It is narrated in Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq 13208:

Ali RA was asked about seeing the calves, stomach and back of a slave woman. Upon that he replied there is no harm in seeing them while a slave woman has no honor. She is standing in the slave market for exactly for this purpose that people could evaluate her price.

What is the status of this narration? Is this not a bit merciless to say, for it implies that even if a slave feels uncomfortable and scared, you may do such things because they are just slaves and lack any form of honor in the first place.

  • It does not sadly. I'd appreciate a more specified answer if possible.
    – Islam Guy
    Commented Apr 16 at 0:30
  • Please use meaningful question titles to attract the right audience (see in our meta) and use meaningful tags: You ask of the status or authenticity of this narration then add the corresponding tag as I did now.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Apr 16 at 6:46

2 Answers 2


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The translation has issue.

The Arabic Text From كتاب المصنف - عبد الرزاق

عَنِ ابْنِ جُرَيْجٍ قَالَ: أَخْبَرَنِي مَنْ أُصَدِّقُ عَمَّنْ، سَمِعَ عَلِيًّا، يَسْأَلُ عَنِ الْأَمَةِ تُبَاعُ أَيَنْظُرُ إِلَى سَاقِهَا، وَعَجُزِهَا، وَإِلَى بَطْنِهَا؟. قَالَ: «لَا بَأَسَ بِذَلِكَ، لَا حُرْمَةَ لَهَا، إِنَّمَا وَقَفَتْ لِنُسَاوِمَهَا»

Here لَا حُرْمَةَ is wrongly translated as "no honor".

The correct translation there is "no dislike" or "no prohibition".

Secondly, The answer to this question - Is it permitted to look and touch a slave when buying her? provides detailed information.

Lastly, It was common for slave men and women in market to present themselves or traders selling slave to allow to inspect them.

Islamic Jurisprudence or better say Islamic Law doesn't deal on emotions or what one thinks rather it is based on The Qur'an, the Sunnah of the Prophet, Ijma of Sahabah, and the understanding of Fuqaha.

  • Could you elaborate more on your final comment? Islamically, if someone senses great fear or uncomfortableness from a slave due to being touched, would it not be better to leave them alone?
    – Islam Guy
    Commented Apr 17 at 17:16
  • @IslamGuy Read the last paragraph of my answer Commented Apr 17 at 19:42
  • So you're saying that one may force his hand on someone regardless of the mental damage it may cause in the long run, and that such a thing is not even considered sinful?
    – Islam Guy
    Commented Apr 18 at 1:42
  • I am not here to answer emotions based questions. Commented Apr 18 at 5:25

If you look into core message of Islam it is against oppression of weak, torture etc. This is clear from Quran and Sunnah. In Quran, there is no separate dress code for free and slave women. what is usually referred to as slave woman is mentioned in Quran as "what your right hand belongs", that is they are under your care due to some just reasons. Prophet (s.a) emphasized a lot on looking after them with care and protection. But then you see reports like what you mentioned where women is seen as mere sexual commodity, she has no right on deciding on whom she can have sex with or what she can do. Actually in Quran, a woman need to be married in order to have sex with. This is clear from verse 4:24, where the list of woman who cannot be married but it excludes all other woman and it includes "what your right hand possess"

And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess.1 [This is] the decree of Allāh 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 compensation2 as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allāh is ever Knowing and Wise. Quran 4:24

In Islam it is a must to give gift prior to marriage and the woman should accept it for the marriage or sexual relationship to take place.

When Quran is very clear on this issue, some people bring reports like these to support oppressing and torturing women. They fail to see the inhuman treatment being given to them. One reason for these type of unjust rules to be created, in contrary to what Quran says is because Islamic scholars were mostly men and they fail to understand the view of oppressed women. Now the things are being changed and women are starting to learn Quran and Sunnah and starting to question these unjust rules created in the name of Islam.

Just imagine the state of a slave women, who is seen as sexual commodity and bought and sold just for the purpose of sex. How she will be able to follow the Quranic advice (Quran 33:35) to safeguard private parts when she is being forced to have sex with people who has bought her.

If muslims are doing this to prisoners of war from the enemy, the enemy will also do the same for Muslim women. So in effect these type of rules will make life worse for even Muslim women.

In recent times, ISIS started slavery again and treated Yazidi women like this and we can see how they were defeated.

"The Messenger of Allah sent Mu'adh [bin Jabal] to Yemen, and said: 'Beware of the supplication of the oppressed; for indeed there is no barrier between it and Allah.'" [Tirmidhi 2014][1]

  • Let me get this straight, Do you think that sexual intercourse is impermissible with slaves? Just answer yes or no. Commented Apr 17 at 14:58
  • Without marriage it is impermissible (that is mahr (gift) should be offered to her and she should accept it before any sexual contact should be made)
    – Shafeek
    Commented Apr 18 at 6:37
  • That is just wrong. You are speaking out of your desires and ignorance. It is an established ruling in Islam since the times of the sahaba that intercourse with slaves girls is permssible and even the Prophet PBUH did it. Do you have any idea who Maria Qibtiya was initially? Please don't speak on matters you have no knowledge of. Marriage happens with free Muslim women or ahl e kitab (Jews/Christians). Slaves on the other hand, are not free people and are rather properties. One is allowed to have intercourse with their slaves and that is what is meant in the Quran by "right hand possession". Commented Apr 18 at 7:05
  • The reason for disagreement in number of wives prophet(s.a) had is because some consider the Maria Qibtiya as his wife. Also Maria is not obtained in any war, she was given as a gift. See my answer for this question islam.stackexchange.com/questions/649/…
    – Shafeek
    Commented Apr 18 at 7:44
  • It doesn't matter if Maria was obtained in war, she was still a slave. A slave can also be given by someone else as a gift. Secondly, Maria gave birth to Ibrahim so she was automatically freed of her status as a slave. It then, does not matter if she was ultimately a wife or not. This has nothing to do with the fact that the Prophet PBUH had a child with her while she was a slave. Please, I beg you by Allah, don't speak of his religion without knowledge or without learning from the scholars. You are making one of the Quran and Hadith with this behavior. Commented Apr 18 at 8:31

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