Does Islam Permit Muslim Men to Rape Their Slave Girls?


Bassam Zawadi

Some argue that since Islam permits Muslim men to have sexual intercourse with their slave girls, this then means that they also have the right to rape them.

This is absurd. The right to have sex with a woman does not necessarily imply that one has the right to rape her as well. To say that a Muslim man has the right to rape his slave girl is like saying that a man has the right to rape his wife; which is not true. Refer to this article.

Rape in Islam is completely forbidden. See this and this.

Imam Maalik said: 

الأمر عندنا في الرجل يغتصب المرأة بكراً كانت أو ثيبا : أنها إن كانت حرة : فعليه صداق مثلها , وإن كانت أمَة : فعليه ما نقص من ثمنها ، والعقوبة في ذلك على المغتصب ، ولا عقوبة على المغتصبة في ذلك كله

In our view, the man who rapes a woman, regardless of whether she is a virgin or not, if she is a free woman he, must pay a "dowry" like that of her peers, and if she is a slave, he must pay whatever has been detracted from her value. The punishment is to be carried out on the rapist , and there is no punishment for the woman who has been raped, whatever the case.  (Imam Maalik, Al-Muwatta', Volume 2, page 734)

Imam Al Shaafi'i said:

وإذا اغتصب الرجل الجارية ثم وطئها بعد الغصب وهو من غير أهل الجهالة أخذت منه الجارية والعقر وأقيم عليه حد الزنا

"If a man acquires by force a slave-girl, then has sexual intercourse with her after he acquires her by force, and if he is not excused by ignorance, then the slave-girl will be taken from him, he is required to pay the fine, and he will receive the punishment for illegal sexual intercourse.(Imam Al Shaafi'i, Kitaabul Umm, Volume 3, page 253)

Notice that both of these top classical scholars have stated that a man is to be punished for raping a slave girl. Of course, this is not our ultimate proof that Islam forbids rape, but this is to show that the early classical scholars surely did not understand Islam to be teaching it.

In a narration (whose authenticity is in question due to the status of the narrator Harun bin al-Asam) from Sunan Al Bayhaqi, Volume 2, page 363, Hadith no. 18685 we read the following story:  

Abu al-Hussain bin al-Fadhl al-Qatan narrated from Abdullah bin Jaffar bin Darestweh from Yaqub bin Sufyan from al-Hassab bin Rabee from Abdullah bin al-Mubarak from Kahmas from Harun bin Al-Asam who said: Umar bin al-Khatab may Allah be pleased with him sent Khalid bin al-Walid in an army, hence Khalid sent Dharar bin al-Auwzwar in a squadron and they invaded a district belonging to the tribe of Bani Asad. They then captured a pretty bride, Dharar liked her hence he asked his companions to grant her to him and they did so. He then had sexual intercourse with her, when he completed his mission he felt guilty, and went to Khalid and told him about what he did. Khalid said: 'I permit you and made it lawful to you.' He said: 'No not until you write a message to Umar'. (Then they sent a message to Umar) and Umar answered that he (Dharar) should be stoned. By the time Umar's message was delivered, Dharar was dead. (Khalid) said: 'Allah didn't want to disgrace Dharar'

Notice that Umar ibn Al Khattab (the second caliph) ordered the man who captured the slave girl and had sex with her to be stoned for this crime, for he took the slave girl unjustly.

Do these critics who raise these arguments know Islam better than Umar ibn al Khattab?

We anticipate what our opponents might say in response. They will say that the scholars whom I just cited and the story of Umar ibn Al Khattab only refer to someone who raped a slave girl who did not belong to him; however, one may rape the slave girl that is his property. Even though the story in Sunan Al Bayhaqi makes it clear that the man had sex with the girl after possessing her, we will accept this response only for the sake of argument.

