Monday, April 02, 2007

The Unexpected Republic of Iran III: Marriage, by the Hour


Everyone knows that extramarital or premarital sex is a big no-no in Islam, and consequently in the Islamic Republic. Revolutionary Guards patroll the streets looking for young couples to catch in the act of love (ie: holding hands or riding in a car together). Well we can just imagine how difficult this might be to actually enforce. Enter Shi'ite Islam's little known law: Sigheh (or in Arabic Mut'ah lit "joy"). This law sanctions temporary marriage for the purposes of satisfying sexual desire. This marriage can last as little as a few minutes, or as long as 99 years (the younger men probably only need a few minutes). An interesting New York Times article from a few years ago details this law's reception and use in what is still a very traditional society. There are a couple of leading figures in the country who see it as I do: a way to release the pent-up energy of the youth in a country, who represent the vast majority of the population (today it's something like 70% under 25).

As one cleric put it, because God banned alcohol, he allowed temporary marriage. And according the editor of a feminist magazine, "they will use up some of the energy they are putting into street demonstrations". Well exactly. Interestingly enough, the clerics are among the first to make use of this law, so they should be the first to understand it.

4 Comments:

Blogger DJ Ogo said...

Hey, I wanna be temporarily married too!! Somebody temporarily marry me!!! It's spring, people... and i'm so lonely...

11:09 PM  
Blogger DJ Ogo said...

Love the picture, man. Just love it.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Lady N said...

hey, line up sister. ooh, i have an idea! let's start a "temporary marriage" booth (you know, like a kissing booth, only... wait, is that prostitution?)

12:15 AM  
Blogger Det. Rhiannon Brock said...

Oh god. Am I going to have to bail you two out of jail again?

9:10 PM  

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