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Islamic Ideology ( 24 Sept 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Dr Israr Ahmad’s Stand on Slave Girls and Clear Verses of the Quran

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam

25 September 2019

The issue of the status and position of slave girls in Islam is widely debated. Most of the Islamic scholars are of the view that Muslim masters of slave girls are permitted to have sex with them without marriage. They cite the following verse in support of their view:

“Except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (in their case) they are free from blame,” (Al Muminun: 5-6)

One of the scholars who supports this view is Dr Israr Ahmad who was known for his radical and conservative views on Purdah (veil) and slave girls. Replying to a question on the topic in a YouTube video, he expressed that slave girls did not have social or human rights as they were considered property or possession of their masters. Here is an excerpt from his speech:

"First you should correct your misconception. There is no provision for the marriage of slave girls. They were considered property or possession. The wife is not considered property. She comes as a result of a social contract to you to spend life.

Her Nikah cannot be solemnised without her consent. Your wife has the right to get separation from you whenever she wishes. But in the case of possession or property, these provisions do not exist. There is neither Nikah nor share in the inheritance for the 'property' or 'possession'. On the contrary, they will be transferred as a property. For example, if a man has slave girls, they will be transferred to his son after his death in the same way as his property. So you should understand that this was the case whether you like it or not. We should not try to bring changes to this concept to make it palatable. The status of the slave girls is what I told you. Now, the question whether they (slave girls) exist today or not, they do not exist. And the slave girls who were present during the life of the prophet pbuh were only those who had been captured in the battle field as prisoners of war (PoW) and were considered war booty."

Let's see what the Quran says on the issue. The Surah Nisa verse 25 says:

"And whoever among you cannot find the means to marry free believing women, then (he may marry) from those whom your right hands possess of believing slave girls."

In Arab society, it was the custom that the groom should pay the dower to the bride. For this reason poor men often did not find a suitable match The Quran advises such Muslim men to marry believing (Muslim) slave girls.

Furthermore, in the same Surah, the Quran asks Muslim to seek permission of their masters before marrying slave girls:

"So marry them with the permission of their people and give them the due compensation according to what is acceptable."

Moreover, the Quran mandates the payment of Mehr to them.

In the verse 23 of Al Nisa, the Quran says:

"And (also prohibited to you are all) married women except those your right hands possess (slave girls)."

Here the Quran prohibits marriage with married women except slave girls. If the marriage with slave girls had been out of the question, the Quran would not have mentioned it in the first place.

In the same Surah, Muslim men are advised to marry only chaste and pious Muslim slave women.

"They should be chaste, neither of those who commit unlawful intercourse randomly nor those who take secret lovers. But once they are sheltered in marriage, if they commit adultery, then for them is half the punishment for free women. (Al Nisa: 25)

In Arab, some slave girls were trained to sing and dance and they were employed as entertainers. These slave girls were Qayn. The Quran asks not to marry such adulterous women.

In another verse, slave girls have been said to be better than beautiful polytheist women in terms of marriage.

"And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist woman, even though she might please you " (Al Baqarah: 221).

The Quran also advised Muslims their young sons and daughters and their male and female slaves off.

“And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves. “(Al Nur: 32)

The holy wife of the prophet pbuh Hadhrat Maria Al Qibtiya was a slave girl and was gifted to the prophet pbuh by the governor of Alexandria Muqauqis along with her sister Sirin. They had converted to Islam and the holy Prophet p uh had married her (Hadhrat Maria). She gave birth to Hadhrat Ibrahim who died in infancy

Thus, Dr Israr Ahmad's opinion that there was no Nikah for slave women stands repudiated.

He also says that slave women were only those who were prisoners of war. This is not correct. Since pre-Isla Arabia till the beginning of 20th century, slave trade flourished in Arab, Africa and Europe under the patronage of rulers and governments. Poor and hapless men and women from poor countries would be captured and sent to work as soldiers in the army, mines and plantations and domestic help of the rich and powerful. Women would be pushed into flesh trade. Indeed, prisoners of war were also made slaves but they were only a small section of slaves.

The famous companion of the holy prophet pbuh Hadhrat Bilal Habshi was a slave of Umaiya bin Khalaf. His father Rabah bin Habashi was also a slave.

A famous incident narrated in Sunan Baihaqi also reiterates Quran's position that Muslims should not force slave girls to commit adultery.

"Do not force your slave girls to commit adultery if they want to live with peity."(Al Nur:24)

The incident according to Sunan Baihaqi is that during a military campaign against Bani Asad under Hadhrat Khalid bin Waleed, one commander named Dharrar captured a woman and had sex with her. Later when Caliph Hadhrat Umar was informed about the incident, he ordered Dharrar's stoning. However, Dharrar died before caliph’s order reached Hadhrat Khalid bin Waleed. This also repudiates the position of scholars as well as militant and terrorist organisations that during war, women of enemies can be taken slave and raped.

From this discussion, it becomes clear that the injustice and inhuman treatment meted out to slaves and slave girls was gradually done away with after the Advent of Islam.The Quran urged Muslims go treat slaves (male and female) with respect and try to bring them in social mainstream. Muslims were encouraged to marry slave girls. Muslims were prohibited to force pious believing slave girls to commit adultery or other immoral acts.

Unfortunately, despite clear injunctions of the Quran on Nikah, Mehr and good treatment of slave girls, a section of scholars like Dr Israr Ahmad spread their ill founded views on slave girls only on the basis of misinterpretation of the term 'Ma Malakat Ayma Ukum'.They ignored clear verses on the Quran because those verses refuted their much 'palatable' views on slave girls.

