Sex-Slavery in Islamic Jurisprudence

Sex-Slavery in Islamic Jurisprudence

Ever heard the saying: “Islam is a perfect religion, it’s Muslims who aren’t perfect”?

Well that is a thoughtfully concocted and sinister deflective tactic designed to acquit Islam of its inherent fascism, while fermenting a discontent for Muslims in academia.

Far from perfect, Islam is fundamentally flawed down to its prophetic traditions. Slavery is one of the most revered divine privileges in Islam. It is not illegal in Islam, rather it is an Islamic right. Muhammad inaugrated a tripartite model of slavery into Islam, encompassing enslavement, slave trade and sex-slavery. It was an enslavement model that thrived unquestioned until the dismantling of the Ottoman empire.

Pro Sharia advocates in the West often castigate the West for its decadence, arguing that adolescents partying out drunk till late hours; and teenage girls posing suggestively on magazine covers, are perfect of examples of just how rife Western society is with alcoholism and prostitution. As a remedy for this rot, such activists proffer the divine solution of introducing sharia regulations, such as alcohol ban, segregation of the sexes and imposed veils. In truth, alcohol, dressing suggestively, and not wearing a veil are in no way the greatest threats to a civilised way of life, Islamofascism is. It is a wry fact that Islam disparages suggestively-clad women, while sanctioning sex-slavery. Sex-slavery in actual fact, is inarguably a form of prostitution in itself. It is clear that civilisation is in need of salvation when one of the first things the Muslim Brotherhood does upon acquiring state power and writing a new constitution – a sharia-based constitution –, is lift a national ban on slavery. Through the imperfect lens of Islam, Allah’s form of prostitution is to be lauded while all other forms of prostitution are to be denigrated.

Slave concubinage is not illegal in Islam.

While Muslim women are allowed slave helpers to help with domestic chores and the likes, they are prohibited from having sexual relations with anyone but their husband. In addition to marrying as many as four wives, a Muslim man on the other hand, is awarded the divine blessing of having sexual intercourse with his slave girls. Thus, Islamic sex-slavery is a Muslim male right, bequeathed to him by Allah.

“And those (among muslim men) who guard their private parts, Except in the case of their wives or those whom their right hands possess—for these surely are not to be blamed” [Quran 70:29–30]

‘We have made lawful to you your wives to whom you have given their due compensation and war captives whom your right hand possesses’ [Quran 33:50].

It is important to note that anywhere “right hand possesses” appears in the Quran, it refers specifically to slaves. It appears some fourteen times in the Quran. Muhammad also instructed his followers to ejaculate inside slave-girls when having sex with them. He said: “It is better for you not to do it [pull out when ejaculating]. No soul that which Allah has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence.”

Thus for the Muslim male, having sex with his female slaves is as legal as having sex with his married wives. Ejaculating in slave-girls is a much preferred ethic than not ejaculating in slave girls.

Muhammad himself took at least 3 slave girls for concubines: Juwairiya of Banu Mustaliq (Bukhari 3:46:717), Rayhana of Banu Qurayza, and Maria. Maria was sent to him by an infidel Egyptian governor, to pacify him, after receiving his threatening warmongering letter asking him to convert to Islam, pay jizyah or face Muhammad’s encroaching jihadi army. There was also the Jewish girl Safiyah who was the wife of Kinana. Upon torturing Kinana to death and confiscating the wealth of the Jews from him, Muhammad and his companions cast a lot to divide the looted wealth. The women were reduced to slaves and Safiyah fell to the lot of one of Muhammad’s companion. Upon seeing that she was very beautiful, too beautiful to be possessed by a mere jihadi companion, it was suggested that she should be handed over to the lot of the leader. She was then handed over to Muhammad. The Muslim warrior upon whose lot she first fell, was compensated with two other concubines for the price of one.

On several other instances, Muhammad personally gifted, rather generously, from his large share of jihadi war captives, slave concubines to his jihadi comrades. He gifted a slave concubine each to Omar ibn Khattab (his father-in-law and the second caliph), Ali (his son-in-law and fourth caliph) and Uthman b. Affan (his son-in-law and the third caliph). These men kept these possessions, in addition to the other slave concubines that was their rightful lot out of the share of conquest loot.

There isn’t a more dehumanising/degrading form of prostitution than slave concubinage, yet it was the norm all through Islam’s history. It only ceased to exist in the Islamic world, officially, following the neutering of the Ottoman empire and the rise of the West. If an institution of sex slavery is regarded despicably by today’s standards, then it begs the question: can Muhammad still be considered a suitable role model by today’s standards?

When it comes to fascist doctrines within Islam, the blame is usually thrust at the “extremists”: those people who allegedly ‘take Islam’s message of peace out of context’ and sully it with their ‘ignorant’ ‘heretical’ mis-interpretations. Islamists specifically are often blamed for trying to corrupt Islam from the message of ‘personal application’ that it originally was intended as, into a message of state laws, domination, conquests, enslavement, terrorism, and colonialist conquest. While it is true that many Muslims are quite content with Islam being a personal affair, and are not interested in trying to pass Islamic laws on anyone else – Muslim or disbeliever; it is also true that there is no greater Muslim than Muhammad himself.

It was Muhammad, the founder of Islam, who inaugrated a tripartite model of slavery into Islam (as already stated), one encompassing enslavement, chattel slavery and sex-slavery. Generations of Muslim men all through history kept sex-slaves because Muhammad had authorised them to. Muhammad’s companions kept many more slave concubines than he did, without him ever condemning their actions. There were nation leaders and religious figures before Muhammad’s era who were averse to slavery. All Muhammad had to do was learn from them to expand on their progressive ideals, in such a way that such jahiliya principles could be preserved to benefit all of humanity, not reverse such principles. Prophet Muhammad had no business reducing innocent infidel women to slavery status. He also had no business teaching his followers to do the same. Upon entering Sindh with only 6000 Arab jihadi soldiers, Qasim slaughtered able-bodied men and enslaved approximately 300,000 Indian infidels in just three years.

Jauhar: The practice of jauhar was unknown in pre-islamic India. The advent of Islamic invasions into India created it. It was a custom amongst Hindu women of committing murder by jumping into fire, to avoid capture for sexual enslavement or violations by Muslim invaders. Women at the palace in Sindh committed jauhar in large numbers, to avoid capture and sexual violation, when Qasim finally captured Sindh at the end of his three year stint. This was a trend that continued even ingot he reign of enlightened Akbar. In capturing Sindh (under the instructions of Governor Hajjaj ibn Yusuf of Baghdad and Caliph al-Walid of Damascus), Qasim brought to India, the prophetic tradition of killing able-bodied defenders while kidnapping and enslaving the womenfolk and children of the vanquished for keeping as slave-concubines and domestic servants. All in the name of expanding the political frontiers of Islamdom. Akbar, in his conquest of Chittor (1568), ordered the enslavement of the women of already slain 8,000 Rajput soldiers. Some 8,000 of these women committed jauhar to save themselves from the dishonour and sex-slavery that was to come. Chittor is reported to have witnessed three major occurrences of jauhar when it was attacked by Alauddin Khilji (1303), Bahadur Shah of Gujarat (1535) and Akbar (1568). It was Islamic invasions who brought to India proper, the prophetic tradition of sexually exploiting Polytheist women. Sultan Mahmud had carried away 500,000 captives from India in 1001–02 and large numbers of them on other occasions, after having slain the able-bodied male defenders. Jauhar thrived in India for centuries, following the coming of Islamofascism to the subcontinent. In the days of the 1947 partition of the Subcontinent (initiated by the Muslim League to create the Land of the Pure), many Hindu and Sikh women pre-empted being condemned to a life of slave-concubinage and chose to save their honour by setting themselves on fire and jumping into wells.

There isn’t a more ideal Islamist than Muhammad, nor is there a more staunch advocate of Islamic fascism than him. He created the nascent state of Medina by slaughtering disbelieving natives. He confiscated the Kaaba, which initially represented 360 religions, for Muslims’ exclusive use. He mercilessly annihilated all opposition, while transferring the women of the vanquished to Muslim harems – a divine protocol approved by Allah [Quran 33:26–27]. Slave concubinage is clearly sanctioned in the Quran, Sunnah and Sharia. Islam puts no limit to the number of sex slaves Muslim men can keep.

As far as legal marriage is concerned, there is a limitation of four wives for a man at one time [Quran 4:3], but no such limitation on the number of sex-slaves.

Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess… [Quran 4:24].

Thus in Islamic jurisprudence, the Muslim male can engage in sex with the captured slave women even if they were already married prior to their enslavement, but not with the married free Muslim women.

Multiple verses in the Quran talk approvingly of slaves and capturing them in wars. Muhammad himself, armed with these sanctions, inaugurated slavery, slave-trade and sex-slavery into Islam by enslaving women and children of the vanquished disbelievers.

“And who guard their private parts, except before their mates or those whom their right hands possess, for they surely are not blameable” [Quran 23:5–6].

Allah tells muslim men to select kaffir vaginas for fucking, out of the bountiful “prisoners of war” whom muslims had offensively fallen upon. [Quran 33:50]

Therefore, according to the divine commands of the Islamic God as enshrined in the holy Quran, Muslims are allowed to amass sex slaves. It goes without saying that rape itself is a divine sanction of the Islamic God as enshrined in the Quran. The glorified version of Islam’s history would have us believe that the women of the vanquished able-bodied infidel men, were all eager to end up in the harems of Muslim men, to be ejaculated in as and when the conquerors desired. Allah’s commands and prophetic tradition justify and glorify sexual assault. When soldiers in secular-democratic societies use rape as a weapon of war, they are punished by the same system of laws. There is nothing in Islamic jurisprudence that sanctions the punishment of a jihad soldier for amassing disbelieving women as war captives, throwing them into his harem and having forceful sex with them. They become his property to do as he wishes. This was the Islam that Muhammad practiced and taught to his followers!

In addition to acquiring lands for the expansion of Islamic territories, it is apparent that the greed for using kafir women as sex slaves, was a motivating factor for Muslim jihadis to engage in holy wars throughout Islam’s history. The objects of Islamic sex slavery is cohabitation (on the basis of possession, not marriage), and the generation of children for swelling the Muslim population. Slave children born in the master’s house were by right of Islamic law, automatically Muslim. Their (slave) mothers are prohibited from baptising them into any other religion. This is an ordinance that thrived during Islam’s early days and is duly observed in islamic jurisprudence today.

The early Muslim community grew rather rapidly and much of its growth is owed to the Islamic rite of slave concubinage. islamic rulers, all blazing the torch of Islam, kept slave concubines in stupendous numbers as it became synonymous with success, power and status. In India, enlightened Akbar kept 5,000 women in his harem, while Jahangir and Shah Jahan kept 5,000 to 6,000 each. In the 18th century, Sultan Moulay Ismail had 4,000 concubines in his harem. The harem in the Fatimid palace in Cairo had roughly 12,000. Abd al-Rahman III’s harem (d. 961) in Cordoba contained over 6,000 concubines, and in under just four years of capturing Spain (698-712), Musa captured 30,000 virgin girls from the families of Gothic nobility alone. Also, the last Nawab, who ruled Bahawalpur until 1954 had more than three hundred and ninety women in his harem.

All Islamic rulers throughout history institutionalised sex-slavery. All of them. If they were all mistaken about Islam, then it is safe to say that Islam cannot be understood.

Why is it needful to study both Islamic ideology, and Islam’s history prior to the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire? Such an endeavour is useful because one will never know whether to oppose Sharia laws or not, until one understands precisely why one should and must oppose both Sharia laws and Islamic rule!


Islamic sex-slavery was founded by Allah, as an exclusive Muslim male privilege. It didn’t merely ‘seep’ into Islamdom from the jahiliya cultures. It is rich of pro sharia activists in the West to ardently fault Western society as being decadent, when Islamic jurisprudence, as a matter of fact, is guilty of institutionalizing decadent norms that the rest of the world have long ago moved on from glorifying. Suffice to say, Allah hates it when prostitution occurs in the ‘filthy’ West, because he desires prostitution to be the exclusive monopoly of the Muslim male. A sharia constitution is not compatible with modern day secular-democratic notions of organising public life and State. It is a rather outdated and morally inferior model for building any kind of civilisation. It is not only unabashedly colonialist, but it is misogynistic against the Muslim woman, and is hateful towards the Kafir woman, her community and her offspring.