It is nonsense to suggest that one could rape the slave girl he possesses because the Prophet (peace be upon him) warned us that we must take good care of those under our authority:

"There is no person to whom Allaah has given people to take care of, and he fails to take care of them properly, but he will not smell the fragrance of Paradise." (Saheeh Bukhari no. 6731; Saheeh Muslim, no. 142)

'Umar ibn al-Ahwas (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that he heard the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say during his Farewell Pilgrimage:

"Verily, you have rights over your women, and your women have rights over you. As for your rights over your women, they are that they should not allow anyone to sit on your beds whom you dislike, or allow anyone into your houses whom you dislike. Verily, their rights over you are that you should treat them well with regard to their clothing and food." (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 1163, and Ibn Maajah, 1851).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) made it clear that we shouldn't harm slaves:

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 1, Book 2, Number 29

Narrated Al-Ma'rur: At Ar-Rabadha I met Abu Dhar who was wearing a cloak, and his slave, too, was wearing a similar one. I asked about the reason for it. He replied, "I abused a person by calling his mother with bad names."  The Prophet said to me, 'O Abu Dhar! Did you abuse him by calling his mother with bad names You still have some characteristics of ignorance. Your slaves are your brothers and Allah has put them under your command. So whoever has a brother under his command should feed him of what he eats and dress him of what he wears. Do not ask them (slaves) to do things beyond their capacity (power) and if you do so, then help them.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that our slaves are like our siblings. Who would rape his own sister?

The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade causing physical harm to slaves:

Saheeh Muslim

            Book 015, Number 4082:

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 (may peace be upon him) commanded us to set her free.

Book 015, Number 4086

Abu Mas'ud al-Badri reported: "I was beating my slave with a whip when I heard a voice behind me: Understand, Abu Masud; but I did not recognise the voice due to intense anger. He (Abu Mas'ud) reported: As he came near me (I found) that he was the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and he was saying: Bear in mind, Abu Mas'ud; bear in mind. Abu Mas'ud. He (Aba Maslad) said: threw the whip from my hand. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Bear in mind, Abu Mas'ud; verily Allah has more dominance upon you than you have upon your slave. I (then) said: I would never beat my servant in future.

If the Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade slapping and whipping slaves then it's unthinkable that he would have permitted raping them. It just makes no sense.

Thus, our argument is as follows:

- The Prophet (peace be upon him) has prohibited causing harm to and oppressing those under our authority.

- Rape is causing harm to someone and is considered a form of oppression

- If the critic says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) made an exception to this general prohibition by allowing one to rape his slave girl, the burden of proof is upon him to show evidence for this exception.

- If he is not able to show evidence for this exception, then we must assume that the Prophet's (peace be upon him) general command is upheld, thus proving that Islam forbids one to rape his slave girl.

Critics would reply and say that it's unthinkable that slave girls back then would have willingly consented to having sex with their Muslim captors who had just killed their family members. They would usually point to the specific example of Banu Al-Mustaliq.

The narration states:

Sahih al-Bukhari 4138 -Narrated Ibn Muhairiz: I entered the mosque and saw Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri and sat beside him and asked him about Al-Azl (i.e., coitus interruptus). Abu Sa'id said, "We went out with Allah's Messenger for the Ghazwa of Banu Al-Mustaliq, and we received captives from among the Arab captives and we desired women and celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interruptus. So, when we intended to do coitus interruptus, we said, 'How can we do coitus interruptus without asking Allah's Messenger while he is present among us?' We asked (him) about it and he said, 'It is better for you not to do so. There is no person that is destined to exist, but will come to existence, till the Day of Resurrection.'" (Sahih Bukhari, no. 4138)

Here, the critic's argument goes something like this:

- The Islamic traditions show that Muslims had sex with their slave girls

- According to my subjective logic, it is inconceivable that slave girls would consent to having sex with the captors who had just killed members of their tribe

- In conclusion, the Islamic traditions show that Muslims raped their slave girls

These critics are ignorant of history, for slave girls did consent to have sex with their captors back in the past.

John McClintock said:

Women who followed their father and husbands to the war put on their finest dresses and ornaments previous to an engagement, in the hope of finding favor in the eyes of their captors in case of a defeat. (John McClintock, James Strong, "Cyclopوdia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature" [Harper & Brothers, 1894], p. 782)

Matthew B. Schwartz said:

The Book of Deuteronomy prescribes its own rules for the treatment of women captured in war [ Deut 21:10-14 ] . Women have always followed armies to do the soldiers' laundry, to nurse the sick and wounded, and to serve as prostitutes

They would often dress in such a way as to attract the soldiers who won the battle. The Bible recognizes the realities of the battle situation in its rules on how to treat female captives, though commentators disagree on some of the details.

The biblical Israelite went to battle as a messenger of God. Yet he could also, of course, be caught up in the raging tide of blood and violence. The Western mind associates prowess, whether military or athletic, with sexual success.

