The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria would be funny if it’s behavior weren’t so incredibly awful. Pretending that the way forward is to go back to the 9th century and then doing so in a part of the world that looks like the ass-end of Arizona would make for a great Tuesday-night sitcom. However, that doesn’t allow for the beheadings, the floggings and the enslavement of those deemed unworthy.
Most of the rules revolve around when and how a master can have sex with his female slaves. Now in the American South before the Civil War, it was pretty straightforward — whenever the owner felt like it. ISIS, being a religious fundamentalist band of yahoos, can’t make it that easy. Rules, sub-clauses and exemptions have to exist so that the ignorant faithful have to keep running back to their leaders for guidance and instruction. That keeps the leaders in charge.
For example, if the slave in question is al-sabi, meaning a non-Muslim, her unbelief justifies enslavement. If she is a virgin, there are no prohibitions on immediately having sex once she is taken. If she isn’t, “her uterus must be purified [first].” I am sure there is a pamphlet somewhere on uterine purification rituals just waiting to be printed.
Another question burning through the minds of ISIS fighters is whether they can take slaves who are sisters. “It is permissible to have two sisters, a female slave and her aunt [her father’s sister], or a female slave and her aunt [from her mother’s side]. But they cannot be together during intercourse, [and] whoever has intercourse with one of them cannot have intercourse with the other, due to the general [consensus] over the prohibition of this.” So, the whole threesome with sisters thing is not allowed.
However, if two or more masters own a slave (jihadis going half-sies?), neither can have sex with her. One would have to buy out the other. ISIS is pretty solid on exclusive ownership. Apparently, if your wife has a slave, you can’t have sex with said slave because she belongs to another person. So the smart jihadi doesn’t put anything in his wife’s name.
If a master owns a woman who is married to someone else, he can’t have sex with her. “A master is prohibited from having intercourse with his female slave who is married to someone else; instead, the master receives her service, [while] the husband [gets to] enjoy her [sexually].”
One ISIS fighter can’t let another ISIS fighter even kiss one of his slaves. “A man may not kiss the female slave of another, for kissing [involves] pleasure, and pleasure is prohibited unless [the man] owns [the slave] exclusively.” That sort of sums up religious fundamentalism to me, “pleasure is prohibited.”
And because pleasure is prohibited, ISIS and its members are very concerned about how one has sex. For example, “A man is allowed [to use] al-‘azl [coitus interruptus] during intercourse with his female slave with or without her consent.” I am pretty sure that “with or without her consent” is redundant given her status as a slave.
Then there is discipline, without which slavery doesn’t work. It’s OK to beat a slave as a form of discipline, but if the master does it to get off, that’s wrong (pleasure is prohibited). And hitting her in the face is not allowed either — how very liberal of ISIS. And if the masters knocks up his slave, he can’t sell her.
Perhaps the most vile thing in the whole vile document is this simple sentence: “It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse; however if she is not fit for intercourse, then it is enough to enjoy her without intercourse.” To those of us who lack the enlightenment of ISIS, this seems like child molestation. However, the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, married Aisha when she was 6 or 7, and the marriage was consummated when she was 9 or 10. So, if the Prophet did it, it must be OK.
And then there is the question of freeing a slave. “Allah the exalted said [in the Koran]: ‘And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass [hell]? It is the freeing of a slave.’ And [the prophet Muhammad] said: ‘Whoever frees a believer Allah frees every organ of his body from hellfire’.”
That sounds to me like an indictment of the entire institution from the lips of Allah himself. But what do I know? I am an atheist who believes all are equal under the law — in other words, destined for hell.
Jeff Myhre is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.