Ma Malakat Aymanukum - "Ma Malakat Aymanukum" in The Qur'an - Sex

Sex

And married women except those your right hands possess. the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are beyond these, that you seek them with your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So for whatever you enjoy from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.

Muhammad Asad notes that for the expression ma malakat aymanukum ("those whom your right hands possess", i.e., "those whom you rightfully possess") Sura 23:6 would be translated as follow: with any but their spouses - that is, those whom they rightfully possess ' for then, behold, they are free of all blame 3 Lit., "or those whom their right hands possess" (aw ma malakat aymanuhum). Most of the commentators assume unquestioningly that this relates to female slaves, and that the particle aw ("or") denotes a permissible alternative. This conventional interpretation is, in my opinion, inadmissible inasmuch as it is based on the assumption that sexual intercourse with one's female slave is permitted - without marriage: an assumption which is contradicted by the Qur'an itself (see 4:3, 24, 25 and 24:32, with the corresponding notes). Nor is this the only objection to the above-mentioned interpretation. Since the Qur'an applies the term "believers" to men and women alike, and since the term azwaj ("spouses"), too, denotes both the male and the female partners in marriage, there is no reason for attributing to the phrase ma malakat aymanuhum the meaning of "their female slaves"; and since, on the other hand, it is out of the question that female and male slaves could have been referred to here, it is obvious that this phrase does not relate to slaves at all, but has the same meaning as in 4:24 - namely, "those whom they rightfully possess through wedlock" (see note 26 on 4:24) - with the significant difference that in the present context this expression relates to both husbands and wives, who "rightfully possess" one another by virtue of marriage. On the basis of this interpretation, the particle aw which precedes this clause does not denote an alternative ("or") but is, rather, in the nature of an explanatory amplification, more or less analogous to the phrase "in other words" or "that is", thus giving to the whole sentence the meaning,..... save with their spouses - that is, those whom they rightfully possess, has the will to be grateful".).


Ibn Kathir comments:

  • "(This is for him among you who is afraid of being harmed in his religion or in his body;) indicates that marrying slave girls, providing one satisfies the required conditions, is for those who fear for their chastity and find it hard to be patient and refrain from sex."
  • "(not fornicators) referring to dishonorable women, who do not refrain from illicit sexual relations with those who ask. Ibn `Abbas said that the fornicating women are the whores, who do not object to having relations with whomever seeks it"
  • "(nor promiscuous) refers to taking boyfriends. Similar was said by Abu Hurayrah, Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, Ad-Dahhak, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, Yahya bin Abi Kathir, Muqatil bin Hayyan and As-Suddi."

Imam Bukhari relates that Muhammad said that one of the three who would have a double reward is "a master of a woman-slave who teaches her good manners and educates her in the best possible way (the religion) and manumits her and then marries her."

Read more about this topic:  Ma Malakat Aymanukum, "Ma Malakat Aymanukum" in The Qur'an

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