On Prohibition of Enslavement and Slavery in Islam

آحمد صبحي منصور Ýí 2018-06-12

On Prohibition of Enslavement and Slavery in Islam

Published in June 11, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy




We have received this question via email; we quote it here followed by our reply: (... Dear Sir, ... I desire that you'd show me Quranic verses the prove your point that enslavement & slavery are prohibited in Islam ... Why does the Quranic text mention slaves, then?! ... Thank you ...). 




Firstly: enslavement and slavery are prohibited in the Quran:

1- We advise the sender of the above message to read our book, in English, titled "Slavery: A Fundamental Historical Overview", found on this link: (http://www.ahl-alquran.com/arabic/book_main.php?main_id=87). We have mentioned in our book that the Lord God's Quranic sharia legislations regarding that issue are better than man-made laws; the reason for this is that man-made laws overtly make enslavement/slavery as a crime, and yet, the injustices remain the same; enslavement/slavery still dominates in other forms in modern world (different than the form dominated in the past) and many individuals and nations suffer from it.

2- We have mentioned in our book that the Lord God has prohibited enslavement/slavery from its very root or source.

2/1: The main root/source of enslavement/slavery is when captives are captured within battles and wars; i.e., POWs. Within real Islam; i.e., the Quran, there is no capturing/enslaving of POWs; they are either to be released out of charity (for free) or in return for other POWs captured by the enemy; this is mentioned in this verse about self-defense fighting: "When you encounter those who disbelieve, strike at their necks. Then, when you have routed them, bind them firmly. Then, either release them by grace, or by exchange, until war lays down its burdens. Had God willed, He could have defeated them Himself, but He thus tests some of you by means of others. As for those who are killed in the way of God, He will not let their deeds go to waste." (47:4). When Muhammad and the early believers achieved victory in their very first self-defense battle, Muhammad released captives in return for ransom/money, and he has been rebuked in the Quran severely for it; they had to be released for free out of charity: " It is not for a prophet to take prisoners before he has subdued the land. You desire the materials of this world, but God desires the Hereafter. God is Strong and Wise. Were it not for a predetermined decree from God, an awful torment would have afflicted you for what you have taken." (8:67-68). God has commanded Muhammad to say these words of relief to those captives released by ransom: "O prophet! Say to those you hold prisoners, "If God finds any good in your hearts, He will give you better than what was taken from you, and He will forgive you. God is Forgiving and Merciful."" (8:70); this verse is about those captives or POWs released for free but they might betray Muhammad and the early believers: "But if they intend to betray you, they have already betrayed God, and He has overpowered them. God is Knowing and Wise." (8:71).

2/2: During Muhammad's lifetime in Yathreb, some battles occurred between the early believers there and the People of the Book (this is mentioned in the Quran and never mentioned in the fake biographies of Muhammad). Those believers who were defeated by the aggressive People of the Book were evicted from their homes by force and some were taken as captives; God has reminded those People of the Book of the covenant made between them and Him, which included never to commit bloodshed, evil deeds, and aggression and not to evict the innocent ones from their homes while threatening them with torment in this world and in the Hereafter; of course, believers in Yathreb read these verses (and other verses descended in Mecca) to prohibit aggression, violence, and evildoing, especially about captives: "We made a covenant with the Israelites: "Worship none but God; and be good to parents, and relatives, and orphans, and the needy; and speak nicely to people; and pray regularly, and give alms." Then you turned away, except for a few of you, recanting. And We made a covenant with you: "You shall not shed the blood of your own, nor shall you evict your own from your homes." You agreed, and were all witnesses. But here you are, killing your own, and expelling a group of your own from their homes - conspiring against them in aggression and hostility. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although it was forbidden to you. Is it that you believe in part of the Scripture, and disbelieve in part? What is the reward for those among you who do that but humiliation in this life? And on the Day of Resurrection, they will be assigned to the most severe torment. God is not unaware of what you do. Those are they who bought the present life for the Hereafter, so the torment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be helped." (2:83-86).

