Does Islam Allow Forced Sex With Slave Girls?

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Islamophobes love to assert this, along with holding Islam accountable for slavery in general. This particular absurdity has been refuted even by Orientalists but the refuge of Evangelicals nowadays is to assert that Muslims ‘rape their captives’.

Sheikh Atabek refutes this stupidity comprehensively. He takes the approach that even bad manners to a captive, let alone wounding, are strictly prohibited in the classical schools. Rape is not mentioned explicitly as it is obviously far in excess of both of these prohibitions. He also addresses the favourite of Islamophobes, the alleged ‘battlefield rapes’, where captives had intercourse on the night of capture and shows how there is an unjustified leap from ‘sex’ to ‘rape’ (i.e, whenever Muslims have sex, they are assumed to be raping someone).

Sadly, the haters have not ultimately evolved from the whole they want to ‘kill us all and rape our women’ (so they do it to us first, you know, just in case).

Sheikh Atabek Shukrov Nasafi is a noted scholar and specialist in Islamic aqeeda and theological sciences. Undertaking his religious studies at first in secret in Uzbekistan while it was part of the USSR, he has gone on to have an eclectic and comprehensive Islamic education all over the Muslim world.

Already a scholar when he arrived in the Middle East, he studied in Damascus under such luminaries as Mhmd Adnan Darwish, graduating finally from Al Azhar but only after having studied both in Medina and the wider region, for example under Sh. Uthaymeen (and numerous others).

He is currently based in the Northwest of England where he is the founder of the Avicenna Academy.

http://www.avicennaacademy.com/

A rollicking exchange between a Christian Islamophobe and Nazam, one of my favourite Dawah guys. The guy is trying to say that Muslims are rapists, slavers blah blah blah how original.

HATER:

Ma malakat aymanukum (“what your right hands possess” ما ملكت أيمانکم)

Secondly Imam Maaliks views are not authoritative, Muhammads words recorded in Sunan Abu Dawad take authority over Maalik. Muhammad allowed his followers to rape captive women:

Sunan Abu Dawad VOL 2 #2167:

Muhaririz said: “I entered the mosque and saw Abu Said al-Khudri. I sat with him and asked about withdrawing the penis (while having intercourse), Abu Said said: We went out with the Apostle of Allah on the expedition to Banu al-Mustaliq, and took some Arab women captive, and we desired the women, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, and we wanted ransom; so we intended to withdraw the penis (while having intercourse with the slave-women). But we asked ourselves: “Can we draw the penis when the apostle of Allah is among us before asking him about it?” So we asked him about it. He said, “It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.””

Imam Bukhari also attests to Muhammad allowing his followers to rape:

Sahih Bukhari VOL 3, #432:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri that while he was sitting with Allah’s messenger we said, “Oh Allah’s messenger, we got female captives as our booty, and we are interested in their prices, what is your opinion about coitus interruptus?” The prophet said, “Do you really do that? It is better for you not to do it. No soul that which Allah has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence.”

” But also the Muslims at that time were urged to be kind and considerate to slaves, …”

Right, yes be kind to slaves by raping them in front of thier husbands:

SUNAN OF ABU DAWUD, VOLUME 2, # 2150:

Abu Said al-Khudri said: “The apostle of Allah sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the apostle of Allah were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Quranic verse, “And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess”. That is to say, they are lawful for them when they complete their waiting period.” (Quran 4:24).

NAZAM:

You see this pathetic attempt at basically taking three hadith which are different forms of one idea, all regarding the undesirability of coitus interruptus with slaves (thereby treating them differently than they did their other sexual partners, which the Prophet (PBUH) repeatedly condemns in these hadith anyway) and then using these hadith to talk about RAPE: which is NON – CONSENSUAL sex: NO WHERE DO ANY OF THESE HADITH SAY YOU DON’T HAVE TO SEEK PERMISSION FROM THE SLAVE? So he just wasted your time. If I say to you ‘it is permissible to withdraw money from the bank’, would you now take that as a license to rob the bank?’ No, unless you were dumb. You see, you guys have a prejudice against slaves which Islam does not share, namely that they, by being slaves lose their free – will and right of CONSENT: but this is your own prejudice, Islam does not share it, any more than today we would argue that just because someone is a ‘Prisoner of War’, whether male or female, they should now have no control over their own sex lives. It’s like me going to a women’s prison in England and saying: ‘You see how these women are not FREE?! That mean they are being RAPED by the guys who imprisoned them!’ Well then , I will use the same argument on a secular state, if you want to extrapolate from Prisoner of War to slave to forced sex, you must be raping all those guys in Guantanamo Bay. Oh wait, bad example, you actually ARE molesting them on the basis of those Abu Ghraib photos and such. My bad.

You see, YOU WANT TO FIND RAPE, YOU ARE NOT OBJECTIVE, SO WHEN YOU CAN’T FIND IT YOU INSIST ON SEEING IT WHERE IT IS NOT THERE, LIKE A CONSPIRACY THEORIST (which is what you are).

As for the last ‘hadith’ of Abu Said Al Khudri, it is merely an opinion of this person and not the Prophetn (PBUH), so that is an attempt at a slight of hand, having told us we should ignore Malik for the Prophet (PBUH) he now wants us to ignore the Prophet for a sahabah!. Also, it is poorly translated, since it says that people were unwilling to have sex ‘in front’ of the husbands, which is public indecency and not allowed anyway, and since in the Quranic revelation ‘permitting’ this ‘having sex in front of the husband’ (which STILL does not say anything about consent), he also deceptively includes the phrase ‘That is to say they are lawful for them when they complete their waiting period’ which IS NOT FOUND IN THE QURAN and is not a hadith. Also, I could not verify that Abu Said Al Khudri even added that. And even if he did, since the waiting period is till her period comes and you know she is not with another man’s child, are you telling me that they were going to sit on the battlefield waiting for up to a month till these women had their periods, THEN WAIT FOR THE PERIOD TO FINISH, since it is not allowed to have sex during it AND THEN HAVE FORCED SEX (which is not even mentioned). This should suffice to show that the idea of Muslim ‘rape’ is a missionary fantasy.

Here is the PROPER verse 4:24, as it appears in the Quran and not in missionary sex fantasies:

”And [forbidden to you are] all married women other than those whom you rightfully possess [through wedlock]: this is God’s ordinance, binding upon you. But lawful to you are all [women] beyond these, for you to seek out, offering them of your possessions, taking them in honest wedlock, and not in fornication.”

Where is the mention of the word slave or rape? Here is a non-pervert missionary exegesis of the above: The term muhsanah signifies literally “a woman who is fortified [against unchastity]”, and carries three senses: (1) “a married woman”, (2) “a chaste woman”, and (3) “a free woman”. According to almost all the authorities, al-muhsanat denotes in the above context “married women”. As for the expression ma malakat aymanukum (“those whom your right hands possess”, i.e., “those whom you rightfully possess”), it is often taken to mean female slaves captured in a war in God’s cause. The commentators who choose this meaning hold that such slave-girls can be taken in marriage irrespective of whether they have husbands in the country of their origin or not. However, quite apart from the fundamental differences of opinion, even among the Companions of the Prophet, regarding the legality of such a marriage, some of the most outstanding commentators hold the view that ma malakat aymanukum denotes here “women whom you rightfully possess through wedlock”; thus Razi in his commentary on this verse, and Tabari in one of his alternative explanations (going back to ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, and others). Razi, in particular, points out that the reference to “all married women” (al-muhsanat min an-nisa’), coming as it does after the enumeration of prohibited degrees of relationship, is meant to stress the prohibition of sexual relations with any woman other than one’s lawful wife.

As for (35:50):

”O PROPHET! Behold, We have made lawful to thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowers, as well as those whom thy right hand has come to possess from among the captives of war whom God has bestowed upon thee:”

WHERE IS THE MENTION OF RAPE?!?!! Do these guys understand ENGLISH?!?! If I said to them: ‘It is lawful for you to have sex with your girlfriend or mistress’, would they take that to mean FORCED SEX?! I feel sorry for their sex – partners. You see, they are trying to impose a CHRISTIAN, OT and NT understanding of slavery onto the Quran, such as where Paul demands that slaves ‘submit’ to the masters ‘desires’ and the wholesale rape and slaughter in the OT.

Well TOUGH, that’s NOT how Islam is, which is why, despite all this prattling and hadith mining from missionary sites and mistranslating you can’t find anywhere where it says ‘You can force yourself upon your slave girl’ CAPTURED IN WAR OR NOT or ‘Slaves must have sex with their owner’. Until you find that, we have clear ayat of the Quran prohibiting it (4:19), clear Hadith, and clear fatwas from Malik, Shafi and others, so (WET) DREAM ON!

