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    Compassionate Islam and Ma malakat aymanukum (Right hand holds)

                                      T.O. Shanavas. MD

[Author is a native of Kerala, India, but is now based in the USA. He is the author of “Islamic Theory of evolution of Evolution The Missing Link Between Darwin and The Origin of Species.” Co-author of the book, And God Said, "Let There Be Evolutiopern!": Reconciling The Book Of Genesis, The Qur'an, And The Theory Of Evolution. Edited by Prof. Charles M. Wynn and Prof. Arthur W. Wiggins. He can be contacted at]

The phrase “Ma malakat aymanukumin Surat Al-Ma`ārij: 30-31 and other verses is translated as “And those who guard their private parts, except from their spouses or those their right hands possess.” Most classical exegetes and contemporary Muslim scholars explained that Ma malakat aymanukum” means slaves and ruled that Shariah permits free sex with slave girls.

According to Muhammed Asad, most of the classical commentators assume unquestioningly that Ma malakat aymanukum stands for slaves and it is permissible to have free sex with them. He continues, “This conventional interpretation is, in my opinion, inadmissible inasmuch as it is based on the assumption that sexual intercourse with one's female slave is permitted without marriage.” So, he translate "Ma malakat aymanukum" to “those whom they rightfully possess [through wedlock).

I mostly agree with Muhammad Asad with few modifications and but emphatically disagree with the universal Muslim passive acceptance of the ruling by traditional Muslim scholars on unlimited free sex with slave women.

A close study of the Qur’anic phrase, "Ma malakat aymanukum" and the history of the marriage practices during the life of Prophet Muhammad (s) yield a companionate Islam.

"Ma malakat aymanukum" means the “women under contract in temporary marriages but not equal to wife of traditional marriage.” such marriages were very common during Jahilliah  (pre-Islamic time) and also most of Prophet’s (s) lifetime. The temporary marriage was forbidden by Prophet (s) during the Khyber war or by Ummer ibn Kathab (ra) as stated in this Hadiths:

HADITH, BUKHARI Book #59, Hadith #527

“Narrated 'Ali bin Abi Talib: On the day of Khaibar, Allah's Apostle forbade the Mut'a (i.e. temporary marriage) and the eating of donkey-meat.”

HADITH, MUSLIM Book #007, Hadith #2874

"Abd Nadra reported: While I was in the company of Jibir, a person came and said: There is difference of opinion among Ibn Abbas and Ibn Zubair about two Mut'as (benefits, Tamattul in Hajj and temporary marriage with women), whereupon jibir said: We have been doing this during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (way peace be upon him), and then 'Umar forbade us to do so, and we never resorted to them

The following characteristics of true believers, as laid out by the Quran and those Hadiths compatible with the Quran, discredit the fatwa of traditional scholars on free sex with slaves.

1.      Keep chastity outside marriage.

2.      Accept sex outside marriage: a sin

3.      Cannot be a fornicator

4.      Cannot claim to be a adulterer and believer simultaneously

5.      Raise slave girl/boy as the way he/she raise her own kids.

6.      Will marry a slave woman or man instead of fornicate her/him or keep as concubine.

7.      Will remain celibate if he has no means to give Mahr.

8.      Will not approve or practice prostitution


1. Chastity is a characteristic of male and female believers:

Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so - for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. (33:35)

2. Sex outside marriage is sin.

Quran 17:32

“And come not near to unlawful sex. Verily, it is a Faahishah (i.e. anything that transgresses its limits: a great sin, and an evil way that leads one to hell unless Allaah Forgives him)”

Quran 24:2-3

 The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse - lash each one of them with a hundred lashes,..The woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes….”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2475) and Muslim (57).

“And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No adulterer is a believer at the time when he is committing adultery” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2475) and Muslim (57). 

3. Believers cannot be adulterers and vice versa

The fornicator does not marry except a [female] fornicator or polytheist, and none marries her except a fornicator or a polytheist, and that has been made unlawful to the believers.” 24:2-3.

4. BELIEVERS: Impossible to be a fornicator and believer simultaneously

Quran 83:1-4

“Woe to those... who, when they have to receive by measure from men, they demand exact full measure, but when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due

(Book #2, Hadith #12)

"None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." Nawawi Hadith Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, "None of you will have faith till he wishes for his brother what he likes for himself."  

 So a believer cannot desire one thing for his wife or husband or children, the opposite for unrelated family.

5. Treatment of slave girls by believer

Bukhari Book #46, Hadith #720

Narrated Abu Musa: Allah's Apostle said, "He who has a slave-girl and educates and treats her nicely and then manumits and marries her, will get a double reward."  

6. Marriage relationship with slave, not with concubine.

“And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. …” (24:32)

7. Believers without financial means must remain celibate and not to force slaves for sex.

Quran 24:33

And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah enriches them of His Bounty. And such of your slaves as seek a writing (of emancipation), give them such writing, if you know that they are good and trustworthy. And give them something yourselves out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you…..”

8. Believer cannot be a flesh-peddler

Quran 24:33

“……And force not your maids to prostitution, if they desire chastity, in order that you may make a gain in the (perishable) goods of this worldly life. But if anyone compels them (to prostitution), then after such compulsion, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to those women, i.e. He will forgive them because they have been forced to do this evil action unwillingly).


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