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In the Name of God بسم الله

Muslim Slave Trade

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11 minutes ago, iCenozoic said:

But I will say that the idea of trading a sin for a slave seems odd.

My point here was slightly misunderstood, as this was not the only incentive to free a slave, for example during a joyous occasion, or as a form of zakat freeing a slave can also be applicable.

Slavery existed at the time of Jesus, so yes like the Prophet they both flipped the tables when it comes to gambling, however, in issues that are much more complex since they (slavery) were ingrained within humanity since the beginning of time and occupied a necessary importance within society as opposed to gambling. You can give up gambling and go on about your life just fine. Flipping the table on slavery isn't as easy, because the economics of the society and many other factors, as well as factions operated through the framework of slavery. There was a need to disrupt it in a manner which is very considerate of the intricacies that would follow its abolition.

I am also still learning about the subject, but it is clear that we can't just pull out our rifles or unsheath our swords and put an end to a system that has been going on for centuries. 

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32 minutes ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

My point here was slightly misunderstood, as this was not the only incentive to free a slave, for example during a joyous occasion, or as a form of zakat freeing a slave can also be applicable.

Slavery existed at the time of Jesus, so yes like the Prophet they both flipped the tables when it comes to gambling, however, in issues that are much more complex since they (slavery) were ingrained within humanity since the beginning of time and occupied a necessary importance within society as opposed to gambling. You can give up gambling and go on about your life just fine. Flipping the table on slavery isn't as easy, because the economics of the society and many other factors, as well as factions operated through the framework of slavery. There was a need to disrupt it in a manner which is very considerate of the intricacies that would follow its abolition.

I am also still learning about the subject, but it is clear that we can't just pull out our rifles or unsheath our swords and put an end to a system that has been going on for centuries. 

You say that we can't just pull out rifles and end the system of slavery, but this is exactly what the north did.

Sure, we still had laws of segregation, but you can't get to laws of segregation without first breaking down ownership of other human beings.

You can't get to systemic racism and police reform without first abolishing human ownership.

In regards to Christianity on slavery, I won't try to justify historic Christians slave ownership. They were sinners. Even the ones who may have treated some slaves nicely (like Thomas Jefferson) were sinners too. They bought and sold human beings like cattle. It's wrong no matter how you shake it.

Jesus hardly owned the clothes on his own back so it's difficult to say much about his views with respect to slavery. But in cases where Christians owned slaves and if Jesus were to have condoned slavery (even if in just a subtle way to keep from upsetting society), I would have to be disappointed. 

Thankfully, I am accepting of the fact that people historically have been and still are, sinners. And it's ok to admit that Thomas Jefferson did some bad things. It's ok to admit that Christians did some bad things. 

But the question is, can you admit that certain historical Muslims, who owned slaves, also were doing bad things? Or must you believe that some form of human ownership must be morally good under certain circumstances?

The Prophet Muhammad, from my understanding, was a powerful man. Probably a lot more powerful than President Lincoln and the Union. The man conducted miracles and wielded the power of holy prophecy (as it is said). 

There is a hole in this story in a question of why slavery was not heavily contested. But we have to be honest with ourselves. Making slavery out to be morally correct "under certain circumstances" is not the solution to this hole. It's just a delay and dilemma that will never be resolved in the heart.

Because the moment we start trying to justify "some forms" of slavery, or slavery "in some instances", this is the moment those instances become reality, and the monster of sin involving buying and selling and breeding and whipping and controlling (in excessive ways) human beings, returns. As an African American, that's a place I don't want to be. So I won't play with that fire.

I'm going to call a sin a sin. No matter who practiced it.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, iCenozoic said:

end the system of slavery, but this is exactly what the north did.

This is where most of the misunderstanding is being established, plantation slavery was ended, sure. Slavery did not end, and this is not looking at the slavery which pertained to racism and or classism, the issue of slavery is very convoluted. 

