There is no equivalent term for ‘rape’ in the Qur’an. Likewise, there is not a single verse in the Qur’an which even remotely discourages forced sex. In contrast, there are several verses in this book which give the green light to rape and other sexual crimes against women.
Qur’an chapter 4 verse 24 discusses lawful and forbidden women for pious Muslims. Before we delve into this verse, it should be noted that it is not easy to understand what is being suggested using the verse alone. Therefore, relying on authoritative Tafsirs (Qur’an interpretations) and Sahih (authentic) Hadiths associated with it, are necessary to get the exact picture.
 Verse 4:24
Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess. Thus has Allah ordained for you. All others are lawful, provided you seek them from your property, desiring chastity, not fornication. So with those among them whom you have enjoyed, give them their required due, but if you agree mutually after the requirement (has been determined), there is no sin on you. Surely, Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.
What we see in the beginning of this verse as “forbidden” refers to sexual intercourse. The Qur’an dictates, women already married are forbidden for Muslims except those whom their right hands possess (sex slaves). It is the ordinance of Allah.
It is obvious from this verse, a Muslim can have sexual relations with his slave-woman. But it is important to know the context of this verse, as it sheds light onto the nature of allowance. If we go through a Sahih Hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud:
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.” [The Quran verse is 4:24]
Abu Dawud 2:2150
Here in the above hadith from Abu Dawud, we understand why the Qur’anic verse 4:24 was allegedly revealed to Muhammad. It was to encourage his fighters to have sexual contacts with female captives even while their husbands were alive as prisoners of war. The hadith sheds some more light on this fact, when we read:
“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.”
The Abu Dawud hadith is confirmed by the two Sahih collections, namely Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. There is a chapter devoted to this in the Sahih Muslim collection. The title of the chapter speaks in volumes as we read:
Sahih Muslim. Chapter 29: Title: It is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a captive woman after she is purified of menses or delivery. In case she has a husband, her marriage is abrogated after she becomes captive.
Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that at the Battle of Hunain Allah’s Messenger 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 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 (Quran 4:. 24)” (i. e. they were lawful for them when their ‘Idda period came to an end).
Sahih Muslim 8:3432
Similarly in Sahih Bukhari:
Narrated Ibn Muhairiz: I entered the Mosque and saw Abu Said Al-Khudri and sat beside him and asked him about Al-Azl (i.e. coitus interruptus). Abu Said said, “We went out with Allah’s Apostle for the Ghazwa of Banu Al-Mustaliq and we received captives from among the Arab captives and we desired women and celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interruptus. So when we intended to do coitus interrupt us, we said, ‘How can we do coitus interruptus before asking Allah’s Apostle who is present among us?” We asked (him) about it and he said, ‘It is better for you not to do so, for if any soul (till the Day of Resurrection) is predestined to exist, it will exist.”
Sahih Bukhari 5:59:459
Ibn Kathir, the most prominent of all Qur’an interpreters has this to say, in regards to verse 4:24:
The Ayah (verses) means Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess.), you are prohibited from marrying women who are already married, except those whom your right hands possess) except those whom you acquire through war, for you are allowed such women after making sure they are not pregnant. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said, “We captured some women from the area of Awtas who were already married, and we disliked having sexual relations with them because they already had husbands. So, we asked the Prophet about this matter, and this Ayah (verse) was revealed, Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess). Accordingly, we had sexual relations with these women.” (Alternate translation can be: as a result of these verses, their (Infidels) wives have become lawful for us) This is the wording collected by At-Tirmidhi An-Nasa’i, Ibn Jarir and Muslim in his Sahih.
Forbidding Women Already Married, Except for Female Slaves
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
And so does the Tafsir al-Jalalayn: (Qur’an interpretation by two Jalals namely: Jalaluddin Mahalli and Jalaluddin Suyuti)
And, forbidden to you are, wedded women, those with spouses, that you should marry them before they have left their spouses, be they Muslim free women or not; save what your right hands own, of captured [slave] girls, whom you may have sexual intercourse with, even if they should have spouses among the enemy camp, but only after they have been absolved of the possibility of pregnancy [after the completion of one menstrual cycle]; this is what God has prescribed for you.
