Allegation that Islam allows the rape of infidels
Firstly i want to tell the reader that only non-muslim prisoners of war could become slaves in islam (therefore slavery was doomed to disappear with the expansion of Islam). It’s important to know that slaves in islam had the same right to respect and good treatment like any other human being.
I shall show the reader that the raping of female slaves is forbidden in islam, rather islam gave men the permission to have sexual intercourse with their slave-girl and this did certainly not mean that muslim men could rape their female slaves (female prisoners of war ), since Allah swt and the prophet (saw) command muslim men to treat their slave girls well and with respect and dignity. The next quotations from the authentic hadith proof that the raping of female slaves is forbidden in islam:
Related by Al-Daraqutni, Ibn Majah and Ahmad:
“The Prophet said, “There shall be no infliction of harm on oneself or others”.
‘Others’ includes all people, so also slavegirls ! Raping a slavegirl is clearly doing her harm (emotional and physical) which would be a big sin for a muslim to commit and violation of the above hadith. Moreover the prophet (peace be upon him) commanded muslims to treat their slaves well and with respect, which clearly proofs that rape of female slaves is forbidden in islam. The prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Your servants and your slaves are your brothers. Anyone who has slaves should give them from what he eats and wears. He should not charge them with work beyond their capabilities. If you must set them to hard work, in any case I advise you to help them.
Source: Bukhari, Iman, 22; Adab, 44; Muslim, Iman, 38–40; Abu Dawud, Adab, 124
Ali reported that the last words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, were: “The prayer! The prayer! Fear Allah concerning your slaves ! “
Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 158.
· Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, advised that slaves should be well-treated. He said, ‘Feed them from what you eat and clothe them from what you wear. Do not punish what Allah has created.’ “
Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 188.
· Sallam ibn ‘Amr reported from one of the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Your slaves are your brothers, so treat him well. Ask for their help in what is too much for you and help them in what is too much for them.”
Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 190.
· Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The slave has his food and clothing. Do not burden a slave with work which he is incapable of doing.”
Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 192.
Not one of you should [ when introducing someone ] say ‘This is my slave’ , ‘This is my concubine’. He should call them ‘my daughter’ or ‘my son’ or ‘my brother’.
Source: Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 2 ,4
For this reason ‘Umar and his servant took it in turns to ride on the camel from Madina to Jerusalem on their journey to take control of Masjid al-Aqsa. While he was the head of the state, ‘Uthman had his servant pull his own ears in front of the people since he had pulled his. Abu Dharr, applying the hadith literally, made his servant wear one half of his suit while he himself wore the other half. From these instances, it was being demonstrated to succeeding generations of Muslims, and a pattern of conduct established, that a slave is fully a human being, not different from other people in his need for respect and dignity and justice.
“The masters were obliged not to put slaves under hardship; slaves were not to be tortured, abused or treated unjustly. They could marry among “themselves with their master’s permission – or with free men or women ! They could appear as witnesses and participate with free men in all “affairs. Many of them were appointed as governors, commanders of army and administrators. In the eyes of Islam, a pious slave has precedence over “an impious free man.” Source: Al-Tabataba’i, Tafsir ( vol.16, pp. 338-358 )
The Prophet, upon him peace, had stipulated in his “last pilgrimage” speech:
“And your slaves ! see that you feed them such food as you eat yourselves and dress them what you yourself wear. And if they commit a “mistake which you are not inclined to forgive then sell them, for they are the servants of Allah and are not to be tormented! “
Source: Ibn Sa’d, op. cit., vol. II:1, p. 133
And again in another hadith the prophet (saw) makes clear that rape of female slaves is forbidden, The prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever causes harm to others subjects himself to harm caused by God.”
Source: Related by Ibn Majah and Abu Dawood on the authority of Abu Sirmah.
“You must refrain from dealing wickedly with others, for that would count as a benefaction you do to yourself”.
Source: Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Abu Tharr.
‘Others’ includes all people, so also slavegirls ! Raping a slavegirl is clearly doing her harm (emotional and physical) which would be a big sin for a muslim to commit and violation of the above hadith. Allah swt also commands in the Qur’an muslims to treat their slaves (female slaves) kindly:
“Serve God, and join not any partners with Him ; and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours “who are strangers, the Companion by your side, the way-farer (ye meet), And what your right hands possess : for God loveth not the arrogant, the “vainglorious” Surah An Nisa, verse 36
The phrase “What your right hands possess” refers to one’s slaves (male and female). Allah swt ordains the kind treatment of slaves in the same verse where He commands man to worship Him and to treat his parents, relations and neighbours generously, and this signifies the importance of this ruling.
