Slavery in the Arab world

eile

eile

Well-Known Member
...
For centuries Christians didn't oppose slavery and accepted it as a very common thing now the vast majority hold different view to it all and I believe that is a step forward that everyone should follow despite all its history that we can find in all religion, cultures, societies etc.
...
what is now officially/universally recognized as slavery, as something evil to oppose, has always been something unnatural to or at odds with Christianity; the fact that its official status has been challenged, opposed and ultimately abolished and marked as 'something evil to oppose', via none other than Christianity, without any compromise of either Christianity's essence/foundation or truth in general, is a testament to that
 
  • Advertisement
  • O Brother

    O Brother

    Legendary Member
    then it should be easy for you to name a single principal historical islamic religious reference in the explanation of the quran that does not endorse a very direct form of slavery? mulk yameen, etc...
    And what difference would it make for you if I provide you with what you are asking for?

    I can tell you that yes this is still a big open question in our modern times among many Uluma whether the "Ma malakat aymanukum" is the same to what it used to be centuries ago among other related questions.

    Meaning what the right hand poses today is not the same to what the right hand possessed centuries ago.
    Is this valid? if not then why not and if it is, then how!?

    I certainly do not have all the answers for this nor did I ever claim to have it!
    This is why I question this among other things!

    what is now officially/universally recognized as slavery, as something evil to oppose, has always been something unnatural to or at odds with Christianity; the fact that its official status has been challenged, opposed and ultimately abolished and marked as 'something evil to oppose', via none other than Christianity, without any compromise of either Christianity's essence/foundation or truth in general, is a testament to that
    Always? that is a bold statement you are making here!

    For two millennia Christianity didn't oppose slavery at all and is the bible in this case evil too?
    Does it mean the OT in particular is evil and all the prophets like Abraham, David, Solomon etc were evil?
    How do you solve this problem for your arguement?

    The definition of slavery itself is different between different ages and different cultures.
    If we take what is ongoing on in Libya now then yes that kind of slavery is truly evil and a kind of oppression!

    But slavery never ended and from the look of it it wont end!
    It is a ongoing thing maybe the labels and laws changed and the way dealing with it changed but it is still here with us.. In Libya they seems to bringing out the old ways of doing it which is not acceptable!!!

    Slavery was never truly abolished my friend there are only different ways to it :)
     
    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    And what difference would it make for you if I provide you with what you are asking for?

    I can tell you that yes this is still a big open question in our modern times among many Uluma whether the "Ma malakat aymanukum" is the same to what it used to be centuries ago among other related questions.

    Meaning what the right hand poses today is not the same to what the right hand possessed centuries ago.
    Is this valid? if not then why not and if it is, then how!?

    I certainly do not have all the answers for this nor did I ever claim to have it!
    This is why I question this among other things!
    to me personally it does not make much of a difference, but i was hoping that by pressing for an answer it would make a difference to many. i actually know the answer to the question i have asked, and i assume so do you. and as always, i have relied the mainstream islamic references to present the case. i didn't borrow from popular myth, nor from eccentric sects, nor from islamic opponents.

    the point i was attempting to infer through the question is about the validity and the consequences of belief systems where the morality and ethics of Man exceed those of a presumed creator. i hope that when people reach this intersection, they will think quite deeply about what it means, and which path to follow.

    Always? that is a bold statement you are making here!

    For two millennia Christianity didn't oppose slavery at all and is the bible in this case evil too?

    Does it mean the OT in particular is evil and all the prophets like Abraham, David, Solomon etc were evil?
    How do you solve this problem for your arguement?

    The definition of slavery itself is different between different ages and different cultures.
    If we take what is ongoing on in Libya now then yes that kind of slavery is truly evil and a kind of oppression!

    But slavery never ended and from the look of it it wont end!
    It is a ongoing thing maybe the labels and laws changed and the way dealing with it changed but it is still here with us.. In Libya they seems to bringing out the old ways of doing it which is not acceptable!!!

    Slavery was never truly abolished my friend there are only different ways to it :)
    if i may, there is a complete Christian perspective addressing freedom and how it integrates with Truth and Faith, starting with "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." & "the truth shall set you free" and ending with "everybody are equal in front of God, men & women, slaves & free, jews and gentiles". Jesus himself said He came to serve, not to be served, He washed the feet of the apostles, and told them the following:

    12 وَبَعْدَمَا انْتَهَى مِنْ غَسْلِ أَقْدَامِهِمْ، أَخَذَ رِدَاءَهُ وَاتَّكَأَ مِنْ جَدِيدٍ، وَسَأَلَهُمْ: «أَفَهِمْتُمْ مَا عَمِلْتُهُ لَكُمْ؟
    13 أَنْتُمْ تَدْعُونَنِي مُعَلِّماً وَسَيِّداً، وَقَدْ صَدَقْتُمْ، فَأَنَا كَذَلِكَ
    14 فَإِنْ كُنْتُ، وَأَنَا السَّيِّدُ وَالْمُعَلِّمُ، قَدْ غَسَلْتُ أَقْدَامَكُمْ، فَعَلَيْكُمْ أَنْتُمْ أَيْضاً أَنْ يَغْسِلَ بَعْضُكُمْ أَقْدَامَ بَعْضٍ.
    15 فَقَدْ قَدَّمْتُ لَكُمْ مِثَالاً لِكَيْ تَعْمَلُوا مِثْلَ مَا عَمِلْتُ أَنَا لَكُمْ.
    16 الْحَقَّ الْحَقَّ أَقُولُ لَكُمْ: لَيْسَ عَبْدٌ أَعْظَمَ مِنْ سَيِّدِهِ، وَلاَ رَسُولٌ أَعْظَمَ مِنْ مُرْسِلِهِ.
    17 فَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ قَدْ عَرَفْتُمْ هَذَا، فَطُوبَى لَكُمْ إِذَا عَمِلْتُمْ بِهِ


    so out of curiosity, how would answer the question Jesus asked his disciples: "do you understand what i have done to you?"
     
    O Brother

    O Brother

    Legendary Member
    to me personally it does not make much of a difference, but i was hoping that by pressing for an answer it would make a difference to many. i actually know the answer to the question i have asked, and i assume so do you. and as always, i have relied the mainstream islamic references to present the case. i didn't borrow from popular myth, nor from eccentric sects, nor from islamic opponents.

    the point i was attempting to infer through the question is about the validity and the consequences of belief systems where the morality and ethics of Man exceed those of a presumed creator. i hope that when people reach this intersection, they will think quite deeply about what it means, and which path to follow.


    if i may, there is a complete Christian perspective addressing freedom and how it integrates with Truth and Faith, starting with "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." & "the truth shall set you free" and ending with "everybody are equal in front of God, men & women, slaves & free, jews and gentiles". Jesus himself said He came to serve, not to be served, He washed the feet of the apostles, and told them the following:

    12 وَبَعْدَمَا انْتَهَى مِنْ غَسْلِ أَقْدَامِهِمْ، أَخَذَ رِدَاءَهُ وَاتَّكَأَ مِنْ جَدِيدٍ، وَسَأَلَهُمْ: «أَفَهِمْتُمْ مَا عَمِلْتُهُ لَكُمْ؟
    13 أَنْتُمْ تَدْعُونَنِي مُعَلِّماً وَسَيِّداً، وَقَدْ صَدَقْتُمْ، فَأَنَا كَذَلِكَ
    14 فَإِنْ كُنْتُ، وَأَنَا السَّيِّدُ وَالْمُعَلِّمُ، قَدْ غَسَلْتُ أَقْدَامَكُمْ، فَعَلَيْكُمْ أَنْتُمْ أَيْضاً أَنْ يَغْسِلَ بَعْضُكُمْ أَقْدَامَ بَعْضٍ.
    15 فَقَدْ قَدَّمْتُ لَكُمْ مِثَالاً لِكَيْ تَعْمَلُوا مِثْلَ مَا عَمِلْتُ أَنَا لَكُمْ.
    16 الْحَقَّ الْحَقَّ أَقُولُ لَكُمْ: لَيْسَ عَبْدٌ أَعْظَمَ مِنْ سَيِّدِهِ، وَلاَ رَسُولٌ أَعْظَمَ مِنْ مُرْسِلِهِ.
    17 فَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ قَدْ عَرَفْتُمْ هَذَا، فَطُوبَى لَكُمْ إِذَا عَمِلْتُمْ بِهِ


    so out of curiosity, how would answer the question Jesus asked his disciples: "do you understand what i have done to you?"
    Is the above verse talking about the literal meaning of freeing the slaves or about the Truth setting man free from his worldly matters whether this person is man, woman, slave, jew, or gentile?

    Meaning a slave man can sometimes be truly Free than a "freeman".

    So the above verses do not seems to be addressing the actual enslavement of people!

    Even this do not explain the issue of the Old Testament!
    Is the old testament evil? if yes then was god immoral and then became more moral with the New Testament?

    In the OT for ex. it allowed torture of slaves but in the NT it asked for good treatment of slaves and that the slaves should be obedient to their earthly masters as they are to their heavenly master.

    So clearly the NT is endorsing a more kind treatment to slaves than the OT and the NT clearly is endorsing slavery here as well.

    Now yes when there were calls for the "abolishment" of slavery both sides whether they opposed it or approved it.. they both used religious text from the bible to support their claims but in reality were these calls for abolishment of slavery religious based or economical ones?

    Why did the British "abolish" slavery was it because all of suddenly they saw how evil it was and how unchristian it is?
     
    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    Is the above verse talking about the literal meaning of freeing the slaves or about the Truth setting man free from his worldly matters whether this person is man, woman, slave, jew, or gentile?

    Meaning a slave man can sometimes be truly Free than a "freeman".

    So the above verses do not seems to be addressing the actual enslavement of people!

    Even this do not explain the issue of the Old Testament!
    Is the old testament evil? if yes then was god immoral and then became more moral with the New Testament?

    In the OT for ex. it allowed torture of slaves but in the NT it asked for good treatment of slaves and that the slaves should be obedient to their earthly masters as they are to their heavenly master.

    So clearly the NT is endorsing a more kind treatment to slaves than the OT and the NT clearly is endorsing slavery here as well.

    Now yes when there were calls for the "abolishment" of slavery both sides whether they opposed it or approved it.. they both used religious text from the bible to support their claims but in reality were these calls for abolishment of slavery religious based or economical ones?

    Why did the British "abolish" slavery was it because all of suddenly they saw how evil it was and how unchristian it is?
    when God kneels down and washes the feet of his disciples, slavery among many other man made concepts crumble down to the ground. you still are far from being tuned in to the Christian perspective of things.

    there is no need to reiterate the role of the OT in Christianity. the question on your hands however is very simple and it concerns the instructions from allah in the very quran, taking into consideration the full nature of the quran in the islamic perspective. how could things like mulk el yameen have found its way into the eternal unchangeable word of allah? this is the question you need to be asking yourself my friend.
     
    eile

    eile

    Well-Known Member
    Always? that is a bold statement you are making here!

    For two millennia Christianity didn't oppose slavery at all and is the bible in this case evil too?
    Does it mean the OT in particular is evil and all the prophets like Abraham, David, Solomon etc were evil?
    How do you solve this problem for your arguement?

    The definition of slavery itself is different between different ages and different cultures.
    If we take what is ongoing on in Libya now then yes that kind of slavery is truly evil and a kind of oppression!

