Islamic views on slavery

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The neutrality of this article is disputed.
Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page.
A photograph of a slave boy in the Sultanate of Zanzibar. 'An Arab master's punishment for a slight offence.' c. 1890. From at least the 1860s onwards, photography was a powerful weapon in the abolitionist arsenal.
The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. ~ Winston Churchill

Islamic views on slavery represent a complex and multifaceted body of Islamic thought, with various Islamic groups or thinkers espousing views on the matter which have been radically different throughout history.


  • Everybody infers that Islam must be free from slavery and caste. Regarding slavery nothing needs to be said. It stands abolished now by law. But while it existed much of its support was derived from Islam and Islamic countries. (228-230)
    • B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
  • In the Orient slavery has never been regarded in the same way as in the West. Oriental slavery is such as one sees in the Holy Scriptures; the slave inherits from his master, he marries his daughter. Most of the pashas have been slaves; so also were a large number of grand viziers, all the Mamelukes, Ali-Bey and Mourad-Bey. They have begun by fulfilling the menial functions within their master's house, and have risen through their merit or by favour. In the West on the other hand, the slave was always beneath the domestic; his was the lowest rank.
  • The Hidayah lays down that “if the Mussulmans subdue an infidel territory before any capitation tax be established, the inhabitants, together with their wives and children, are all plunder, and the property of the state, as it is lawful to reduce to slavery all infidels, whether they be Kitabees, Majoosees or idotters.” The Hidayah also lays down that “whoever slays an infidel is entitled to his private property,” which invariably included his women and children.
    • Hidayah (Muslim law book), Hamilton, Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5
  • The object, in the purchase of a female slave, is cohabitation and generation of children.
    • Hidayah (Muslim law book), Hamilton, II, 409. Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Ch. 11
  • "The Imam, with respect to captives, has it in his choice to slay them, because the Prophet put captives to death, and also because slaying them terminates wickedness; or if he choose, he may make them slaves, because by enslaving them the wickedness of them is remedied, and at the same time the Muslims reap an advantage; or, if he please, he may release them so as to make, them freemen and Zimmis, according to what is recorded of 'Umar; but it is not lawful so to release the idolaters of Arabia, or apostates. It is not Lawful for the Imam to return the captives to their own country, as this would be strengthening the infidels against the Muslims. If captives become Muslims let not the Imam put them to death because the wickedness of them is hereby remedied without slaying them; but yet he may Lawfully make thorn slaves, after their conversion, because the reason for making them slaves (namely, their being secured within the Muslin territory) had existence previous to their embracing the faith it is otherwise where Infidels become Muslims before their capture, because then the reason for making them slaves did not exist previous to their conversion. It is not lawful to release infidel captives in exchange for the release of Muslim captives from the infidels. According to the two disciples, this is lawful (and such also is the opinion of ash-Shafi'i) because this produces the emancipation of Muslims, which is preferable to slaying the infidels or making them slaves. The argument of Imam Abu Hanifah is that such an exchange is an assistance to the infidels, because those captives will again return to fight the Muslims, which is a wickedness, and the prevention of this wickedness is preferable to effecting the release of the Muslims, since, is they remain in the hands of the infidels, the injury only affects them, and does not extend to the other Muslims, whereas the injury attending the release of infidel captives extends to the whole body of Muslims. An exchange for property (that is, releasing infidel prisoners in return for property) is also unlawful as this is assisting the infidels, as was before observed, and the same is mentioned in the Mazhabu 'l-Mashkur. In the Sairu 'l-Kabir it is asserted that an exchange of prisoners for property may be made where the Muslims are necessitous, because the Prophet released the captive taken at Badr for a ransom. If a captive become a Muslim in the hands of the Muslims, it is not lawful to release and send him back to the infidels in return for their releasing a Muslim who is a captive in their hands, because no advantage can result from the transaction. If, however, the converted captive consents to it, and there be no apprehension of his apostatizing, in this case the releasing of him in exchange for a Muslim captive is a matter of discretion. It is not lawful to confer a favour upon captives by releasing them gratuitously, that is, without receiving anything in return, or their becoming Zimmis, or being made slaves. Ash-Shafi'i says that showing favour to captives in this way is lawful, because the Prophet showed favor in this way to some of the captives taken at the battle of Badr. The arguments of the Hanafi doctors upon this are two-fold: First, it is said in the Qur'an, 'Slay idolaters wherever ye find them'; secondly, the right of enslaving them is established by their being conquered and captured, and hence. it is not lawful to annul that right without receiving some advantage in return, in the same manner as holds with respect to all, plunder; and with respect to what ash-Shafl'i relates that the Prophet showed favour in this way to some of the captives taken at the battle of Badr, it is abrogated by the text of the Qur'an aleady quoted.
