Muhammad allowed it, and is still anchored in Shi’ite Islamic law
Islam Condones A Form of Prostitution Called Mut’a:
At one stage in his life Muhammad permitted the degrading of women in order to satisfy the sexual desires of Muslim men and passed it off as temporary marriages. Among Muslims this abuse of women is called Mut’a:
Narrated Abdullah: We used to participate in the holy wars carried on by the Prophet and we had no women (wives) with us. So we said (to the Prophet). "Shall we castrate ourselves?" But the Prophet forbade us to do that and thenceforth he allowed us to marry a woman (temporarily) by giving her even a garment, and then he recited: " (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 139)
Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah and Salama bin Al-Akwa': While we were in an army, Allah's Apostle came to us and said, "You have been allowed to do the Mut’a (marriage), so do it." Salama bin Al-Akwa' said: Allah's Apostle's said, "If a man and a woman agree (to marry temporarily), their marriage should last for three nights, and if they like to continue, they can do so; and if they want to separate, they can do so." do not know whether that was only for us or for all the people in general. Abu Abdullah (Al-Bukhari) said: 'Ali made it clear that the Prophet said, "The Mut'a marriage has been cancelled (made unlawful)."" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 52)
Narrated Abdullah: We used to participate in the holy battles led by Allah's Apostle and we had nothing (no wives) with us. So we said, "Shall we get ourselves castrated?" He forbade us that and then allowed us to marry women with a temporary contract and recited to us.’ (5.87) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 130)
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas The temporary marriage applied only in the early days of Islam. A man would come to a settlement where he had no acquaintance and marry a woman for the period it was thought he would stay there, and she would look after his belongings and cook for him. But Ibn Abbas said that when the verse came down, "Except their wives or the captives their right hands possess," intercourse with anyone else became unlawful. Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 942; ALIM CD-ROM Version)
The time frame usually given for such marriages ( more like fornication and/or adultery) is three days, but can theoretically last as long as an hour:
Here a Q&A about Mut’a on an Islamic (Shi’ia) site:
Q1: Can Someone Contract Mut'a Marriage for 1 hour?
I would say theoretically yes! Much in the same way that it is possible for some one to marry a woman permanently and then divorce her in one hour or even less. Logically, since the possibility of this action does not invalidate the regular marriage, therefore, it should not be applied in the case of Mut'a either! (Source)
Sunni Muslims generally believe that Muhammad himself abrogated this perverted practice. Yet there are Sunni narrations that say that this practice was being observed all the way till the time of Umar ibn Al-Khattab who stopped it, but then later reinstated it. For instance, ar-Razi wrote of Mut’a:
"‘Mut’ah marriage involves a man hiring a woman for a specific amount of money, for a certain period of time, to have sex with her. The scholars agree that this Mut'ah marriage was authorized in the beginning of Islam. It is reported that when the Prophet came to Mecca to perform ‘umrah, the women of Mecca dressed up and adorned themselves. The companions complained to the Prophet that they had not had sex for a long time, so he said to them: ‘Enjoy these women.’" (At-tafsir al-kabir, Q. 4:24)
And: "No Muslim disputes that Mut'ah marriage was allowed in early Islam, the difference is whether it has been abrogated or not." (Ibid.)
The hadith collections affirm that there was debate regarding whether this practice had been abrogated:
Narrated Abu Jamra: I heard Ibn Abbas (giving a verdict) when he was asked about the Mut’a with the women, and he permitted it (Nikah-al-Mut’a). On that a freed slave of his said to him, "That is only when it is very badly needed and women are scarce." On that, Ibn ‘Abbas said, "Yes." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 51)
Ibn Uraij reported: 'Ati' reported that Jabir b. Abdullah came to perform 'Umra, and we came to his abode, and the people asked him about different things, and then they made a mention of temporary marriage, whereupon he said: Yes, we had been benefiting ourselves by this temporary marriage during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) and during the time of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3248)
‘Urwa b. Zubair reported… By my life, Mut'a was practised during the lifetime of the leader of the pious (he meant Allah's Messenger, may peace be upon him), and Ibn Zubair said to him: Just do it yourselves, and by Allah, if you do that I will stone you with your stones. Ibn Shihab said. Khalid b. Muhajir b. Saifullah informed me: While I was sitting in the company of a person, a person came to him and he asked for a religious verdict about Mut’a and he permitted him to do it. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3261)
Abu Nadra reported:: We used to do these two during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). Umar then forbade us to do them,. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3250)
One narration even says that, during the caliphate of Umar, a woman got pregnant as a result of Mut’a:
Yahya related to me… " Rabia ibn Umayya made a temporary marriage with a woman and she is pregnant by him." Umar ibn al-Khattab went out in dismay dragging his cloak, saying, "This temporary marriage, had I come across it, I would have ordered stoning and done away with it!" (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 28, Number 28.18.42)
Another renowned Sunni exegete and historian, al-Tabari, claimed that Umar rescinded his prohibition:
According to Muhammad b. Ishaq - Yahya b. Ma’in – Ya’qub b. Ibrahim - ‘Isa b. Yazid b. Da’b - ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Zayd – ‘Imran b. Sawdah: … "It is also said that you have forbidden temporary marriage, although it was a license (rukhsah) given by God. We enjoy temporary marriage for a handful [of dates], and we can separate after three nights." He replied, "The Messenger of God permitted it at a time of necessity. Then people regained their life of comfort. I do not know of any Muslim who has practiced this or gone back to it. Now anyone who wishes can marry for a handful [of dates] and separate after three nights. You are right." I … (The History of al-Tabari: The Conquest of Iran, translated by G. Rex Smith [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1994], Volume XIV, pp. 139-140)
To add to this mass confusion, this next hadith says that the Qur’an never abrogated Mut’a:
Narrated 'Imran bin Husain: The Verse of Hajj-at-Tamatu was revealed in Allah’s Book, so we performed it with Allah’s Apostle, and nothing was revealed in Qur'an to make it illegal, nor did the Prophet prohibit it till he died. But the man (who regarded it illegal) just expressed what his own mind suggested. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 43)
The Saudi translator of Sahih al-Bukhari, Muhammad Muhsin Khan, has changed the word Mut'a to Hajj-at-Tamatu, even though the Arabic text of the Hadith that is placed next to the English says Mut'a. Yet even here the point is still clear since the expression Hajj-at-Tamatu refers to the practice of Muta during the time of Hajj, i.e. Mut’a of Hajj.
Despite the Sunni claim that Mut’a has been cancelled one will still find Shiite Muslims condoning and practicing it, as the following links show:
As anyone can see, this practice is nothing more than a form of legalized prostitution since its sole aim being to gratify the carnal perversions of men.
The practice of Mut’a may account for why the following text is worded in the way that it is:
… and do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, WHEN THEY DESIRE TO KEEP CHASTE, in order to seek the frail good of this world's life; and whoever compels them, then surely after their compulsion Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. S. 24:33 Shakir
From the way this passage is worded one can easily conclude that prostitution is only a sin when the slave girl desires chastity. Otherwise, if she does not desire to be chaste then it is okay for her to prostitute herself for gain. This interpretation makes sense in light of the practice of temporary marriages.