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Ali J

Why Is Slavery Permissible In Islam?

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So the Prophet (pbuh) and the Imams (as) did something wrong, and they didn't even realise it. And Allah (swt) allowed something wrong, and put it in His final revelation to mankind. Great.

Remind me why you are a Muslim again?

actualy i think u r the one who needs to do that.

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Completely missing the point, which is that arguments like the one I was responding too can be applied to any other area of Islamic law modern society deems outdated and backward. I understand that some people have no problem with 'updating' Islam as time goes by, but I am not one of those people

No I didn't miss the point.....but people need to quit bringing up the gays. Find a new analogy please because this one is on every thread.

As it happens, the slave trade still exists, just not officially.

Yes I know it exists and it is horrible.

Well, if that is the case then it would be better for Muslims to buy slaves, since they would not be allowed to treat slaves in that way, and if they did, the slaves would have some legal and religious protection.

Yes if I had money I would buy them and set every one of them free every chance I got.

The problem at the moment is officially there is no slave trade, even if it exists underground, so there is no way of monitoring it, and people caught up in it have no legal protection. At least if there was an official slave trade, then it could be regulated to some extent..

It would still be impossible to regulate it.

Edited by ImAli

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Human spirit craves for freedom, centuries of human history has proved that, whole generations have exhausted themselves to attain and maintain the illusion of freedom. One example is Vietnam and Kashmir----their standard of lives would have definitely improved had they succumbed to their assaulter---good civic conditions, roads, schools etc, ( equivalent to food, clothing for individual slaves ). But they still fought for the elusive freedom.

So, it's evident that state of being bonded to someone, to be subjugated to someone is a trauma for human psyche. Treatment which ones receives is besides the point. Idea itself is crushing to human soul.

Now, as not only slavery was encouraged but actually institutionalized by Islam so there is no choice left but to accept it, bearing this thing in mind that compassion and justice are the focal points of a divine religion. We are allowed to sell and purchase human beings, fine; what next ? What is our own moral dilemma tells us. Maybe, it's the same thing that we are provided by God with options and left with choices to decide upon which comes up best to the ultimate goal of being just and compassionate.

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The Imams and the prophets have kept slaves. Where they bad? I think keeping slaves is very necessary for the sake of poor people. One have to be kind to them. The rich share their wealth directly by that contact. Its a mutual understanding. In todays world they say slavery is abolished. And the West boast about it. In reality you find migrants,poor and even young children are exploited. You also find this evident in rich countries as well as poor countries. Better to have a proper system in place than to deny the fact and bury our heads in the sand.

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would the compassion of Holy Prophet allow this thing that kids ( girls especially ) ranging from age 4 up to any point are kidnapped ,sold, used, misused and abused ?

Before selling and purchasing comes an other stage---procurement,

Many are stolen, or kidnapped by the stronger/ powerful group or tribe ( as in the place my father belongs to ) mostly just to punish the weaker party of a tribal feud.

So, is there no concept of protection for the weaker one ?

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Slavery in Islam isn't like the slavery we know of where the person whips the slave and forces him to do labor all day. In Islam, you treat the "slave" as a family member, you cloth them and feed them as one of the family members. It's not like we can go and capture someone and be like "YOUR MY SLAVE". Their are specific rulings on how a slave becomes and slave and all that. the "slaves" of ahlul bayt loved their masters so much that some of them didn't even want to be "feed". We hear cases of how some slaves were given better foods and clothes than the "master" etc. Plus Islam allows slavery but you get tremendous thawab for freeing a slave. When Imam Ali as passed away, his will composed of money to be spent only on freeing slaves.

Before you condemn slavery in Islam, understand it first. It is nothing like the slavery of the west where the slave is treated like an animal...

Allah knows better than us, just because we don't understand something does not mean it is bad. Trust in Allah....

