Sexual Slavery! Is that what Islam teaches?

I first want to tell the reader that only non-muslim prisoners of war could become slaves in islam (therefore slavery was doomed to disappear with the expansion of Islam). It’s important to know that slaves in islam had the same right to respect and good treatment like any other human being.,I shall show and proof the reader that the raping of female slaves is forbidden in islam, rather islam gave men the permission to have sexual intercourse with their slave-girl and this did certainly not mean that muslim men could rape their female slaves (female prisoners of war),since Allah swt and the prophet (saw) command muslim men to treat their slave girls well and with respect and dignity.

  • Does Islam allows Muslim males to rape Female captives.
  • Status of Slave women in Islam
  • What about the Female slaves who were married.
  • The Non-Muslim Perspective
  • Quran4:24 refutation
  • Pagan slave women are unlawful for their masters.

Does Islam allows Muslim males to rape female captives?

Ali reported that the last words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, were: The prayer! The prayer! Fear Allah concerning your slaves!” (Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 158.)

Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,advised that slaves should be well-treated. He said, ‘Feed them from what you eat and clothe them from what you wear. Do not punish what Allah has created.’ (Source:Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari ,Nr.188.)

Sallam ibn ‘Amr reported from one of the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,“Your slaves are your brothers, so treat him well. Ask for their help in what is too much for you and help them in what is too much for them.” (Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 190.)

Status of Slave women in Islam.

In spite of this social fact, Islam was the first religion to recognize slavery as a social illness that needed to be addressed. Since slavery was deeply rooted in the society, Islam did not aboliswereh it at once. Rather, Islam treated slavery in the same manner it treated other social illnesses.

Arrange the marriage of the spouseless among you, and the capable from among your bondmen and bondwomen.”(Qur’an 24:32)

Narrated Abu Musa: Allah’s Messenger said, “He who has a slave-girl and educates and treats her nicely and then manumits and marries her, will get a double reward.”
(SahihBukhari, Book 46,Hadith 720)

The Prophet (ﷺ) forbade taking the earnings of a slave girl by prostitution.(Sahih Bukhari, Book 68, Hadith 93)

Hilal b. Yasaf reported that a person got angry and slapped his slave-girl. Thereupon Suwaid b. Muqarrin said to him: You could find no other part (to slap) but the prominent part of her face. See I was one of the seven sons of Muqarrin, and we had but only one slave-girl. The youngest of us slapped her, and Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) commanded us to set her free.(Sahih Muslim, Book 27, Hadith 50)

What about the female slaves who were married?

A woman is taken as a captive and she must be taken care of according to Islamic teachings about slaves, but she remains unlawful for her master and anyone else except her husband. This could have not been the case if slave-women were to be used as “sex objects.”

Muhammad bin al-Hasan al-Shaybani – the student of Abu Hanifa, the Imam- said:

“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.”(Kitab Al-Siyar Al-Saghir- The Shorter Book on Muslim International Law- Translated by Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi, Islamic Research Institute, Islamabad,1998 p.51)


On the attitude of Muslim master with his slaves, Will Durant says,“…he handled them with a genial humanity that made their lot no worse – perhaps better, as more secure – than that of a factory worker in nineteenth-century Europe.”Source: Hurgronje C., Mohammedanism, (N.Y., 1916), p. 128 as quoted by W. Durant, The Story of Civilization, vol. IV (N.Y., 1950), p. 209.

At the end of the 18th century, Mouradgea d’Ohsson (a main source of information for the Western writers on the Ottoman empire) declared:

“There is perhaps no nation where the captives, the slaves, the very toilers in the galleys are better provided for or treated with more kindness than among the Muhammedans.” Source: As quoted in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol.I, p. 35.

L Riviere writes:

“A master was enjoined to make his slave share the bounties he received from God. It must be recognised that, in this respect, the Islamic teaching acknowledged such a respect for human personality and showed a sense of equality which is searched for in vain in ancient civilization”Source: Riviere P.L., Revue Bleaue (June 1939).

(Quran 4:24) REFUTATION.

The verse (Q. 4:24) was revealed in relation to the battle of Hunayn, where the Hawazin and Thaqifites prepared with their people to attack the Muslim community. Husbands and wives came to this battle to annihilate the Muslim community.

In this article we are not going to go over Surah 4:24’s historical time of revelation, as we have dealt with this great detail here: “What Happened to the Captive Women In Awtas Incident?

The Hadith reports used for this claim are the following :

Narrated Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri: “On the Day of Awtas, we captured some women who had husbands among the idolaters. So some of the men disliked that, so Allah, Most High, revealed: And women already married, except those whom your right hands possess… (4:24)” (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 5, Book 44, Hadith 3016, (Sahih Darussalam)

From the above reports, critics have deduced that Muhammed’s warriors had sexual intercourse with women in “presence” of their husbands.

