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'What their right hand possess' is a phrase used a number of times in the Holy Quran. Does it refer only to the female slaves that the men had?

Did the women not possess any male slaves? If they did own them, how is the ownership different from owning a male owning a female slave?

  • Of course they had male and female slaves. – Medi1Saif Nov 21 '16 at 7:59
  • Are you asking whether the rights of a woman over her male slave are the same as those of a man over his female slave? E.g. whether she is entitled to take consorts (sex partners) from among her male slaves? – G. Bach Nov 21 '16 at 14:20
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    @G.Bach Yes. I just didn't want to be too blunt in the question given the context of the Quranic ayahs. – Ahmed Nov 21 '16 at 16:36
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Women had male slaves:

Quran 24:31 And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.

Sunan Abu Daud The Prophet (ﷺ) brought Fatimah a slave which he donated to her. Fatimah wore a garment which, when she covered her head, did not reach her feet, and when she covered her feet by it, that garment did not reach her head. When the Prophet (ﷺ) saw her struggle, he said: There is no harm to you: Here is only your father and slave.

They were however not permitted to have sexual relations with them in the way that men were allowed to have sexual relations with their female slaves.

There is a weak narration from the time of Caliph Umar ibn Khatab where a woman had intercourse with her slave. From Tafsir Ibn Kathir:

حدثنا سعيد عن قتادة أن امرأة اتخذت مملوكها، وقالت تأولت آية من كتاب الله { أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـٰنُهُمْ } فأتى بها عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه، وقال له ناس من أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم تأولت آية من كتاب الله عز وجل على غير وجهها، قال فغرب العبد وجز رأسه، وقال أنت بعده حرام على كل مسلم، هذا أثر غريب منقطع

Qatatah narrated that a woman had intercourse with her slave and presented this verse (23:6) in her defense. When Umar found out about this he put forward the case infront of the Sahabah. The Sahabah said, she has interpreted it wrongly,. On this Umar had the slave's head shaved and exiled him and said to the woman: "After this every Muslim is forbidden to you". This is weak\anamolous ... "

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The answer is No

  • Right hand own is the expression for the female captives from war with disbelievers (war with Muslims does not allow right hand own).
  • A male slave cannot be taken as a partner by female Muslim owner, as woman, in general, is not allowed to be with more than one man.
  • Even in case of the female (right hand own) it is not allowed to be in phisical contact with men other than her owner, not even his son, and her owner cannot have relation with her until she finishes her Menstruation to make sure she is not pregnant by another man.

in (Musannaf Abd Alrazak - 12458)

Narrated Ibn Goraig, said:Abu Al-Zubair told me, said: I heard Jabir bin Abdullah, says: "A woman came to Omar bin al-Khattab while we were in Algabeiah, she (Nakahat) her slave, Omar chided her and was about to stone her, then he said, You are not allowed to have a Muslim man anymore.

I cannot find the English source for this one, but here is the Arabic one.

It is also good to mention that the main rule in having a woman in relation is the forbid, util it is proven to be allowed, as of the Quran verses that allow marriage, and there is no evidence that allows the woman to have relation with her slave.

The Last thing to mention, this is a subject which is not related to the current time, since there is no slave females or males, so there is no real value added in this discussion.

  • Thank you for your answer. w.r.t your last para, in recent time due to the so called ISIL and it's immoral activities, this subject is very much related to the war zone in that region in our current time. – Ahmed Jan 3 '17 at 15:38
  • "A male slave cannot be taken as a partner by female Muslim owner, as woman, in general, is not allowed to be with more than one man." A man is also not allowed to marry more than 4 women at a time, but he can have hundreds of women as slaves who he has sex with if he wants. This point does not support your answer. – G. Bach Jan 12 '17 at 14:54
  • "Even in case of the female (right hand own) it is not allowed to be in phisical contact with men other than her owner, not even his son, and her owner cannot have relation with her until she finishes her Menstruation to make sure she is not pregnant by another man." How is this relevant to a woman who wants to have sex with her male slave? – G. Bach Jan 12 '17 at 14:55

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