Slavery in Islam

By complete contrast to the ideologies presented by ISIS, Islam not only champions the rights of existing slaves
By complete contrast to the ideologies presented by ISIS, Islam not only champions the rights of existing slaves

As unanimously agreed by Muslims worldwide, the terrorist organisation ISIS has actively taken to practising a warped version of what they believe to be Islam. In the name of Islam and under the banner of the Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" this group has committed countless atrocities, including the rape and murder of innocent women and children who are not of the Muslim faith. The most recent and disgusting communication of their twisted and sickening deeds is the magazine they have released wherein they propagate the keeping of slaves with the further vomit-inducing claim that they may use them to sate their carnal pleasures.

It is this recent assertion they have made with regards to lawfully keeping what the rest of the world would view as ‘sex slaves’. In their severe ignorance of the rules of the religion they claim to be upholding, within the magazine they have published ‘Enslaving the families of Kuffar [non-believers] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Sharia, that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying the verses of the Quran…and thereby apostatising from Islam.’

It is this statement I would like to openly challenge, for throughout the Holy Quran and the abundance of Ahadith traditions of the Holy Prophet that are readily available to read there is not a single mention that it is lawful to take away the right to freedom of a free person and enslave them. Rather, within the Holy Quran and Ahadith of the Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him"the rights of existing slaves are championed with the encouragement to have them freed being the recurring theme throughout the verses in relation to this delicate subject.

As an example of such verses, Allah the Exalted states:

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَةُ-فَكُّ رَقَبَةٍ

(“O Messenger! Are you aware of a religious precept, which may be likened to a great ascent upon a mountain,) by which a person is able to climb to the heights of divine nearness? If you are unaware, then We tell you that it is the freeing of a slave.”

The Holy Qur’an (90:13-14)

It is in this beautiful quotation that Allah the Almighty clearly states that to gain spiritual nearness to Him, the freeing of a slave is the deed one must complete; however, in complete contradiction, the baseless claim made by ISIS that taking part in such atrocities is a ‘firmly established aspect of the Sharia’.

This quotation is also enhanced by the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him) wherein the reward for freeing a slave is mentioned, and is in clear contrast to the beliefs of the ISIS group:

“Abu Hurairah raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them" relates that the Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" would say ‘Such a Muslim who frees a slave, would be granted complete salvation by Allah the Exalted from hell.”Sahih Bukhari Kitabul Kaffaratil Iman Babu Qaulillahi Ta’ala Aw Tahriru Raqabah Hadith No. 6715

In addition, it is also evident that the Holy Prophet Muhammad saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" taught that the freedom of existing slaves was a good deed that incited and evoked the pleasure of Allah the Almighty, and through this act of his, our beloved Prophet continued to voice for the voiceless; that is to say, he spoke for the rights of slaves and was viewed by them as their saviour. As a result of his incessant struggle to stand up for their human rights, many slaves took a covenant with the Founder of Islam saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him", and entered the fold of Islam, causing the ratio of slaves amongst the Muslims to swell enormously.

Taking this into account, if the Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" endorsed the idea of slavery and encouraged the keeping of slaves alongside promoting acts of cruelty towards them, then when Islam first came to the world, the slaves would not have converted to Islam from polytheism. Rather, if this was the case as ISIS seems to believe in all their delusion, the slaves during the time of the Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" would have felt victimised by the rise of this new religion in Arabia.

By complete contrast to the ideologies presented by ISIS, Islam not only champions the rights of existing slaves, but creates rules to better their lives and positions in society, and it should be duly noted that just as there is no compulsion in religion, nor does Islam propagate discrimination of any kind. Contrary to the ideologies conveyed by the actions of ISIS, in accordance to the true teachings of Islam, per the verses in the Holy Quran and Ahadith, existing slaves were not to be considered lower than others, but rather equal; as all of humanity is equal in the eyes of Allah the Exalted. Furthermore, Allah Almighty Himself states:

وَلَا تَنْكِحُوا الْمُشْرِكَاتِ حَتَّى يُؤْمِنَّ وَلَأَمَةٌ مُؤْمِنَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ مُشْرِكَةٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ وَلَا تُنْكِحُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَتَّى يُؤْمِنُوا وَلَعَبْدٌ مُؤْمِنٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ مُشْرِكٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكُمْ

“O ye Muslims! Marry not idolatrous women until they believe; And know that a Muslim bond-woman is better than an idolatress, although she may appear better to you; And O ye Muslims! Give not believing women to idolaters, until they believe; And know that even a Muslim slave is better than an idolater, although he may appear better to you.” (Al- Baqarah 2:222)

The Holy Qur’an (2:222)

From this eloquent citation, we can see that not only does Islam propagate the rights of slaves to be upheld, but Allah had stated that they are eligible for marriage, and in stating such, within Islam, the rank and position of a slave is bettered to the point that they are even equal in the value of marriage, as opposed to those who choose not to believe.

However, to avoid any confusion, the words ‘until they believe’ do not infer that a forced conversion must be carried out, but rather one should infer from the words that when such people have been enlightened to the point that they have chosen to believe and enter the folds of Islam, only then are they eligible for marriage. Islam as a rule does not endorse forceful conversions. Islam is a religion of peace and submission to Allah, with the love of Allah and the love of humanity at its core. As part of exacting the Haqooqullah and Haqooqul’Ibad [rights of God and rights of Men], there is no compulsion in religion. Completely the opposite of what ISIS try to advocate; true Islam is a way of life and not a religion of the sword.

