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 ISLAM AND SLAVERY

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PostSubject: ISLAM AND SLAVERY   ISLAM AND SLAVERY Icon_minitimeSat Oct 01, 2011 4:34 am


Islam came at a time where slavery was an age-old institution in society, and it was impossible to abolish it over night. ad it been so done, it would have created much upheaval in the society. The slaves, who were too large in number, owned virtually nothing and there was hardly any possibility for them to sustain in a reasonable and honorable way if they were all liberated at once. Their masters were at least providing free board and lodge. However, Islam was the first heavenly religion to explicitly encourage and enjoin the manumission of slaves.

Meanwhile, the Prophet. pbuh, tried to improve the conditions of slaves by correcting abuses and appealing to the conscience of his followers to treat them humanely. Slaves were not regarded as inferior beings but brothers and sisters in faith whose manumission was considered a meritorious act. Based on the Quranic verse ([Quran 24:33]), the Islamic law permits a slave to ransom himself upon consent of his master through a contract known as mukataba.

These are some of the Prophets' teachings in this regard:

http://www.itsislam.net/articles/treatment_of_servants.asp

The Prophet, may Allah bless him, manumitted Safiya bint Huyay, may Allah be pleased with her, and then married her. Same is true for Juveria, may Allah be pleased with her. These are the practical examples where the Prophet, may Allah bless him, raised the women from the status of slaves and thus they were blessed with the honor of being Mothers of the Believers, always to be respected by all Muslims essentially as a part of faith.

A large number of slaves were manumitted by him. Names of 22 of them are preserved in Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir of Ibn Sa’d. 6 additional are recorded in Tarikh al-Tabari. Maududi after a detailed study said that number of slaves manumitted by the Prophet, may Allah bless him, is 63. His wife ‘Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, set 67 of them free. Another 70 slaves were liberated by al-‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, the uncle of the Prophet. The number of those manumitted by another close companion ‘Abdul Rahman bin ‘Awf runs into thousands. (See Human Rights in Islam by Abu Al-A’la Maududi. Chapter 3, subsection 5)
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