Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān

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Concubines
(750 words)

Female slaves who enter into a sexual relationship with their male master. In addition to four legal wives, Islamic law allows a Muslim man the right of sexual intercourse with his female slaves (see marriage and divorce; sex and sexuality). This right is based on ancient Arab custom (see pre-islamic arabia and the qurʾān ) and on several verses of the Qurʾān which refer to ‘that which your [or their] right hands own (mā malakat aymānukum, variants: aymānuhum, aymānuhunna, yamīnuka).’ The phrase occurs 15 times in the Qurʾān. Other qurʾānic terms for female slaves ( ama, pl. imāʾ, fatayāt) d…

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Brockopp, Jonathan E., “Concubines”, in: Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC. Consulted online on 17 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1875-3922_q3_EQSIM_00088>



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