Although the Hadith may appear to say that sexual relations occurred, however, when we consult the other reports we find that this did not take place.

How do we know that the husbands weren’t with the women? Well, there are several ways to find out that they weren’t there with the women.

Report mention that the warrior-men all dispersed (Ibn Ishaq):

“Muhammad bin ‘Ali narrated: “When It Was The Day of Awtas, the (disbeleiver) Men Fled to the Mountains and their women were taken as captives.” (Ahkam al-Qur’an, Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiyya, Beirut, 1994 volume 2 page 173)

There are several more reports that show that no men were in the custody of Muhammed (p), those captured, since all the men fled. When the Hawazin delegations came to ask for their people back, the only people in the Prophet Muhammed’s custody were women, children, sheep and camels (Ibn Ishaq):

“Then a deputation from Hawazin came to him in al-Ji’rana where he held 6,000 women And Children and sheep and camels innumerable which had been captured from them. Amr b. Shu’ayb from his father from his grandfather Abdullah b. Amr said that the deputation from Hawazin came to the apostle after they had accepted Islam, saying that the disaster which had befallen them was well known and asking him to have pity on them for God’s sake. …”(The Life Of Muhammad – A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and Notes by A Guillaume [Oxford university Press, Seventeenth Impression 2004], page 592)

Furthermore, here are more authentic Hadith reports which clearly mention that the “captives” were not distributed, but set free:

Sunan Abi Dawud:

“Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar: While he (Umar) was observing i’tikaf (in the sacred mosque), the people uttered (loudly): “Allah is most great.” He said: What is this, Abdullah? He said:THESE ARE THE CAPTIVES OF THE HAWAZIN WHOM THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH HAS SET FREE. He said: This slave-girl too? He sent her along with them.” (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 13, Hadith 2469, Sahih Albani)

“Narrated Marwan and Al-Miswar bin Makhrama: When the delegates of the tribe of Hawazin came to the Prophet and they requested him to return their properties and captives. The Prophet stood up and said to them, “I have other people with me in this matter (as you see) and the most beloved statement to me is the true one; you may choose either the properties or the prisoners as I have DELAYED THEIR DISTRIBUTION.” The Prophet had waited for them for more than ten days since his arrival from Ta’if. So, when it became evident to them that the Prophet was not going to return them except one of the two, they said, “WE CHOOSE OUR PRISONERS.” The Prophet got up amongst the people and glorified and praised Allah as He deserved and said, “Then after, these brethren of yours have come to us with repentance, and I SEE IT LOGICAL TO RETURN THEM THE CAPTIVES. So, whoever amongst you likes to do that as a favor, then he can do it, and whoever of you likes to stick to his share till we recompense him from the very first war booty which Allah will give us, then he can do so (i.e. give up the present captives).” THE PEOPLE UNANIMOUSLY SAID, “WE DO THAT (RETURN THE CAPTIVES) WILLINGLY.” The Prophet said, “We do not know which of you has agreed to it and which have not, so go back and let your leaders forward us your decision.” So, all the people then went back and discussed the matter with their leaders who returned and informed the Prophet that all the people had willingly given their consent to return the captives. This is what has reached us about the captives of Hawazin. Narrated Anas that `Abbas said to the Prophet, “I paid for my ransom and `Aqil’s ransom.” (Sahih Bukhari volume 3, Book 46, Hadith 716)


Further, not all slave-women are lawful for their masters. Just like Islam does not allow Muslim men to marry pagan women i.e. those who are neither Muslims nor from the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) it does not allow Muslim men to have physical intimacy with pagan slave-women.

Though such slave-women will be taken care for their general needs but they will be unlawful for their masters unless they become Muslims or follow another Abrahamic faith.

Al-‘Ayni (d. 855 A.H.) writes: “The imams with ruling have agreed that it is not permissible to have intercourse with pagan (slave-women),” (‘Umdatul Qari, Dar al-Ahya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, n.d. vol.7 p. 103)

This is further evidence that slave-master relationship that makes physical intimacy lawful is in many ways akin to marriage.

In fact there are many others rules related to marriage that apply to this relation like combining two sisters or close relatives in this relation. For this reason Muslim jurists state;

“ … Intercourse with the slave-woman is (in certain ways) like the marriage contract.” (Al Mausu’ah Al Fiqhiyyah Al Kuwaitiyah. vol.11 p.300)

And this is the reason why the “imams of ruling” have sought evidence against intercourse with slave-women with the following rule mentioned in the Book of Allah;

وَلَا تَنْكِحُوا الْمُشْرِكَاتِ حَتَّى يُؤْمِنَّ

“Do not marry (la tankihu) the polytheist women, unless they come to believe (in Islam);” (Qur’an 2:221)

Therefore, once again we have a point; had the purpose been free “use” of women there was no reason to make pagan slave-women who are so much averse to Islam in their beliefs as unlawful for Muslim men.