Wed 16 Jm2 1435 - 16 April 2014
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Ruling on having intercourse with a slave woman when one has a wife

Could you please clarify for me something that has been troubling me for a while. This concerns the right of a man to have sexual relations with slave girls. Is this so? If it is then is the man allowed to have relations with her as well his wife/wives. Also, is it true that a man can have sexual relations with any number of slave girls and with their own wife/wives also? I have read that Hazrat Ali had 17 slave girls and Hazrat Umar also had many. Surely if a man were allowed this freedom then this could lead to neglecting the wife's needs. Could you also tell clarify wether the wife has got any say in this matter.

Praise be to Allaah.  

Islam allows a man to have intercourse with his slave woman, whether he has a wife or wives or he is not married. 

A slave woman with whom a man has intercourse is known as a sariyyah (concubine) from the word sirr, which means marriage. 

This is indicated by the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and this was done by the Prophets. Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) took Haajar as a concubine and she bore him Ismaa’eel (may peace be upon them all). 

Our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also did that, as did the Sahaabah, the righteous and the scholars. The scholars are unanimously agreed on that and it is not permissible for anyone to regard it as haraam or to forbid it. Whoever regards that as haraam is a sinner who is going against the consensus of the scholars. 

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“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 (slaves) that your right hands possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice”

[al-Nisa’ 4:3] 

What is meant by “or (slaves) that your right hands possess” is slave women whom you own. 

And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“O Prophet (Muhammad)! Verily, We have made lawful to you your wives, to whom you have paid their Mahr (bridal‑money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), and those (slaves) whom your right hand possesses — whom Allaah has given to you, and the daughters of your ‘Amm (paternal uncles) and the daughters of your ‘Ammaat (paternal aunts) and the daughters of your Khaal (maternal uncles) and the daughters of your Khaalaat (maternal aunts) who migrated (from Makkah) 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 (slaves) whom their right hands possess, in order that there should be no difficulty on you. And Allaah is Ever Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful”

[al-Ahzaab 33:50] 

“And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts from illegal sexual acts).

Except from their wives or the (women slaves) whom their right hands possess for (then) they are not blameworthy.

But whosoever seeks beyond that, then it is those who are trespassers”
[al-Ma’aarij 70:29-31]
 

Al-Tabari said:  

Allaah says, “And those who guard their chastity” i.e., protect their private parts from doing everything that Allaah has forbidden, but they are not to blame if they do not guard their chastity from their wives or from the female slaves whom their rights hands possess. 

Tafseer al-Tabari, 29/84 

Ibn Katheer said: 

Taking a concubine as well as a wife is permissible according to the law of Ibraaheem (peace be upon him). Ibraaheem did that with Haajar, when he took her as a concubine when he was married to Saarah. 

Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/383 

And Ibn Katheer also said: 

The phrase “and those (slaves) whom your right hand possesses — whom Allaah has given to you” [al-Ahzaab 33:50] means, it is permissible for you take concubines from among those whom you seized as war booty. He took possession of Safiyyah and Juwayriyah and he freed them and married them; he took possession of Rayhaanah bint Sham’oon al-Nadariyyah and Maariyah al-Qibtiyyah, the mother of his son Ibraaheem (peace be upon them both), and they were among his concubines, may Allaah be pleased with them both. 

Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 3/500 

The scholars are unanimously agreed that it is permissible. 

Ibn Qudaamah said: 

There is no dispute (among the scholars) that it is permissible to take concubines and to have intercourse with one's slave woman, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):  

“And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts from illegal sexual acts).

Except from their wives or the (women slaves) whom their right hands possess for (then) they are not blameworthy.”

[al-Ma’aarij 70:29-30] 

Maariyah al-Qibtiyyah was the umm walad (a slave woman who bore her master a child) of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and she was the mother of Ibraaheem, the son of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), of whom he said, “Her son set her free.” Haajar, the mother of Isma’eel (peace be upon him), was the concubine of Ibraaheem the close friend (khaleel) of the Most Merciful (peace be upon him). ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) had a number of slave women who bore him children, to each of whom he left four hundred in his will. ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) had slave women who bore him children, as did many of the Sahaabah. ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn, al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad and Saalim ibn ‘Abd-Allaah were all born from slave mothers 

Al-Mughni, 10/441 

Al-Shaafa’i (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts from illegal sexual acts).

Except from their wives or the (women slaves) whom their right hands possess for (then) they are not blameworthy.”

[al-Ma’aarij 70:29-30] 

The Book of Allaah indicates that the sexual relationships that are permitted are only of two types, either marriage or those (women slaves) whom one’s right hand possesses. 

Al-Umm, 5/43. 

The wife has no right to object to her husband owning female slaves or to his having intercourse with them. 

And Allaah knows best.

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