Tafsir Attributed to Ibn Abbas, Muhammad’s paternal cousin, further confirms:
And all married women (are forbidden unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess) of captives, even if they have husbands in the Abode of War, after ascertaining that they are not pregnant, by waiting for the lapse of one period of menstruation. (It is a decree of Allah for you) that which I have mentioned to you is unlawful in Allah’s Book.
Tafsir ‘Ibn Abbas
From 4:24, it can be rightly assumed, that the Qur’an does not see any wrong-doing in Muslims having sex with captive women even if these women are married and their husbands are still alive. This clearly indicates that the Qur’an allows rape, as captive women can not have any say in case they are exploited by their Muslim masters.
 Further Verses
There are other verses in the Qur’an similar to this. Chapter 23 makes mention of successful Muslims and their characteristics:
Successful indeed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers and who keep aloof from what is vain and who are givers of poor-rate and who guard their private parts, except before their mates or those whom their right hands possess, for they surely are not blamable.
Guarding private parts is denotative of abstaining from sexual activities. The Qur’an points out successful believers are those who are indulging in sexual activities only with their wives and sex-slaves.
This is confirmed again in the Qur’an Chapter 70:
And those who guard their private parts, except in the case of their wives or those whom their right hands possess– for these surely are not to be blamed,
This practice of raping war captives was implemented by Islam’s very own prophet Muhammad, in his life. On two occasions, he married (for the sake of marriage only) war captives and raped them. Those victims were namely Safiyya and Juwairiyya.
Safiyah the daughter of Huayy was the wife of a Jewish Rabbi named Kinana. When Muhammad conquered the Jewish village of Khaibar, he tortured and killed the Jewish Rabbi and grabbed his wife. Sahih Hadith in Bukhari testifies to this fact:
Narrated ‘Abdul ‘Aziz: Anas said, ‘When Allah’s Apostle invaded Khaibar, we offered the Fajr prayer there yearly in the morning) when it was still dark. The Prophet rode and Abu Talha rode too and I was riding behind Abu Talha. The Prophet passed through the lane of Khaibar quickly and my knee was touching the thigh of the Prophet . He uncovered his thigh and I saw the whiteness of the thigh of the Prophet. When he entered the town, he said, ‘Allahu Akbar! Khaibar is ruined. Whenever we approach near a (hostile) nation (to fight) then evil will be the morning of those who have been warned.’ He repeated this thrice. The people came out for their jobs and some of them said, ‘Muhammad (has come).’ (Some of our companions added, “With his army.”) We conquered Khaibar, took the captives, and the booty was collected. Dihya came and said, ‘O Allah’s Prophet! Give me a slave girl from the captives.’ The Prophet said, ‘Go and take any slave girl.’ He took Safiya bint Huyai. A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Allah’s Apostles! You gave Safiya bint Huyai to Dihya and she is the chief mistress of the tribes of Quraiza and An-Nadir and she befits none but you.’ So the Prophet said, ‘Bring him along with her.’ So Dihya came with her and when the Prophet saw her, he said to Dihya, ‘Take any slave girl other than her from the captives.’ Anas added: The Prophet then manumitted her and married her.” Thabit asked Anas, “O Abu Hamza! What did the Prophet pay her (as Mahr)?” He said, “Her self was her Mahr for he manumitted her and then married her.” Anas added, “While on the way, Um Sulaim dressed her for marriage (ceremony) and at night she sent her as a bride to the Prophet . So the Prophet was a bridegroom and he said, ‘Whoever has anything (food) should bring it.’ He spread out a leather sheet (for the food) and some brought dates and others cooking butter. (I think he (Anas) mentioned As-SawTq). So they prepared a dish of Hais (a kind of meal). And that was Walima (the marriage banquet) of Allah’s Apostle .”