    But slavery never ended and from the look of it it wont end!
    It is a ongoing thing maybe the labels and laws changed and the way dealing with it changed but it is still here with us.. In Libya they seems to bringing out the old ways of doing it which is not acceptable!!!

    Slavery was never truly abolished my friend there are only different ways to it :)
    yes, always. that which is currently officially/internationally acknowledged and condemned as slavery in lybia, as an evil to be opposed, in and by the civilized world, has been held as -definitively- natural/normal throughout human history, except in and with Christianity starting in the OT or OT prophets and culminating in the arrival and acceptance of Christ, where human slavery/oppression, among other ills, was held as the result of Man's fallen state caused by his original rebellion against God, and which was in need of resolution/salvation (i.e Christianity), and not as the original/natural state of humans

    'slavery as something natural/definitive for humans' = evil = 'cancelling the restoration/fulfillment/completion brought about by Christianity'; case of islam or any anti-Christianity worldview

    'slavery as something ultimately unnatural for humans, as something forced upon humans by humans by consequence of their wicked hearts' and is to be ultimately eradicated, where the original state is restored and fulfilled' = OT or OT prophets and their awaiting for Christ or God's promised direct and ultimate resolution to humanity's fallen state

    since you concede that the slavery you currently seem to be condemning (in the case of libya) has been abolished (at least in principle) from the principles of mankind (being acknowledged and condemned officially/internationally/universally), it is well established that this abolition -was- historically, and -is- logically, based on premises that are mainly Christian and Christianity-enabling in nature. in order to disprove that, you will need to either A) 1) come up with an alternative/fictionalized history in which such slavery was historically coherently/definitively abolished (in principle) by non-Christians, relying on non or anti Christian premises, and to 2) successfully demonstrate how these supposed premises could (coherently/definitively) oppose slavery at all, or B) successfully demonstrate that the pro-slavery views/interpretations (including and especially the apparently christian ones) can be validly/coherently rooted in or supported by Christianity (in and by its foundation/essence, in and by that without which there'd be no Christianity) as opposed to them being coherently opposed by it
     
    Last edited:
    O Brother

    O Brother

    Legendary Member
    when God kneels down and washes the feet of his disciples, slavery among many other man made concepts crumble down to the ground. you still are far from being tuned in to the Christian perspective of things.

    there is no need to reiterate the role of the OT in Christianity. the question on your hands however is very simple and it concerns the instructions from allah in the very quran, taking into consideration the full nature of the quran in the islamic perspective. how could things like mulk el yameen have found its way into the eternal unchangeable word of allah? this is the question you need to be asking yourself my friend.
    I can tell you as well.. that you are far fetched from the perspective of the oneness of GOD and what monotheism is supposed to be when you say stuff like this!

    Anyway so you believe the OT is somehow Evil today but wasn't before Jesus?
    You are not giving any good excuse here!

    Now I know this is not easy to answer because you don't have an answer but you have to think about it as well!

    I do contemplate about many things in the Quran and try to understand the Quran in the best possible way I question what mulk al yameen means.. I ask whether these wordings in specific "Mulk alyameen" were even used before the Quran and why not saying الاماء for example there are simply lots of questions here!

    Again if we compare the bible both the OT and NT then clearly the Quran speaks again and again about freeing slaves!
    Meanwhile in the bible and even in NT there is not a single direct verse that speaks about freeing the slaves.

    Not even one!

    You yourself just brought me a verse which got nothing to do with freeing slaves in particular in a worldly matter!

    You know why ? because there isn't any!

    The Quran didn't prohibited slavery like alcohol and other things but I believe it want us to go in the direction of ending slavery or at least contain it and be against it. ye3ni 1400 years who was even talking about freeing their slaves and giving them any kind of rights that leads them to take their freedom?

    I'm going to post something about this and I hope you will read it all! :)

    yes, always. that which is currently officially/internationally acknowledged and condemned as slavery in lybia, as an evil to be opposed, in and by the civilized world, has been held as -definitively- natural/normal throughout human history, except in and with Christianity starting in the OT or OT prophets and culminating in the arrival and acceptance of Christ, where human slavery/oppression, among other ills, was held as the result of Man's fallen state caused by his original rebellion against God, and which was in need of resolution/salvation (i.e Christianity), and not as the original/natural state of humans

    'slavery as something natural/definitive for humans' = evil = 'cancelling the restoration/fulfillment/completion brought about by Christianity'; case of islam or any anti-Christianity worldview

    'slavery as something ultimately unnatural for humans, as something forced upon humans by humans by consequence of their wicked hearts' and is to be ultimately eradicated, where the original state is restored and fulfilled' = OT or OT prophets and their awaiting for Christ or God's promised direct and ultimate resolution to humanity's fallen state

    since you concede that the slavery you currently seem to be condemning (in the case of libya) has been abolished (at least in principle) from the principles of mankind (being acknowledged and condemned officially/internationally/universally), it is well established that this abolition -was- historically, and -is- logically, based on premises that are mainly Christian and Christianity-enabling in nature. in order to disprove that, you will need to either A) 1) come up with an alternative/fictionalized history in which such slavery was historically coherently/definitively abolished (in principle) by non-Christians, relying on non or anti Christian premises, and to 2) successfully demonstrate how these supposed premises could (coherently/definitively) oppose slavery at all, or B) successfully demonstrate that the pro-slavery views/interpretations (including and especially the apparently christian ones) can be validly/coherently rooted in or supported by Christianity (in and by its foundation/essence, in and by that without which there'd be no Christianity) as opposed to them being coherently opposed by it
    So how did get to this conclusion that Christianity was always against slavery and how come nothing is mentioned against slavery itself in the NT?

    If the "abolition" of slavery was truly based on premises that are mainly Christian as you claim.. then what are these premises? did Christianity address slavery directly? and how come for two millennia Christianity didn't have any problem with it and even adopted roman laws that were even harsher than the OT when it came to slavery and how to treat them!

    How come the Catholic Church did not correct its teaching on the moral legitimacy of slavery until 1965?
    How come after the so called "abolition of slavery" racism continued against brown people and they were lynched and simply had no rights whatsoever!
    Ye3ni if that "abolition of slavery" was based on the Christian Love then how come the hatred continued to this day?

    Many things led to so called "abolition of slavery" 1. Political, 2. Economical, 3. The need of slaves decreased 4. Slave revolts.

    Haiti slave revolt is one great example, or the Male revolt in Brazil which was basically Muslim slave revolt.
    Uthman Dan Fodio was another great Muslim leader who fought against slavery!

    Just imaging if the Atlantic slave trade had continued for a longer time.. it would have meant losing control over lots of lands maybe and eventually more revolts and not being able to contain them as good as they managed to do!


    Now Islam's social reforms 1400 years ago truly revolutionised the world in so many ways in which nobody can deny today:
    [article]the Qur'anic institution had some unique new features.[18] According to Jonathan Brockopp, professor of History and Religious Studies, the idea of using alms for the manumission of slaves appears to be unique to the Qur'an (assuming the traditional interpretation of verses [Quran 2:177] and [Quran 9:60]). Similarly, the practice of freeing slaves in atonement for certain sins appears to be introduced by the Qur'an.[18] Brockopp adds that: "Other cultures limit a master's right to harm a slave but few exhort masters to treat their slaves kindly, and the placement of slaves in the same category as other weak members of society who deserve protection is unknown outside the Qur'an. The unique contribution of the Qur'an, then, is to be found in its emphasis on the place of slaves in society and society's responsibility toward the slave, perhaps the most progressive legislation on slavery in its time."[18][/article]

    Actually the goal of Islam is to reduce slavery and the harm caused by slavery and this can be seen in both the Quran and Hadith over and over!

    Take these hadith as ex.

    Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and set the captives free. Sahih Bukhari 5058
    • He who slaps his slave or beats him, there is no expiation for this but to free him. (Muslim)
    • Zadhan reported that Ibn Umar called his slave and he found the marks (of beating) upon his back. He said to him: I have caused you pain. He said: No. But he (Ibn Umar) said: You are free. He then took hold of something from the earth and said: There is no reward for me even to the weight equal to it. I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who beats a slave without cognizable offence of his or slaps him, then expiation for it is that he should set him free. (Translation of Sahih Muslim, The Book of Oaths (Kitab Al-Aiman), Book 015, Number 4079)



    Muslim pious leaders were for freeing slaves all the times.. a teaching they took from the Quran and the prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).

    ‘A’ishah freed 69, and she lived for that number of years, and Abu Bakr freed many, and al-‘Abbas freed 70 slaves. Al-Hakim narrated it. ‘Uthman freed twenty when he was besieged, and Hakim ibn Hizam freed a hundred loading them with silver, and ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Umar freed a thousand, and he performed a thousand ‘umrahs, and he performed sixty Hajjs, and he kept 1000 horses for [fighting] in the path of Allah, and Dhu l-Kala‘ al-Himyari freed 8000 slaves in one day, and ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf freed 30,000 people. See: Fath al-‘Allam Sharh Bulugh al-Maram, Kitab al-‘Itq (2:332)


    Also in the Muslim world it was very common for the slaves to reach high status which wasn't a usual thing to happen elsewhere.. here is a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte:

    “The slave inherits his master's property and marries his daughter. The majority of the Pashas had been slaves. Many of the grand viziers, all the Mamelukes, Ali Ben Mourad Beg, had been slaves. They began their lives by performing the most menial services in the houses of their masters and were subsequently raised in status for their merit or by favour. In the West, on the contrary, the slave has always been below the position of the domestic servants; he occupies the lowest rug. The Romans emancipated their slaves, but the emancipated were never considered as equal to the free-born. The ideas of the East and West are so different that it took a long time to make the Egyptians understand that all the army was not composed of slaves belonging to the Sultan al-Kabir.”


    I honestly cant give it all its full justice by writing few words about this there is so much more to say..
    Islam contributed on all fields to the world and I wouldn't deny this for Christianity as well and other religion.

    But indeed Islam played the greatest role not only on this aspect but on all aspects of life!

    Now yes there are also many bad things that Arabs did and they were also part of cruel and un-Islamic slave trade which in noway a true Muslim can defend!
     
    O Brother

    O Brother

    Legendary Member
    @Indie @Dark Angel @eile here is something you can read if you are truly into this subject!

    MUHAMMAD THE ABOLITIONIST:
    SLAVERY IN THE QUR'AN

    by Adam Watson (2002)

    AUTHOR'S NOTE
    The Holy Book of Islam has been given various English spellings over the years. I have chosen to use Qur'an. Scholars have also used Quran or Koran. When they have done so in quotes I have used for my essay (or in the titles of their works I am quoting), I have retained their particular spelling so as not to alter their original intent. Likewise, and more importantly, there is an unfortunate male chauvinism pervasive in some of these scholars' translations of the Qur'an, or in their comments; "Allah" and "humanity" as Male and men, respectively. (All but one of the scholars cited in my essay are male.) Although I try to be gender-neutral when using either concept, I retain their exact wording as given.

    All verses quoted from The Qur'an are from Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation, unless otherwise noted (see Works Cited).


