Read the Islamic State’s Rules for Rape

Islamic State theologians have issued detailed rulings on who can rape sex slaves and when in a detailed fatwa.

The fatwa was seized by the U.S. military as part of a trove of documents captured earlier this year in a raid that killed Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) financial officer Abu Sayyaf in May. Reuters has been running exposes on some of the documents seized in the raid, including this fatwa.

Fatwa No. 64, dated Jan. 29, 2015, issued by Islamic State's Committee of Research and Fatwas is structured as warnings to “some of the brothers” who “have committed violations in the matter of the treatment of the female slaves” which ISIS feels “are not permitted by Sharia law.”

To avoid future misunderstandings the fatwa department codifies the rules of sexual slavery thus:

  • A slave owner cannot have intercourse (rape) his female-slave if she is pregnant or menstruating.
  • He may not rape both a mother and daughter if he owns both women.
  • He may not rape two sisters if he owns both – he must choose only one. If he sells one however, the other becomes permitted.
  • A son may not rape the slave of his father, nor the father the slave of his son. Neither may a husband rape his wife’s slave. Selling or giving away the girl changes this.
  • A slave owner is not allowed to abort a fetus of his slave impregnated by  him.

There are also injunctions to treat slaves well:

  • The owner of a female captive should show compassion towards her, be kind to her, not humiliate her, and not assign her work she is unable to perform.    

For an organization infamous for its draconian approach to crime and punishment, specific penalties for breaches of these rules are conspicuous by their absence.

Another pamphlet, translated by scholar and Islamic State expert Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, lays out the sharia basis for taking captives in war, including sex-slaves, providing instruction on who fighters are allowed to capture and enslave.

“For the disbelievers who have no pact of the dhimmi, ceasefire or security between them and the Muslims, the principle regarding them is that their blood and property are free for pillage if they do not convert to Islam or pay the jizya and enter under the rule of Shari'a” the pamphlet reads.

“In this regard their women and offspring may be taken captive.”

The pamphlet stipulates that it is not permissible to rape female captives until they are confirmed as slaves, since the imam (caliph) may decide to either release or ransom them. Only non-Muslims may be taken as captives, and of those, not Jews and Christians who have agreed to submit to the caliphate under a pact of dhimma.