The pretty girls crowd around the hero who scores the winning touchdown, not around the players of the losing team. And it is certainly true in war: the winning hero "attracts" the women. (Matthew B. Schwartz, Kalman J. Kaplan, "The Fruit of Her Hands: The Psychology of Biblical Women" [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2007] , pp. 146-147)

Thus, we see from two non-Muslim authors that slave girls back in the past would consent to having sex with their captors. So, if we put aside our 21st-century mindset and look at history objectively, there is nothing wrong with saying that slave girls back then consented to have sex with their captors.

One might object to the fact that the above authors are only speaking about the Israelite era. However, that is not a good response. The idea of the possibility of slave girls willingly having sex with their captors is not absurd. Thus, one is required to provide proof that those slave girls who had sex with their Muslim captors did not consent. This is especially because 1) It was possible for slave girls back in the past to consent to have sex with their captors, and 2) Muslims were prohibited from harming their slave girls.

If the critic says that not all of the slave girls felt this way, and there were bound to be some who didn't want to have sex, I would agree with him. However, how does this prove that the Muslims raped their slave girls? How does the critic know whether the Muslim back then actually raped the slave girl who was unwilling to have sex with him? Isn't it possible that if he saw her unwilling, he would have sold her to another Muslim at a cheaper price? Or would he have purchased another slave girl who was willing to have sex with him? Or he would have waited for her to consent, for by that time, he would have treated her very nicely and convinced her that Islam is true and that it was her tribe's fault for starting the battle, etc. Yes, these things are possible.

How does the critic know that none of these things happened? What is his proof that the Muslims raped their slave girls?

The narration doesn't show:

- How many Muslim captors decided to go through with having sex with the slave girls?

- How many women actually ended up having sex with their Muslim captors?

Most importantly, whether any slave girls were raped

Even if the critic is successful in showing that the Muslims raped them, what is his proof that this was approved by the Prophet (peace be upon him)? It's possible that Muslims committed sins back then and disobeyed the Prophet (peace be upon him). So where could the critic show us the Prophet (peace be upon him) approving of such behavior?

He cannot and I challenge him to.

Another narration that the critics appeals to is this:

Sunan Abu Dawud

Volume 2, Number 2150

Abu Said al-Khudri said: The apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain.  They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Quranic verse, 'And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess'.  That is to say, they are lawful for them when they complete their waiting period.

The critics would argue that no slave girl would consent to having sexual intercourse in the presence of her husband.

However, this is a completely false translation of the hadith. The words "in the presence of" are no where to be found in the Arabic text.

The full Arabic text (found here) states:

‏حدثنا ‏ ‏عبيد الله بن عمر بن ميسرة ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏يزيد بن زريع ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏سعيد ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏قتادة ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏صالح أبي الخليل ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي علقمة الهاشمي ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي سعيد الخدري ‏

‏أن رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏بعث يوم ‏ ‏حنين ‏ ‏بعثا ‏ ‏إلى ‏ ‏أوطاس ‏ ‏فلقوا عدوهم فقاتلوهم فظهروا عليهم وأصابوا لهم ‏ ‏سبايا ‏ ‏فكأن أناسا من ‏ ‏أصحاب رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏تحرجوا من ‏ ‏غشيانهن ‏ ‏من أجل أزواجهن من المشركين فأنزل الله تعالى في ذلك ‏

‏أي فهن لهم حلال إذا انقضت عدتهن

If the reader does not know how to read Arabic, let him bring someone who does and ask him whether he can point out to him the words "in the presence of." He won't be able to. The translation in Saheeh Muslim seems more accurate:

Saheeh Muslim

Book 008, Number 3432:

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (Allah her pleased with him) reported that at the Battle of Hunain Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent an army to Autas and encountered the enemy and fought with them. Having overcome them and taken them captives, the Companions of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) seemed to refrain from having intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists. Then Allah, Most High, sent down regarding that:" And women already married, except those whom your right hands possess (iv. 24)" (i. e. they were lawful for them when their 'Idda period came to an end).

So here we see that the Muslim soldiers were feeling uncomfortable with engaging in sexual intercourse with women who were already married. However, the verse was revealed, saying that it is permissible to engage in sexual intercourse with slave girls even if they are married.