The institution of slavery does not exist in Islam today though it does exist in Sahel region in Africa and Libya despite ban. Moreover, the terrorist organisations like the ISIS and Boko Haram capture Muslim women and girls and treat them as slaves, raping and selling them. They do this on the basis of the wrong interpretations of the verses of the Quran. These interpretations present a wrong image of Islam and Muslims.

Therefore, it is necessary to remove the misconceptions about slave girls and prisoners of war by explaining the verses of the Quran in the right context.

S. Arshad is a regular columnist for


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  1. Mr Arshad is try to glorify Only Islam, by rubbing all the history of pagan Arab, which Muslims had alrady rubbed and humilated their Arab forefather society who were respectful of each others belief and God.

    If Arrogant Mohnmmad had not butchered everyone from their heart than there would be lot  examples of Pagan Arab freeing Slaves for free, you Muslims also have murdered and killed good deeds of pagan Arab, like you hate Abu Talib.

    By Ayania 14/10/2019 00:03:26
  2. You have misread the statement from hadith, mediate the verse below carefully:
    Salim narrated from his father that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
    "Whoever frees a portion of a slave he owns, then he can afford the remainder of the price, then he should free him with his wealth."
    حَدَّثَنَا بِذَلِكَ الْحَسَنُ بْنُ عَلِيٍّ الْخَلاَّلُ الْحُلْوَانِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّزَّاقِ، أَخْبَرَنَا مَعْمَرٌ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، عَنْ سَالِمٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ "‏ مَنْ أَعْتَقَ نَصِيبًا لَهُ فِي عَبْدٍ فَكَانَ لَهُ مِنَ الْمَالِ مَا يَبْلُغُ ثَمَنَهُ فَهُوَ عَتِيقٌ مِنْ مَالِهِ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ صَحِيحٌ ‏.‏
    The extract above is from Sahih (Darussalam), Jami' at-Timidhi 1347, in-book reference: book 15, hadith 27, English translation: vol 3, book 13, hadith 1347.
    The phrase, Whoever..slave he owns..then he should free his wealth, here implies the person who owns the slave should free the wealth that belongs to the slave.  In other words, if the owner has taken some wealth from the slave initially, he should return the money that is initially owned by the slave to him.  Thus, it is the owner to return the money that initially belongs to the slave to the slave.

    Read carefully the hadith verse carefully and you should discover the owner of the slave to give money instead of the slave pays money to the owner:
    Narrated Asma' bint Abu Bakr:
    The Prophet (ﷺ) ordered us to free slaves at the time of solar eclipses.
    حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى بْنُ مَسْعُودٍ، حَدَّثَنَا زَائِدَةُ بْنُ قُدَامَةَ، عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ عُرْوَةَ، عَنْ فَاطِمَةَ بِنْتِ الْمُنْذِرِ، عَنْ أَسْمَاءَ بِنْتِ أَبِي بَكْرٍ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَتْ أَمَرَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِالْعَتَاقَةِ فِي كُسُوفِ الشَّمْسِ‏.‏ تَابَعَهُ عَلِيٌّ عَنِ الدَّرَاوَرْدِيِّ عَنْ هِشَامٍ‏.‏
    The extract above is from Sahih al-Bukhari 2519, in-book reference: book 49, hadith 3; USC-MSA web (English) reference: vol 3, book 46, hadith 695.
    It was narrated that Ibn 'Umar said:
    "The Messenger of Allah said: 'Whoever sets free his share of a slave, and he has sufficient wealth to set him free completely by paying the price of the slave, then he should set him free with his own wealth."'
    The phrase, he own wealth, here refers to the wealth of the slave.  The phrase, he should set him free with his own wealth, here implies the owner of the slave should take out money to set the slave free for the money that belongs to the slave, i.e. that money that the owner gives might be the period in which the slave works for him for his salary or his wealth or etc.  Yet you have misinterpreted as the slave should give money to the owner.  If you would read carefully the statement, it should be the owner should give money to the slave what the slave supposes to own the money, i.e. the money can be those which the slave initially owns when he captures him or the wealth that the slave should benefit for the salary that the slave works for the owner.  The owner should pay back whatever money that the slave is entitled for.
    By zuma 13/10/2019 09:04:25
  3. Freeing slave in lieu of money was pagan Arab custom but Islam encouraged the custom of freeing slave without money as an act of charity. Though the Quran also permits freeing slaves by taking money for those who don't have a big heart but freeing slave was made an act of charity by Islam.
    By Arshad 13/10/2019 06:33:46
  4. Dr Issar Ahmed may be Wright than you hypocrites, because Pagan Arab was more mature, it was Pagan Arab culture that Slave can make him/her free from the master by making some contract or someone who can pay for slave, it has. Islam as religion on the contrary came to fulfill Men's Lust for women's in the name of Aayats.

    You are in the same hypocrite wagon in which Javed Ghamdi, he also try to portray that Islam bring revolution to free the Slave on the contrary to free the slave was Pagan Arab practise with some remuneration to master.

    Same on you hypocrites, people like Israr Ahmed are atleast more Honest, though it goes against humanity and defame Islam but they are telling truth of so called Islam. 
    By Aayina 13/10/2019 03:45:30
  5. The phrase, one single community, is the terms generally used by moderate Muslims as pluralisms and that is to have peace with other religions to accept unity in religions.
    By zuma 12/10/2019 15:13:33