13 minutes ago, iCenozoic said:

but you can't get to laws of segregation without first breaking down ownership of other human beings.

This is what I have been essentially alluding to, the breaking down of slavery. 

 

14 minutes ago, iCenozoic said:

if Jesus were to have condoned slavery (even if in just a subtle way to keep from upsetting society), I would have to be disappointed. 

A more Christian or Muslim approach would be to seek to understand why our Prophet(s) condoned slavery, and not simply wave our hands with dismay, because we cannot conceptualize the intricate process of truly abolishing it.

17 minutes ago, iCenozoic said:

Because the moment we start trying to justify "some forms" of slavery, or slavery "in some instances", is the moment those instances become reality, and the monster of sin involving buying and selling and breeding and whipping and controlling (in excessive ways) human beings, returns.

We are living in separate times where it is quite clear that any form of slavery is unjustifiable at face value, however, fear of its return is quite intriguing since essentially slavery has departed from the form of shackling ones hands to entrapment of one's mind, and the creation of illusions of so called 'freedom', slavery is very much alive and existing to this day in its archaic and modern forms. 

I just feel that many are being very inconsiderate, due to an understandable zeal to end any form of oppression, but really you cannot just throw the entirety of the crux of human history without a God given system that is very decisive in the ways in which it untangles the shackles of slavery. Decisive to an extent in which it gives kudos to the one who frees a slaves or absolves them from their sins. 

An individual who has slavery engraved within their heads needs these types of measures within a system to get them functioning as a conscious and unconscious cog that moves together within this great clock or system, that not only eliminates slavery but does so without tantamount repercussions. 

I reiterate to this day we have issues of poverty, homelessness, violence, systemic racism, and I can go on and on. 

We need to also consider that those freed slaves, or even slaves who were similar to indentured slaves were able to occupy heightened degrees of educational accomplishment and serve as great catalysts within Islamic society, and I don't want to pull the Bilal card.

 

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6 hours ago, iCenozoic said:

And to be honest, since ISIS' capture of yazidi women, Im not sure that we can call Islams history a success story in comparison. The US has nothing to prove, as it's far ahead of many nation's with it's efforts for equality, including ahead of some Islamic nation's as well (to put it kindly).

Hi ISIS  doesn't represent whole of Muslims & Islam also they had same plan for shia muslim women & concept of slavery in shia Islam is completely from sunni definition of it that although Shia Imams had slaves but they were treating them with high moral that some of slave men like Qambar (رضي الله عنه)the servant of Imam Ali (عليه السلام) was allowed to judge between muslims & he is a great shia personalities and mothers of our Imams like mother 4th Imam & majority of their mothers after 6th Imams were from slave woman that whole of these women were in charge of shia community whn Imams were in prison or exile.

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On 7/10/2020 at 10:15 PM, Ali_Hussain said:

Yeah but their slaves still reached the slave markets of the Muslim countries.

Even in the case of European slave trading, there were always middle men as well, it wasn't the case that the British or the Spanish monarchies were directly responsible for capturing the slaves. Unless I suppose they conquered a country and enslaved the natives as the Belgians did in the Congo.

With your last statement you just proved there were not always middle men in european slave trade, these pirates litterally conqured these towns and inslaved the natives, pirates and horrible armies are known to do this, just look at what the vikings did in the past.

The markets these slaves were sold in were controlled by these pirates, these guys litterally controlled 3 kingdoms in tunis, algeria and moroco region , so it's basically the same thing as isis who had a full state to them selves.

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5 hours ago, Ashvazdanghe said:

Hi ISIS  doesn't represent whole of Muslims & Islam also they had same plan for shia muslim women & concept of slavery in shia Islam is completely from sunni definition of it that although Shia Imams had slaves but they were treating them with high moral that some of slave men like Qambar (رضي الله عنه)the servant of Imam Ali (عليه السلام) was allowed to judge between muslims & he is a great shia personalities and mothers of our Imams like mother 4th Imam & majority of their mothers after 6th Imams were from slave woman that whole of these women were in charge of shia community whn Imams were in prison or exiled

The point of my post wasn't to suggest that all muslims believe or have believed in slavery. The point was just to demonstrate that whatever plan prehistoric Muslims might have had back 12-1300 years ago to end slavery, such a plan has had questionable success over time (assuming such a plan ever truly existed at all).

