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As you know, in Islam sexual relations are allowed between spouses and possessions of the right hand, with the latter being gained from war. Is it halal for a women to voluntarily submit as a slave to a man? In this hypothetical situation a proper contract would be put in place, no coercion would take place, the potential slave would be of sound mind and treated with respect.

I haven't found anything in my research to indicate that this isn't Islamic. Thoughts?

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  • The question is why would anyone do such a thing?
    – The Z
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 23:23
  • Maybe the women wants a man to maintain her? Slaves in Islam get same food and clothes as their master. In return the master gets help around the house and sex.
    – user81942
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 23:25
  • They could just get married.
    – The Z
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 23:28
  • Maybe so, but is the scenario above haram? If it isn't then it's an option.
    – user81942
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 23:37
  • @user81942 "with the latter being gained from war" that's not entirely correct. you could obtain a slave in a gift or buy it from someone. Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 19:37

4 Answers 4

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There are no means of getting slaves today, voluntarily or involuntarily. In Adwā' al-Bayān, Vol. 4, pp. 29, Mohammad al-Amīn ash-Shanqīti said that the only venue for right-hand possession is through prisoners from wars with disbelievers that are intended for Allah so that Allah's word prevail, this is if the ruler of the Muslim army does not elect to set them free or swap them with Muslim prisoners of war [47:4].

Voluntary slavery is not Islamic.

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  • Imam Ibn Tahmiyyah differs Commented May 27 at 11:01
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Definition of Voluntary Slavery As Per Wikipedia

Voluntary slavery, in theory, is the condition of slavery entered into at a point of voluntary consent. It is distinguished from involuntary slavery where an individual is forced to a period of servitude usually as punishment for a crime.

Shaykh Al Islam Ibn Tahmiyyah in his Majmu Al Fatwa was asked a question

وسئل عن شخص من الكفار في بلاد الكفار كان عليه دين باع نفسه لشخص مسلم وقبض الثمن وأوفى به دينه وباع ابنته أيضا ورضوا بالرق وخسر عليهم التاجر المسلم كلفة الطريق والنفقة والكسوة حتى وصلوا إلى بلاد الإسلام . فهل يجوز بيعهم وشراؤهم ؟

He was asked about an infidel in an Dar Al Kufr who was in debt. He sold himself to a Muslim person took the price and paid off his debt. He also sold his daughter and they were satisfied with slavery, and the Muslim merchant bore the cost of the road, expenses, and clothing on them until they reached the Abode of Islam. Is it permissible to buy and sell them (slave]?

Shaykh Replied:

إذا دخل المسلم إلى دار الحرب بغير أمان فاشترى منهم أولادهم وخرج بهم إلى دار الإسلام كانوا ملكا له باتفاق الأئمة وله أن يبيعهم للمسلمين ويجوز أن يشتروا منه ويستحق على المشتري جميع الثمن .

If a Muslim enters the Abode of War without security buys their (Harbi's) children from them and takes them out to the Abode of Islam, they are his property, according to the Consensus of the imams, and he has the right to sell them to the Muslims, and it is permissible for them to buy from him, and the buyer is entitled to all the price.

What is Abode of War?

Here is a summarized definition from Encyclopedia of translated Islamic terms and dictionaries:

اختلف أهل العلم في تعريف دار الحرب على رأيين: أحدهما: أن دار الحرب هي الدار التي لا يكون فيها السلطان للحاكم المسلم، ولا تنفذ فيها أحكام الإسلام، وليس بين المسلمين وأهلها عهد، أو يقال: هي الأرض التي لا يهيمن فيها الإسلام، ولا تحكم فيها شريعته، وهذا رأي جمهور أهل العلم. الرأي الثاني: ويذهب إلى أن كون السلطان لغير المسلمين لا يجعل الدار دار حرب؛ بل لا بد من تحقيق ثلاثة شروط مجتمعة لتصير الدار دار حرب، وهي:

1- ظهور الأحكام غير الإسلامية. 2- أن يكون الإقليم مجاورا للديار الإسلامية بحيث يتوقع منه الاعتداء على دار الإسلام. 3- ألا يأمن المسلم ولا الذمي فيها بحكم الإسلام؛ بل يأمن فيها بعهد يعقده، وهذا رأي بعض أهل العلم.

ولا فرق بين دار العهد ودار الحرب إلا من حيث إن الأولى بينها وبين المسلمين معاهدة سلام؛ بخلاف الثانية فلا توجد فيها هذه المعاهدة؛ إذ إن دار الحرب يتوقع منها الاعتداء في أي وقت، وهما عدا هذا دار واحدة تقابل دار الإسلام، إلا أن دار العهد أخص من دار الحرب؛ لوجود المواثيق بين المسلمين وبين أهلها. وأما الاختلاف بين دار الإسلام ودار الحرب فإنه يكون بظهور المنعة والسلطان، فأيما دولة ظهرت للإسلام فيها منعة وسلطان فهي دار الإسلام، وإن لم تظهر للإسلام قوة أو سلطان فهي دار الحرب.