It is not secularists who need to quit opposing Islam. It is Islam who needs to abolish Islamism, and learn to respect everyone else!

Slavery in Islam

Slavery in Islam

All the ancient as well as the contemporary scholars acknowledge the fact of slavery in Islam and clarify the status of slaves. I have chosen the opinions of the most famous scholars to shed light on their position.

The Scholars of al-Azhar in Egypt

In his book, “You Ask and Islam Answers”, Dr. ‘Abdul-Latif Mushtahari, the general supervisor and director of homiletics and guidance at the Azhar University, says (pp. 51,52),

“Islam does not prohibit slavery but retains it for two reasons. The first reason is war (whether it is a civil war or a foreign war in which the captive is either killed or enslaved) provided that the war is not between Muslims against each other – it is not acceptable to enslave the violators, or the offenders, if they are Muslims. Only non-Muslim captives may be enslaved or killed. The second reason is the sexual propagation of slaves which would generate more slaves for their owner.”

The text is plain that all prisoners of war must either be killed or become slaves. The ancient scholars are in full agreement over this issue, such as Ibn Timiyya, Ibn Hisham, Malik etc. Ibn Timiyya says (Vol. 32, p. 89),

“The root of the beginning of slavery is prisoners of war; the bounties have become lawful to the nation of Muhammad.”

Then (Vol. 31, p. 380), he indicates clearly and without shame,

“Slavery is justified because of the war itself; however, it is not permissible to enslave a free Muslim. It is lawful to kill the infidel or to enslave him, and it also makes it lawful to take his offspring into captivity.

In Part 4, p. 177 of the “Prophet Biography” (Al-Road Al-Anf’), Ibn Hisham says,

“According to Islamic law concerning prisoners of war, the decision is left to the Muslim Imam. He has the choice either to kill them or to exchange them for Muslim captives, or to enslave them. This is in regard to men, but women and children are not permitted to be killed, but must be exchanged (to redeem Muslim captives) or enslaved – take them as slaves and maids.”

This is the statement of Ibn Hisham, on whom all Muslims and students of Muhammad’s biography rely. Of course, these matters which Ibn Hisham recorded used to take place continuously in all of Muhammad’s wars and invasions. All of Muhammad’s people (his wives, and Muhammad himself) owned many slaves – males and females. In his campaign against the children of Qurayza (the Jewish tribe), Muhammad killed all the males (700-900) in one day. Then, he divided the women and the children among his people.

The Caliphs across the ages followed Muhammad’s footsteps and enslaved (by hundreds and thousands) men and women who were captured in wars. Many of them were Persians and Byzantines. All the Islamic Chroniclers without exception have recorded these facts. The way Arab Muslims invaded Africa and killed and enslaved Africans is a well-known, historical fact.

In Vol. 2, Part 3, p. 13, Malik Ibn Anas repeated the same text as did Ibn Hisham who is also quoted by Ibn Timiyya, and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya in his book, “Zad al-Ma’ad” (part 3, p. 486). All of them taught the same principle and said the same words.

This question was delivered to Ibn Timiyya who was Mufti of Islam (Vol. 31, pp. 376, 377),

“A man married a maid-slave who bore him a child. Would that child be free or would he be an owned slave?”

Ibn Timiyya says emphatically,

“Her child whom she bore from him would be the property of her master according to all the Imams (heads of the four Islamic schools of law) because the child follows the (status) of his mother in freedom or slavery. If the child is not of the race of Arabs, then he is definitely an owned slave according to the scholars, but the scholars disputed (his status) among themselves if he was from the Arabs – whether he must be enslaved or not because when A’isha (Muhammad’s wife) had a maid-slave who was an Arab, Muhammad said to A’isha, `Set this maid free because she is from the children of Ishmael.’”

Then Ibn Timiyya states (Vol. 31, p. 380) that the legist Abu Hanifa says, “Muhammad is an Arab; thus it is not admissible to enslave Arabs because of the nobility of this race since Muhammad is from them.” Yet other scholars disagree with him, emphasizing that Muhammad (in one of his campaigns) enslaved Arabs, too. However, it is evident from Muhammad’s traditions that he regarded Arabs to be the most noble race, especially the Quraysh, his tribe. His famous saying (that the caliphs must be elected from the Quraysh tribe) is acknowledged by all translators of the tradition without exception.

He should have told A’isha, “Set her free because she is a human being like you. It is not important whether she is a descendant of Ishmael or of Isaac!”

Islam Encourages Muslims to Keep Slaves – No Liberation

All Muslim scholars acknowledge that Islam has retained the principle of slavery, though some of them claim that Islam encourages the liberation of slaves. Maybe some of Muhammad’s sayings and a few Qur’anic verses indicate so, yet from a practical point of view, we realize that the liberation of slaves was a rare occurrence. The reason is well known. Neither Muhammad nor his wives or companions were a good example in this regard. Sometimes, Muhammad used to talk about the merits of liberating a slave, yet he himself owned dozens of slaves and maid-slaves. However, we encounter a strange opinion spelled out by Muhammad’s wives and his friends in which he encourages them to retain their slaves. In Vol. 33, p. 61 Ibn Timiyya says,

“Anyone who says, `If I do so (such a thing), every slave I own will become free’ is not obligated by his oath and he can redeem his oath by any means and retain his slaves. (He can do that) by fasting a few days or by feeding some hungry people.”

On the same page Ibn Timiyya stresses that this is what all Muhammad’s friends said (such as Ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn ‘Umar) as well as his wives (such as Zaynab, A’isha, and Um Salama).

Is the liberation of slaves a bad thing so that it is possible for a man who swears he will liberate his slaves to renounce his oath and retain them? It should be said that whoever takes an oath to free his slaves if so and so happens, is obliged to fulfill his oath and liberate his slaves, but we see that Muhammad’s wives, his great companions and his relatives say something different according to the testimony of Ibn Timiyya.

The Qur’an itself (in several places) approves of slavery and assures the Muslim the right to own dozens of male and female slaves either by purchasing them or as bounty of war. The Qur’an talks about the possession of slaves as “the possession of their necks” (Chapter 58:3, Surah Al-Mujadilah).

Slaves of Muhammad – Prophet of Freedom and Equality!

Muhammad himself owned numerous slaves after he proclaimed himself to be a prophet. I would like here to quote Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya who is one of the greatest scholars and chroniclers of Islam. In his book, “Zad al-Ma’ad” (Part I, p. 160), he says,

“Muhammad had many male and female slaves. He used to buy and sell them, but he purchased (more slaves) than he sold, especially after God empowered him by His message, as well as after his immigration from Mecca. He (once) sold one black slave for two. His name was Jacob al-Mudbir. His purchases of slaves were more (than he sold). He was used to renting out and hiring many slaves, but he hired more slaves than he rented out.

This trading used to take place in the slave market in the Arab Peninsula and in Mecca. Muhammad was accustomed to sell, purchase, hire, rent, and to exchange one slave for two. Thus, he had an increasing number of slaves, especially after he claimed to be a prophet, and after his immigration from Mecca to escape death at the hand of his tribe Quraysh. Also, the slaves of Muhammad and his followers were constantly increasing as the result of those who were captured in wars and not only by purchase. This should alert those who have accepted Islam – the Muslims of New York, Chicago, Georgia, Detroit, Los Angeles as well as all the Africans and all Muslims of the world. Even among the Arabs are Muslims who are not aware of these facts concerning Muhammad. Sadly, this is only a small part of the facts of which they are unaware concerning Muhammad.

The Names of Muhammad’s Slaves

  1. A) Male Slaves:

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya relies always on the prophet’s biographies written by great ancient scholars. Therefore, he is regarded by Muslims as an authority, a primary source and a leader among the students of the Islamic religion. This scholar tells us in his book, “Zad al-Ma’ad” (part 1, pp. 114, 115, and 116), the following,

“These are the names of Muhammad’s male slaves: Yakan Abu Sharh, Aflah, ‘Ubayd, Dhakwan, Tahman, Mirwan, Hunayn, Sanad, Fadala Yamamin, Anjasha al-Hadi, Mad’am, Karkara, Abu Rafi’, Thawban, Ab Kabsha, Salih, Rabah, Yara Nubyan, Fadila, Waqid, Mabur, Abu Waqid, Kasam, Abu ‘Ayb, Abu Muwayhiba, Zayd Ibn Haritha, and also a black slave called Mahran, who was re-named (by Muhammad) Safina (`ship’).

He himself relates his own story; he says:

“The apostle of God and his companions went on a trip. (When) their belongings became too heavy for them to carry, Muhammad told me, `Spread your garment.’ They filled it with their belongings, then they put it on me. The apostle of God told me, `Carry (it), for you are a ship.’ Even if I was carrying the load of six or seven donkeys while we were on a journey, anyone who felt weak would throw his clothes or his shield or his sword on me so I would carry that, a heavy load. The prophet told me, `You are a ship”‘ (refer to Ibn Qayyim, pp. 115-116; al-Hulya, Vol. 1, p. 369, quoted from Ahmad 5:222).

The story shows their ruthlessness and does not need explanation or clarification. The ill treatment Muhammad and his companions made of Mahran is very repulsive. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya is not the only one who recorded this episode and the list of names of Muhammad’s slaves. The Tabari also (in his Chronicles, Volume 2 p. 216, 217, 218) presents us with these accounts. No one among the contemporary Muslim leaders denies these matters, especially if he is faced with the Tabari’s and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya’s records.

Still, in regard to Muhammad’s slave Zayd Ibn Haritha, Muhammad set him free and adopted him, then he married him to his (Muhammad’s) cousin Zaynab. Later Zayd divorced her after he realized that Muhammad was captivated by her. The scandalous story is documented by verses in the Qur’an, and Muslim scholars admit it.

  1. B) Maid Slaves:

In this same Section (One, p. 116), Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya as well as other Muslim authors of chronicles recorded the list of names of Muhammad’s maid-slaves. They are Salma Um Rafi’, Maymuna daughter of Abu Asib, Maymuna daughter of Sa’d, Khadra, Radwa, Razina, Um Damira, Rayhana, Mary the Coptic, in addition to two other maid-slaves, one of them given to him as a present by his cousin, Zaynab, and the other one captured in a war.


The Status of the Slave Under Islam’s Unjust Laws

Let us survey together some strange things embraced by Muhammad and Islam pertaining to slaves. Then let us shed some light on the attitude of Christianity towards this issue.

The Freeman Should Not Be Killed For A Slave

The Qur’an as well as Muslim scholars are explicit in this regard The Qur’an (the Chapter of the Cow:178) shamelessly says,

“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 reader does not need the interpretations of the scholars to understand these explicit words which indicate that the freeman should be killed only for another freeman, a slave for a slave, and a female for a female. Still, I promised to stick to the interpretations of the great expositors of these Qur’anic verses from among the Muslim scholars because they are more knowledgeable of their Book and its verses. We rely on their interpretations and not on our own. In the commentary of the Jalalan (p. 24), we read the following regarding the above mentioned verse,

“The same punishment was imposed on believers and what is similar to the act of the crime in the case of a homicide, by virtue of description or actuality. A freeman should be killed for another freeman but not for a slave, a female for a female, but a Muslim (even if he is a slave) must not be killed for an infidel, even if that infidel is a freeman.”

What kind of equality is this between human beings!

To explain the aforementioned verse (2:178), the Baydawi relates what really happened with the prophet Muhammad, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. This is recorded in his book entitled, “The Commentary of al-Baydawi”. On p. 36, we read,

“The Shafi’i and Malik prohibit the killing of a freeman if he slays his slave or other men’s slaves. This is because ‘Ali Ibn Abi-Talib mentioned that a man had killed his slave and Muhammad scourged him only; he did not kill him. It was related on the authority of Muhammad that he said a Muslim should not be killed for a non-Muslim, nor a freeman for a slave; also because Abu Bakr and ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab did not kill a freeman for a slave. (This was said) in the presence of all Muhammad’s companions, and no one disapproved or objected to it.”