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58 minutes ago, iCenozoic said:

such a plan has had questionable success over time (assuming such a plan ever truly existed at all).

The Prophet introduced the plan and implemented it within society, the later caliphs within the Umayyad, Abbasid, and even Ottoman empire deviated from this plan and practiced slavery in a manner which was antithetical to the teachings of the Prophet, that is where the issues began to resurge. There wasn't much progress really after Imam Ali, since their leadership was usurped.

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18 hours ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

He has been heavily criticized by Daniel Haqiqatjou, due to the article he published on Yaqeen in regards to the LGBT, however, in matters pertaining to his mannerisms I do not question your judgement as I have a great deal of respect for you sir and I am sure you would never say something about someone, especially a scholar unless there was a great degree of evidence alluding to that. All I can say is based on some of the lectures or discussions I have seen which he speaks, it is perhaps the American background that he has which at times can cause him to be a bit open or abrupt when cracking jokes or sharing examples, other then that I await for your input on the matter.

Perhaps I should take back what I said because it is a generalization on his manners when I only had a some specific things in mind. What I was referring to is this sort of language: https://www.facebook.com/mufti.abulayth/posts/1508745019213645?comment_id=1508760109212136

I remember him using distasteful language in other posts that I have seen. However since memory can be faulty and I haven't provided any evidence (it's hard to search Facebook posts) it's better for people to not give importance to what I said. Even if what I said is true, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't learn from him. It would just mean that we shouldn't think of him as a traditional Islamic teacher.

I will look into was work on slavery, God willing. I remember him being promoted by some members on here a number of years ago and I got the impression that his views disagreed with the concerns of Muslims that were troubled by some narrations. Maybe he has become a bit more 'liberal' over the years or always was.

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Are you sure you linked to the correct page? Unless I missed something that seemed more to do with Mufti Abu Layth.
 
With regards to Brown, he does unfortunately use some language that although relatively mild by secular standards, is not the kind of language we would expect from a Muslim in the public eye. I don’t think that has any bearing on his academic output though, which is of higher quality than most with regards to what is in the English language at least.
 
With regards to him becoming more liberal, I don’t think that is the case (although don’t get me wrong, he is certainly on the liberal end of orthodoxy). The book isn’t really an apologetic one, and the reason he ended up writing it was because he got into a lot of trouble in the media for responding to a question about concerns around slavery in Islam with ‘Are you more morally mature than the Prophet?’. Previously when someone had asked about the age of Aisha being 9 he responded with ‘Why does that bother you?’
 
His experiences may have made him more aware of the sensitivities surrounding certain topics, especially for women, but I doubt his views have changed.
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11 hours ago, Ashvazdanghe said:

sunni definition 

You can find Sunni ahadith which also speak of treating slaves in a better way than what people normally think about slavery. Just read this chapter of Bukhari to get an idea: https://sunnah.com/bukhari/49

A few examples:

Quote

Narrated Al-Ma'rur bin Suwaid:

I saw Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari wearing a cloak, and his slave, too, was wearing a cloak. We asked him about that (i.e. how both were wearing similar cloaks). He replied, "Once I abused a man and he complained of me to the Prophet (ﷺ) . The Prophet (ﷺ) asked me, 'Did you abuse him by slighting his mother?' He added, 'Your slaves are your brethren upon whom Allah has given you authority. So, if one has one's brethren under one's control, one should feed them with the like of what one eats and clothe them with the like of what one wears. You should not overburden them with what they cannot bear, and if you do so, help them (in their hard job).