    ESSAY

    The existence of slavery is an ancient condition. It existed long before the Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad, starting in 610 C.E. What is interesting is comparing the depiction of slavery in the Qur'an to the Old and New Testament. In these older Jewish and Christian holy texts, a specific plan to eliminate the human bondage of our temporal present is never discussed. The Qur'an, on the other hand, not only recognized the immorality of slavery in seventh century Arabia, but sought to end it. The plan to do so is both implicit and explicit. To recognize this is to respect the Islamic attempt, in the name of Allah, to destroy an evil custom nearly thirteen centuries before America would legally and politically do the same.

    The Qur'an is a pragmatic book. It recognizes that a negative institution that is deeply part of Arabic culture could not be eliminated instantly, with a single surah: "Slavery was widely prevalent in Arabia at the time of the advent of Islam, and the Arab economy was based on it" (Hassan 374). Instead, repetition of thoughts is often used that either collectively make God's plan apparent, or build from criticism to condemnation. An example of the latter is how the Qur'an gradually forbids the consumption of intoxicating substances:

    They ask you concerning wine . . . Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit." (2:219)

    O you who believe! do not approach prayers with a mind befogged, until you can understand all that you say . . . (4:43)

    O you who believe! intoxicants . . . are an abomination, - of Satan's handiwork: eschew such (abomination), that you may prosper. Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants . . . and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will you not then abstain? (5:90-91)



    The Qur'an is always aware of humanity's resistance to change. Fiery pronouncements may be more dramatic and gain immediate results, but water wisdom seems to be the path of Allah (rivers and streams are persistent images in the Qur'an); the Muslim has old habits and prejudices washed and eroded away, while simultaneously getting cleansed and purified. Extending this water metaphor, we can see how Islam will end slavery: with subtle trickles of revelation and rules that only become an unstoppable river when seen in context as a whole.

    First, we will examine Qur'anic passages that specifically describe releasing slaves:

    It is not righteousness that you turn your faces toward East or West; but it is righteousness . . . to spend of your substance . . . for the ransom of slaves. (2:177)

    Never should a Believer kill a Believer; but (if it so happens) by mistake, (compensation is due): if one (so) kills a Believer, it is ordained that he should free a believing slave, and pay compensation to the deceased's family . . . For those who find this beyond their means, (is prescribed) a fast for two months running: by way of repentance to Allah. (4:92)

    Allah will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons . . . or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. If that is beyond your means, fast for three days. (5:89)

    Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); . . . for those in bondage and in debt . . . (9:60)

    But for those who divorce their wives . . . then wish to go back on the words they uttered, - (it is ordained that such a one) should free a slave before they touch each other: this you are admonished to perform . . . And if any has not (the wherewithal), he should fast for two months consecutively before they touch each other. But if any is unable to do so, he should feed sixty indigent ones. (58:3-4)

    Verily We have created Man into toil and struggle. . . . And what will explain to you the path that is steep? - (It is:) freeing the bondman . . . (90:4-13)


    There are several important facts to glean from these verses. First, freeing slaves is shown as clearly an easier choice of penance, whether in expenditure of money or physical effort, when compared to fasting (from three days to two months) or feeding or clothing the poor (from ten to sixty people). Therefore, freeing slaves seems to be the choice that Allah prefers Muslims to take, since the All-Powerful always desires Muslims to avoid faith-tasks that overburden them, whenever possible. This also shows the importance of ending slavery for Muslims by determining the equivalence of freeing a slave with seemingly the more difficult tasks (part of Surah 90's "steep path") of fasting, or feeding and clothing many of the poor. Indeed, oneslave is equal to days or months of fasting, or feeding/clothing ten or sixty needy persons. The Qur'an's statistical analysis of slaves is important to note. Another example of this is the punishment of female slaves if they are found guilty of promiscuousness: "if they fall into shame, their punishment is half that of free women" (4:25). "In making such a distinction," Riffat Hassan writes, "the Qur'an while upholding high moral standards . . . reflects God's compassion for women slaves who were socially disadvantaged" (373-374). In quantitative logic, Allah constantly and consistently shows a preference of freeing slaves over other penances, even giving slaves more compassion than free Muslims.

    Secondly, as 2:177 and 9:60 shows, Islamic society is directed to create a permanent fund for freeing those in bondage. This is an example of the Qur'an's pragmatism. These particular verses do not argue if people should not be slaves on principle. Instead, the Qur'an talks to the Muslims that consider slaves property; and, like any assets that are "lost," want compensation for freeing them. Very well, you can almost hear the Qur'an say, here is your money, if you need a reason to free them. But, it would be better if you freed them without compensation, if you only knew. Finally, putting the above verses in context with the rest of the Qur'an is important. Nowhere can you find verses that prescribe slavery as punishment, that creates slaves. The freeing of slaves even includes those gained in war with the enemy, Muslim and non-Muslim alike (Maudoodi 187). In fact, by freeing POWs, the elimination of slavery was unavoidable, since "[t]he major source of slaves - men and women - was prisoners of war" (G.A. Parwez, qtd. in Hassan 375). Allah's mathematical intent is clear. By having rules for reducing the amount of slaves instead of rules adding more to the total, the phasing out of human bondage will inevitably occur.

    Other verses address the treatment of slaves. "The believers must (eventually) win through, - Those who . . . abstain from sex, except those joined to them in the marriage bond" (23:1-6) is an indictment against sex with slaves. "When slavery existed in early Islam and the master had sexual rights over his slaves," Fathi Osman writes, "Islam, as part of its plan to gradually end slavery, commanded that a sexual relation with a slave was lawful only through marriage" (840, my italics). "[T]hey may wed [believers] from among those whom your right hands possess," the Qur'an tells us (4:25); it also implores us to "Marry those among you who are single, or the virtuous ones among your slaves, male or female" (24:32). A slave is equally fit for marriage as a freeperson, the beginning of a process that asks: if slaves and freepersons are equal for marriage, why are they not therefore equal in other ways? The condemnation of forcing slaves to have sex with their masters (or others) is also stressed: "[D]o not force your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity" (24:33).

    Earlier in the same verse indicated above, the Qur'an gives more details on the emancipation of slaves. Muslims should not only grant them freedom, but help them financially so that they may begin their new life with dignity:

    And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if you know any good in them; yes, give them something yourselves out of the means which Allah has given to you. (24:33)

    "According to the Quran, and the juristic inference from it," Osman writes, "helping the slave to become free is an individual and social obligation" (851). The end of the verse is a warning to the person who believes what he or she owns - whether it is personal riches, or slaves - as belonging "only" to him or her, accomplished without outside help: "The Quran here reminds the individual and the society that the wealth they have belongs initially to God . . . and any individual or society is only entrusted by God with the wealth and has to deal with it . . . according to God's guidance" (Osman 852). Ownership becomes a temporary privilege, not a permanent right:

    Allah has bestowed His gifts of sustenance more freely on some of you than on others: those more favored are not going to throw back their gifts to those whom their right hands possess, so as to be equal in that respect. Will they then deny the favors of Allah? (16:71, my italics)

    The Qur'an's equalization of slave and master works to further eliminate any distinction between the two in the eyes of Allah:

    [W]ith regard to those whom "one's right hand possess," an authentic tradition of the Prophet indicates that they are merely brothers whom God has placed under one's authority and they should all eat the same food and be equally clothed. Morever, they should not be required to do what would over-burden them, otherwise the one who has them himself/herself should help in such a case. (Osman 781-782)

    M. Umaruddin's description of Muhammad echoes the above:

    He led an absolutely frugal and temperate life, subsisting on the simplest fare, consisting mainly of dates and barley. He patched his own sandals and repaired his own clothes. He meted out equal treatment to all, free or slave. . . . No Muslim, says the Prophet, is a believer unless he desires for his brethren what he desires for himself. This injunction is one of the corner-stones of the moral order of Islam. (45, my italics)

    This "corner-stone" of Islam, this equality for all men and women, is perhaps the main teaching of the Qur'an. In a verse quoted earlier that allowed Muslims to marry a slave, it continues: "Allah has full knowledge about your Faith. You are one from another" (4:25). (Osman translates the last sentence as "each one of you is (equally) a part of the same wholeness" [849].) In an earlier verse, this phrase is repeated; it is the work of the Believer that will be judged, not whether the work comes from master or slave, man or woman:

    [Allah tells them:] "Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female: you are members, one of another . . . verily, I will blot out from them their iniquities, and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing beneath; - a reward from the Presence of Allah, and from His Presence is the best of rewards." (3:195)

    Of the equality of humanity, Muhammad could not be more explicit:

    The sermon of the Holy Prophet on the occasion of his last pilgrimage declares: "All men are like brothers: the black has no superiority over the red, nor has an Arab any preferential claim on a non-Arab. All are sons of Adam and Adam was made out of clay." This was in fact a charter of equality and freedom for the enslaved people of the world from whom loyalties of diverse types were expected. The doctrine of tauhid (Unity of God) broke all these chains. (Dar 19)

    [Muhammad] releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honor him, help him, and follow the Light which is sent down with him, - it is they who will prosper. (7:157)



    The removal of the slave's chains, the slave's burdens; indeed, the removal of the yoke of slavery itself - this is a crucial gift from Allah, made clear by the Prophet.

    Commentators on the Qur'an further elaborate Muhammad's intention. Osman mentions al-Nasafi (d. 1142 C.E.), and the following long excerpts are invaluable in illuminating Allah's attitude toward slavery:

    [al-Nasafi] points out that freeing a human being from bondage is the only way to make up for killing another human being, as freeing a person is comparable to giving life in its true meaning to a person deprived of it (commentary on 4:92). . . . Considering bondage equal to death, al-Nasafi states that slavery is related to a society dominated by the stubborn concealing of the truth, "kufr", and the injustice of such a society made its life in its real sense mere death . . . Thus, Muslims inherited slavery from previous societies, and Islam has strongly indicated that its principles are against it, and has presented a comprehensive plan to liquidate it. (Osman 944)

    [al-Nasafi says] that freeing a slave means actually bringing him/her back to life after the allegorical destruction of the human personality caused by slavery, and this is the only possible way to make up for killing an innocent person, since it is impossible to bring the victim back to life. This can be supported by the Quranic expression for freeing a slave which is "freeing or releasing the neck" . . . and it implies that slavery is a chain which strangles the essential human merit of free will. . . . slavery was not accepted except as a temporary transitional solution that had to be terminated by the collective efforts of the people . . . [Also, the] Quran did not initiate slavery or determine it as one of its laws . . . [In fact, the] Prophet taught that even the word "slave" should not be used, but one could only say "my boy" or "my girl" . . . (Osman 989)


    Muhammad wanted even the word "slave" eliminated, and we should have affection for them as we would a member of our family. After all, we are all equal members in the family of Allah. The word "master" should only be used for the Creator: "God Himself is the sole master, ruler, director, and administrator of His creation" (Maudoodi 191). This idea extends into politics. Humanity has and needs leaders, but they only lead their people; the leader does not own the people, and Allah forbids an unjust dictator. While Abu Ala Maudoodi may claim the Qur'an ultimately allows slavery, his own description of a proper Islamic State show how the master-slave relationship is untenable: "[A]n Islamic Caliphate cannot claim an absolute or unlimited obedience from the people. They are bound to obey it only so far as it exercises its powers in accordance with the divine Law . . . There can be neither obedience nor co-operation in sin and aggression" (194). Certainly one of the definitions of "slave" is a person forced against their will to serve another, unable to quit their servitude with their own volition without risking death or punishment. Traditionally, slaves were forced to do services that Muslims would consider sinful: sexual acts with someone other than their spouse, work without fair reward, and other humiliations that destroy their dignity. For these reasons, as Maudoodi points out above, Allah supports their disobedience, their refusal to be slaves. Conversely, the masters themselves are guilty of actions not congruent with Allah's will. How can these so-called masters gain the obedience of their slaves? Ultimately, only with coercion and aggression -- two actions forbidden by Allah. Slaves also increase the chance of sin-doing for the Believers; they provide an opportunity to have sex outside of marriage, and create idleness by doing work he or she could do himself/herself. It is clear that slavery hurts the master as well as the slave.


