Historically, raping of women has been a by-product of war and in more recent times, according to Amnesty International (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4078677.stm), it has become a military strategy.
As a Muslim, it troubled me greatly that Islam APPEARS to condone sex slavery. I read all sorts of rationalisations, often seemingly based upon verses from the Quran and ahadith – that it made sense as the institution of sex slavery would mean captured women were taken care of. Yet I could not understand why a woman would willingly have sex with a man who had fought against and killed her people. Of course, sanity dictates she would not.
As usual, I researched the issue.
The verses often quoted by ‘scholars’ are the two below.
Surah Al Mu’minun, verses 5 and 6: (Part of the description of believers)
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَـفِظُونَ – إِلاَّ عَلَى أَزْوَجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ
5. And those who guard their private parts. 6. Except from their wives or their right hand possessions, for then, they are free from blame.
Surah Al Ma’arij, verses 29 – 31:
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَـفِظُونَ – إِلاَّ عَلَى أَزْوَجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ – فَمَنِ ابْتَغَى وَرَآءَ ذلِكَ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْعَادُونَ
29. And those who guard their private parts. 30. Except from their wives or their right hand possessions — for (then) they are not blameworthy. 31. But whosoever seeks beyond that, then it is those who are trespassers.
Now, although the word ‘فروج’ in Arabic refers to ‘private parts’, it is often translated as connoting ‘chastity’. ‘Chastity’ means to ‘abstain from sexual intercourse’. The so-called ‘scholars’ wrongly interpret the verses and claim believing men can have intercourse with wives AND their slaves.
In other words, they propagate that sex slavery is in the Quran which is completely INCORRECT if you look at the Quran in its entirety.
In Surah An Nur, verse 58, Allah makes it clear that what is meant by ‘guarding’ the private parts has nothing to do with sex with your slaves.
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لِيَسْتَأْذِنكُمُ الَّذِينَ مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ لَمْ يَبْلُغُواْ الْحُلُمَ مِنكُمْ ثَلاَثَ مَرَّاتٍ مِّن قَبْلِ صَـلَوةِ الْفَجْرِ وَحِينَ تَضَعُونَ ثِيَـبَكُمْ مِّنَ الظَّهِيرَةِ وَمِن بَعْدِ صَلَوةِ الْعِشَآءِ ثَلاَثُ عَوْرَاتٍ لَّكُمْ لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَلاَ عَلَيْهِمْ جُنَاحٌ بَعْدَهُنَّ طَوَفُونَ عَلَيْكُمْ بَعْضُكُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الاٌّيَـتِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
58. O you who believe! Let your slaves and slave-girls, and those among you who have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission on three occasions: before the Fajr prayer, and while you put off your clothes during the afternoon, and after the `Isha’ prayer. (These) three (times) are of privacy for you; other than these times there is no sin on you or on them to move about, attending to each other. Thus Allah makes clear the Ayat to you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
Obviously, the slaves, like the children, asking for permission during these three times of the day (before fajr and after both dhuhr and isha’) when people would usually be in bed, tells us they were not having sex with their ‘masters’. ‘Guarding the private parts’ is about privacy and modesty NOT chastity. It means to cover the private areas of the body.
Furthermore, this verse in Surah Al Ahzaab (number 50), gives us further proof that sex slavery has no part to play in Islam.
يأَيُّهَا النَّبِىُّ إِنَّآ أَحْلَلْنَا لَكَ أَزْوَجَكَ اللاَّتِى ءَاتَيْتَ أُجُورَهُنَّ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ مِمَّآ أَفَآءَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمِّكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمَّـتِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَـلَـتِكَ اللاَّتِى هَـجَرْنَ مَعَكَ وَامْرَأَةً مُّؤْمِنَةً إِن وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِلنَّبِىِّ إِنْ أَرَادَ النَّبِىُّ أَن يَسْتَنكِحَهَا خَالِصَةً لَّكَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ قَدْ عَلِمْنَا مَا فَرَضْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِى أَزْوَجِهِـمْ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُهُمْ لِكَيْلاَ يَكُونَ عَلَيْكَ حَرَجٌ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً
50. O Prophet! Verily, We have made lawful to you your wives, to whom you have paid their mahr, and those whom your right hand possesses — whom Allah has given to you, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who migrated with you, and a believing woman if she offers herself to the Prophet, and the Prophet wishes to marry her — a privilege for you only, not for the (rest of) the believers. Indeed We know what We have enjoined upon them about their wives and those whom their right hands possess, in order that there should be no difficulty on you. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
This verse gives us a list of those the Prophet could marry alongside his current wives. If the ‘scholars’ claim it is proof that the Prophet was permitted to have sex slaves, they must also, by default, accept that a sexual relationship is possible with female cousins outside marriage! In fact, the verse is proof for the opposite, the permissibility of marrying what the right hand possesses (i.e. slaves) just like the permissibility of marrying first cousins so clearly one can’t just have sex with them!
Lastly, Surah An Nisa’, verse 3 informs us again that female slaves are married not abused and raped.
وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ تُقْسِطُواْ فِى الْيَتَٰـمَى فَانكِحُواْ مَا طَابَ لَكُمْ مِّنَ النِّسَآءِ مَثْنَى وَثُلَـثَ وَرُبَاعَ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ فَوَٰحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَٰـنُكُمْ ذلِكَ أَدْنَى أَلاَّ تَعُولُواْ
And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or that which your right hands possesses. That is nearer to prevent you from injustice.
Just like the Klu Klux Klan claimed to be upholding Christian morality, Muslims who claim sex slavery is a part of Islam are misguided. It is up to the rest of us to act, not with force or violence but with the weapon of knowledge and a shield of true understanding.
It is as Einstein said; “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”
Let’s do something about it.