The rights of Muslim men over female prisoners of war according to Islam QA

20085: Intercourse with female prisoners of war


At the present time, is it Halal to have a sexual intercourse with your Loundi (a female prisoner of war) without getting married to her?.

Published Date: 2004-05-30
Praise be to Allaah.  It is not permissible for a man to have intercourse with anyone except his wife or his female slave (concubine). A wife becomes permissible after shar’i marriage and a concubine becomes permissible to the man who owns her. She may originally be a prisoner of war, and a Muslim may obtain a concubine from the ruler or commander if he took part in fighting in jihad, or if he buys her from her owner. She becomes permissible for him by virtue of his ownership after it is established that she is not pregnant by waiting for one menstrual cycle, or until she has given birth if she is pregnant.

Allaah 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, ـــ for then, they are free from blame”

[al-Mu’minoon 23:5-6]

It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, concerning the prisoners of Awtaas: “Do not have intercourse with a pregnant woman until she gives birth, or with one who is not pregnant until she has menstruated once.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2157. This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 187.

In the answer to question no. 10382 we have stated that Islam permits a man to have intercourse with his slave woman whether he has one or more wives or he is not married.

In the answers to questions no. 5707 and 12562 it states that female prisoners of war may be distributed by the commander in jihad, because he has the choice of either distributing them, or ransoming them or setting them free.

5707: The difference between slaves and prostitutes


I’ve heard that it is allowed for men to have intercourse with their slaves. Does that stand for women too, & if men can have intercourse with their slaves (the ones they have bought) then why is it so much ill thought of the prostitutes…they too are, kind of bought at others will, for shorter time period perhaps. Can you make all this clear & why is it so that Islam did not stop slavery….they are humans as well, & are against their will kept in captivity & against their will may be forced into intercourse?

Published Date: 2000-01-27

Praise be to Allaah.

Slavery in Islam was originally prescribed because of Kufr. If there is jihaad between the Muslims and the kuffaar, and a number of kuffaar are taken prisoner, the commander is given the choice of sharing them out, doing them a favour (by releasing them) or paying their ransom. If they are shared out as part of the booty, they become slaves, subject to the laws governing products which may be sold. But at the same time, Islam urges the freeing of slaves and makes doing so an act of expiation for numerous sins. In principle, slavery is not something that is desirable; what is encouraged in Islam is the freeing of slaves. If a woman is enslaved according to sharee’ah, it is permissible for her master to have intercourse with her. This is unlike prostitution or zinaa, which Islam has forbidden as a precaution against mixing lineages and other reasons for which it is forbidden. There is no comparison between the two, because if a slave woman becomes pregnant, the child belongs to the master and she becomes free when he dies, because she has become the mother of the master’s child (umm walad), and is subject to the same rulings as a wife. And Allaah knows best.

12562: What is a “right hand servant”? Does the owner of a “right hand servant” have to be married?


What is a right hand servant? Do you have to be married to have one? How can you finalize it and get one and state this person as your right hand servant?.

Published Date: 2002-09-12
Praise be to Allaah.  Firstly:

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 Allaah 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 Allaah and His Messenger. If Allaah enables the Muslims who are striving and sacrificing their lives and their wealth and all that Allaah has given them to make the word of Allaah 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), such as the expiation for accidental killing, zihaar (a jaahili 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.

Secondly:

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.

Thirdly:

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 Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say on the day of Hunayn: “It is not permissible for any man who believes in Allaah 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 Allaah 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 Allaah 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.

For more information see question no. 26067

And Allaah knows best.

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One Response to The rights of Muslim men over female prisoners of war according to Islam QA

  1. θ says:

    Female slave has the right to leave her former husband or return back to him.
    Tabaqat, 8:1554; Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 140.
    Ibn Abbas narrated: Muhammad proposed to Safiyya Bint Bashama Ibn Nadhla al-`Anbari, who was taken captive. The Messenger of God gave her the choice and said, Whom do you desire: me or your husband? She said, Nay, my husband, So he sent her away and Banu Tamim cursed her.

    Permission to marry the female prisoners of war with a dowry (such as garment) by her consent. Marriage is not a rapeing nor a fornication:
    Q.5, v.87. O you who believe, Make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, but commit no transgression.
    Bukhari, Vol 7, Book 62, Hadith 130.
    Narrated Abdullah: We used to participate in the holy battles led by Allah’s Apostle and we had nothing (no wives) with us. So we said: Shall we get ourselves castrated? He forbade us that and then allowed us to *marry* women with a temporary contract and recited to us: O you who believe, Make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, but commit no transgression.
    Arabic: An nankiha almar-atan (to marry a woman).
    Bukhari, Vol 7, Book 62, Hadith 139.
    Narrated Abdullah: We used to participate in the holy wars carried on by the Prophet and we had no women (wives) with us. So we said: Shall we castrate ourselves? But the Prophet forbade us to do that and thenceforth he allowed us to *marry* a woman by giving her even a garment, and then he recited: O you who believe! Do not make unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you.
    Arabic: An natazawwaja almar-atan (to marry a woman).

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