Jump to content
Ibn al-Hussain

The Issue of Slavery in Contemporary Islam

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

The Issue of Slavery in Contemporary Islam

Ever since the abolition of slavery in the 20th century, numerous Muslim scholars have addressed accusations against the immorality of slave laws by explaining their presence in both the Qurān and the traditions. Much of the accusation appears to be rooted in the presumption that if a religion, which claims to be the final religion, and a Prophet (p), who claims to be a role model for all times, could approve of slave laws, then it necessarily follows that these laws must continue to exist and that they are moral.

Though numerous books and articles have been written in the Arabic and Persian language, amongst Shī’ī scholars one can find these works in English:

1) Slavery, by ‘Allāmah Sayyid Sa'īd Akhtar Rizvī
2) Slavery in Islam, in 82 Questions, by Āyatullah Sayyid ‘Abdul Ḥusayn Dastghaib Shīrazī – translated by Sayyid Athar Husayn S.H. Rizvi
3) How does Islam attest slavery, in 180 Questions Enquiries About Islam Volume One: The Practical Laws, by Āyatullah Naṣir Makārim Shīrāzī – translated by Shaykh Shahnawaz Mahdavi

What follows is an English translation of Dr. Mohsen Kadivar’s article on slavery, titled: The Issue of Slavery in Contemporary Islam. In the paper, Kadivar attempts to offer a justification for the laws of slavery, vis-a-vis their historical context, along with arguing for their absolute dismantling in the present day. This paper was originally read at the 2nd International Human Rights Conference with the theme Mabānī Naẓarī Ḥuqūq Bashar (Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights), at Mufīd University in Qom, on 28th Ordibehesht, 1382 SH.

This specific translation was carried out for a number of reasons. Foremost, the issue of slavery has been one of the most controversial issues Muslims have had to address in recent times. The emotions this subject can evoke have even led many to the path of apostasy and according to research conducted by the Yaqeen Institute in 2016, slavery was one of the major sources of doubt in Islam amongst American youth.

As such, an adequate response needs to be given to silence critics and to invalidate the source of doubt. Secondly, this specific translation contains additional footnotes and explanatory remarks that would generally have been missing in an academic publication. Hence, numerous comments have been made throughout the paper, explaining technical Arabic legal terms and as well brief observations on arguments that perhaps do not stand up to scrutiny.

On a final note, like all translated projects, the content and arguments made by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the translators. On the contrary, they may even hold certain reservations regarding some of the arguments made, however they acknowledge that the paper itself is worthy of contemplation, critique and analysis.

Read full article here: https://www.iqraonline.net/the-issue-of-slavery-in-contemporary-islam/

Wasalam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Salaam alaikum dear brother. Thanks for sharing this much anticipated translation. May Allah swt reward you.

Slightly off topic: I recently read a thread where you briefly discussed your muharram lectures from one or two years ago. I remember you mentioned that you wouldn't be able to share recordings. However, have you considered sharing write ups/blog entries (assuming your notes were already typed up?) I think there would be quite a lot of interest. Please do give it a thought.

Jazakumallah 

Edited by Mahdavist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Maryaam said:

I cannot get it to load.  Is there something wrong with the address or is it my low level computer...???

It seems to be working fine for a lot of people, haven't heard anything from anyone. What message are you seeing?

1 hour ago, Mahdavist said:

Salaam alaikum dear brother. Thanks for sharing this much anticipated translation. May Allah swt reward you.

Slightly off topic: I recently read a thread where you briefly discussed your muharram lectures from one or two years ago. I remember you mentioned that you wouldn't be able to share recordings. However, have you considered sharing write ups/blog entries (assuming your notes were already typed up?) I think there would be quite a lot of interest. Please do give it a thought.

Jazakumallah 

'Alaykum Salam,

Some of the talks I gave were already based on some of my blog posts. The ones that were not, I may have turned them into posts - I can't remember - or they were probably nothing significant.

Wasalam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Ibn al-Hussain said:

It seems to be working fine for a lot of people, haven't heard anything from anyone. What message are you seeing?

No message - just the line in the address bar goes about 2 cm and stops. Blank screen.  It must be my computer.  :confused:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some interesting quotations struck me from the attached pdf (thanks, for that BTW).

Quote

This [traditional Islamic] view is in complete contradiction to the standards of human rights today. A critical analysis of this opinion is not just a discussion for yesterday, rather it is a discussion for today.

Interesting use of the word 'standard', to describe contemporary human rights. They seem to be ideals. Whether they are standards to which people, corporations and countries can be held to account and this is actually done is another matter.

I like the Cairo declaration a lot:

Quote

“(a) Human beings are born free, and no one has the right to enslave, humiliate, oppress or exploit them, and there can be no subjugation but to Allah the Almighty. (b) Colonialism of all types being one of the most evil forms of enslavement is totally prohibited. Peoples suffering from colonialism have the full right to freedom and self-determination. It is the duty of all States peoples to support the struggle of colonized peoples for the liquidation of all forms of and occupation, and all States and peoples have the right to preserve their independent identity and control over their wealth and natural resources.”

1

Kudos to the Bros, who put that together and helped to bring to bear issues that some people and countries would rather brush under the carpet.

Quote

Freedom from slavery and its illegitimacy are among the essential rights of human beings in and of them being human beings, and this right can not be removed under any circumstances.

My concern here is that nowadays the independence and freedom of individuals is often used a means of exploiting them (whether by corporations, individuals or countries) and a justification that the relationship is not an exploitative one - the excuse being that if it were the other party would leave.

Here's an illustration.

A fast food joint offers people $x an hour but stipulates that the hours are not guaranteed, they phone workers on a week-by-week or day-by-day basis with offers of work. You don't work you don't get paid.

There is no full-time employment relationship.

Arguably the worker is independent and, he is free, yet these 'zero-hour' contracts are getting a lot of criticism in the UK - for how exploitative they are and the fact that the risk inherent in any business is now shifted to the worker.

 

 

Edited by Haji 2003

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×