What is a concubine? and is it sin to have sexual intercourse with concubines?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Answer 1

Slavery and concubinage were not introduced by Islam; it was a status that Islam first reformed and aimed to completely abolish in time; as the nations of the world came to the same point, it became a thing of the past.

However, we should not forget that there are hungry, destitute, unemployed, homeless and weak people in many parts of the world today, and some of them are treated like former slaves and concubines. Poverty and freedom do not go together; necessities enslave people. Thus, humanity did only a small part of what should have been done by abolishing slavery.

The goal of Islam is freedom and justice worthy of humanity all over the world. Unless those two goals are achieved in a new world order, humanity will bear a great responsibility and a sin; it should feel ashamed because of it (the blood that is shed, the pain that is suffered, etc.). Those who believe in the religion should not forget that Allah will call them to account because of it.

Answer 2

Marriage contract consists of an agreement between a man and a woman, both of whom are free (hence owning their own bodies), on the issue of mutually establishing a family and benefiting from each other in accordance with its terms and conditions. The contract and deed that enables one to have a concubine (acquiring through purchase, inheritance, loot or donation…) is also a legal transaction, and this legal transaction also gives the right to live as a husband and wife between the owner and the concubine; it is stronger and more comprehensive than the marriage contract and can replace it.

Two kinds of marriages are mentioned in the following verses: one with free women and the other with concubines.

“(Believers) Who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess...” (al-Muminun, 23/5-6).

“…But if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess...” (an-Nisa, 4/3).

Marriage related to concubines is expressed in the verse as “that your right hands possess”. It is also called “milk al-yamin” or “aqd al-yamin”.

Another important concept related to this issue in Islamic fiqh is the concept of “tasarri”. It means deciding to take a female slave obtained as a concubine as a wife and to have intercourse with her. According to Islamic law, tasarri does not occur only by having intercourse with a concubine. Except for the marriage contract, all the necessary conditions for marriage with normal women must be prepared.

According to the Hanafi madhhab, there are two conditions for tasarri to occur: First: To allocate a private residence for the concubine with whom one wishes to have intercourse with, just like his wives who are normal free women. Second: Allocating the same amount of time to the concubine as he allocates to his other wives. According to Abu Yusuf, the desire to have a child from her is also essential. (see al-Badai’, 8/344-45-Shamila) Those two conditions are necessary according to Shafi’i madhhab too. (see Mughnil-Muhtaj, 20/316; Nihayatul-Muhtaj, 29/343-Shamila)

Why there is no need for a marriage contract with a bondmaid? Because, the agreement of “milq” is more efficient than a marriage contract. A marriage contract is an advantage contract. But in the agreement of Milq, there is an ownership to a concerned person, so the contract of Milq requires owning that concerned person. And the advantage contract occurs depending on that agreement (see the article called as “Mahmud Hamdi Zakzuk, at-Tasarri”).

-The arbiters on that subject are Islam scholars and fiqh sources. The judgments that the Ummah (the community of Our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) whom follow Islam) complied with has been in accordance with those sources.

- According to the Islam scholars, in order that a man can be together with a woman is possible only in two ways: The contract of marriage or the contract of Milqul Yemin (keeping the personality of a bondmaid in his hands with a contract) (see Reddu’l Muhtar, 3/163).

Questions on Islam

Was this answer helpful?
Author:
Questions on Islam
Subject Categories:
Read 5 times
In order to make a comment, please login or register