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Definition of ‘Slavery’ in Islam

To Whom Do We Belong?

When someone asks whether Islam promotes slavery, the answer is a definite no. Rather, what Islam has is a generous system for dealing with war captives that is everything but slavery, even though it involves that some people are called slaves.

Furthermore, Islam only allows war in defense or to take down oppression, and so captives and slaves are only acquired from aggressors. It is akin to a sport which involves players holding an oval ball tied to their chests and fighting against their opponents wearing metal helmets being called American football. Someone may call it American football but it is everything but football; it should have a different name. The same is the case with slavery in Islam.

Social Justice in Islam

Anybody who knows something about the Western idea of slavery realizes that a slave loses his humanity and becomes an object whose owner can do whatever. A master may kill his slave to relieve his own boredom, torture him to death, or force him to work day and night.

Chat about Islam, to understand how the whole thing is different in Islam. A slave retains his humanity. No measure of ill-treatment of slaves however small is permissible, even assigning a task that is too hard for the slave to do is not permissible. If such a task must be completed, then Islam requires the master to help the slave and work with him. Such was one of the virtues of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):

“Do not charge them with tasks they cannot fulfill. If you do then help them.” [Sahih Bukhari]

These are better work conditions than those endured by countless employees of some multinational companies. Moreover, a slave must be given of the same food and clothes as the master. The Prophet ﷺ said:

“Your servants are your brethren whom God has placed under you; whoever has a brother under him should feed him as he eats and give him clothes as he wears.” [Sahih Bukhari]

It may be said “still you are called a slave, are you not? It is better to be free even if you have to endure worse conditions; a free bird is better than one in a golden cage.” This is perfectly true. Therefore, God has given slaves the right to free themselves. Under Islam, a slave could enter into a contractual agreement with his master giving the master an agreed amount of money in return for the slave’s freedom.

Does this mean that a slave can be financially independent? The answer is YES!

Allah says: “And those who seek a contract [for eventual emancipation] from among whom your right hands possess — then make a contract with them if you know there is within them goodness and give them from the wealth of Allah which He has given you.” [Noble Quran 24:33]

If you’re eager to become a slave to Allah, the One who created us and to whom we belong, join a live chat to learn how you can Convert to Islam and become a Muslim.



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