2/3: The prohibition of enslavement/slavery within Islam comes implicitly within the general legislations within Quranic verses descended in Mecca.

2/3/1: God says the following in the Quran: "Say, "My Lord has forbidden immoralities - both open and secret - and sin, and unjustified aggression, and that you associate with God anything for which He revealed no authorization, and that you say about God what you do not know."" (7:33); we see here the prohibition of aggression, evildoing, and injustice; the worst type of injustice is to enslave free people; this grave sin was committed by the sinful caliphs (i.e., the four pre-Umayyad caliphs, Abou Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali, and also by those who followed their footsteps) within the crimes known as the Arab conquests which violate the Quranic teachings and laws.

2/3/2: God says the following in the Quran about the description of the pious, monotheistic believers: "And those who avoid major sins and immoralities; and if they become angry, they forgive." (42:37); "Those who avoid grave sins and gross indecencies - except for minor lapses..." (53:32); these verses assert the enormity of the heinous crimes committed by the sinful caliphs (i.e., the four pre-Umayyad caliphs, Abou Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali, and also by those who followed their footsteps) within the Arab conquests resulting in looting, massacring, sabotage, and enslavement.  

2/3/3: God says the following in the Quran: "God commands justice, and goodness, and generosity towards relatives. And He forbids immorality, and injustice, and aggression. He warns you, so that you may take heed." (16:90). Of course, enslavement is never just; on the contrary, it is the worst type of injustice and aggression; God has warned Arabs so that they may take heed; yet, once Muhammad died, they rejected the Quran and committed many atrocities – including enslavement – within the crimes known as Arab conquests; the Quran is the Criterion to judge them as unjust aggressors and sinful people.

2/3/4: God does not love the unjust ones; this fact is repeated twice in the Quranic Chapter Three: "...God does not love the unjust ones." (3:57 + 3:140). Of course, enslavement is a crime committed by the unjust ones; this first began, once Muhammad died, by the sinful four pre-Umayyad caliphs: Abou Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali. Such sinful men have not only committed grave injustice against hundreds of thousands of people among the conquered nations who were killed while defending their homelands and whose women and children were enslaved and sexually abused, but they also committed grave injustice against the Lord God Himself when they have made their heinous crimes and atrocities as part of 'Islam' (in fact, they are part of the Sunnite religion).

2/3/5: God does not love the unjust ones, even if their committed injustice is not very grave; He urges the unjust ones to repent so that they avoid entering into Hell if they die as unjust ones without repentance.

2/3/5/1: When Muhammad unjustly drove away believers from his presence, God has rebuked him within a direct mode of address here: "And do not drive away those who call upon their Lord, morning and evening, seeking His attention. You are not accountable for them in any way, nor are they accountable for you in any way. If you drive them away, you would be one of the unjust ones." (6:52).

2/3/5/2: Within a direct mode of address, the Dominant Lord God urges believers to repent from some not-very-grave sins so that they would not be among the unjust ones in Hell if they died without proper, sincere repentance: "O you who believe! No people shall ridicule other people, for they may be better than they. Nor shall any women ridicule other women, for they may be better than they. Nor shall you slander one another, nor shall you insult one another with names. Evil is the return to wickedness after having attained faith. Whoever does not repent - these are the unjust ones." (49:11).

2/3/5/3: Those who commit such not-very-grave sins are deemed by God as among the unjust ones, let alone those unjust aggressors who enslave people after committing other atrocities of conquering, massacring, sabotage, and looting.

2/3/6: Moses' Pharaoh is the imam/leader of all unjust rulers and tyrants; he is described many times in the Quran as an unjust and a corrupt person; he used to massacre the sons of the Israelites and to enslave their daughters; the four pre-Umayyad sinful caliphs, and other caliphs who came after them, followed the footsteps of Moses' Pharaoh the tyrannical murderer and enslaver: "Pharaoh exalted himself on earth, and divided its people into factions. He persecuted a group of them, slaughtering their sons, while sparing their daughters. He was truly a corrupter." (28:4).

