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In the Name of God بسم الله
Abu Hadi

Reparations for Slavery

Reza

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As most of you know, I live in the US and this is a big topic amoung certain Presidential candidates and this issue comes up in the public from time to time. I have been thinking about this for a while. I am not African American and my ancestors came to this country from Ireland and Germany more than 100 years ago. So my family were never slaves and never owned any slaves (because they came after slavery was already outlawed) and they came from a place where slavery was never legal (at least in the recent past) . So I don't really have a personal stake in this issue, but I think it is important for the country that this issue is resolved and those who were affected by slavery get justice for the harm that their family suffered. As a Muslim, I believe that Haqq(justice) has no statute of limitations and that an injustice will always exist until it is resolved in a fair and satisfactory way. 

Although slavery was made illegal in the US more than 150 years ago, the huge amount of injustice that was done under the watch and consent, and many times the active participation of the US Government, both to the African Americans and also the Native Americans has gone uncompensated and the wounds of this period of history have not healed and continue to have many negative lingering effects. Justice is still on hold and I'm not sure how to adequately compensate the descendants of these individuals for the injustices that were done to their ancestors. 

Is there an Islamic definition of compensation for this, and how do we quantify it ? If anyone knows. 

Also, say for example it could be proven that a certain person's great, great, great grandfather owned many slaves. Is the person liable to pay compensation to the descendants of these slaves. ? I think in the Islamic definition they are not responsible since we are only responsible for what we do, not what our ancestors did. 

So if compensation is to be paid, I think it must be done by the society as a whole, and liability should not fall on particular individuals, 

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No amount of money will compensate for the loss of language, culture, home, and familial ties. Reparations is at best a symbolic gesture. Nothing can undo all those years of imprisonment, abuse, and even torture in some cases. 

But I feel that it needs to be done anyway. 

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2 hours ago, Abu Hadi said:

So if compensation is to be paid, I think it must be done by the society as a whole, and liability should not fall on particular individuals, 

I'm going to go on the extreme side and take another argument just to see where this discussion leads.

The Africans need to pay reparations as well. They share part of the sin for selling humans to the colonisers. 

The term African American really does no favors to the black community. Why call them that? Why not just call them Americans? It's like when Zizek was talking about the term "Native American". Native American suggests that the other type of Americans are the "cultural Americans", the ones who brought culture to the "savages". Embrace your heritage, but don't let it get to the point where you create divisions.

There was an Indian man who said, "Don't tell me that I can't call myself Indian. I use that term to remind the white man of his stupidity".

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9 hours ago, Ibn Al-Shahid said:

I'm going to go on the extreme side and take another argument just to see where this discussion leads.

The Africans need to pay reparations as well. They share part of the sin for selling humans to the colonisers. 

The term African American really does no favors to the black community. Why call them that? Why not just call them Americans? It's like when Zizek was talking about the term "Native American". Native American suggests that the other type of Americans are the "cultural Americans", the ones who brought culture to the "savages". Embrace your heritage, but don't let it get to the point where you create divisions.

There was an Indian man who said, "Don't tell me that I can't call myself Indian. I use that term to remind the white man of his stupidity".

I agree with your comments about the term 'African American'. I use this term mostly because this is how most refer to themselves. I don't use the term 'Black' people because it is not accurate. 'Black' people are not actually black, they are some shade of brown, as are most people in general. So I don't like terms which differentiate people based on skin color, because skin color tells you absolutely nothing about the person. 

About the Africans paying reparations, if this should happen, it should be taken up within the African legal system. Since this will never happen, and since there is not one 'Africa' but it is a collection of different countries which probably would not agree on this, this is a mute point, even if it is valid, to an extent. Also, the form of government in Africa in the 1860 and before was not a 'Nation State' type of government as we know it today. It was a tribal system, which doesn't exist anymore, at least not in the legal sense. 

The US Government is different. It is one government, and it is the same government, the same system that was around during the time of slavery. So this is a legal entity which can be held liable because it is the same legal entity that existed when the injustice was committed. Also, there are vast amounts of written records regarding who owned slaves, how many they had, who bought them, for how much, where they were, what type of work they did, etc. Most of this is from US Census data, which was required by the government to be collected, and it is fairly accurate, since slavery was legal and widely practiced when the census was taken. 

