Is consent before sex needed in sexual slavery and does the sex slave woman have to give her consent in the case of her master wants to marry her?

  • 3
    Salam and welcome to IslamSE the Q&A site about Islam. To learn more about our site and model consider taking the tour and checking our help center. A master can't marry his slave in Islam. He needs to free her first. As for having intercourse her consent is not necessary needed however there are some rules to take care of. See Are Muslim men allowed to have sex slaves?.
    – Medi1Saif
    Jul 14, 2021 at 13:29

2 Answers 2


It can be ethically desirable to seek the slave's approval but her consent is not legally required.

The Quran gives a parable of a slave as follows:

عبدا مملوكا لا يقدر على شيء

a slave owned (by someone), who has no power over anything

Quran 16:75

This implies that a slave does not have any agency. Slaves are enslaved without their consent. They are bought and sold without their consent. They are made to perform labor without their consent. Their earnings are taken by their owners without their consent. Hence their consent is not of consequence in any matter - and there is no reason to assume that sexual intercourse is any different.

Sexual intercourse is a way in which a master gains a lawful benefit from his slave - hence it is analogous to other means of obtaining benefit. Consent is not required in those means so it also does not matter here.

Verses like 4:3, 4:24, 23:6, 33:50 give a categorical permission to have sexual relations with concubines, there is no other verses or hadith which imposes the condition of consent - hence it can be deduced that consent is irrelevant.

Scholars have noted that it is obligatory on a concubine to submit to her master:

ويجب على المملوكة أن تمكن سيدها من نفسها للاستمتاع، ويحرم عليها الامتناع من ذلك لأنه منع حق

It is wajib on a female slave to provide herself to her master for sexual intimacy and it is haram for her to stop him from it - because it is his right

Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah

An act being obligatory (and refraining from it being haram) means that the person does not have a choice to refrain from it. Lack of choice means that her consent is not relevant.

A master can punish a slave for her refusal to have intimacy:

وكذلك الأمة ليس لها أن تمتنع من تلبية رغبة سيدها إلا من عذر ، فإن فعلت كانت عاصية ، وله أن يؤدبها بما يراه مناسباً وأذن الشرع به

It is not permissible for a concubine to deny intimacy to her master without a valid excuse, if she does this then she is disobedient sinner. And it will be permissible for her master to discipline her in a way which he think appropriate and is permissible in shariah


A master has sexual relations with her concubine without requiring 'marriage'. Indeed he can not himself 'marry' his concubine, unless he frees her first. However he can give his female slave in marriage to someone else. In this case he does not need to obtain her permission - because giving her in marriage serves an interest (keeping her chaste) and also has personal benefits for the master (such as receiving dowry).

وللسيد أن يجبر الأمة على التزويج بمن شاء السيد، واستثنى الحنابلة أن يكون الزوج معيبا بعيب يرد به في النكاح فلا يجبرها عليه

A master can force his slave to marry whomever he wishes, however the Hanbalis have made an exception when the groom has a defect

Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah

  • The master receives mahr?
    – Afiq
    Feb 25 at 13:18
  • There is difference on this among the Malikis, but yes according to the majority it goes to the owner.
    – UmH
    Feb 25 at 14:15
  • Always seemed to me using 16:75 as evidence was way too much of a stretch.
    – The Z
    Feb 25 at 14:20
  • Isn't there room for magnanimity? None of this implies that the concubine is to be treated with injustice and cruelty right?
    – Afiq
    Feb 26 at 3:40
  • 1
    See my first line. It is the master's right so he can obviously forgive it out of kindness, indeed showing kindness is recommended and there are numerous ahadith on that and the verse 4:36 also says that. What I am answering is the legal aspect, i.e. her consent is not essential.
    – UmH
    Feb 26 at 4:03

I read the answer by @UmH and he says

It can be ethically desirable to seek the slave's approval but her consent is not legally required.

What he is saying is, it is acceptable in Islam to rape the captive woman. (rape means sex without approval)

This is total misunderstanding of the basic principles of Islam. Islam stands with weaker section of society and do not allow any type of cruelty towards them. If what he says is correct and Muslims start doing this with enemy captives, the enemy will do the same with Muslim women captives. So in effect this will lead to complete chaos and women in both sides will suffer.

Now coming to question, Is consent necessary for sexual relations ?

And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess. [This is] the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, [provided] that you seek them [in marriage] with [gifts from] your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. Quran 4:24

So the main point is the gift(mahr) is accepted by the woman in presence of 2 witness before any sexual relation can take place. If the gift is not acceptable to the girl, no sexual relation can take place and what happens is rape and it is punishable in Islam.

Main point to note is the above verse is continuation of verse where the women who are forbidden is listed. So it includes captive woman also who can be married.

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