For those NOT interested in finding rape in everything including Disney’s ‘Toy Story’, here’s a Muslim understanding of the above verse:

”As pointed out in several places, Islam does not countenance any form of concubinage, and categorically prohibits sexual relations between a man and a woman unless they are lawfully married to one another. In this respect, the only difference between a “free” woman and a slave is that whereas the former must receive a dower from her husband, no such obligation is imposed on a man who marries his rightfully owned slave (lit., “one whom his right hand possesses”) – that is, a woman taken captive in a “holy war” (jihad) waged in defence of the Faith or of liberty ; for, in such a case, the freedom conferred upon the bride by the very act of marriage is considered to be equivalent to a dower.”

4:25 continues thus:

”And God knows all about your faith; each one of you is an issue of the other. Marry them, then, with their people’s leave, and give them their dowers in an equitable manner – they being women who give themselves in honest wedlock, not in fornication, nor as secret love – companions.”

”Lit., “and not taking unto themselves secret love-companions”. This passage lays down in an unequivocal manner that sexual relations with female slaves are permitted only on the basis of marriage, and that in this respect there is no difference between them and free women; consequently, concubinage is ruled out.”

To further shame you, Islam prohibited women and children from accompanying soldiers onto the battlefield any-more, as used to be the pre – Islamic practice, thereby eliminating the possibility of acquiring slaves of any gender any more by war at least.

 

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23 thoughts on “Does Islam Allow Forced Sex With Slave Girls?

  1. Salams,
    This probably isn’t the right place to ask but it’s been bothering me for quite some time so:

    “Verily you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader will her leader be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!”

    Taken from: http://forums.islamicawakening.com/f20/hadith-of-constantinople-60558/ with a few minor edits:
    —-
    “Narrated from Bishr al-Khath`ami or al-Ghanawi by:
    Ahmad, al-Musnad 14:331 #18859 [sahih chain according to Hamza al-Zayn] al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak 4:421-422 [sahih according to him and al-Dhahabi concurred] al-Tabarani, al-Mu`jam al-Kabir 2:38 #1216 [sahih chain according to al-Haythami 6:218-219] al-Bukhari, al-Tarikh al-Kabir 2:81 and al-Saghir 1:306 Ibn `Abd al-Barr, al-Isti`ab 8:170 [hasan chain according to him] al-Suyuti, al-Jami` al-Saghir [sahih according to him]

    Sultan Mehmed II A.K.A Muhammad Al-Faateh was indeed the leader (Khalif) at the time, he followed the Hanafi Madhaab, the Maturidi School of Theology and of course was a Sufi.

    Other people think this hadith is not attributed to Muhammad Al-Faateh, but rather to Yazeed; however you have to bear in mind that although there were quite a few military expeditions, conflicts and battles against the Byzantine Empire at the time, and their main objective was to conquer the Byzantine capital (Constantinople), Yazeed was not successful.
    Other people tend to think that this hadith refers to The Mahdi. However, think on the situation in its historic context and ponder its significance…

    1) Constantinople was established in 330 AD and was THE CAPITAL of the Eastern Roman Empire. It was THE largest and wealthiest city in the whole of Europe during the Middle Ages. So firstly, appreciate how much of a precious ‘Crown Jewel’ this city was to the Roman Empire, and its level of international status to Muslims and Non-Muslims alike.

    2) Constantinople came under Islamic control for the first time in its entire 1123 year old history and the man responsible for this was Muhammad Al-Faateh and his army. I’m sure you can appreciate this historical fact and the huge, powerful symbolic meaning as well.

    3) Since being conquered by Muhammad Al-Faateh in 1453, it was established as the Official Capital of The Ottoman Empire (from 1453 – 1924) and it has been in the hands of Muslims til this very day – nearly 560 years of Muslim dominance. It’s now known as ‘Istanbul’ however, it was referred to as ‘Islambol’ and ‘Islambul’ meaning ‘lots of Islam’ and ‘find Islam’ respectively while it was the capital of the Islamic Caliphate.

    The Prophet (pbuh) gave glad-tidings of Muhammad Al-Faateh and prophesised the conquer of Constantinople by him and his army.”
    —-
    The hadith states “what a wonderful army will that army be!”. Mehemud the 2nd’s army consisted of around 50 000 Janissaries (at least from one source http://www.lasalle.edu/~mcinneshin/356/wk04/ottomilit.htm)… who were “recruited” under the Devsirme system.

    From what I’ve learned, we have a principle/maxim in Islam which generally states “the means do not justify the ends”. This hadith IMPLIES the Devsirme was not haram and thus seems contrary to the maxim… looking at it from a certain angle and certain method of application.

    I briefly looked up the Devsirme system on-line but couldn’t find any material that referenced fiqh books or opinion of ulema. So my question is:
    1. Did any ulema permit rulers to (a) abduct children from their non-Muslim subjects and (b) convert them to Islam for creating an elite force (Janissaries)?
    2. In what way was the army “wonderful”?
    a. For initiating aggression/conquest and winning so they could spread dar-al Islam?
    b. The general piety of the army?
    c. other

  2. Thanks a lot. This is both a relevant and a good question.

    So first of all, Islamic Awakening – isn’t it a Salafi forum? So I can’t really comment on whatever bizarre positions they hold or weirdo comments they put up. And none of their stuff that you quoted has references anyway, but of course I understand why you used the quote and it is useful. But look at the level of stupidity being displayed in the comment: Are they talking about THE Yazeed? The one whose armies raped the women of the Sahabah and even Ahlul Bayt?! The one who hunted down the last remaining babies of Ahlul Bayt to kill them? So if you compared Satan to Yazid he would be rightly offended but Salafis in line with their Imam Ibn Taymiyyah consider him praiseworthy it seems. So do we think the theory that this hadith can be talking about Yazid is even credible? Rather saying that could be something close to kufr [praising people who kill and attack Sahabah and Ahlul Bayt], but these guys are taking it as an option. So I would not take them too seriously. The dumbness of Salafis also shows why Shia brothers are so averse to any kind of re-rapprochement whole we have such insane people claiming to be Sunnis.

    So this hadith, it is ahad (single chain) or at most mashoor (‘famous’). Muhaditheen accept it but muihaditheen accept all sorts of stuff (see:https://asharisassemble.com/2014/05/27/have-you-been-blackmailed-by-bukhari-yet/). We do not take this kind of hadith into belief, and ultimately it is probabilistic whether The Prophet (SAW) actually ever said this. So it cannot be used to ‘prove’ anything, it is an evidence which by itself cannot be taken into belief (according to Hanafis anyway). So even if no-one had conquered Constantinople, we Maturidis would not be losing sleep over it. And even if they did, this is not a Quranic or Muttawatir prediction: it could still be wrong (as in The Prophet did not say this).

    Now on to the issue of Janisseries: they were an elite unit of Royal Guards, not infantrymen. So one Greek or Serbian guy (hardly impartial witnesses anyway) says that there were 50,000 of them at that battle. First of all, they were special forces, not regular troops and Mehmet’s army may have consisted of no more than 80,000 people (some say 200,000) so that figure is just wrong: it is like saying most of the US army is made up of Navy SEALS. It is highly doubtful there were even 20,000 Janisseries IN TOTAL at the time of the conquest anyway (George F. Nafziger (2001 – Wikipedia gives a quote).

    So you mentioned ‘recruiting’. We have to be critical: I didn’t study history abut I did study philosophy, so when people bring these stories of evil Turks or whoever kidnapping babies I don’t start trying to apply Islamic norms (which of course would not allow this) but ask a more fundamental question: so where did the troops on the Byzantine side come from? How were they ‘recruited’? In fact, at that time and all the way up to WWII and Vietnam, how are troops recruited? So conscription to fight in Vietnam, or WWII or the Hundreds Years War, was it voluntary? No it bloody well wasn’t, just ask Muhammad Ali! And South Korea, Israel, all of the countries that demand compulsory military service, is it forced or not? Shall we give it a special name too?

    So now my question, why is the ‘recruitment’ by Ottomans called ‘Devshirme’, the name they gave it, and not ‘conscription’, which is what it is called in English when you force young men to join the army? Also, did the Ottomans ‘levy’ troops only from their non-Muslim citizens or from Muslims too? Did either group have a choice? Do you have a choice today or in the US during Vietnam either?