    • Hamilton's Hidiyah, vol. Ii. p. 160. Quoted from Hughes, T.P., Dictionary of Islam, W.H. Allen & Co., London, 1885
  • T.P. Hughes on the authority of the Hidayah says: “The Imam, with respect to captives, has it in his choice to slay them because the Prophet put captives to death and also because slaying them terminates wickedness; or, if he choose, he may make them slaves, because by enslaving them the wickedness of them is remedied, and at the same time the Muslims reap an advantage; or, if he please, he may release them so as to make them freemen and Zimmis… but it is not lawful so to release the idolaters of Arabia, or apostates… If captives become Muslims, let not the Imam put them to death; … but yet he may lawfully make them slaves, after their conversion…”
    • Hughes, T.P., Dictionary of Islam, W.H. Allen & Co., London, 1885, 597. Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Ch. 11
  • The Muhammadan religion appears to give almost unlimited license to concubinage, provided the woman be a slave and not a free Muslim woman. Those female slaves must be either (1) taken captive in war, (2) or purchased by money, (3) or the descendants of slaves. Even married women, if taken in war, are, according to the injunction of the Qur'an, Surah iv. 28, entirely at the disposal of the Muslim conqueror. "(Unlawful) to you are married women except such as your right hand possess (i.e. taken in war or purchased as slave)." This institution of concubinage is founded upon the example of Muhammad himself, who took Rihanah the Jewess as his concubine after the battle with the Bani Quraizah (A.H. 5), and also Maria the Copt, who was sent him as a slave by the Governor of Egypt.
    • Hughes, T.P., Dictionary of Islam, W.H. Allen & Co., London, 1885
  • Muslims are allowed to cohabit with any of their female slaves. Surah iv. 3: "Then marry what seems good to you of women, by twos, or threes, or fours; and if ye fear that ye cannot be equitable, then only one, or what your right hands possess." Surah iv, 29: "Take of what your right hands possess of young women." Surah xxxiii. 49 "O prophet! verily We make lawful for thee wives to whom thou hast given their hire (dowry), and what thy right hand possesses out of the booty God hath granted thee."
    • Hughes, T.P., Dictionary of Islam, W.H. Allen & Co., London, 1885
  • They [Muslims] are allowed to take possession of married women if they are slaves. Surah iv. 28: "Unlawful for you are . . . married women save such as your right hands possess.' (On this verse al-Jalaln the commentators say: "that is, it in lawful for them to cohabit with those women whom you have made captive, even though their husbands he alive in the Daru 'l-Harb.")
    • Hughes, T.P., Dictionary of Islam, W.H. Allen & Co., London, 1885
  • Muslims are excused from strict rules of decorum in the presence of their female slaves, even as in the presence of their wives. Surah xxiii. 5: "Those who are strict in the rules of decorum, except for their wives, or what their right hands possess." See also Surah lxx. 29.
    • Hughes, T.P., Dictionary of Islam, W.H. Allen & Co., London, 1885
  • The helpless position of the slave is regards his master illustrates the helpless position of the false gods of Arabia in the presence of their Creator. Surah xvi. 77: "God has struck out a parable, an owned slave, able to do nothing, and one provided with a good provision, and one who expends therefrom in alms secretly and openly, shall they be held equal? Praise be to God, most of them do not know!" See also Surah xxx. 27.
    • Hughes, T.P., Dictionary of Islam, W.H. Allen & Co., London, 1885
  • Muslims shall exercise kindness towards their slaves. Surah iv. 44) "Serve God and do not associate aught with Him, and show kindness to your parents and to kindred and to that which your right hands possess."
    • Hughes, T.P., Dictionary of Islam, W.H. Allen & Co., London, 1885
  • When slaves can redeem themselves it is the duty of Muslims to grant the emancipation Surah xxiv. 33: "And such of those whom your right hands posses as crave a writing (i.e. a document of freedom), write it, out for them if ye know any good in them, and give them of the wealth of God which He has given you. And do not compel your slave-girls to prostitution if they desire to keep continent."