2/3/7: God will never make the unrepentant unjust ones enter into Paradise.

2/3/7/1: God says in the Quran: "Faces will be humbled before the Living, the Eternal. Whoever carries injustice will be among the losers." (20:111).

2/3/7/2: God says in the Quran: "Those who believe, and do not obscure their faith with injustice - those will have security, and they are guided." (6:82).


Secondly: why the Quran does not prohibit the buying of male and female slaves?:

 A Quran-based country that prohibits enslavement/slavery cannot impose its laws on other countries; such other countries might contain slaves markets and the conditions that maintain slavery might still be deep rooted, especially unjust, aggressive wars. The Quranic solution offered is to buy such slaves and be kind, generous, and charitable towards them when they are brought inside a given Quran-based country.      

1- This charity is to free and liberate these slaves.

1/1: The Quran urges their liberation as a voluntary act of charity and a good deed.

1/1/1: As for individual citizens inside a Quran-based country, they can do as follows.

1/1/1/1: Those who desire to perform good deeds to gratify their Lord God can buy male/female slaves to free and liberate them: "The freeing of a slave. Or feeding on a day of hunger. An orphan near of kin." (90:13-15).

1/1/1/2: Among the qualities that describe the pious monotheistic believers include liberating slaves: "Righteousness does not consist of turning your faces towards the East and the West. But righteous is he who believes in God, and the Last Day, and the angels, and the Book, and the prophets. Who gives money, though dear, to near relatives, and orphans, and the needy, and the homeless, and the beggars, and for the freeing of slaves; those who perform the prayers, and pay the obligatory charity, and fulfill their promise when they promise, and patiently persevere in the face of persecution, hardship, and in the time of conflict. These are the sincere; these are the pious." (2:177).

1/1/2: As for the government of a given Quran-based country, its formal types of expenditure must include freeing and liberating slaves: "Charities are for the poor, and the destitute, and those who administer them, and for reconciling hearts, and for freeing slaves, and for those in debt, and in the path of God, and for the traveler in need - an obligation from God. God is All-Knowing, Most Wise." (9:60). 

1/2: Liberating slaves is a way to atone for sins, and this is exemplified by the following verses.

1/2/1: "Those who estrange their wives by equating them with their mothers, then go back on what they said, mustset free a slave before they may touch one another. To this you are exhorted, and God is well aware of what you do." (58:3).

1/2/2: "Never should a believer kill another believer, unless by error. Anyone who kills a believer by error must set free a believing slave, and pay compensation to the victim’s family, unless they remit it as charity. If the victim belonged to a people who are hostile to you, but is a believer, then the compensation is to free a believing slave. If he belonged to a people with whom you have a treaty, then compensation should be handed over to his family, anda believing slave set free. Anyone who lacks the means must fast for two consecutive months, by way of repentance to God. God is All-Knowing, Most Wise." (4:92).

1/2/3: "God does not hold you accountable for your unintended oaths, but He holds you accountable for your binding oaths. The atonement for it is by feeding ten needy people from the average of what you feed your families, or by clothing them, or by freeing a slave. Anyone who lacks the means shall fast for three days. That is the atonement for breaking your oaths when you have sworn them..." (5:89).

1/3: Male and female slaves must be given the chance to buy their freedom if they desire this, they must be helped with money within charity, of course. God says in the Quran: " And let those who do not find the means to marry abstain, until God enriches them from His bounty. If any of your slaves wish to be freed, grant them their wish, if you recognize some good in them. And give them of God's wealth which he has given you. And do not compel your female slaves to prostitution, seeking the materials of this life, if they desire to remain chaste. Should anyone compel them - after their compulsion, God is Forgiving and Merciful." (24:33).

2- Even when slaves remain without being liberated, they must enjoy these rights within a given Quran-based country. 

