Response to Anti Islam

Divine Laws on Sexual Intimacy with Slave Woman in Islam

A very small piece of the laws about intimacy with slave girl in Islam

Although the term “slave” is not specifically used in Islam, historically we can observe that the concept of “slave” is more commonly associated with Christianity[1]Bible, Numbers 31/17-18; Exodus 21/7; 1 Kings 11/3 and Hinduism[2]See here. Since the prevailing term is “slave”, I am using this term. Today, I would like to explore several comparative perspectives between women and slaves in Islam.

Wife, Concubine and ‘Sexuality’

What we usually call marriage in Islamic terms is called Nikah (نكاح), or Tajweez (تزويج). Its literal meaning is “union” or “pairing.” The primary and ultimate purpose of nikah is sexual intimacy. Sexuality is a fundamental human need that must be fulfilled, while maintaining limitations and boundaries, in a regulated way. Nikah is how this need is fulfilled and simultaneously regulated. Its purpose is to validate the union of two genders.

The main purpose of nikah (marriage) is to establish a sexual relationship. However, in Islam, the purpose of marriage is not solely contractual like that of a master-slave relationship. Sex is not the sole purpose of slave contract in Islam.

There are two types of slaves: normal slaves and Surriyah (concubines). In Islam, sexual intercourse with slaves is also permitted as with wives. In that case, the concubine will become Surriyah.[3]Quran 23:5-7, 4:24, 33:50, 70:30

The famous scholar Abu-Walid al-Bazi al-Maliki (d. 474 AH) wrote,

The primary purpose of marriage is to [permit] sexual intercourse, but not to acquire the right to a slave.[4]Kitāb al-Muntaqá Sharḥ al-Muwaṭṭaʾ, 4/82

Jurists agreed on the consensus that,

If a man owns what is called by right-hand possess, (This simile is given in the Qur’an to refer to slave), and has intercourse with her, then the rights and dynamic between them will become similar to a marriage contract. Mahram, non-mahram, etc rules will also be applied.[5]Sharhul Minhaj wa Hashiyatul Qaliubi 3/243, Kitāb al-Mawsūʿah al-Fiqhīyah al-Kuwaytīyah, 11/299-300

Marriage and Ownership

It says in the hadith,

It was narrated from Miswar bin Makharamah that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “There is no divorce before marriage, and no manumission before taking possession.”[6]Sunan Ibn Majah 2048; Albani Grade: Hasan

We can see that the wife is halal through the marriage contract, and the concubines are halal through the contract of ownership. This is the difference between the two treaty paths. The equivalent can be understood from here as well,

It was narrated that Safiyyah bint Shaibah said: “Aishah told me that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘There is no divorce and no manumission at the time of coercion.'”[7]Sunan Ibn Majah 2046, Tahqeeq-e-Albani: Hasan

Halal Intercourse and Acts of Virtue

Now let us look at other ahadith:

“…and enjoining of good is a sadaqah, and forbidding of that which is evil is a Sadaqah, and in man’s sexual Intercourse (with his wife and concubine) there is a Sadaqah…”[8]Sahih al Muslim 1006, Ahmad 21482, Sunanul Kubra lil Bayhaqi 7823, Silsilah as Sahih 454, Sahih at Targhib 1556, Sahih al Jami’ as Saghir 2588, Mishkat 1898; https://sunnah.com/muslim:1006

Here too, having sexual relations with both one’s wife and slave is considered an act of charity. If a slave becomes a secondary wife (concubine), she has the right to enjoy sexual relations just like a wife, according to the teachings of Sharia (Islamic law).

Responsibility and Nurturing

WifeConcubine
Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them.[9]Sunan Abi Dawud 2144…Feed those of your slaves who please you from what you eat and clothe them with what you clothe yourselves,…do not punish Allah’s creatures.[10]Sunan Abi Dawud 5161

False Claim: Sex slave

Some immoral individuals repeatedly shout ” There was sex slavery in Islam” to create an uproar. This is interesting. It is mentioned in the Encyclopaedia Britannica,

Sex slavery, a condition in which one human being is owned by another and is forced or otherwise coerced into working in the sex trade. Activities associated with sex slavery include prostitution, pornography, child sex rings, sex tourism, and such occupations as nude dancing and modeling. Sex trafficking is the procurement and transport of the victims.[11]Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “sex slavery”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 10 Aug. 2022, https://www.britannica.com/topic/sex-slavery. Accessed 17 November 2022.