Can a Muslim man rape his slave woman?
Below are three English translations to the Noble Verse where Allah Almighty commands the Muslim men to not force their slave women into sex.
The following translations were taken from http://mama.stg.brown.edu/webs/quran_browser/pqeasy.shtml
“Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until God gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which God has given to you. But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is God, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them), (The Noble Quran, 24:33)”
“And let those who cannot find a match keep chaste till Allah give them independence by His grace. And such of your slaves as seek a writing (of emancipation), write it for them if ye are aware of aught of good in them, and bestow upon them of the wealth of Allah which He hath bestowed upon you. Force not your slave-girls to whoredom that ye may seek enjoyment of the life of the world, if they would preserve their chastity. And if one force them, then (unto them), after their compulsion, lo! Allah will be Forgiving, Merciful. (The Noble Quran, 24:33)”
“And let those who do not find the means to marry keep chaste until Allah makes them free from want out of His grace. And (as for) those who ask for a writing from among those whom your right hands possess, give them the writing if you know any good in them, and give them of the wealth of Allah which He has given you; and do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, when they desire to keep chaste, in order to seek the frail good of this world’s life; and whoever compels them, then surely after their compulsion Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (The Noble Quran, 24:33)”
In all three translations, we clearly see that if the slave woman desires to keep chaste, then her Muslim master must not compel her into sex. It might sound odd to us today, but pagans back then were used to having sex with and raping their slave girls, even the ones who were married:
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: “Musaykah, a slave-girl of some Ansari, came and said: My master forces me to commit fornication. Thereupon the following verse was revealed: “But force not your maids to prostitution (when they desire chastity). (24:33)” (Translation of Sunan Abu Dawud, Divorce (Kitab Al-Talaq), Book 12, Number 2304)”
In Islam, men are not allowed to rape their slave-girls. Allah Almighty clearly prohibited it in Noble Verse 24:33. In Islam, slavery is also not allowed. Please visit The liberation of slaves in Islam, to see how Islam gradually ended the Judeo-Christian and pagan slavery.
I was told by a Muslim scholar before along time ago that the Arab pagans used to sometimes offer their wives for several nights to the rich and powerful men in the tribe to win their support and make them become more secured in the monopolizing and unmerciful pagan society.
So to women back then, it was something normal for a married slave woman to sleep with her master. It was something normal in the society at that time.
Allah Almighty in the Noble Quran not only allows for the slave man or woman to earn their freedom from their Muslim master, and receive money from their Muslim master to help them start their free life, but also commands the Muslim men to not compel their slave women into sex.
Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him also said:
Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari: “The Prophet said, “Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom).” (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Food, Meals, Volume 7, Book 65, Number 286)”
Islam came to liberate all slaves and to end the Judeo-Christian and Pagan slavery that was practiced before Islam. When Allah Almighty made lawful for the Muslim men to have sex with their slave women, He did it to keep the Islamic society back then during Islam’s weak, partial and venerable times under control.
Also, if any compulsion was made unto the slave woman, then Allah Almighty will add more mercy and forgiveness unto her in the Day of Judgement. Below is the commentary on this exact section and point in Noble Verse 24:33 by Minister (Sheikh) Abdullah Yusuf Ali; may Allah Almighty rest his soul:
“The poor unfortunate girls, who are victims of such a nefarious trade (i.e., slave trade), will yet find mercy from Allah, whose bounties extend to the lowest of His creatures.” 
There are other Noble Verses in the Noble Quran where Allah Almighty grants forgiveness and mercy to those who had been forced into illegal things:
“He hath only forbidden you Dead meat, and blood, And the flesh of swine, And that on which Any other name hath been invoked Besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, Without willful disobedience, Nor transgressing due limits — Then is he guiltless. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (The Noble Quran, 2:173)”
“Why should ye not Eat of (meats) on which Allah’s name hath been Pronounced, when He hath Explained to you in detail What is forbidden to you — Except under compulsion Of necessity? But many do mislead (men) By their appetites unchecked By knowledge. Thy Lord Knoweth best those who transgress. (The Noble Quran, 6:119)”
So the answer to the question is: No, the Muslim man can not rape his slave woman according to the commands of Allah Almighty in the Noble Quran.
