FAQ in the category of Freedom

1 Is slavery over?

It is thought to be the soft underbelly of Islam and the enemies of Islam and the flagbearers of Islamophobia bring these issues into question over and over again. Although it is clear that reasonable and convincing answers have been given for several centuries to correct misunderstandings, that Muslims have no problems in this regard, and that non-Muslims of all ages, and especially non-Muslims, who learn Islam do not hesitate to be guided, those who seek help from this issue and similar ones will continue to come up empty-handed.

Recently, a few questions were related to this issue; they asked, “Why did Islam not abolish slavery?”

There are many answers on our website to answer this question; you can look at them.

We will give a summary here:

If Muslims had correctly understood and implemented Islam’s goal related to slavery, there would have been no slaves in Islamic society, and perhaps in the world, for two reasons:

1. Through the means of emancipation, which we will explain a little later.

2. Through a treaty led by the Islamic state to abolish slavery - for whatever reason - all over the world. Once that treaty had been concluded, the need for retaliation would have been eliminated and there would have been no resources left.

The measures, provisions and remedies that Islam introduced to free slaves and concubines without causing chaos in social life are summarized as follows:

1. In numerous verses of the Quran and hadiths, the virtue, thawab and reward of freeing slaves for the sake of Allah are mentioned and Muslims are encouraged to do so.

2. Significant improvements were made related to the treatment of slaves and concubines. The following is stated in the hadiths:

- “Feed them from what you eat; clothe them from what you wear; do not burden them with heavy loads...” (Bukhari, Itq, 15)
- “If a person slaps his slave in the face or beats him, the atonement is to free the slave.” (Abu-Dawud, no: 5168)

3. The atonement (spiritual penalty) for causing accidental death is the freeing of a slave.

4. The atonement for breaking an oath is the freeing of a slave.

5. The atonement for the act called zihar, which is like a vow not to approach one’s wife, is the freeing of a slave.

6. One of the places where zakah is spent is the freeing of slaves.

7. It is commanded that if a slave wants to be freed by working or by paying for it through other means, his offer be accepted and financial assistance be given to him.

8. If a person makes a vow to free a slave, it is obligatory for him to free a slave when he achieves his intention.

On the one hand, the reduction of the source to one and the fact that it is not obligatory (being left to the discretion of the ruler), and on the other hand, the existence of ways, some of which are obligatory and some encouraged, to free the existing slaves; if they had been fulfilled, there would have been no slaves and concubines in the Islamic society centuries ago.

So, what was done and what did Muslims do?

- They increased the means (sources) of enslavement in illegitimate forms.

- They did not treat slaves and concubines well (in a way that is in accordance with the Sunnah).

- They did not use the means of emancipation.

The abolition of slavery centuries later, even on paper, was the realization of one of the goals of Islam.

Is there no slavery today?

Slavery still continues all over the world in an intensive manner.

According to the data of the International Labor Organization, there are approximately 30 million slaves in the world today.

According to the International Labor Organization, approximately 1 million 200 thousand women and girls are forcibly abducted and sold for money by traffickers and prostitution gangs. The number of women who are subjected to rape and torture every minute is increasing day by day...

In migrant smuggling, which is a different concept from human trafficking, the relationship between the migrant and the criminal organization ends after the border is crossed whereas in human trafficking, the forced detention continues. Illegal migrant smuggling, which is one of the most important problems of our time, results in many people losing their lives on ships that sink during smuggling.

The fact that it has been many years since slavery was abolished is a complete lie

2 Were slaves and concubines going to disappear?

When we look at our main source, the Quran, and the Sunnah, which is its explanation and application, we come to the following conclusion:

When Islam came, first the miserable conditions of male and female slaves would be reformed, and then - thanks to the measures and regulations taken by Islam in the course of time, there would be no more male and female slaves in Islamic society.

However, did it happen in reality?

No.

So, who is at fault, the religion or those who say they are Muslims?

Undoubtedly, the Muslims who preferred their pleasures and interests to the divine purpose are.

Let us first look at the issue of male and female slaves according to the main sources and then look at what happened.

Sayyid Sabiq summarized the issue as it should be as follows in his book called Fiqh as-Sunnah:

There is no verse in the Quran that permits enslavement, but there is a call to free existing slaves.

It is not recorded that the Prophet (pbuh) enslaved any captives; however, he freed the captives of Makkah, Sons of Mustaliq and Hunayn. He freed those who had been enslaved in the Era of Jahiliyya and those who had been given to him as gifts.

The Rightly-Guided Caliphs enslaved some captives in retaliation, but they considered pre-existing forms of enslavement to be haram and limited it to “captives taken in a legitimate war declared by the state against its non-Muslim enemies”...

Apart from this limitation, Islam improved the situation of existing slaves, ensured that they were treated well and opened the door to freedom wide.

Treating them well:

- Allah ordered Muslims to treat their male and female slaves well. (an-Nisa: 4/36)

According to what Ali (ra) reports, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Fear Allah about slaves.”

- He forbade any addressing that belittled them and reminded them that they were slaves, and wanted the Muslims to call the slaves as “my son, my daughter”.

- The following historical statement belongs to him: “Your servants are your brothers and sisters. Allah entrusted them to you. Feed those who are under your command from what you eat and clothe them with what you clothe yourselves; do not burden them with what they cannot bear; if you do, help them.”

- He forbade treating them badly: “If someone slaps or beats his slave, the way to get rid of his sin (its atonement) is to set him free.”

- He saw a Companion beating his slave and said, “Allah’s power against you is greater than your power against this slave.” When the Companion said, “I am setting him free for the sake of Allah,” he said, “If you had not done so, you would have been punished with fire.”

- He ordered the education and training of male and female slaves and said:

If someone has a female slave and educates her, treats her well, and marries her, there are two rewards for him in this world and the Hereafter:

a) The reward for marriage and teaching,

b) The reward for emancipation (the female slave who marries her master proceeds to the path to freedom).

Door of freedom

The door to freeing male and female slaves was wide open.

If Muslims had correctly understood and implemented Islam’s goal with regard to slavery, there would have been no slaves in Islamic society and perhaps in the world for two reasons:

1. By means of emancipation, which we will explain below.

2. By a treaty, led by the Islamic state, to abolish enslavement, for whatever reason, throughout the world. Once this treaty was concluded, the need for retaliation would be eliminated and there would be no resources left.

The measures that Islam took and the provisions and remedies it introduced to free male and female slaves:

1. In many verses and hadiths, the virtue, reward and thawab of freeing slaves for the sake of Allah are mentioned and Muslims are encouraged to do so.

2. The atonement (spiritual punishment) for causing accidental death is to free a slave.

3. One of the atonements for breaking an oath is to free a slave.

4. The atonement for the deed called zihar, which is a vow not to approach one’s wife, is to free a slave.

5. One of the ways of giving zakah is buying and freeing slaves.

6. If a slave who wants to gain his freedom by working or by other means and paying for it, his master is commanded to accept his offer and give him financial assistance.

7. If a person makes a vow to free a slave, he is obliged to free a slave when he has achieved his goal.

On the one hand, the reduction of the source to one and the fact that it is not obligatory (being left to the discretion of the administration), and on the other hand, the existence of ways, some of which are obligatory and some of which are encouraged, to free existing slaves - if they had been fulfilled - there would have been no male and female slaves left in Islamic society centuries ago.