2/1: Charity and kind treatment in the same way like when one deals with one's parents, relatives, and neighbors: "Worship God, and ascribe no partners to Him, and be good to the parents, and the relatives, and the orphans, and the poor, and the neighbor next door, and the distant neighbor, and the close associate, and the traveler, and your slaves. God does not love the arrogant showoff." (4:36).

2/2: Being spent on from their owners' money equally: "God has favored some of you over others in livelihood. Those who are favored would share their provisions with their slaves, within equality. Will they then renounce God's bounties?" (16:71).

2/3: Being treated inside the house as an equal member of the household; e.g., they ask permission to enter into private rooms: "O you who believe! Permission must be requested by your slaves and those of you who have not reached puberty. On three occasions: before the Dawn Prayer, and at noon when you change your clothes, and after the Evening Prayer. These are three occasions of privacy for you. At other times, it is not wrong for you or them to intermingle with one another..." (24:58).

2/4: Within marriage:

2/4/1: If the slaves were good, worthy, fit persons, God urges men to marry and free their female slaves and women to marry and free their male slaves: "And wed the singles among you, and those who are fit among your male slaves and female slaves. If they are poor, God will enrich them from His bounty. God is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing." (24:32). This is in the same way as God urges men to marry widows and divorced women and promises to enrich them for their good deed and charity. 

2/4/2: Hence, men can marry and free their female slaves and women can marry and free their male slaves.

2/4/2/1: It is a common mistake because of patriarchal, misogynist notions to consider that the qualities describing good believers/winners in the Quran pertain only to men; they also pertain to women: "Successful are the believers. Those who are humble in their prayers. Those who avoid nonsense. Those who work for charity. Those who maintain their chastity. Except from their spouses, or their slaves - for then they are free from blame. But whoever seeks anything beyond that - these are the transgressors." (23:1-7). This includes men and women; this means that men can marry and free their female slaves and women can marry and free their male slaves. This does NOT mean to have sex with one's slave(s) out of wedlock. 

2/4/2/2: This meaning is repeated here in this Quranic context: "And those who guard their chastity. Except from their spouses or slaves, for then they are free of blame. But whoever seeks to go beyond that - these are the transgressors." (70:29-31).

2/4/3: Of course, female slaves must receive their dowries from their husbands who free them to marry them.

2/4/3/1: God says the following in the Quran: "If any of you lack the means to marry free believing women, he may marry your believing female slaves. God is well aware of your faith. You are from one another. Marry them with the permission of their guardians, and give them their dowry fairly..." (4:25).

2/4/3/2: God says in the Quran: "O Prophet! We have permitted to you your wives to whom you have given their dowries, and those you already have, as granted to you by God, and the daughters of your paternal uncle, and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncle, and the daughters of your maternal aunts who emigrated with you, and a believing woman who has offered herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desires to marry her, exclusively for you, and not for the believers. We know what We have ordained for them regarding their wives and their female slaves..." (33:50); this means that the Lord God has allowed Muhammad (temporarily at a certain point) this special legislation (not allowed to anyone else) to marry without paying a dowry; this means that dowries are obligatorily ordained by God to be paid by husbands to their brides (who might be either free women or freed female slaves). 


Thirdly: freeing and liberating slaves within kindness and generosity is among the main charitable, good deeds in Islam:

1- This is among the main acts of cooperation within piety, charity, and goodness: "...And cooperate with one another in virtuous conduct and conscience, and do not cooperate with one another in sin and hostility. And fear God within piety. God is severe in punishment." (5:2).

2- This is among the main charitable, good deeds commanded by the Lord God within the Quranic legislations.

2/1: God says the following to the Quran-believing people and the People of the Book: "...So compete in righteous, good deeds. To God is your return, all of you; then He will inform you of what you had disputed." (5:48).

2/2: This is within the context of the qualities/descriptions of those who deserve to be among the Paradise-dwellers: "It is they who race towards goodness. It is they who will reach it first." (23:61).



 All these great Quranic legislations were deliberately ignored and rejected by the four corrupt pre-Umayyad caliphs and those caliphs who followed their footsteps. May God curse all of them.  

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