Ma Malakat Aymanukum

The Quran had come as a light and beacon for mankind, to ‘regulate’ social relations and to giude the believeing men & women with the following verses:

“Tell the believing men that they shall subdue their eyes, and to maintain their chastity. This is purer for them….” (24:30)

“And tell the believing women to subdue their eyes, and maintain their chastity. They shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary….” (24:31)

“O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers that they shall lengthen their garments…” (33:59)

“You shall encourage those of you who are single to get married…” (24:32)

“Those who cannot afford to get married shall maintain morality until GOD provides for them from His grace…” (24:33)

“The adulteress and the adulterer you shall whip each of them a hundred lashes…” (24:2)

The above verses are just a ‘sample’ of the moral laws which regulate human social behaviour.

Yet, with all these clear verses, we are AMAZED as how todays sectarian Muslims have turned GOD’s system into one which not only ‘allows’ multiple sex partners, but actually ENCOURAGES fornication and sex out of wed-lock!.

In todays sectarianism, we see that men have the following licence:

To have sex with AS-MANY women as possible if they are ‘slaves’ or ‘war-captives’.

This blasphemy towards GOD and His messenger has made a mockery of the true teachings of the Quran and has made ‘in-valid’ all the verses which were revealed to regulate human society!.

Arab & Muslim men think that GOD has given them such a priveladge because He knows that they are ‘men’ and thus need to have thier sexual desires filfilled by more than one women.

It is also ‘ironic’ that these sectarians make fun of the West and call them ‘infadels’ for having sex with women outside wed-lock. The ‘hypocracy’ of the situation is that they have more sex with more women under the LIE that GOD’s perfect system authorized this.

“They commit a gross sin, then say, “We found our parents doing this, and GOD has commanded us to do it.” Say, “GOD never advocates sin. Are you saying about GOD what you do not know?” (7:28)

In this article, we will adress the issue of ‘Ma Malakat Aymanukum’ (those whom your right hands possess) whom we will PROVE does not mean servants or war captives.

“Those who listen to the utterance so as to follow the BEST of its goodness thereof; those are the ones whom The GOD has guided and those are the people of understanding” (Quran 39:18)

1. What is the ‘licence’ given for ‘Ma Malakat Aymanukum’?.

“And they maintain their chastity. Only with their spouses OR those whom thier ‘right hand posseses’ (Ma Malakat Aymanuhum), do they have sexual relations; they are not to be blamed.” (23:5-6)

This is really the fundamental issue, that the Quran in the above verse (and other verses) ALLOWS a man to have sexual relations with a certain category of women…But just exactly WHO are these people with whom sexual relations is allowed!.

2. Are these people ‘servants’ who work in our homes, and whom we can have sex with?

Let us first see what the word used for servants in the Quran.

The word used for servants in the Arabic language and in the Quran is ‘Abd’. Here are a few verses from the Quran where ‘Abd’ is used:

“And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your servants (Ibadikum) and your female servants; if they are poor, The GOD will make them free from want out of His grace; and The GOD is Ample-giving, Knowing.” (Quran 24:32)

“If Thou dost punish them, they are thy servants (Ibadak); if Thou dost forgive them, thou art the Exalted in power, the Wise.” (Quran 5:118)

“Verily those whom ye call upon besides The GOD are servants (Ibadun) like unto you: call upon them, and let them listen to your prayer, if ye are truthful!” (Quran 7:194)

And in the following verse, GOD has forbidden messengers to have people serve them instead of Him:

“It is not meet for a mortal that The GOD should give him the Book and the wisdom and Prophethood, then he should say to men: Be my servants(Ibaad) rather than The GOD’s; but rather: Be servants of the Lord because of your teaching the Book and your reading it.” (Quran 3:79)

So, if the Quran clearly has a word for ‘servants’, then that rules out ‘Ma Malakat Aymankum’.

3. Is this word used for war-captives?

This is the PRIME argument used by the sectarians. That ‘Ma Malakat Aymanukum’ are ‘war captives’ whom they have captured and thus can sell and trade in them, and can have sex with them as they wish.

The word in the Quran for ‘Captives’ is ‘Asra’.

Here are a few verses using this word consistently:

“And He drove down those of the followers of the Book who backed them from their fortresses and He cast awe into their hearts; some you killed and you took captive (Asartum) another part.” (Quran 33:26)

“And they feed, for the love of The GOD, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive (Aserun).” (Quran 76:8)

“After this it is ye, the same people, who slay among yourselves, and banish a party of you from their homes; assist against them, in guilt and rancor; and if they come to you as captives (Asra), ye ransom them, though it was not lawful for you to banish them…” (Quran 2:85)

Well, unfortunately for the sectarians, there is already a word for ‘Captives’ and it is NOT ‘Ma Malakat Aymanunkum’!.