In his book, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad M.A raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them" wrote:

“The position of slaves has been made significantly stronger, a door has been opened for marriages of free Muslim men and women with slaves and bond-women, so that this relationship of equality and affinity improves the state of slaves as quickly as possible. As such, among other wisdoms, according to this principle, the Holy Quran has also commanded that after the final and exceptional limit of four wives has been reached, if the question of marrying a female servant arises for a Muslim, this fixed limit of four would not be a hindrance in his path. Such a person would be permitted to marry the female servant in all circumstances.” The Life and Character of the Seal of the Prophets Volume 2, page 181

With reference to Surah An-Nisa 4:4 and thereafter, Surah Al-Ahzab 33:53, the second Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them" aptly explains that in accordance to Islam, existing slaves are made to attain the level of free people, with regards to their social status, and morality, to the point that they become capable of manumission.

Islam clearly emphasises the reformation of slave life, stressing the significance of a slave’s well-being, comfort, convenience, and the ability for all slaves to effectively achieve equality in society and civilisations, as well as dignity and respect. Islam endorses the betterment and self-determination of a slave with the achievement of equality with their masters to ensure the slaves were capable of release as soon as possible. This would in turn lead them to be well respected, valued and useful members and citizens of whichever country they reside in.

With permission having been granted to the Prophet of Islam to be able to take on a bond-woman as a wife, regardless of the limit of four wives, Islam evidently values the bettering of a slave’s life by any means necessary, even if doing such would mean to forego a previously given rule as to what is lawful and unlawful for mankind.

Moreover, within the Holy Quran Allah Almighty goes as far as to tell mankind that the treatment of slaves should be so good, that they are treated and viewed as one’s own brethren.

وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ

“And that they disclose not their beauty save to their husbands, or to their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands or their sons or the sons of their husbands or their brothers, or the sons of their brothers, or the sons of their sisters, or their women, or what their right hands possess, or such of male attendants as have no sexual appetite, or young children who have no knowledge of the hidden parts of women.”

The Holy Qur’an (24:32)

This means that Muslim women should avoid displaying their beauty and embellishments except to their husbands and to such and such near relatives. In other words, observe the limitations of Pardah which have been enjoined upon you. Albeit, they are not required to observe Pardah from their slaves.

This verse beautifully rids a slave of any alienation of boundaries within the company of his/her master’s family, showing that Islam wishes for existing slaves to be treated with such respect that they are considered close relatives. The path of improvement to a slave’s life is never obstructed, as shown by these beautiful teachings.

When comparing this fact with the disgusting behaviour shown by ISIS, it becomes all the more clear that true Islam is pure of love and peace whereas the ‘Islam’ ISIS is following is an evil version fuelled by warped misinterpretations of the Holy Quran and Ahadith by ignorant people with closed minds and hearts.

Furthermore, when looking at the following Ahadith, which detail the treatment a slave should endure, it is difficult, to say the least, for anyone with even half the mental capacity of the average person, to say that the claims ISIS have asserted have any substance at all. Rather when reading the beautiful description of how well an existing slave is to be treated on their road to eventual release from work, it becomes all the more clear that ISIS is merely going by the delusions of ‘Muslims’ who evidently have no true Islamic knowledge.

“Abada bin Walid raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them" narrates that on one occasion we met a Companion of the Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" named Abul-Yusr raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them". At the time one of his slaves also accompanied him and we noticed that he was clothed in a streaked cloth and Yemeni cloth. Similarly, his slave was also wearing a streaked cloth and Yemeni cloth. I said, ‘O Uncle! Why did you not take his streaked cloth and give him your Yemeni cloth, or take his Yemeni cloth and give him your streaked one, so that both of you could wear a matching pair of clothes?’ Abul-Yusr stroked my head, supplicated in my favour and said, ‘O nephew! My eyes have seen, my ears have heard and my heart has given place to the statement of the Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" that, ‘Feed your slaves what you eat and clothe them with what you wear yourselves.’ Hence, I prefer greatly to give my slave an equal share of the wealth of this world, as opposed to losing my spiritual reward on the day of resurrection.”Sahih Bukhari Kitabul’Itq, Babu Qaulin Nabiyyi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasalam Al Abidu Ikhwanikum Hadith No. 2545

This second Hadith, also cited from Sahih Bukhari, aptly details that even the most minor of transgressions (in comparison to the atrocities carried out by ISIS), are disgusting. In accordance to the teaching of Islam, and as narrated in this very Hadith, even hitting a slave invokes the fires of hell to burn one’s face.

“Abu Mas‘ud Badari raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them" relates that on one occasion, due to some reason, I hit my slave. At that time, I heard a voice of a person from behind me saying, ‘Look here Abu Mas‘ud! What are you doing?’ But in my anger, I could not recognise the voice, and continued beating my slave. During this time, the voice began to move closer. When I turned around, I found the Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" approaching me, repeating the same words, ‘Look here Abu Mas‘ud! What are you doing?’ Upon seeing the Holy Prophet my staff fell from my hands. The Holy Prophet (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) angrily looked towards me and said, ‘O Abu Mas‘ud! There is a God above you, Who possesses more power with respect to you than you possess over this slave.’ I submitted, ‘O Messenger of Allah! I free this slave for the sake of God.’ The Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" said ‘If you had not done so, the fire of hell would have burned your face.’ ”Sahih Bukhari Kitabul Iman Babu Suhbatil Mamalik Hadith No. 4306, 4308

In light of this, the use of slaves for carnal pleasures when they have not been married, alongside the forceful removal of their freedom is completely against each and every teaching of Islam. From this Hadith, we can see the punishment carried out over merely hitting a slave, so one would dread to think what the punishments would be for the disgusting transgressions such as rape, torture, forceful conversion as well as countless others carried out by followers of this so-called Islamic State.


This article was originally published in the Annual Printed Edition of Majallatul Jamia

Adeel Shah

Adeel Shah

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