    • Hughes, T.P., Dictionary of Islam, W.H. Allen & Co., London, 1885
  • And concerning slavery, that was when slavery was a world-wide structure and which was conducted amongst Muslims and their enemies in the form of enslaving of prisoners of war. And it was necessary for Islam to adopt a similar line of practise until the world devised a new code of practise during war other than enslavement.
    • Sayyid Qutb, in Fi Zilal al-Qur'an, Surah Tawbah (3/1669) also in Tafsir of Surah Baqarah (/230), tafsir of Surah Mu'minoon (4/2455), tafsir of Surah Muhammad (6/3285)
  • Islam made it lawful for a master to have a number of slave-women captured in wars and enjoined that he alone may have sexual relations with them ... Europe abhors this law but at the same gladly allows that most odious form of animalism according to which a man may have illicit relations with any girl coming across him on his way to gratify his animal passions.
    • Muhammad Qutb, Islam, the Misunderstood Religion, Markazi Maktabi Islami, Delhi-6, 1992 p.50
  • Though slavery was maintained, the Islamic dispensation enormously improved the position of the Arabian slave, who was now no longer merely a chattel but was also a human being with a certain religious and hence a social status and wtih certain quasi-legal rights. The early caliphs who ruled the Islamic community after the death of the Prophet also introduced some further reforms of a humanitarian tendency. The enslavement of free Muslims was soon discouraged and eventually prohibited. It was made unlawful for a freeman to sell himself or his children into slavery, and it was no longer permitted for freemen to be enslaved for either debt or crime, as was usual in the Roman world and, despite attempts at reform, in parts of Christian Europe until at least the sixteenth century.
    • Bernard Lewis (1992), Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquiry. Oxford University Press. p. 6.
  • Islam has clearly and categorically forbidden the primitive practice of capturing a free man, to make him a slave or to sell him into slavery. On this point the clear and unequivocal words of Muhammad are as follows: "There are three categories of people against whom I shall myself be a plaintiff on the Day of Judgement. Of these three, one is he who enslaves a free man, then sells him and eats this money" (al-Bukhari and Ibn Majjah). The words of this Tradition of the Prophet are also general, they have not been qualified or made applicable to a particular nation, race, country or followers of a particular religion. ... After this the only form of slavery which was left in Islamic society was the prisoners of war, who were captured on the battlefield. These prisoners of war were retained by the Muslim Government until their government agreed to receive them back in exchange for Muslim soldiers captured by them ...
  • It is difficult to come by slave-girls in the present times, for the conditions required for lawful slave-girls are difficult to obtain now, and hence one cannot have and keep a slave-girl. If the custom of slave-girls obtains anywhere, it is not reliable without legal inquiry and to cohabit with them without marriage is not permissible. ‘Allamah Shami writes: ‘In our times the slave women secured as booty are not lawful slave women and copulation with them is not permissible because it is certain that the division of the booty is not done as it ought to be done, and hence the rightful claimants’ (the recipients of the 1/5 share—khums—and the rest of the warriors’) rights are ignored (and thus de jure possession is not proved for any slave woman)’ (Shami, vol. ii, p. 396). Lawful slave women are those who, having been captured in war and crusade (jihad), may have been included in the booty, and the amir, that is the Caliph of the Muslims or his vicegerent, after having brought them from the territory of war (daru’l-harb) to the land of Islam (daru’l-Islam), may have distributed them according to the law of the Shariah. Prior to her being brought to the land of Islam and distribution by the amir, the slave woman is not lawful for anyone, although the imam or the commander-in-chief may have announced that the captor of a slave woman will be her master, yet she shall not be lawful for the captor and victor before bringing her to the land of Islam. Where do these laws obtain anywhere in the period? According to the Islamic law of holy war the rule is that 1/5 part of wealth captured as booty from the enemy should be set aside to be given to the needy and the indigent like orphans and widows and the remaining four parts should be divided among the victorious soldiers; as long as the booty is not brought to the country, that is, the land of Islam, its division is not valid, and so long as it is not divided, it is joint property on which all have a claim; however, after the amir has divided it, the share of each will be lawful for the recipient. Even as a girl becomes lawful for the man with whom her guardian marries her and not before marriage, the amir is the slave woman’s guardian and whomever he makes her master for him she becomes lawful with certain conditions. If the master then sells her or gifts her away to anyone, she becomes lawful for the buyer or the recipient of the gift, as the case may be. Similarly, if a slave woman has continued being transferred from one inheritor to another she is even now a legal slave woman and the owner can keep her. But where is found such a slave woman today? Apparently such slave woman does not exist in the present times at least.
