Leaving Islam



Slave Girls and Their Rights in Islam

By Susan Stephan

The following was posted by a young Australian convert to Islam in a club called "Islamic Sisterhood." This is a club that is mostly made up of Western female converts to Islam. A couple of days ago this woman came upon the passage in the Quran which makes it legal for Muslim males to keep female prisoners of war as slaves ("whom thy right hand possess") and rape them. She was "confused" about it. Today she posted some scholarly Islamic comments on this peculiar provision of the sharia. I reproduce this commentary below. 

This scholarly commentary makes plain what is going on. Those women whom "thy right hand possess" are slaves who have no human rights and must submit sexually to anyone who "owns" them. Such actions toward female prisoners of war is, today, considered a war crime under the Geneva Convention. 

There are nearly 700 hundred women in Islamic Sisterhood. Most of them are products of the Western democracies whom, you would think, would react with horror at this type of behavior being considered "God's Law". 


About Slave girls and what the right hand possesses:

“It is not lawful for you (to marry other) women after this, nor to change them for other wives even though their beauty attracts you, except those (captives or slaves) whom your right hand possesses. And Allah is Ever a Watcher over all things.” Surah 33:52


Tafsir of this ayat take from Mawdudi’s The Meaning of the Qur’an:

Book 10, page 137, footnote no. 94

“This verse explains why one is permitted to have conjugal relations with one’s slave-girls besides the wedded wives, and there is no restriction on their number. The same thing has also been stated in Surah An-Nisa:3; Al-Mu’minun:6; and Al-Ma’arij:30. In all these verses the slave-girls have been mentioned as a separate class from the wedded wives, and conjugal relations with them have been permitted. Moreover, verse 3 of Surah An-Nisa lays down the number of the wives as four, but neither has Allah fixed the number of the slave-girls in that verse nor made any allusion to their number in the other relevant verses. Here, of course, the Holy Prophet is being addressed and told: ‘It is no more lawful for you to take other women in marriage, or divorce any of the present wives and take another wife in her stead; slave-girls, however, are lawful.’ This shows no restriction has been imposed in respect of slave-girls.

This however does not mean that the Divine Law has provided the rich an opportunity to purchase as many slave-girls as they like for their carnal indulgence. This is in fact how the self-seeking people have exploited and abused the Law. The Law had been made for the convenience of the people; it had not been made to be abused……..The Shari’ah made all these laws keeping in view human conditions and requirements for the convenience of men.”

And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts from illegal sexual acts). Except with their wives and the (women slaves and captives) whom their right hand possess,--for (then) they are not to be blamed.” Surah 70:29-30

Tafsir on this ayat refers you to Tafsir of Surah 23:6


“Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess,--for then, they are free from blame;” Surah 23:6

“(1) Two categories of women have been excluded from the general command of guarding the private parts: (a) wives, (b) women who are legally in one’s possession, i.e. slave-girls. Thus the verse clearly lays down the law that one is allowed to have sexual relations with one’s slave-girl as with one’s wife, the basis being possession and not marriage. If marriage had been the condition, the slave-girl also would have been included among the wives, and there was no need to mention them separately…..” Meaning of the Qur’an Book 8, page 10, footnote 7.


“Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those (captives and slaves) whom your hands possess. Thus has Allah ordained for you…..” Surah 4:24


Tafsir of Mawdudi, Book2, page 112, footnote 44:

“That is, ‘Those women, who became prisoners of war, while their husbands are left behind in the War Zone, are not unlawful because their marriage ties have been broken by the fact that they have come into the Islamic Zone. It is lawful to marry such women and make them wives, and it is also lawful for those, in whose possession they are, to have sexual relations with them.

There was, however, a difference of opinion as to whether such a woman is lawful if her husband has also been captured along with her. Imam Abu Hanifah and those of his way of thinking are of the opinion that the marriage tie of such a pair should remain intact but Imam Malik and Shafi’ee are of the opinion that it should be broken.’

As there exist many misunderstandings in the minds of people concerning the slave-girls taken as prisoners of war, the following should be carefully studied:

(1)  It is not lawful for a soldier to have conjugal relations with a prisoner of war as soon as she falls into his hands. The Islamic Law requires that all such women should be handed over to the government, which has the right to set them free or to exchange them with the Muslim prisoners in the hands of the enemy or distribute them among the soldiers. It is lawful for a soldier to cohabit only with that woman who has been formally given to him by the Islamic government.

(2)  Even then, he shall have to wait for one monthly course before he can cohabit with her in order to ensure whether she is pregnant or not; otherwise it shall be unlawful to cohabit with her before delivery.

(3)  It does not matter whether the female prisoner of war belongs to the People of the Book or not. Whatever her religion, she becomes lawful for the man to whom she has been given.

(4)  None but the one whom the slave-girl is given has the right to “touch her”. The offspring of such a woman from his seed shall be his lawful children and shall have the same legal rights as are given by the Divine Law to children from one’s loins. After the birth of a child she cannot be sold as a slave-girl and shall automatically become free after her master’s death.

(5)  If the master marries his slave-girl with another man, he forfeits his conjugal rights over her, but retains other rights such as service from her.

(6)  The maximum limit of four has not been prescribed for slave-girls as in the case of wives for the simple reason that the number of female prisoners of war is unpredictable. The lack of limit does by no means provide a license for the well-to-do people to buy any number of slave-girls for licentious purposes.

(7)  The proprietary rights over a slave male or female as given to a person by the government are transferable like all other legal proprietary rights.

(8)  The handing over of the proprietary rights over a slave-girl to a man formally by the government makes her as much lawful for him as the giving of a hand of a free woman to a man by her parents or guardian by means of nikah (marriage ceremony). Therefore there is no reason why a man who does not hold marriage in detestation should hold sexual intercourse with a slave-girl in detestation.

(9)  When once the government hands over the female prisoner of war to someone, it has no right whatever to take her back from him, just as the parent or guardian has no right after the woman is handed over to a man through nikah.

(10)        It should also be noted well that if a military commander temporarily distributes female prisoners of war among the soldiers for sexual purposes, or permits them to have sexual relations for the time being, such an act shall be unlawful and there is absolutely no difference between this and fornication, and fornication is a crime according to the Islamic code.”






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