 

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On 4/12/2019 at 6:53 PM, notme said:

No amount of money will compensate for the loss of language, culture, home, and familial ties. Reparations is at best a symbolic gesture. Nothing can undo all those years of imprisonment, abuse, and even torture in some cases. 

But I feel that it needs to be done anyway. 

I agree, I don’t think it can be repaid easily, but  something should be done for sure. Onone part there is the African slaves who were brought her and the other is the africans that were already here before European colonizers arrived.

 

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What about Irish slaves of British?

Or German slaves of Roman's? 

Or Persian or African slaves of arabs

Or should  Spain compensate almost all native populations of Latin America 

 

Levels broaden the definition of reparations to include all oppressed communities throughout history.Then I'm all for it , and most of us have earned free buffet for life at the closest Mongolian grill for sure as by God they brutalized and enslaved our eurasian ancestors from chinease to Hungarians

And probably I can get compensation from Turks too as they probably enslaved some of my Hindu  ancestors in  northern India at sometime ?

Btw can black Africans who sold slaves to whites also pay a section of the reparations?

Just because the legal system here is bending over backwards to correct historical wrongs does not mean minorities try to milk it dry prompted in no small part by a section of self righteous liberal guilt ridden whites 

Why should the descendants of german farmer  or polish refugees who came to midwest in 1840s never had slaves and  possibly fought with union against Confederates pay reparations?

It's such a ridiculous notion , a pathetic attempt to get AA vote 

This will die down as soon as elections are over hopefully 

 

 

Edited by notme
Removed racist sentence. See shiachat rules and guidelines.

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On 4/13/2019 at 3:15 AM, Abu Hadi said:

Is there an Islamic definition of compensation for this, and how do we quantify it ? If anyone knows.

Salam it calls” ما تاخر “ (what you leave from you ) that someone like as inheritors of one person can do good deed for their passed aways on their behalf that will increase their reward & decrease their punishment  

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I respectfully disagree. I think brother @Panzerwaffe makes some good points. Although I don't live in the US, I see it as a free society where each community can thrive if they choose to do so. It is up to poor communities to aggressively stamp out drugs and criminality from their neighborhoods. 

Wallahu a'lam 

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8 hours ago, Panzerwaffe said:

What about Irish slaves of British?

Or German slaves of Roman's? 

Or Persian or African slaves of arabs

Or should  Spain compensate almost all native populations of Latin America 

Whataboutism?

 

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And there are tons of examples of blacks taking advantage of affirmative action and despite the prejudice and odds ,lifting themselves out of poverty and doing very well for themselves.

Forcing rest of the population to pay reparations to blacks or American "natives" for wrongs > 150 yrs ago is a sure shot way of increasing animosity and alienation.This will just divide the nation even more.

Just imagine if 2 friends both dirt poor kids get into college the black one has no college loans after 3 yrs and white one has 100k in debt,  yeah that white kid will definitely be a little bit ticked off ...can u blame him / her ?

 

Edited by Panzerwaffe

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9 hours ago, Panzerwaffe said:

Why don’t we give back half of US to Mexico while we are at it ?

Your mixing apples and oranges. The South West was ceded to the US as a result of a war between two nations. Each nation had a large army and means to defend itself. 

An individual that was kidnapped from a village in Africa and then put in chains had no means to defend his / herself. So Islamically, this is a clear act of injustice which must be compensated for. That is clear. The only part of the issue that is not clear is whether the compensation is due to the persons descendants. 

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6 minutes ago, Abu Hadi said:

Your mixing apples and oranges. The South West was ceded to the US as a result of a war between two nations. Each nation had a large army and means to defend itself. 

An individual that was kidnapped from a village in Africa and then put in chains had no means to defend his / herself. So Islamically, this is a clear act of injustice which must be compensated for. That is clear. The only part of the issue that is not clear is whether the compensation is due to the persons descendants. 

Brother, there is much to be criticized about the US and particularly about their destructive foreign policy. 

However it is also true that today and for several generations now, every child is born free and is provided with free education.

Slavery is not relevant today and hasn't been for several decades. There is nobody who can claim compensation. 

