"The Slave Girl Gives Birth to Her Master": Female Slavery from the Mamluk Era (1250-1517) to the Islamic State (2014-)
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Mirza, Younus Y.
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EmbargoThe post-print of the article is available for viewing to the public after February 1, 2019.
This paper analyzes how the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) appropriates Islamic tradition to justify sexual slavery, most notably the eschatological prophetic report "the slave girl will give birth to her master." Contrary to the public discourse that constantly emphasizes the "medieval" nature of ISIS, I demonstrate that the movement has developed a modern interpretation of the tradition. The medieval Muslim scholars that the ISIS author quotes argue that the report should be read broadly and not be used in legal discussions or to expand slavery. In contrast, the ISIS author contends that the saying should be interpreted to mean the revival of slavery and justifies taking Yazidi women as sex slaves. The ISIS author thus presents a new understanding of the report, one that is unique within the history of Islam.