    Furthermore, Maudoodi notes:

    [T]he relations between State and individual are so balanced in this system that neither the State has been vested with absolute authority reducing individuals to virtual slavery, nor has individual freedom been allowed to turn itself into licence threatening the interest of society. (198, my italics)

    What is true politically between the government and its citizens is also true between "master" and "slave"; if the State cannot impose "virtual slavery" on its citizens, how could Allah allow one person to impose actual slavery onto another? As Hassan says, "A Book which does not give a king or prophet the right to command absolute obedience from another human being could not possibly sanction slavery in any sense of the word" (375).

    We must end our discussion of slavery with two final questions. First, if Allah did not want slavery to exist, why not simply forbid it, as the eating of swine and the consumption of intoxicants are forbidden? We must first remember this: "Because the Qur'an does not state explicitly that slavery is abolished, it does not follow that it is to be continued, particularly in view of the numerous ways in which the Qur'an seeks to eliminate this absolute evil" (Hassan 375). Still, it is true that some things in Arabic society, such as alcohol, were considered so destructive that an outright, unconditional, and immediate ban was necessary. (Even then, as pointed out in the beginning, intoxicants were gradually banned over the course of three different surahs.) Slavery, however, was more difficult to eliminate. As noted earlier, it was an integral part of the Arab economy. In order to successfully destroy the weed of human bondage, the roots had to be carefully examined, discovered to be harmful, then slowly pulled out. The culture of slavery was so ancient a condition it was considered normal, intractable, inevitable; thus, the Qur'an had to force Muslims to first rationally conceive that slavery was evil, so that it would eventually be eliminated: "Through the use of their own intellect they will determine their responses - of course, in the light of the broad principles laid down by the Qur'an - to the changing socio-moral situations that we are bound to come across in life" (Khaliq 112-113). The dynamic nature of the Qur'an laid the groundwork for Muslims to examine the social and moral evils of human ownership. An Islamic State that understands the universal principle of equality also understands the particular principle of why slavery cannot exist in a just society.

    The second question is more philosophical; although it may sound cynical and antagonistic, it is a valid point to logically address. If one accepts that Allah wants slavery eliminated among the Believers, does not the submissive nature of Islam itself create slaves of its Believers? More to the point, does Allah wish us to be slaves of God? I turn to Toshihiko Izutsu's translation of two Qur'an verses (207):

    Verily, We have written in the Psalms, after the remembrance, "The earth shall my [righteous] slaves inherit." (21:105, my italics)

    [Solomon] said, "My Lord, urge me to be thankful for Thy favor wherewith Thou hast favored me and my parents, and to do good work that shall be pleasing unto Thee; do Thou admit me by Thy mercy in the number of Thy [righteous] slaves." (27:19, my italics)


    Yusuf Ali's translation of the same verses is similar, but he pointedly chooses to use the term "servants" instead of "slaves." Is this simple mistranslation? I could argue it is, since the obvious negativity associated with the word "slave" seems not intended here; for further proof, we can remember Muhammad's own objection to using the word "slave," as noted earlier. Yet I can strongly show the difference goes beyond mere semantics. Ethically speaking, the relationships of Allah-Believer and master-slave are shown in the Qur'an to be completely different. There are two core differences.

    The first is: Allah warns, the slavemaster threatens; furthermore, Islam is a system of reward, slavery a system of punishment. It is true that both Allah and slavemaster cause destruction, and fear is an important component of both Believer and slave. The slavemaster's destructiveness and the slave's fear of him or her is obvious, so we will instead concentrate on Allah. The most obvious, visceral, and repeated examples of Allah's destructiveness is the annihilation of several ancient towns for immoral and unjust behavior. However, the Qur'an clearly shows these acts are carried out in the name of justice, and only done after Allah has given repeated warnings to the townspeople to repent. The townspeople's transgressions are not as trivial as refusal to work or give sexual favors. Very well, you may say; but does the slavemaster not "warn" the slave of the consequences of not following his or her commands; what is the difference between a slavemaster's "threats" and God's "warnings"? And if one must obey the law, is it not justice for the slave to follow the word of the slavemaster? To the latter, I repeat the assertion that if the law is unjust to Allah, disobedience is not only allowed, but encouraged. To the former, I answer: the difference is in selfness and definition of terms. Allah is unselfish because the Believers are warned to save themselves from eternal damnation, for their own sake ("if they only knew," the Qur'an repeats over and over!); whereas a slavemaster is selfish because he or she threatens the slave to follow his or her bidding (actions that do nothing positive for the slave) for the sake of the slavemaster. If the difference between warning and threatening is not yet clear, here is a metaphor. Consider a driver, driving at night down an unfamiliar road while talking on a mobile phone with an operator. The driver casually mentions a bridge over a ravine she is beginning to cross; the operator knows this bridge recently collapsed in the middle, and the driver will certainly plunge to her death. The operator does not personally know this driver; what personal value does the driver have to her? None, but because the operator cares, she must do the unselfish act of saving the woman's life. When she shouts for the woman to hit her brakes, is she threatening her? Or warning her?

    The difference between Allah and slavemaster lead to two different systems. Islam is a system of reward. The Qur'an makes clear, in several passages, that bad deeds are met by Allah with equal punishment, no more, no less; however, good deeds are rewarded with interest: "Allah is never unjust in the least degree: if there is any good (done), He doubles it" (4:40); "But those who have earned evil will have a reward of like evil" (10:27). Although bad deeds have negative consequences, we can see the emphasis is on rewarding good deeds. On the other hand, slavery is a system of punishment; the definition of "good" and "bad" is perverted. To the slavemaster, obedience is the most important "virtue." It is imperative for slavery's existence that rebellion is not only quelled but discouraged to occur in the first place. If a slave does the good deed of obeying, he or she is only allowed to live without damage or harm; as farmers do for their horses, so will slavemasters give their slaves food and shelter. If a slaves does the bad deed of disobeying, he or she is punished above and beyond the necessary means, for the end is not merely retribution, but as a warning (to this slave and all slaves) never to disobey. The emphasis clearly is on punishing bad deeds. A slavemaster more concerned with being humane, with rewarding slaves abundant luxuries, will only undermine his or her authority, and appear "soft"; the slavemaster only cares what slaves can do for him or her, and certainly cannot truly love them.

    Allah does love humanity, as any Creator does its Creation, as any parent would a child. This brings us to the second core difference between Allah-Believers and slavemaster-slaves; fear is in both relationships, yet the fear of the former is one of deserved awe and respect, the latter is one that only leads to hatred and contempt. The divine Allah created all of humanity; humans only created slavery, but not the slave. We should therefore honor not slavemasters, but our parents and our Parent. Of course, human parents do not own their children as slavemasters own slaves, but there is an undeniable and unshakable bond between parent and child. The Qur'an only asks for Believers to recognize this bond and give thanks, as they should give thanks to the Ultimate Creator:

    We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: in pain did his mother bear him, and in paid did she give him birth. . . . . At length, when he reaches the age of full strength and attains forty years, he says, "O my Lord! Grant me that I may be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed on me, and upon both my parents, and that I may work righteousness such as You may approve; and be gracious to me in respect of my offspring. Truly have I turned to You and truly do I bow (to You) in Islam. (46:15)

    Serve Allah . . . and do good - to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the Companion by your side, the way-farer (you meet), and what your right hands possess [i.e. your slaves] . . . (4:36)



    By teaching us to be grateful for being created, to "do good" to both our parents and our "slaves," the Qur'an once again emphasizes the equality of Allah's creation. A Creator so concerned with equality deserves respect.

    The Prophet Muhammad did not believe that only the slaves of a particular race, religion, or ethnicity should be freed; instead, he desired to break the chains of slaves all over the world. The fact that the Qur'an did so with a specificity unparalleled in a monotheistic holy text makes it one of the greatest of anti-slavery books, and Muhammad himself one of the greatest of abolitionists. Peace be upon him.


    Special thanks to Dr. Riffat Hassan; without her class or instruction, my greater awareness of Islam would not have occurred, and this paper would not have been written.

    WORKS CITED

    Dar, Bashir Ahmad. Qur'anic Ethics. 4th ed. Lahore, Pakistan: Institute of Islamic Culture, 1993.
    Hassan, Riffat. "Rights of Women Within Islamic Communities." Religious Human Rights in Global Perspective. Eds. J. Witte Jr. and J.D. van der Vyver. Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 1996. 361-386.
    Izutsu, Toshihiko. The Structure of the Ethical Terms In the Koran: A Study in Semantics. Volume II. Republished in Louisville, Kentucky: Gray's College Bookstore, 2002.
    Khaliq, Abdul. Qur'an Studies: A Philosophical Exposition. Lahore, Pakistan: Victory Book Bank Lahore, 1990.
    Maudoodi, Abul Ala. "Economic and Political Teachings of the Qur'an." A History of Muslim Philosophy. Volume One. Ed. M.M. Sharif. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1963. 178-198.
    Osman, Fathi. Concepts of the Quran: A Topical Reading. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: MVI Publication, 1999.
    Qur'an, The. 6th ed. Trans. Abdullah Yusuf Ali. Elmhurst, New York: Tahrike Tarsite Qur'an, Inc., 2001.
    Umaruddin, M. The Ethical Philosophy of Al-Ghazzali. Lahore, Pakistan: Institute of Islamic Culture, 1988.

    Muhammad the Abolitionist: Slavery in the Qur'an
     
    Last edited:
    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    I can tell you as well.. that you are far fetched from the perspective of the oneness of GOD and what monotheism is supposed to be when you say stuff like this!

    Anyway so you believe the OT is somehow Evil today but wasn't before Jesus?
    You are not giving any good excuse here!

    Now I know this is not easy to answer because you don't have an answer but you have to think about it as well!
    there is plenty of difference between not being able to comprehend God through our limited minds and between realizing that we have morally surpassed God.

    you are throwing in all kinds of topics into the mix, all of which are none issues in Christianity. the oneness of God is an integral part of our faith; Jesus Himself explained the difference between what God wants and what the people were told, "you have heard it said ... but i tell you..." . so none of these are issues that require deep thinking. you only believe they are so because you are starting from wrong premises.

    I do contemplate about many things in the Quran and try to understand the Quran in the best possible way I question what mulk al yameen means.. I ask whether these wordings in specific "Mulk alyameen" were even used before the Quran and why not saying الاماء for example there are simply lots of questions here!
    mulk el yameen is self explanatory and refers to what you have won through the hand that yields the sword.

    Again if we compare the bible both the OT and NT then clearly the Quran speaks again and again about freeing slaves!
    Meanwhile in the bible and even in NT there is not a single direct verse that speaks about freeing the slaves.