    So that is a helpful way of looking at this, if you let people judge you by Islamic norms but themselves by their own norms you will always end up looking bad. So did the Christians or Byzantines give a choice to their troops or did they place levies on Barons, landowners, serfs whatever and why does that not have a special name like ‘Devshirme’? And how many of the Byzantine troops were slaves (practised by everyone at that time)? Is there a special name for the process by which slaves end up in the army too? Or is it only for Muslim armies that we need the pejorative names?

    Some historians (such as William Clarence Gervaise Smith in his book ‘The Abolition of Slavery In Islam’) wonder why the Ottomans had a levy for troops and why they abolished it so soon and suggested the practice was continued from pre-existing Byzantine Christian practices.

    So that is not an answer but something to think about: it may have been wrong for the Ottomans to demand a levy of troops from their citizens (just as it is wrong today but people don’t seem to care) but what is important in researching this would be what everyone else was doing, did the Ottomans treat the non-Muslims any different from the Muslims or did they both have a levy to fill. I am not saying that the Ottomans were innocent, I am saying that such questions are essential to a balanced enquiry. this is reminiscent to how ‘taxes’ are re-labelled ‘jizya’ when applied to non-Muslims in Muslim lands and relabelled ‘taxes’ when discussion non-Muslim rulers. ‘Tis nonsense. Of course, jizya laws like tax laws can be abused, likewise with conscription, but my point is, what was unique about conscription by Ottomans, wasn’t everyone doing it? Isn’t the real problem that people think it is fine to be recruited into a Byzantine army but not an Ottoman one, despite the fact that in both cases you did not have a choice? As for forced conversion, that was never a policy for Janisseries but why the ho ha when there was freedom of religion at all ion the rest of Europe? In fact, even in England until the mid 1850’;s it was illegal to be most sects of Christianity let alone other religions. When other countries do it, it’s not forced conversion but…not even a thing. Ottomans gave freedom of religion, but may well have put undue pressure on new recruits. This kind of reminds me of the nomenclature we have in the UK: white guy kills his girlfriend = murder or ‘crime of passion’. Muslim does it = ‘honour killing’. So as you can see on this site, we take Muslims to task but we can’t have a unilateral criticism – but we do have to look at the Islamic side of it. But problamatising pressganging people into the military or slavery or killing women ONLY when Muslims do it is wrong

    So:

    1) Ulema say all kinds of things and they are not above error. So you will find some ulema supporting anthropomorphism or whatever even though it is against Quran. Any big group like ‘Ulema’ will have all kinds of opinions, so we need to assess the opinions and their proofs. I don’t like your use of words such as ‘abduct’, it sounds like you have made your mind up, but you need to do more research first (unless you class all conscription by governments as ‘abducting’ children, in which case fair enough). Also, you need to check what they did to Muslim children, which made up the bulk of their army, did they ‘abduct’ them too?

    So if Ulema permitted it [which would be wrong, assuming it was forced], we need to see their proofs before placing the blame at Islam. But I don’t agree with this ‘kidnapping and forced conversion’ assumption: armies used to demand recruits and levies, what the Ottomans did could well be the same. If we label all of that abduction and forced conversion then fine, maybe we should but more research is needed.

    2) No one says there was a policy of forced conversion of Janissaries, eunuchs or anyone else and the Ottomans never said this. In practice, most recruits converted. There was also a policy of forced celibacy for life. How come people don’t mention this just the conversion stuff? Probably there were advantages and pressures to convert to the Ottoman religion. No one held a gun to their head but if you take young children and raise them in Islamic schools environments, many or most will convert. Same happens to Muslims in non-Muslim environments: Historian Sylviane A Diouf (‘Slaves of Allah’) estimates that up to 15% of slaves trafficked to the New World were Muslim. So how come their descendants lost their religion nearly in all cases?

    3) I don’t know, the hadith does not say. Also, The Janisseries were the Royal Guards – were they in the army or fighting anyway? So maybe the army was wonderful in it’s effectiveness, in it’s behaviour, or restraint, or military success, the hadith does not specify. Also, there is no moral or logical reason, even if I had an army made up entirely of slaves to not describe them as wonderful: maybe they are great people in tough circumstances and acquitted themselves well despite being forced etc.

    a) Who said they initiated it? You need to study what was going on and this kind of language again makes me think you are coming at this with your mind made up – there was a power struggle between Ottomans, Byzantines and many others and both sides were trying to destroy each other – some of the Ottomans were even in league with the Byzantines. Who said it was to spread Islam by force? Very biased terminology again. And then how come the Ottomans then failed to spread Islam or demand conversion?

    b) Yeah, maybe they were all really nice guys. You don’t have to be following Islam to be a good person as far as Islam is concerned, Christians and even atheists can be good (in Maturidi theology anyway). Also, conduct in war is relative to the standards of the time, people of the past would see today’s frequent attacks on civilians in terrorism and war as most ignoble. So maybe they are wonderful compared to other armies of the time or today or in some other way like effectiveness etc.

    c) As above

    There are lots of good books about this topic (the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople) and you will know more than me if you check them out, but you have to think critically and not just get on the ‘Evil Turks killed and ate our babies’ bandwagon (and you seem a tiny bit in that direction) and nor on the ‘Muslims never do anything wrong’ bandwagon. Then you can see if the hadith correlates with reality and whether you accept it or not. However, I would suggest that it is sufficiently broad and non-specific to not be problematic, as I have tried to show.

    But good critical thinking by you to question the hadith against history, but with critical thinking, keep applying it consistently for best chances of getting at the truth.

    • Where have you been all my life? Seriously, for a few years I thought Muslims either didnt care about Islam or had an intellectual death wish, glad to see a few people left in this ummah who have some scraps of intellect.

  3. Thanks for responding.
    —–
    So first of all, Islamic Awakening – isn’t it a Salafi forum? So I can’t really comment on whatever bizarre positions they hold or weirdo comments they put up. And none of their stuff that you quoted has references anyway, but of course I understand why you used the quote and it is useful. But look at the level of stupidity being displayed in the comment: Are they talking about THE Yazeed?…”
    —–

    The poster was of the view the hadith was in reference to Mehmed II and not Yazid. He just mentioned the different views he had come across. I know Islamic Awakening is mostly filled with Salafis… I just quoted that post because it was the only one I could find which made any mention of the authenticity of the chain.
    —–
    So this hadith, it is ahad (single chain) or at most mashoor (‘famous’)
    —–

    Thanks for the info.
    —–
    Now on to the issue of Janisseries: they were an elite unit of Royal Guards, not infantrymen. So one Greek or Serbian guy (hardly impartial witnesses anyway) says that there were 50,000 of them at that battle…”
    —–

    The common description and narrative of the Ottoman Devshirme policy I’m seeing, introduced in 1383 by Murad I (or so claimed), goes something like this:

    “Yet it was the remarkable devshirme system of recruitment that caught the attention of outsiders. This effectively enslaved some of the sultan’s own non-Islamic subjects and was therefore illegal under Islamic law, which stipulated that conquered non-Muslims should be demilitarized and protected. The devshrime – in practice if not in theory – also involved virtually enforced conversion to Islam, which was certainly contrary to Islamic law. This devshirme system probably began in the 1380s, though the word itself did not appear in written records until 1438, around the time infantry and cavalry recruited in this way became military elite. For the next two centuries or more the devshrime supplied the Ottoman state with its most dedicated servants, both military and administrative. The principle was based upon recruiting one child from every 40 non-Muslim households, roughly once every five years. In its fully developed form this devshirme system enlisted between 1000-3000 youths per year. It would begin with an edict from the sultan. A middle-ranking officer accompanied by several Surucu “drovers”, a secretary, and a supply of uniforms, then went to the selected area where Christian priests were responsible for assembling boys with their certificates of baptism. Not all devshirme conscripts entered the Janissary corps, however. The best were trained for government services as administrators and bureaucrats. The next best were selected for the kapi kulu, or palace, cavalry regiments, the remainder becoming Janissary or Bostanci infantry, though those of lowest ability may have been employed as government laborers.

    Once the shocking novelty of the devshirme wore off, many families actually volunteered their children for such a potentially good career. Both Christian and Muslim parents reportedly offered bribes so that their children would be accepted. Officially, however, the only Muslims included in the devshirme were Bosnian Slavs whose families had converted to Islam…
    …in 1594, the ranks were officially opened to all Muslim volunteers and the devshrime effectively stopped in 1648.”

    Excerpts taken from the book “Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic Word: A Historical Encyclopedia” by Alexander Mikaberidze. The excerpts were written by British Historian David Nicolle.