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "He who has a slave-girl and teaches her good manners and improves her education and then manumits and marries her, will get a double reward; and any slave who observes Allah's right and his master's right will get a double reward."

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "When your servant brings your meals to you then if he does not let him sit and share the meals, then he should at least give him a mouthful or two mouthfuls of that meal or a meal or two meals, as he has prepared it."

 

 

Quote

and mothers of our Imams like mother 4th Imam & majority of their mothers after 6th Imams were from slave woman

Some of the Sunni khulafa had slave mothers. https://www.al-islam.org/slavery-allamah-sayyid-saeed-akhtar-rizvi/slaves-history-islam#x-slaves-children-imams-and-caliphs

From an Encyclopedia of Islam:

Quote

In fact, slaves sometimes rose to positions of extensive authority. In slave dynasties, such as the medieval Egyptian Mamluks, soldiers originally from the slave class actually oversaw governments.

Page 630: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Jc7AA-q6aErvmx6HznVdgSYjhniZ4QPP/view 

The whole entry on slavery may be worth reading.

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12 minutes ago, Haydar Husayn said:
 
Are you sure you linked to the correct page? Unless I missed something that seemed more to do with Mufti Abu Layth.

Have a look at the 2nd comment in that thread. Although I don't like his Brown's language, I can't agree with Abu Layth on this matter. BTW I think Abu Layth is very knowledgeable person compared to most of the speakers out there. He may be an oddball but his knowledge can't be denied.

Quote

Previously when someone had asked about the age of Aisha being 9 he responded with ‘Why does that bother you?’

And that is what I had in mind. I saw a few of his videos from that time. I personally have no reason to agree with him about issue of the age.

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2 minutes ago, Muhammed Ali said:

Have a look at the 2nd comment in that thread. Although I don't like his Brown's language, I can't agree with Abu Layth on this matter.

Sorry, I don't know how I missed that comment! Yes, not the best language at all, and I've seen other things that are just as bad if not worse.

2 minutes ago, Muhammed Ali said:

BTW I think Abu Layth is very knowledgeable person compared to most of the speakers out there. He may be an oddball but his knowledge can't be denied.

I don't disagree with you on that at all. Even though I think that his biases sometimes cause him to make severe blunders that someone of his level of knowledge shouldn't be making.

2 minutes ago, Muhammed Ali said:

And that is what I had in mind. I saw a few of his videos from that time. I personally have no reason to agree with him about issue of the age.

As a Shia it's easier to be a bit more agnostic on the matter, but as a Sunni and a historian, I don't think there is no real room for debate, so he might as well just own it. There isn't much point in being intellectually dishonest and going down the apologetic route.

Even as Shias, it's not like we have hadiths that contradict Aisha's claims, and from the point of view of the narrations of the Imams (عليه السلام), we can't say there is anything problematic in it. Even if we tried to say Aisha wasn't 9, for which we have no evidence, we would still need to defend ourselves against all the narrations that indicate that a girl reaches maturity at 9. And I actually think some of these are more 'problematic' than the case of Aisha, because they make it a general rule, whereas Aisha is just a single case.

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17 hours ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

This is where most of the misunderstanding is being established, plantation slavery was ended, sure. Slavery did not end, and this is not looking at the slavery which pertained to racism and or classism, the issue of slavery is very convoluted. 

This is what I have been essentially alluding to, the breaking down of slavery. 

 

A more Christian or Muslim approach would be to seek to understand why our Prophet(s) condoned slavery, and not simply wave our hands with dismay, because we cannot conceptualize the intricate process of truly abolishing it.

We are living in separate times where it is quite clear that any form of slavery is unjustifiable at face value, however, fear of its return is quite intriguing since essentially slavery has departed from the form of shackling ones hands to entrapment of one's mind, and the creation of illusions of so called 'freedom', slavery is very much alive and existing to this day in its archaic and modern forms. 