    Not even one!
    you have made these statements without having done your homework, you are simply making these arguments because you lack the relevant knowledge.
    the reality is that the laws of slavery from the old testament are quite more lenient towards the slaves and much more detailed than what is stated in the quran. in general though, both the quran and the old testament approach the subjects similarly, and once again it seems that this part of the islamic scripture is also inspired by the jewish laws of the letter.

    it is also written that masters are forbidden to rape their female slaves, and in case any master inflicted any bodily harm on any slave then the slave should go free. if a master takes the life of a slave, then he should pay for it with his own, that jewish slaves be let free every 6 years, etc..

    15 “You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has [a]escaped from his master to you. 16 He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him.

    39 ‘If a [a]countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service. 40 He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee. 41 He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers. 42 For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale. 43 You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.

    26 “If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. 27 And if he [a]knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.

    2 “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.​


    so in short there are plenty of similarities between the quran and the old testament as far as the laws of slavery and mulk el yameen

    You yourself just brought me a verse which got nothing to do with freeing slaves in particular in a worldly matter!

    You know why ? because there isn't any!
    i have brought to you a verse that would end all form of slavery and abuse, along with many other man made concepts. when the Lord Himself washes the feet of his disciples, announcing that He has come to serve not so that He would be served.

    i have also provided you with a quote from the NT that in front of God all people are equal, men, women, slaves, free, jews, and people of other religions.

    The Quran didn't prohibited slavery like alcohol and other things but I believe it want us to go in the direction of ending slavery or at least contain it and be against it. ye3ni 1400 years who was even talking about freeing their slaves and giving them any kind of rights that leads them to take their freedom?
    you only make these statements because you do lack the knowledge about other faiths. the rights of the slaves under the jewish law were much more in favor of the slaves than is stated in the quran. now as far as Christianity is concerned, the argument is by far more elaborate than what you are presenting, and it is completely on a different level of discussion especially in terms of freedom, truth and the theological link between them. unfortunately it is not something that we can both discuss as it requires a different approach and perception of the Creator and religion all together, hopefully though some day we may be able to have this discussion.


    I'm going to post something about this and I hope you will read it all! :)
    ....
    i have read the essay, and i can assure you it contains plenty of whitewashing even against the very verses of the quran (example: quran 16:71-76). we do not have to look that far in that concern though, the actual argument is settled by a couple of questions. did the prophet own slaves? yes. did the prophet sell slaves? yes. did the prophet buy slaves? yes. did the prophet enslave people at war? yes. does the quran consider slaves to be equal to free men in front of God? no.

    it is normal though that muslims would romanticize the prophet in such essays, but that usually strips objectivity away.
     
    Indie

    Indie

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    @Indie @Dark Angel @eile here is something you can read if you are truly into this subject!

    MUHAMMAD THE ABOLITIONIST:
    SLAVERY IN THE QUR'AN

    by Adam Watson (2002)

    AUTHOR'S NOTE
    The Holy Book of Islam has been given various English spellings over the years. I have chosen to use Qur'an. Scholars have also used Quran or Koran. When they have done so in quotes I have used for my essay (or in the titles of their works I am quoting), I have retained their particular spelling so as not to alter their original intent. Likewise, and more importantly, there is an unfortunate male chauvinism pervasive in some of these scholars' translations of the Qur'an, or in their comments; "Allah" and "humanity" as Male and men, respectively. (All but one of the scholars cited in my essay are male.) Although I try to be gender-neutral when using either concept, I retain their exact wording as given.

    All verses quoted from The Qur'an are from Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation, unless otherwise noted (see Works Cited).


    ESSAY

    The existence of slavery is an ancient condition. It existed long before the Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad, starting in 610 C.E. What is interesting is comparing the depiction of slavery in the Qur'an to the Old and New Testament. In these older Jewish and Christian holy texts, a specific plan to eliminate the human bondage of our temporal present is never discussed. The Qur'an, on the other hand, not only recognized the immorality of slavery in seventh century Arabia, but sought to end it. The plan to do so is both implicit and explicit. To recognize this is to respect the Islamic attempt, in the name of Allah, to destroy an evil custom nearly thirteen centuries before America would legally and politically do the same.

    The Qur'an is a pragmatic book. It recognizes that a negative institution that is deeply part of Arabic culture could not be eliminated instantly, with a single surah: "Slavery was widely prevalent in Arabia at the time of the advent of Islam, and the Arab economy was based on it" (Hassan 374). Instead, repetition of thoughts is often used that either collectively make God's plan apparent, or build from criticism to condemnation. An example of the latter is how the Qur'an gradually forbids the consumption of intoxicating substances:

    They ask you concerning wine . . . Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit." (2:219)

    O you who believe! do not approach prayers with a mind befogged, until you can understand all that you say . . . (4:43)

    O you who believe! intoxicants . . . are an abomination, - of Satan's handiwork: eschew such (abomination), that you may prosper. Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants . . . and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will you not then abstain? (5:90-91)



    The Qur'an is always aware of humanity's resistance to change. Fiery pronouncements may be more dramatic and gain immediate results, but water wisdom seems to be the path of Allah (rivers and streams are persistent images in the Qur'an); the Muslim has old habits and prejudices washed and eroded away, while simultaneously getting cleansed and purified. Extending this water metaphor, we can see how Islam will end slavery: with subtle trickles of revelation and rules that only become an unstoppable river when seen in context as a whole.

    First, we will examine Qur'anic passages that specifically describe releasing slaves:

    It is not righteousness that you turn your faces toward East or West; but it is righteousness . . . to spend of your substance . . . for the ransom of slaves. (2:177)

    Never should a Believer kill a Believer; but (if it so happens) by mistake, (compensation is due): if one (so) kills a Believer, it is ordained that he should free a believing slave, and pay compensation to the deceased's family . . . For those who find this beyond their means, (is prescribed) a fast for two months running: by way of repentance to Allah. (4:92)

    Allah will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons . . . or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. If that is beyond your means, fast for three days. (5:89)

    Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); . . . for those in bondage and in debt . . . (9:60)

    But for those who divorce their wives . . . then wish to go back on the words they uttered, - (it is ordained that such a one) should free a slave before they touch each other: this you are admonished to perform . . . And if any has not (the wherewithal), he should fast for two months consecutively before they touch each other. But if any is unable to do so, he should feed sixty indigent ones. (58:3-4)

    Verily We have created Man into toil and struggle. . . . And what will explain to you the path that is steep? - (It is:) freeing the bondman . . . (90:4-13)


    There are several important facts to glean from these verses. First, freeing slaves is shown as clearly an easier choice of penance, whether in expenditure of money or physical effort, when compared to fasting (from three days to two months) or feeding or clothing the poor (from ten to sixty people). Therefore, freeing slaves seems to be the choice that Allah prefers Muslims to take, since the All-Powerful always desires Muslims to avoid faith-tasks that overburden them, whenever possible. This also shows the importance of ending slavery for Muslims by determining the equivalence of freeing a slave with seemingly the more difficult tasks (part of Surah 90's "steep path") of fasting, or feeding and clothing many of the poor. Indeed, oneslave is equal to days or months of fasting, or feeding/clothing ten or sixty needy persons. The Qur'an's statistical analysis of slaves is important to note. Another example of this is the punishment of female slaves if they are found guilty of promiscuousness: "if they fall into shame, their punishment is half that of free women" (4:25). "In making such a distinction," Riffat Hassan writes, "the Qur'an while upholding high moral standards . . . reflects God's compassion for women slaves who were socially disadvantaged" (373-374). In quantitative logic, Allah constantly and consistently shows a preference of freeing slaves over other penances, even giving slaves more compassion than free Muslims.

    Secondly, as 2:177 and 9:60 shows, Islamic society is directed to create a permanent fund for freeing those in bondage. This is an example of the Qur'an's pragmatism. These particular verses do not argue if people should not be slaves on principle. Instead, the Qur'an talks to the Muslims that consider slaves property; and, like any assets that are "lost," want compensation for freeing them. Very well, you can almost hear the Qur'an say, here is your money, if you need a reason to free them. But, it would be better if you freed them without compensation, if you only knew. Finally, putting the above verses in context with the rest of the Qur'an is important. Nowhere can you find verses that prescribe slavery as punishment, that creates slaves. The freeing of slaves even includes those gained in war with the enemy, Muslim and non-Muslim alike (Maudoodi 187). In fact, by freeing POWs, the elimination of slavery was unavoidable, since "[t]he major source of slaves - men and women - was prisoners of war" (G.A. Parwez, qtd. in Hassan 375). Allah's mathematical intent is clear. By having rules for reducing the amount of slaves instead of rules adding more to the total, the phasing out of human bondage will inevitably occur.

    Other verses address the treatment of slaves. "The believers must (eventually) win through, - Those who . . . abstain from sex, except those joined to them in the marriage bond" (23:1-6) is an indictment against sex with slaves. "When slavery existed in early Islam and the master had sexual rights over his slaves," Fathi Osman writes, "Islam, as part of its plan to gradually end slavery, commanded that a sexual relation with a slave was lawful only through marriage" (840, my italics). "[T]hey may wed [believers] from among those whom your right hands possess," the Qur'an tells us (4:25); it also implores us to "Marry those among you who are single, or the virtuous ones among your slaves, male or female" (24:32). A slave is equally fit for marriage as a freeperson, the beginning of a process that asks: if slaves and freepersons are equal for marriage, why are they not therefore equal in other ways? The condemnation of forcing slaves to have sex with their masters (or others) is also stressed: "[D]o not force your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity" (24:33).

    Earlier in the same verse indicated above, the Qur'an gives more details on the emancipation of slaves. Muslims should not only grant them freedom, but help them financially so that they may begin their new life with dignity:

    And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if you know any good in them; yes, give them something yourselves out of the means which Allah has given to you. (24:33)

    "According to the Quran, and the juristic inference from it," Osman writes, "helping the slave to become free is an individual and social obligation" (851). The end of the verse is a warning to the person who believes what he or she owns - whether it is personal riches, or slaves - as belonging "only" to him or her, accomplished without outside help: "The Quran here reminds the individual and the society that the wealth they have belongs initially to God . . . and any individual or society is only entrusted by God with the wealth and has to deal with it . . . according to God's guidance" (Osman 852). Ownership becomes a temporary privilege, not a permanent right:

    Allah has bestowed His gifts of sustenance more freely on some of you than on others: those more favored are not going to throw back their gifts to those whom their right hands possess, so as to be equal in that respect. Will they then deny the favors of Allah? (16:71, my italics)

    The Qur'an's equalization of slave and master works to further eliminate any distinction between the two in the eyes of Allah:

    [W]ith regard to those whom "one's right hand possess," an authentic tradition of the Prophet indicates that they are merely brothers whom God has placed under one's authority and they should all eat the same food and be equally clothed. Morever, they should not be required to do what would over-burden them, otherwise the one who has them himself/herself should help in such a case. (Osman 781-782)

    M. Umaruddin's description of Muhammad echoes the above:

    He led an absolutely frugal and temperate life, subsisting on the simplest fare, consisting mainly of dates and barley. He patched his own sandals and repaired his own clothes. He meted out equal treatment to all, free or slave. . . . No Muslim, says the Prophet, is a believer unless he desires for his brethren what he desires for himself. This injunction is one of the corner-stones of the moral order of Islam. (45, my italics)

    This "corner-stone" of Islam, this equality for all men and women, is perhaps the main teaching of the Qur'an. In a verse quoted earlier that allowed Muslims to marry a slave, it continues: "Allah has full knowledge about your Faith. You are one from another" (4:25). (Osman translates the last sentence as "each one of you is (equally) a part of the same wholeness" [849].) In an earlier verse, this phrase is repeated; it is the work of the Believer that will be judged, not whether the work comes from master or slave, man or woman:

    [Allah tells them:] "Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female: you are members, one of another . . . verily, I will blot out from them their iniquities, and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing beneath; - a reward from the Presence of Allah, and from His Presence is the best of rewards." (3:195)

    Of the equality of humanity, Muhammad could not be more explicit:

    The sermon of the Holy Prophet on the occasion of his last pilgrimage declares: "All men are like brothers: the black has no superiority over the red, nor has an Arab any preferential claim on a non-Arab. All are sons of Adam and Adam was made out of clay." This was in fact a charter of equality and freedom for the enslaved people of the world from whom loyalties of diverse types were expected. The doctrine of tauhid (Unity of God) broke all these chains. (Dar 19)

    [Muhammad] releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honor him, help him, and follow the Light which is sent down with him, - it is they who will prosper. (7:157)



    The removal of the slave's chains, the slave's burdens; indeed, the removal of the yoke of slavery itself - this is a crucial gift from Allah, made clear by the Prophet.