    I’m heavily leaning to the idea that Janissaries did contribute militarily in the conquest of Constantinople. As for estimates on their number and percentage of volunteers vs forced Janissaries, if any,… Allahu alam

    —–
    …, so when people bring these stories of evil Turks or whoever kidnapping babies I don’t start trying to apply Islamic norms (which of course would not allow this) but ask a more fundamental question: so where did the troops on the Byzantine side come from? How were they ‘recruited’…
    —–

    Personally, I find the method of questioning you presented a bit odd. I hear it often from Muslims when they try to justify odd STATE policies from the past (from a favorite Muslim Empire/ruler). “The norm of the time was horrid policy X”, or “everyone else was doing it”. So just because everyone was jumping over a cliff at the time… *argh* just lay out your daleel on move on with it (not directed at you specifically). I try to reconcile things with what ulema have said/say, as long as they provide proof from the Quran and Sunnah.

    If I find ulema confirming the policy/method was haram and that a significant number of Janissaries contributed in conquering Constantinople, I may view the hadith differently, perhaps holding the view its referring to the Mahdi. Not sure yet.

    ——
    There are lots of good books about this topic (the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople) and you will know more than me if you check them out,..
    —–

    I googled the title but couldn’t find it.

  4. I’m not sure that you understand me bro. I didn’t tell you to Google a title but rather to find books on the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, as a subject. You found a historian and are leaning this way or that. Whatever, up to you. You don’t like my methodology. My point was that you choose to look at things unilaterally whereas conscription is a reality even today so curious that people are loosing sleep about Ottomans. I told you that forced conversions or enslavement is unislamic. I don’t think my method is odd at all: I’m justifiably asking why everyone (such as you and Orientalists) are very concerned about the troop supply of Ottomans but yet are supremely unconcerned with the recruitment policies of Byzantines.

    What I find is that many Muslims are very good at morally dissecting Muslims – which would place them in good stead to be truth seekers. Except they often fail to apply the same rigorous method to non-Muslims. Not directed at you – it’s just something I see all the time and when I ask them, they usually respond by saying that they hold Muslims to a higher standard. Fair enough, but then they strangely use the failure of Muslims to adhere to said standards as a reason to doubt Islam. It’s a bit like those people who apostate from Islam because they think (wrongly) that FGM is enforced by Islam. These people happily then adopt Western Liberalism without ever doubting it when it mutilates women through breast augmentation or even labioplasty. If they had adopted correct and consistent critical thinking from the outset, they would come to the conclusion that mutilation of women is very common and the difference is mainly in who is doing the mutilation – others or women by choice. That’s why when I see either Muslims or non Muslims taking Muslim behaviour in isolation I become concerned. Again, doesn’t mean you are like that but it’s a bit like saying ‘I am only concerned about anti-Semitism in Pakistan. I don’t care if Americans are antisemitic as I hold Muslims to a higher standard’. This isn’t necessarily wrong but it is risky.

    If you want to get a single quote or some stuff from Serbian and Greek sources then up to you. If you took it from Ottomans sources only it would be about as fair as that. I mean, no Ottoman sources right? That’s like taking a history of Korea from Japanese scholars. Up to you.

    The fact that people consider it even possible that the hadith refers to Yazid is highly pertinent as it shows the utter stupidity of anyone even stating that this is a possibility. That’s why I highlighted that so I don’t know what your point is. Chain etc, it depends on if you accept the chain as the sole criteria of authenticity etc.

    I already answered a lot of stuff – you seem to be engaging with it selectively or ignoring it: How were Muslim troops recruited – by force? If so, then how is there any discrimination towards Non Muslims, apart from the fact that conscription is harsh.

    In fact your reply is largely addressed in my original comment. I said that it wasn’t an answer to refer to the policies of others but just food for thought but you are taking me to task regardless. Likewise I told you why I mentioned the Yazid thing. Perhaps as it is long winded you did not read it properly. No stress. But you need to research the topic impartially and decide for yourself.

    • —–
      I’m not sure that you understand me bro. I didn’t tell you to Google a title but rather to find books on the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, as a subject.
      —–
      I interpreted your comment incorrectly… my bad.

      —–
      You don’t like my methodology. My point was that you choose to look at things unilaterally whereas conscription is a reality even today so curious that people are loosing sleep about Ottomans.

      I don’t think my method is odd at all: I’m justifiably asking why everyone (such as you and Orientalists) are very concerned about the troop supply of Ottomans but yet are supremely unconcerned with the recruitment policies of Byzantines.
      What I find is that many Muslims are very good at morally dissecting Muslims – which would place them in good stead to be truth seekers. Except they often fail to apply the same rigorous method to non-Muslims. Not directed at you – it’s just something I see all the time and when I ask them, they usually respond by saying that they hold Muslims to a higher standard. Fair enough, but then they strangely use the failure of Muslims to adhere to said standards as a reason to doubt Islam. It’s a bit like those people who apostate from Islam because they think (wrongly) that FGM is enforced by Islam. These people happily then adopt Western Liberalism without ever doubting it when it mutilates women through breast augmentation or even labioplasty. If they had adopted correct and consistent critical thinking from the outset, they would come to the conclusion that mutilation of women is very common and the difference is mainly in who is doing the mutilation – others or women by choice. That’s why when I see either Muslims or non Muslims taking Muslim behaviour in isolation I become concerned. Again, doesn’t mean you are like that but it’s a bit like saying ‘I am only concerned about anti-Semitism in Pakistan. I don’t care if Americans are antisemitic as I hold Muslims to a higher standard’. This isn’t necessarily wrong but it is risky.
      …..I already answered a lot of stuff – you seem to be engaging with it selectively or ignoring it: How were Muslim troops recruited – by force? If so, then how is there any discrimination towards Non Muslims, apart from the fact that conscription is harsh.
      —–
      I’m just trying to analyze the particulars of a state policy from an Islamic perspective and its’ potential relation to a hadith (directly or indirectly). I don’t have any issues with policies requiring citizens to pay taxes in most cases but taking young boys away by force and conscripting them (AS ALLEGED), let alone conscription in and of itself, is very problematic when fallible humans are at the helm (Prophets are infallible). Yeah that’s right… conscription is “harsh”. Just pray the U.K. doesn’t introduce it…

      —–
      If you want to get a single quote or some stuff from Serbian and Greek sources then up to you. If you took it from Ottomans sources only it would be about as fair as that. I mean, no Ottoman sources right? That’s like taking a history of Korea from Japanese scholars. Up to you.

      Correct… no Ottoman or Muslims sources yet. That’s why I brought the question up here. You referenced select Ottoman policies in this blog and another… so I thought you would have some insight. Thanks for your feedback anyways.

  5. This doesn’t relate to Mehmud II but on conscription. I found it interesting and thought I’d share it… it’s a bit lengthy:

    Hallaq, Wael B. (2012-12-11). The Impossible State: Islam, Politics, and Modernity’s Moral Predicament, Columbia University Press.

    It is a key concern of ours— in this chapter and the next—that the modern subject is by definition a nationalized entity , a subject that identifies with the nation as a way of life. 115 If the state is the location of the nation, and if nationalism is a defining form of politics, 116 then the citizen must be comfortably located within the political. To be a citizen therefore is to conceive of oneself as the site of the political as a way of life. It is also to identify the self with the state as the sovereign representation of one’s nation. The citizen constructs the political meaning of his or her citizenship by virtue of accepting and absorbing, well-nigh as a second nature, the meaning of the state, of territory, and of the greater family— the nation. 117 One implication of this epistemic-psychological assimilation is that it is inherent to the citizen to view the self, his own citizenship, as possessing the capacity to sacrifice himself for the state. The conception of this capacity is inextricably tied to the Schmittian distinction , since, as Kahn put it, “only the political has the power over life and death. . . . The political begins when I can imagine myself sacrificing myself and killing others to maintain the state. The modern state has fully arrived not when it defends me against violence, but when it conscripts me into its armed forces.” 118 The full meaning of citizen and citizenship is therefore not one that emerges by virtue of birth or a formal affiliation with the state and its nation but rather one that constitutes itself by the readiness for self-sacrifice. This readiness is taken for granted by the state; it is a potential that is embedded in the nation qua nation and in its members as citizens. Schmitt summed it up in horrifying terms when he wrote: “With each newly born child a new world is born. God willing, each newly born child will be an aggressor.” 119
    The haunting image of the Schmittian state of exception arrogates to the state the license to kill or have its citizens killed for its own sake. But this killing, as Kahn argued, can never be

    “justified on the grounds of any moral calculus. The fundamental moral message of the West is that there shall be no killing: “Thou shalt not kill.” But the politics of the West has been a long story of killing and sacrifice. This was not just the story of colonization of non-Western populations, but also of the mass sacrifice by Western states of their own political communities in the wars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As Michael Waltzer writes, “surely there has never been a more successful claimant of human life than the state.” 120

    It is the state as “a successful claimant of human life” that generated this massive level of violence. It is the conceivability of the conscription of “each” of Schmitt’s “newly born children” that created both the possibility and reality of this violence. And all this is, in effect, for the purpose of the state and for the purpose of its self-perpetuation.
    If the modern state is also the embodiment of the legal and its positivism , as was argued in this chapter; if its constitutional structures in their best form are no more than a weak representation of the rule of law ( chapter 3 ); and if it is the new God that commands life and death by virtue of a positivist, sovereign legal will, then dying for it presents a significant conceptual problem in the context of an Islamic state. In other words, how can Muslims aspiring to build an Islamic state justify sacrifice for a state that could not and cannot subscribe to the moral, that could not and cannot commit except , at best, to an amoral way of being, to positivism, facticity, and Is-ness?