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Slavery in Islam isn't like the slavery we know of where the person whips the slave and forces him to do labor all day. In Islam, you treat the "slave" as a family member, you cloth them and feed them as one of the family members. It's not like we can go and capture someone and be like "YOUR MY SLAVE". Their are specific rulings on how a slave becomes and slave and all that. the "slaves" of ahlul bayt loved their masters so much that some of them didn't even want to be "feed". We hear cases of how some slaves were given better foods and clothes than the "master" etc. Plus Islam allows slavery but you get tremendous thawab for freeing a slave. When Imam Ali as passed away, his will composed of money to be spent only on freeing slaves.

Before you condemn slavery in Islam, understand it first. It is nothing like the slavery of the west where the slave is treated like an animal...

Allah knows better than us, just because we don't understand something does not mean it is bad. Trust in Allah....

I am not condemning an idea,

I am condemning a reality, place yourself in the shoes of a young kid who has been first kidnapped then used as a slave.

I have seen such kids, dealt with them on daily basis. So do not tell me what I understand or what I do not understand.

I have seen grief-stricken mothers crying while lamenting the loss of their kids, on the doorstep of my husband's house, begging him to intercede. I have witnessed their pain and misery.

I have seen it for almost 2 damned years.

Edited by ShahBano_BZ

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The prime example of how to treat slaves was shown by prophet muhammad (saw) adn ahlulbayt (as).

For the slaves it was a privilege to be slaves of these great personalities as they were treated well and also gained spiritually from it.

Lady Fizza is a prime example of this, she benefited so much from being a slave in the household of ahlulbayt (as)

i remember hearing that the prophet (Saw) used to be so just, he made a routine whereby one day lady fizza would make the food and bibi fatima (sa) would take a rest and the next day bibi fatima (Sa) would make the food and lady fizza would take a rest and so on. Lady fizza was like a housemember and not a slave.

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Who is asking about how to treat them ?

OP wanted to know why to acquire them---why to sell, why to purchase an other human being ?

Treatment is just not relevant----you buy a merchandise, you use it, throw it, break it, whatever---- but first things first---

---why to buy it ?

Edited by ShahBano_BZ

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Who is asking about how to treat them ?

OP wanted to know why to acquire them---why to sell, why to purchase an other human being ?

Treatment is just not relevant----you buy a merchandise, you use it, throw it, break it, whatever---- but first things first---

---why to buy it ?

Sister I am not rich or anything but from reading your posts it seems that you and your husband do quite a bit of work in an effort to combat the slave trade. Please let me know if there is anything I can do from my location because it would be of my pleasure to bring awareness to the situation or somehow raise funds or anything else. I doubt I will be able to to much but everything helps....every little bit....so feel free to private message me.

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Not from an Islamic point of view, but for most who do not derive their morality strictly from divine sources, definitely.

I'm not sure how a Muslim can hold a different position on a question of morality than that of his Creator, Prophet, and Imam, in the full knowledge that it is different.

By the way, aside from divine sources, there is no consistent and objective way of deriving morality.

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I'm not sure how a Muslim can hold a different position on a question of morality than that of his Creator, Prophet, and Imam, in the full knowledge that it is different.

By the way, aside from divine sources, there is no consistent and objective way of deriving morality.

Muslims are humans after all, it is human to doubt, to question etc, that is not to say they hold a different position, but you can clearly see it leaves a few perplexed, anyway I was mostly referring to someone from the outside studying islamic morality.

No one said there is a consistent way, but overtime humans have developed a general moral code consisting of very elementary moral principles which fit the description/definition of universality. Obviously the human moral code is ever evolving as some matters are simply far too complex, here religion claims to know all the answers while the fallible human mind admits things are a work in progress. So you can see there is room for growth/progress in one case while things are quite stagnant in the other. In any case, there have been strong arguments made for slavery in the past, today it is mostly considered immoral.

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I'm not sure how a Muslim can hold a different position on a question of morality than that of his Creator, Prophet, and Imam, in the full knowledge that it is different.

By the way, aside from divine sources, there is no consistent and objective way of deriving morality.

You are right that Muslims generally derive morality based on the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).

But you are wrong that morality from the divine sources are consistent or objective.