    • Fatawa-i-Rahimiyyah, quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins).
  • A slave-girl of any race and any religion can be owned but coition is permissible with only that who is a Muslim or a scripturary (Jew or Christian); copulation with a polytheist, i.e., an idol-worshipping slave-girl is not permissible. One may, as per his strength and status, keep as many legal slave-girls as he likes, for there is no restriction on number, but the rules for having slave-girls are very delicate and they should be kept in mind. For example, if one has copulated with a slave-girl, then it is not permissible to have sexual relations with her near relatives (like sister, mother’s sister, father’s sister, sister’s daughter, brothers’ daughter, etc.), although such related women be his property; sexual congress with them is as impermissible as in the case of marriage. Strict veiling, as in case of free women, has not been prescribed for slave women for whom it is necessary to serve her master; she has to perform domestic and out-door chores, and hence the Shariah has not enjoined upon her, like free women, to observe purdah. A slave woman’s progeny from her master’s seed shall be deemed free. A slave woman does not become heir to her master’s property, but the master’s children (begot through her) shall be heirs.
    • Fatawa-i-Rahimiyyah, quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins).
  • If the legislator (pbuh.!) had prescribed marriage as necessary for the lawfulness of coition with slave women, the latter themselves would have faced great difficulties. It is stated in the glorious Quran that the Most High Allah intends facility for you and does not wish to put you to hardship and trouble: ‘Allah desireth for you ease; He desireth not hardship for you’ (II: 185). May it be remembered that the prescription in the religious law of a slave woman’s being lawful for her master is not with a bad intent and purpose; on the contrary, it is due to wishing well for the slave woman and for social and cultural good.... Now the question why an owned slave-woman is lawful without marriage, why there is no condition of ‘affirming and consent’ and marriage in her case. The answer, firstly, is that it is not required at all.... And there is the reason, believe it or not, of the moral needs of the slave woman! If the master were not allowed to bed slave women without marrying them, the ulema explain, the slave women would be at a great disadvantage. Being slaves the women will have difficulty in finding husbands; not having husbands they will commit lechery and debauchery. Hence the rule to help them—that their master can bed them without marrying them! As the ulema put it: There were in it other difficulties as well on account of which the condition of marriage was unwise; for instance, the slave-girl is not equal in status to a free woman and as such it would be difficult for her to have a husband which could result in lechery, called ‘an abomination’ and ‘debauchery’ by Allah’s Book, repugnant to God and the worst of habits. Hence the Shariah proposed this form which, though, as it is, is not like marriage but, by reason of its result, creates in it the virtue of marriage, because after the slave-girl’s bearing a child the owner’s ownership becomes defective, that is, it is then not permissible to sell her. She then becomes the mother of her master’s children, a mistress of the house and as good as the owner’s wife; she will become free after her master’s death; she cannot be given to the heirs nor can she be sold.
    • Fatawa-i-Rahimiyyah, quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins).
  • the pressure to abolish slavery generally came from some combination of European colonial powers and economic and demographic shifts. A few Muslim clerics, such as one writing in the mid-nineteenth-century Arabian peninsula, opposed abolition on the grounds that slavery was accepted in religious texts. Similarly, one scholar argues “that slavery enjoyed a high degree of legitimacy in Ottoman society. That legitimacy derived from Islamic sanction,” among other factors. Although abolition did eventually occur, there was not a strong internally developed critique of slaveholding based on religious principles.
    • — Kecia Ali, Sexual Ethics and Islam : Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence[7] Kecia Ali (2016). Sexual Ethics and Islam : Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence. Oneworld Publications. p. 54.
