Concerns with Islam: Sexual Slavery in Islam

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Concerns with Islam:
Thoughts from an American Convert
By: Americana X
Ch.1: Apostasy
Ch 2: Immoral, Unjustified, and Preemptive Warfare and Violence
Ch.3: Child Marriage
Ch.4: Women’s Lack of Legal Rights and Equality
Ch.5: How Women Are Perceived Disrespectfully
Ch.6: Wife Beating
Ch.7: Men and Women are Not Equal at All In Islam
Ch.8: Sexual Slavery in Islam
Ch.9: Adoption
Ch.10: Democracy is not Compatible with Islam

Islam has a long history of the enslavement of women. Of course, this was never mentioned to me at all. It was always said that a Muslim man can marry up to 4 women but 1 is better and hardly anybody actually did that any more. I never understood that part about “And that which your right hand possesses” but in truth, upon further study, it is quite clear that sexual slavery was practiced by the first Muslims.

There are hundreds of Hadith that deal with slavery and whole chapters of Hadith are dedicated to dealing with the taxation, treatment, sale, and jurisprudence of slaves. In addition to this, many Hadith mention slaves, and their relation to their Muslim masters. Here is a well known example that deals directly with our topic of female slaves used for sexual purposes according to Sahih Bukhari.

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: We got female captives in the war booty and we used to do coitus interruptus with them. So we asked Allah's Apostle about it and he said, "Do you really do that?" repeating the question thrice, "There is no soul that is destined to exist but will come into existence, till the Day of Resurrection."

So, the Muslim warriors took prisoners of war and used them for sexual purposes. Mohamed doesn’t address this at all. He doesn’t say, “Do not have sex with them,” or “Ask for their hand in marriage and if they don’t agree, leave them alone.” Instead he addresses their question which is frankly, “During sex, can we pull out our members before we ejaculate (coitus interruptus) so as to not get them pregnant?” There is no mention of the emotional state of these women. No mercy for the feelings of those who had just seen their men-folk captured or killed and then taken off to a foreign land in which they were inevitably traumatized, scared, and far from everything familiar. Muhammad simply states that there is no reason to not ejaculate inside of them because whatever happens is destiny anyways, i.e. if they get pregnant, so they get pregnant. It’s Allah’s will.

This Hadith is similar to the above. However, additional details are added:

Narrated Ibn Muhairiz: "I entered the mosque and saw Abu Khudri and sat beside him and asked him about coitus interruptus. Abu said, "We went out with Allah's messenger for the Ghazwa (attack upon) Banu 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, for if any soul (till the Day of Resurrection) is predestined to exist, it will exist."

Related Hadith show that they didn't want to get the women pregnant because they wanted the option to sell them or negotiate them for a ransom later on. Under Islamic law, they couldn’t sell pregnant female slaves.

In effect, Muhammad Okayed non-consensual sex. Could anyone believe that these women actually wanted to have sex with these men? Everyone always says what a mercy Islam was for woman because it erased the practice of burying girls alive. While that is true, I think that an issue as important as a woman’s choice of sexual partners is also an integral issue that should have been dealt with in a vastly different way.

Narrated Buraida: The prophet sent Ali to Khalid to bring the Khumus ([one fifth] of the booty) and I hated Ali, and Ali had taken a bath (after a sexual act with a slave girl from the Khumus). I said to Khalid, "Don't you see this (i.e. Ali)?" When we reached the prophet I mentioned that to him. He said, "O Buraida! Do you hate Ali?" I said, "Yes" He said, "Do you hate him, for he deserves more than that from the Khumus."(Sahih Bukhari Vol. 5 No. 637)

The note for this Hadith says "Buraida hated Ali because he had taken a slave girl frorm the booty and considered that as something not good."

Here Ali took a newly captured slave girl, and had sex with her. It seems that when Muhammad was told about it, he didn’t have a problem with this, and further stated that Ali deserved more than this.

Narrated Anas: ".....The prophet had their warriors killed, their offspring and woman taken as captives...."

This Hadith details the attack on the Jews of Khaibar. Again, many of the women and children were taken and made into slaves.