Wallahu a'lam 

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On 5/14/2019 at 3:58 PM, Mahdavist said:

However it is also true that today and for several generations now, every child is born free and is provided with free education.

Definitions of "free" and "free education" will vary wisely, depending on mostly economics nowadays, but economics at least partly depends on past racist policies in the US after slavery was legally abolished. 

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Bismehe Ta3ala,

Assalam Alikum.

Like you brother @AbdulKarim313_Austin/Nola  I believe true justice will be served in Youm al qiyamma and no reparations to our black brothers and sisters will pay back for what they have been through.

Some of the responses I've read is disturbing.  I don't know if it is deep rooted racism, only they and Allah knows what is in their hearts, or ignorance not knowing the historical context of what happened.  I try my best to educate myself of the slavery period of the US, and to deny the vile and oppressive treatment that the African people experienced for over a hundred years is reprehensible.  

It brings comfort to me, knowing the hadith that if one has a mustard seed of 3sabiyaa in their hearts, they will not enter heaven.  Allah is Most Just, Heaven is not for racists or bigots!  If Muslims do not make istigfar for this sin, and also acting on this sin by hurting people based on their color, then they are in for a real surprise in the akheera!

Rasoul Allah told us there is no difference between black and white and the measuring stick of who is better is based on taqwa.  Insh'Allah in this holy month, God increases taqwa in our hearts.

Brother AbdulKarim you have embraced Islam, Rasoul Allah had Bilal and Imam Hussain had Jon. Rasoul Allah and Imam Hussain didn't care for outer appearance as much as they cared for the purity of heart.  After Hajj Malcom went to Hajj, he also broke free from the NOI and removed the remaining seeds of hatred from his heart and came back from Hajj purified from all his sins and then he died a shaheed.  No many people reach this stage, Sub7an'Allah.   Sayyid Ali Khamanei even began the conference with reciting fatiha on his soul, what an honor, after all these years he is remembered and he paid the ultimate price for speaking the truth and took a stand for his principles.  God bless his soul.

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) remove hatred, 3asibiya, and all types of vices from our hearts and bring us closer to Him.

M3 Salamah, FE AMIN Allah

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On 5/14/2019 at 5:51 PM, Laayla said:

Bismehe Ta3ala,

Assalam Alikum.

Like you brother @AbdulKarim313_Austin/Nola  I believe true justice will be served in Youm al qiyamma and no reparations to our black brothers and sisters will pay back for what they have been through.

Some of the responses I've read is disturbing.  I don't know if it is deep rooted racism, only they and Allah knows what is in their hearts, or ignorance not knowing the historical context of what happened.  I try my best to educate myself of the slavery period of the US, and to deny the vile and oppressive treatment that the African people experienced for over a hundred years is reprehensible.  

It brings comfort to me, knowing the hadith that if one has a mustard seed of 3sabiyaa in their hearts, they will not enter heaven.  Allah is Most Just, Heaven is not for racists or bigots!  If Muslims do not make istigfar for this sin, and also acting on this sin by hurting people based on their color, then they are in for a real surprise in the akheera!

Rasoul Allah told us there is no difference between black and white and the measuring stick of who is better is based on taqwa.  Insh'Allah in this holy month, God increases taqwa in our hearts.

Brother AbdulKarim you have embraced Islam, Rasoul Allah had Bilal and Imam Hussain had Jon. Rasoul Allah and Imam Hussain didn't care for outer appearance as much as they cared for the purity of heart.  After Hajj Malcom went to Hajj, he also broke free from the NOI and removed the remaining seeds of hatred from his heart and came back from Hajj purified from all his sins and then he died a shaheed.  No many people reach this stage, Sub7an'Allah.   Sayyid Ali Khamanei even began the conference with reciting fatiha on his soul, what an honor, after all these years he is remembered and he paid the ultimate price for speaking the truth and took a stand for his principles.  God bless his soul.

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) remove hatred, 3asibiya, and all types of vices from our hearts and bring us closer to Him.

