ArabicSurriyah, pl. Sarari.The Muhammadan tradition appears to give almost unlimited license to concubinage, provided the woman be a slave and not a free Muslim woman.
Those female slaves must be either (1) taken captive in war, (2) or purchased with money, (3) or the descendants of slaves. Even married women, if taken in war, are, according to the injunction of the Quran,entirely at the disposal of the Muslim conqueror.
Surah 4.28 "(Unlawful) to you are married women except such as your right hand possess (i.e. taken in war or purchased as slave)."
This institution of concubinage is founded upon the example of Muhammad himself, who took Rihanah the Jewess as his concubine after the battle with the Bani Quraizah (A.H. 5), and also Maria the Copt, who was sent him as a slave by the Governor of Egypt.
Should a concubine bare her master a child, the Muhammadan law rules that she and her offspring are free. For a further treatment of this subject, see the article on SLAVES.
Amongst the Shi`a, the temporary marriage called Mut`ah exhibits the worst form of concubinage.
It is interesting to compare the condition of the concubine under Muhammadan law and under the Mosaic. Under the law of Moses, a concubine would generally be either a Hebrew girl bought of her father, or a Gentile captive taken in war. So that whilst the Muhammadan law forbids concubinage with a free woman, the Mosaic law permitted and legislated for it.
Exodus 21: 7 "If a man sell his daughter to be a maid-servant, she shall not go out as men-servants do. If she please not her master who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed; to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her."
With regard to female slaves taken in war, the Mosaic law ruled.
Deut. 21. 10: "When thou goest to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, and seest a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldst have her to thy wife: then thou shalt bring her to thine home, &c... And it shall be if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will, but thou shall not sell her" &c.