  • So what was abolitionism in such contexts? Can we at all use here this loaded, essentially foreign, term in a meaningful, historical sense ? Should we bother to ? True, some historians might find it worthwhile to study lone abolitionist voices in an otherwise solid anti-abolition discourse. But then, some historians would always insist that the unrepresentative is important in and of itself, regardless of its social and political significance. Even if we examine with good intentions the scant evidence that Clarence-Smith himself provides in his book, we cannot but conclude how very few and very far between such voices indeed were. Considered within the huge dimensions of the Islamic World and the extended period of time allowed by the author for these voices to have emerged, the phenomenon appears so marginal and ephemeral that it cannot possibly deserve to be called a "sentiment", let alone constitute a Subversive current' or be described as a Movement'. Why, then, we may ask, does Clarence-Smith insist on this unpromising line of investigation and rather forced research agenda.... Also, if scholars were to undertake, in earnest and honesty, extensive studies of anti-enslavement manifestations in Islamic societies, their work would most probably reinforce the kind of negative view of ' Islam' that Clarence-Smith is so eager to revise and reconstruct.
    • — Ehud R. Toledano Toledano, Ehud R. (2007). "Reviewed work: Islam and the Abolition of Slavery". The Journal of African History. 48 (3): 484.


  • It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or west; but it is righteousness to believe in God and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing.
    • Quran, 2:177
  • Do not marry unbelieving women (idolaters), until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you. Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you. Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the Fire. But God beckons by His Grace to the Garden (of bliss) and forgiveness, and makes His Signs clear to mankind: That they may celebrate His praise.
    • Quran, 2:221
  • If any of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess: And God hath full knowledge about your faith. Ye are one from another: Wed them with the leave of their owners, and give them their dowers, according to what is reasonable: They should be chaste, not lustful, nor taking paramours: when they are taken in wedlock, if they fall into shame, their punishment is half that for free women. This (permission) is for those among you who fear sin; but it is better for you that ye practise self-restraint. And God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
    • Quran, 4:25
  • And in no wise covet those things in which God Hath bestowed His gifts More freely on some of you than on others: To men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn: But ask God of His bounty. For God hath full knowledge of all thi ngs.
    • Quran, 4:32
  • Serve God, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands poss ess: For God loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious.
    • Quran, 4:36
  • Never should a believer kill a believer; but (If it so happens) by mistake, (Compensation is due): If one (so) kills a believer, it is ordained that he should free a believing slave, and pay compensation to the deceased's family, unless they re mit it freely. If the deceased belonged to a people at war with you, and he was a believer, the freeing of a believing slave (Is enough). If he belonged to a people with whom ye have treaty of Mutual alliance, compensation should be paid to his family, and a believing slave be freed. For those who find this beyond their means, (is prescribed) a fast for two months running: by way of repentance to God: for God hath all knowledge and all wisdom.
    • Quran, 4:92
  • God will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. If that is beyond your means, fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths ye have sworn. But keep to your oaths. Thus doth God make clear to you His signs, that ye may be grateful.
    • Quran, 5:89
  • Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of God; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) orda ined by God, and God is full of knowledge and wisdom.
    • Quran, 9:60
  • Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until God gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which God has given to you. But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is God, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them).
    • Quran, 24:33
  • O ye who believe! let those whom your right hands possess, and the (children) among you who have not come of age ask your permission (before they come to your presence), on three occasions: before morning prayer; the while ye doff your clothes for the noonday heat; and after the late-night prayer: these are your three times of undress: outside those times it is not wrong for you or for them to move about attending to each other: Thus does God make clear the Signs to you: for God is full of knowledge and wisdom.
    • Quran, 24:58
  • But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered, (It is ordained that such a one) should free a slave before they touch each other: Thus are ye admonished to perform: and God is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do.
    • Quran, 58:3
  • Quran (33:50) - "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"
  • Quran (23:5-6) - "..who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess..."
  • Quran (8:69-71) - "But (now) enjoy what ye took in war, lawful and good".... "Allah gave you mastery over them."
  • Quran (24:32) - "And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves..."
  • Quran (2:178) - "O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female."
  • Allah sets forth the Parable (of two men: one) a slave under the dominion of another; He has no power of any sort; and (the other) a man on whom We have bestowed goodly favors from Ourselves, and he spends thereof (freely), privately and publicly: are the two equal? (By no means;) praise be to Allah. But most of them understand not.
    • Quran 16:75
  • And Allah hath favored some of you above others in provision. Now those who are more favored will by no means hand over their provision to those (slaves) whom their right hands possess, so that they may be equal with them in respect thereof. Is it then the grace of Allah that they deny?