I just feel that many are being very inconsiderate, due to an understandable zeal to end any form of oppression, but really you cannot just throw the entirety of the crux of human history without a God given system that is very decisive in the ways in which it untangles the shackles of slavery. Decisive to an extent in which it gives kudos to the one who frees a slaves or absolves them from their sins. 

An individual who has slavery engraved within their heads needs these types of measures within a system to get them functioning as a conscious and unconscious cog that moves together within this great clock or system, that not only eliminates slavery but does so without tantamount repercussions. 

I reiterate to this day we have issues of poverty, homelessness, violence, systemic racism, and I can go on and on. 

We need to also consider that those freed slaves, or even slaves who were similar to indentured slaves were able to occupy heightened degrees of educational accomplishment and serve as great catalysts within Islamic society, and I don't want to pull the Bilal card.

 

These are all just attempts to rationalize the irrational.

Buying and selling people as a commodity had always been, and will forever be, a sin. No matter who has done it, no matter who does it now and no matter who will do it in years to come.

And until people can come to terms with this reality, this terrible sin will forever be a threat to these people.

Think ISIS was immoral? Until a community can take a firm stance against slavery, this community will forever be plagued.

What you choose to believe beyond this point in time is your choice. Personally, I will continue to call a sin a sin. As it has always been, and forever will be, in all circumstances, an immoral act.

You're free to disagree and you're free to continue your efforts in trying to make buying and selling people, not a sin (in all circumstances). 

We would have to agree to disagree.

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I saw a large part of the lecture of Dr Brown that was posted above and also a recent podcast that he did. There were two things stood out to me personally:

1, He said that the only allowable way to enslave someone was via war - all other ways were prohibited. Although a lot of people say this, what is interesting for me is that he said there is no textual evidence for this, but there was a consensus about this in the early Muslim community. The only proposed textual evidence that I have seen (with my tiny amount of knowledge) is Shaykh Muhammad Asad's interpretation of verse 8:67. At first glance it seems like very strong evidence but it's possibly a verdict that can't be applied outside of the given context.

We may not need any direct textual evidence for this prohibition if we are willing to take the sunnah as an example. I.e. the only reports that we have of the prophet {s} overseeing the taking of 'slaves' are POWs, and since there was nothing stopping him taking other types of slaves, we could assume that he considered it prohibited. 

I can see some people disagreeing with that style of reasoning but I have no qualms with it - especially given the greater context of the subject. 

2, Dr Brown seems to have much more 'progressive' views than I expected, after listening to him years ago. He suggests that the changes in society could change the permissibility of a thing. He suggests that abolition was not feasible because of economic reasons (i.e. humans were used instead of modern machinery)* even though slavery in itself is not a good thing in general. He says perhaps in the future we may look at some low paid employment in the same way we look at slavery today. I.e. it could be prohibited. The implications of this on Islamic law are interesting ....

* I can't agree with this view.

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On 7/13/2020 at 5:33 PM, Muhammed Ali said:

He suggests that the changes in society could change the permissibility of a thing.

I believe this is something Sayed Kamal Al-Haydari also believes/suggests.

On 7/13/2020 at 5:33 PM, Muhammed Ali said:

Dr Brown seems to have much more 'progressive' views

Yes he tends to sway away from Orthodox standpoints at time, him and Daniel Haqiqatjou have been quarreling for a couple of weeks now, due to his article on the lgbt. Dr. Brown advocating for the more progressive view.

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15 hours ago, Muhammed Ali said:

1, He said that the only allowable way to enslave someone was via war - all other ways were prohibited. Although a lot of people say this, what is interesting for me is that he said there is no textual evidence for this, but there was a consensus about this in the early Muslim community. The only proposed textual evidence that I have seen (with my tiny amount of knowledge) is Shaykh Muhammad Asad's interpretation of verse 8:67. At first glance it seems like very strong evidence but it's possibly a verdict that can't be applied outside of the given context.