    Commentators on the Qur'an further elaborate Muhammad's intention. Osman mentions al-Nasafi (d. 1142 C.E.), and the following long excerpts are invaluable in illuminating Allah's attitude toward slavery:

    [al-Nasafi] points out that freeing a human being from bondage is the only way to make up for killing another human being, as freeing a person is comparable to giving life in its true meaning to a person deprived of it (commentary on 4:92). . . . Considering bondage equal to death, al-Nasafi states that slavery is related to a society dominated by the stubborn concealing of the truth, "kufr", and the injustice of such a society made its life in its real sense mere death . . . Thus, Muslims inherited slavery from previous societies, and Islam has strongly indicated that its principles are against it, and has presented a comprehensive plan to liquidate it. (Osman 944)

    [al-Nasafi says] that freeing a slave means actually bringing him/her back to life after the allegorical destruction of the human personality caused by slavery, and this is the only possible way to make up for killing an innocent person, since it is impossible to bring the victim back to life. This can be supported by the Quranic expression for freeing a slave which is "freeing or releasing the neck" . . . and it implies that slavery is a chain which strangles the essential human merit of free will. . . . slavery was not accepted except as a temporary transitional solution that had to be terminated by the collective efforts of the people . . . [Also, the] Quran did not initiate slavery or determine it as one of its laws . . . [In fact, the] Prophet taught that even the word "slave" should not be used, but one could only say "my boy" or "my girl" . . . (Osman 989)


    Muhammad wanted even the word "slave" eliminated, and we should have affection for them as we would a member of our family. After all, we are all equal members in the family of Allah. The word "master" should only be used for the Creator: "God Himself is the sole master, ruler, director, and administrator of His creation" (Maudoodi 191). This idea extends into politics. Humanity has and needs leaders, but they only lead their people; the leader does not own the people, and Allah forbids an unjust dictator. While Abu Ala Maudoodi may claim the Qur'an ultimately allows slavery, his own description of a proper Islamic State show how the master-slave relationship is untenable: "[A]n Islamic Caliphate cannot claim an absolute or unlimited obedience from the people. They are bound to obey it only so far as it exercises its powers in accordance with the divine Law . . . There can be neither obedience nor co-operation in sin and aggression" (194). Certainly one of the definitions of "slave" is a person forced against their will to serve another, unable to quit their servitude with their own volition without risking death or punishment. Traditionally, slaves were forced to do services that Muslims would consider sinful: sexual acts with someone other than their spouse, work without fair reward, and other humiliations that destroy their dignity. For these reasons, as Maudoodi points out above, Allah supports their disobedience, their refusal to be slaves. Conversely, the masters themselves are guilty of actions not congruent with Allah's will. How can these so-called masters gain the obedience of their slaves? Ultimately, only with coercion and aggression -- two actions forbidden by Allah. Slaves also increase the chance of sin-doing for the Believers; they provide an opportunity to have sex outside of marriage, and create idleness by doing work he or she could do himself/herself. It is clear that slavery hurts the master as well as the slave.


    Furthermore, Maudoodi notes:

    [T]he relations between State and individual are so balanced in this system that neither the State has been vested with absolute authority reducing individuals to virtual slavery, nor has individual freedom been allowed to turn itself into licence threatening the interest of society. (198, my italics)

    What is true politically between the government and its citizens is also true between "master" and "slave"; if the State cannot impose "virtual slavery" on its citizens, how could Allah allow one person to impose actual slavery onto another? As Hassan says, "A Book which does not give a king or prophet the right to command absolute obedience from another human being could not possibly sanction slavery in any sense of the word" (375).

    We must end our discussion of slavery with two final questions. First, if Allah did not want slavery to exist, why not simply forbid it, as the eating of swine and the consumption of intoxicants are forbidden? We must first remember this: "Because the Qur'an does not state explicitly that slavery is abolished, it does not follow that it is to be continued, particularly in view of the numerous ways in which the Qur'an seeks to eliminate this absolute evil" (Hassan 375). Still, it is true that some things in Arabic society, such as alcohol, were considered so destructive that an outright, unconditional, and immediate ban was necessary. (Even then, as pointed out in the beginning, intoxicants were gradually banned over the course of three different surahs.) Slavery, however, was more difficult to eliminate. As noted earlier, it was an integral part of the Arab economy. In order to successfully destroy the weed of human bondage, the roots had to be carefully examined, discovered to be harmful, then slowly pulled out. The culture of slavery was so ancient a condition it was considered normal, intractable, inevitable; thus, the Qur'an had to force Muslims to first rationally conceive that slavery was evil, so that it would eventually be eliminated: "Through the use of their own intellect they will determine their responses - of course, in the light of the broad principles laid down by the Qur'an - to the changing socio-moral situations that we are bound to come across in life" (Khaliq 112-113). The dynamic nature of the Qur'an laid the groundwork for Muslims to examine the social and moral evils of human ownership. An Islamic State that understands the universal principle of equality also understands the particular principle of why slavery cannot exist in a just society.

    The second question is more philosophical; although it may sound cynical and antagonistic, it is a valid point to logically address. If one accepts that Allah wants slavery eliminated among the Believers, does not the submissive nature of Islam itself create slaves of its Believers? More to the point, does Allah wish us to be slaves of God? I turn to Toshihiko Izutsu's translation of two Qur'an verses (207):

    Verily, We have written in the Psalms, after the remembrance, "The earth shall my [righteous] slaves inherit." (21:105, my italics)

    [Solomon] said, "My Lord, urge me to be thankful for Thy favor wherewith Thou hast favored me and my parents, and to do good work that shall be pleasing unto Thee; do Thou admit me by Thy mercy in the number of Thy [righteous] slaves." (27:19, my italics)


    Yusuf Ali's translation of the same verses is similar, but he pointedly chooses to use the term "servants" instead of "slaves." Is this simple mistranslation? I could argue it is, since the obvious negativity associated with the word "slave" seems not intended here; for further proof, we can remember Muhammad's own objection to using the word "slave," as noted earlier. Yet I can strongly show the difference goes beyond mere semantics. Ethically speaking, the relationships of Allah-Believer and master-slave are shown in the Qur'an to be completely different. There are two core differences.

    The first is: Allah warns, the slavemaster threatens; furthermore, Islam is a system of reward, slavery a system of punishment. It is true that both Allah and slavemaster cause destruction, and fear is an important component of both Believer and slave. The slavemaster's destructiveness and the slave's fear of him or her is obvious, so we will instead concentrate on Allah. The most obvious, visceral, and repeated examples of Allah's destructiveness is the annihilation of several ancient towns for immoral and unjust behavior. However, the Qur'an clearly shows these acts are carried out in the name of justice, and only done after Allah has given repeated warnings to the townspeople to repent. The townspeople's transgressions are not as trivial as refusal to work or give sexual favors. Very well, you may say; but does the slavemaster not "warn" the slave of the consequences of not following his or her commands; what is the difference between a slavemaster's "threats" and God's "warnings"? And if one must obey the law, is it not justice for the slave to follow the word of the slavemaster? To the latter, I repeat the assertion that if the law is unjust to Allah, disobedience is not only allowed, but encouraged. To the former, I answer: the difference is in selfness and definition of terms. Allah is unselfish because the Believers are warned to save themselves from eternal damnation, for their own sake ("if they only knew," the Qur'an repeats over and over!); whereas a slavemaster is selfish because he or she threatens the slave to follow his or her bidding (actions that do nothing positive for the slave) for the sake of the slavemaster. If the difference between warning and threatening is not yet clear, here is a metaphor. Consider a driver, driving at night down an unfamiliar road while talking on a mobile phone with an operator. The driver casually mentions a bridge over a ravine she is beginning to cross; the operator knows this bridge recently collapsed in the middle, and the driver will certainly plunge to her death. The operator does not personally know this driver; what personal value does the driver have to her? None, but because the operator cares, she must do the unselfish act of saving the woman's life. When she shouts for the woman to hit her brakes, is she threatening her? Or warning her?

    The difference between Allah and slavemaster lead to two different systems. Islam is a system of reward. The Qur'an makes clear, in several passages, that bad deeds are met by Allah with equal punishment, no more, no less; however, good deeds are rewarded with interest: "Allah is never unjust in the least degree: if there is any good (done), He doubles it" (4:40); "But those who have earned evil will have a reward of like evil" (10:27). Although bad deeds have negative consequences, we can see the emphasis is on rewarding good deeds. On the other hand, slavery is a system of punishment; the definition of "good" and "bad" is perverted. To the slavemaster, obedience is the most important "virtue." It is imperative for slavery's existence that rebellion is not only quelled but discouraged to occur in the first place. If a slave does the good deed of obeying, he or she is only allowed to live without damage or harm; as farmers do for their horses, so will slavemasters give their slaves food and shelter. If a slaves does the bad deed of disobeying, he or she is punished above and beyond the necessary means, for the end is not merely retribution, but as a warning (to this slave and all slaves) never to disobey. The emphasis clearly is on punishing bad deeds. A slavemaster more concerned with being humane, with rewarding slaves abundant luxuries, will only undermine his or her authority, and appear "soft"; the slavemaster only cares what slaves can do for him or her, and certainly cannot truly love them.

    Allah does love humanity, as any Creator does its Creation, as any parent would a child. This brings us to the second core difference between Allah-Believers and slavemaster-slaves; fear is in both relationships, yet the fear of the former is one of deserved awe and respect, the latter is one that only leads to hatred and contempt. The divine Allah created all of humanity; humans only created slavery, but not the slave. We should therefore honor not slavemasters, but our parents and our Parent. Of course, human parents do not own their children as slavemasters own slaves, but there is an undeniable and unshakable bond between parent and child. The Qur'an only asks for Believers to recognize this bond and give thanks, as they should give thanks to the Ultimate Creator:

    We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: in pain did his mother bear him, and in paid did she give him birth. . . . . At length, when he reaches the age of full strength and attains forty years, he says, "O my Lord! Grant me that I may be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed on me, and upon both my parents, and that I may work righteousness such as You may approve; and be gracious to me in respect of my offspring. Truly have I turned to You and truly do I bow (to You) in Islam. (46:15)

    Serve Allah . . . and do good - to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the Companion by your side, the way-farer (you meet), and what your right hands possess [i.e. your slaves] . . . (4:36)



    By teaching us to be grateful for being created, to "do good" to both our parents and our "slaves," the Qur'an once again emphasizes the equality of Allah's creation. A Creator so concerned with equality deserves respect.