    As a moral entity, the modern state has proven unsupportable even in theory. The failure of Hegel’s theory of the ethical state and the oblivion to which it was sent by political scientists and most philosophers is a case in point. 121 Such theories fly so much in the face of state realities that they have no place except for providing intellectual play. The modern state cannot be constructed on ethical grounds , nor can it ontologically operate as a moral entity. It “does not seek to enter the moral realm,” 122 nor is it its duty “to make us good.” 123 Any moral argument adduced in politics and in the framework of state domination is, in the final analysis, nothing but a political argument, a way to legitimize “political ambition.” 124 Nietzsche went as far as to describe it as “the coldest of all cold monsters . . . whatever it says, it lies— and whatever it has, it has stolen.” 125 If half of this much is accepted, then how can the concept of the citizen’s sacrifice be reconciled with the paradigm of Islamic governance that we charted earlier? (The question, the reader will note, assumes that the concept of citizen is posited as acceptable to the modern Islamic state, but as we will discover in the next chapter, this concept is itself riddled with serious problems and therefore can in no way be taken for granted.) In other words, how does the concept of sacrifice for the sake of an amoral entity fit within a context of Islamic governance? THE ANSWER, RELATIVELY SIMPLE, IS THAT ISLAM NEVER KNEW THE CONCEPT OF CONSCRIPTION . Nor did it, in any effective way, command life and death for anyone’s sake, not even for the sake of God. The very concept of conscription as potential sacrifice was unknown. And as we will see shortly , there was nothing in jihad, the chief theory of war and peace, to command this sacrifice.

    Executive sultanism, effectively the military branch, depended on slave-soldiers whose lives and careers were consecrated to the business of war and violence. These soldiers were purchased or snatched from their families; trained according to individual capability as foot soldiers , cavalry, military scribes, or commanders; and spent their lives in the service of the sultan as paid employees (through stipends, land allocation, etc.). They also generally lived apart from the civil population, leading a different lifestyle, and many did not even speak the local language. On the other hand, the ordinary Muslim normally did not engage in war, and the only venue by which he was permitted by the Shari?a to do so was through jihad.

    The Shari?a juristic works, long and short, always insisted on the distinction between two types of jihad (commonly translated as “holy war”): mandatory and optional (respectively, far? ?ayn and far? kifaya). 126 However, in the conception of the Shari?a, not every war or battle was one of jihad. Since Muslim sultans and kings (muluk) warred on each other more often than they did on non-Muslims, many wars and battles never qualified as jihad, and they remained the business of these sultans, kings, and their slave-soldiers. In fact, the great majority of times , they occurred at quite a distance from the civil populations. But when the war was launched on non-Muslims as an offensive act, the jurists insisted that participation in the jihad be optional; 127 that is, those who could and wanted to join might do so, bringing with them their own weapons. 128 The option to withdraw from the jihad campaign remained valid until the moment the call for battle was announced— but not after, for once preparation for battle was initiated, the jihadist was bound to stay and fight. 129 However, if jihad is defensive —defined as a situation in which non-Muslim armies conquer or attempt to conquer Muslim populations (not just vacant land)— then it becomes an individual duty. 130 The duty does not extend to all Muslims (who must be male and of age) within the dynastic territory but only to those living close by the threatened area. 131 Underlying this conception of jihad—especially after the eighth century— is always the tacit assumption that the mainstay and core military forces are not the civilians who join the jihad effort but the ranks of the slave-soldiers in the paid service of executive sultanism. (This historical reality comes to full life in the multivolume works of Islamic history, one example being the accounts of the repeated efforts of Egyptian sultans to curb the Crusading armies invading Cairo and Damietta.) 132 While acknowledging jihad as an important obligation, the Muslim jurists, without exception, did not privilege it over mundane obligations. Debtors, for instance, could not join the jihad campaign, whether defensive or offensive, without permission from the lender. 133 Here, a private obligation clearly overrides the duty to partake in jihad. Moreover, men wishing to join the campaign had to obtain the permission of their parents. 134 Respect and deference to one’s parents “has priority over jihad,” 135 because “if jihad is in principle an optional duty, then someone else can substitute for him who could not [secure the permission of parents].” 136 In other words, as “private” persons, parents could veto the right of jihad (and thus any governmental order) to claim their son. Not only that, but if the parents change their mind after granting permission, their son must still withdraw and return home if preparations for battle have not started. 137 Furthermore,

    “fighting the non-Muslim enemy was not ordained in the Shari?a for its own sake , because in essence fighting is a cause of harm and damage . Rather, it was decreed for another reason, namely, rendering victorious the Word of God and rebuffing the aggression of the enemy. Thus if fighting is accomplished through the participation of some Muslims, then the others are absolved of this duty. . . . For if jihad had been imposed as an incumbent duty upon every Muslim individual, then both religion and worldly affairs will come to utter ruin. This has been the practice since the days of the Prophet and until these days of ours. 138
    Moreover, if Muslims were to fight every power who transgressed against them and every enemy who has remitted Muslims into bondage, then “we [Muslims] will be preoccupied by fighting all of our lives, and will inevitably neglect our worldly affairs. This is why there is consensus among Muslims throughout [the centuries] that such [an endeavor] will not be pursued . . . and consensus is the most evincive of legal proofs.” 139

    Two final points must be made : First, jihad is not a state law but a morally anchored set of prescriptions whose violation is a matter of conscience, and second, even when jihad is deemed obligatory on every adult male Muslim, the obligation remains a moral one, and thus there is no prescribed earthly punishment in the Shari?a for refusal to join the war effort, except for the threat of losing credit in the Hereafter. 140 This is a far cry from the modern state’s punitive measures intended for those who refuse conscription , not to mention deserters. In this latter context, it is instructive that leaving the jihad battle (so-called deserting) was legally permitted if certain conditions obtained, including tiredness, the collapse or death of the cavalryman’s horse, or even in cases where the enemy forces outnumber Muslim fighters. 141

