There is no concept of consent in Islam when it comes to having sexual relations with the wife or a slave.  This is the bare naked truth.  On the other hand, the concept of “zina” has strong religious/moral connotations as in all the four Sunni and two Shia schools of thought, both premarital as well as extramarital sex, constitute “zina.”  In order to understand why the wife does not have any say in sexual engagement with her husband, we should first explore the background of this diktat.  Arab culture is prone to treating women like a an object to be used, or a property to be owned.  Going deeper, we also see that in the Arabic language has no word for rape; they do not understand this concept.  The closest word used in Arabic language for rape is Ightisab, which means violating someone’s property, and indicates that the act of rape is not a crime against the woman who was raped, but against the man who owns her.  This could be a husband, father or son, or a person who has purchased that woman for his own use.  Similarly, in Urdu the word used when talking about rape is ‘Asmat dari’ which means to violate someone’s honour.  Here also, the term indicates honour of the family specially men of the family who have been given the bastion of protecting the honour.

Carrying the Arab culture forward in Islam, the act of having sex is divided in three types:

1. Sex inside temporary and permanent marriage contract (Nikah, Muta, Misyar)
2. Sex with slave
3. Sex outside of contract (Zina)

We have already talked about Mutah and Misyar in previous articles, the inks for which are shared at the end of this article. Quran or Hadith does not mention the concept of consent within a contract anywhere. There are numerous arguments and explanations presented by Islamic scholars on the subject and most are of the same opinion, that there is no marital rape in Islam.  The concept is not mentioned anywhere in the book or Hadiths, or even Sharia laws.  In fact, one Hadith states that a married woman must not go to sleep without the permission of her husband, and she must not turned her back while sleeping without asking him first.

“If a husband calls his wife to his bed and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning. [Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 59, Hadith 48]”There is another hadith which orders wives to come to their husbands for physical intimacy even if they are to do it on a camel’s back.”No woman can fulfill her duty towards Allah until she fulfills her duty towards her husband. If he asks her (for intimacy) even if she is on her camel saddle, she should not refuse. [Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 3, Book 9, Hadith 1853]”

Renowned Islamic scholars have also spoken on the subject, where they all agree that according to Quran, the wife / keep must not resist husband when it comes to his physical satisfaction.  Here is what famous YouTube scholar Mufti Tariq Masood has said on the subject:

Now we come to the next group of women, the ‘right hand possessed’ or the londis (sex slaves).  Chapter 4 of Quran is called ‘Woman’, and here is what it says on the matter of Londis

“If you fear you might fail to give orphan women their ˹due˺ rights ˹if you were to marry them˺, then marry other women of your choice—two, three, or four
. But if you are afraid you will fail to maintain justice, then ˹content yourselves with˺ one or those ˹bondwomen˺ in your possession”  4:3 QuranHere also it is clearly indicated that sex slaves are property of the men, and therefore they can be forced to have sex on demand according to Islam. In the next video, famous Islamic scholar Allama Ibtisam Ilahi Zaheer explains how women caught during Ghazwa and handed over to a man by Commander in Chief are his property and he can have physical relations with her

Essentially, this particular Quranic verse and its explanation open a new door of understanding about how ‘Possession’ works in Islam.  Once a woman is given to you under any circumstances, she loses the right to consent.

Now people argue that a Laundi is acquired during times of war, and presently there aren’t too many wars happening, so the concept is dated and irrelevant in this day and age.  Wrong.  Under Islam, its followers are always in a state of Jihad, be it against their own self or their enemies.  They do not need an official, declared war between two countries to be in a state of Jihad. In August 2014, shortly after ISIS declared a caliphate, they attacked Sinjar, the northern Iraqi Yazidi homeland. More than 400,000 Yazidis fled their homes and tens of thousands took refuge on Mount Sinjar where they remained stranded and hungry for weeks.  The Yazidi women were taken by ISIS, tortured and raped for months. They were taken by the ISIS men as slaves.

Taking the example of a country where non Muslims are a minority, the girls belonging to minority community are automatically seen as ‘the right hand possessions’.  They are approached, groomed, blackmailed, threatened and kidnapped after which they become property of the man.  He can use the girl as he likes, forcefully convert her when he wants and then put her into slavery.

As far as punishment for rape is concerned, on the face of it you will find public outrage for any rapist in an Islamic country.  He may even be tried in the court of law for rape.  However, there is no assigned punishment for rape in Islam.  In chapter 23, Muslims are instructed to remain chaste out of marriage and not to instigate their slave girls into prostitution to make financial gains.  Law says that under this verse, a woman should not be charged under Zina (Adultery) when raped. If a woman claims to have been raped or sexually abused under duress, she will be acquitted of adultery under the following verse:

“And do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life. And if someone should compel them, then indeed, Allah is [to them], after their compulsion, Forgiving and Merciful.” 24:33

But before this the woman has to prove this was indeed rape and she was not committing sin wilfully, by bringing 4 witnesses. Additionally, there are several Islamic conditions including rapist offering to marry the survivor.  The Maliki school of thought even held that a woman must be punished with the hadd penalty for fornication (zina) if she falls pregnant while unmarried even if she says she was raped, though she is spared punishment if there is evidence of coercion from her physical state or witnesses heard her cry for help.

The four witnesses requirement for zina seems to have been introduced by Muhammad when Aisha was accused of adultery. In some other modern courts where the hadd punishment for zina is applied to rapists, a woman risks being accused of slanderous accusation (qadhf) if she cannot prove her allegation of rape to that evidence standard and the rapists go unpunished. Pregnancy is used as evidence of sex having occurred and women who report rape or sexual violence can be deemed to have confessed to unlawful sex (zina) and prosecuted for that instead.

To sum it all, women who follow Islam have no right over their own body throughout their lives, as they are merely property being transferred from one man to another until their last day.

Note: Following link carries information on Mutah and Misyar marriages

Kinds of marriages in Islam – Part 1 of 2

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.