    • Quran 16:71
  • Prohibited to you (For marriage) are:- Your mothers, daughters, sisters; father's sisters, Mother's sisters; brother's daughters, sister's daughters; foster-mothers (Who gave you suck), foster-sisters; your wives' mothers; your step-daughters under your guardianship, born of your wives to whom ye have gone in,- no prohibition if ye have not gone in;- (Those who have been) wives of your sons proceeding from your loins; and two sisters in wedlock at one and the same time, except for what is past; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful;-Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath Allah ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property,- desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree Mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.
    • Quran 4:23-24
  • Successful indeed are the believers Who are humble in their prayers, And who shun vain conversation, And who are payers of the poor-due; And who guard their modesty - Save from their wives or the (slaves) that their right hands possess, for then they are not blameworthy
    • Quran 23:1-6
  • O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncle on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage - a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers - We are Aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess - that thou mayst be free from blame, for Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
    • Quran 33:50
  • And those who guard their chastity, Except with their wives and the (captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (then) they are not to be blamed.
    • Quran 70:29-30


  • When the slave of anyone amongst you prepares food for him and he serves him after having sat close to (and undergoing the hardship of) heat and smoke, he should make him (the slave) sit along with him and make him eat (along with him), and if the food seems to run short, then he should spare some portion for him (from his own share).
    • Sahih Muslim, The Book of Oaths (Kitab Al-Aiman), Book 015, Number 4096
  • 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.
    • Sahih Bukhari, Belief, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 29
  • The Prophet said, "Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom).
    • Sahih Bukhari, Food, Meals, Volume 7, Book 65, Number 286
  • No doubt the Prophet ordered people to manumit slaves during the solar eclipse.
    • Sahih Bukhari, Eclipses, Volume 2, Book 18, Number 163
  • Abdullah b. 'Umar reported that 'Umar b. Khattab asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) as he was at ji'rana (a town near Mecca) on his way back from Ta'if: Messenger of Allah, I had taken a vow during the days of Ignorance that I would observe I'tikaf for one day in the Sacred Mosque. So what is your opinion? He said: Go and observe I'tikaf for a day. And Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) gave him a slave girl out of the one-fifth (of the spoils of war meant for the Holy Prophet). And when Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) set the war prisoners free. 'Umar b. Khattab heard their voice as they were saying: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) has set us free. He (Hadrat 'Umar) said: What is this? They said: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) has set free the prisoners of war (which had fallen to the lot of people). Thereupon he (Hadrat 'Umar) said: Abdullah, go to that slave-girl and set her free.
    • Sahih Muslim, The Book of Oaths (Kitab Al-Aiman), Book 015, Number 4074
  • Zadhan reported that Ibn Umar called his slave and he found the marks (of beating) upon his back. He said to him: I have caused you pain. He said: No. But he (Ibn Umar) said: You are free. He then took hold of something from the earth and said: There is no reward for me even to the weight equal to it. I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who beats a slave without cognizable offence of his or slaps him, then expiation for it is that he should set him free.
    • Sahih Muslim, The Book of Oaths (Kitab Al-Aiman), Book 015, Number 4079
  • When I was beating my servant, I heard a voice behind me (saying): Abu Mas'ud, bear in mind Allah has more dominance over you than you have upon him. I turned and (found him) to be Allah's Messenger. I said: Allah's Messenger, I set him free for the sake of Allah. Thereupon he said: Had you not done that, (the gates of) Hell would have opened for you, or the fire would have burnt you.
    • Sahih Muslim, The Book of Oaths (Kitab Al-Aiman), Book 015, Number 4088
  • Narrated Ibn `Umar: The Prophet said, "If one manumits his share of a common slave (Abd), and he has money sufficient to free the remaining portion of the price of the slave (justly estimated), then he should free the slave completely by paying the rest of his price; otherwise the slave is freed partly.
    • Sahih Bukhari, Book of Manumission of Slaves, Book 46, Number 729
  • Ibn 'Umar reported Allah's Messenger as saying: He who emancipates his share in the slave, it is his responsibility to secure full freedom for him provided he (the slave) has enough money to pay the (remaining) price, but it he has not so much money he would be emancipated to the extent that the first man emancipated.
