرها ؟

لا يضر بصحة الزواج الدائم أسقاط الزوجين أو احدهما بعض الحقوق الجائز إسقاطها دون مثل الإرث فالأظهر عدم صحة إسقاطه

يعلق محشي الكتاب في الهامش
الإمام الشيرازي الراحل (قده) : صحيح . ولكن تسقط به بعض الحقوق كحق المضاجعة والنفقة ولا يسقط الارث وأمثاله

[Q: What is the ruling of the Misyar marriage which is a permanent marriage where the wife drops some of her rights such as the right of intercourse, allowance, inheritance etc?

Answer: Permanent marriage is not affected if one or both spouses dropped some rights. Except inheritance, it seems that this must not be dropped.

In the footnote we read this commentary by the late Imam Shirazi: “The above is true, some rights might be dropped such as intercourse and expenditure but not the likes of inheritance.”]

Shaykh Ayyub al-Ha’iri in “Mawsu`at Zawaj-ul-Mut`ah” Dar-ul-Jawadayn, pg.51-52:

المطلب الخامس : زواج المسيار
وهذا الزواج يقوم على أساس العقد الشرعي والإشهاد وتمسية المهر وقد اختلف علماء السنة في جوازه فجوزه بعض علماء السنة بحجة أنه ناتج عن عقد صحيح وإشهاد ورضى الولي غير أن بعضهم منعه بحجة أنه يشترط في النكاح الشرعي الإعلان والإشهار ولا يكفي الإعلان أمام شاهدين ومن هنا فهو زواج باطل
أما الشيعة الإمامية فحيث إنهم لا يشترطون في الزواج الإشهاد والإعلان بل يتوقف الزواج عندهم على العقد الشرعي وتسمية المهر وموافقة الولي للباكر فصحته واضحة وتنازل المرأة عن حقها في النفقة والمبيت لا ينافي صحة هذا النوع من الزواج. ….ولكن كيف كان هو جائز شرعا عند الإمامية

[The fifth topic: Misyar marriage.

This marriage is based on a lawful contract, witnesses and designation of a dowry. However, Sunnah scholars differed on its validity. Some of them permitted it since the contract was proper with the presence of witnesses, permission of guardian etc… Some of them forbade it since the lawful marriage must be publicly declared and it is not sufficient to limit it to two witnesses so they viewed it as corrupt.

As for the Imami Shia, they do not consider witnesses and public announcement as necessary. Shia only require a legal contract, a designated dowry and the acceptance of a virgin’s guardian. Therefore, it (i.e Misyar) is clearly valid and it matters not if the woman wishes to drop her right of expenditure or housing… either way, it is permissible according to Imamiyyah.]

Sayyid Muhammad `Ali al-Husayni al-Lubnani in “Haqiqat Zawaj-ul-Misyar wa Mashru`iyyat al-Mut`ah” Dar-ul-Mahajjah, he begins in the sixth research topic by citing the evidence for the validity of this marriage:

ويدل على جواز مثل ذلك قوله تبارك وتعالى: وَإِنِ امْرَأَةٌ خَافَتْ مِنْ بَعْلِهَا نُشُوزاً أَوْ إِعْرَاضاً فَلا جُنَاحَ عَلَيهِمَا أَنْ يُصْلِحَا بَيْنَهُمَا صُلْحاً وَالصُّلْحُ خَيْرٌ والصلح هنا إنما يتم بإسقاط الزوجة ما لها في ذمة زوجها لها من الحقوق والواجبات طمعاً ورغبةً منها في بقائها واستمرار علاقتها به

[This is permissible as evidenced by God’s words: {If a woman fear rebelliousness or aversion in her husband, there is no fault in them if the couple set things right between them; right settlement is better} [4:128] The settlement here is for the woman to drop a right that binds her husband or a duty he must fulfill in order to remain with him in the relationship.]

He quotes supporting evidence from the narrations of the Imams:

وقول الإمام الرضا : وأمّا النشوز فقد يكون من الرجل ويكون من المرأة، فأمّا الذي من الرجل فهو يريد طلاقها فتقول: أمسكني ولك ما عليك، وقد وهبت ليلتي لك، ويصطلحان على ذلك

وقول الإمام الصادق: من تزوج امرأة فلها ما للمرأة من النفقة والقسمة ، ولكنه إن تزوّج إمرأة فخافت منه نشوزاً وخافت أن يتزوّج عليها أو يطلقها فصالحته من حقها على شيء من نفقتها أو قسمتها فإن ذلك جائز لا بأس به

ويضاف إلى ذلك ما ورد من استحباب تصدق الزوجة على زوجها بمهرها وغيره قبل الدخول وبعده كقول النبي الأكرم : أيما امرأة تصدقت على زوجها بمهرها قبل أن يدخل بها إلا كتب الله لها بكل دينار عتق رقبة، قيل: يا رسول الله فكيف بالهبة بعد الدخول؟ قال: إنما ذلك من المودة والألفة

