According to verse 24 of the chapter of an-Nisa, is it permissible to marry a married woman captured in war?

The Details of the Question

- (An-Nisa, 4/24) Will you make an explanation about the married women captured in the war?
- What is the explanation of the verse 4/24?
- Will you explain the issue of married women being made halal in the verse?

- Will you explain the state of having a relationship with married women according to this verse?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The meaning of the verse in question is as follows:

“Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath Allah ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property,- desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree Mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.” (an-Nisa, 4/24)

As it is clearly stated in the verse, it is haram to marry women who have husbands in Islam. However, prisoners of war are excluded from this rule. That is to say, the wives of the enemy unbelievers who are taken captive as booty in the war are also considered as booty property; they are treated as slaves, and hence they become halal for whomever they are given to.

In the sources of tafsir, the views of some Companions, especially Ibn Abbas, supporting the meaning of this verse are also included. (see Tabari, the interpretation of the verse in question)

There is a slavery status that started thousands of years before Islam. According to this status, men are treated as slaves and women as concubines. In those practices, women are considered a booty regardless of being married or not.

When the religion of Islam came, the institution of slavery, which was valid all over the world, was a very common law. There was no way Islam could abolish it completely. There are also books written on the issue. It is possible to see some information about it in our website.

So, the relevant decree of the chapter of an-Nisa is the ruling of a law that is in force around the world, and Islam did not abolish it because if Islam had abolished it, the unbelievers would have taken courage from it and fought them more fiercely. Especially for the Arab polytheists of that day, no formula could have played a deterrent role as much as the capture of their wives. (See Ibn Ashur, ibid)

However, it is known that Islam not only improves this status in different ways, but also encourages the liberation of slaves at every opportunity.

Based on the decree of this verse, Islamic scholars unanimously put forward the following decree:

“When one of the unbelieving spouses is taken captive in war and brought to the land of Islam, the marriage bond between them automatically ends.” (Razi, the interpretation of the relevant verse)

There are different opinions related to both spouses are taken captive together and brought to the land of Islam.

According to Imam Shafii, in this case, too, their marriage bond ends. The owner of the female slave can marry the woman after the waiting period of iddah (until menstruation).

According to Imam Abu Hanifa, if the husband and wife are taken captive together and brought to the land of Islam, their marriage will continue. (See Razi, Ibn Ashur, the interpretation of the verse in question)

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