We may not need any direct textual evidence for this prohibition if we are willing to take the sunnah as an example. I.e. the only reports that we have of the prophet {s} overseeing the taking of 'slaves' are POWs, and since there was nothing stopping him taking other types of slaves, we could assume that he considered it prohibited. 

True, but it was also allowed to buy slaves who were enslaved by someone else, regardless of the method. So in effect all this really means is you can’t go around kidnapping free people and making them slaves.

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39 minutes ago, Haydar Husayn said:

it was also allowed to buy slaves who were enslaved by someone else

Yes, so they can enter the Islamic system of being educated and freed, within a just Islamic society.

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3 hours ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

Yes, so they can enter the Islamic system of being educated and freed, within a just Islamic society.

I think that this is might be an overly idealistic interpretation. Would you also say that Muslims took slaves as war booty for the same purpose?

Slavery was a fact of life at the time, so of course Islam brought laws to deal with it, which when implemented correctly were far more humane than any other form of slavery in history, and in fact more humane than many of the exploitative forms of employment we see today. A slave in Islam for the most part should be treated better than the average ‘servant’ in many parts of the world (although of course the servant is not a slave and is technically free), or wage slave that we see in many of the factories that supply Western companies.

Despite that, there is simply no way of making any form of slavery palatable to the modern secular mind (and I include religious believers in this category). It is simply axiomatic that any form of slavery is evil, full stop. Now, since pretty much everyone in the world, and certainly in the Western world, has been affected by humanism and secularism, Muslims don’t actually see this issue much differently to non-Muslims. It’s just one of those issues we don’t want to be there, but we know we have to deal with somehow (leaving aside the hopelessly deluded that try to claim there is no such thing as slavery in Islam). So there is a temptation to find a relatively benign interpretation to make ourselves feel better about it. But in reality we are just temporarily plastering over the cracks. Ultimately the only way to find peace with a topic like this is to do a thorough examination of our own world view, and try to unpick how much of our thought process and ideas of morality (that we naively take to be our ‘fitra’) is actually governed by non-Islamic principles. Now, it may be impossible to do this fully because many of these things have been instilled almost since birth, but at the very least it would provide a basis for being able to deal with this issue in an intellectually honest way without being on the verge of apostasy.

There are issues that could be brought up about slavery in Islam that honestly speaking this utopian vision of slavery being primarily a means of bringing people to Islam would simply not be able to adequately explain. The only way to deal with this would then be to engage in intellectually dishonest picking and choosing of the sources in order to preserve the perfect picture we had in our minds. Of course, it would be claimed that in fact we are rejecting what contradicts ‘the justice of Allah’, without really acknowledging that our concept of what Allah’s justice should be is profoundly influenced by non-Islamic ideas.

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2 minutes ago, Haydar Husayn said:

Would you also say that Muslims took slaves as war booty for the same purpose?

Think of it in terms of mutilated bodies, shell shocked soldiers, treasonous captives, schizophrenics, as opposed to being taken by in by Muslims, due to these individuals forfeiting certain rights that may have due to engaging in warfare. And then being benefited from for the sake of mankind.

For example the Prophet would allow freedom to those war captives who were literate after they taught ten Muslims how to read and write, many preferred to remain a part of that Islamic society even after gaining freedom.

7 minutes ago, Haydar Husayn said:

Despite that, there is simply no way of making any form of slavery palatable to the modern secular mind (and I include religious believers in this category). It is simply axiomatic that any form of slavery is evil, full stop. Now, since pretty much everyone in the world, and certainly in the Western world, has been affected by humanism and secularism, Muslims don’t actually see this issue much differently to non-Muslims. It’s just one of those issues we don’t want to be there, but we know we have to deal with somehow (leaving aside the hopelessly deluded that try to claim there is no such thing as slavery in Islam). So there is a temptation to find a relatively benign interpretation to make ourselves feel better about it. But in reality we are just temporarily plastering over the cracks.