Scholars differed in defining Dar al-Harb, based on two opinions: One of them is that Dar al-Harb is the land in which the Muslim ruler does not have authority, and the rules of Islam are not implemented, and there is no covenant or treaty between Muslims and its people, or it can be said: it is the land in which Islam does not dominate and there is no Islamic rule over it. It has it own laws, and this is the opinion of the majority of scholars. The second opinion: It holds that the fact that the authority belongs to non-Muslims does not make the house a house of war. Rather, three conditions must be fulfilled together for the house to become a house of war, which are:

1- The emergence of non-Islamic rulings. 2- That the territory be adjacent to the Islamic lands such that it is expected to attack the Islamic lands. 3- Neither the Muslim nor the non-Muslim is safe in it by the rule of Islam;

Rather, he is secure in it through a covenant he makes, and this is the opinion of some scholars. There is no difference between the House of Covenant and the House of War except in that the former is a peace treaty between it and the Muslims. Unlike the second, this treaty does not exist; Since Dar Al-Harb is expected to be attacked at any time, and apart from this, they are one Dar, corresponding to Dar Al-Islam, except that Dar Al-Ahd is more specific than Dar Al-Harb. Because of the existence of covenants between Muslims and their people. As for the difference between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb, it is due to the appearance of invincibility and authority. Any state in which Islam has appeared in strength and authority is Dar al-Islam, and if Islam does not have power or authority then it is Dar al-Harb.

I hope this answer's your question.

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Slavery as a whole is allowed in Islam.

There are no authentic hadiths or verses where it says one cannot be a slave even if he/she is a volunteer. It may be true that very few people would want to present themselves as a volunteer to become a slave but it may well happen.

There are no Islamic scripts preventing them from that.

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  • Why down vote when you have no explanation why you disagree? Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 23:02
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    Hadith Qudsi of Bukhari explicitly forbids the enslavement of a free person. The only form of enslavement that is permitted is through disbeliever captives of war, if the caliph so choses [33:50]. Someone who is already enslaved may be bought, sold, gifted, inherited etc. ... though this isn't a thing which admits one to slavery in the first place.
    – UmH
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 23:06
  • I have edited my answer to give room for the hadith you mentioned. So, capturing and enslaving free persons to sell them and eat the money is forbidden.. However, if you remove the selling part then it does seem OK. So if a free person is transformed into a slave you can only give it as a gift but cannot sell to eat the price. Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 23:25
  • "though this isn't a thing which admits one to slavery in the first place." Whether it may happen or may not happen... However If it does than its not forbidden. Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 23:26
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    You'd still be eating the price since you would get benefit from him\her such as labor etc. If you gift them you'd again be getting benefit as the goodwill, for which otherwise you would have had to spend your own money. Overall your answer seems to be based on nothing but your personal musings which aren't thought through well enough and you are twisting scripture and tradition every which-way to defend your position (which goes against the orthodox position) ... as such your answer is of little use to the wider audience who expect an authoritative and reliable answer based on sound premiss.
    – UmH
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 0:02
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Voluntary Slavery is allowed in Islam. As evident from the following incident regarding Zaid-ibn-Harith.

"Zayd’s father and uncle set out for Mecca. They found Muhammad (pbuh) at the Kaaba and promised him any ransom if he would return Zayd to them. Muhammad replied that Zayd should be allowed to choose, if he wishes to return to his family and that Muhammad (pbuh) would release him without any ransom.

They asked Zayd, who recognised his father and uncle, but told them that he did not want to leave Muhammad, “for I have seen something in this man, and I am not the kind of person who would ever choose anyone in preference to him.”

Source: "Landau-Tasseron/Tabari pp. 8-9"

This incident is sufficient evidence to prove that despite being offered freedom, Zayd voluntarily accepted to remain in slavery of the Prophet (pbuh) without thinking about or knowing any outcome. The prophet (pbuh) even tried to change his status from that of a slave to an adopted son but that decision was over-turned by Quran, banning the practice of the kind of adoption at the time altogether.

When it comes to a woman, its better that she proposes a marriage rather than accepting volunteer slavery of a man. Because being married to a man she has the advantage to seek divorce whenever she deems it necessary. The only difference between the rights of a wife and that of a female slave is that the female slave cannot invoke Faskh (A kind of divorce initiated by the female without the consent of her male husband). Except this distinction, each and every other right of a woman remains the same for both a wife and that of a female slave.

Therefore, in extreme circumstances where a man is already married to four wives and there is a fifth female who wants to indulge in sexual relations or simply wants to stay closer to a man, her only option would be to become his slave.

Remember, slavery had not been abolished by Islam but rather discouraged. Its only the man-made governments of today who have abolished slavery. In Islam it is still allowed and Islam cannot be changed.

Lastly, war is not the only way to obtain a slave. A slave could be bought or be given as a gift too. Zaid-bin-Harith and Maria-al-Qubtia were both slaves of the prophet pbuh, and both were not obtained in war but rather gifted by others.

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  • 2
    Didn't Zaid get freed and become an adopted son? It isn't really slavery. Not my downvote.
    – The Z
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 20:50
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 21:34
  • <comments deleted> Comments are intended for constructive criticism and seeking clarification, not for argument and debate.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 21:45
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    Zayed was already freed by the Prophet when he first received him as a gift from Khadijah, and this happened before the event mentioned in your answer [ See Qurtubi: فوهبته خديجة للنبي ... فأعتقه وتبناه ، فأقام عنده مدة ، ثم جاء عمه وأبوه يرغبان في فدائه ] He chose between staying with the Prophet or returning with his family, not between slavery and freedom.
    – UmH
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 22:40
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    The posted incident shows -in best case- that Arabs had slaves no more no less. Note that still nowadays in Arabic countries people consign their sons -in first place- a few years in to care of good and honourable families (or scholars etc.) hoping they learn from these people and will be well educated, is this slavery? Basing a conclusion about Islam on this is far-fetched.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 6:44

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