There are hundreds of other Hadith that deal with the topic of slavery in Islam, too numerous to mention. But does the Qur’an deal with the issue of female sexual slavery? Most definitely, and in vivid detail.

"O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those (slaves) whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee"

This is a special command that Muhammad handed down to himself, allowing virtually unlimited concubines. Although Muslims are limited to four wives, but they may also have sex with an unlimited number of slaves, as long as they are obtained in Jihad.

"..who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess..."
Qur'an 23:5-6

This verse allows the slave-owner to have sex with his slaves.

“And those who are fearful of the punishment of their Lord, indeed, the punishment of their Lord is not that from which one is safe - And those who guard their private parts, Save with their wives and those whom their right hands possess, for thus they are not blameworthy.”
Qur'an 70:27-30

This is a direct reference to concubines taken in Jihad.

"And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess."

So in other words, (once they enter Muslim territory) sex with married slaves is permissible because they were taken in Jihad.

Muslims will constantly say that these verses are taken out of context, but then they will never explain the context to a Western female. Instead they will question your Iman and ask questions regarding your questions which try to make you feel insecure and imply that you are weak, at least that was my experience.

However, Maududi, a respected Islamic writer of Tafseer clearly writes regarding this issue:

Two categories of women have been excluded from the general command of guarding the private parts: (a) wives, (b) women who are legally in one’s possession, i.e. slave-girls. Thus the verse clearly lays down the law that one is allowed to have sexual relation with one’s slave-girl as with one’s wife, the basis being possession and not marriage. If marriage had been the condition, the slave-girl also would have been included among the wives, and there was no need to mention them separately.
23. Al-Muminun
Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, Tafhim al-Qur'an

According to Mufti Ebrahim Desai, a prominent sheikh of the Marasah In'aamiyyah in Cape Town, South Africa, when asked if female slavery could be implemented in this day and age, he responded with the following:

One question that still remains is whether slavery still legally prevails anywhere in the Islamic world and whether it can be successfully implemented in this age…. Firstly, the prisoners have to be captured in 'Jihaad' in the true sense of the word.….. According to Islamic Law, captive female prisoners are also part and parcel of the booty. One fifth of the booty has to be first distributed to the needy, orphans, etc. The remaining four-fifths should then be distributed among the soldiers who participated in the war. The distribution can only take effect after the booty is brought into Islamic territory. The Ameerul-Mu'mineen (Head of the Islamic State) remains the guardian of the female prisoners until he allocates them to the soldiers. Only after a soldier has been allotted a slave girl, and made the owner of her, will she become his lawful possession. After she spends a period called 'Istibraa', which is the elapse of one menstrual period, it becomes permissible for her owner to have relations with her.
What is a slave girls in islam?
Mufti Ebrahim Desai,, Question 14421

It may be argued that American slave-owners committed sexual crimes against their slaves before the Civil War (1861-1865), so who are Americans to complain about Islam?

In fact, the two situations are different i.e. apples can not be compared to oranges. First, it is wrong to compare the US with the Muslim community founded by Muhammad, who claimed divine inspiration. Instead, it is best to compare the founder of a religion for example Jesus or Buddha with another founder, Muhammad. Second, in no place in the New Testament or in the Diamond Sutras does God give permission to men, to have sex with slave-girls. If Americans in a bygone era did this, then they were simply being immoral, but it was not religiously sanctified. The Quran, however, codifies and legalizes these sexual acts. I just don’t know how any clear-thinking individual can not see that having sex with women in a very desperate condition i.e. being enslaved is wrong.

One might say, but how does this affect you and most women in this day and age? First of all, anything done in Islamic history can be revived at any time, so if Muslims gained power over Western nations, which many have every intention of doing, and practiced Jihad as the followers of Islam actually did, which they are commanded to do, it is plausible that this could happen. Secondly, again, Mohamed was presented to me as a spiritual leader, not a military warlord, so inevitably, a person assessing Islam has to ask himself, “Are these the actions of the person who should be followed and admired for all time?”

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