M3 Salamah, FE AMIN Allah

Alhamdulilah, 

The oppression of blacks in the United States is is more than 100 years. It’s 400 and still going. Even though slavery ended and slaves were granted freedom you still have institutional system of oppression that favored whites more for generations even up to now. Not too mention how black neighborhoods were targeted with drugs.  Elements of this system still exist. Africans have made progression but it runs so deep. The African American family core has been psychologically damaged over time. 

Despite this however great African American minds have made the United States what it is today. Did you know the first open heart surgery in America was done by an African American? The intellectual value and contributions to sciences, technology, and social progress by blacks was also stolen and credited to whites instead and not credited to African Americans. Go search all the wonderful inventions and sciences that came from blacks in America. Search the crucial parts they played in the revolution and civil wars. Search the parts the played fighting Nazi Germany. African Americans have made America a more likable country in world due to urban musical and culture that has spread across the world. Kids around the world want to dress and be hip like African Americans. I been around the world so I have seen this first hand. 

Despite the oppression African American were the main converts to Islam in America over the generations mainly because a lot of slaves themselves were Muslim when they were forced to American shores.  So its sad to see Muslims come from Muslims countries and open stores in underprivileged black neighborhoods selling pork and alcohol and treating them the same as  racist whites. Also the shame of seeing Muslims open up masjids that are mainly cultural centers meant for isolated foreigners to feel comfortable. 

But that’s just in America, there are still effects of colonialism and imperialism being felt all around the world today and many suffering at the hands of oppression by tyrannical rulers and systems. 

May Allah have mercy on the believing men and women around the world. Syria, Yemen , China, Palestine, Africa, etc.  

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On 5/14/2019 at 4:27 PM, Reza said:

Communities need financial capital (along with human capital, spiritual capital, etc) to function. A big source of financial capital is through accumulated inheritance, which grows into more wealth over generations. In other words, it takes money to make money. Typically this requires ancestors who jump start the process. If your ancestors were slaves, you can see how this can’t happen too readily. Explains why rich countries stay rich and poor countries stay poor over time, unless a significant investment, new source of wealth, war, or pillage takes place.

On this website, we talk about events 1400 years ago as being relevant today, but events 200 years ago don’t? And millions of descendants alive today?

1. There are several communities that immigrated to the US due to poverty, war, persecution or simply for economic growth. They didn't bring wealth with them and pretty much had to start from scratch. I would therefore argue that as of today (and the past 50 odd years) the opportunities are available for those who are willing to grab them. 

2. Whether something occured 1400 years or 200 years ago is not in itself an indicator of it's relevance today. World War II is more recent and yet European countries have all opened their borders and markets to each other. 

Who exactly can make a claim for reperations today due to slavery? 

The big killer of poor societies in the US today, both black and white, is actually narcotics. It has destroyed people economically and socially. The entire family structure has broken down and various social ills have resulted from it due to a knock on effect. 

This is why I believe that we have misdiagnosed the root cause when we point towards slavery as the cause of poverty today.

Wallahu a'lam 

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50 minutes ago, Mahdavist said:

1. There are several communities that immigrated to the US due to poverty, war, persecution or simply for economic growth. They didn't bring wealth with them and pretty much had to start from scratch. I would therefore argue that as of today (and the past 50 odd years) the opportunities are available for those who are willing to grab them. 

2. Whether something occured 1400 years or 200 years ago is not in itself an indicator of it's relevance today. World War II is more recent and yet European countries have all opened their borders and markets to each other. 

Who exactly can make a claim for reperations today due to slavery? 

The big killer of poor societies in the US today, both black and white, is actually narcotics. It has destroyed people economically and socially. The entire family structure has broken down and various social ills have resulted from it due to a knock on effect. 

This is why I believe that we have misdiagnosed the root cause when we point towards slavery as the cause of poverty today.

Wallahu a'lam 

Alhamdulilah, 

Brother did I misread that you mentioned that you were not from the states and didn’t live in America? How could you have any strong knowledge and opinions about what has taken place inside. Those immigrants who migrated in did so by choice and the immigrants who had lighter skin didn’t face the same racial discrimination just do to skin color alone. Did you not hear me mention that psychological damage has been done over 400 years. 

