Topic initiated on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 5:47 AM
|Abolishing of slavery by Islam|
This is the view of Amin Ahsen Islahi in his Tadabur-ul Qur'an about Slavery and Islam
Slavery was never part of the Islamic social system, but it was present as an international occurrence and also possessed the potential to provide a solution to the prisoners of wars. Islam tolerated it. If Islam finished it unilaterally, it would have created chaos among the Islamic societies and their enemies would also have exploited it.
In that time period the natural outcome of wars was that the POW's were made slaves. They were then sold in markets and common places. People had multiple slaves of different ages. If Islam abruptly abolished slavery then it would have created chaos as to how to manage with all these slaves. These slaves included a significant number who were either too old to do anything or did not possess either ability or desire to be free. They would have had no other option but to either become beggars or prostitutes.… Islam undertook such measures that all those slaves that had desire ability and potential, gradually became important contributors and part of society.
Before completely abolishing slavery, it was essential that at an international level, people developed appreciation and recognition of human equality. Thus Islam, in its own social system, laid down such rules and regulations, that developed an appreciation and realisation about these condemned and inferior classed people. The objective being that progressively the minds and moral levels of the society rise to such a level that these people attain their rightful status in society.
These measures included
1. In Makkan life among the early periods 'Fak i Raqabah" i. e to free a slave was termed a big social good deed. In some verses of Qur'an it is termed the foremost deed or requirement for the rich.
2. The prophet pbuh instructed their msters to treat them well and also imposed religious regulation on their owners. Thus abolishing the independance that owners enjoyed in terms of accountability towards slaves.
3 As a Sadqa and Kufarah for certain sins it was stated you could free a slave.
4. The society was encouraged to marry between slaves of equal potential and ages.
5 Bait ulmaal and usage of zakaat were made legal ways of freeing slaves.
6 Those masters who were forcing female slaves into prostitution were warned of grave consequences. According to some the prophet pbuh punished some with Rajm.
7. The prophet pbuh instructed people not to call slaves abd or Ammat but Fattah or fattat.
8 For POW's it was encouraged that they be freed after taking Fidya or by Ihsaan.
9 Mukaatbat where if a slave felt he/she had the potential or ability to exist freely, decided with their owner a fixed sum of money for their freedom. was imposed as a law. Thus opening the door for freedom for every male or female slave who wanted freedom. This law literally and practically abolished slavery After this law only those slaves were left who either did not desire freedom or did not have the ability to be free. According to some sahabhi, it was wajib to have mukatabat with a slave who was willing to do it. Islahi agrees with this. He then states that these instructions are gradually being provided to society. In this situation the owner of the slave is not the master but more of a partner/party to an agreement. The society was advised that if the issue of mukatabat could be dealt between the slave and master themselves that was fine. otherwise this matter could be brought to some reputed people of society or a Judge.
The Qur'an also encouraged the society, that once a slave had decided to embark on mukatabat, that the society help him to the best of their abilities. The scholars are in agreement that the money for zakat and even money from Bait ul maal could be used to help free slaves. According to scholars bait ul maal had fixed allocation of funds to free slaves.
The rule of Kitab or Mukatabat between the Owner and slave was also based on similar basis. According to some sahabhi, it was wajib to have mukatabat with a slave who was willing to do it. Islahi agrees with this. He then states that these instructions are gradually being provided to society. In this situation the owner of the slave is not the master but more of a partner/party to an agreement. The society was advised that if the issue of mukatabat could be dealt between the slave and master themselves that was fine. otherwise this matter could be brought to some reputed people of society or a Judge.
10. For women slaves, Mahr and Ihsaan were instated on the same level as for free women.
11. If female slaves indulged in Zina, they were also punished so that their moral level may approach the moral level of the rest of society. However the punishment was less than that for the free women as they did not have the same security and protection as a free women.
12. Muslims were allowed to marry other peoples women slaves, again trying to raise the social status of women slaves.
After all these measures only those slaves were left as slaves who either lacked the ability or potential or desire to become free. They were content with their circumstances. Obviously if any regulation was announced to free these slaves, their owners would have to comply with the regulation. These people would have lost the security and protection of their masters home and would have lacked the ability to exist freely. They would have become a burden on society
Posted - Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 10:32 AM
|point 9 is mistaken, as slaves would have no money to pay to free themselves. This interpretation is in error.|
Islahi was no doubt referring to: -
Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your ma malakat aymaanukum ask for a deed in writing , give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which Allah has given to you. ...
So we see, it is the one under whose authority the person is that gives the money, not the other way around.
Also, one needs to be sure of the proper attribution of meaning to the term ma malakat aymanukum in this context.
Edited by: marwan on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 10:43 AM
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