At Muslims and Muhammad: the Impossible Task, I posted, "It is impossible that a man could allow his followers to have sex with their female slaves as well as their prisoners of war, whether or not they were married, and be a prophet of God."
Rumors persist to this day that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, both Heroes of our Nation, fathered children born of slaves. If they did not, certainly many other Americans did. And it is a fact that King Solomon, writer of both the Book of Proverbs and the love poem "The Song of Songs" in the Bible, had hundreds of wives and concubines. So what is the difference, one might ask, if Muhammad also had sex with slaves?
I think the differences are significant. Even though Americans admire many qualities of their Founding Father, we do not look back with pride at their slave-holding practices. And no Christian pastor or Jewish rabbi would give the marital example of Solomon as a model for young men today. The Bible itself records that in his later years Solomon's wives "led him astray" from the God and faith of his youth.
One of the best-known facts of Islam is that it allows Muslim men to have four wives. Much less understood, however, and one of the many Quranic expressions that is easily glossed over by careless readers, is the reality that immediately after Quran 4:3 allows men four wives, it also authorizes them to have sex with their female slaves. The verse states that if men fear they could not equally treat four wives justly they should marry only one, or "the possessions of your right hand", that is, their slaves. Apparently the need to treat female slaves equally was not taken into consideration, and there was no limit to the number that a Muslim man could enjoy.
This was not just a theoretical statement, but a practice carried out by both Muhammad and his followers. All the early Muslim historians, including Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Sa'd, and al-Tabari, describe Muhammad's sexual relationship with slaves or female captives such as Mary the Copt and Safiya the Jewess. The authentic hadiths give Muhammad's instructions to his warriors about the rules for sex with the females they captured in their battles. Sex with pregnant captives was not allowed, since according to Muhammad it was not proper for his men to "mix their seed" with that of the man who had impregnated the women who were now their slaves. Coitus interruptus was also discouraged because according to the Prophet it made no difference whether a man ejaculated inside or outside the woman, since "Allah has already determined who he will or will not create".
It is interesting that these instructions were given when Muhammad's men complained to him that it was difficult for them to remain faithful to their wives during their raids, especially when they were capturing beautiful Arab and Jewish women. Rather then encouraging them in fidelity, he simply laid the ground rules for casual sex (we would call it rape today) with the captured women whose husbands had often just been killed by the same men who wanted sex with them. There was no stipulation or expectation that the men would marry or have any social responsibility towards these women, and they were often sold as slaves soon afterwards.
Muslims today easily defend or justify this information about their prophet. I can't do that. I cannot believe that a man who would both practice and authorize casual sex with captive female slaves could be a prophet of God.