These are the verses of the Qur’an and this is the attitude of Muhammad himself as well as Abu Bakr and ‘Umar after him.

The Muslim legists

The Shafi’i, Malik and Ibn Timiyya, pronounce the same principle as in the Qur’an (2:187).

The Imam Shafi’i tells us plainly and decisively in Part I of his book, “Ahkam al-Qur’an” (“The Ordinances of the Qur’an”, p. 275),

“A man is not to be killed for his slave nor the freeman for a slave.”

On the same page he adds,

“A believer is not to be killed for a non-believer, nor a man for his son, or a man for his slave or for a woman.”

What justice! What equality! Then he adds,

“The freeman is not to be killed for a slave according to the scholars.”

Malik Ibn Anas was asked: “What is the punishment of a master who beats his slave to death?” He answered: “Nothing!” (Vol. 6, Part 15, p 164).

In Vol. 28, p. 378, Ibn Timiyya also says:

“What we mentioned in regard to the believers whose blood is treated equally is restricted to the free Muslim against another free Muslim.”

I do not have better witnesses in this regard than these scholars: Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Ali and Muhammad’s deeds, and all great, popular Muslim scholars.

A Slave Is Not Entitled To Property Or Money

Ibn Hazm says in Vol. 6, Part 9,

“The slave is not permitted to write a will when he dies, nor can he bequeath (anything) because his entire possessions belong to his master.”

In part I, p. 180 of his book, “The Ordinances of the Qur’an”, the Shafi’i also says,

“The Qur’anic verse; `Marry of the women who seem good to you, two or three or four are meant for the freeman only and not for the slaves because he says in it that the one who acts fairly is the person who owns money and slaves do not own money.”‘

He also indicates in Part II, p. 21, “The owned one does not have money.” Besides, according to the Islamic law, all Muslims receive portions of war bounty except slaves and women. Malik Ibn Anas says (Vol. 2, Part 3, pp. 33,34),

“Slaves and women do not have any portion in the bounty.”

This is true even if they have been fighting with the rest of the Muslims. In Part III of the “Prophetic Biography” (p. 386), Ibn Kathir says,

“The slave does not get anything from the bounty whether the bounty is money or women.”

The Testimony Of The Slave Is Not Admissible

In Vol. 35, p. 409 Ibn Timiyya remarks,

“The Shafi’i, Malik, and Abu Hanifa, who are the legists of Islam, assert that the testimony of the slave is not acceptable.”

If we also turn the pages of the “Ordinances of the Qur’an” by the Shafi’i (part II, p. 142), he determines,

“The witnesses must be from among our freeman, not from our slaves, but from freeman who belong to our religion! ”

The testimony of a Jew or a Christian is not acceptable, as we have mentioned before, even if justice would be hindered for lack of their witness. This is not important. In his “Sahih” (Part III, p. 223), Al-Bukhari remarks,

“The testimony of a slave is not acceptable in marriages.”

What is the meaning of the Shafi’i’s statement,

“A witness should not be from our possessed slaves.”

Does not Mr. Shafi’i know that God only is the One who owns people? How dare he utter the phrase, “our possessed slaves.”

There Is No Punishment For One Who Makes False Accusation Against Slaves

It is well known that if a Muslim falsely accuses another free Muslim and slanders his honor, he will be punished by being flogged with eighty lashes. This is what happened when some of Muhammad’s companions and relatives accused A’isha, his wife, of adultery with one of the young men because they stayed behind after the departure of the caravan, then later in the morning they arrived together. Muhammad ordered each one of them flogged with eighty lashes. But if a Muslim calumniates a slave, he would not be punished.

This is the opinion of all the scholars.

For instance (Vol. 8, Part II, p. 27 1), Ibn Hazm asserts that this is the opinion of Abu Hanifa, Shafi’i, Malik, and Sufyan al-Thawri and not only his own opinion. This is what the Sharawi shamelessly remarks,

“Female slaves are deprived of dignity and subject to abuse because they are not `an honor’ to anyone (that is, they are not free, respectable women who belong to a free man). These are the same words reiterated by the Shafi’i (Part I, p. 307) in his book, `Ahkam of the Qur’an’; thus a female slave must not be veiled. When- ever Muhammad took a woman as a captive, if he imposed the veil on her, Muslims would say he took her as a wife, but if he left her unveiled they would say, `He owned her as a slave’; that is, she became a property of his right hand.”

A good example is the incident of Safiyya, daughter of Hay, who was taken as a bounty in the war of Khaybar. All the chronicles (as well as the biographies without exception) have recorded, “We wonder why it is said about women and girls that they are of `shed dignity’.” The Shafi’i and the Sharawi state this word for word. Is it necessary for us to repeat that Islam sheds the dignity of man under the pretense that he is a slave, that she is a woman, or that he is a non-Muslim?

On Matters Of Sex And Marriage – and About Black Slaves

  1. The Slave cannot choose for himself.

This was confirmed by all the Muslim scholars on the authority of Muhammad. In Vol. 6, Part 9, p. 467, Ibn Hazm said,

“If a slave gets married without the permission of his master, his marriage will be invalid and he must be whipped because he has committed adultery. He must be separated from his wife. She is also regarded as an adulteress because Muhammad said, `Any slave who gets married without the approval of his master is a prostitute.’”

The same text is quoted by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (Part 5, p. 117 of “Zad al-Maad”), as well as Ibn Timiyya (Vol. 32, p. 201). Malik Ibn Anas relates (Vol. 2, Part 4) more than that. He says (pp. 199, 201, 206),

“The slave does not get married without the approval of his master. If he is a slave to two masters, he has to obtain the approval of both men.”

  1. The male slave and the female slave are forced to get married.

Malik Ibn Anas says explicitly,

“The master has the right to force his male or female slave to marry without obtaining their approval” (Vol. 2, p. 155).

Ibn Hazm says that Sufyan al-Thawri, too, has said that the master has the right to force his male or female slave to marry without securing their approval (Vol. 6, Part 9, p. 469). Ibn Timiyya is of the same opinion.

I must not fail in this regard to mention that Malik Ibn Ons, who (after agreeing with the other scholars that the master has the right to force his male or female slave to get married) added,

“The master does not have the right to force the female slave to wed to an ugly black slave if she is beautiful and agile unless in case of utmost necessity” (refer to Ibn Hazm, Vol. 6, Part 9, p. 469).

We wonder here, what did Malik Ibn Anas mean when he said, “An ugly black slave“? Is a man valued on the basis of the color of his skin? Do you say that, O Malik Ibn Anas, and you are one of the great four legists? Or is a man valued on the basis of his personality, reasoning, and heart? We also have the right to wonder why Mihran, the black slave, suffered the humiliation afflicted on him by Muhammad and his companions when they made him carry their belongings in the burning desert while Muhammad was saying to him, “Carry them, for you are a ship.” Thus he became known by that surname. Did they not have dozens of other slaves?

Muhammad even discriminated (in Islam) between a black dog and a white dog! Yet, what concerns us here is what I pointed out about slaves in general, their masters treat them as if they are not human beings who have feelings, desires and self-will.

Let us continue our discussion in order to have a more complete picture about how the Islamic religion abuses the dignity of men and women under the pretense that they are slaves and not free human beings.

  1. The Arab freeman does not marry a slave unless it is inevitable:

In Vol. 31, p. 383, Ibn Timiyya says,

“It is not permissible for the Arab freeman to marry an owned slave unless it is inevitable, such as being unable to get married to a free woman. If it happened and he were wed to a slave, her children would be slaves, too, because they follow (the status) of the mother in slavery.”

Malik Ibn Anas notes,

“It is not allowable for a man to wed a slave besides his freewoman wife. In this case, his wife has the right to divorce him. Likewise, if he marries a freewoman while he is already married to a slave and he fails to tell her so, the freewoman has the right to leave him” (Malik, Vol. 2, p. 204).

I do not have any comment on these strange principles, yet I wonder why an Arab freeman cannot marry a slave. Is not he a man and she a woman? And why (if it is inevitable that he should marry her) should all her descendants be slaves? These are iniquitous and ruthless ordinances. It is obvious that Muhammad failed to change the traditions of the tribal society of the pre-Islamic period. Most Arab Muslims had slaves. His companions, wives and he himself owned and retained dozens of them. He bought more after he claimed his prophethood and declared his message – the message or equality, and freedom, and human rights!

What Would Happen If A Freewoman Married Her Slave?

She might be an open-minded woman who did not discriminate between one man and another. Thus she might have fallen in love with her slave who also loved her and they intended, officially, to get married. What is the attitude of Islam in this case? If something like that took place in Islamic society, it would be a disaster! Let us see the reaction of Umar Ibn Khattab in these situations. In Vol. 8, Part 11, pp. 248, 249, Ibn Hazm remarks,

“A woman was wed to her male slave. Umar intended to stone her, but instead he made them separate and sent the slave to exile. He told the woman, `It is unlawful for you to get married to your owned slave!’ Another woman got married to her slave. Umar scourged her with a whip and forbade any man to marry her. Another time, a freewoman came to Umar and told him, `I am not a pretty woman and I have a slave to whom I would like to get married.’ Umar refused to do so. He whipped the slave and ordered him to be sold in a foreign country. He told the woman, `It is unlawful for you to get married to what your right hand owns. Only men have the right to get wed to what their right hand owns. Even if you set him free in order to marry him and he becomes a freeman, the manumission will be invalid and the marriage is not valid.”‘

Is there any comment on the ruthlessness of this second caliph who was Muhammad’s father-in-law and one of the ten to whom Muhammad promised paradise? He is one of the two whom Muhammad requested the people to follow as a model when he declared, “Emulate Abu Bakr and Umar.” Yet Umar was a tyrant, a ruthless man without a heart who attempted to stone a woman for no reason except she married a man who was her slave. He also scourged another woman, forbidding any other man to marry her, and beat and exiled a slave. And when a third woman wanted to free her slave in order to marry him and live happily together, especially after she lost hope in getting married to a freeman, Islam and Umar intervened and said, “No, this is not permissible.” He scourged the slave and sold him into a foreign country. By that, he became an example of relentlessness, a hard heart, and detestable oppression.

In matters of sex and marriage, Ibn Timiyya states:

“The one who owns the mother also owns her children. Being the master of the mother makes him the owner of her children whether they were born to a husband or they were illegitimate children. Therefore, the master has the right to have sexual intercourse with the daughters of his maid-slave because they are his property, provided he does not sleep with the mother at the same time” (Vol. 35, p. 54).

The Value Of The Slave – What Is His Price In Dinars?

“If an owned slave assaults somebody and damages his property, his crime will be tied to his neck. It will be said to his master, `If you wish, you can pay the fine for the damages done by your slave or deliver him to be sentenced to death.’ His master has to choose one of the two options – either the value of the slave and his price or the damage the slave has caused” (Vol. 32, p. 202, Ibn Timiyya).

Is this how the value of a man is calculated? If the loss amounted, for example, to 600 dinars and the value of the slave in the estimation of the master did not exceed more than 400 dinars because he was sick or weak, his master would, in this case, deliver him to be killed!

We have looked at six points concerning the status of slaves in the Islamic religion. Actually, any one point, if we ponder it, is sufficient to clarify the truth. It reveals to us how human dignity is crushed in the practice of slavery. From the very beginning, we referred to the principle of slavery as it is manifested in this religion, and we have listed the names of Muhammad’s slaves, the master and the “apostle of God!”

The Position of Christianity – the Teaching of the Gospel

Christianity is very decisive in this matter. The words and the spirit of the Gospel are very clear. From the very beginning, we have used a fundamental principle in this study and research; namely, the comparison must always be between the Gospel and the Qur’an – Christianity as religion and teachings and Islam as religion, in order to see which one of the two reveals the thoughts of the true, living God. Also, the comparison should be between Muhammad, his life and his sayings on the one hand, and Christ, His life and teachings on the other.

