I am researching slavery and its roots in Islam to better understand it with context. I have a question about islamic rules on female prisoners of war, i know that there are options when you have prisoners of war. Such as ransoming them or setting them free or taking them as slaves. While this is being decided can the muslim soldiers establish intimacy with the female prisoners of war, before it has been decided if they are to be taken as slaves?

2 Answers 2


Concubinage is only allowed when a person has ownership over a female slave.

والذين هم لفروجهم حافظون إلا على أزواجهم أو ما ملكت أيمانهم فإنهم غير ملومين فمن ابتغى وراء ذلك فأولئك هم العادون

And they who guard their private parts. Except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they will not be blamed - But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors.

Quran 23:5-7

Normally ownership only exists after the distribution of the spoils of war and not before it. All the solders who were present in the battle have a joint right to the spoils, however what belongs to whom is only established after distribution.

Further, it is not permitted to have sexual relations with a female slave before a waiting period which ensures that her womb is empty:

عن أبي سعيد الخدري، ورفعه، أنه قال في سبايا أوطاس ‏ لا توطأ حامل حتى تضع ولا غير ذات حمل حتى تحيض حيضة

Abu Sa’id Al Khudri traced to Prophet (ﷺ) regarding the captives taken at Atwas:

There must be no intercourse with pregnant woman till she gives birth to her child or with the one who is not pregnant till she has had one menstrual period.

Abu Dawud

  • So would it be a impermissible a solider involved in intercourse with a prisoner of war whose status of slave hadn't been established yet and was not assigned ownership to them, for example the leader had not decided if he was going to set the prisoners free yet.
    – Eva
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 22:30
  • sunnah.com/urn/512590 this hadith in particular were the soliders ask about withdrawl method with these women saying they wish to “ransom them” so they dont want them getting pregnant, at this point are they slaves but still being ransomed for freedom or is this word used to say “selling” as in they wish to sell them?
    – Eva
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 23:25
  • @Eva Yes it is forbidden to have intimacy with a woman whom one does not own in full, and also when the waiting period has not yet passed. If the leader wishes to free rather than to enslave them then typically this will happen before distribution. Distribution indicates that he has decided to enslave them.
    – UmH
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 4:35
  • For the second comment. This is after distribution. After distribution the slave becomes the personal property of the individual soldier so he too can decide to free her or sell her to he own people (ransom). Be that before intimacy or after intimacy. But yes ransom here is interpreted by scholars to mean general sale. If a slave becomes pregnant then it is not permitted to sell her rather she becomes free after the death of the master, and he can take personal service from her, and continue to have intimacy with her or he can free her - but he can not make her the slave of another person.
    – UmH
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 4:36

Establishing intimacy before marriage is adulatory and Quran says to not go near adulatory

Do not go near adultery. It is truly a shameful deed and an evil way. Quran 17:32

This is case if the female captive is willing to have intimacy. If she is not willing to have intimacy and someone try to forcefully become intimate with her, then it is even more grievous sin.

You can see my answer here also https://islam.stackexchange.com/a/20237/10491

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