Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān

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Captives
(811 words)

Persons who are captured in an act of war and whose lives are in the hands of the captor. According to Islamic law a captive may be killed, enslaved or returned for ransom. The Qurʾān refers to captives directly as asīr (pl. asrā, asārā or usarāʾ), the literal meaning of which is “one who is shackled” (cf. q 2:185; 18:73; 94:5, 6). Raqaba (pl. riqāb), literally “nape of the neck,” is used six times (cf. q 2:177; 5:89; 9:60; 47:4; 58:3; 90:13) to refer to captives or slaves synecdochically; the verb taʾsirūna, “you make captive,” is found in q 33:26 (see slaves and slavery ).

Pre-Islamic rules of wa…

Cite this page
Brockopp, Jonathan E., “Captives”, in: Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC. Consulted online on 18 September 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1875-3922_q3_EQSIM_00072>



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