If we were to find (for example) some Europeans or Americans who allowed themselves to acquire slaves, we should not blame Christianity for that because we must realize that the Gospel teaches something different. We see that Jesus and His disciples did not possess slaves.

We do blame Islam in this regard because Muhammad himself acquired male and female slaves by dozens. All his friends, his wives and most Muslims of his time and after owned slaves. The Qur’an encourages that and the scholars do not negate it. We blame Islamic thought and the behavior of Muhammad in regard to this matter and other issues recorded in the most authentic Islamic sources.

We should not, in any subject, dwell on the behavior of some Christians or some Muslims but rather try to examine the attitude of Islamic thought (or Christian thought) toward the issues under discussion. Some people, for instance, believe that a man like Khomeini is an extremist because of Islam, the religion of tolerance, love, and reason. We, for our part, feel surprised to hear that, because who says that this statement is true? Islam is not the religion of tolerance, love, or reason. Not at all! Islam is the exact opposite of this claim.

Did we not see that this religion humiliates and persecutes women and non-Muslims as well as waging offensive wars and encouraging Muslims to kill apostates? Is Muhammad, who ordered the killing of a woman who insulted him, the prophet of tolerance? Why should we blame Khomeini when he issued an order to kill Rushdie? Does not Rushdie (according to the law of Islam and Muhammad, not the law of the United Nations) deserve death for attacking the Qur’an, Muhammad and his wives? Khomeini was never radical; he was always a true student of Muhammad. He intended to enforce the Islamic laws and to fight nations which do not comply with them – such as Iraq (even though Islam is its official religion).

When Muslims kill one another, it is because Muhammad’s friends and disciples did so immediately after his death, each one of them trying to force his friend to go in the right way. Khomeini is a true Muslim who follows Muhammad and his friends. Thus, we hear about “exporting the Islamic revolution” to other countries. All these things are compatible with the views of Muhammad and the rightly guided Caliphs who succeeded him such as Abu Bakr, Umar and Ali. When Khomeini slaughtered his opponents, he was following the footsteps of Ali who killed the dissenters, like Talha, Al Zubair and Al Khwareg, even though they were faithful Muslims.

What does the New Testament say about slaves?

Now, what does the New Testament say about slaves? If we turn in the pages of the New Testament we read these verses:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

Christ was always warning his disciples and all believers from calling themselves masters. He said to them:

“But you, do not be called `Rabbi’ [master]; for One is your Teacher [master], the Christ, and you are all brethren” (Matt. 23:8).

“But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be abased (humbled); and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matt. 23:12).

By these last words Christ has turned over all the feeble human standards – The “… greatest among you shall be your servant.” How profound and deep are these wonderful words!

This truth is clearly taught in the New Testament by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It happened that there was a slave called Onesimus who ran away from his master, Philemon. Onesimus met the apostle Paul in Rome and was converted to Christianity. Paul sent him back to Philemon with a very impressive letter which is included in the New Testament and in which we read these shining words,

“I am sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart. Receive him … no longer as a slave but … as a beloved brother, …, both in the flesh and in the Lord” (Chapter 1).

Paul, Peter and the rest of the disciples did not have the authority to abolish slavery within the Roman Empire. Paul was not one of the Roman governors, but a fugitive and a persecuted man. Later he and most of the disciples were killed at the hands of the Romans along with thousands of their Christian brothers. Muhammad and his successors were rulers and could have outlawed slavery. Instead, they retained it and kept their slaves.

In another letter, Paul urged the Christians to “give your servants what is just and fair” (Col. 4:1). The text emphasizes these two words – brotherhood and justice – because there is neither slave nor freeman, but all are one in Christ.

Egyptian history relates a story about a courageous man who stood in front of his tyrannical rulers who mistreated people and wondered in agony, “Why have you enslaved people whose mothers gave birth to them as free persons?” This brave man did not know that he was addressing multitudes of people across the ages, whether ruthless Westerners in Europe and America or the prophet of Islam himself who failed to liberate the slaves because he himself had acquired dozens of them.

Christian religious leaders such as John Wesley boldly condemned slavery in Europe and sent strong messages to the rulers of Europe and America. They led the movement of slaves’ liberation during the day of Abraham Lincoln. Now there are multiplied black men who hold various positions of honor and respect in America. They teach in colleges and universities. They sit on the bench of the courts of the land-even the Supreme Court. They are freely elected to local, county, state and federal positions. They hold high military offices. They build their own fortunes with which they do as they wish. They freely marry and raise their families without fear.

This is what Jesus taught – “There is no difference ….”

Islam’s Role in the Viking & Atlantic Slave Trades

Islam’s Role in the Viking & Atlantic Slave Trades

The successful roll back of Muslim conquests in Europe by European resistance fighters meant that Muslim harems in the Islamic world were starved of their divinely sanctioned bountiful supply of sex slaves. Conventionally, these sex-slaves were acquired via the jihad franchise. The unmet Muslim demand for concubines found compensation in another slave-trade however. This trade was established by the Vikings. The Vikings saw an unmet demand in the market and sought to tap into its economic potential by supplying extremely wealthy sex-starved males of the Muslim Empire with the highly-prized White sex slaves they were accustomed to. Needless to say, the Vikings were the European equivalent of the corrupt African chiefs and local mercenaries in Africa who participated in neighbouring village raids to meet Muslim merchants’ insatiable demands for the infidel African slaves. These slaves were transported to the Muslim world to provide domestic and industrial services to the Muslims in the infinitely-expanding Islamic Empire. Slave trade is truly contemptible. It’s not only because slavery itself is the ultimate expression of man in his most debased form, but because it glorifies man’s debasement by institutionalising his depraved desire to own another human life completely, into a highly economically viable franchise that seduces all manner of unscrupulous men from near and far, to participation. As long as defenceless men, women and children abound for the looting, there would be no end in sight to the carnage unleashed for the lure of profit.

Accounts of mankind’s historical affair with slavery usually begins and ends with the horrors of the Atlantic slave trade. While it is necessary to understand and document crimes of the Atlantic Slave Trade so at the very least, they are never repeated; very little is taught about the similar and often times more brutal onslaughts unleashed on the Whites, Blacks, Asians, and other infidel victims of Islamic conquests. One reason why very little is written on the Islamic Slave Trades is that traditional Islamic culture still legitimises slavery. Islamic doctrine contains explicit regulations for slavery. Islam implores all of mankind to follow the Prophetic Traditions – the examples of Prophet Muhammad. Whatsoever he forbade we must forbid, what he did not forbid we may not forbid and whatsoever he did we must do. He inaugurated a tripartite model of slavery into Islam, which included sex-slavery of the prettier female captives of his war of conquests. He also sold off some of his female (Banu Qurayza) slaves for profit (to acquire weapons and horses).


Arab muslim Sheikhs Examine Slave for Sex.

Islamic slavery of Whites is inarguably an intriguing subject firstly because as stated, there is very little written on it. Secondly because it was a vigorous enterprise that went on 600 years preceding Europe’s embarking on the Atlantic Slave Trade. Was the Atlantic Slave Trade in any way inspired by the Islamic Slave Trades? Did the latter inevitably lead to the former? We know for a fact that most of the Black African slaves acquired by Europeans from Africa were acquired from the hands of Muslim merchants – about 80% slaves. We also know for a fact that upon banning the Atlantic Slave Trade, the Eastern slave trade expanded, suggesting that Muslim slave traders, unchanging in their age-old Prophetic Tradition, merely monopolised the rest of the world’s refusal to engage in slavery to their advantage. For many Africans, Western abolishment of slavery did not improve their lot, it only changed their slave market destination. For Westerners however, the rise of the Western Empire did significantly improve their lot. The mass atrocities committed during both the Islamic and Western monopolies of chattel slavery will always be in no way excusable.

In the book ‘Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Imperialism, Forced Conversion and Slavery’, M. A. Khan discusses the legacy of Islamic imperialism and Islamic slavery on the non-Muslim peoples of Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, Europe, Arabia and beyond. Featured below is an excerpt from Chapter VII of the book, which documents Islamic complicity in the Viking and Atlantic Slave Trades.

©2013. Secular African Society. All Rights Reserved.

Islamic Complicity in the Viking & Atlantic Slave Trades.


In the seventh and eighth centuries after Islam’s birth, Muslim invaders and rulers enslaved the infidels in immense numbers, promoting slave-trade into a flourishing business venture in the Muslim world. Late in the eighth century, there arose a band of non-Muslim slave hunters, the Vikings, in Europe. Vikings were a North European people, originating in Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark), who turned brutal raiding brigands between the eighth and eleventh centuries. Belonging to the so-called barbarian Germanic race, they engaged in raiding and pirate attacks along the coasts of the British Isles and mainland Europe as far east as the Volga River in Russia. ‘Famed for their long ships—the Vikings had established settlements along the coasts and rivers of mainland Europe, Ireland, Normandy, the Shetland, Orkney, and Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland over three centuries. They reached south to North Africa and east to Russia and Constantinople as looters, traders, or mercenaries. Vikings under Leif Ericson, heir to Erik the Red, reached North America, with putative expeditions to present-day Canada in the 10th century. Viking raiding voyages decreased with the introduction of Christianity to Scandinavia in the late 10th and 11th century.’880 The period of the rise and domance of the Vikings between 793 and 1066 CE became known as the Viking Age.

The Vikings have been severely condemned for their vocation of savage raids on innocent and peaceful families and communities along the coasts of Europe, killing the adults and capturing the children and young women for selling into slavery. The major reasons for the rise and spread of the Vikings, think historians, were overpopulation, technological innovations, and climate change, plus the interruption of trade and flow of goods from Central Europe to Scandinavia after the destruction of the Frisian fleet by Roman Emperor Charlemagne in 785.

Little attention is, however, given to the positive influence that Islam played in their engagement in slave-trade. The defeat of the Muslim army in the Battle of Tours in 732 dramatically subdued Islamic conquest on the European front. They even had to withdraw from some of the territories they had already captured. Thereafter, the enslavement of the prized white women from Europe for keeping as concubines in Muslim harems of the Islamic world had greatly reduced.

Examining the Sex Slave at the Slave Market

As capturing of white sex-slaves through wars and raids reduced, purchasing them became the alternative for meeting their unceasing and obsessive demand in the Muslim world. At the rise of the berserk Viking raiders, the Scandinavian fur-traders reached the Europe-Arab trading center of Bulgar Volga (in Russia), where they met traders from the Muslim world with huge demand of white women for Islamic harems. The savage Vikings, thereafter, embarked on capturing young white women for selling to traders from the Muslim world. This first opened the Eastern European route of slave-trade with the Muslim world. The supply route of white slaves via Spain also soon opened. With the spread of Christianity to Northern Europe, Viking slave-trade tapered down and eventually ceased.

Viking slave-trade has been thoroughly condemned, but little has been said of the role, Islam played, in seducing the Vikings into this abhorrent profession. There is no excuse for the crime the Vikings had committed. It is also impossible to disconnect Islam from the Viking slave-trade, because the supply was absolutely meant for meeting Islamic world’s unceasing demand for the prized white slaves.

The supply of white slaves to the Islamic world did not cease with the end of the Viking Age. Once Viking slave-trade ended, Muslim slave-hunters themselves slowly expanded the capture of white slaves in Europe to meet the Muslim world’s demand for them, thus replacing the Viking suppliers. In 1353, the Ottoman Turks, having crossed over to Europe turkishbathbypassing Constantinople, launched a new wave of raging Jihad expeditions against Europe overrunning Bulgaria and Serbia. This marked a new beginning for the capture of white slaves by Muslims in great multitudes. The Turks enslaved 7,000 whites in the attack of Thessaloniko (Greece) in 1430; while, in the sack of Methone (Greece) in 1499, Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II slaughtered all those (males) aged over ten years and “seized women and children”.881 Persian rulers Shah Tahmasp (d. 1576) attacked Georgia in 1553, enslaving more than 30,000 women and children. In his expedition to Georgia in 1551, the Ghazis ‘slew the men and took captive their wives and children.’ The sultan had earlier made another two successful expeditions against Georgia in 1540 and 1546, but the numbers enslaved are not available.882 The Ottomans and Safavids made numerous raids into European territories until the late seventeenth century. Despite suffering defeat and heavy loss in the siege of Vienna in 1683, the Ottoman Turks returned with 80,000 captives. This clearly suggests that slaves were captured in large numbers in all their campaigns.

