contract marriages are gaining popularity
“I started doing short marriages in Iran,” he says. “When I came back to Mazar-i-Sharif, I continued,” he says. He’s now been married 20 times.
In a country where most marriages are for life and all divorces are a scandal, the idea of the contract or temporary marriage is beginning to catch on.
Afghanistan’s majority Sunni Muslims ban the marriages, known as fegha in the main Dari language, but the Shias accept them and some people here, like Payenda, got the idea from Iran.
Such marriages were rare in Afghanistan before the Sunni-dominated Taliban regime was overthrown in late 2001, ending 25 years of war.
But with the return of many of the nearly two million Afghans who fled to Shia Iran during the conflict, contract marriages are gaining popularity - although they are still unusual.
The process is simple. To get married, a couple takes an oath in front of a mullah that makes them man and wife for a stipulated period of time - from a few hours to a few years.