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Prostitution . . . Marriage . . . What's The Difference?

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's hard-line interior minister is encouraging temporary marriages as a way to avoid extramarital sex, a stance many in this conservative country fear would instead encourage prostitution. A temporary marriage, or "sigheh," refers to a Shiite Muslim tradition under which a man and a woman sign a contract that allows them to be "married" for any length of time, even a few hours. An exchange of money, as a sort of dowry, is often involved.

This does indeed sound like a workaround for the legalities and moralities of prostitution, but the sigheh, or nikah mut‘ah is actually an old tradition, even older than Islam itself. Sexual relations are not the only purpose behind the sigheh; sometimes cohabiting partners might use it to ease dress restrictions while living under the same roof. Though the practice began in Arabia, Sunni Islam forbids this practice, and it is mostly observed by Twelver Shia.

What I find remarkable is not that the sigheh is used to form 'marriages' lasting only hours, but that it is used for relationships sometimes lasting many years, with a expiration date set by the two parties (thus eliminating the need for a divorce).

Why not? The libertarian in me loves the idea of things being reduced to contracts, and if two parties consent, who else has a right to butt in?

Update: Er, I had forgotten that the girls' age of consent for marriage in Iran is now nine-years-old. The libertarian in me does not condone the marriage, temporary (especially) or otherwise, of people too young to know what they are consenting to.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 4 June 2007 05:30 AM


Libertarianism doesn't exist but I find it amusing you would claim libertarianism doesn't condone marriages of children.

Posted by: Jadegold at June 4, 2007 09:22 AM

An individual's personal views are tied to what they really are.

How can you believe in this nonsense and believe you have some kind of political aurthority in the public realm.

This is pure barbaric behavior, that reflected in this aspect of their private life, usually becomes a standard of personal behavior that guides and influences whatever power these individuals have in public life.

Just one more reason to go find these people, and without warning, eliminate them, as the vermin they are.

I am a simple-minded person, people that advocate this type personal behavior, no matter race, religion, or creed should not be shown any compassion or granted any more time to change their minds other than that of a ballistic trajectory from point "a" to point "b".

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at June 4, 2007 09:29 AM

So...people who live together prior to marriage should be woken up with a .45 to the temple?

Or just the folks who engage in prostitution? Or strip clubs?

Interesting perspective.

Posted by: k2aggie07 at June 4, 2007 09:50 AM


You idiot,
I did not say that.

Go back and read again.

The comments are in reference to KMc's article, not your sister and female relatives..

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at June 4, 2007 10:28 AM

No Jadegold, libertarianism does not condone the marriage of children.

How do I know?

Because I say so.

Who are you to say otherwise?

Posted by: Ken McCracken at June 4, 2007 01:59 PM

Actually Jadegold, the more I think about your statement that libertarianism somehow condones child marriage, the sillier and more uninformed your look.

Consent is actually one of the cornerstones of much libertarian thinking, because to have someone engage in a contract or an agreement without it is simply force.

Unlike you and your comic book version of libertarianism served up to you by the weird leftists blogs, I have actually had dialogue with and worked with libertarian party members.

Let me tell you, these people can't agree on anything.

So yeah, go ahead and Google your little heart out to find one or two crackpot statements in another one of your Quixotic attempts to prove me 'wrong' - I'll save you the time, it means absolutely nothing.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at June 4, 2007 02:19 PM

Yep! It sounds like slavery to me...

Posted by: zsa zsa at June 4, 2007 03:46 PM


It is slavery, and that was my point.

In a theocracy, dominated by male barbarians, there is no rationale that would lead you to believe that a leadership that endorses this type of behavior, can be good for mankind in general.

Endorsing sexual relationships with nine year old girls is not something the civilized world should accept.

Religious and political leaders that support that behavior should be dealt with, and severely.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at June 4, 2007 06:36 PM

EB...I think K2aggie doesn't get it?

Posted by: zsa zsa at June 5, 2007 10:00 AM


The fact you claim to be a libertarian, yet have no concept of libertarian positions is amusing.

Libertarian dogma says there's no such thing as an age of consent for children. The cloest thing they say is that the parent or guradian should protect the child from harm.

From the LP Platform:

k. The repeal of all laws establishing any category of crime applicable to a particular age group, including statutory rape laws and laws setting drinking ages and curfews, and an end to the practice of incarcerating children accused of no crime. We further advocate the abolition of the juvenile court system and of the California Youth Authority.

Posted by: Jadegold at June 5, 2007 11:26 AM

Oh, I got it. I was making fun of you, but you didn't get it. My point was that if you start waging jihad on the jihadists...you've become what you hate.

The age of consent is 9 in Iran. Whoopee. There is no restriction on marriage age with parental, and in some cases judicial, consent in no less than 5 states. That law wasn't made to force sex on children. That law is a sociopolitical adaptation to a literally impossible religion.

Christians here in the states make similar rationalizations when they engage in premarital sex.

If you want to get mad at Iran for something, let it be their rabid Antisemitism, their hellbent course of destruction toward nuclear weapons, their support of global Jihad, their theocratic abuse of their citizens in a mockery of democracy, or their religious failings that lead to the regular abuse of women non-Muslims. Don't be stupid and fly off the handle about something that is a non-issue.

Or at someone who is probably "on your side" on a blog.


Posted by: k2aggie07 at June 5, 2007 02:51 PM

Jadegold, I am not a libertarian.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at June 5, 2007 04:39 PM


Posted by: Bill at June 12, 2007 05:05 PM