Does Islam endorse such practices? Recent examples solely highlighting sexual slavery can be attributed to secular or atheist individuals discussing the sexual exploitation at Eden College[12]https://www.kalerkantho.com/online/national/2022/10/03/1189718. Or, the longstanding tradition of Devadasi, practiced by Brahmins for thousands of years, can also be brought up.[13]https://www.frommuslims.com/?p=34271 Meanwhile, if in Islam, a slave is only intended for sexual purposes, then why do the owners take complete responsibility for it? She also will get a semblance of respectability, it is also equivalent to you! On the other hand, Islam has abolished the practice of engaging in prostitution using slaves.

…And do not compel your maids to prostitution – if they wish to observe chastity – in order that you may seek the temporary benefit of the worldly life. If one compels them, then after their being compelled, Allah [to maids] is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.Quran 24:33

Intercourse, before it becomes halal, is adultery

As engaging in sexual relations with a potential wife before marriage, is considered fornication, similarly, having sexual relations with a slave before acquiring ownership (in the case of purchase) or before central distribution (in the case of proper jihad) is included in fornication. For example, I quote an incident from a hadith,

[Abridged] Dhirar bin Al-Azwar mistakenly engaged in sexual relations with a female captive before her distribution. Subsequently, feeling remorseful, he informed Khalid (the chief commander at that time) and requested Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) to write a letter regarding this matter. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) instructed him to be executed by stoning through the letter. (It is noteworthy that Dhirar had already passed away before the delivery of this letter.)[14]Kitab al-Sunan al-Kubra – Al-Bayhaqi – Tā’ al-‘Ilmiyya. 9/177 Hadith 18222 (briefly mentioned here) [There is a Maqbool Rabbi in this hadith, so it cannot be called sahih until a saheeh shahid is found]

There are certain individuals who are unlawful for marriage, and similarly, there are certain rules that prohibit individuals taking as slaves.

Just as a woman married to a father is haram for a son, so if a father has sexual intercourse with a slave girl under his authority, that slave girl is haram for the son.

Heredity and Sexual purity

Islam has laid down the highest rules to keep the lineage pure.

For example, it is forbidden to adopt a child by posing as a father.[15]Quran 33:4-5 Even if you raise it, you cannot put your name in place of his father, he will be known by his father’s name.[16]Mishkat al-Masabih 3315

If a healthy normal child is born before six months of marriage, that child will not be attached to that husband. [17]https://www.islamweb.net/en/fatwa/390649/gave-birth-less-than-six-months-after-marriage

Intercourse with menstruating and someone else’s pregnant wife is forbidden

Having sexual intercourse with someone else’s pregnant wife (after divorce or death of the previous husband, in the case of remarriage) is prohibited. It is also prohibited during menstruation. The same rule applies in the case of a female slave:

Abu Darda’ (Allah be pleased with him) related from the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) that he came upon a woman who was in the advanced stage of pregnancy at the door of a tent. He (the Holy Prophet) said: Perhaps he (the man accompanying her) intends to cohabit with her. They said: Yes. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: I have decided to curse him with such a curse as may go along with him to his grave. How can he own him (the child to be born) and that is not lawful for him, and how can he take him as a servant for that is not lawful for him?[18]Sahih al-Muslim 1441a ; Sunan Abi Dawud 2156

Abu Sa’id Al Khudri traced to Prophet (ﷺ) the following statement regarding the captives taken at Atwas. There must be no intercourse with pregnant woman till she gives birth to her child or with the one who is not pregnant till she has had one menstrual period.[19]Sunan Abi Dawud 2157

Narrated Ruwayfi’ ibn Thabit al-Ansari: Should I tell you what I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say on the day of Hunayn: It is not lawful for a man who believes in Allah and the last day to water what another has sown with his water (meaning intercourse with women who are pregnant); it is not lawful for a man who believes in Allah and the Last Day to have intercourse with a captive woman till she is free from a menstrual course; and it is not lawful for a man who believes in Allah and the Last Day to sell spoil till it is divided.[20]Sunan Abi Dawud 2158

So, bros, why would such rules have existed if, according to the rules of Islam, a female slave is only considered a ‘sexual slave’?