    The Prophet Muhammad did not believe that only the slaves of a particular race, religion, or ethnicity should be freed; instead, he desired to break the chains of slaves all over the world. The fact that the Qur'an did so with a specificity unparalleled in a monotheistic holy text makes it one of the greatest of anti-slavery books, and Muhammad himself one of the greatest of abolitionists. Peace be upon him.


    Special thanks to Dr. Riffat Hassan; without her class or instruction, my greater awareness of Islam would not have occurred, and this paper would not have been written.

    WORKS CITED

    Dar, Bashir Ahmad. Qur'anic Ethics. 4th ed. Lahore, Pakistan: Institute of Islamic Culture, 1993.
    Hassan, Riffat. "Rights of Women Within Islamic Communities." Religious Human Rights in Global Perspective. Eds. J. Witte Jr. and J.D. van der Vyver. Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 1996. 361-386.
    Izutsu, Toshihiko. The Structure of the Ethical Terms In the Koran: A Study in Semantics. Volume II. Republished in Louisville, Kentucky: Gray's College Bookstore, 2002.
    Khaliq, Abdul. Qur'an Studies: A Philosophical Exposition. Lahore, Pakistan: Victory Book Bank Lahore, 1990.
    Maudoodi, Abul Ala. "Economic and Political Teachings of the Qur'an." A History of Muslim Philosophy. Volume One. Ed. M.M. Sharif. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1963. 178-198.
    Osman, Fathi. Concepts of the Quran: A Topical Reading. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: MVI Publication, 1999.
    Qur'an, The. 6th ed. Trans. Abdullah Yusuf Ali. Elmhurst, New York: Tahrike Tarsite Qur'an, Inc., 2001.
    Umaruddin, M. The Ethical Philosophy of Al-Ghazzali. Lahore, Pakistan: Institute of Islamic Culture, 1988.

    Muhammad the Abolitionist: Slavery in the Qur'an
    I didn't read all of this, but the parts that I read do not change a thing to what we discussed so far:

    - Muhammad condones slavery. Saying "be kind to your slaves" implies that you are allowed to have slaves.

    - The best Muslims can come up with in defense of the Koran is that its teachings are inconsistant, and they are choosing the better parts and ignoring the bad parts.

    Plus, I saw a bunch of things in there not even related to slavery.

    But, most important of all, Muhammad himself had slaves. How can he be an abolitionist? What a ridiculous claim.
     
    Jorje

    Jorje

    Legendary Member
    How did this thread turn again into a religious warfare, naturally after Indie was not able to resist her extremist and sectarian urges to bash Islam at every single opportunity she can get her hands on.

    Who's the troll?
     
    proIsrael-nonIsraeli

    proIsrael-nonIsraeli

    Legendary Member
    How did this thread turn again into a religious warfare, naturally after Indie was not able to resist her extremist and sectarian urges to bash Islam at every single opportunity she can get her hands on.

    Who's the troll?
    Name of the thread is "Slavery in the Arab world" - I'd say it was predictable.
     
    Jorje

    Jorje

    Legendary Member
    Name of the thread is "Slavery in the Arab world" - I'd say it was predictable.
    It would have been entirely avoidable if certain members did not feel like they needed to switch the topic to personally attack the religion of other posters.
     
    eile

    eile

    Well-Known Member
    So how did get to this conclusion that Christianity was always against slavery and how come nothing is mentioned against slavery itself in the NT?

    If the "abolition" of slavery was truly based on premises that are mainly Christian as you claim.. then what are these premises? did Christianity address slavery directly? and how come for two millennia Christianity didn't have any problem with it and even adopted roman laws that were even harsher than the OT when it came to slavery and how to treat them!

    How come the Catholic Church did not correct its teaching on the moral legitimacy of slavery until 1965?
    How come after the so called "abolition of slavery" racism continued against brown people and they were lynched and simply had no rights whatsoever!
    Ye3ni if that "abolition of slavery" was based on the Christian Love then how come the hatred continued to this day?

    Many things led to so called "abolition of slavery" 1. Political, 2. Economical, 3. The need of slaves decreased 4. Slave revolts.

    Haiti slave revolt is one great example, or the Male revolt in Brazil which was basically Muslim slave revolt.
    Uthman Dan Fodio was another great Muslim leader who fought against slavery!

    Just imaging if the Atlantic slave trade had continued for a longer time.. it would have meant losing control over lots of lands maybe and eventually more revolts and not being able to contain them as good as they managed to do!


    Now Islam's social reforms 1400 years ago truly revolutionised the world in so many ways in which nobody can deny today:
    [article]the Qur'anic institution had some unique new features.[18] According to Jonathan Brockopp, professor of History and Religious Studies, the idea of using alms for the manumission of slaves appears to be unique to the Qur'an (assuming the traditional interpretation of verses [Quran 2:177] and [Quran 9:60]). Similarly, the practice of freeing slaves in atonement for certain sins appears to be introduced by the Qur'an.[18] Brockopp adds that: "Other cultures limit a master's right to harm a slave but few exhort masters to treat their slaves kindly, and the placement of slaves in the same category as other weak members of society who deserve protection is unknown outside the Qur'an. The unique contribution of the Qur'an, then, is to be found in its emphasis on the place of slaves in society and society's responsibility toward the slave, perhaps the most progressive legislation on slavery in its time."[18][/article]

    Actually the goal of Islam is to reduce slavery and the harm caused by slavery and this can be seen in both the Quran and Hadith over and over!

    Take these hadith as ex.

    Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and set the captives free. Sahih Bukhari 5058
    • He who slaps his slave or beats him, there is no expiation for this but to free him. (Muslim)
    • Zadhan reported that Ibn Umar called his slave and he found the marks (of beating) upon his back. He said to him: I have caused you pain. He said: No. But he (Ibn Umar) said: You are free. He then took hold of something from the earth and said: There is no reward for me even to the weight equal to it. I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who beats a slave without cognizable offence of his or slaps him, then expiation for it is that he should set him free. (Translation of Sahih Muslim, The Book of Oaths (Kitab Al-Aiman), Book 015, Number 4079)



    Muslim pious leaders were for freeing slaves all the times.. a teaching they took from the Quran and the prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).

    ‘A’ishah freed 69, and she lived for that number of years, and Abu Bakr freed many, and al-‘Abbas freed 70 slaves. Al-Hakim narrated it. ‘Uthman freed twenty when he was besieged, and Hakim ibn Hizam freed a hundred loading them with silver, and ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Umar freed a thousand, and he performed a thousand ‘umrahs, and he performed sixty Hajjs, and he kept 1000 horses for [fighting] in the path of Allah, and Dhu l-Kala‘ al-Himyari freed 8000 slaves in one day, and ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf freed 30,000 people. See: Fath al-‘Allam Sharh Bulugh al-Maram, Kitab al-‘Itq (2:332)


    Also in the Muslim world it was very common for the slaves to reach high status which wasn't a usual thing to happen elsewhere.. here is a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte:

    “The slave inherits his master's property and marries his daughter. The majority of the Pashas had been slaves. Many of the grand viziers, all the Mamelukes, Ali Ben Mourad Beg, had been slaves. They began their lives by performing the most menial services in the houses of their masters and were subsequently raised in status for their merit or by favour. In the West, on the contrary, the slave has always been below the position of the domestic servants; he occupies the lowest rug. The Romans emancipated their slaves, but the emancipated were never considered as equal to the free-born. The ideas of the East and West are so different that it took a long time to make the Egyptians understand that all the army was not composed of slaves belonging to the Sultan al-Kabir.”


    I honestly cant give it all its full justice by writing few words about this there is so much more to say..
    Islam contributed on all fields to the world and I wouldn't deny this for Christianity as well and other religion.

    But indeed Islam played the greatest role not only on this aspect but on all aspects of life!

    Now yes there are also many bad things that Arabs did and they were also part of cruel and un-Islamic slave trade which in noway a true Muslim can defend!
    slavery in its contemporary defined and condemned form need(ed) not be addressed directly or explicitly when the premises responsible for either supporting/allowing/entailing slavery or opposing/eradicating slavery are addressed; addressing the latter automatically means addressing the former (but not so, it seems, to the biased, naive and primitive minds where if slavery wasn't uttered in english in the first century Bible, or if the phrase "slavery, as the one currently happening in libya, is condemned" isn't found in the Bible, then that means the Bible doesn't really address/oppose slavery)

    if slavery is the product of (is entailed by) a certain mindset/worldview, tackling that mindset would implicitly entail tackling slavery, as well other related ills that this mindset (and whatever else that conforms to it or is compatible with it) allows for or entails or not oppose. so tackling slavery doesn't involve necessarily tackling slavery directly or explicitly but it does involve necessarily operating at the premise-level (core of humans or core of the core of what forms/develops/sustains a society in the first place) by tracing and tackling the premises/mindset/worldview upon and via which human slavery either stands (is entailed/supported or not opposed) or ultimately falls (is coherently opposed)

    could slavery be opposed by and via Islam, when (to mention one essential and sufficient point only) islam, starting with muhammad himself, institutionalized slavery (making it definitive) by owning and trading slaves, keeping some and freeing some at will (as in robbing a bank and then instructing/codifying how to handle the stolen money; e.g giving some of it back to the robbed bank as charity, and this is in the best hypothetical case)? can muslims coherently acknowledge, condemn and apologize for these acts without being led to compromise on truth by sticking to their faith's foundation on one hand, while on the other, proclaiming their supposedly-honest opposition to and condemnation of slavery?

    on what basis (other than Christianity) was slavery abolished in principle? it cannot be mainly temporal-based (economical, political, ...) since it was definitive in nature as opposed to being circumstantial/consequentialist. meaning that the abolition was effected irrespective of future (and therefore of then-current) economical/political/temporal conditions. in other words, the factors that you state as the reason for the abolition played a non-essential role in the effecting of the abolition, and therefore the abolition was not mainly based on them. indeed, the main/essential factor lies elsewhere; it was the two millennia of human and society Christian conditioning
     
    Last edited:
    !Aoune32

    !Aoune32

    Well-Known Member
    What do you expect from a bunch of animals who are racists towards Africans? People who laugh because of your skin colour?
    People who laugh at Phillipinos/Bangladesh for being nannies?
    The laughter is on them.
     
    proIsrael-nonIsraeli

    proIsrael-nonIsraeli

    Legendary Member
    It would have been entirely avoidable if certain members did not feel like they needed to switch the topic to personally attack the religion of other posters.
    You have got to be kidding.
     
    Indie

    Indie

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    How did this thread turn again into a religious warfare, naturally after Indie was not able to resist her extremist and sectarian urges to bash Islam at every single opportunity she can get her hands on.