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Bro Haydar or other knowledgeable members,

Before discussing further, I think it's important to understand the rules of slavery in Islam to avoid further speculating (probably unconciously) by some members equating slavery in Islam with non-Islamic slavery.

Do you have the materials (or the overview) of how the detailed Islamic laws in slavery (or at least, an overview)?

I have a hunch that Islam doesn't abolish slavery right away due to social implications it could entail (for both the master & the slave). Therefore, by setting standards on how a slave should be treated, limiting a criteria someone could be considered a slave, & making freeing slave as kaffarah or recommended acts, can diminish slavery slowly. But, then again, let's look at the laws first to avoid further speculations.

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As it seems that I have been unable to communicate my question properly, so it ends this debate for me.

but to all those who consider slavery a delightful occupation, just see once into the eyes of a sold girl or a child, than answer it.

It feels good to say all these things when you are ,oh, so protected; when there are many poor and weak to bear the brunt.

What are those people---scum of the earth ?---toilet papers to wipe the filth ?

Face one girl who has been acquired and used against her will and than think.

Im Ali

He does not work for any NGO, as such. He runs his own destitute house---free education, food sometimes, medical treatment sort of thing. I just worked there as a volunteer. And believe me I have gathered enough of nightmares to last me for the rest of life. I had no option but to run away from there.

where slavery is concerned, he has to get involved when asked to intercede, -----( who can say to a miserable parent )---it's part of the tribal culture there, settle the score by hitting the most vulnerable part of your enemy---women and children.

So sometimes he uses persuasion/ negotiation, sometimes money and sometime, I do not know whether to be embarrassed or what , equally ferocious use of force and aggression.

Maybe in the end it all boils down to this----the language of power; who is speaking it and with what intend.

I had enough personally.

Edited by ShahBano_BZ

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Islamic slavery as practiced by pious Muslims may sound good because the slaves were given lots of rights and benefits.

But the current practice of slavery in the middle east and else-where is absolutely horrible and disgusting. The worst form of human exploitation.

Edited by Gypsy

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You are right that Muslims generally derive morality based on the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).

Hmm, I think that is what they should be doing, but I certainly don't think that is what most do. In situations were two positions are held to be more or less morally acceptable (at least to the point where an opposing viewpoint is allowed to be heard) by non-Muslim society, then most Muslims will take the side that agrees with Islam. However, things become a lot more complicated when non-Muslim society has a consensus on a certain position (like slavery, child marriage, etc). In those situations, you find most Muslims in incredible moral dilemmas, because they just can't bring themselves to disregard the morality of the non-Muslims that has been inculcated in them since birth.

But you are wrong that morality from the divine sources are consistent or objective.

God-given morality isn't consistent and objective from a human point of view?

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Islamic slavery as practiced by pious Muslims may sound good because the slaves were given lots of rights and benefits.

But the current practice of slavery in the middle east and else-where is absolutely horrible and disgusting. The worst form of human exploitation.

Yes and these people owning slaves are supposed to be muslims? HMMMMMMM so how is one to make sure the slaves are treated well if the slave trade were to be legalized and regulated? Put cameras in the home of everyone who owns a slave? Have social workers do daily or weekly check ups and have meetings with the slave and slave owner? How do you make people behave? You can't! Even if they are treated good the idea of owning another human grosses me out....I just imagine how I would feel if I were "owned" or if someone I love was "owned" by another person.

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Yes and these people owning slaves are supposed to be muslims? HMMMMMMM so how is one to make sure the slaves are treated well if the slave trade were to be legalized and regulated? Put cameras in the home of everyone who owns a slave? Have social workers do daily or weekly check ups and have meetings with the slave and slave owner? How do you make people behave? You can't! Even if they are treated good the idea of owning another human grosses me out....I just imagine how I would feel if I were "owned" or if someone I love was "owned" by another person.

ImAli,

Modern day slavery is not about cleaning your toilets and doing household chores. The rich Arabs already have plenty of maids from poor countries doing their household chores.

These slaves are for sex. Human trafficking/modern day slavery is mostly about prostitution and sex. Once they have no needs of these girls/children, they are abandon/discarded by their pimp/owners.

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ImAli,

Modern day slavery is not about cleaning your toilets and doing household chores. The rich Arabs already have plenty of maids from poor countries doing their household chores.

These slaves are for sex. Human trafficking/modern day slavery is mostly about prostitution and sex. Once they have no needs of these girls/children, they are abandon/discarded by their pimp/owners.

Yes I know....and that's even worse than cleaning toilets...and the fact that it is children drives me crazy even more.

I was watching a documentary of a child brothel once...and an undercover reporter went in with a hidden camera. A little girl no older than 4 was talking to him and answering questions as to what job she can do for him and what price......uffffff.

Edited by ImAli

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but to all those who consider slavery a delightful occupation, just see once into the eyes of a sold girl or a child, than answer it.

I'm pretty sure nobody considers slavery a delightful occupation. Of course it's horrible to be taken as a slave, which is why Muslims can't take other Muslims as slaves.

It feels good to say all these things when you are ,oh, so protected; when there are many poor and week to bear the brunt.

What are those people---scum of the earth ?---toilet papers to wipe the filth ?

Face one girl who has been acquired and used against her will and than think.

Ok, let's try to clear a few things up. First of all, in Islam there is only one legal way to make someone a slave, which is to capture him or her in Jihad led by an infallible. Having said that, if someone is taken as a slave by some other (unlawful) means such as kidnapping, then nothing stops a Muslim from acquiring that slave. The point is that if the person is going to be a slave anyway, then surely it is better to be the slave of a Muslims, who at least in theory will have to treat him with a certain amount of dignity (some legal rights, feed and cloth him in the same way he himself is fed and clothed, etc), than to have the slave at the mercy of a kafir. Additionally, the slave will have the benefit of been exposed to Islam, and should he or she convert, it would then be highly recommended to free him/her after a relatively short period of time. This might seem like a small matter to some people, but they should remind themselves of the fact that we are all going to die and resurrected, and then what religion you belong to will count for quite a bit. So exposing someone to Islam, even in these types of conditions, could be worth an incredible amount to them in the afterlife, which as the Qur'an reminds us over and over is far more important than this world.

Another point to bear in mind is that in Islam the kaffara for many sins is the free slaves, which is in any case a recommended act anyway, so there are good chances to end up free. A slave also has the option of working to buy his own freedom, as mentioned (among other things) in the following verse from the Qur'an.

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. [24:33]

Of course, all this applies to slavery in an Islamic society, where it is out in the open, not the kind of unislamic system we have nowadays. Obviously I don't support slaves being treated in an unislamic way, but as a Muslim I cannot say that slavery in all its forms is immoral when it was practiced by the Prophet (pbuh) and the Imams (as), and is regulated in the Qur'an.

ImAli,

Modern day slavery is not about cleaning your toilets and doing household chores. The rich Arabs already have plenty of maids from poor countries doing their household chores.

These slaves are for sex. Human trafficking/modern day slavery is mostly about prostitution and sex. Once they have no needs of these girls/children, they are abandon/discarded by their pimp/owners.

Slaves were used for sex long before rich Arabs came along. What do you think slave girls were used for back in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) and Imams (as)? Just to do the cooking and cleaning?

Yes and these people owning slaves are supposed to be muslims? HMMMMMMM so how is one to make sure the slaves are treated well if the slave trade were to be legalized and regulated? Put cameras in the home of everyone who owns a slave? Have social workers do daily or weekly check ups and have meetings with the slave and slave owner? How do you make people behave? You can't! Even if they are treated good the idea of owning another human grosses me out....I just imagine how I would feel if I were "owned" or if someone I love was "owned" by another person.

If the slave is being mistreated, he can go to a judge and complain about his master.

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If the slave is being mistreated, he can go to a judge and complain about his master.