Status of Slave Women in Islam
When Islam was reveled to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), slavery was a worldwide common social phenomenon; it was much older than Islam. Slavery was deeply rooted in every society to the extent that it was impossible to imagine a civilized society without slaves.
In spite of this social fact, Islam was the first religion to recognize slavery as a social illness that needed to be addressed. Since slavery was deeply rooted in the society, Islam did not abolish it at once. Rather, Islam treated slavery in the same manner it treated other social illnesses. Islam followed the same methodology of gradual elimination in dealing with this social disease as it did with other social illnesses, for example: the prohibition of alcohol in three steps.
Concerning having slave women, we would like to let you know that it happens to be a practice necessitated by the condition in which early Muslims found themselves vis-a-vis non-Muslims, as both parties engaged in wars. Slave women or milk al-yameen are referred to in the Qur’an as “Those whom your right hand possess” or “ma malakat aymanukum”; they are those taken as captives during conquests and subsequently became slaves, or those who were descendants of slaves.
Thus, it was a war custom in the past to take men and women as captives and then turn them into slaves. Islam did not initiate it, rather, it was something in practice long ago before the advent of Islam. And when Islam came, it tried to eradicate this practice, bit by bit. So it first restricted it to the reciprocal practice of war, in the sense that Muslims took war captives just as the enemies did with Muslims.
But as it aimed at putting an end to such issue, Islam laid down rules which would eventually lead to eradicating the practice. So it allowed Muslims to have intercourse with slave women taken as captives of just and legitimate wars. In so doing, the woman would automatically become free if she got pregnant. What’s more, her child would also become free.
Not only that, Islam also ordered a Muslim to treat the slave woman in every respect as if she were his wife. She should be well fed, clothed and given due protection. In the family environment, she had the opportunity to learn about Islam and was free to accept it or reject it. She also had the opportunity to earn her freedom for she could be ransomed.
In the light of the above-mentioned facts, and the nature of the question posed by people, it’s clear that some people misunderstand the wisdom behind the permissibility of having female slaves and think that it is meant to unleash men’s desires and give them more enjoyment. Never ! That is not the point ! It is, rather, means of freeing slaves; and this is clarified above in the fact that if a master got a female slave pregnant, then he could neither sell her nor give her away as a present. And if he died, she would not be considered part of his property. She’d receive her freedom and her baby would also be free.
But, we have to stress that this case should not be confused with that of female servants or maids, for they are free and not slaves. Therefore, it is forbidden to engage in sexual relations with them except through an Islamic marriage.
Slavery has been abolished by international conventions, and goes in line with aims and objectives of Islam, as it has called for centuries ago. As for marrying slaves, it is something permissible under two conditions: first, if one is unable to pay the dowry of a free woman. Second, if there is fear of committing adultery if one doesn’t get married. This is clarified by the following verse:
“And whose is not able to afford to marry free, believing women, let them marry from the believing maids whom your right hands possess. This is “for him among you who feareth to commit sin. But to have patience would be better for you.” (An-Nisaa’: 25)
This verse shows that Muslim men should abstain from illicit relations and seek enjoyment through marriage to free women or through their female slaves. In conclusion, Allah has forbidden certain types of behavior and permitted other kinds of behavior as a safeguard to the individual and to the society. Allah has forbidden fornication and adultery. However, in the case of captives whom your right hands posses, it’s something necessitated by the special circumstances which were created when the Muslims were at war.”
What about the female slaves who were married ?
Mufti Ebrahim Desai in his fatwa comments:
After their return to Islamic territory. Each soldier was then entitled to have relations only with the slave girl over which he was given the right of ownership and not with those slave girls that were not in his possession. This right of ownership was given to him by the “Ameerul-Mu’mineen” (Head of the Islamic state.) Due to this right of ownership, It became lawful for the owner of a slave girl to have intercourse with her ( which doesn’t mean that he can rape her, since doing harm to female slaves and rape in general is strict forbidden in islam, see the hadith quoted in my previous sections in this article as proof ).
If a slave woman was married previously in enemy territory to a non-Muslim, and is then captured alone, i.e. without her husband, it is not permissible for any Muslim to have relations with her until her previous marriage is nullified, and that is done by bringing her to an Islamic country and making her the legal possession of a Muslim. Bringing her into Islamic territory necessitates the rendering of her previous marriage as null and void by Islamic law because with her husband in enemy territory and she in Islamic territory, it becomes virtually impossible for them to meet and live as man and wife. That is why it is not permissible to have intercourse with a woman whose husband is also taken into captivity and put into slavery with her. Another resemblance between the two is that, just as a divorcee has to spend a period called “Iddat” before another man is allowed to marry her, similarly, a slave woman has to spend a period called “Istibraa” before her owner can have coition with her.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) enjoined his followers to treat the slaves kindly, gently, and, above all, to regard them as members of the family. In this way, they were made to feel wanted; which was far better than treating them as outcasts and leaving them to wander the streets of a strange society in a peniless, destitute condition. Such treatment would have ultimately forced them to take up evil occupations such as prostitution in the case of slave woman in order to fill their hungry stomachs. The First World War in 1914 was a clear reflection of the evils involved in setting captive women free to roars about in a strange society with strange surroundings. During that war, German and English women prisoners on either side were set free to roam the streets with no-one to feed them. The result was obvious that they resorted to other unrefined and uncivilised methods of income on the streets. Thus, it is evident that the Islamic treatment of women prisoners of war was conducive towards better social relations and led to the refinement of their overall social lives.
Over and above all this, History will show that Islam did not encourage slavery but rather encouraged moves towards the extirpation of slavery. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam has said something to this effect in a Hadith, that: “Whosoever freed a Muslim slave, the Lord would redeem all his limbs – in compensation for each limb of the slave, so much so that the private parts for the private parts – from the Fire of Hell. If a slave woman becomes pregnant from her owner, and delivers his child, she automatically gets her freedom after the death of her master whose child she gave birth to.
Moreover, there are many wrongs and sins for which the liberation of a slave serves as a compensation and atonement. This was a further incentive for the extirpation of slavery. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam also taught that whosoever teaches good manners to his slave girl, adorns her with politeness and good education, then frees her and gets married to her, for him there is double recompense and reward. These encouraging teachings served as incentives towards the emancipation of slaves and slaves were liberated by the thousands.
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam himself freed 63 slaves,
Hazrat Abu Bakr Radhiallahu Anhu freed 63,
Hazrat Abdur-Rahman bin Auf Radhiallahu Anhu 30,000;
Hazrat Hakim bin Huzam Radhiallahu Anhu 100;
Hazrat Abbas Radhiallahu Anhu 70;
Hazrat Ayesha Radhiallahu Anha 69;
Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar Radhiallahu Anhu 100;
Hazrat Uthman Radhiallahu Anhu used to free one slave every Friday and he would say that he would free any slave who performed his prayers-with humility.
Hazrat Zul-Kilah Radhiallahu Anhu freed 8,000 slaves in a single day.
Hazrat Umar Radhiallahu Anhu passed certain laws during his Khilafat which led to the emancipation of thousands of slaves, and to the prevention of certain specific forms of slavery. Some of the edicts that he issued:
1. All the apostate tribes that were enslaved during the Khilaafat of Hazrat Abu Bakr Radhiallahu Anhu were to be freed.
2. A Zimmi (protected non-Muslim subject of an Islamic state) should not be enslaved.
3. Arabs will not be enslaved.
4. Those who had been enslaved during the days of ignorance (prior to the advent of Islam) and had lived to witness the Islamic era, should redeem themselves from slavery by paying their costs (their value) to their owners whether they were willing or not.
As a result of all these laws, there came a time when slavery was totally extirpated. But of course, this extirpation came about after a gradual process because that was the only safe and expedient way of tackling the problem.
Islam restored dignity to slaves and enhanced their social status
Guardianship: A father or grandfather had absolute authority over his offspring. He could sell or gift him or her away; could lend him or her to someone else, or exchange him or her with another’s son or daughter.
When Islam came on the scene, it nullified and negated the last two factors completely. No ruler or progenitor was allowed to treat his subjects or offspring as his slaves. Every individual was bestowed with well-defined rights; the ruler and the ruled, the progenitor and the offspring had to live within the limits prescribed by religion; no one could transgress those limits.
And it drastically restricted the first cause, i.e., war, by allowing enslavement only in a war fought against unbelieving enemy. In no other way could anyone be enslaved. At the same time, Islam raised the status of slavery to that of a free man; and opened many ways for their emancipation
Source: al-Tabataba’i, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn, al-Mizan fi Tafsir’l Qur’an, vol.16, 2nd ed. (Beirut, 1390/1971), pp. 338-358.
