What is the ruling on intimacy with slave women?
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
In Islam usually Slaves are those the non-Muslim enemy fighters and aggressors who started wars against Muslims. Once They are captured in become prisoners of war at the hands of the Muslim army. The Muslim have Four choices in dealing with those fighters and prisoners of war regardless of their gender.
- Return them without a price and peacefully to their place of origin and that is illogical and will encourage them to fight Muslims again.
- Kill all of them and that would be harsh.
- Enslave them to work for Muslims AND emotionally humiliate them to make them regret fighting Muslims. Yet treat them well in terms of food, shelter, medication and show them the true teachings of Islam which they were opposing due to the brainwashing Islamophobic black propaganda they grow up with.
- Exchange the Non-Muslim prisoners of war at the hands of the Muslim Army with the Muslim prisoners at the hands of non-Muslim army. Or Exchange certain benefits, lands, equipment, or any other beneficial things with prisoners of war.
In Ar-Raheeo Al Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar Book) the author says in the section called “The Prophet Household” that the Prophet peace be upon him had four concubines
- Why is it that having concubines is not haram?
- Can other muslims have concubines?.
- What is a “right hand servant”? Does the owner of a “right hand servant” have to be married?
Praise be to Allah.
Allaah is Most Wise in the laws that He decrees for His slaves, but this wisdom is only apparent to those who seek it and believe that Allah is All Wise, and looks at the interests that are served by the laws of Allah which no man can see unless he ponders the matter, especially when there are those who attack those laws because they go against what they think are right and wise.
With regard to your question about it being permissible for a master to be intimate with his slave woman, the answer is that that is because Allah has permitted it. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts)
6. Except from their wives or (the slaves) that their right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame”
Quran [al-Mu’minoon 23:6] [al-Ma’aarij 70:30]
That is subject to the condition that he has acquired her in a proper manner, and that this slave woman has not been given by her master in marriage to another man to whom she is still married. The reason why this is permitted is that this slave woman belongs to him, either because he has paid money to buy her or he has fought for the sake of Allaah (and acquired her among the war booty).
Shaykh al-Shanqeeti (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The reason for which people may be taken as slaves is if they are kaafirs who are waging war against Allah and His Messenger. If Allah grants victory to the mujaahid Muslims, who are offering their souls, their wealth and all their resources.
And everything that Allah has given them so that the word of Allah might prevail over the kuffaar, then these kuffaar may become slaves, unless the imam chooses to let them go or to ransom them if that serves the interests of the Muslims.
Adwa’ al-Bayaan, 3/387
Shaykh al-Shanqeeti (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
If it is said: If the slave is a Muslim, how can he be kept as a slave if the reason for which people may be taken as slaves is if they are kaafirs who are waging war against Allaah and His Messenger?
The answer is that the basic principle which is well known to the scholars and all wise people is that a right that is already established by shar’i means cannot be superceded by rights that are established later on.
When the Muslims take prisoners of war, they are given the right to enslave them by the law of the Creator of all, and He is the All-Wise, All-Aware. If this right is established, then the slave becomes a Muslim after that, his right to be freed from slavery because of his Islam is superceded by the right of the mujaahid whose right to enslave him took effect before he was a Muslim. It is not just or fair to waive the former right because of a latter right, as is well known to all wise people.
Yes, it is good for the owner to set him free if he becomes Muslim, and Islam enjoins that and encourages it, and opens the door to doing so in many ways – he is referring to the fact that Allaah has decreed that when expiation takes the form of freeing a slave, the slave in question should be a Muslim –
Glory be to the All Wise, All Aware: “And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can change His Words. And He is the All‑Hearer, the All‑Knower” Quran [al-An’aam 6:115].
“In truth” means in what He has told us; “in justice” means in His rulings.
Undoubtedly that justice includes owning slaves and other rulings that are mentioned in the Qur’aan.
Adwa’ al-Bayaan, 3/389.
With regard to Muslims owning slaves, he should be very careful to establish that those who are bought or sold now are indeed slaves, because Islam has limited the sources of slaves which were many before the coming of Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him),
and has allowed only one source, which is kaafir=non-Muslims prisoners of war, when the kuffar are fighting the Muslims. There is no other way in which they may be enslaved except those who are captured as a result of fighting between kaffirs and Muslims, or their children
What is a “right hand servant”? Does the owner of a “right hand servant” have to be married?
Praise be to Allah.
If Allaah enables the Muslim mujahideen to defeat kaafir enemies in war, then the men may be killed, ransomed, set free without ransom or enslaved. The choice between these four options is to be made by the ruler, according to what he thinks is the best course.
With regard to the women, they become slaves and “those whom one’s right hand possesses” (described as a “right hand servant” in the question). Male children also become slaves. The ruler shares out these slaves among the mujaahideen.
Shaykh al-Shanqeeti (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The reason why a person may be taken as a slave is his being a kaafir and waging war against Allah and His Messenger. If Allah enables the Muslims who are striving and sacrificing their lives and their wealth.
And all that Allah has given them to make the word of Allah supreme over the kaafirs, then He allows them to enslave the kuffaar when they capture them, unless the ruler chooses to free them or to ransom them, if that serves the interests of the Muslims.
Adwa’ al-Bayaan, 3/387
Islam limited the sources of slaves which existed before the mission of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to just one source, namely slavery resulting from capturing prisoners from among the kuffaar.
Islam treated female slaves more kindly in their enslavement than other cultures did. Their honour was not considered to be permissible to anyone by way of prostitution, which was the fate of female prisoners of war in most cases. Rather Islam made them the property of their masters alone, and forbade anyone else to also have intercourse with them, even if that was his son.
Islam made it their right to become free through a contract of manumission; it encouraged setting them free and promised reward for that. Islam made setting slaves free an obligation in the case of some kinds of expiation (kafaarah= expiation ).
Such as the expiation for accidental killing, zihaar (a jaahili=pre-Islamic form of divorce in which a man said to his wife, “You are to me as my mother’s back”), and breaking oaths. They received the best treatment from their masters, as was enjoined by the pure sharee’ah.
A mujaahid does not have to be married in order to gain possession of a “slave whom one’s right hand possesses.” None of the scholars expressed such a view.
If a mujaahid takes possession of a female slave or male slave, it is permissible for him to sell them. In either case – whether one acquires a slave through battle or through purchase – it is not permissible for a man to have intercourse with a female slave until she has had a period from which it may be ascertained that she is not pregnant. If she is pregnant then he must wait until she gives birth.
It was narrated that Ruwayfi’ ibn Thaabit al-Ansaari said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say on the day of Hunayn: “It is not permissible for any man who believes in Allah and the Last Day to irrigate the crop of another else – meaning to have intercourse with a woman who is pregnant.
And it is not permissible for a man who believes in Allah and the Last Day to have intercourse with a captured woman until he has established that she is not pregnant. And it is not permissible for a man who believes in Allah and the Last Day to sell any booty until it has been shared out.”
Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2158; classed as hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 1890.
For many reasons, including the fact that the Muslims have long since given up jihad, slavery is now very rare. This means that the Muslims must be extra cautious by examining any case in which it is claimed that someone is a slave, whether male or female.
And Allah knows best.