Arshad, New Age Islam
of the status and position of slave girls in Islam is widely debated. Most of
the Islamic scholars are of the view that Muslim masters of slave girls are
permitted to have sex with them without marriage. They cite the following verse
in support of their view:
“Except with those joined to them in the
marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (in their
case) they are free from blame,” (Al Muminun: 5-6)
One of the
scholars who supports this view is Dr Israr Ahmad who was known for his radical
and conservative views on Purdah (veil) and slave girls. Replying to a question
on the topic in a YouTube video, he expressed that slave girls did not have
social or human rights as they were considered property or possession of their
masters. Here is an excerpt from his speech:
you should correct your misconception. There is no provision for the marriage
of slave girls. They were considered property or possession. The wife is not
considered property. She comes as a result of a social contract to you to spend
cannot be solemnised without her consent. Your wife has the right to get
separation from you whenever she wishes. But in the case of possession or
property, these provisions do not exist. There is neither Nikah nor share in
the inheritance for the 'property' or 'possession'. On the contrary, they will
be transferred as a property. For example, if a man has slave girls, they will
be transferred to his son after his death in the same way as his property. So
you should understand that this was the case whether you like it or not. We
should not try to bring changes to this concept to make it palatable. The
status of the slave girls is what I told you. Now, the question whether they
(slave girls) exist today or not, they do not exist. And the slave girls who
were present during the life of the prophet pbuh were only those who had been
captured in the battle field as prisoners of war (PoW) and were considered war
what the Quran says on the issue. The Surah Nisa verse 25 says:
"And whoever among you cannot find the
means to marry free believing women, then (he may marry) from those whom your
right hands possess of believing slave girls."
society, it was the custom that the groom should pay the dower to the bride.
For this reason poor men often did not find a suitable match The Quran advises
such Muslim men to marry believing (Muslim) slave girls.
in the same Surah, the Quran asks Muslim to seek permission of their masters
before marrying slave girls:
marry them with the permission of their people and give them the due
compensation according to what is acceptable."
the Quran mandates the payment of Mehr to them.
verse 23 of Al Nisa, the Quran says:
"And (also prohibited to you are all)
married women except those your right hands possess (slave girls)."
Quran prohibits marriage with married women except slave girls. If the marriage
with slave girls had been out of the question, the Quran would not have
mentioned it in the first place.
In the same
Surah, Muslim men are advised to marry only chaste and pious Muslim slave
"They should be chaste, neither of those
who commit unlawful intercourse randomly nor those who take secret lovers. But
once they are sheltered in marriage, if they commit adultery, then for them is
half the punishment for free women. (Al Nisa: 25)
some slave girls were trained to sing and dance and they were employed as
entertainers. These slave girls were Qayn. The Quran asks not to marry such
verse, slave girls have been said to be better than beautiful polytheist women
in terms of marriage.
"And do not marry polytheistic women until
they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist woman,
even though she might please you " (Al Baqarah: 221).
also advised Muslims their young sons and daughters and their male and female
“And marry those among you who are single and
those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves. “(Al Nur: 32)
wife of the prophet pbuh Hadhrat Maria Al Qibtiya was a slave girl and was
gifted to the prophet pbuh by the governor of Alexandria Muqauqis along with
her sister Sirin. They had converted to Islam and the holy Prophet p uh had
married her (Hadhrat Maria). She gave birth to Hadhrat Ibrahim who died in
Israr Ahmad's opinion that there was no Nikah for slave women stands
says that slave women were only those who were prisoners of war. This is not
correct. Since pre-Isla Arabia till the beginning of 20th century, slave trade
flourished in Arab, Africa and Europe under the patronage of rulers and
governments. Poor and hapless men and women from poor countries would be
captured and sent to work as soldiers in the army, mines and plantations and
domestic help of the rich and powerful. Women would be pushed into flesh trade.
Indeed, prisoners of war were also made slaves but they were only a small section
companion of the holy prophet pbuh Hadhrat Bilal Habshi was a slave of Umaiya
bin Khalaf. His father Rabah bin Habashi was also a slave.
incident narrated in Sunan Baihaqi also reiterates Quran's position that
Muslims should not force slave girls to commit adultery.
not force your slave girls to commit adultery if they want to live with
incident according to Sunan Baihaqi is that during a military campaign against
Bani Asad under Hadhrat Khalid bin Waleed, one commander named Dharrar captured
a woman and had sex with her. Later when Caliph Hadhrat Umar was informed about
the incident, he ordered Dharrar's stoning. However, Dharrar died before
caliph’s order reached Hadhrat Khalid bin Waleed. This also repudiates the
position of scholars as well as militant and terrorist organisations that
during war, women of enemies can be taken slave and raped.
discussion, it becomes clear that the injustice and inhuman treatment meted out
to slaves and slave girls was gradually done away with after the Advent of
Islam.The Quran urged Muslims go treat slaves (male and female) with respect
and try to bring them in social mainstream. Muslims were encouraged to marry
slave girls. Muslims were prohibited to force pious believing slave girls to
commit adultery or other immoral acts.
despite clear injunctions of the Quran on Nikah, Mehr and good treatment of
slave girls, a section of scholars like Dr Israr Ahmad spread their ill founded
views on slave girls only on the basis of misinterpretation of the term 'Ma
Malakat Ayma Ukum'.They ignored clear verses on the Quran because those
verses refuted their much 'palatable' views on slave girls.
institution of slavery does not exist in Islam today though it does exist in
Sahel region in Africa and Libya despite ban. Moreover, the terrorist
organisations like the ISIS and Boko Haram capture Muslim women and girls and
treat them as slaves, raping and selling them. They do this on the basis of the
wrong interpretations of the verses of the Quran. These interpretations present
a wrong image of Islam and Muslims.
it is necessary to remove the misconceptions about slave girls and prisoners of
war by explaining the verses of the Quran in the right context.
Arshad is a regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com
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