Arshad Alam, New Age Islam
fell in 2014, the Islamic State captured many women and children, particularly
from the Shia and the Yazidi communities. The world woke to horror stories,
committed on these people by the ISIS. The western media, rather focusing on
the humanitarian crises which erupted after the fall of Sinjar, was more
interested in investigating how the Islamic State was taking on sex slaves,
which included Yazidi women being bought and sold by groups of men.
Stoking on an old prejudice built around
Islam, which sees the religion as given to avarice and ‘pleasures of the
flesh’, European Christian and post Christian commentators sought to paint
Islam as a religion having an unholy obsession with sex. Muslims were equally
horrified by these stories and they tried to understand the whole thing as an
aberration and condemned the taking of slaves as un-Islamic.
article tries to understand the rationale given by the Islamic State itself for
taking the hostages as slaves with whom they could also have sex. The article is
based on an article in Dabiq, the magazine of Islamic State.
a Muslim woman, the article justifies the taking of slaves during the war. The
piece starts with evidence from the Quran and Hadis substantiating the claim
that taking of slaves and having sex with them permitted within Islam. Thus
citing the Quran, the article quotes, ‘He also said, describing His believing
slaves-And they who guard their private parts, except from their wives or those
their right hands possess, for indeed, they will not be blamed (al Muminun
5:6).’ The piece goes on to explain that by right hand possession the Quran
means female slaves who were separated from their husbands because of
enslavement. ‘They become lawful for the ones who end up possessing them even without
pronouncement of divorce by their Harbi (enemy) husbands.’ Further
quoting from Hadis, which is called authentic, the article states that
‘approaching any married woman is fornication, except for a woman who has been
ISIS therefore, Saby (taking slaves through war) ‘is a great Prophetic
Sunnah containing many divine wisdoms and religious benefits, regardless of
whether or not the people are aware of this’. It further states, ‘the Sirah is
a witness to our Prophet’s raiding of the Kuffar. He would kill their men and
enslave their children and women.’ After this the article goes on to narrate
many Hadis from which it become clear that the Prophet took slaves during his
various wars. The ISIS seems to be genuinely at a loss as to why people and
especially Muslims are criticising them when all that they are doing is an
exercise to revive the Sunnah of Islam. The article is a response not to the
non-Muslims (who do not know the commands of Islam) but to fellow Muslims and
especially to its Ulema (wicked scholars) who have joined the ranks of the
Kafirs to denounce the ISIS and its taking of slaves.
It is an attempt to ‘suppress their falsehood
and restrain their tongues’, although it is not known who these wicked scholars
are against whom the ISIS diatribe is directed. The revival of this Sunnah is a
matter of immense pride for the ISIS and the writer says that they ‘prostrated
before Allah in gratitude on the day the first slave girl entered our home’.
Unapologetic and brazen, they further state that ‘we brought it (the Prophetic
Sunnah) back by the edge of the sword, and we did not do so through pacifism,
negotiations, democracy or elections. We established it according to the
Prophetic way, with blood-red swords, not with fingers for voting or tweeting’.
that Yazidis were non-believers the ISIS reminds Muslims through various verses
in the Quran which commands Muslims to fight till the time religion is for
Allah alone. For ISIS, the taking of slaves is a reminder to those who bow
before the ‘Taghut’ (idol) that Allah alone is worthy of worship. This is the
lesson that is sent from Allah to those who do not follow His command and the
Mujahidin (ISIS) are only the fulfilling the will of Allah.
therefore become a reminder to the community to which they belong, that they
went astray in terms of religious practice. For the ISIS, it is also a way of
humiliating these communities for leaving the path of Allah. Only through
coming back to the fold of Islam can they redeem themselves. Thus taking of
slaves also becomes another measure of bringing people to the fold of Islam.
The ISIS therefore is entirely surprised that they are being criticised for
following a divine, praiseworthy law.
the impression that in terms of ideas, the ISIS is entirely convinced that they
are following the path of true Islam. Moreover, they are also convinced that
only a literalist reading of the Quran and Hadis is the way forward. The more
important question though is that they are quoting scriptures which most
Muslims would recognise as beyond debate. That being the case, one does not
understand how Muslims opposing the ISIS and violent, extremist and
anti-Islamic are going to win this war of ideas.
of Slavery, Including Sex Slavery in Islam (The Qur’an)
The Art and Science of
Interpreting the Quran: How the Verses Relating To Sex with Female Slaves Must
A NewAgeIslam.com columnist, Arshad Alam is a Delhi
Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic
Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism