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Islam’s History And Doctrine Of International Slavery

by M. A. Khan

“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.”

A Saudi Arabian slave owner was trying to sell his ’26-year castrated black slave imported from Africa’ through social media in 2012.

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 ownershipwas 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.

MUSLIM-SLAVE-TRADERSAt the slave market

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…..

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