  6. 115 . Finlayson, “Psychology, Psychoanalysis, and Theories of Nationalism,” 159.
    116 . Breuilly, Nationalism and the State, 366– 401; Gray, Enlightenment’s Wake, 13.
    117 . On territoriality and Islam, see Grosby, “Nationality and Religion,” 110.
    118 . Kahn, Putting Liberalism, 230– 231, 240.
    119 . Cited, from Schmitt’s Glossarium (320), in Strong’s forward to his Concept of the Political, xxxi.
    120 . Kahn, Putting Liberalism, 238– 239.
    121 . Nelson, Making of the Modern State, 107– 108.
    122 . Gill, Nature and Development, 5.
    123 . Murdoch, Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals, 350.
    124 . Bolsinger, Autonomy, 38– 39, in the context of discussing Schmitt.
    125 . Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 75; see also Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, 169– 174.
    126 . It must be asserted, however, that in the discourse of the jurists (i.e., in fiqh literature), the general status of jihād is always a farḍ kifāya (generally stated as “al-jihād huwa min furūḍ al-kifāya”). See Māwardī, al-Ḥāwī al-Kabīr, XIV, 149– 150; Rāfiʿī, ʿAzīz, XI, 345; Ramlī, Nihāyat al-Muḥtāj, VIII, 42– 43; Khurashī, Ḥāshiya, IV, 5– 9; Ibn Māza, Muḥīṭ, VII, 90; Nawawī, Rawḍat al-Ṭālibīn, VII, 411; Ibn al-Sāʿātī, Majmaʿ al-Baḥrayn, 792; al-Mawsūʿa al-Fiqhiyya, XVI, 129.
    127 . See sources cited in the previous note.
    128 . Nawawī, Rawḍat al-Ṭālibīn, VII, 412, where he states that those who cannot afford to buy their own weapons and pay for travel to and from the battle zone are not obliged (morally or legally) to participate in jihād.
    129 . Ibn Māza, Muḥīṭ, VII, 89– 91.
    130 . See sources quoted in n. 126. Even then, only after the so-called nafīr takes place does jihād become incumbent upon every legally competent Muslim. Nafīr is the public announcement of an imminent attack on an inhabited Muslim territory. Ibn Māza, Muḥīṭ, VII, 90.
    131 . Ibn Māza, Muḥīṭ, VII, 91.
    132 . See, for example, Maqrīzī’s Sulūk, vol. 1.
    133 . Nawawī, Rawḍat al-Ṭālibīn, VII, 413, 415.
    134 . Ibn Māza, Muḥīṭ, 110, 133– 134; Ibn Juzay, Qawānīn, 108; Maghribī, al-Badr al-Tamām, IV, 486– 488.
    135 . Ibn Māza, Muḥīṭ, 110; Kāsānī, Badāʾiʿ al-Ṣanāʾiʿ, IX, 382; Maghribī, al-Badr al-Tamām, IV: 486– 488.
    136 . Ibn Māza, Muḥīṭ, 133.
    137 . Ibid., 134; Māwardī, al-Ḥāwī al-Kabīr, XIV, 123; Rāfi ʿī, ʿAzīz, XI, 362.
    138 . Ibn Māza, Muḥīṭ, VII, 90. Ibn Māza died in A.D. 1220, having lived and written his magnum opus during the Crusades.
    139 . Ibid., 93. For a definition of “consensus,” see glossary.
    140 . Nawawī, Rawḍat al-Ṭālibīn, VII, 411.
    141 . Generally, flight from battle was deemed permissible “if there are more than two infidels to each Muslim fighter”; see Baḥr al-Favāʾid, 29; Nawawī, Rawḍat al-Ṭālibīn, VII, 448– 449; Ibn ʿĀbidīn, Ḥāshiya, IV, 127; Ibn Juzay, Qawānīn, 109.

  7. On the problems of abrogation and consensus relating to expansionist Jihad:

    Brown, Jonathan A.C. (2014-08-07). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy . Oneworld Publications.

    It is in the Islamic rules of war, in fact, that the doctrine of abrogation has been most consequential. The Qur’an’s commandments on conflict and warfare range from passive forbearance to declarations of open war. This befits a document that unfolded over more than two decades of preaching, persecution, incipient conflict and finally declared war and truces. The reasons of revelations tell of a slow escalation. Non-violent instructions to ‘dispute with [the Meccans] in the best way’ and declare ‘Unto you your religion, unto me mine’ (16: 125, 109: 6) give way to permitting Muhammad and his followers to fight the Meccans after being driven from the city into exile in Medina:

    ‘Permission is given to those who fight because they were wronged , verily God is most able to give them succor, those who were driven from their homes unjustly, for but saying, “Our Lord is God”’ (22: 39).

    Yet even war with the Meccans and their allies was restricted by principles of proportionality:

    Fight those who fight you , but aggress not, verily God loves not the aggressors. And slay them wherever you find them, and drive them from whence they drove you, for strife is worse than killing… So fight them until there is no strife and religion is God’s alone. And if they desist, then let there be no attacks except upon the oppressors. (2: 190– 93)

    In a rare instance of agreement, the classical ulama declared all these verses, along with their clear principles of proportionality and non-aggression, to be abrogated by the ‘Sword Verses,’ the moniker for a few decontextualized segments of Qur’anic verses suggesting unrestricted offensive war, such as ‘Fighting has been ordained for you’ (2: 216) and ‘Slay the polytheists wherever you find them’ (9: 5). In all, a total of 124 Qur’anic verses were considered abrogated by the ‘Sword Verses.’ 64 Jihad for the expansion of the Abode of Islam thus became a collective duty for the Muslim polity according to all Sunni schools of law. Leading medieval jurists ruled that the caliphs must undertake jihad at least once a year against the most proximate foe (based on analogy to the annual collection of the jizya poll tax from non-Muslim subjects), though the Prophet’s treaties with the Meccans meant that extended truces were allowed. 65

    Jihad was understood as the unceasing quest to ‘make God’s word supreme,’ as Hadiths described, through the ongoing expansion of the rule of God’s law on earth. This was not envisioned in any way as a quest for forced conversion, which never featured in the Islamic conquests. The Qur’anic edict of ‘No compulsion in religion’ governed the interpretation of Hadiths like the authenticated report of the Prophet declaring, ‘I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God, establish prayer and pay the charity tithe.’ Read in light of the Qur’anic prohibition on coerced belief, this mission to extract confessions of belief was not interpreted literally. Rather, it was understood as referring either only to Arabia’s pagans (not followers of monotheistic religions) or as a metaphor for the conquered non-Muslims agreeing to submit to Muslim rule. 66

    Some pre-modern Muslim scholars recognized how a recourse to abrogation could excuse laziness in engaging the leitmotifs of Islam’s scriptures. Only after Sufism had permeated Sunni thinking on law, creating a loftier sphere from which the law could be regarded, did perspectives emerge putting the theory of abrogation in its place. The Sufi jurist Sha‘rani considered all four Sunni madhhabs to be one great school of law, offering each believer a range of positions on any issue and thus the choice between relaxed or more stringent rules on any one issue. For him, claims of abrogation were the recourse of those mediocre and narrow-minded jurists whose hearts God had not illuminated with His light. They could not perceive all the interpretive possibilities in the words of God and the Prophet or appreciate that a diversity of opinion was a mercy. By taking the shortcut of stamping Qur’anic verses or Hadiths ‘abrogated,’ such ulama had restricted the interpretive plurality that God had intended in the Shariah . For Sha‘rani, only when a Hadith included the Prophet’s own clear abrogation, like his report about visiting graves, could it be considered Naskh. Shah Wali Allah was similarly skeptical of the ulama’s excessive indulgence in abrogation to explain the relationship between Qur’anic verses or Hadiths. In all but five cases, he found explanations for how to understand the relationship between scriptural passages without recourse to abrogation.

    Conscientious thinkers like Sha‘rani and Shah Wali Allah were aware of how even the learned could be led astray. Sha‘rani was fond of the story of David’s complaint to God. While building the Temple, everything David constructed would crumble. God spoke to him, ‘My house will not be erected by the hands of one who has shed blood.’ David pleaded that he had only fought wars in God’s name. ‘Indeed ,’ God replied, ‘but were those who died not also my servants?’ 67

    64 . Ibn Salāma, al-Nāsikh wa’l-mansūkh, 46.
    65 . Ibn Qudāma, Mughnī, 10: 367.
    66 . Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bārī, 1: 113– 15. Ibn Rushd claims that jurists agree that those to be fought in Jihad are only polytheists (mushrikūn). The Hanbali Ibn Qudāma disagrees, stating that the People of the Book are preferred targets on the basis of a prophetic Hadith in the Sunan of Abū Dāwūd to this effect. Other scholars merely note ‘unbelievers’ as a whole; Ibn Rushd, Distinguished Jurist’s Primer, 1: 455; Ibn Qudāma , Mughnī, 10: 370; al-Buhūtī, al-Rawḍ al-murbi‘, 221.
    67 . Al-Sha‘rānī, Kashf al-ghumma ‘an jamī‘ al-umma, 6– 7; idem, al-Mīzān al-kubrā, 2: 67; J. Baljon, Religion and Thought of Shāh Walī Allāh Dihlawī, 149.

    ——-

    “Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them: jihad and (re) interpreting scripture Around the year 1300”

    Osman Ghazi and his band of Turkic warriors lodged with a Sufi dervish in the wilds of Anatolia. The founder of what became the Ottoman dynasty dreamed that the moon exited the holy man’s mouth and passed into his own chest. A great tree sprang forth from the warrior’s breast, its branches arching over the whole world.

    The pre-modern Shariah tradition was sprawling in its diversity. One of its common threads was the quiescent but universal assumption that abruptly with the arrival of the European powers. The might of industry and totally restructured organs of state and society allowed the armies and navies of Britain, France, Russia and the Netherlands to occupy great swaths of Muslim land. This ended any pretense of the ancient dynamic in which the Abode of Islam existed in a state of constant, impending expansion into non-Muslim territory, with peace and truces mere exceptions to this rule. From North Africa to India, the ulama and Muslim rulers of the nineteenth century faced an upturned balance of power in which colonial rulers claimed legitimate sovereignty over their holdings according to a system of treaties and legal understandings that they had constructed and which only they had the military force to challenge with any hope of success.