    • Sahih Muslim, The Book of Oaths, Book 15, Number 4103
  • It was narrated from Samurah that the Messenger of Allah said: Whoever kills his slave, we will kill him: whoever mutilates (his slave). We will mutilate him, and whoever castrates (his slave), we will castrate him.
    • Sunan an-Nasa'i, The Book of Oaths, Retaliation and Blood Money, Vol. 5, Book 45, Number 7440
  • Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying: None of you should say: My bondman and my slave-girl, for all of you are the bondmen of Allah, and all your women are the slave-girls of Allah; but say: My servant, my girl, and my young man and my young girl.
    • Sahih Muslim, The Book Concerning the Use of Correct Words, Book 27, Number 5591
  • Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace benpon him) as saying: He who emancipates a slave, Allah will set free from Hell every limb (of his body) for every limb of his (slave's) body, even his private parts.
    • Sahih Muslim, The Book of Emancipating Slaves, Book 9, Number 3603
  • Narrated Abu Dhar: I asked the Prophet, "What is the best deed?" He replied, "To believe in Allah and to fight for His Cause." I then asked, "What is the best kind of manumission (of slaves)?" He replied, "The manumission of the most expensive slave and the most beloved by his master." I said, "If I cannot afford to do that?" He said, "Help the weak or do good for a person who cannot work for himself." I said, "If I cannot do that?" He said, "Refrain from harming others for this will be regarded as a charitable deed for your own good."
    • Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 46, Number 694
  • Narrated Abu Musa: Allah's Messenger said, "He who has a slave-girl and educates and treats her nicely and then manumits and marries her, will get a double reward."
    • Sahih Bukhari, The Book of Manumission of Slaves, Book 46, Number 720
  • Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If one of you marries a woman or buys a slave, he should say: "O Allah, I ask Thee for the good in her, and in the disposition Thou hast given her; I take refuge in Thee from the evil in her, and in the disposition Thou hast given her." When he buys a camel, he should take hold of the top of its hump and say the same kind of thing.
    • Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2155
  • Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported that at the Battle of Hunain Allah's Messenger 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 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 (Quran 4:. 24)" (i. e. they were lawful for them when their 'Idda period came to an end).
    • Sahih Muslim 8:3432
  • Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) reported that a man came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: I have a slave-girl who is our servant and she carries water for us and I have intercourse with her, but I do not want her to conceive. He said: Practise 'azl, if you so like, but what is decreed for her will come to her. The person stayed back (for some time) and then came and said: The girl has become pregnant, whereupon he said: I told you what was decreed for her would come to her.
    • Sahih Muslim 8:3383
  • ‘Ata said, ‘There is no harm in fondling with one’s pregnant (1) slave-girl without having sexual intercourse with her. Allah said: ‘Except with their wives and the (women captives) whom their right hands possess (for in this case they are not to be blamed).’" Footnote (1) says, "Pregnant from another man, not her present master."
    • Sahih Bukhari vol.3 ch.113 after no.436
  • Sahih Bukhari (80:753) - "The Prophet said, 'The freed slave belongs to the people who have freed him.'"
  • Sahih Bukhari (59:637) - "The Prophet sent Ali to Khalid to bring the Khumus (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 Khumlus.'"
  • Abu Dawud (2150) - "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 Qur’anic verse: (Quran 4:24) 'And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.'"
  • Abu Dawud (1814) - "...[Abu Bakr] He then began to beat [his slave] him while the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) was smiling and saying: Look at this man who is in the sacred state (putting on ihram), what is he doing?"
  • Abu Dawud 38:4458 - Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib: “A slave-girl belonging to the house of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) committed fornication. He (the Prophet) said: Rush up, Ali, and inflict the prescribed punishment on her. I then hurried up, and saw that blood was flowing from her, and did not stop. So I came to him and he said: Have you finished inflicting (punishment on her)? I said: I went to her while her blood was flowing. He said: Leave her alone till her bleeding stops; then inflict the prescribed punishment on her. And inflict the prescribed punishment on those whom your right hands possess (i.e. slaves)”.
  • Abu Dawud 1:142 - "Do not beat your wife as you beat your slave-girl"

Ibn Ishaq[edit]

  • Ibn Ishaq (693) - "Then the apostle sent Sa-d b. Zayd al-Ansari, brother of Abdu'l-Ashal with some of the captive women of Banu Qurayza to Najd and he sold them for horses and weapons."

External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about: