128160: Does a slave woman become free if her master marries her? From IslamQA


Does a slave woman become free if her master marries her?.

Published Date: 2009-06-09
Praise be to Allaah.The scholars are unanimously agreed that it is not permissible for the master to marry his slave woman, because the contract of ownership is stronger than the contract of marriage, and it contains all the same conditions as the marriage contract and more. It is permissible for him to marry the slave woman of another man if the conditions of that are fulfilled

Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

The master does not have the right to marry his slave woman because ownership makes him entitled to benefit (from what he owns) and intimacy, so it cannot be combined with a contract that is weaker than it. If he becomes his wife’s owner and she is a slave woman, her marriage contract is annulled; the same applies if a woman becomes the owner of her husband, her marriage contract is annulled. We do not know of any difference of opinion among the scholars concerning this. End quote.

Al-Mughni, 7/527

In his commentary on the verse (interpretation of the meaning): “And whoever of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those (slaves) whom your right hands possess” [al-Nisa’ 4:25], al-Qurtubi said:

the words “those (slaves) whom your right hands possess” mean: let him marry the slave woman of another. There is no difference of opinion among the scholars that it is not permissible for him to marry his own slave woman, because of the conflict of rights. End quote.

al-Jaami’ li Ahkaam al-Qur’aan, 5/139

Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) said:

It is haraam for a slave to marry his mistress [owner] according to scholarly consensus, because there is a contradiction between her being his mistress and him being her husband, because each of them come under different rulings.

It is haraam for a master to marry his slave woman, because the contract of ownership is stronger than the contract of marriage, and a contract cannot be combined with one that is weaker than it. End quote.

Al-Mulakhkhas al-Fiqhi, 2/344

To sum up: a marriage contract cannot be done between a master and his slave woman; she remains his possession and under his ownership and she does not become free thereby.

If a man wants to marry his slave woman, then he must manumit her first so that she will become free, then he may marry her.

The Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are three who will be given a double reward: a man from among the people of the Book who believed in his Prophet, then lived to see the Prophet (S) and followed him and believed in him– he will have a double reward; and a slave who fulfils his duty towards Allaah and towards his master – he will have a double reward; and a man who had a slave woman whom he fed and fed her well, and taught her and taught her well, then he set her free and married her – he will have a double reward”

narrated by al-Bukhaari (97) and Muslim (154).

And Allaah knows best.

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7 Responses to 128160: Does a slave woman become free if her master marries her? From IslamQA

  1. θ says:

    “Article says: It is haraam for a master to marry his slave woman, because the contract of ownership is stronger than the contract of marriage, and a contract cannot be combined with one that is weaker than it. End quote. Al-Mulakhkhas al-Fiqhi, 2/344”

    Indeed it is wrong to consummate a slave without marrying her.

    Manumission (freedom from slavery) of woman is accepted in Islam as a valid property-less dowry of marriage.
    Bukhari 7:62:23
    Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle manumitted Safiyya and regarded her manumission as her Mahr.

    Bukhari 2:14:68
    Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle offered the Fajr prayer when it was still dark, then he rode and said, Allah Akbar, Khaibar is ruined. When we approach near to a nation, the most unfortunate is the morning of those who have been warned. The people came out into the streets saying, Muhammad and his army. Allah’s Apostle vanquished them by force and their warriors were killed; the children and women were taken as captives. Safiya was taken by Dihya Al-Kalbi and later she belonged to Allah’s Apostle go who married her ‘and her Mahr was her manumission.

    Bukhari 5:59:513
    Narrated ‘Abdul ‘Aziz bin Suhaib: Anas bin Malik said, The Prophet took Safiya as a captive. He manumitted her and married her. Thabit asked Anas, What did he give her as Mahr (i.e. marriage gift)? Anas replied. Her Mahr was herself, for he manumitted her.

    Bukhari 7:62:98
    Narrated Anas: Allah’s Apostle manumitted Safiyya and then married her, and her Mahr was her manumission, and he gave a wedding banquet with Hais (a sort of sweet dish made from butter, cheese and dates).

  2. madmanna says:

    “Indeed it is wrong to consummate a slave without marrying her.”

    No, the writer says the opposite. The islamic slavemaster has the right to sex, and whatever else he wants to do with the slave, without marriage.

    “The master does not have the right to marry his slave woman because ownership makes him entitled to benefit (from what he owns) and intimacy, so it cannot be combined with a contract that is weaker than it.”

    It is haram for him to exchange a stronger contract for a weaker one.

  3. θ says:

    It is essential for any woman, both free and slave, to give her consent before being consummated.
    There’s no Hadith that may otherwise exclude a female slave from giving the consent for her sexual life.
    If an underage girl is betrothed thru permission of her father, she will be asked of her consent for marriage after reaching her puberty.

    Moreover, Qur’an makes it obligation to marry the slaves:
    Qur’anic verses Q.24, v.32, Q.4, v.24-25, and Q.5, v.5 consistently make impossible for Moslems to have concubines.
    In Q.24, v.32 Allah plainly commands us Moslems to put all slaves into the marriage. Then how could it possibly leave any unmarried slave or any concubine in entire Moslem household?

    Qur’an makes it normally impossible for the normal Moslem men to have any non-marital sex with the female slaves per Q.24, v.32 as the slaves have to be protected by their marriage.

    Q.24, v.32 And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.

  4. madmanna says:

    Not your own slaves, as the article makes clear.

    First the man has to buy and then he can marry. But if he buys he has bought all rights so the marriage makes no sense.

  5. θ says:

    “madmanna says: Not your own slaves, as the article makes clear. First the man has to buy and then he can marry. But if he buys he has bought all rights so the marriage makes no sense.”

    Slaves can be given to a poor man as a gift from someone, not necessarily as a bought one.

    It is idiotic if not silly to have a ruling of liberating a female slave before marrying her if her master were permitted to rape her.

  6. madmanna says:

    24 v 32
    And marry those who are single among you, and the righteous among your male slaves and your female slaves.

    This is the law of what choices are available. Obviously it cannot be taken literally as a command otherwise it would be legalizing gay marriage and marriage to both sexes at the same time!

    So if a man wants to marry a slave if she has been used as a sex slave this would be reflected in the price.

  7. θ says:

    For an exceptional condition, Qur’an Q.24, v.33 gives an exceptional way out as well. It gives a permission of living in temporal celibacy for those singles (free and slave) who cannot afford to have any spouse by reason of circumstances, such as a shortage of woman. Other option is the giving of immediate freedom for the single slaves.

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