Luckily for young Muslims like Selman, who are deeply religious yet subject to the same hormonal forces as any other twentysomething, the Quran provides what you might call a caveat clause.Its rule against sex outside of marriage is clear, but many Shiite Muslims believe that a section called "Al Nissa" contains a single word ( ) that seems to allow Muslims to engage in Mut'ah marriages, or "pleasure marriages"—essentially, temporary marriages for the purpose of having sex."Even if it is temporary, it is still a marriage with serious commitments."Alidina says the crucial components of the Mut'ah marriage are the mutual acceptance of the marriage, a bridal gift to the wife paid in cash, and her obligation to stay single for two menstrual cycles after the marriage ends to ensure she is not pregnant before entering into another.The husband is responsible for a child conceived during the marriage, even if the marriage lasts only a few hours, and religious leaders recommend that the contract be put in writing so women can claim their rights in Islamic courts that recognize Mut'ah marriages."Don't blame the principle because it is abused," he says."The model is perfect."Selman's 26-year-old friend Richard Giganti provides a different perspective.Selman says many of the women he meets express "shock" when he explains he must marry them before he can proceed."It is to avoid committing sin, and it is like a boyfriend and girlfriend relationship," he tells them.
More often than not, though, he admits he somehow ends up meeting a beautiful girl.Like most Shiites, he supports the concept of Mut'ah marriages, but says young Muslims like Selman don't take them seriously enough."The obligation is not over by saying a few words," says Alidina."You can't fall in love 25 times," he says, laughing.