Meanwhile the Tatar Khans embarked on numerous holy war expeditions (Razzia) into Eastern Europe and Russia in the mid-fifteenth century, capturing white slaves in tens to hundreds of thousands as noted above. The North African Barbary pirates also continued raiding and capturing white slaves along the European coastal towns from Sicily to Cornwall and from ships in the sea, enslaving more than one million white men and women between 1530 and 1780. The hunting of white slaves by Barbary pirates continued until the 1820s.


White slaves were traded across the Muslim Empire. Ottoman Eunuchs guarding a harem of Concubines


The trans-Atlantic slave-trade, conducted by European slave-traders, in which millions of African slaves were shipped to the New World, has received intense condemnations from Muslims and non-Muslims alike from everywhere, the West included. The issue of the Islamic slave-trade, however, remains largely untouched, unspoken and somewhat forgotten.

The European supply of slaves to the New World started when the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V first authorized the involvement of Europe in slave-trade in 1519. The Portuguese and Spaniards, notorious amongst Europeans as slavers, first jumped into this lucrative venture followed by the Dutch, and then, the French. Britain’s King Charles I first authorized slave-trade in 1631 and his son Charles II reintroduced it by a Royal Charter in 1672. It is estimated that about eleven million African slaves were transported to the New World. Of these, approximately 4.0 million (35.4 percent) went to Portuguese controlled Brazil, 2.5 million (22.1 percent) to the Spanish colonies of South and Central America, 2.0 million (17.7 percent) to the British West Indies— mostly Jamaica, 1.6 million (14.1 percent) to the French West Indies, 0.5 million (4.4 percent) to the Dutch West Indies, and another 0.5 million to North America.883


Acquired chattel at the Harem.

Abolition: The French revolution was organized for wrestling the “rights of man”, although without giving any serious thought to the rights of slaves. It, nonetheless, later on prompted the legal emancipation of slaves of the French Empire in 1794. In the 1790s, Denmark and Netherlands took measures to abolish their own slave-trade. Meanwhile in Britain, parliamentarian William Wilberforce started a campaign in 1787 for the suppression of slave-trade, which soon transformed into a vigorous movement for the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. Twenty years later in 1807, the British House of Commons passed a bill for abolishing slave-trade by an overwhelming majority of 283 to sixteen votes, a decisive blow to slavery. Later in 1809, the British government took further steps to stop slave-trading by mobilizing its Navy to search ships, including foreign vessels, suspected of carrying slaves. It also used diplomatic cards with Muslim governments—in Persia, Turkey, Egypt, and so on—for the abolition of slavery in the Muslim world.

In 1810, the British Parliament made engagement in slave-trade punishable by fourteen years of hard labor. In 1814, Britain started lobbying for the inclusion of the abolition of slave-trade in the International Treaty of Europe, which led to the signing of such a Treaty by all the European powers on 9 June 1815. In 1825, Britain made complicity in slave-trade punishable by death. The greatest moment for the anti-slavery movement came in 1833: the British Parliament abolished the institution of slavery altogether and freed all slaves, about 700,000, of the British Empire. France followed the British example of emancipating slaves in 1848, prompting the same in Dutch colonies. The United States emancipated its slaves in 1865.

Islamic complicity: The European slave-trade must be condemned for the very dehumanizing and cruel nature of this grotesque crime against humanity. Muslims are very forthcoming in doing this laudable exercise in holier than thou pious tones as though their history is clean of slavery. In truth, even in the European slave-trade, Muslims played—both directly and indirectly—an essential and financially rewarding role. But there exists a peculiar silence about it amongst Muslims. Even non-Muslim scholars, including those of the West, are largely silent about Islam’s contributory roles in the trans-Atlantic slave-trade.

The “indirect” role of Islam in the trans-Atlantic slave-trade lies in the fact that Muslims had created an example of sustained and vibrant slave-trade across the vast Muslim world many centuries before the Europeans embarked on it. More importantly, the Europeans were a sustained and brutal victim of the Islamic enslavement and slave-trade: it started with the Muslim attack on Spain in 711 and continued until the early nineteenth century. The Vikings also were Muslims’ proxy-partners in raiding and abducting the white women and children to meet the Islamic world’s demand for white slaves, particularly concubines. The last Ottoman Sultan had a British captive in his harem. She was rescued and brought to Britain after the sultan’s ouster from Turkey. The psychological impact of this sustained and brutal subjection of Europeans to enslavement and sale for so many centuries can not be underestimated. It must have convinced them that slavery, which had become a brutal part and parcel of their life, was something not quite abnormal. The Europeans, having suffered violent subjection to Islamic slavery and slave-trade for nine centuries, finally embarked on the trade themselves.

A Divine Sanction to Exploit.

Concerning the “direct” role of Islam in the trans-Atlantic slave-trade, it was mostly the Muslim raiders and traders, who did the inhuman part of capturing the slaves in Africa. European traders bought slaves mainly from these Muslim slave-catchers and transported to the New World. When the Europeans embarked on the slave-trade, Muslims were the masters of large parts of Africa with centuries of experience in the art of slave-hunting. They became the ready supplier of slaves for European traders. The European merchants were stationed in trading centers along the African coast. Muslim slave hunters and traders brought black captives from inland locations to these coastal centers and sold to Europeans.

The European traders obtained some slaves, as high as 20 percent, directly forgoing the hands of Muslim traders. This direct procurement took place, not through violent raids and abductions, but through willing sale by non-Muslim owners, or possibly by some parents and relatives. (Some of them might have been supplied by non-Muslim slave-hunters, who following Muslims, had taken to the profession.) The Sahel region of West Africa, just south of Sahara and the regions of Angola were notorious for the lack of rainfall, occasionally for two to three years in succession. When that happened causing devastating drought and famines, people—faced with starvation and death—fled and ‘sold themselves or family members in order to survive at all.’ Senegal experienced a series of drought and poor harvest between 1746 and 1754, which dramatically increased the volume of slave-trade. ‘French exports from Senegal in 1754 were the highest ever,’ writes Curtin.884

The European traders acquired greater than 80 percent of slaves in Africa from Muslim slave-hunters and traders. Muslim warriors had turned Africa into a slave-catching and -breeding ground to meet the demand of slaves in the Muslim world, which later on also became a supply-house for European merchants. Sayyid Sa’id, a prince of Oman, moved to East Africa with the pirates of the port of Masqat, who had been put out of business by the British. Having established himself in Zanzibar (1806), his Arab raiders from the East Coast penetrated deep inland, reaching as far as Uganda and Congo for capturing slave.885 This way he founded his famed slave-empire in East Africa. In Africa, writes Curtin, there were slave-raiding chiefs or gangs of forty to fifty men. They went out in groups to nearby villages ‘stealing cattle and kidnapping people, trying to pick individuals or small groups, like women on the way to the village well or others unlikely to be able to defend themselves.’ Although these gangs could fight if needed, ‘they depended on stealth and speed to make their capture and sell them at a distance…’886 The opening of new markets in the New World proved very lucrative for the Muslim slave hunters and traders of Africa.

For the complete references to the above excerpt, please refer to M. A. Khan’s book: Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Imperialism, Forced Conversion and Slavery. A free copy is available online.


880. Viking, Wikipedia,

881. Bostom, p. 613,619

882. Ibid, p. 620–21

883. Hammond P (2004) The Scourge of Slavery, in Christian Action Magazine, Vol. 4

884. Curtin, p. 172–73
885. Gavin, R J (1972) In MA Klein & GW Johnson eds., p. 178

886. Curtin, p. 177–79

©2013. Secular African Society. All Rights Reserved.



By Secular African Society

One of the most controversial aspects of Islam is its doctrine of slavery. It incites controversy because slavery in the modern world is clearly considered a contemptible practise. In Islamic doctrine however, it isn’t. For centuries, abolitionist groups from the West and non-Western world lobbied strenuously to see slavery become abolished in Western colonies from Africa to India and beyond. The formal abolishment of slavery in Muslim countries was not enacted in all of Islam’s one thousand three hundred years or so history at the time, until the intervention of the West. Saudi Arabia finally caved in and formally abolished slavery in 1962 only upon continued Western imposition. Although slave trade was banned in Niger by French colonists a century ago, the cultural practice of slave ownership was not banned until recently in 2005! In Islamic culture, Islamic doctrine sanctions a tripartite model of slavery that encompasses Enslavement (domestic and industrial labor), Slave trade and Sex-slavery. Prophet Muhammad himself who didn’t participate in any of these practices prior to taking up his Islamic mission, inaugurated this tripartite model into Islam. He set the template for his followers by selling female slaves off in exchange for weapons and horses, making slaves of common folk whom he captured in warfare, and making a concubine of beautiful widowed Rayhana the same night he murdered her relatives and husband’s entire Banu Qurayza tribe! Prophet Muhammad said that Allah has ‘made war booty legal‘ for the Muslim, and that Muslim men are allowed to do as they please with their female war captives including having sexual relations with them against their will. Islam does not permit men to rape their male captives, but there is absolutely no limit to the number of female sex-slaves a Muslim male is allowed to keep. In obedience to Allah’s set principles in the Quran, many Sultans who ruled over conquered territories had harems bursting with concubines in the thousands. Moulay Ismail had 4,000, Akhbar had 5,000, and the harem of And al-Rahman III (d.961) in Cordoba contained over 6,000 concubines, to name a few. Concubinage was sealed into the DNA of Islamic culture. Prior to these Sultans, leading Muslim men during Muhammad’s time kept numerous sized concubines – women acquired as ‘booty’ from jihadi onslaughts. The Prophet never dissuaded them from such practice. Islam is pretty clear on whether or not slavery is lawful. It is lawful. Islam only forbids the enslavement of born Muslims.

At first blush, Muslim apologists approach the issue of Islamic slavery by saying that Islam never really approved of slavery, that the Prophet temporarily endorsed slavery only because he sought to abolish the contemptuous pre-islamic practise gradually. Thus according to Muslim denialists, Islam regulated slavery which already existed among the jahiliya people, but it did not endorse it. After Britain gained control over India, it took less than a century (1757- 1843 when the Indian Slavery Act V was passed) to ban Islamic slavery there. Islam after having spent centuries conquering infidel lands and enslaving the infidels, never sought to abolish it from there, or anywhere else! Omniscient Allah after having looked into the future, never thought to pre-empt the British Empire and give to Polytheist Indians, a taste of the dignity that comes with freedom from slavery – that man everywhere truly desires. Also, contrary to apologist accounts, historical records show that due to the advent of Islam, slave-trade after a long hiatus, suddenly became introduced to India where although slavery previously existed, chattel slavery didn’t! There was not a single slave market in India pre Islam. Previously wealthy Middle class Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh Natives of the Indian subcontinent who were abducted as war captives during Muslim rulers’ numerous jihad campaigns to expand Islam’s imperial domain, were instantly reduced to slave status and sold at the new slave markets, to common Muslim households  at home and abroad in neighbouring Iraq and Khurasan which were “swelled” with (non-Muslim) slaves. In Africa too, chattel slavery was not the norm until Islam, over the course of centuries, established it. Slavery in  traditional African societies generally took the form of indentured servitude, which is a stark contrast to the global enterprise ran by Arab merchants, that demanded village raids to procure slaves for supply to the Muslim world, where slaves dutifully commenced a new life of service to their Muslim masters who purchased them.