If only it would be that easy....and the way that many countries are ran most of the rich people owning slaves also own the judges....regulation would do nothing and it still wouldn't combat the other illegal disgusting form as seen in this video.

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I'm pretty sure nobody considers slavery a delightful occupation. Of course it's horrible to be taken as a slave, which is why Muslims can't take other Muslims as slaves.

Ok, let's try to clear a few things up. First of all, in Islam there is only one legal way to make someone a slave, which is to capture him or her in Jihad led by an infallible. Having said that, if someone is taken as a slave by some other (unlawful) means such as kidnapping, then nothing stops a Muslim from acquiring that slave. The point is that if the person is going to be a slave anyway, then surely it is better to be the slave of a Muslims, who at least in theory will have to treat him with a certain amount of dignity (some legal rights, feed and cloth him in the same way he himself is fed and clothed, etc), than to have the slave at the mercy of a kafir. Additionally, the slave will have the benefit of been exposed to Islam, and should he or she convert, it would then be highly recommended to free him/her after a relatively short period of time. This might seem like a small matter to some people, but they should remind themselves of the fact that we are all going to die and resurrected, and then what religion you belong to will count for quite a bit. So exposing someone to Islam, even in these types of conditions, could be worth an incredible amount to them in the afterlife, which as the Qur'an reminds us over and over is far more important than this world.

Another point to bear in mind is that in Islam the kaffara for many sins is the free slaves, which is in any case a recommended act anyway, so there are good chances to end up free. A slave also has the option of working to buy his own freedom, as mentioned (among other things) in the following verse from the Qur'an.

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. [24:33]

Of course, all this applies to slavery in an Islamic society, where it is out in the open, not the kind of unislamic system we have nowadays. Obviously I don't support slaves being treated in an unislamic way, but as a Muslim I cannot say that slavery in all its forms is immoral when it was practiced by the Prophet (pbuh) and the Imams (as), and is regulated in the Qur'an.

Slaves were used for sex long before rich Arabs came along. What do you think slave girls were used for back in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) and Imams (as)? Just to do the cooking and cleaning?

If the slave is being mistreated, he can go to a judge and complain about his master.

Can be freed, should be freed, is recommended to be freed, its all besides the point. The point is it is totally moral in Islam to own slaves, and the owner slave relationship by definition means that the owners have rights over their slaves, and slaves have limited rights, it is not by any stretch of the imagination an equal arrangement. Slaves still have to obey, cannot marry without permission etc etc

Correct me if I am wrong though, a slave cannot marry without the owners consent, so technically an owner can deny his slave marriage for life, and it would be considered moral under sharia.

"The mahr that is given for marriage to a female slave is taken by her owner, whereas all other women possess it absolutely for themselves" ... I am guessing this is true as well?

Anyway it would be good to discuss the actual islamic rights in this arrangement, so if someone could please post them.

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I am not condemning an idea,

I am condemning a reality, place yourself in the shoes of a young kid who has been first kidnapped then used as a slave.

I have seen such kids, dealt with them on daily basis. So do not tell me what I understand or what I do not understand.

I have seen grief-stricken mothers crying while lamenting the loss of their kids, on the doorstep of my husband's house, begging him to intercede. I have witnessed their pain and misery.

I have seen it for almost 2 damned years.

Then we are talking about two different types of slavery. The one you talk about is not in Islam and is condemned by Islam thus what is the problem???

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Salams. Logic police here. Just because someone is speaking in defense of the classical Islamic perspective on slavery, doesn't mean he has to answer for every abuse ever perpetrated under the name of slavery in any other civilization. Non sequitur. It doesn't follow.

slavery in itself is wrong. no one should own someone else.

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slavery in itself is wrong. no one should own someone else.

Mmm..you have to walk more carefully with your words. You walk yourself into trouble if you're not careful. If you say it is "inherently wrong," you need to reconcile that, as a Muslim, with the fact that the primary Islamic texts were willing to accept it as a reality, at least in the particular context in which they came.

And then you're in the uncomfortable place of trying to explain why our examples advocated an "inherent wrong" in certain circumstances.

