An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Mohallel: a religion-sanctioned "One Night Stand"?

How ridiculous can customs get can be understood from this rather strange custom followed in Islamic societies based on some Islamic law.

There is a clause in the religious laws on marriage according to which: if a man divorces his wife, he cannot marry her again unless another man marries her next, spends one night (have sex), and then divorces her.

This temporary or contract husband – is called “Mohallel” or middleman.

One person whose account I stumbled across while googling about this custom calls it a “One Night Stand” – probably the only religion-sanctioned one-night-stand in the world.[1] It is fairly obvious what problems such a custom can create. As this lady discussed when it happened in their family and the divorced wife was actually very pretty and from a big family. So the husband had the “recruit” this worker in someone’s factory to do “the job”. The worker spent one night with his wife, had sex, and the errant husband actually paid him a lot of money to divorce!

What if – just what if the one-night-stand “contract hubby” does NOT divorce? What would happen then?? Well, this interesting angle was the subject of an award-winning movie called “Mohalel”. Here is a brief story outline of the movie.[2]

The story revolves around a clause in the religious laws about marriage; if a man repudiates his wife (called triple divorce), he cannot marry her again unless another man marries her next and then repudiates her also. The second husband is called “mohallel” or middleman. In this film, the middleman had actually agreed to marry the woman temporarily. However, it turns out that he does not want to divorce her, as he has loved her since his early childhood.

Some say that this custom is inspired from this verse below from Quran. Again, I am not an expert in theology matters so I am just relating here what is openly available. It is, I believe, everyone’s right to question, debate and discuss questions that tend to point to the direction of why some of the societies (like Taliban etc) may be behaving the way they behave. It is but natural that as more and more of such groups affect the peace and good of the world, one wants to get to the source of their perversion. This is a discussion to that end. Nothing more.

Volume 3, Book 48, Number 807:
Narrated Aisha:
The wife of Rifa’a Al-Qurazi came to the Prophet and said, “I was Rifa’a’s wife, but he divorced me and it was a final irrevocable divorce. Then I married AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair but he is impotent.” The Prophet asked her ‘Do you want to remarry Rifa’a? You cannot unless you had a complete sexual relation with your present husband.” Abu Bakr was sitting with Allah’s Apostle and Khalid bin Said bin Al-‘As was at the door waiting to be admitted. He said, “O Abu Bakr! Do you hear what this (woman) is revealing frankly before the Prophet ?”

Reference Links:

1. Parvin Darabi
2. Mohalel – Movie

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