    Faced with the irresistible might of the colonial regimes, some Muslim scholars reconsidered the obligation of jihad. This would have been a tall order for the interpretive methodology of the pre-modern ulama, as the duty of jihad was a Shariah stance that enjoyed uncontested consensus in a legal system that considered such consensus binding. Reformists like ‘Abduh and Rida, however, developed a perspective on the Shariah that allowed them to break loose of the constraints of this consensus culture. They built on the medieval revivalist Hanbali school of Ibn Taymiyya and its notion that consensus really only existed among Muslims at the time of the Companions. After that it was simply impossible to verify. Rida retooled this idea to argue that later agreements could overrule all earlier claims of consensus as long as they promoted clear public interest (maslaha) and that, in the modern world, consensus could only be declared by those Islamic thinkers who truly understood the political and social challenges of the day. 12

    A great crisis came in India in 1857. In the wake of the failed rebellion of both Hindu and Muslim sepoys against British rule, the Raj began marginalizing Muslims in its army and administration out of a fear that extremist violence was an irrepressible Muslim trait. Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, an Islamic modernist who believed that Islam must be reformed in order to survive, argued that Muslims under British rule were, in fact, forbidden from rebelling against their British rulers. He understood the Qur’an’s commands to wage war as applicable only in response to religious persecution. It did not mandate a blanket offensive against non-Muslims, even those who ruled over Muslim populations. To prove this , he cited a well-respected Hadith that, when the Prophet was set to engage in battle with a tribe, he would wait until the morning to hear if the call to prayer rang out in the enemy camp. If he heard this proof of Muslims practicing their religion among the enemy host, he would not make war on them. The British regime allowed India’s Muslims to practice their religion freely, Khan assessed, and Muslims must therefore accept colonial rule. 13

    European criticisms of Islam as an ideology that preached holy war concerned many ulama in the Mediterranean world, such as ‘Abduh and Rida, as well. They argued that the true, original doctrine of jihad in the Prophet’s time was a call to defend against aggression or religious persecution only, and that all the wars fought by Muhammad had been defensive in nature. Rida was able to break away from the traditional Shariah consensus on jihad and ignore the more bellicose Hadiths because of his reformist methodology. He argued that Islam and the Shariah are known only through the Qur’an, the few ‘widely and diffusely transmitted’ Hadiths and the ‘living Sunna’ of universal Muslim practice. In a broadly published and translated defense of the Qur’an as legitimate scripture, he argued that Islam called for peaceful relations between nations, each allowed to live and practice its religion in peace. The early Islamic conquest of Arabia was an exception to this, the singular creation of a necessary cradle and safe space for Islam to flourish.

    This reformist interpretation of the Qur’an and Hadiths inverted the classical doctrine of jihad, reading the Qur’an’s passages on warfare in their contexts instead of using the ‘Sword Verses’ to abrogate the revelation’s principles of proportionality, mercy and the desirability of peace. Writing after the European system had revealed its own bloodthirstiness in the First World War, Rida remarked that it was European nationalism and German warmongering that were the true culprits in fomenting global violence. 14

    This rereading of scripture on jihad resulted in a doctrine comparable to the Western tradition of just war theory. It proved most appealing to Muslim rulers in states like Egypt, which were attempting to modernize first under colonial rule and then within the Atlantic system of international law. The Egyptian government from the 1940s onward consistently promoted the general ethos of ‘Abduh’s approach to Islam, appointing proponents of this reformist vision to the highest religious offices.

    Many readers, however, are more familiar with the jihad narrative created by those actors who have worked against these modernizing states and outside the international system that they had accepted. The extratextual realities of a new balance of power and modern statecraft led reformists like Rida to reread scripture and overhaul pre-modern discourse on jihad accordingly. But for Osama Bin Laden and the jihadist movements of the last forty years, the reality of the modern world was not ‘real’ enough to overwhelm the scripture-centered worldview of classical jihad doctrine…

    12 . Rashīd Riḍā and Muḥammad ‘Abduh, Tafsīr al-Manār, 5: 201– 209; Ibn Taymiyya, Majmū‘at al-fatāwā, 11: 196.
    13 . Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, ‘Review on Hunter’s Indian Musalmans,’ 81; Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī: kitāb al-jihād wa’l-siyar, bāb du‘ā’ al-nabī (ṣ) al-nās ilā al-islām wa’l-nubuwwa.
    14 . Rashīd Riḍā, The Muhammadan Revelation, 121, 137– 38. Riḍā relies especially on the Qur’anic verses 2: 190 and 22: 39–40.

    • I accidentally misquoted Jonathan. Correction:

      “Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them: jihad and (re) interpreting scripture”

      Around the year 1300, Osman Ghazi and his band of Turkic warriors lodged with a Sufi dervish in the wilds of Anatolia. The founder of what became the Ottoman dynasty dreamed that the moon exited the holy man’s mouth and passed into his own chest. A great tree sprang forth from the warrior’s breast, its branches arching over the whole world.

      The pre-modern Shariah tradition was sprawling in its diversity. One of its common threads was the quiescent but universal assumption that Islam’s eventual destiny was manifest. Regardless of the infrequency, infeasibility or even undesirability of holy war against non-Muslim foes, all schools of law agreed that it was the collective duty of the Muslim polity to expand the borders of the Abode of Islam.

      This pre-modern jihad narrative was terminated abruptly with the arrival of the European powers…

  8. Sorry for hijacking this but I just wanted to point out that Rida and Abdu were not the first to believe “The Verse of the Sword” DID NOT abrogate the versus of peace
    :
    http://seekershub.org/ans-blog/2010/11/06/jihad-abrogation-in-the-quran-the-verse-of-the-sword/
    The Verse of the Sword [9:5] and Abrogation
    Imam Suyuti [d 1505] specifically discusses this verse in relation to other verses of peace, patience, and forgiving. He explains that, contrary to what some Imams believed, this is not a case of abrogation but rather of context. In certain situations, the verses of patience and forgiving apply, while in other situations the verse of the sword applies. No verse was completely abolished by another, but rather each has a specific context and applicability.
    [Al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Qur’an]
    This understanding is reinforced by the eminent jurist and legal theorist Imam Zarkashi [d 1391] in his masterful work on Qur’anic sciences, “Al-Burhan fi Ulum al-Qur’an.” He explains that many commentators of the Qur’an were incorrect in their understanding that the Verse of the Sword abrogated the various verses of patience and forbearance. This is because “abrogation” entails a complete termination of a legal ruling, never again to be implemented. This is definitely not the case with these verses. Rather, each verse entails a particular ruling conjoined to a particular context and situation. As circumstances change, different verses are to applied instead of others. No ruling is permanently terminated though, which is what is entailed by true abrogation.
    He concludes his discussion by saying, “The verse of the sword by no means abrogated the verses of peace – rather, each is to be implemented in its appropriate situation.”
    [Al-Burhan fi Ulum al-Qur’an]


    In my understanding, Jihad al talab is an exception in extremely rare circumstances… when ACTUAL benefit can be achieved for all parties. But for the most part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cj3CalDYY4

    Jihad for the sake of expanding the Abode of Islam is colonialism. Edward Said said: “Every empire in its official discourse says that it is not an empire that it’s different. And that it has the unique history and power to do things for culture and civilization and democracy that no one has attempted to do before”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgteoJ1LihU (21:00)”

    • In case you don’t delete all of my comments in this thread as requested, i thought I’d elaborate on my view a little.

      In regards to “Leading medieval jurists ruled that the caliphs must undertake jihad at least once a year against the most proximate foe (based on analogy to the annual collection of the jizya poll tax from non-Muslim subjects), though the Prophet’s treaties with the Meccans meant that extended truces were allowed.”

      Brown, Jonathan A.C. (2014-08-07). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy . Oneworld Publications.

      Ibn Qudama lived around the time of the Mongol invasions. So it’s possible the 4 schools MAY have agreed on expansionist jihad for the purpose of taking back land lost from the Mongols. My super non-scholarly opinion, based on some facts and my own thought, (I have zero credentials in history or law of any type):

      Offensive war (or what may have appeared as offensive) was exercised throughout Muslim history due to very specific conditions (not very different from other empires). Example of conditions (either all, some, but not limited to):

      Retaliatory:
      a. significant land lost AND in which a significant percentage of its inhabitants were killed [as opposed to land lost but inhabitants were left to live peacefully + practice their religions – which may have been rare in those times]

      Preemptive:
      b. where there was an ACTUAL threat from a NEIGHBOR [e.g. they amassed troops at borders, refused peace treaties, or accepted peace treaties but waged expansionist wars on other fronts and conscripted/enslaved soldiers – so they could conquer Muslim polity once military advantage was ascertained ] and/or,
      c. the religion itself was under threat of facing extinction [e.g. the Mongols were known to kill everyone, burn villages, libraries etc.]

