Q. Can you respond to this short article about the hadith and female captives of war? I have always found it hard to understand.

Was it normal and expected that the victors would get the women to have sex and the women were OK with that even though their husbands and families has just been killed. And there is no need for a nikah for sex with a slave?

A. You're probably aware of the veracity issue with many ahadith. Regardless, assuming that the reported hadith is accurate, we are speaking of a different time here, and as such we see taking women as prisoners, with whom one can have sex, as the right of the victor in those times. This is evidenced in the Bible which makes it very clear, e.g., see Rape in the Bible.

Only the laws of nations and modernity, with the protocols of agreement by modern nation states, have erased this practice. I don't engage in answering those postings except to note that they are addressing medieval Islamic practice, and assuming that Christian practice was somehow different. History proves otherwise, and what was done to the natives, slaves, etc. was done in the name of the very religion that these Islamophobes follow. What matters is that we as Muslims understand that medieval law ought to remain medieval and that there is no place for such in today's society.

Posted April 10, 2016