Islam restored dignity to slaves and enhanced their social status. It made no distinction between a slave or a free man, and all were treated with equality. It was this fact that always attracted slaves to Islam. It is painful to see that those who never cease to be vociferous in their unjust criticism of Islam should take no notice of this principle of equality, when even in this enlightened age there are countries where laws are made discriminating against the vast majority of population, to keep them in practical servitude.
Islam recognises no distinction of race or colour, black or white, citizens or soldiers, rulers or subjects; they are perfectly equal, not in theory only, but in practice. The first mu’azzin (herald of the prayer call) of Islam, a devoted adherent of the Prophet and an esteemed disciple, was a Negro slave. The Qur’an lays down the measure of superiority in verse thirteen of chapter forty-nine. It is addressed to mankind, the whole human race, and preaches the natural brotherhood of man without distinction of tribe, clan, gender, race or colour. It says:
“O you men! We have created you of a male and a female, and then We made you (into different) races and tribes so that you may know (and “recognise) each other. Surely the most honourable of you with Allah is the one who is most pious among you; surely Allah is All-Knowing and “Aware.” The Qur’an 49:13
This verse makes clear the view point of Islam as regards human life on earth. It lays down only one criterion of superiority or honour and that is piety, which means complete obedience to the will of God. It annihilates all man-made and artificial distinctions of race, gender and colour which we find all over the world even now (this verse proofs my case even more: ‘ that it is strict forbidden in islam to rape female slaves’ , since rape is clearly forbidden in islam, since slaves in islam have the same position and status to allah as other human beings, it is clear that therefor rape of female slaves is strict forbidden, since rape of a free women is also strict forbidden, this verse proofs that a slave woman and a free woman have the same postion to allah swt and status as human beings in islam, therefor the raping of female slaves is strict forbidden in islam just as it is strict forbidden in islam to rape a free woman ). To explain the qualities of piety, let us note what Allah says:
“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, righteousness is this that one should believe in Allah, the Last Day, “the angels, the Book and the Prophets, and give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin, the orphans, the needy, the wayfarer, the “beggars and to those in bondage and keep up prayers, pay the poor-rate; and those who fulfil their promise and the patient ones in distress and “affliction and in the time of war – these are they who are the truthful and these are they who are pious.” The Qur’an 2:177
This verse clearly shows that by itself there is no specific virtue in turning towards any particular direction for prayer. (The unity of the Qiblah indicates the unity of faith which leads to spiritual unity and culminates in physical harmony.) The belief and practice enjoined in the verse are the real virtues, and apart from being ordered by God, they appeal to human reasoning. Please mark that “to give away wealth out of love for God to…those in bondage” is one of them.
The Non-Muslim Perspective:
On the attitude of Muslim master with his slaves, Will Durant says,
“…he handled them with a genial humanity that made their lot no worse – perhaps better, as more secure – than that of a factory worker in nineteenth-century Europe.”
Source: Hurgronje C., Mohammedanism, (N.Y., 1916), p. 128 as quoted by W. Durant, The Story of Civilization, vol. IV (N.Y., 1950), p. 209.
At the end of the 18th century, Mouradgea d’Ohsson (a main source of information for the Western writers on the Ottoman empire) declared:
“There is perhaps no nation where the captives, the slaves, the very toilers in the galleys are better provided for or treated with more kindness than among the Muhammedans.”
Source: As quoted in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol.I, p. 35.
P. L Riviere writes:
“A master was enjoined to make his slave share the bounties he received from God. It must be recognised that, in this respect, the Islamic teaching acknowledged such a respect for human personality and showed a sense of equality which is searched for in vain in ancient civilization”
Source: Riviere P.L., Revue Bleaue (June 1939).
And not only in ancient civilisations; even in the modern Christian civilisation the ingrained belief of racial supremacy is still manifesting itself every day. A. J. Toynbee says in Civilization on Trial:
“The extinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is one of the outstanding achievements of Islam, and in the contemporary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of this Islamic virtue…” Then he comments that “in this perilous matter of race feeling it can hardly be denied that (the triumph of English-speaking peoples) has been a misfortune.”
Source: Toynbee, A.J., Civilization on Trial (New York, 1948), p. 205.