4. How does one have ‘sex’ with Ma Malakat Aymanukum?.

Now that we have elimintaed ‘Servants’ & ‘Captives’, below is a clue that may lead us to the correct nature of this relationship:

“Those among you who cannot afford to WED believing women, then from the believing young girls from among those whom ‘your right hands posses’ (Ma Malakat Aymanukum). GOD knows best about your belief, and you are equal to one another, as far as belief is concerned. WED them with permission from their guardians, and before you marry them pay them their due dowry equitably. They shall maintain moral behavior, by not committing adultery, or having secret lovers. Once they are taken in WEDLOCK, if they commit adultery, their punishment shall be half of that for the women. This is for those among you who fear sin; but it is better for you that you practice self-restraint. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.” (Quran 4:25)

Hold on a minute!. Has not anyone seen this verse before?.

In the clearest possible words, GOD is telling us that those who wish to ‘have sex’ with these women (Ma Malakat Aymanukum) MUST marry them!.

In-fact, the Quran lays out some rules for such a marriage:

1. Concent of their parents/guardians;

2. Paying them their dowry.

This does not quite sound like the ‘jump-on-them’ when you feel like teachings that have been spread by the sectarians!.

This talks about a MARRIAGE with its rules and regulations…

5. Who are these people?

Perhaps now we can get to the heart of the matter: ‘Who are these people’?.

Clue # 1: These people can be LIVING in our Homes!.

“O you who believe, permission must be requested by those ‘whom your oaths posses’ (Malakat Aymanukum) and the children who have not attained puberty. This is to be done in three instances-before the Dawn Prayer, at noon when you change your clothes to rest, and after the Night Prayer. These are three private times for you. At other times, it is not wrong for you or them to mingle with one another. GOD thus clarifies the revelations for you. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.” (24:58)

Clue # 2: These people are DEPENDANT os us financialy!.

“He cites for you herein an example from among yourselves: Do you have from amongst those whom ‘your oaths posseses’ (Ma Malakat Aymanukum) as partners to the provisions We have provided for you?. To the level where you fear them as you fear yourselves?. We thus explain the revelations for people who understand.” (30:28) – See also 4:36

Clue # 3: They are an ‘Exception’ to regular marriage restrictions.

“Also prohibited are the women who are already married, except those whom your oaths posses’ (Ma Malakat Aymanukum). These are GOD’s commandments to you…” (4:24)


1. The term ‘Ma Malakat Aymanukum’ refers to females only (4:24);

2. These are females who are living in a man’s ‘houshold’ (24:58);

3. These are females who are ‘dependant’ on us financially (4:36);

4. These are females who have family or guardians (4:25);

5. These are females who are the ‘Exception’ to marrying a married woman (4:24).

Our understanding is that ‘Ma Malakat Aymanukum’ are widowed women who may be living under the roof and financial support of a man (her family, or the brother or relative of the deceased) and thus are described by the term ‘what your OATHS posses’ (i.e. due to the responsibility).

Marriage to such women is allowed in the Quran under slightly different terms & conditions than other women.


4 Responses to “Ma Malakat Aymanukum”

  1. 1 Muslimah
    August 28, 2007 at 6:05 pm


    “Ma Malakat Aimanukum” is one of the most misunderstood, misused and abused term of the Quran. It is usually taken as to mean “female slave”. Before we discuss the correct meaning of this term, it must be borne in mind that there is a specific word in Arabic language for female slaves and this word has been used at least twice in the Quran, once as a singular [“amatun” which is used in 2:221] and secondly as a plural [“imaaun”, which is used in 24:32].

    “Ma Malakat Aimanukum” literally has the following meanings:

    -What your right hands possess

    -What you rightfully have

    -What you [already] have

    -What is rightfully yours

    Now “what your right hands possess”, or “what you rightfully have” or “what is rightfully yours” or “what your [already] have” could be any of the following:

    -Your wife

    -Your spouse

    -Your servant

    -Your possession, or property

    -Your slave [both male or female] because “Ma Malakat Aimanukum” refers to a neutral gender which is applicable to both male or female.

    -Your prisoner of war

    Now let us explore each key word in the term “Ma Malakat Aimanukum”, a little further.

    The word “Malakat” has the root meem-laam-kaaf [M-L-K]. It primary signification is:

    -To possess or own [something or someone], particularly with ability to have it to oneself exclusively

    Other meanings include:

    -To have power to command or exercise authority

    -To acquire

    -To take over

    -To Marry

    As can be seen that one of the meanings is “to marry”. This is according to one of the most authentic dictionaries of Arabic language [Lisan-ul-Arab by Ibn-Manzoor Vol. 13, page 184]. Another authentic dictionary of Modern Arabic also describes this meaning [The Hans Wehrs Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, page 1081].

    According to Lisan-ul-Arab, al-milaak means


    -The bond of holy matrimony

    According to the same dictionary, milaakun also means


    The word “milkun” which has plural “amlaak” means:





    -Real estate


    The word “mulkun” means:




    -Right of possession [what is rightfully yours]

    In the term “Ma Malakat Aimanukum”, the word MALAKAT is in the PAST tense, which signifies “What you ALREADY have”, or “what you ALREADY possess” or “what CAME in your possession”. The word, grammatically, cannot be taken as to mean “what you WILL possess” or “what you WILL have”. The future or present tense form of this word is altogether different and has been used in various verses of Quran [5:17, 5:76, 10:31, 13:16, 16:76, 17:56, 19:87, 20:89, 25:3, 29:7, 34:22, 34:42, 35:13, 39:43, 43:86, 82:19]

    Now let us see the word “Aimanukum”.