Iddah

We know that if a husband gives divorce, the wife must observe an Iddat period for three menstrual cycles. If she becomes pregnant during this time, it will be evident during the Iddah period. The same rule applies to female captives in wartime.

According to the Hanafi school of Jurisprudence,

When the army takes a woman captive followed by her husband who is also taken captive sooner or later and either the woman does not have menses during that period or has had upto three menses but she is not taken out of the Territory of War before her husband is taken, their marriage shall continue. Whosoever of the two is taken captive and brought to the Territory of Islam before the other, their marriage shall cease to exist.[21]Kitab Al-Siyar Al-Saghir – The Shorter Book on Muslim International Law, Translated by Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi, Islamic Research Institute, Islamabad, 1998 p.51 https://www.kalamullah.com/Books/Kitab%20al-Siyar%20as-Saghir.pdf

From the hadith,

…They are (Female war captives) lawful for them when they complete their waiting period.[22]Sunan Abi Dawud 2155

Even now, a group of intellectuals will label a female slave as a “sex slave.” In reality, they have nothing but cow urine and Islamophobia in their heads!

Having sexual relations with multiple men at the same time is prohibited

To uphold purity, another rule is that in Islam, a woman is not allowed to engage in sexual relations with multiple men simultaneously (within a span of three menstrual cycles).

Such practices were happening during the ignorant era of Jahiliyyah, where polyandrous marriages existed, allowing a woman to engage in sexual relations with multiple men simultaneously. Islam abolished it along with other heinous practices.[23]Sahih Bukhari, 5127

Based on the same principle, no one is allowed to have sexual relations with female slaves under multiple ownership.

Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi (d. 620 AH) wrote:

Having sexual relations with slave girls under multiple ownership is not permissible.[24]Al-Mughni, Matkaba al-Qahirah, Cairo, 1968, vol.6 p.64

Moinul Haque mentioned:

When a slave girl is associated with multiple owners, none of them can engage in sexual relations with her.[25]Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir vol.2 p.78 n.2; Footnote provided by translator S. Moinul Haque

This is also mentioned in the fatwa of Islamweb. [26]https://web.archive.org/web/20130514035028/http://fatwa.islamweb.net/fatwa/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=6186

“Slaves are only for sex, aren’t they?” – Then why is a slave being treated like a husband and wife?

Marrying two sisters at the same time is forbidden

Allah Almighty says:

Marrying two sisters at the same time (is forbidden for you). Quran 4:23

This law applies to both marriage and ownership. You cannot marry two sisters at the same time, nor you can have them as co-wives (from slave girls) at the same time [27]See Islamway Fatwa No. 61997

Umm Al-Walad

When a female slave gives birth to her owner’s child, she is called Umm Walad. In this case, she is freed at her master’s death and cannot be sold unless she dies. This is the consensus of all the noble companions and scholars. See more here:

Giving marriage and marrying slaves

Allah says:

Marry off the ˹free˺ singles among you, as well as the righteous of your bondmen and bondwomen. If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His bounty. For Allah is All-Bountiful, All-Knowing.Quran 24:33

From hadith,

Narrated Abu Musa: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “He who has a slave-girl and educates and treats her nicely and then manumits and marries her, will get a double reward.”[28]Sahih al-Bukhari 2544 ; Tirmidhi 1116

You can see more here[29]Mufti Muhammad Shafi’, Ma’ariful Qur’an- Translation by Muhammad Ishrat Husain, Karachi, n.d. vol.6 pp.423-424.

Beating concubines is prohibited (except for correction)

Zadhan Abl Umar reported: I came to Ibn ‘Umar as he had granted freedom to a stave. He (the narrator further) said: He took hold of a wood or something like it from the earth and said: It (freedom of a slave) has not the reward evert equal to it, but the fact that I heard Allah’s Messenger (way peace be upon him) say: He who slaps his slave or beats him, the expiation for it is that he should set him free.[30]Sahih Muslim 1657

Why is it permitted for the master to have sexual relations with a female slave?

Allah is the All-Knowing. He is the Supreme Judge. We do not know the exact reasons why He may permit certain actions, and we can only speculate.