Im glad you mentioned WW2 because there are countries still receiving reparations for WW2. You go search which countries. Not too mention the elephant in the room, Israel. What? Should we not mention how Israel still pretty much receives reparations by the billions from the United States and the funny part about it is that they are not even the real Hebrews. They are Khazars/Ashkenazi converted  European Hebrews transplanted over time to Israel and especially after WW2 by the British. They have 22 percent Semitic blood. 

But anyway back to your response. Every race can receive reparations but when it comes to blacks they need work more and stop complaining? Sir, you need stop and log off you computer and go reflect. I ask that Allah gives you more Hikma in this matter. 

If you are not white or black from the US you are on the outside looking in. It’s like me talking about why things are wrong in Iraq or Iran. I would be an outsider to their problems and why their problems exist. Can one of the moderators end this thread because  it will only get worse as people try to talk on something they don’t understand. There is more constructive things we can be doing and talking about regarding Islam. 

Edited by AbdulKarim313_Austin/Nola

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19 minutes ago, AbdulKarim313_Austin/Nola said:

Can one of the moderators end this thread because  it will only get worse as people try to talk on something they don’t understand.

Brother, we are already watching this discussion closely. Thanks for your insight - it really adds a lot to the conversation. I appreciate your calm rationality while explaining a topic that is close to your heart to those who do not understand. 

But the initial question was about the Islamic guidance on reparations to descendants of slaves, and that question remains unanswered. Maybe there is no answer. 

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14 hours ago, notme said:

Brother, we are already watching this discussion closely. Thanks for your insight - it really adds a lot to the conversation. I appreciate your calm rationality while explaining a topic that is close to your heart to those who do not understand. 

But the initial question was about the Islamic guidance on reparations to descendants of slaves, and that question remains unanswered. Maybe there is no answer. 

Alhamdulilah, 

Thank you Notme, it’s not you. It’s definitely me. Im just going to dust my black self off and head over to the “what food are craving for Ramadhan thread”.  Everybody let’s make sure we continue to give Israel reparations to their descendants from WW2. That’s all that really matters in this world. 

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On 4/12/2019 at 6:00 PM, Ibn Al-Shahid said:

The Africans need to pay reparations as well. They share part of the sin for selling humans to the colonisers. 

I have thought of that before.  These people were forcibly kidnapped and sold to traders and not just for the American slave market.  Seems more than obvious but is usually not addressed.  Why do some idolize their African roots when they were so seriously betrayed by their kinsmen?

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On 5/15/2019 at 5:28 AM, Mahdavist said:

1. There are several communities that immigrated to the US due to poverty, war, persecution or simply for economic growth. They didn't bring wealth with them and pretty much had to start from scratch. I would therefore argue that as of today (and the past 50 odd years) the opportunities are available for those who are willing to grab them. 

2. Whether something occured 1400 years or 200 years ago is not in itself an indicator of it's relevance today. World War II is more recent and yet European countries have all opened their borders and markets to each other. 

Who exactly can make a claim for reperations today due to slavery? 

The big killer of poor societies in the US today, both black and white, is actually narcotics. It has destroyed people economically and socially. The entire family structure has broken down and various social ills have resulted from it due to a knock on effect. 

This is why I believe that we have misdiagnosed the root cause when we point towards slavery as the cause of poverty today.

Wallahu a'lam 

This os not a good analogy. Like others have said, these immigrants started from zero. The slaves that were freed after the civil war started from way below zero due to the racial discrimination and predjudice that was popular at the time and is still popular today in many places in the country. This acted as an extra impediment on top of all the other impediments that you mentioned with reference to recwnt immigrants. 

You could say, for example that immigrants who are visibly Muslim, like women who wear are also discriminated against in the same way. That is true, but most of them do not have psychological trauma of knowing their ancestors were kidnapped and forced to come to this country and treated as property by the legal system once they got here. Also most Muslims (but not all) who come tp the US are from wealthy or upper middle class backgrounds in their own country so they have access to resources in their family network.

So imagine the condition of someone who has no family network or resources to fall back on, is discriminated against, and suffering the psychological trauma of slavery. Then you will start to get the picture. 

I am not saying it is impossble to rise above this, it is possible and many do but lets not pretend that we are all competing on a level playing field. 

