The Washington Post reports:
Fatima Ali was a 24-year-old divorcee with no high school diploma and no job. Shawket al-Rubae was a 34-year-old Shiite sheik with a pregnant wife who, he said, could not have sex with him.
Ali wanted someone to take care of her. Rubae wanted a companion.
They met one afternoon in May at the house he shares with his wife, in the room where he accepts visitors seeking his religious counsel. He had a proposal. Would Ali be his temporary wife? He would pay her 5,000 Iraqi dinars upfront — about $4 — in addition to her monthly expenses. About twice a week over the next eight months, he would summon her to a house he would rent.
The negotiations took an hour and ended with an unwritten agreement, the couple recalled. Thus began their "mutaa," or enjoyment marriage, a temporary union believed by Shiite Muslims to be sanctioned by Islamic law.
The Shiite practice began 1,400 years ago, in what is now Iraq and other parts of the region, as a way to provide for war widows.…
[Hat Tip: Who else?]