sub-saharan-slaves-3Clearly, the advent of Islam did not regulate slavery, it took slavery to unprecedented heights and made people even more barbaric than they previously may have been. During the Western colonial era, Muslim slave trading routes were interrupted. Many of the previous slave-destined Muslim regions also became Western protectorates thus had to do away with some of the practices they were accustomed to. Slavery, however, exists till this very day in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Its indigenous black populace have been specially targeted by the government and prosecuted for their Animist religions. Their indigenous languages have been banned at schools and instead they are mandated to learn the sacred language of the Quran – Arabic. The post-colonial Mauritanian government has allegedly sought to ban slavery, three times now; but banning it is clearly at odds with the Islamic call to adhere to a prophetic tradition that stretches back generations in Mauritania. The cumulative resurgence of Political Islam in Sudan following its independence from Britain in 1956 also saw a resurgence of fresh jihadi zeal and the penchant for enslaving war captives that naturally goes with it. Before the Second Sudanese war, 1.5 million people from the rebellious Animist and Christian south had already been killed. The second civil war began because President Nimeiri sought to expand Islam’s domain by islamising all of multi-cultural Sudan into a single Arabic culture. He declared all of Sudan an “Islamic state”, along with a sharia constitution to impose on all citizens. Naturally, the people of the South who had been fighting to preserve their ancient and more progressive culture for centuries rebelled again. By the end of the Second Sudanese war, a record additional 2 million people were added to the death toll. It trumps the ‘War on Terror’ death toll from Afghanistan and Iraq combined. Many of Sudan’s dead were the courageous resistance groups and freedom fighters of the South. Their women were abducted, raped and sexually enslaved in mass quantities. From the perspective of Islamic law and jihad, these atrocities were lawful. Abducting and purchasing female slaves for sex was a most common motive for the purchase of slaves throughout Islam’s history, as it was crucial to boosting the natural resources (populace, foot soldiers) of the expansionist Islamic Empire. By law, children born to slave mothers while in the Muslim slave master’s house are automatically Muslims. Their mothers are not allowed to indoctrinate or baptise them into any other religions. Thus, Sudan’s non-Muslim southern population were specially selected on a grand scale, for ethnic cleansing and sex slavery: a jihad by-product that dates back to the Prophet’s relationship with the infidels of Arabia. Sinisterly, Islamic leaders in Sudan occasionally justified their atrocities by publicly citing religious texts and the Prophetic traditions.

Then there are Muslim apologists who argue that there is nothing really diabolical about Islam sanctioning slavery if Islam equally mandates that slaves should be treated well. These spectacular apologists argue that slaves were more like servants, and not entities without rights. But a slave is a slave. How does one glorify, justify or even condone slavery by differentiating slaves treated well from slaves not treated well? A slave in Islam is not a servant but a slave – a property owned, which a master moves and does with as he pleases. Islam does not punish a Muslim master for not treating his male slave well.


Islam also does not punish a Muslim master for raping his female sex slave. To the contrary, Islam entitles him the latter right (Islamic sex-slaves are female captives abducted in war and used for co-habitation and procreation, i.e satisfying Muslim men’s sexual needs and swelling the Muslim populace) to the fullest degree. Servants are citizens with full rights in courts, but in Islamic courts a slave cannot under any circumstance bear testimony! A slave also cannot own property and can marry, but only with the master’s consent. A slave is not a servant, a slave is a chattel, the moveable property of the slave owner. It is only 7th CE Islamic benevolence that settles for such a thing as ‘treating slaves well’. It doesn’t require an awful lot of observing ideologies around the world to realise that the rest of the world already moved on from glorifying slavery centuries ago. These spectacular pseudo-benevolent apologists are merely writing their own version of the Quran. A taqiyya version for the unquestioning infidel. A heretic version neither validated by Allah’s own scriptures, the Prophetic traditions, nor the history of the Rightly Guided Caliphs. A deceitful version meant to facilitate a fallacious re-branding of Islam to the non-Muslim world, while simultaneously disarming the non-muslim world in preparation for Islamic conquest.
In 2003, shaming the perfidious apologists, Al Fawzan, a member of the Senior Council of Clerics, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body and a member of the Council of Religious Edicts and Research, the Imam of Prince Mitaeb Mosque in Riyadh and a professor at Imam Mohamed Bin Saud Islamic University, whose religious teachings instruct millions of Muslims in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, and Muslims in the non-Muslim world clarified that:  
“Slavery is a part of Islam,”
“Slavery is a part of jihad and jihad will remain as long as there is Islam.”
Muslims who dispute that slavery is lawful in Islam “are ignorant, not scholars.”
“They are merely writers,”… “Whosoever says such a thing is an infidel.” 

In the book ‘Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Imperialism, Forced Conversion and Slavery’, author M. A. Khan discusses various expressions of Muslim denial about Islamic slavery. He asserts that sex-slavery is fundamentally embedded in Islamic jihad doctrine and deals with the examples set by the prophet himself, which is always the best place to begin when studying Islamic teachings. If Muslims and Western liberals are indeed serious about opposing Western meddling in Muslim affairs, the least they must do is advocate a reformation of Islam so that its doctrine of slavery (which goes hand in hand with Political Islam and jihad) is scrubbed out the Islamic texts, or abrogated with new humane texts. Ideally, Islamic law-ism could be isolated from the rest of Islam, and Political Islam reclassified in the vein of Nazism as a fascist political ideology not a religion. Implementing these measures should not be subject to whether Muslims approve or not, because at the end of the day, Islam’s barbarous slavery doctrine is not directed toward Muslims but toward all non-Muslims and all non born-Muslims. Below is an excerpt from Chapter VII of M. A. Khan’s immaculate scholarly piece.

©2013. Secular African Society. All Rights Reserved.


To most Muslims, the only slave-trade that existed in the world was the trans-Atlantic one, which they are very forthcoming to condemn. To them, the more extensive and barbarous practice of slavery of the Muslim world that continued well into the late twentieth century (indeed, continues today) never existed. This perception amongst them is undoubtedly the result of their ignorance about the history of Islam. Some Muslims—knowledgeable about it, or when presented with undeniable evidence—take recourse of the much familiar denials. They offer two common arguments to counter the undeniable facts about the widespread practice of slavery in the Muslim world. Firstly, slavery is not at all approved in Islam; its practice in the Muslim world resulted from the abuse or disregard of Islam. The second type of response comes from the more knowledgeable Muslims, who—failing to deny the approval of slavery in Islam and its widespread practice in the Muslim world—would agree that slavery was accepted in Islam, albeit reluctantly and on a limited scale, because of its overwhelming practice in Arabia at the time. They then come with a set of Quranic verses and prophetic traditions to claim that ‘Islam actually set the first example for the abolition of slavery.

The first type of response definitely comes from the group of Muslims, the overwhelming majority, who are thoroughly ignorant of the theological content of Islam regarding the sanction of slavery and Prophet Muhammad’s engagement in enslavement, slave-trade and concubinage. The second group, deliberately using deceptive ploys, comes up with a set of arguments from the Quran and the Sunnah, which need addressing here. The commonly cited set of Quranic references are:

  1. Quran 4:36 urges Muslims to show kindness to orphans, parents, travelers and slaves.
  2. Quran 9:60 directs part of obligatory charity toward freeing of slaves.
  3. Quran 24:33 advises owners of well-behaved slaves to set terms for their release in writing.
  4. Quran 5:92 and 18:3 propose freeing of slaves as a means of expiation for sins.
  5. Quran 4:92 states that a Muslim should free a believing slave as expiation for involuntary manslaughter.

Based on such references, Ahmad Alawad Sikainga, Professor of History at the Ohio State University, explains away the Quranic recognition of slavery as ‘broad and general propositions of an ethical nature rather than specific legal formulations.’887 In a similar vein, famous Pakistani scholar and poet Muhammad Iqbal (d. 1938) held slavery in Islam as a benign institution, completely devoid of true servitude. According to him,888

[Prophet Muhammad] declared the principle of equality and though, like every wise reformer, he slightly conceded to the social conditions around him in retaining the name of slavery, he quietly took away the whole institution of slavery. The truth is that the institution of slavery is a mere name in Islam.

Other more emphatic apologists come up with such lofty claims that Islam has clearly and categorically forbidden the primitive practice of capturing a free man, to make him a slave, or to sell him into slavery. They affirm their position by quoting Prophet Muhammad: ‘‘There are three categories of people against whom I shall myself be a plaintiff on the Day of Judgment. Of these three: he, who enslaves a free man, then sells him, and eats this money.’’889 Muslim scholar Syed Ameer Ali (d. 1928), widely read in the West, argued that Muslims should efface the dark page of slavery from the world ‘to show the falseness of the aspersions cast on the memory of the noble Prophet, by proclaiming in explicit terms that slavery is reprobated by their faith and discountenanced by their code.’890 Joining the tune of these Muslim apologists, Lewis argues: ‘The Islamic law and practice, from an early stage, severely restricted the enslavement of free persons… limiting it in effect to the non-Muslims captured or conquered in a war.’891

Those scholars, who claim that Islam categorically forbid the primitive practice of slavery, should pay attention to the words of Allah in Quranic verses 16:71, 16:76 and 30:28, which unequivocally and categorically state the division of human race into masters and slaves as natural, as His grace, and as part of His design. Iqbal and Ali should take note of the fact that Prophet Muhammad had owned no slaves prior to taking up the Islamic mission; and at the time of his death, he owned dozens of slaves and a few concubines, the majority of whom were obtained through brutal raids and attacks on innocent communities. Sikainga should not forget that, in Islamic thought, the Quran is the final words of the Creator of the Universe in all matters; and therefore, whatever the Quran sanctions becomes the eternal law for the Islamic society. This fundamental position of Islam contradicts Sikainga’s assertion that slavery is no “specific legal formulations” in Islam. In reality, slavery in Islam is a fundamental institution, repeatedly reiterated by Allah and widely practiced by Prophet Muhammad, which would stand unaltered until the end of the world. Furthermore, it is equally nonsensical and inexcusable to term the division of fundamentally equal human beings into masters and slaves as a formulation of “ethical nature” as Sikainga puts it. More so is the repeated Quranic sanction of violent enslavement of women for reducing them into sex-slaves.

Gulam Ahmad Parwez (d. 1983), another Muslim scholar and activist of the subcontinent, uses a deceptive ploy of different kind. He argues that ‘those whom your right hand possesses’ in Quran 47:4, referring to slaves, should be read in the past tense; that is, as ‘those whom your right hand possessed.’ This way, he argues, slavery belonged to the past and the Quran closed ‘the door to future slavery.’892 Muslims should probably follow this crooked ploy and read the instructions of the Quran regarding prayers, fasting, pilgrimage and everything else in the past tense and relegate Islam to the dustbin of history.


Prophet Muhammad relocated from Mecca to Medina in 622, when he had only about 200–250 converts: from Mecca and Medina combined. With this small group of followers, he formed a raiding brigand expressly for the purpose of attacking caravans from Mecca to plunder them for booty. As his power grew, he scaled up his adventures by attacking the Pagan, Jewish and Christian communities that came within his reach and power for the purpose of plundering and capture of slaves. After Muhammad’s death in 632, this unconditional war on the infidels continued with greater vigor as Muslim power grew in leaps and bounds. They started undertaking campaigns of massive scales eventually bringing down world’s great powers: Persia, Byzantium and India. They often enslaved in tens to hundreds of thousands in a single campaign, besides putting large numbers of the vanquished non-Muslims to the sword.

At the advent of Islam, Prophet Muhammad’s raiding and warring brigand, consisting of just a few hundred neo-Muslim Bedouins of Arabia, declared an aggressive, unconditional and relentless holy war on the rest of humanity with the intention to subjugate and enslave them. Those like Lewis, who think that Islam “categorically forbade” or “severely restricted” the enslavement of a free man, should realize that Islam called for the unrestrained subjugation and enslavement of all free men and women of the globe at the hands of a few hundred Bedouin Arab raiders and plunderers. The Islamic legislation of enslavement is not of “severely restricted” nature, but of the highest scale imaginable, unprecedented in the history of mankind. The soldiers of Islam have executed this divine command with aplomb; the history of Islam has been the witness to that. By any standard, the sanction of slavery in Islam was the most devastating blow to the spirit and dignity of the free human being.