According to the opinions of respected scholars (Fuqaha), possible reasons for granting permission for sexual relations with a female slave include:

  • Preserving the chastity of the female slave, so that they are not involved in adultery.
  • Preserving the purity/chastity of the owner (master).
  • Allowing the possibility of emancipation for the offspring born from such relations
    through the laws of Umm al-Walad, etc[31]Kitāb al-Mawsūʿah al-Fiqhīyah al-Kuwaytīyah, 11/297

However, it should be noted that it is also permissible to refrain from engaging in sexual relations with a female slave and instead treat her solely as a domestic servant, as mentioned earlier.

Intercourse with one’s own slave married to other is also forbidden

If a slave is married to someone else or has been given in marriage, engaging in sexual relations with her is prohibited. We can see this ruling in hadith,

A man was caught engaging in sexual relations with his slave, while she has been already given married to another person. At that time, Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) gave him a punishment of one hundred lashes.[32]Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, 29152, 29153 – Saheeh

These indicate the position of a slave in Islam and what it means to be a slave in Islam! If a stray is genuinely interested in understanding what a “sexual slave” truly is, they should explore and discover what is meant by a sex slave. If someone is inclined to use the term “sexual slave” due to mental disorders, they may also develop a habit of using the terms “husband” and “wife” in reference to the two words “sex husband” and “sex wife”.

Is Allah not the most just of all judges?Quran 58:8


Original article link: https://www.frommuslims.com/?p=79261

Translated into English by: Fahim Khan

    Footnotes

    Footnotes
    1Bible, Numbers 31/17-18; Exodus 21/7; 1 Kings 11/3
    2See here
    3Quran 23:5-7, 4:24, 33:50, 70:30
    4Kitāb al-Muntaqá Sharḥ al-Muwaṭṭaʾ, 4/82
    5Sharhul Minhaj wa Hashiyatul Qaliubi 3/243, Kitāb al-Mawsūʿah al-Fiqhīyah al-Kuwaytīyah, 11/299-300
    6Sunan Ibn Majah 2048; Albani Grade: Hasan
    7Sunan Ibn Majah 2046, Tahqeeq-e-Albani: Hasan
    8Sahih al Muslim 1006, Ahmad 21482, Sunanul Kubra lil Bayhaqi 7823, Silsilah as Sahih 454, Sahih at Targhib 1556, Sahih al Jami’ as Saghir 2588, Mishkat 1898; https://sunnah.com/muslim:1006
    9Sunan Abi Dawud 2144
    10Sunan Abi Dawud 5161
    11Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “sex slavery”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 10 Aug. 2022, https://www.britannica.com/topic/sex-slavery. Accessed 17 November 2022.
    12https://www.kalerkantho.com/online/national/2022/10/03/1189718
    13https://www.frommuslims.com/?p=34271
    14Kitab al-Sunan al-Kubra – Al-Bayhaqi – Tā’ al-‘Ilmiyya. 9/177 Hadith 18222 (briefly mentioned here) [There is a Maqbool Rabbi in this hadith, so it cannot be called sahih until a saheeh shahid is found]
    15Quran 33:4-5
    16Mishkat al-Masabih 3315
    17https://www.islamweb.net/en/fatwa/390649/gave-birth-less-than-six-months-after-marriage
    18Sahih al-Muslim 1441a ; Sunan Abi Dawud 2156
    19Sunan Abi Dawud 2157
    20Sunan Abi Dawud 2158
    21Kitab Al-Siyar Al-Saghir – The Shorter Book on Muslim International Law, Translated by Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi, Islamic Research Institute, Islamabad, 1998 p.51 https://www.kalamullah.com/Books/Kitab%20al-Siyar%20as-Saghir.pdf
    22Sunan Abi Dawud 2155
    23Sahih Bukhari, 5127
    24Al-Mughni, Matkaba al-Qahirah, Cairo, 1968, vol.6 p.64
    25Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir vol.2 p.78 n.2; Footnote provided by translator S. Moinul Haque
    26https://web.archive.org/web/20130514035028/http://fatwa.islamweb.net/fatwa/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=6186
    27See Islamway Fatwa No. 61997
    28Sahih al-Bukhari 2544 ; Tirmidhi 1116
    29Mufti Muhammad Shafi’, Ma’ariful Qur’an- Translation by Muhammad Ishrat Husain, Karachi, n.d. vol.6 pp.423-424
    30Sahih Muslim 1657
    31Kitāb al-Mawsūʿah al-Fiqhīyah al-Kuwaytīyah, 11/297
    32Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, 29152, 29153 – Saheeh
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