    The word “Aimanun” is the plural of “Yaminun” and means “Right hands”. The root of this word is ya-meem-noon [Y-M-N].

    The word “Yaminun” also means:

    -A covenant

    -An oath

    The word “Yumnun”, has the same root Y-M-N and means:


    -Good luck

    -Good fortune

    -Good omen


    Now think of “Marriage” which is also a covenant [as described in Quran] and an event of auspiciousness, then see the suitability of the use of word “Aimanun” in context of marriage, as well.

    From the above it can be seen that “Ma Malakat Aimanukum”, may not only refer to “slave” [which could be both male or female] but also to:




    -Prisoners of war


    -What is rightfully yours

    Before we move further, another important word [which is used as conjunction] must also be explained. The word is “AW”, used in the phrase “aw ma malakat aymanukum”. “AW” is usually translated as “OR”. There is no doubt that “OR” is one of the meanings of “AW” but as a matter of fact, this word is used in no less than 12 different ways [also explained in Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon]. One of the uses of this word is TAFSEEL, [i.e. elaborative or explanatory]. In other words, “aw” is also used to add some meaning to the previous word or to explain a previous word or to give some attribute or characteristics of the previous word.

    Please refer to 17:110. In this verse, there is a phrase “odAAoo Allaha awi odAAoo alrrahmana”. Note carefully how “Allah” and “Rahman” are separated by the word “aw”. Now here “aw” does not imply that “Allah” and “Rahman” are two different Beings. Without doubt, “Allah” and “Rahman” is one and the same Being. “Rahman” is an attribute of “Allah”.

    Now refer to verses 23:6 and 70:30.

    23:6 Illa AAala azwajihim aw ma malakat aymanuhum fainnahum ghayru maloomeena

    70:30 Illa AAala azwajihim aw ma malakat aymanuhum fainnahum ghayru maloomeena

    In both the above verses, “azwajihim” and “ma malakat aymanuhum” are separated by “aw”. Here it does not mean that “azwajihim” and “ma malakat aymanuhum” are two different objects. Actually, they refer to one and the same object. “azwajihim” ARE “ma malakat aymanuhum” i.e. “their spouses” are “what they rightfully possess”.

    In 4:24, the term “ma malakat aymanukum” refers to those married women which are wives of the disbelievers [as explained in 60:10]. The verse 4:24 makes unlawful to marry all married women except those married women that have come to the believers as prisoners of wars or emigrants but their husbands are non-believers. [After becoming of these women believers, Quran renders their previous marriage to the unbelievers, null]

    In 4:3, the term “ma malakat aymanukum” means “what you rightfully possess” or “what you [already] have”.

    In 33:52, the Prophet is forbidden to marry any more women in spite of their beauty except to MARRY only the slave girls or prisoners of war referred in 60:10, to make them part of the family and give them status.


    Just the amount of differrent interpretations of the SAME phrase one can have, surprises me. I mean, which is the correct interpretation?!

  2. 2 sukran
    September 3, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    Salaamun Aleikum Muslimah,

    “Just the amount of differrent interpretations of the SAME phrase one can have, surprises me.”

    This is one of the miracles of the text of Qur’an. God gives us plenty of options to be chosen in the aim of our personality, belief, sincerety, conscious, experience, need, etc.

    “I mean, which is the correct interpretation?!”

    There might be more than one correct interpretation.

  3. 3 Guy Buster
    April 26, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Permission for Sex with captive women is established in many ayats and sahih hadiths.
    I would restrict to some important ayats and respective hadiths.

    since you have already posted 4:24 let me give the sahih hadith explaining the context of it’s revelation.

    Sahih Muslim, Book 8:
    The Book of Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah)

    Book 008, Number 3432:
    Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (Allah her pleased with him) reported that at the Battle of Hanain Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent an army to Autas and encountered the enemy and fought with them. Having overcome them and taken them captives, the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (may peace te upon him) seemed to refrain from having intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists. Then Allah, Most High, sent down regarding that:” And women already married, except those whom your right hands possess (iv. 24)” (i. e. they were lawful for them when their ‘Idda period came to an end).

    023.005 YUSUFALI: Who abstain from sex,

    023.006 YUSUFALI: Except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (in their case) they are free from blame,
    similarly 70:30 Except with their wives and the (captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (then) they are not to be blamed.

    Also marrying slave(captive) women is an option and it is not mandatory for having sex with them.

    Clear difference is shown with regards to wives and “right hand possessions”.

  4. 4 Ro
    October 28, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Good article. I’m just confused about one issue now. Why does the Quran mention wives and MMA seperately when describing who men can be intimate with? If we are to marry MMA before having sex, then they become our spouses – and in that case, God does not need to add anything to ‘you can be intimate with your spouses’.

    Do you get my point?
    Please clarify.

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