Humane treatment of slaves in Islam

It is true that Islam urges Muslims to treat slaves humanely. Verses of the Quran listed above encourage Muslims to set slaves free (manumission) for various reasons, including for the redemption of involuntarily killing a Muslim (not an infidel). In Islam, manumission is seen as an act of benevolence or expiation of sins. On the basis of these arguments, apologists of Islam would claim that ‘It is not true to say that Islam instituted, or was responsible for the institution of slavery; it is more correct to say that it was the first religion, which put the first steps necessary for its extinction’ (personal communication). Joining this camp of Muslims, Prof. Jonathan Brockopp of Pensylvania State Univerity writes:

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 Quran. The unique contribution of the Quran, 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.893

Concerning Islamic injunctions for good treatment of slaves and their manumission, there was nothing new in it. We have noted that, nearly a thousand years before the advent of Islam, Buddha had urged his followers to treat slaves well and not to overwork them. In Athens, the Greek statesman and political reformer Solon (c. 638–558 BCE) had enacted a decree abolishing enslavement for debts, a major cause of enslavement at the time.

The tradition of manumission of slaves existed in Greece about a millennium before the advent of Islam. Inscriptions in stones, belonging to the fourth century BCE and later, document emancipation of slaves in Greece, likely as voluntary acts of masters (predominantly male and also female from the Hellenistic period). To buy their freedom, slaves could either use their savings or take loan from friends or masters.894

The sense justice toward slaves in Greek Society can be guaged from Socrates’ encounter with Euthyphro outside a law-court. Euthyphro’s father had killed one of his slaves (accidentally, probably while discipling him), who had killed another slave. And Euthyphro took his father to court for his crime of killing the slave. On Euthyphro’s way to the court, Socrates stopped him so as to inquire about his motivation or the righteousness that inspired him to prosecute his own father. Euthyphro told Socrates that ‘although his family think it impious for a son to prosecute his father as a murderer, he knows what he is about. His family is ignorant about what is holy, whereas he has ‘an accurate knowledge of all that.’ He therefore had no doubt about the rightness of his action.‘895 While this case, undoubtedly, was an exception to norm, it nonetheless informs us of the sense of justice toward slaves that had penetraded into the then Greek Society (a housands years before Muhammad)—something impossible even today in any Muslim soceity.

The Islamic exhortation for treating slaves well and for freeing them was thus nothing new. Such benevolent practice existed in Greece nearly a millennium earlier. Solon had even enacted a ban on the major form of enslavement in Athens nearly twelve centuries before the birth of Islam. Neither the practice of emancipation of slaves was absent in Arabia during Muhammad’s life or prior to that; evidence for it comes from the following Islamic text [Bukhari 3:46:715]:

Narrated Hisham: My father told me that Hakim bin Hizam manumitted one-hundred slaves in the pre-Islamic period of ignorance and slaughtered one-hundred camels (and distributed them in charity). When he embraced Islam he again slaughtered one-hundred camels and manumitted one-hundred slaves. Hakim said, ‘I asked Allah’s Apostle, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! What do you think about some good deeds I used to practice in the pre-Islamic period of ignorance (jahiliyah) regarding them as deeds of righteousness?’ Allah’s Apostle said, ‘You have embraced Islam along with all those good deeds you did.’

Good treatment and freeing of slaves definitely existed in the seventh-century Arab society, prior to the founding of Islam. Muhammad himself had freed his only slave Zayd when he was a Pagan, some fifteen years before undertaking the Islamic mission. He even adopted Zayd as his son. These generous and humane gestures of Pagan Muhammad clearly reflected the existing benevolent pre-Islamic tradition and culture of the Arab society. Hence, Islam and Prophet Muhammad added nothing new to the humane aspect of slavery.

Islam aggravated slavery

Islam did not institute slavery, but embraced the age-old practice with open arms and gave it a divine validation to last for the eternity and promoted it to a hitherto unprecedented scale. It is groundless to claim that Islam closed the door to slavery or took the first step toward its abolition. In the Quran, Allah repeatedly gave approval of slavery as part of His divine plan, which must stand until the end of the world. Not only that, Islam aggravated the practice of slavery at its very inception, which worsened further over the centuries. Prophet Muhammad enslaved the children and women of Banu Qurayza, Khaybar and Banu Mustaliq [Bukhari 3:46:717], after slaughtering the men. This ideal protocol of the Prophet became the modus operandi for Muslim warriors through the ages until the West abolished its own engagement in slavery and enforced its ban in the Muslim world—much to the anger, disappointment and even violent opposition of Muslims.

One must take note of the way the Banu Qurayza, Banu Mustaliq and Khaybar Jews were slaughtered and enslaved by the Prophet. Nothing as barbaric and cruel, and on such large-scales, as these took place in the Arabian Peninsula during Muhammad’s life. Islamic history tells us that Muhammad’s father had only one Abyssinian slave-girl, named Barakat. The leading men of Mecca are not recorded to have possessed slaves in their dozens. The Prophet’s first wife Khadijah, despite owning a big business, possessed only one slave, Zayd, whom she presented to Muhammad after their marriage. Muhammad, a Pagan at the time, freed Zayd and adopted him as his son.

During the next fifteen years of his life as a Pagan, Muhammad owned no slave. Over the next twenty-three years of his life as a Muslim and the Prophet of Islam, he accumulated fifty-nine slaves and thirty-eight servants as listed by Ghayasuddin Muhammad Khondmir in Rauzat-us-Safa. Zubair, Muhammad’s close companion, had a massive 1,000 slaves at the time of his death.896

As a Pagan, Muhammad, and also possibly Zubair, owned no slaves. But after embracing the Islamic faith, they amassed slaves in dozens to a thousand. These examples make it clear that, instead of taking any step toward its abolition, the Prophet of Islam and his closest companions themselves had elevated the institution of slavery to a much higher scale, compared to what pre-existed in Arabia. Islam also introduced a most barbaric and cruel means, albeit with divine sanctions, for capturing slaves on a scale not seen in the then Arabia.


Slavery, theologically & historically, an integral part of Islam

Despite widespread denials about the existence of slavery in Islam and the claim that Islam took the first step toward its abolition, slavery is indisputably a divinely sanctioned institution in Islam, which will stand valid until the end of the human race. In Islamic doctrine, slavery is integral in Allah’s eternal plan; it’s a part of His divine grace to humankind. All Schools of Islamic jurisprudence, the Sharia, and the religious doctors of Islam throughout history have unequivocally and proudly accepted and preached slavery as an integral part of Islam. The great Islamic thinker Ibn Khaldun recognized mass enslavement of non-Muslims in gloating religious pride when Muslims had transformed Africa into a slave-hunting and -breeding ground. In practicing slavery, writes Lewis, ‘‘(Muslims) were upholding an institution sanctioned by scripture, law (Sharia), and tradition (Sunnah) and one which in their eyes was necessary to the maintenance of the social structure of Muslim life.’’897 Hughes correctly asserts that in Islam, ‘slavery is interwoven with the Law of marriage, the Law of sale, and the Law of inheritance… And its abolition would strike at the very foundation of the code of Mohammedanism.’898

Ibn Khaldun thought the extensive enslavement of Blacks in Africa by Muslims was justified, ‘because they have attributes that are quite similar to dumb animals.’899 In the annals of Muslim historians, enslavement in general, especially of the allegedly barbarian Blacks, became a matter of pride. It was also deemed as an act of generosity toward curing them of their barbaric nature and sinful religions by bringing them into the true faith and civilized world of Islam. About this line of thinking of the devout Islamic thinkers, writes Arnold, ‘devout minds have even recognized in enslavement God’s guidance to the true faith…’900

The Negroes from the Upper Nile countries were violently enslaved in massive numbers and converted to Islam. They were summarily castrated and transported across great distances; in the course of this, the majority of them (80–90 percent) perished. Of those, transported across the Atlantic to the new world, some 30–50 percent perished ‘in transit to the coast, in confinement awaiting shipment and at sea on the way to Americas.’ The mortality of slaves on board ships in their passage to the New World is estimated at 10 percent.901

This tragic doom of captives of mammoth proportion was also seen as a generosity and ‘God’s grace’ in Islamic mindset of which, writes Arnold, ‘God has visited them in their mishap; they can say ‘it was His grace’, since they are thereby entered into the saving religion.’902 Even many religious-minded Western historians, echoed this tune of Muslim thinkers about the massive enterprise of enslavement of Blacks in Africa. Bernard Lewis summarizes the general sentiment in this regard as thus: ‘…slavery is a divine boon to mankind, by means of which pagan and barbarous people are brought to Islam and civilization… Slavery in the East has an elevating influence over thousands of human beings, and but for it hundreds of thousands of souls must pass their existence in this world as wild savages, little better than animals; it, at least, makes men of them, useful men too…’903

This divine justification, indeed inspiration, for the enslavement of Blacks was so strong amongst Muslims in Africa that they had ‘given up wholly to the pursuit of commerce or to slave hunting’; and as a result, they were hated and feared by the people as slave-dealers, notes Arnold.904 Sultan Moulay Ismail (d. 1727), as noted already, had slave-breeding nurseries in Morocco. In the Sudan region of Africa, there were firms that specialized in the breeding of Black slaves for sale like cattle and sheep even in the nineteenth century. Hudud al-Alam—a Persian geographical manuscript written in 982 for the Ghaurivid ruler Abu al- Harith Muhammad ibn Ahmad, records of the Sudan that, ‘no region is more populated than this. The merchants steal the children there and take them away. They castrate them and take them to Egypt, where they sell them.’ Slavery reached such a level that ‘Among them there are people who steal each others children to sell them to the merchants when they come,’ adds the document.905

Muslims had integrated the institution of slavery into the African society so thoroughly that when the Europeans, particularly their missionaries, tried to liberate them, the slaves felt it preferable to remain under their masters than embrace the challenging free life of taking their destiny into their own hands. A report on the first three years of British administration in Central Africa noted that slave-trade stood as ‘‘a rival kind of civilization to that of white man which it is of a much easier notion for the Negro mind to accept.’’906 Enslavement became so widespread in Africa that as ‘Africa became almost synonymous with slavery, the world forgot the eagerness with which the Tartars and other Black Sea peoples had sold millions of Ukrainians, Georgians, Circassians, Armenians, Bulgarians, Slavs, and Turks,’ laments BD Davis.907 The most precious commodity that Muslim traders brought from the trading centre of Volga in the tenth century was white slaves, normally sold by the Vikings.


Possibly the most devastating aspect of Islamic slavery was the castration of male captives. The majority of the enslaved African males were emasculated before selling them in the Muslim world. In India, we have noted of large-scale castration of male captives from the beginning to the end of the Islamic rule. Even top generals, namely Malik Kafur and Khusrau Khan, were castrated, which suggest that the castration of male captives was widespread in India, too. There was also widespread castration of European slaves.

The worst casualty of castration was obviously the robbing of man’s most fundamental identity and treasure—his manhood, which he is born with. The greatest tragedy of castration was, however, the massive mortality in the operation. According to Koenraad Elst, ‘Islamic civilization did indeed practice castration of slaves on an unprecedented scale. Several cities in Africa were real factories of eunuchs; they were an expensive commodity as only 25 percent of the victims survived the operation.’908 Furthermore, a large number of captives perished during their passages to markets of the Muslim world, often thousands of miles away; this constituted another huge tragedy of Islamic slavery. The casualties in the raids for harvesting slaves could also be enormous. In Central Africa, recorded Commander VL Cameron, Islamic slave-raiders left the trails of

burnt villages, of slaughter and the devastation of crops. The loss of life caused by these raids must have been enormous, though it is of course impossible to give any exact figures. Burton, a British explorer, estimated that in order to capture fifty-five women, the merchandise of one of the caravan he observed, at least ten villages had been destroyed, each having a population between one and two hundred souls. The greater part of these were exterminated or died of starvation.909

On the magnitude of the mortality of slaves, writes Segal,

‘The arithmetic of the Islamic black slave trade must also not ignore the lives of those men, women and children taken or lost during the procurement, storage and transport. One late nineteenth century writer held that the sale of a single captive for slavery might represent a loss of ten in the population—from defenders killed in attacks on villages, the deaths of women and children from related famine and the loss of children, the old and the sick, unable to keep up with their captors or killed along the way in hostile encounters, or dying of sheer misery.’910

Segal collates a number of incidents of slaves being perished in their transportation.911Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 1.17.42 AMExplorer Heinrich Barth recorded that a slave caravan of his friend Bashir, wazir of Bornu, on the way to Mecca during pilgrimage season lost forty slaves in the course of a single night, killed by severe cold in the mountain. One British explorer came across over 100 human skeletons from a slave caravan en route to Tripoli. The British explorer Richard Lander came across a group of thirty slaves in West Africa, all of them stricken with smallpox, all bound neck to neck with twisted strips of bullock hide. One caravan from the East African coast with 3,000 slaves lost two-thirds of its number from starvation, disease and murder. In the Nubian Desert, one slave caravan of 2,000 slaves literally vanished as every slave had died.