If, on the other hand, you try to argue that it was the best way to satisfy certain goals in an earlier context, but that there are objectively better ways to do so today, because of material differences in the context, you're probably on firmer ground.

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Slavery = human bondage. Period.

Then you have a problem with Islam, Allah, and the prophet's and imams who DID HAVE SERVENTS SLAVES. Slavery is in Islam whether you like it or not. But your understanding of slavery is one sided. You only think about the western-type slavery... this is a problem you need to work on.

BTW, Islam also allows sexual relations with a slave even if they are not married - have fun with this fact =]

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Then you have a problem with Islam, Allah, and the prophet's and imams who DID HAVE SERVENTS SLAVES. Slavery is in Islam whether you like it or not. But your understanding of slavery is one sided. You only think about the western-type slavery... this is a problem you need to work on.

BTW, Islam also allows sexual relations with a slave even if they are not married - have fun with this fact =]

How is this related only to western type slavery?

slavery is human bondage - how does it differ in Islam from that?

bond·age/ˈbändij/

Noun:

  • The state of being a slave.
  • A state of being greatly constrained by circumstances or obligations.

I agree - slaves have few rights and choice in sex is one of them - the master possesses them and can do what he likes

I also think they cannot give testimony nor own property.

Edited by Maryaam

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Salaam alaikum,

My understanding of the type of slavery that is permitted in Islam, from what I have read, is as follows:

- A person can voluntarily become your slave if they see benefit in doing so. For example becoming a slave of one of the good people, such as the ahl bayt.

- The only time a person can be made a slave against their will (from my understanding), is in the case of war. If a people have been attacking the Muslims and later the Muslims defeat them, then there has to be a system of what to do with the people who were attacking them (the prisoners of war). If they are immediately released back into the society on their own, they may continue to attack or cause trouble for the Muslims. And confining these people in prison is not a suitable alternative, unless they are very dangerous criminals. So instead they become ‘slaves’ for a time and live in the households of Muslims, until they show that their character has changed and they are not a threat to society, then Islam dictates they must be released (freed) back into society, unless they want to voluntarily remain as slaves/servants in the households of the Muslims.

There are very strict rules on how these slaves must be treated, they are not to be abused and are treated more like family members than as typical servants. The process of enslaving the people who were at war with the Muslims, is done more as a re-habilitation of the people, than to gain personal benefits for the Muslims. They are treated with good akhlaq, so that they can learn that the Muslims are not a threat to them, and this may make them change their attitudes towards the Muslims and decide that they can live with them in harmony rather than in a state of war.

- The way in which the majority of modern slavery is done today is against Islam. It is against Islam to force a person who has done no wrong (and is not at war with you) to become a slave against their will. It doesn’t matter if the person doing the enslaving is claiming to be a Muslim, he is going against Islam. Islam encourages us to battle against this corrupted enslavement whatever way we can and use whatever means we have to try to stop it. If we can the best way is to try to prosecute those who make others slaves against their will. This will work in a society that has laws against the enslavement of people by force. But in a society that has no laws against enslaving others against their will, we have to work to educate and change the attitude of the society. But if there is no way to change the attitude of a society and the law of the particular place protects those who enslave others, and there continues to be more and more slaves suffering (and their fate depends on which person purchases them and how their master treats them). Then the next best thing for the Muslims to do is to buy as many slaves as they can, in order to free them from a treacherous life.

In Islam it is encouraged to buy slaves so that you can free them. Freeing a slave is one of the best things you can do in Islam. The Islamic conditions of purchasing slaves is that once you take them to live with you and you see good in them (that they are not a threat to society), you offer them their freedom or if they wish to they can voluntarily stay with you (which they may wish to because you can offer them employment and are good to them). You can’t make a slave work for you for free, you have to compensate them for their work as you must with any other person, for example by giving them wages, providing accommodation, food, etc. If you see that the slave is not a harmful person you must offer freedom to them or for them to stay with you voluntarily (if they are happy with the benefits they receive in your household).

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