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I know that Islam treats women with honor and that they are privilaged to be modest and such. However I do not see this reflected onto slave women who were instead obliged to only cover from navel to the knee.

here is a hadith that I find troubling:

أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ قَالَ: " كُنَّ إِمَاءُ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ يَخْدِمْنَنَا كَاشِفَاتٍ عَنْ شُعُورِهِنَّ تَضْرِبُ ثُدِيُّهُنَّ

“Umar’s maids, may God be pleased with him, used to serve us, revealing their hair and stroking their breasts.”

Imam al-Beyhaqi records in ‘Al-Sunnan al-Kubra’ Volume 2 page 227

Why are the slave girls made to be immodest among these men. Is this not dishonorable to them and a source of fitna?

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As far as I know, prophet(s.a) didn't say the dress code of captive women is from navel to knee. As the captives used to serve in different house holds and they have to work, they couldn't have maintained the strict dress code mentioned. So later on scholars who are going through these hadith collection said their dress code is similar to what they say for men, that is from navel to knee. This doesn't mean they have to cover only from navel to knee only. This meant only that as part of work they can possibly reveal some parts of their body, as long as they do not have other intention in this, there is nothing wrong.

Actually Quran gives dress code only for believing women and do not separate free and captive women. Quran 24:31 , Quran 33:59. Believing woman includes free and captive believing women.

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  • Regarding what the prophet said I found this: sunnah.com/abudawud:4114. Some commentaries I read suggested those verses you mentioned from the quran only applied to free women and not slave women. I do see why the scholars would deliniate their dress code from the navel to the knee owing to their profession and having to appear before buyers during sale for inspection in the market or for domestic chores. Thus I don't really find this topic bothersome anymore but regardless Thank you for your output.
    – z shawn
    Oct 15, 2023 at 23:54
  • @zshawn thanks for your comment. Islam is all about equality. The dress code of believing women will not change just because she is captured by enemy. She should always try to maintain the dress code prescribed by Quran and Sunnah.
    – Shafeek
    Oct 16, 2023 at 1:44

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