Sahih Bukhari 1:8:367
This hadith from Sunan Abu Dawud bears out how Muhammad snatched Juwairiyya a beautiful woman of a tribe called Banu Mustaliq. Muhammad was attacking the tribe without warning and conquering them. The following hadith from Sahih Bukhari is evidentiary to it:
Narrated Ibn Aun: I wrote a letter to Nafi and Nafi wrote in reply to my letter that the Prophet had suddenly attacked Bani Mustaliq without warning while they were heedless and their cattle were being watered at the places of water. Their fighting men were killed and their women and children were taken as captives; the Prophet got Juwairiya on that day. Nafi said that Ibn ‘Umar had told him the above narration and that Ibn ‘Umar was in that army.
Sahih Bukhari 3:46:717
Muhammad was only implementing the Qur’anic decree of raping slave women.
 Claims about verse 24:33
Muslims will frequently quote the following when confronted with the passages provided in this article and others like it:
Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which Allah has given to you. But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is Allah, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them),
The first part of the verse is telling unmarried people to keep themselves chaste. Now, the important thing to remember is that the Islamic definition of chaste is different than the commonly agreed upon definitions of the word. According to Qur’an 23:6, Qur’an 33:50, Qur’an 33:52, and Qur’an 70:30 a Muslim man is considered “chaste” so long as he only has sex with his wives (of whom he may have up to four) and his right-hand possessions (female captives/slaves). An unmarried Muslim man who has sex with his slave girl is still considered to be “chaste” by Islamic standards.
The second sentence speaks about slaves who ask for a way to pay for their freedom (like indentured servants) as long as the master knows of “any good in them” (whatever that is supposed to mean). It would be interesting to discover how female slaves could earn any money at all if they had been kidnapped from their families and forced into slavery and didn’t have money-making skills. And if a female slave was to earn her freedom, where then could she go if her family had been massacred? How could she support herself and keep herself safe from rape, prostitution, etc.? Practicalities aside, this verse only tells Muslims to let their slaves purchase their freedom (but puts in that convenient little disclaimer of “if ye know any good in them”). To give Muhammad credit, at least he did stipulate that the masters should give their slaves something. (Of course, it doesn’t say how much or what exactly. Loop-holes as usual.)
The third sentence is what pertains to the Muslim claim that rape is forbidden. However, the word used is not simply sexual intercourse but is more specifically prostitution or whoredom. Prostitution has never simply been about sex. It has always been about sex for a price. It’s one of the oldest professions. A prostitute cannot afford to give freebies. So what this verse speaks of is a master forcing his maid to be a prostitute thereby making money by allowing other men to have sex with her. This verse says nothing about a master forcing himself upon his slave-girl who is considered “halal” for him according to Islamic law. The fourth sentence says that if a girl is indeed forced into prostitution, then Allah will forgive her for committing zina. What this verse doesn’t say is what the punishment should be for a man who forces his maid into prostitution. All it says is that he should not do it. And what it definitely does not say is that a Muslim man cannot force himself on his own slave-girl.
 Editorials on the Internet
Rebuttal to Yamin Zakaria’s by Archemedez: Yamin points that muslim men did engage in sex with their captives immediately after captivity, but Yamin maintains that the captive women willingly accepted. Muhammad even refuses to allow the Muslim from ejaculating outside their new captives.
An Islamic Answer to the status of women taken as prisoners during Jihad. By Mufti Ebrahim Desai FATWA DEPT (excerpt:)
“It may, superficially, appear distasteful to copulate with a woman who is not a man’s legal wife, but once Shariah makes something lawful, we have to accept it as lawful, whether it appeals to our taste, or not; and whether we know its underlying wisdom or not. It is necessary for a Muslim to be acquainted with the laws of Shariah, but it is not necessary for him to delve into each law in order to find the underlying wisdom of these laws because knowledge of the wisdom of some of the laws may be beyond his puny comprehension.”
Mufti Ebrahim Desai