Can I do Mutah at a brothel?
I was a little taken-a-back when a brother asked whether it was permissible to frequent a brothel and enter into a temporary marriage with one of the prostitutes working there. The brother who asked this question was from Australia where the brothel industry is both legal and huge. The Australian sex industry is a multi-million dollar industry employing tens of thousands of sex workers.
In order to tackle the jurisprudential ruling for this issue we will look at two aspects of this questions separately. First, we will discuss the issue of entering into a temporary marriage contract with a prostitute/sex worker. Second, we will discuss the issue of entering a brothel.
Assuming that the prostitute meets all of the conditions, such as ascribing to one of the major monotheistic religions (Islam, Judaism, or Christianity) and not being married, there are still two potential problems:
The first problem is the fact that she is a prostitute. There are jurisprudential problems with marrying a woman who commits an extensive amount of fornication (lewd). Sayyid Sistani, on his official website, states: “If a woman is known as a lewd person, it will not be permissible to marry her till she has genuinely repented…If a man wishes to marry a woman of loose character he should, as a precaution, wait until she becomes pak [tahir] from her menses, irrespective of whether he had committed fornication with her, or anyone else had done so.” Therefore, entering into a temporary marriage with such a woman, inside or outside of a brothel, would be problematic.
The second problem would be regarding the grace period (‘iddah) that she would have to observe between mutah contracts. This can be examined as to what she did before entering the mutah contract or what she will do after the mutah contract expires. Since the ruling is that there is no grace period after adultery (zina), then if she did not have a recent temporary marriage with a Muslim this would not be problematic. Furthermore, if she does not observe her grace period after the mutah contract finishes its on her. Therefore, the problem of ‘iddah would not be problematic.
The second issue pertaining to the original question is entering the brothel. According to Islamic law, it is impermissible to enter establishments that are known to be “places of sin.” Two clear examples are pubs and casinos. It is impermissible to enter either one of these establishments, even if one is not going to drink alcohol or gamble. It seems as if a brothel would fall under this category because fornication and adultery are the only thing that it is known for. I have not come across a direct ruling on this issue though, therefore, for further clarification I would advise sending emails to the offices of the maraja’.
In conclusion, both entering a brothel and entering into a temporary marriage with a sex worker are problematic according to Islamic law.
For more information regarding temporary marriage refer to my book: Temporary Marriage; the Overall Picture
Answered by Shaykh Hamid Waqar