Various estimates put the number of black Africans reduced to slavery in the Islamic world from eleven to thirty-two million. Since 80–90 percent of the captives had perished before reaching their destination, it is not difficult to imagine the quantum of human lives lost as a result of the cruel and barbaric institution of Islamic slavery. Ronald Segal, despite being sympathetic to Islam, puts the number of enslaved black Africans at eleven million and admits that well over thirty million of people might have died at the hands of Muslim slave hunters and traders or ended up as slaves in the Muslim world. From the data presented so far, the institution of Islamic slavery, undoubtedly, has been one of the greatest tragedies to befall humankind.

For the complete references to the above excerpt, please refer to M. A. Khan’s book: Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Imperialism, Forced Conversion and Slavery. A free copy is available online.


887. Islam and slavery, Wikipedia,
888. Iqbal M (2002) Islam as a Moral and Political Ideal, in Modernist Islam, 1840-1940: A Sourcebook, C Kurzmaned., Oxford University Press, London, p. 307–8

889. Muhammad S (2004) Social Justice in Islam, Anmol Publications Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, p. 40

890. Ali SA (1891) The Life and Teachings of Muhammed, WH Allen, London, p. 380 891. Lal (1994), p. 206

892. Parwez GA (1989) Islam, a Challenge to Religion, Islamic Book Service, New Delhi, p. 345–46

893. Brockopp JE (2005) Slaves and Slavery, in The Encyclopedia of the Qur’ān, McAuliffe JD et al. ed., EJ Brill, Leiden, Vol. 5, p. 56–60.

894. Slavery in Ancient Greece, Wikipedia,

895. Gottlieb, A (2001) Socrates: Philosophy’s Martyr, in The Great Philosopher (Monk R & Raphael F eds.), Phoenix, London, p. 28-29

896. Lal (1994), p. 13

897. Lal (1994), p. 175 898. Hughes, p. 600 899. Lal (1994), p. 80 900. Ibid

901. Curtin, p. 182
902. Arnold TW (1999) The Preaching of Islam, Kitab Bhavan, Delhi, p. 416–17 903. Lal (1994), p. 60
904. Arnold, p. 172–73,345–46

905. Lal (1994), p. 133
906. Gann, p.196
907. Lal (1994), p. 61
908. Elst K (1993) Indigenous Indians: Agastya to Ambedkar, Voice of India, New Delhi, p. 375

909. Cameron CVL (1877) Across Africa, Dalty, Isbister & Co., London, Vol. II, p. 137–38 910. Segal, p. 62

911. Ibid, p. 63–64

Georgetown, Slavery, and the Riots in Sweden

Georgetown, Slavery, and the Riots in Sweden

Two years ago, Georgetown University made a show of repenting of its past connections to slavery by renaming two buildings whose namesakes had once sold slaves.

It might be expected then that when a Georgetown faculty member defends slavery, not just online, but in the course of a ninety-minute lecture, the reaction would be swift and severe. We would expect that the wayward academic would be relieved of his duties and sentenced to a re-education program, or else be fired outright.

Unless, of course, he was a Muslim defending Islamic slavery—in which case the rules of multicultural diversity come into play, and all is forgiven. The strongest reaction the administration could muster was this statement:

As an academic community, we are committed to academic freedom and the ability of faculty members to freely pursue their research and express their analysis. While we defend this academic freedom, the body of a faculty member’s work does not necessarily represent the University’s position.

That anemic response was all I could find when googling the words “Georgetown responds to professor who defends slavery.” So when it becomes known that two long-dead Jesuits profited from the sale of slaves, Georgetown appoints a panel of sixteen and renames two of its buildings, but when a living, breathing faculty member defends slavery (and rape), it “does not necessarily represent the University’s position.”

According to the official response, Georgetown is “committed to academic freedom and the ability of faculty members to freely pursue their research and express their analysis.” But if one digs a little deeper, it appears that high-minded commitment to academic freedom is not the only consideration.

The professor in question, Jonathan A.C. Brown, is a convert to Islam and is the director of Georgetown’s Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. Twelve years ago, Prince Alwaleed contributed $20 million to the Center. And one supposes that he and other Arabs have contributed more in the meantime. In addition, the Center has become the go-to place for establishment people in government, media, and the Church to find research to support their view that Islam means peace, and that anyone who disagrees is a bigoted “Islamophobe.”

So the Center brings both money and prestige to Georgetown. Given those circumstances, it might not be prudent for Georgetown to make a fuss about a “minor” matter such as Islamic slavery. With their gift, the Saudis, it seems, have purchased Georgetown’s silence.

What exactly did Professor Brown say? Here are some samples so you can judge for yourself whether Georgetown’s tepid response was adequate. On February 7, 2017, in a speech to the International Institute of Islamic Thought in Herndon, Virginia, he said:

  • I don’t think it’s morally evil to own somebody, because we own lots of people all around us, and we’re owned by people.
  • (In response to a question) The Prophet of God had slaves. He had slaves. There’s no denying that… Are you more morally mature than the Prophet of God? No, you’re not.
  • (On the question of sexual slavery) It’s very hard to have this discussion because we think of, let’s say in the modern United States, the sine qua non of morally correct sex is consent. We think of people as autonomous agents… If you take away the consent element, then everyone starts flipping out … we fetishize the idea of autonomy to the extent that we forget, again, who’s really free?

In his Facebook page, Brown is more explicit: “Slave women do not have agency over their sexual access, so their owner can have sex with them.”

Professor Brown’s observations provide a glimpse into the Muslim mind—a glimpse that Georgetown officials would prefer you not have. Almost the central project of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding has been to combat “Islamophobia”—by which is meant an irrational fear of Islam. But Professor Brown’s remarks suggest that people who fear Islam have good reason to do so.

Go back to his comment on Muhammad: “The Prophet of God had slaves… Are you more morally mature than the Prophet of God?” For Brown and for the vast majority of Islamic scholars, that is the clinching argument: Muhammad could do no wrong.

Some Catholics like to comfort themselves with the notion that Catholics and Muslims have similar codes of morality. But, as Brown’s comments suggest, Islamic morality is based largely on the example of Muhammad. Consider this item from his Facebook page: “It’s not possible to say that slavery is inherently, absolutely, categorically immoral in all times and places since it was allowed by the Qur’an and the Prophet.”

There is in Islam no rational, natural-law basis for discerning right from wrong. What Muslims have, for the most part, is the example of Muhammad—the “perfect man.” When defending Muhammad’s marriage to nine-year-old Aisha, Brown says: “You cannot say from a Sharia perspective that what the Prophet did was wrong because the Prophet can’t commit sins.” That’s the way Islamic morality works. Muhammad married a nine-year-old, so marriage with underage girls is permissible. Muhammad had slaves, so slavery can’t be immoral. Muhammad had sex slaves, so that can’t be wrong either. Muhammad killed infidels for no other reason than that they were unbelievers. Therefore, unbelievers can be justifiably killed.

By the way, simply believing in God doesn’t protect you from the wrath of Allah. If you don’t believe that Muhammad is the Messenger of God, you are, by definition, an unbeliever. You can, under certain circumstances, be legitimately killed or enslaved or raped. Being a fairly new convert, Professor Brown was a tad more honest about these things than an experienced Islamic apologist should be. Nevertheless, he has done us infidels a favor by pulling back the curtain and revealing the dark heart of Islam—that it is a religion made in the image and likeness of Muhammad.

Another glimpse into the reality of Islam was provided last week by Muslim rioters in Stockholm, Sweden. Swedish officials have long tried to cover up the extent of Muslim immigrant crime, and the Western media has been happy to play along with the pretense. So when President Trump made a reference during a speech to what happened “last night in Sweden,” the media was quick to pounce. Nothing of note had happened in Sweden the night before, they gloated: Trump had got it wrong again. His implication that Muslim immigration had led to a surge in violence was baseless. Did Trump not know that Sweden was still the land of harmony, peace, and prosperity—of Pippi Longstocking, ABBA, and Volvos?

And then, the next day, rioting erupted in Rinkeby, a suburb of Stockholm. For over four hours, a mob of seventy, many of them masked, set fire to cars, looted shops, beat passers-by, and threw rocks at police. Nor was this the first time. Sweden has experienced numerous riots. The worst of them lasted almost a week in 2013:

The riots began in the immigrant-dominated suburb of Husby, but quickly spread to other suburbs such as Rinkeby, Tensta, Kista and the town of Södertälje south of Stockholm. Night after night, rioting immigrants left images of broken windows, burnt walls, and scorched car parks. Cars were torched and several schools and a police station were set ablaze.

In addition to rioting and soaring crime rates, Sweden has the second highest incidence of rape in the world. Many of the assaults are committed in crowded public spaces:

This is evident in the increasing mass sexual assaults and rapes committed by migrants at Swedish festivals. In July 2016 at Bravalla, Sweden’s largest music festival, there were nearly 40 assaults, including five rapes. A week earlier at Putte i Parken (Party in the Park), a free festival in Karlstad, there were 32 similar sexual attacks where the youngest victim was just twelve years old.

The establishment wants to keep alive a certain narrative about Muslim migration into Sweden—namely, that the migrants are happily and peacefully integrating into Swedish society. Unfortunately for them and their narrative, reality keeps intruding on the pretty picture they have drawn.

Something similar is happening at Georgetown. The university wants to keep alive the notion that Islam is no different from—and maybe even better than—other world religions. And then someone like Professor Brown lets slip a few home truths about Islam and threatens to spoil the whole narrative.

In response to the riots in Sweden, a few members of the mainstream media were honest enough to report, however briefly, on the violence. Will Georgetown act accordingly in regard to Professor Brown’s defense of Islamic slavery? So far they’ve done essentially nothing. Evidently, university officials are hoping that the fuss will die down and things will return to normal.

But the normal work of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center is to churn out shoddy and tendentious research designed to show that Islam is as normal as apple pie. The main business of the Center is to convince Catholics that “Islamophobia” is the greatest threat to our nation, while deceiving them entirely about the nature and aims of Islam. If Georgetown’s Disneyfied view of Islam prevails, then America will almost certainly suffer the same fate as Europe, where riots and rape are the new normal, and where cathedrals, synagogues, and national monuments must be protected by security forces and bulletproof barriers.

Georgetown University once profited by selling slaves, now it is profiting by allowing the Saudis to purchase influence and spread disinformation. But this is not simply a game of “gotcha”—of catching the MSM in one more lie, or of pointing out the hypocrisy of a prestigious Catholic institution. The stakes are too high. The point of calling attention to Georgetown’s misadventures is not to score points, but to awaken the university to its Catholic calling. And, if that is not possible, to alert other Catholics to the university’s Islamic whitewash operation.

While Georgetown is busy fighting “Islamophobia,” Christians are being enslaved in Africa, and exterminated in the Middle East. What we are witnessing is not a misunderstanding between cultures, but the unfolding of a spiritual war—one with a bloody physical front. Most Christians are hardly aware that the battle has been joined. And some—like those at Georgetown—are naively abetting the wrong side. By its silence over the Islamic slavery issue, Georgetown has taken one more step into the darkness. Other Catholics would be foolish to follow their lead.

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