Imam Al Tabari, in his commentary on Surah 4:24, cites several of the companions and second-generation Muslims stating that the marriage of a woman is annulled after she has been captured and enslaved. 

Imam Nawawi, in his commentary on this hadith, states:

فإنه ينفسخ نكاح زوجها الكافر

It (i.e., to come to own a slave girl) annuls the marriage between her and her disbeliever husband. (Imam Nawawi, Sharh Saheeh Muslim, Kitab: Al Ridaa', Bab: Jawaaz Wati' Al Missbiyyah Ba'd Al Istibraa' wa en Kaana laha Zawj Infasakh, Commentary on Hadith no. 2643, Source)

Thus, we see that in the eyes of Islam, this marriage becomes invalid (some opinions, like that of the Hanafi school, state that other conditions are required for the annulment to occur). The critic would argue back, stating, "What gives your religion the right?" but that is not the point of discussion. This is an external critique of Islam, and the basis for this discussion really isn't about this topic in particular but about whether Islam really is true and whether this is God's decree. To debate the specifics is just useless. The Muslim sees this decree as internally consistent and submits to God's law, stating that action x results in a divorce.

One might shout out to the Christian as well, "What gives your Bible the right to declare a woman an adulteress if she happened to marry a man who divorced her by not following the proper procedures (Matthew 5:2)?" The Christian really has nothing to say except the fact that he believes that this is God's decree and submits to it. He believes that God has the power and right to determine how divorce should occur (e.g., what conditions are valid for divorce) and submits to them. Well, the Muslim says the same thing in this regard.

Imam Nawawi goes on to say:

واعلم أن مذهب الشافعي ومن قال بقوله من العلماء أن المسبية من عبدة الأوثان وغيرهم من الكفار الذين لا كتاب لهم لا يحل وطؤها بملك اليمين حتى تسلم فما دامت على دينها فهي محرمة , فهؤلاء المسبيات كن من مشركي العرب عبدة الأوثان , فيؤول هذا الحديث وشبهه على أنهن أسلمن , وهذا التأويل لا بد منه والله أعلم

And know that the school of thought of Al Shafi'i and who agreed with him from amongst the scholars have stated that the idol worshipper and those whom have no religious book cannot be approached for sexual intercourse unless they convert to Islam first. As long as they are following their religion they are forbidden to approach. These slave girls (i.e. in the particular narration) are idol worshippers. This hadith and whatever resembles it must be interpreted as implying that the slave girls accepted Islam. There is no other choice but to interpret the hadiths this way and Allah knows best. (Ibid)

So here we see that a great number of scholars have argued that just as Muslims are forbidden to marry idol worshippers, they are forbidden as well from engaging in sexual intercourse with idol worshipping slave girls. In order to engage in the sexual act, the Muslim must wait for the slave girl to convert to Islam and in Islam there is no shred of evidence whatsoever that the Muslim can force or compel his slave girl to convert to Islam.

We see cases in the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) where slave girls willingly prefer to accept Islam over returning to their tribe due to recognizing the truth of Islam and injustice of their own tribe for provoking the Muslims to war. The most famous case being that of Safiyyah, one of the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Furthermore, when analyzing the particular story mentioned in the hadith we see that no rape could have reasonably taken place.

Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri states:

The Enemy's March and their Encampment at Awtas

When Malik bin 'Awf - the general leader - decided to march and fight the Muslims, he made his countrypeople take their wealth, women and children with them to Awtas - which is a valley in Hawazin land and is quite near Hunain. It differs from Hunain in its being adjacent to Dhi-Al-Majaz which is around ten miles from Makkah in 'Arafat's direction. [Fath Al-Bari 8/27,42]