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2 hours ago, forte said:

I have thought of that before.  These people were forcibly kidnapped and sold to traders and not just for the American slave market.  Seems more than obvious but is usually not addressed.  Why do some idolize their African roots when they were so seriously betrayed by their kinsmen?

Alhamdulilah, 

I’m actually not opposed to Africans countries sharing in accountability of righting wrongs for roles that they might have played in help selling slaves. The one big point however is how the slaves were treated once they were forced on those ships and how they were treated on those ships and how they were treated when the arrived on American shores for generations to come. 

People talk about Israel losing 6 million people  in WW2 1945. There is an estimated 60 million African slaves who died in Slave trade. And this is supposedly soft estimate. Some figure it to even be up to 150 million over all. These numbers also include reaching the new world. None of these numbers are including the racist oppression faced after slavery when slaves didn’t have education and property to even pick themselves up while still be identified as not human or half human. Generations and generations of oppression for 400 years. 

But somehow Israel is still receiving reparations from the United States and the world from 1945? And you think the African nations should be responsible only? Smh Hell we not even talking about the role that Arab nations played in slavery? Late President Kadhafi at least apologized on his behalf and tried to get the other Arab nations to apologize for their roles and they all declined! Smh 

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Slavery in Africa was not like the industrialized slavery of the Western hemisphere. A slave in Africa could earn his freedom. His children were born free. He generally lived in his master's home and ate from his master's food. 

So yes, African shave traders were complicit in the enslavement of thousands of their kinsmen, but I wonder if they knew what life they were selling their brothers and sisters into. 

Plus, after colonization, much of the resources of Africa were stripped and carried to Europe. They may owe reparations, but it is futile to ask what they are unable to pay.

Saying "they are guilty too" is a way of denying, evading, minimizing our national guilt. I've never enslaved a person and as far as my genealogical research shows, neither have any of my ancestors, but as a white American, undoubtedly I have benefited from the stolen fruits of slavery. 

Reparations are a symbolic gesture. Some things can't be fixed. But as long as we do nothing, we have not acknowledged the harm we have done; we can't begin to make things better. 

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On 5/14/2019 at 11:13 PM, AbdulKarim313_Austin/Nola said:

I personally don’t care about a check for reparations. Insha’Allah I would like my reparations to be on yauma Qiyamah and want to be able to see all those guilty for oppression and racism  judged by Allah. :birthday: :party:

May Allah grant you that.

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The US was built on genocide and slavery. Gave in to its worse impulses for a heck of a long time.  It will take along time to heal the damage because a lot of it is still systemic. But a start has been made, In my humble opinion. I'd listen to the communities affected as to what they need.

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On 5/19/2019 at 9:49 PM, AbdulKarim313_Austin/Nola said:

Late President Kadhafi at least apologized on his behalf and tried to get the other Arab nations to apologize for their roles and they all declined! Smh 

Salam already Libya is slavery port of Afric wahhabi group like as BokoHaram , Al-Shabab & other wahhabi militnat in Africa are trafficking slave as source of income from Libya to Europe

Edited by Ashvazdanghe

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I understand WHY... but I don't understand how it would be implemented practically. What about multi racial people, do they get a fraction of the money someone else does? How do we give African Americans 9 states worth of land? Kick everyone else out? I just don't get how this could actually be realized. 

Justice will served perfectly in the next life inshaAllah. 

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^ I don't think you need to wait until the " next life" for your society to start dealing with the inequities created by its past. @Reza and @AbdulKarim313_Austin/Nola and others on this topic laid out the areas needing healing pretty clearly. Money, time and effort needs to be spent dealing with them. We seem to have plenty of money for every war. Let's spend it on our communities instead.

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37 minutes ago, LeftCoastMom said:

We seem to have plenty of money for every war. Let's spend it on our communities instead.

Agreed. But in terms of handing out individual checks, which I thought was the idea, I don't see how that would work. 

Other community building ideas would be great though. 

Oh and if it was already addressed, I apologize. I didn't and don't feel like rereading all the posts :book:

Edited by ireallywannaknow

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There have been quite a few ideas put forth in the media, from what little I could follow today. This keeps coming up. There WERE  some form of reparations given out to the Japanese-Americans who were put in US internment camps during WWII. That was a relatively small group of people, though.

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