There is no need to make it palatable, they don't need to tread on those grounds anyway, their utilitarian beliefs and concepts will never allow them to understand such a complex system, and the irony of all ironies is the modern day slavery that is being promoted through their own ideologies. Like Daniel Haqiqatjou is doing we need to stop being on the defense and begin to attack the shallow grounds on which these secularists are standing on. As for those 'Modern Muslims' they need to be educated and more firmly acquainted with the Quran and the teachings of the Ahlulbayt. If Muslims become overwhelmed when it comes to the principals of the religion, then they should simply spend more time focusing on the fundamentals (Usool) of the religion.

 

13 minutes ago, Haydar Husayn said:

But in reality we are just temporarily plastering over the cracks. Ultimately the only way to find peace with a topic like this is to do a thorough examination of our own world view, and try to unpick how much of our thought process and ideas of morality (that we naively take to be our ‘fitra’) is actually governed by non-Islamic principles. Now, it may be impossible to do this fully because many of these things have been instilled almost since birth, but at the very least it would provide a basis for being able to deal with this issue in an intellectually honest way without being on the verge of apostasy.

There are no cracks in God given instructions, the cracks are as you alluded to within our own thinking that has been programmed to cater to the modern liberal ideology. We need to define our terms very clearly and maintain an in-depth consistency, we will see the disastrous contradictions with those who oppose Islam and the consistencies of the fundamental Islamic position when it comes to slavery and the eventual rehabilitation of society and its reconciliation with morality. Islam came to solve a problem providing an impeccable blueprint for the issue of slavery, it is not our fault and certainly not the fault of Islam for those who have deviated from the guidelines prescribed in regards to slavery, as emphasized through the Ahlulbayt.

 

17 minutes ago, Haydar Husayn said:

There are issues that could be brought up about slavery in Islam that honestly speaking this utopian vision of slavery being primarily a means of bringing people to Islam would simply not be able to adequately explain

What are those issues/ideas?

 

18 minutes ago, Haydar Husayn said:

we are rejecting what contradicts ‘the justice of Allah’, without really acknowledging that our concept of what Allah’s justice should be is profoundly influenced by non-Islamic ideas.

Agreed.

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Simple, accurate and succinct...'Truth About The Arab Slave Trade and Al Islam'...10 minutes...Rashad Abdul-Rahmaan

 

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BARNABY CROWCROFT

Sanctioned by Sharia?

Slavery & Islam

By Jonathan A C Brown

Oneworld 430pp £30order from our bookshop

 

A few years ago, Jonathan A C Brown was the subject of one of those Twitter storms that have become such a familiar feature of the modern media age. A lecture he gave on the topic of this book, suggesting that Islamic forms of slavery were considerably more benign than Western ones, went viral, helped on its way by several right-wing news outlets. To some, it provided evidence of the kind of cultural relativism that is supposed to pervade the modern academy. At a time when ISIS was committing atrocities against the Yazidis of Iraq, here, it was said, was a professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown University ‘defending slavery’.

Slavery & Islam is Brown’s answer to his critics. It is, he says, a book for people who want to understand ‘how Muslims conceptualized, practiced and eventually abolished slavery’ through history and an exploration of the dilemmas faced by Muslims today, navigating between a religious tradition that is bound up in a veneration of the past and present-day understandings of profound moral failings in that very same past.

Brown shows why it is not simply a piece of Orientalism to speak of ‘Islamic slavery’, though the phrase has frequently been used by Orientalists. The term covers a very profound variety of experiences. At first glance, it may even seem crude to suggest that there is any commonality of experience between, say, the Turkish slave soldiers of the Abbasid caliphs or the powerful eunuchs of the Ottoman sultans and the individuals transported in chains across the Sahara to be sold in Cairo’s slave markets. We can, however, legitimately speak of it because the Islamic tradition itself identities a specific category of slavery, known by the Arabic term riqq. It is embedded in the Koran, the Hadith and the writings of the main Islamic legal authorities, and shaped how people who identified as Muslim thought of and practised slavery, whether they were in Tangier, Delhi or Belgrade.

