It is against Islam to rape Muslim women, but Muhammad actually encouraged the rape of others captured in battle. This hadith provides the context for the Qur’anic verse (4:24):
Actually, as the hadith indicates, it wasn’t Muhammad, but “Allah the Exalted” who told the men to rape the women in front of their husbands – which is all the more reason to think of Islam differently from other religions.
Note also that the husbands of these unfortunate victims were obviously alive after battle. This is important because it flatly contradicts those apologists who like to argue that the women Muhammad enslaved were widowed and thus unable to fend for themselves. (Even if the apologists were right, what sort of a moral code is it that forces a widow to choose between being raped and starving?)
There are several other episodes in which Muhammad is offered the clear opportunity to disavow raping women – yet he instead offers advice on how to proceed. In one case, his men were reluctant to devalue their new slaves for later resale by getting them pregnant. Muhammad was asked about coitus interruptus in particular:
As indicated, the prophet of Islam did not mind his men raping the women, provided they ejaculated within the bodies of their victims.
As one might imagine, Muhammad’s obvious approval of raping women captured in battle and his own personal participation as recorded in many places is of intense inconvenience to the Muslim apologists of our time. For this reason, some of them attempt to explain away these many episodes and Qur’anic references to sex with captives by pretending that these are cases in which women have fled bad marriages and sought refuge with the Muslims. Some apologists even refer to them as “wives,” even though the Qur’an makes a clear distinction between “those whom thy right hand possesses” and true wives (see Sura 33:50).
Beyond the desperation of the 21st century apologist however, there is absolutely nothing in the historical text that supports this rosy revision of Muslim history. The women of the Banu Mustaliq were sold into slavery following their rape:
In fact, female slaves were traded like any other simple commodity by Muhammad and his band of devoted followers:
Is it Islamic to sell one’s wife for horses? Clearly these were not wives!
More importantly, by definition a “captured” woman is not one who is fleeing her husband. She is fleeing her captor (ie. the Muslim slave raider). This hadith describes a typical raid, in which the women and children are captured as they are attempting to flee the attacking Muslims:
The Muslim narrator sees the women trying to escape (following the massacre of their men) and cuts off their route by shooting an arrow into their path. These aren’t women trying to seek refuge with the Muslims. They are trying to avoid capture by the Muslims.
The same hadith goes on to recount that Muhammad personally demanded one of the captured women for his own use:
The prophet of Islam and his companions used war to collect women for personal sexual use and for trading. Unless she was arbitrarily declared as someone’s wife, the woman became a sex slave. In no case was her fate tied to anything that she had personally done, nor was she given a choice about her future.