The War-experienced Man wrongs the Leader's Judgement

As soon as they had camped in Awtas, people crowded round Malik. The old sane Duraid bin As-Simmah, who was well-known as a war-experienced man, and who was among those who gathered round Malik, asked: "What valley are we in?" "In Awtas," they said. "What a good course it is for horses! It is neither a sharp pointed height nor a loosed soiled plain. What? Why do I hear camels' growling, the donkeys' braying, the children's cries and the sheep bleating?" asked Duraid. They said: "Malik bin 'Awf had made people bring their women, properties and children with them." So he called Malik and asked him what made him do such a thing. Malik said that his aim was to have everybody's family and properties around them so that they fight fiercely to protect them." "I swear by Allâh that you are nothing but a shepherd," answered Duraid, "Do you believe that there is anything whatsoever, can stand in the way of a defeated one or stop him from fleeing? If you win the battle you avail nothing but a man with a sword and a spear; but if you lose you will bring disgrace on your people and properties," then he resumed his talk and went on wondering about some septs and their leaders. "O Malik, thrusting the distinguished people of Hawazin into the battlefield will avail you nothing. Raise them up to where they can be safe. Then make the young people mount their horses and fight. If you win, those whom you tarried will follow you, but if you were the loser it would be a loss of a battle, but your kinsmen, people and properties would not be lost." (Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar): The Third StageSource)

So here we see that it was the disbeliever's fault for bringing their own women and children to the battlefield. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was not interested in invading their lands and taking their women, as it would be made clear as we read on:

A similar battalion of horsemen pursued the idolaters who threaded the track to Nakhlah and caught up with Duraid bin As-Simmah, who was killed by Rabi'a bin Rafi'. After collecting the booty, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] left for Ta'if to face the greatest number of the defeated idolaters. The booty was six thousand captives, twenty four thousand camels; over forty thousand sheep and four thousand silver ounces.

So, here we see that the Muslims were victorious and obtained an impressive amount of war booty.

Continuing on:

The Distribution of the Booty at Al-Ji'ranah

Upon returning and lifting the siege in Ta'if, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] had stayed over ten nights at Al-Ji'ranah before starting to distribute the booty. Distribution delay was due to the Prophet's hope that Hawazin's delegation might arrive and announce their repentance and consequently reclaim their loss. Seeing that none of them arrived, he started dividing the booty so as to calm down the tribes' chiefs and the celebrities of Makkah. The first to receive booty and the ones who obtained the greatest number of shares were the people who had recently embraced Islam.

Notice this crucial point. The Prophet (peace be upon him) intentionally delayed distributing the booty because he wanted the Hawazin to come back and surrender and then collect their lost war booty.

Notice how the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not eager to keep the women and have his men rape them, as some critics allege.

What happens next is amazing:

Arrival of the Hawazin Delegation

Hawazin's delegation arrived a Muslims just after the distribution of spoils. They were fourteen men headed by Zuhair bin Sard. The Messenger's foster uncle was one of them. They asked him to bestow upon them some of the wealth and spoils. They uttered so touching words that the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said to them: "You surely see who are with me. The most desirable speech to me is the most truthful. Which is dearer to you, your wealth or your women and children?" They replied: "Nothing whatsoever compares with kinship." Then when I perform the noon prayer, stand up and say: "We intercede with the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] to exhort the believers, and we intercede with the believers to exhort the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] to forego the captives of our people fallen to their lot." So when the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] performed the noon prayer, they stood up and said what they had been told to say. The Messenger [pbuh], then, said: "As for what belongs to me and to the children of Abdul Muttalib, you may consider them, from now on, yours. And I will ask my folksmen to give back theirs." Upon hearing that the Emigrants and the Helpers said: "What belongs to us is, from now on, offered to the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh]." But Al-Aqra' bin Habis said, "We will grant none of what belongs to me and to Bani Tamim,"; so did 'Uyaina bin Hisn, who said: "As for me and Bani Fazarah, I say 'No'." Al-'Abbas bin Mirdas also refused and said: "No" for Bani Saleem and him. His people, however, said otherwise: "Whatever spoils belong to us we offer to the Messenger of Allâh ([pbuh].)" "You have undermined my position." Said Al-'Abbas bin Mirdas spontaneously. Then the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said: "These people have come to you as Muslims. For this I have already tarried the distribution of the booty. Besides, I have granted them a fair option but they refused to have anything other than their women and children. Therefore he who has some of theirs and will prefer willingly to give them back, let them do. But those who favours to keep what he owns to himself, let them grant them back too, and he will be given as a recompense six times as much from the first booty that Allâh may provide us." People then said, "We will willingly offer them all for the sake of the Messenger of Allâh." The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said: "But in this way we are not able to find out who is content and who is not. So go back and we will be waiting for your chiefs to convey to us your decisions." All of them gave back the women and children. The only one who refused to comply with the Messenger's desire was 'Uyaina bin Hisn. He refused to let an old woman of theirs go back at first. Later on he let her go back. The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] gave every captive a garment as a gift.

