Muhammad’s Example Shapes Islamic State Ruling on Female Sex Slavery

islamic state

As I was preparing to discuss my 12/28/15 Breitbart essay, “Islam and the Global Epidemic of Muslim Jew-Hatred,” on Breitbart News Daily (discussion, 12/29/15 here), a Reuters story about an ISIS “fatwa” (i.e., Islamic “religious” edict) regarding female sex slaves appeared online.

Our Breitbart News Daily discussion riveted upon the continued failure of all current Presidential candidates to address living Islamic doctrine and history with requisite informed candor. That frank conversation provides an ideal segue to the just-released ISIS sex slavery fatwa, and its own doctrinal rootedness within canonical Islam. 

The fatwa in question is part of cache of documents captured during a May, 2015 raid on a leading ISIS official in Syria. These materials are now being made public, rather piecemeal. Dated January 29, 2015, the fatwa, per traditional style, opens with a query to be addressed by the ISIS “Committee of Research and Fatwas”:

Question: Some of the brothers have committed violations in the matter of the treatment of the female slaves. These violations are not permitted by Sharia law, because these rules have not been dealt with in ages. Are there any warnings pertaining to this matter? 

The ruling first elucidates a straightforward rationale for jihad enslavement, entirely consistent with the classical Islamic jurisprudence of jihad war.

One of the graces which Allah has bestowed upon the State of Caliphate is the conquest of large surface areas of the country and one of the inevitable consequences of the jihad of establishment is that women and children will become captives of Muslims.

A Muslim “owner” (8 mentions), non-Muslim female “captive” (13 mentions) master-slave relationship is made unabashedly clear in the fatwa. Notwithstanding the fatwa’s hollow invocation to “show compassion towards her,” i.e. the female sex slave and serial rape victim – such as refraining from anal intercourse, or intercourse during menstruation – testimonies of freed Yazidi and Christian ISIS sex slaves reveal the horrific reality of such captivity.

Muhammad, Islam’s beloved prophet, as Muslims are told in the Koran’s 33rd sura (chapter) “is closer to the believers than their selves and his wives are their mothers.” [Koran 33:6]. Moreover, Muhammad was Islam’s proto-type jihadist (also see this contemporary formulation, “The Prophet Muhammad as a Jihad Model”), whose idealized example Muslims are exhorted “to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” [Koran 33:21]

What was Muhammad’s “perfect” role model, vis-à-vis jihad slavery? Also, what do Islam’s canonical texts, especially the Koran and the hadith (Muhammad’s “guiding” words and deeds as recorded by his pious Muslim companions), opine on these matters?

Muhammad, using the Koranic “revelation” as justification, insisted that he was entitled to not only his own wives, but those captured in battle (and cousins as well), per Allah’s allowance in Koran 33:50 (4 additional translations here)

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 (captives or slaves) whom your right hand possesses – whom Allah has given to you, and the daughters of your ‘Amm (paternal uncles) and the daughters of your ‘Ammah (paternal aunts) and the daughters of your Khal (maternal uncles) and the daughters of your Khalah (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 (captives or slaves) whom their right hands possess, – in order that there should be no difficulty on you. And Allah is Ever Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful.

The “privilege” of having sexual intercourse with captured slave women is extended to all Muslim men in Koran 4:24 “those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess. Thus has Allah ordained for you.”

Muhammad and his minions, for example, attacked and devastated the prosperous Jewish tribe Banu-Mustaliq in a surprise raid (during 626 A.D.; see the hadith Sahih Al-Bukhari 2541). The Banu al-Mustaliq males were slaughtered and the “booty” taken by the Muslims included the victims’ women, and children, who were enslaved. Juwayriya, the most alluring captive, and daughter of the Banu al-Mustaliq leader, was taken as a “bride” for Muhammad himself. Sanctioned by Islam’s prophet, a mass rape by “coitus interruptus” of the captured women ensued, which was characterized in a canonical hadith, as follows:

(hadith Sunan Abu Dawud 2167)—Muhairiz said: I entered the mosque and saw Abu Sa’id al-Khudri. I sat with him and asked about withdrawing the penis (while having intercourse). Abu Sa’id said: We went out with the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to Banu al-Mustaliq, and took some Arab women captive, and we desired the women, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, and we wanted ransom; so we intended to withdraw the penis (while having intercourse with the slave-women). But we asked ourselves: Can we draw the penis when the Apostle of Allah is among us before asking him about it? So we asked him about it. He said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.”

From the advent of Islam, into the early 20th century, Muhammad’s sacralized behaviors engendered jihad sexual slavery on a massive scale. Across more than a millennial continuum, this enslavement included the enormous, iconic harems of mythically “tolerant” Muslim Spain (especially during the 9th and 10th centuries), through their Ottoman Empire 13th to early 20th century counterparts. These harems, in turn, begot the aptly named hideous trade of Islamic eunuch slavery, which necessitated a barbaric and deadly human gelding procedure that killed at least 90% of male non-Muslim children and adolescents—numbering in the millions—upon whom it was forcibly imposed. Sexual slavery and rape also punctuated the Ottoman jihad genocide of the Armenian Christians during World War I, as well as the genocidal jihad waged against southern Sudan’s black Christians by the Arab Muslim Khartoum regime for most of the last two decades of the 20th century.

ISIS’s practice of jihad sex slavery fits squarely within a normative doctrinal and historical Islamic context, patterned after the behaviors of Muhammad, and the nascent Muslim community. Those who aspire to our political leadership must be compelled to shed their cultural relativist blinders and consider Islam as the conquering, totalitarian political ideology with religious trappings it has remained for almost 14 centuries.


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