After Egyptian Shaykh Abu-Ishaq al-Huwayni’s controversial comments about jihad and slavery (see here) were published on YouTube, Facebook, and also in Egyptian press, he was given the opportunity to respond in a telephone interview aired on the Islamic satellite television station al-Hikma on 22 May 2011. In his approximately 20-minute response, he contended that his words in that clip were taken out of context–he was talking within the larget topic of offensive jihad. In this interview he explained the meaning of offensive jihad, and established through sources in the Qur’an and sayings of Muhammad that both offensive jihad and the taking of spoils of war, namely slaves and “sex-slaves,” are legitimate under Islam.
I condensed the 20-minute interview down to about 8 and a half minutes; the subtitled video is above, and the transcript is below:
[…] It is clear that offensive jihad, which I was talking about in that interview, that its purpose is to call people to Islam, and it is not permissible for anyone to hide the divine guidance from the people, under any name. They rejected Islam and the jizya, that’s it. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “If they refuse, then seek Allah’s aid and fight them.” If fighting occurs, there is going to be a winner and a loser. If the army of the Muslims is victorious, it will take spoils. Taking spoils is a fixed ruling in the Qur’an. Allah permitted it at the day of the Battle of Badr, as it is (recorded) in Surat al-Anfal. Allah Almighty said: “And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire (in war), a fifth share is assigned to Allah,- and to the Messenger, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer,- if ye do believe in Allah and in the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the Day of Testing,- the Day of the meeting of the two forces. For Allah hath power over all things” [Qur’an 8:41].
This (position) on spoils is clear. There is also the saying in the two Sahihs [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim] from Abi-Hurayra, the first of which is, “One among the prophets (PBUH) raided…” In the other hadith from Yush’a bin Nun, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “When Allah saw our weakness, he made it permissible for us,” meaning spoils. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Spoils were not permitted for any masters besides you.” Allah Almighty forbade (the taking of) spoils for all nations before us. He permitted it on the day of the Battle of Badr, as agreed to by all scholars. Not a single Muslim scholar has a problem with this.
‘Spoils’ refers to what? It refers to people and wealth. The people are those who are taken prisoner. I want to say that it is not at all permissible to take prisoners from among Muslims, even if they are heretics, because the rule for Muslims is that they are free, and not prisoners. Jihad, as I stated in the beginning, is between Muslims and non-Muslims, from among the infidels. But if two Muslims fought each other, like from Iraq and Iran for example; if Iraq invaded Iran to occupy it, it would not be permissible for an Iraqi man to take a Shi’ite woman captive, because she is Muslim, even though she’s a heretic. Likewise if Iran invaded Iraq, it would not be permissible for one of their men to take a Muslim woman captive, because she is free.
Therefore jihad is only between Muslims and infidels. That between Muslims and Muslims is called oppression, or fighting: “If two parties among the believers fall into a quarrel…” [Qur’an 49:9]. They are called ‘believers,’ and this name is not taken from them, even though they are fighting. “If one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses…” Here they are called transgressors, but the name of believers is still not taken away from them. In the verse directly following this one, Allah Almighty says: “The believers are but a single brotherhood…” They were brothers, even though a party of them transgressed against the other, and some of them fought each other. But the name of believers was not taken from them.
Do you understand what I’m saying? Spoils, slaves, and prisoners are only to be taken in war between Muslims and infidels. Muslims in the past conquered, invaded, and took over countries. This is agreed to by all scholars–there is no disagreement on this from any of them, from the smallest to the largest, on the issue of taking spoils and prisoners. The prisoners and spoils are distributed among the fighters, which includes men, women, children, wealth, and so on.
When a slave market is erected, which is a market in which are sold slaves and sex-slaves, which are called in the Qur’an by the name milk al-yamin, “that which your right hands possess” [Qur’an 4:24]. This is a verse from the Qur’an which is still in force, and has not been abrogated. The milk al-yamin are the sex-slaves. You go to the market, look at the sex-slave, and buy her. She becomes like your wife, (but) she doesn’t need a (marriage) contract or a divorce like a free woman, nor does she need a wali. All scholars agree on this point–there is no disagreement from any of them.
These are called slaves. The Prophet (PBUH) talked about them in the hadith narrated by al-Bukhari in his Book of Jihad: “Allah is delighted at a people who enter the Garden in chains.” Also as narrated by Abu-Dawud: “They are led to the Garden in chains.” Naturally, many people might not understand someone being jerked along in chains in order to enter the Garden. This is because all people, even the worst of the unbelievers, say the garden is for them and no others. They run to the Garden without anybody pulling them in chains.
The meaning of the hadith is this: these slaves were in a religion other than Islam. However, when they were conquered, and defeated, and taken prisoner, they came to live in the land of Islam. Then when they witnessed the justice, compassion, and mercy of Islam, they became Muslims. These did not convert to Islam except in the chains of war. If they had not been chained, bound, and had their freedom taken from them, they would not have converted to Islam. Therefore this hadith is referring to these slaves.
I am very shocked and surprised at those who say that we permit slavery. We don’t call people to become slaves. In fact, there are vows to free the necks (i.e. slaves). The same Islam which permits us to take slaves, also urges us to free their necks.
I am very shocked, for example, by a country like the United States or others like it which occupy the inhabitants of the earth. It doesn’t enslave individuals, but rather it enslaves entire countries. What is being done in Afghanistan? What is being done in Iraq? What is being done with regards to dividing up Sudan? Those who are in Chechnya, or Eritrea, or any Muslim country are being burned, and taken and thrown in prisons and in Guantanamo and so forth. They say that this is a war against terrorism. This action is the same as slavery, but it is injustice and agression. But Islam in the case of Chosroes was not like that.
I have entered into the well-known conditions and restrictions (on offensive jihad), of which I mentioned only a few, because it is a long topic. I know that I am in an interview, and perhaps I have carried on too long for your guests. But I will close Allah-willing, and I won’t go on more than a couple of minutes. I say that this is requisite with the justice, mercy, and care of Islam for the slaves. Yet they still come and blame us for this supposed blemish, while they are guilty of the same thing many times over. They are tyrants and oppressors who attack the lands of the Muslims especially, more than they do any others. Now when I say spoils, it does not refer only to money, but it also means slaves.
When I want a sex slave, I just go to the market and choose the woman I like and purchase her. I choose the man I like, one with strong muscles, or if I want a boy to work in the house, and so forth. I choose one, and pay him a wage. I employ him in a variety of different tasks, then I sell him afterwards. Now, the country that I entered and took captive its men and women–does it not also have money, gold, and silver? Is that not money? When I say that jihad–offensive jihad–with the well-known conditions that I already mentioned from the hadith of the Prophet (PBUH), from the hadith of Burayda in Sahih Muslim, the coffers of the Muslims were full. Would someone who is pious and intelligent–would he say that this is a type of poverty? Or that it is a type of wealth? No–this will fill the coffers of the Muslims with riches and wealth, but as we said, with the recognized conditions. […]
Originally posted on Translating Jihad