Napoleon Bonaparte is recorded as saying about the condition of slaves in Muslim countries:
“The slave inherits his master’s property and marries his daughter. The majority of the Pashas had been slaves. Many of the grand viziers, all the Mamelukes, Ali Ben Mourad Beg, had been slaves. They began their lives by performing the most menial services in the houses of their masters and were subsequently raised in status for their merit or by favour. In the West, on the contrary, the slave has always been below the position of the domestic servants; he occupies the lowest rug. The Romans emancipated their slaves, but the emancipated were never considered as equal to the free-born. The ideas of the East and West are so different that it took a long time to make the Egyptians understand that all the army was not composed of slaves belonging to the Sultan al-Kabir.”
Source: Cherfils, Bonaparte et l’Islam (Paris, 1914)
Annemarie Schimmel writes:
“The entire history of Islam proves that slaves could occupy any office, and many former military slaves, usually recruited from among the Central Asian Turks, became military leaders and often even rulers as in eastern Iran, India (the Slave Dynasty of Delhi), and medieval Egypt (the Mamluks). “
Source: “Islam: An Introduction”, p. 67
Islam totally objects and fights all forms of slavery. The focus of Islam in all its teachings and rites was to eradicate this prevailing practice. Now, slavery has been abolished by international conventions, and this goes in line with aims and objectives of Islam.
-Dr. Taha Jaber Al-`Alwani, President of the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences and President of the Fiqh Council, states the following:
When Allah created human beings, He created them to be free and to be vicegerents on the earth. Slavery is something that came from people who couldn’t understand the position of the human being and it was made, in the past, as a global phenomenon.
When Islam came, it tried to bring change to get the human being back to being free, as Allah has created us, by certain procedures. Those procedures of Islam went through without interference from the other nations or states who are non-Muslim states or nations. Maybe within the third century of Hijrah or the migration of the Prophet to Madinah, this phenomenon would have been over and disappeared. But as I mentioned, because it was a global phenomenon, that procedure which was established by Islam couldn’t go through and finish with this very bad phenomenon.
Now, al-hamdulillah all people have agreed to stop this phenomenon and stand up against it. With this, there is no way to go back to adopt this phenomenon again in any way, especially for Muslims, since they must protect the freedom of others and always be with their rights to be free servants of Allah only. We should remember when the Caliph `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said in a famous khutbah (Speech or sermon) of his,
“ When did you make the people as slaves or servants of you while Allah, the Almighty, created them free”
This means that the Muslims from the very beginning advocated the freedom of all human beings and were against the oppression of free people by tyrants and dictator leaders.
Having clarified the above, we would like to states that it was a war custom in the past to take men and women as captives and then turn them into slaves. Islam did not initiate it, rather, it was something in practice long ago before the advent of Islam. And when Islam came, it tried to eradicate this practice, bit by bit. So it first restricted it to the reciprocal practice of war, in the sense that Muslims took war captives just as the enemies did with them.
Slavery was a universal law in the Arab culture, Persian, Indian, and Roman civilizations. It was not Islam that introduced slavery. Islam came when slavery was practiced widely. It was not suitable to ban slavery at once. Islam, however, tried to drain the source of slavery and close its gate gradually.
After the advent of Islam, slaves were given better treatment. All their human rights were safeguarded. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) commanded proper treatment for slaves, that they should be fed from what other Muslims eat, be clothed from what other Muslims wear, and be not asked to do work beyond their ability unless they’re helped.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also forbade Muslims to slap their slaves. One time he summoned a man who had beaten his slave and said to him:
“Remember, you have power over him, but Allah the Almighty has power over you. Imagine you were in his situation, how would you like to be treated ? .The man felt sorry for what he had done, and he released the slave. Upon this, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “If you didn’t do .that, you would be punished by Allah on the Day of Judgment.”
This is how Islam honors the rights of slaves after they used to be tortured and persecuted.
Coming to the issue of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), he never had a slave. The first slave that was given to him by his wife Khadija was Zayd Ibn Haritha whom the Prophet adopted as his son and called him after his name (that was before adoption was declared forbidden in Islam), but later on called him after his father.
As for his wives, there is difference among scholars whether Mariya of Egypt, who was also given as a gift to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), was a slave or not. Even if we agree that she was a slave, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) married her, and she embraced Islam and became one of the Mothers of the Faithful (ummahat-il-mu’mineen).
Anyway, this question is not now a living question. Slavery has been banned by all international laws. It is against human rights. We Muslims honor human rights and we cannot enslave people while they were created free by Allah the Almighty. Slavery is neither legal nor Islamic to practice. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “The worst sin is to capture a free person and take him as a slave.”
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