      Offensive:
      d. where the Muslim polity could offer better living conditions than the existing ruling class (as per the standards of the time – the better living conditions often came in the form of lesser taxes, and greater self-regulation [not-necessarily “freedom”]) – liberation per se*1

      In medieval times [or during the “age of empires”], it seems some conquest (non-hegemonic or less hegemonic) was necessary (a necessary evil per se) for the sake of preserving life, justice, and religion (or more broadly speaking: civilization). So a “cradle” of space, as Abdu put it, had to be carved out for any given civilization to survive… the expansions of Abu Bakr (his was minimal – a result of spill over from the rebellion wars) and Umar R.A. (a result of fighting REAL current and or future threats which ended up being liberating and or a lesser evil from the perspective of the citizens of the conquered nations) being prime examples of legitimate expansions.

      Some “cradles” did become excessively large to the extent where they became unstable and not cradles at all, rather EXECUTIVE quests for egotistical gains. The conquests achieved by Alexander the “Great”, and Umayyads*2 – minus Umar bin Abdul Aziz who actually discontinued the expansion policy, are a couple of examples. [Note that I used executive because STATE policies don’t always reflect the view of the citizens. This was likely more pronounced in medieval times (or pre-communications technological advancements) and especially under larger empires… because rarely do citizens actually care who the leader is… as long as mouths are fed and their rights are protected, pitch forks and knives are rarely raised.]

      Expansionist policies, especially the more hegemonic ones, empower the violent and create civil unrest, revolts, coups, insurgencies, crusaders, and monster impalers.

      *1 Very rarely do external liberation attempts actually end up well as the liberated don’t often agree with the conquering nations definition and application of justice.
      *2 see: The End of the Jihad State by Khalid Blankinship on the Umayyads. What’s written of the Umayyads here is my understanding (right or wrong) and not the authors.

      Allahu alam!

      • Correction: Ibn Qudama lived around the time the Mongol invasions BEGAN. They hadn’t reached the Abbasid region until after he passed away.

  9. Sorry for hijacking this but I just wanted to point out that Rida and Abdu were not the first to believe “The Verse of the Sword” DID NOT abrogate the versus of peace
    :
    http://seekershub.org/ans-blog/2010/11/06/jihad-abrogation-in-the-quran-the-verse-of-the-sword/
    The Verse of the Sword [9:5] and Abrogation
    Imam Suyuti [d 1505] specifically discusses this verse in relation to other verses of peace, patience, and forgiving. He explains that, contrary to what some Imams believed, this is not a case of abrogation but rather of context. In certain situations, the verses of patience and forgiving apply, while in other situations the verse of the sword applies. No verse was completely abolished by another, but rather each has a specific context and applicability.
    [Al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Qur’an]
    This understanding is reinforced by the eminent jurist and legal theorist Imam Zarkashi [d 1391] in his masterful work on Qur’anic sciences, “Al-Burhan fi Ulum al-Qur’an.” He explains that many commentators of the Qur’an were incorrect in their understanding that the Verse of the Sword abrogated the various verses of patience and forbearance. This is because “abrogation” entails a complete termination of a legal ruling, never again to be implemented. This is definitely not the case with these verses. Rather, each verse entails a particular ruling conjoined to a particular context and situation. As circumstances change, different verses are to applied instead of others. No ruling is permanently terminated though, which is what is entailed by true abrogation.
    He concludes his discussion by saying, “The verse of the sword by no means abrogated the verses of peace – rather, each is to be implemented in its appropriate situation.”
    [Al-Burhan fi Ulum al-Qur’an]


    In my understanding, Jihad al talab is an exception in extremely rare circumstances… when ACTUAL benefit can be achieved for all parties. But for the most part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cj3CalDYY4

    Jihad for the sake of expanding the abode of Islam is just a form of colonialism. Edward Said said: “Every empire in its official discourse says that it is not an empire that it’s different. And that it has the unique history and power to do things for culture and civilization and democracy that no one has attempted to do before”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgteoJ1LihU (21:00)”

  10. Pingback: Of Rumors and Lies (Or Islamophobic Rhetoric vs Truth) – Part 1 | Son of Rajab

  11. I got this info from a Moroccan taliki talib ‘ilm a while back that in Maliki view, you only take slaves when your enemy take slaves or if the society customs are favorable of it. nowadays when the whole world has consensus to abolish slavery, and whereas slavery is viewed as barbaric — it means muslims should never restore slavery. that is Maliki view.

    this answer will honestly be unpleasant to Salafists and their puritanical ilks. I’ve heard some of them screaming ”modernist” for this view, albeit coming from traditional Islam. “Islam allows slavery (for sex slaves of course) so we’ll do it if we can!!!!”.

  12. Typical Muslim apologetics for the rape of slaves in Islam. Most people do not have an inherent bias against slaves thus nullifying their ability to consent. We have a morally justified bias against those who take and own slaves and are rightly dubious of their desire to elicit consent. It may well be that the women in the Hadith you mention decided freely that they wanted to have sex immediately with the individuals who had just killed their families. Maybe this is something that you would do, or that someone you know would do. Maybe the millions of African men enslaved by Muslims consented to have their genitalia removed as well. Again, perhaps this something you yourself would consider doing. After all you would have a twenty percent chance of survival! Your law is a written one. You cannot use the example of the absence of text about consent to presume that consent was asked for. Given that females do not have bodily autonomy in Islam it is more likely that there is no text concerning consent for sex with slaves because it was assumed that such consent was not necessary. A man does not need his wife’s consent to have sex with her, and she is not even a slave. He doesnt have to ask her, she has no right to either give or refuse consent. He has paid for the right of access to her vagina at any time. This is the Mahr. In the same way he does not need consent to have sex with his slave at any time. His ownership of her also confers access to her vagina at any time. Exactly like the wife, the slave has no right to either give or refuse consent. The only difference is that she herself has not been paid for this access with a mahr, rather she has been captured or paid for in lieu of that payment. No amount of apologetics can cover up the morally reprehensible practice of sex slavery practised by Muslims past and present. Please also note that you are talking about the suffering of real people. Your apologetics are a cowardly attempt to pass off this very real suffering. This suffering of female slaves at the hands of Muslims has gone on for hundreds of years, and affected millions of people. Yes they are people. These are real people you are talking about. Please also note that my points are obvious to anyone with a brain. You are not fooling anyone.

    • Hmmm…so, no proof for anything you said, but leave that aside: so what about the non-Muslims who were raping and castrating and enslaving people without a text?

      You know, clowns like you are very keen to prosecute Muslims on stuff that happened hundreds of years ago, but very forgiving when ‘white folk’ spas out and kill 30 million people – you just hang fourteen guys at Nuremberg and Bob’s your uncle! The whole German nation is suddenly rehabilitated.

      Or maybe as you would say: my points are obvious to anyone with a brain. You are not fooling anyone.

  13. @Muslims

    “Typical Muslim apologetics”

    I would have said traditional & rational.
    Your apologetics on the other hand is not very typically anti-Islamic, I mean it could easily be adapted slightly to be turned into an anti-Christian pamphlet, a feminist speech or a fictional story in a porn magazine.
    A lot of your effort goes into creating negative associatons with the innocent word “mahr”. You wish to sully it so much that, just like the word “jihad”, knowledgeable people will start avoiding using it for fear of misunderstandings and emotional confusion. This is forced impoverishing of vocabulary, censorship and bullying.

    Did you consider the possibility that the Qur’an is right and that in the afterlife you will “get a taste of what you used to do”, and get treated like you’re currently treating the mahr ?
    The mahr is you.

    “the morally reprehensible practice of sex slavery ”

    Today’s so-called liberal consensus is not very consistent about that, actually.
    On one hand it condemns slavery in the strongest terms, on the other hand it encourages people to “explore fantasies” many of which include slavery. The frontier between sex-slavery apology (which is bad) and sex-slavery erotic fiction (which is liberating and therefore good) is dim and unclear.
    For some reason, this distinction does not exist for peadophilia in the Western world today. Peadophilia fiction is equally illegal as peadophilia apology.

    “the suffering of real people”
    “this very real suffering”
    “Yes they are people. These are real people”

    Maybe real is subjective here ?
    I am very curious about which suffering and which people you would label “unreal”.

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