Forcing slaves to prostitution

It is mentioned in this hadith;

Jabir reported that 'Abdullah b. Ubayy b. Salul used to say to his slavegirl: Go and fetch something for us by committing prostitution.

Then the verse 24:33 was reveled:

... لَا تُكْرِهُوا فَتَيَاتِكُمْ عَلَى الْبِغَاءِ إِنْ أَرَدْنَ تَحَصُّنًا لِّتَبْتَغُوا عَرَضَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ...
And do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life

So, according to this verse, it seems that it says you shouldn't force the slave women if they want to desire chastity. But that opens up the possibility: if they ain't desiring chastity, it is possible to tell your slave girls to do prostitution without force. Or am I misunderstanding it?

Baydawi says in his tafsir:

تعففاً شرط للإِكراه فإنه لا يوجد دونه، وإن جعل شرطاً للنهي لم يلزم من عدمه جواز الإِكراه لجواز أن يكون ارتفاع النهي بامتناع المنهي عنه، وإيثار إن على إذا لأن إرادة التحصن من الإِماء كالشاذ النادر

Was slave prostitution allowed?

This question was a bit broad so I removed a lot and created another question with that which I removed.

2 Answers 2


Prostitution is not allowed in Islam, by slaves or otherwise, and the earnings of prostitution are haram.

The Prophet (ﷺ) prohibited the earnings of slave girls (through prostitution). Saheeh Bukhari

The Prophet (ﷺ) prohibited taking the price of a dog, the earnings of a soothsayer and the money earned by prostitution. Saheeh Bukhari

The price of a dog is evil, the earning of a prostitute is evil and the earning of a cupper is evil. Sahih Muslim

The fourth type of marriage was that many people would enter upon a lady and she would never refuse anyone who came to her. Those were the prostitutes who used to fix flags at their doors as sign, and he who would wished, could have sexual intercourse with them ... But when Muhammad (ﷺ) was sent with the Truth, he abolished all the types of marriages observed in pre-Islamic period of Ignorance except the type of marriage the people recognize today. Saheeh Bukhari

24:33 does not imply that it is acceptable for the slave-women to be made prostitutes if they don't seek chastity, rather it says that if they seek chastity but are forced by their masters then they would be forgiven by Allah. Abdullah bin Ubay, regarding whom is the hadith and verse you quoted, was a well known hypocrite.

If they are willing prostitutes and commit the act, then they would have committed Zina since it is sex with someone not a husband nor the master (23:5-7), and it is punishable under Shariah:

Quran 4:25 ... if they should commit adultery, then for them is half the punishment for free [unmarried] women ...

The verdict of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) was sought about an unmarried slave girl guilty of illegal intercourse. He replied, "If she commits illegal sexual intercourse, then flog her (fifty stripes), and if she commits illegal sexual intercourse (after that for the second time), then flog her (fifty stripes), and if she commits illegal sexual intercourse (for the third time), then flog her (fifty stripes) and sell her for even a hair rope." Ibn Shihab said, "I am not sure whether the Prophet (ﷺ) ordered that she be sold after the third or fourth time of committing illegal intercourse." Saheeh Bukhari

The men who harassed the women in 33:59 were hypocrites and not righteous Muslims, and the subsequent verses of the Quran address them:

Quran 33:60-61 If the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is disease and those who spread rumors in al-Madinah do not cease, We will surely incite you against them; then they will not remain your neighbors therein except for a little. Accursed wherever they are found, [being] seized and massacred completely.

Its obviously not permitted to harass slave-women, that goes against everything Islam stands for. The Quran does not say that it was acceptable of them to harass the slave women, rather it just advised the Muslim women to do what they can in power to protect themselves, similar to how modern law enforcement would advise people to avoid dark alleys.

  • Uma, I edited my question and removed alot in order to make it less broad, then i accepted your question, since it was answering on that.
    – Kilise
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 12:37
  • The other question which i removed from here is added here now.
    – Kilise
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 12:52
  • 33:60-61 is for clearing aisha from slander of adultery?
    – user22565
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 14:10

"Jabir reported that 'Abdullah b. Ubayy b. Salul used to say to his slavegirl: Go and fetch something for us by committing prostitution."

Keep in mind that 'Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul was the head of the munafiqeen (رَئِيس المُنَافِقِينَ), so his actions aren't an authoritative source of Islamic rulings - in fact it is quite the opposite).

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