Just look at the mercy of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Indeed, this is the true definition of the word "mercy." Mercy is only real when one is in power not to be merciful yet willingly decides to be, just as we see the Prophet (peace be upon him) do in this situation (and many other situations as well).

So here we see that the Muslims weren't raping savages but merciful human beings.

Thus, for this particular narration, we can conclude that:

-  Muslims are not permitted to engage in sexual intercourse with idol worshippers unless they convert to Islam first. Once they have converted to Islam, it would make their consenting to sexual intercourse much easier.

-  There is no evidence of any ill-treatment of the slave girls by the Muslim soldiers.

-  There is no evidence of any slave girls engaging in sexual intercourse with any Muslim soldier. The Muslims might have returned them to their tribe before they had the chance to.

-  There is no evidence of any Muslim soldier raping his slave girl.

-  Even if there is evidence, there is no evidence that the Prophet (peace be upon him) approved of it.

The Islamic critic would also appeal to the following narration, which states:

Jami At-Tirmidhi 1137 - Jabir bin Abdullah narrated: "We practiced Azl while the Qur'an was being revealed." . . . Malik bin Anas said: "The permission of the free woman is to be requested for Azl (i.e. coitus interruptus), while the slave woman's permission need not be requested."

He would argue that this narration shows that one could engage in coitus interruptus without the permission of his slave girl, which means that he could rape her.

The first and most important thing to note is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) didn't say that; Imam Maalik said that. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is our final authority.

Imam Maalik reasoned that free women have the right to have children. The man doesn't have the right to forbid his wife from having a child, thus, he must ask her permission before doing azl. However, if the Muslim gets his slave girl pregnant, she ceases to become his slave girl, and he must marry her. The Muslim, therefore, doesn't have to ask for her permission to do azl when they make consensual sex.

Again, where is the rape? Even if Imam Malik said that you can rape her (which he didn't), he is not my final authority, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is. So what evidence did Imam Maalik use then from the Qur'an and Sunnah to justify his statement that one can rape his slave girl (which he didn't say, it's only for the sake of argument)?

The critic might reply back and say that the fact that the man has a "right" to have sex with his slave girl indicates that the man is permitted to do "all it takes" to take his rights.

Even if we say that it is his right, it is his right to receive obedience from his children. It is his right to get an inheritance if his father passes away.

Now, is the critic seriously trying to argue that Islam would permit a man to physically abuse his children if they didn't give him his right of respect? Is he also trying to say that he can physically abuse and harm his sister if she were to try and steal some of his inheritance money?

In Islam, one of the rights that a Muslim has over his brother is to be visited when he is sick and to be greeted with peace. If my Muslim brother does not greet me with peace or visit me when I am ill, does that mean that I can physically abuse him until he does, so that "he gives me my right"?

It seems like this is what he would say if he were to be consistent. According to this logic, if the Qur'an says someone is entitled to something or has a right to something, the person can do whatever he wants - even if it is forbidden - to obtain that right.

This is something ridiculous, which no Muslim scholar in antiquity has stated. I am speechless and don't know how to reply to such a laughable argument.

Plus, this could also work against the Christian. I can argue that the Bible states that the man has the right to have sex with his wife; thus, if she refuses, then he can hurt her! The Christian would reply and say that he can't hurt his wife because other verses state that he can't do so, and this is exactly what we have shown in this article regarding the slave girl.


Islam forbids one to harm those under his authority. Since rape is considered a form of harm, that would mean that rape is forbidden. We have also seen that history shows that slave girls in the past did consent to having sex with their captors; hence, we must keep our subjective emotions aside and agree with this objective fact. In light of this fact, there is nothing absurd in believing that the Muslims did not rape their slave girls, especially since they were forbidden from doing so. And even if some of the Muslims back then did rape their slave girls, this would only show that they committed a sinful act and not that the Prophet (peace be upon him) approved of such behavior. In conclusion, Islam does not permit a Muslim man to rape his slave girl.


Recommended Readings on the Rape of Slave Girls in the Bible

Commentary on Deuteronomy 22:28-29

Haughty women are punished with rape

Isaiah 3:17, foreheads or secret parts?

Women are punished again with rape

More rape in the Hebrew Bible?

Biblical Law Permits Rape of Female Captives

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