Meaning of the Ayah '...and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess'

Q 4: Concerning the meaning of Allah's statement: (the slaves) that your right hands possess. Is it permissible for the master to behave as he likes with those he possesses without any restrictions or accountability? Suppose that I own a maidservant and at the same time I own her husband, am I permitted to act as I like with them? What is the limit of my authority over them?

A 4: In the Shari`ah (Islamic law) the phrase (the slaves) that your right hands possess. Refers to what a person possesses including male and female bondservants and other property that a person legally owns. It is not permissible for the master of a male or female bondservant to treat them according to his desire or mere opinion; but he must be just as ordained by Shari`ah. He should use them in lawful works, which they have the ability to perform and he may have intercourse with his maidservant if she is not married. If she bears him a child, she becomes Umm Walad (mother of a child) and, therefore, she cannot be sold and becomes free when he dies. Furthermore, her master cannot separate her from her child. There are many other regulations that Allah legislated in order to organize the relationship between a master and his bondservant girl and define what is lawful and what is forbidden. May Allah grant us success. May Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!