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Marrying a Female Slave, if One Cannot Marry a Free Woman Print E-mail

Allah said, those who do not have,

﴿مِنكُمْ طَوْلاً﴾

(the means), financial capability,

﴿أَن يَنكِحَ الْمُحْصَنَـتِ الْمُؤْمِنَـتِ﴾

(Wherewith to wed free believing women) meaning, free faithful, chaste women.

﴿فَمِنْ مَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُم مِّن فَتَيَـتِكُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَـتِ﴾

(They may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess,) meaning, they are allowed to wed believing slave girls owned by the believers.

﴿وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِإِيمَـنِكُمْ بَعْضُكُمْ مِّن بَعْضٍ﴾

(and Allah has full knowledge about your faith; you are one from another.) Allah knows the true reality and secrets of all things, but you people know only the apparent things. Allah then said,

﴿فَانكِحُوهُنَّ بِإِذْنِ أَهْلِهِنَّ﴾

(Wed them with the permission of their own folk) indicating that the owner is responsible for the slave girl, and consequently, she cannot marry without his permission. The owner is also responsible for his male slave and they cannot wed without his permission. A Hadith states,

«أَيُّمَا عَبْدٍتَزَوَّجَ بِغَيْرِ إِذْنِ مَوَالِيهِ،فَهُوَ عَاهِر»

(Any male slave who marries without permission from his master, is a fornicator.) When the owner of the female slave is a female, those who are allowed to give away the free woman in marriage, with her permission, become responsible for giving away her female slave in marriage, as well. A Hadith states that

«لَا تُزَوِّجِ الْمَرْأَةُ الْمَرْأَةَ، وَلَا الْمَرْأَةُ نَفْسَهَا، فَإِنَّ الزَّانِيَةَ هِيَ الَّتِي تُزَوِّجُ نَفْسَهَا»

(The woman does not give away another woman, or herself in marriage, for only the adulteress gives herself away in marriage.) Allah's statement,

﴿وَءَاتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ﴾

(And give them their due in a good manner;) meaning, pay them their dowry with a good heart, and do not keep any of it, belittling the matter due to the fact that they are owned slaves. Allah's statement,


(they should be chaste) means, they are honorable women who do not commit adultery, and this is why Allah said,

﴿غَيْرَ مُسَـفِحَـتٍ﴾

(not fornicators) referring to dishonorable women, who do not refrain from illicit sexual relations with those who ask. Ibn `Abbas said that the fornicating women are the whores, who do not object to having relations with whomever seeks it, while,

﴿وَلاَ مُتَّخِذَاتِ أَخْدَانٍ﴾

(nor promiscuous. ) refers to taking boyfriends. Similar was said by Abu Hurayrah, Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, Ad-Dahhak, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, Yahya bin Abi Kathir, Muqatil bin Hayyan and As-Suddi.


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