وقوله : ثلاث من النساء يرفع الله عنهن عذاب القبر، ويكون محشرهن مع فاطمة بنت محمد: امرأة صبرت على غيرة زوجها، وامرأة صبرت على سوء خلق زوجها، وإمرأة وهبت صداقها لزوجها يعطي الله كلّ واحدة منهن ثواب ألف شهيد، ويكتب لكل واحدة منهن عبادة سنة

[Imam al-Rida says in support: “As for “rebelliousness”, it can be either from the man or the woman. As for that of the man, it is when he wishes for divorce so she responds: “Keep me and I shall spare you, I free you from my night.” They settle on this.”

Imam al-Sadiq says: “Whoever marries a woman then she has a right to expenditure and equal share but if he marries a woman who fears his rebelliousness or that he may marry over her or divorce her, then she can settle with him by dropping a part of her expenses or shares and there’s no harm.”

Add to this the preference/recommendation of a wife who spends her dowry on her husband before consummation as the kind Prophet (saw) says: “Any woman who offers her dowry to her husband before consummation then God will bless her with the reward of freeing a slave for every Dinar…”

And his (saw) saying: “Three women will be spared from the torment of the grave and granted a place with Fatimah bint Muhammad: A woman who puts up with her husband’s jealousy, a woman who is patient with her immoral husband and a woman who offers her wedding gift…”]

Finally, he quotes some Fatwas from major Shia scholars with regards to Misyar:

جواب مكتب سماحة السيد السيستاني

لا مانع منه لكن لاأثر للتنازل عن الإرث فعلاً، نعم يجوز اشتراط أن تعرض عن سهمها في وقته لصالح الورثة أوتهبه لهم فيجب عليها ذلك تكليفاً

[Answer of the office of his eminence al-Sayyid al-Sistani:

There is no problem in this (i.e Misyar). However, there is no evidence for actually dropping her right to inheritance. Instead, it is permitted for them to place a condition about overlooking her share of inheritance when the time comes so others may consume it or she may acquire it then be obliged to offer it them.]

جواب سماحة المرجع الديني آية الله العظمى الشيخ جواد التبريزي حفظه الله

تنازل الزوجة (المسيار) عن حقها في النفقة والقسم (المبيت) لا بأس به وأما تنازلها عن حقها في الإرث فلا يصح، نعم إذا مات زوجها لها أن لا تطالب الورثة الباقين بحصتها وتتركها لهم ولا يجب عليها إخبار الورثة بترك حصتها لهم وإعراضها عنها والله العالم

[Answer of his eminence the religious authority, grand Ayatulla Shaykh Jawad Tabrizi:

There is no harm in the wife giving up her right to expenditure and equal share but it’s not allowed to reject her right to inheritance. Of course, if her husband dies she is at liberty to not ask the other heirs about her share nor does she even need to inform others that she is entitled to receive a share, she may simply ignore it. God knows best.]

جواب سماحة المرجع الديني آية الله العظمى السيد محمد علي الأبطحي حفظه الله

لا مانع عنه

[Answer of his eminence the religious authority, grand Ayatulla al-Sayyid Muhammad `Ali al-Abtahi:

There is no problem in this marriage.]

The author quotes similar Fatwas from other Shia religious authorities: Muhammad Taqi Bahjat, Safi al-Kalpaykani and Sayyid Muhammad Mufti al-Shi`ah.

With the above, we see that Misyar marriage is valid and acceptable by Shia standards and according to their scholars, with minor reservations by some concerning inheritance which an be settled with simple tweak.


  1. Salam alaykum,

    Is it possible to clarify regarding the ‘sexual intercourse’ portion, since it would be attacking the very reason for a marriage (which is for both sides to fulfill their lusts within the Shariah). Are the authors certain about this particular issue, since the quotations seem to be somewhat hurried and we can say superficial. Wa Allahu A’lam.

    • Salam,

      As mentioned in the article, this is a brief piece that’s not intended to go into details. You notice that not every condition placed has the same weight though, scholars had issues with certain “conditions” and I do recall reading that some said exactly what you did above and refused this condition.

      I give you examples, our mother Sawda (as) became really old of age and could not fulfill certain marital duties, she became fearful that the Prophet (saw) would let go of her due to this, so she offered him her night that he (saw) may spend it with another. In her mind she probably thought this is a better situation since she would like to remain a mother of believers alongside the Prophet (saw).

      Another example, a rich widow who is too old to fulfill a husband’s sexual desires. She does not wish to remain alone in her old age so she accepts being a second wife and drops her turn, offering her night to her husband to spend it with the other wife. In this case, a man may weigh things down in his head and commit to her.

      God knows best but this is all present in Islamic society.

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