What is the Islamic view on female prisoners of war?

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Last Updated on 16th July 2021

Huzooraa was presented the view of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra on female prisoners of war as stated in Tafsir-e-Kabir and requested to shed more light on the issue…

Huzooraa, in his letter dated 21 February 2018, gave the following guidance:

“What you have presented regarding nikah with female prisoners of war is correct according to the interpretation of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra as mentioned in Tafsir-e-Kabir. This was also the view of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira that it is necessary to perform nikah with female prisoners of war.

“In light of the Holy Quran and the sayings of the Promised Messiahas, this is also my view. In the early stages of Islam, the enemies of Islam would make Muslims a target of various kinds of atrocities. If they got hold of the wife of a poor and oppressed Muslim, they would include her among their wives as a slave.

“Hence, in accordance with the Islamic injunction of جَزٰٓؤُا سَیِّئَۃٍ سَیِّئَۃٌ مِّثۡلُہَا [the recompense of an injury is an injury the like thereof], such women who came along with the assailing army against Islam in order to support them would be taken captives as prisoners of war in accordance with the custom of that era. Then, if such women did not earn their freedom by paying the ransom or through the method of mukatabat, it became permissible to have intimate relations with such women after performing nikah.

“However, there was no consent required from that prisoner of war for such a nikah. Moreover, a nikah to such a woman did not affect the permission to marry four [free] women. In other words, a man could perform nikah with such a woman despite being married to four [free] women. However, if the female prisoner of war bore a child, she would become free as a result of being the mother of that child.

“The second point of view is also not wrong, which states that it was not necessary to perform a formal nikah before having an intimate relationship with such women who came along with the assailing army against Islam in order to support them. Hence, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, while replying to the issue of female prisoners of war, at some other occasions has also expressed this second point of view.

“Likewise, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh, while explaining the issue of female prisoners of war during some of his question and answer sessions and during dars-ul-Quran has also stated this second point of view that no formal nikah was needed in order to establish intimate relationships with female prisoners of war.

“Here, I also deem it essential to mention that it is not in any way objectionable for the Khulafa to have different opinions about the interpretation of such Quranic matters that relate to the past eras; rather, these views are based on the Quranic understanding of every Khalifa. Such disagreement among Khulafa is possible.

“As I stated earlier, my view on this issue is that it was mandatory to perform nikah with such women of the enemies before having conjugal relations with them. And this shall be considered the view of the Jamaat in my era of Khilafat. However, the next Khalifa may disagree with my opinion. If that happens, then that view of the next Khalifa would be considered the view of the Jamaat at that time.

“Moreover, one should also remember that no such war is taking place in this era which is being fought to annihilate Islam and wherein the women of the Muslims are being captured and turned into slaves. Thus, it is also forbidden and haram for Muslims to do the same in this era.

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