    Who's the troll?
    You're still obsessed with me? :)

    I'm not being sectarian, I'm complimenting @Noborders by telling him he seems to have better values than his prophet :)

    As for bashing Islam...all ideologies are up for discussion and criticism. Islam is no exception. If you're too sensitive to handle it, avoid adult conversations and find your local SJW safe space, Mr compassionate humanitarian who is more offended by criticism of a slavery promoting ideology than the slave promoting ideology itself.
     
    HannaTheCrusader

    HannaTheCrusader

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    islam as a religion officially condones and tolerates slavery
     
    HannaTheCrusader

    HannaTheCrusader

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    one can wrote books about quran and slavery

    Quran
    Quran (33:50) - "O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those (slaves) whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee" This is one of several personal-sounding verses "from Allah" narrated by Muhammad - in this case allowing a virtually unlimited supply of sex partners. Other Muslims are restricted to four wives, but they may also have sex with any number of slaves, following the example of their prophet.
    Quran (23:5-6) - "..who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess..." This verse permits the slave-owner to have sex with his slaves. See also Quran (70:29-30). The Quran is a small book, so if Allah used valuable space to repeat the same point four times, sex slavery must be very important to him. He was relatively reticent on matters of human compassion and love.

    Quran (4:24) - "And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess." Even sex with married slaves is permissible.

    Quran (8:69) - "But (now) enjoy what ye took in war, lawful and good" A reference to war booty, of which slaves were a part. The Muslim slave master may enjoy his "catch" because (according to verse 71) "Allah gave you mastery over them."

    Quran (24:32) - "And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves..." Breeding slaves based on fitness.

    Quran (2:178) - "O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female." The message of this verse, which prescribes the rules of retaliation for murder, is that all humans are not created equal. The human value of a slave is less than that of a free person (and a woman's worth is also distinguished from that of a man).

    Quran (16:75) - "Allah sets forth the Parable (of two men: one) a slave under the dominion of another; He has no power of any sort; and (the other) a man on whom We have bestowed goodly favours from Ourselves, and he spends thereof (freely), privately and publicly: are the two equal? (By no means;) praise be to Allah.' Yet another confirmation that the slave is is not equal to the master. In this case, it is plain that the slave owes his status to Allah's will. (According to 16:71, the owner should be careful about insulting Allah by bestowing Allah's gifts on slaves - those whom the god of Islam has not favored).


    Hadith and Sira
    Sahih Bukhari (80:753) - "The Prophet said, 'The freed slave belongs to the people who have freed him.'"

    Sahih Bukhari (52:255) - The slave who accepts Islam and continues serving his Muslim master will receive a double reward in heaven.

    Sahih Bukhari (41.598) - Slaves are property. They cannot be freed if an owner has outstanding debt, but they can be used to pay off the debt.

    Sahih Bukhari (62:137) - An account of women taken as slaves in battle by Muhammad's men after their husbands and fathers were killed. The woman were raped with Muhammad's approval.

    Sahih Bukhari (34:432) - Another account of females taken captive and raped with Muhammad's approval. In this case it is evident that the Muslims intend on selling the women after raping them because they are concerned about devaluing their price by impregnating them. Muhammad is asked about coitus interruptus.

    Sahih Bukhari (47:765) - A woman is rebuked by Muhammad for freeing a slave girl. The prophet tells her that she would have gotten a greater heavenly reward by giving her to a relative (as a slave).

    Sahih Bukhari (34:351) - Muhammad sells a slave for money. He was thus a slave trader.

    Sahih Bukhari (72:734) - Some contemporary Muslims in the West (where slavery is believed to be a horrible crime) are reluctant to believe that Muhammad owned slaves. This is just one of many places in the Hadith where a reference is made to a human being owned by Muhammad. In this case, the slave is of African descent.

    Sahih Muslim 3371 - Muhammad and his men take captive "some excellent Arab women" from the Banu Mustaliq. Their dilemma then becomes that they want to rape the women, but they also want to 'ransom' them, knowing that their captives will be of less value if pregnant. When they ask Muhammad about coitus interruptus, their prophet tells them that it doesn't matter how they rape the women because "every soul will be born" anyway.

    Sahih Muslim 3901 - Muhammad trades away two black slaves for one Muslim slave.

    Sahih Muslim 4345 - Narration of a military raid against a hapless tribe trying to reach their water hole. During the slaughter, the women and children attempt to flee, but are cut off and captured by the Muslims. This story refutes any misconception that Muhammad's sex slaves were taken by their own volition.

    Sahih Muslim 4112 - A man freed six slaves on the event of his death, but Muhammad reversed the emancipation and kept four in slavery to himself. He cast lots to determine which two to free.

    Sahih Bukhari (47:743) - Muhammad's own pulpit - from which he preached Islam - was built with slave labor on his command.

    Sahih Bukhari (59:637) - "The Prophet sent Ali to Khalid to bring the Khumus (of the booty) and I hated Ali, and Ali had taken a bath (after a sexual act with a slave-girl from the Khumus). I said to Khalid, 'Don't you see this (i.e. Ali)?' When we reached the Prophet I mentioned that to him. He said, 'O Buraida! Do you hate Ali?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Do you hate him, for he deserves more than that from the Khumlus.'" Muhammad approved of his men having sex with slaves, as this episode involving his son-in-law, Ali, clearly proves. This hadith refutes the modern apologists who pretend that slaves were really "wives." This is because Muhammad had forbidden Ali from marrying another woman as long as Fatima (his favorite daughter) was living.

    Abu Dawud (2150) - "The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur’anic verse: (Quran 4:24) 'And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.'" This is the background for verse 4:24 of the Quran. Not only does Allah give permission for women to be captured and raped, but allows it to even be done in front of their husbands. (See also Muslim 3432 & Ibn Kathir/Abdul Rahman Part 5 Page 14)

    Abu Dawud (1814) - "...[Abu Bakr] He then began to beat [his slave] him while the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) was smiling and saying: Look at this man who is in the sacred state (putting on ihram), what is he doing?" The future first caliph of Islam is beating his slave for losing a camel while Muhammad looks on in apparent amusement.

    Ibn Ishaq (734) - A slave girl is given a "violent beating" by Ali in the presence of Muhammad, who does nothing about it.

    Abu Dawud 38:4458 - Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib: “A slave-girl belonging to the house of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) committed fornication. He (the Prophet) said: Rush up, Ali, and inflict the prescribed punishment on her. I then hurried up, and saw that blood was flowing from her, and did not stop. So I came to him and he said: Have you finished inflicting (punishment on her)? I said: I went to her while her blood was flowing. He said: Leave her alone till her bleeding stops; then inflict the prescribed punishment on her. And inflict the prescribed punishment on those whom your right hands possess (i.e. slaves)”. A slave girl is ordered by Muhammad to be beaten until she bleeds, and then beaten again after the bleeding stops. He indicates that this is prescribed treatment for slaves ("those whom your right hand possesses").

    Abu Dawud 1:142 - "Do not beat your wife as you beat your slave-girl"

    Ibn Ishaq (693) - "Then the apostle sent Sa-d b. Zayd al-Ansari, brother of Abdu'l-Ashal with some of the captive women of Banu Qurayza to Najd and he sold them for horses and weapons." Muhammad trades away women captured from the Banu Qurayza tribe to non-Muslim slave traders for property. (Their men had been executed after surrendering peacefully without a fight).

    Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller) (o9.13) - According to Sharia, when a child or woman is taken captive by Muslims, they become slaves by the mere fact of their capture. A captured woman's previous marriage is immediately annulled. This would not be necessary if she were widowed by battle, which is an imaginary stipulation that modern apologists sometimes pose.
     
    O Brother

    O Brother

    Legendary Member
    you have made these statements without having done your homework, you are simply making these arguments because you lack the relevant knowledge.
    the reality is that the laws of slavery from the old testament are quite more lenient towards the slaves and much more detailed than what is stated in the quran. in general though, both the quran and the old testament approach the subjects similarly, and once again it seems that this part of the islamic scripture is also inspired by the jewish laws of the letter.

    it is also written that masters are forbidden to rape their female slaves, and in case any master inflicted any bodily harm on any slave then the slave should go free. if a master takes the life of a slave, then he should pay for it with his own, that jewish slaves be let free every 6 years, etc..

    15 “You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has [a]escaped from his master to you. 16 He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him.

    39 ‘If a [a]countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service. 40 He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee. 41 He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers. 42 For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale. 43 You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.

    26 “If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. 27 And if he [a]knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.

    2 “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.

    so in short there are plenty of similarities between the quran and the old testament as far as the laws of slavery and mulk el yameen
    Yes indeed my knowledge are very basic.. and I never claimed otherwise, I'm probably the last one here that should be debating this!

    So anyway could you tell me what are the laws of slavery in the NT in this case and how different are they from the OT?
    There are clearly some verses in the NT that talks about the treatment of slaves so what are these laws as simple as that!

    You are telling me basically one is bad or even evil and one to be all loving and so on!?

    And both are supposed to be from the same Author! Clearly there is a contradiction that goes against all logic specially if you adhere to a monotheistic belief!

    If the NT came to fulfill the laws..or the prophets etc. and not to abolish them then as Christian why are you abolishing them today by arguing against the OT! Is the OT corrupted? if yes then I would understand this but you don't claim it is !


    i have brought to you a verse that would end all form of slavery and abuse, along with many other man made concepts. when the Lord Himself washes the feet of his disciples, announcing that He has come to serve not so that He would be served.

    i have also provided you with a quote from the NT that in front of God all people are equal, men, women, slaves, free, jews, and people of other religions.
    But now you are again going to a totally different thing when you are talking like this!
    We are not talking about some kind of salvation here but about the laws regarding slavery and so on!

    I can also make another similar argument out from God's Mercy but this is not what we are really talking about here!

    Your bibles like the Quran acknowledge slavery!
    Even the NT do not speak against it either!
    I just don't get the dismissal of the OT by the Christians faith whenever it suits them.


    you only make these statements because you do lack the knowledge about other faiths. the rights of the slaves under the jewish law were much more in favor of the slaves than is stated in the quran. now as far as Christianity is concerned, the argument is by far more elaborate than what you are presenting, and it is completely on a different level of discussion especially in terms of freedom, truth and the theological link between them. unfortunately it is not something that we can both discuss as it requires a different approach and perception of the Creator and religion all together, hopefully though some day we may be able to have this discussion.
    Okay so how were these rights more in favor of the slaves under the Jewish law?


    i have read the essay, and i can assure you it contains plenty of whitewashing even against the very verses of the quran (example: quran 16:71-76). we do not have to look that far in that concern though, the actual argument is settled by a couple of questions. did the prophet own slaves? yes. did the prophet sell slaves? yes. did the prophet buy slaves? yes. did the prophet enslave people at war? yes. does the quran consider slaves to be equal to free men in front of God? no.

    it is normal though that muslims would romanticize the prophet in such essays, but that usually strips objectivity away.
    The prophet was living in a time slavery was not seen or considered as cruel or evil as we look into it now days!

    Most prophet if not all of them dealt with slaves your bibles are a proof of that.. the fact that you are not willing to acknowledge this shows some ignorance and extreme bias from your part!

    The prophet Muhammad ASW at the end of the day didn't live in some kind of palace.. or was extremely wealthy.. the man lived the simplest life you could think of and he ate from the most basic food you could think of..
     
    Top