It also seems plausible to argue that the framework provided by this tradition encouraged a less dreadful system of slavery than the one with which we associate that term in the West. Brown notes that, while there is nothing in the Islamic scriptures and the interpretations of them stating that slavery qua slavery is morally wrong, both the Koran and the Hadith are nonetheless replete with exhortations to the generous treatment of slaves and condemnations of those who mistreat them. A well-known hadith records Muhammad reproaching one of his companions for cursing a slave, reminding him, ‘Your slaves are your brothers, whom God has put under your control’, and detailing the range of responsibilities he owed his slaves. Obligations upon slave owners and ‘rights’ enjoyed by slaves were later codified in the vast corpus of sharia law; Brown shows how we can find them being enforced, as often as not in slaves’ favour, by Islamic judges from the 9th to the 19th centuries.

Slavery & Islam also brings out what its author calls an ‘impulse toward emancipation’ embedded in the scriptures. The freeing of slaves is repeatedly identified as a ready means of extirpating sin (a grand kind of ‘Hail Mary’), though in times past this had the unfortunate side effect of ensuring that the demand for new slaves stayed high and the barbaric trans-Sahara slave trade was maintained. Nevertheless, by the standards of its time, the treatment of slaves under sharia law was advanced: more than a thousand years after it had taken shape, it could still bear favourable comparison with the system of plantation slavery in the American South.

If the book had confined itself to these subjects, it would have done a valuable service. But this modest scholarly core serves as the launch pad for an extravagant and wearisome expedition into contemporary social criticism, the philosophy of knowledge and Foucauldian discourse analysis. The main purpose is to suggest that, since we in ‘the West’ do not agree on what slavery really is, we cannot be confident that we have in fact abolished it, rather than simply defined it in such a way as to suit the needs of the present capitalist order. As such, we should refrain from ever projecting Western conceptions of slavery onto foreign spaces and, especially, using them as the ‘building blocks of … discourses’ designed to ‘boost our own moral standing’.

The chapters in which this argument is developed provide an exercise in the continuum fallacy, supported by an eclecticism of evidence that is, frankly, extraordinary. In a parody of the Socratic method, Brown sets about trying to knock down the efforts of the great thinkers in the Western philosophical tradition to define slavery. Against Aristotle, Plato and the Emperor Hadrian, he sets quotations from Fight Club and The Matrix, an episode of Sherlock and a report he saw on CNN. Against Burke and Sir William Blackstone, he invokes a comment some guy made on his Facebook page. He dismisses the most broadly accepted definition of slavery as the legal status of owning a human being as property, common to both Western practice and the sharia, by offering quite ludicrously trivial remarks on how divorce proceedings in US courts reveal that people in the West ‘own’ each other, sort of. By way of proof, he offers a reference to a comment made by Russell Crowe, playing a corrupt New York City mayor, in the 2013 blockbuster film Broken City: ‘I own you.’

Brown tells us that his objective is to shatter the pretensions and lay bare the neuroses of the ‘global West’. But whatever one is to make of all this, it has little to do with the subject on which the author is really qualified to write – about which his readers may justifiably have expected to read. In one chapter of almost sixty pages, Islam appears on just five of them.

Slavery & Islam hints at some of the great questions that are still outstanding in this field: for example, how far a philosophical system that, at least in theory, sanctions enslavement on the basis of faith can accept universalist conceptions, such as the equality of man, that have become central to Western secular rights traditions. This is, to be sure, fraught intellectual terrain, but others have managed to tread it, including Henri Lauzière in his writings on Salafism, and Noah Salomon and Wael Hallaq in their writings on Islamic statehood. Jonathan Brown was attacked by pundits; this was his chance to provide a scholar’s reply. Instead, he has given us three hundred pages of amateur epistemology and callow whataboutery. Will a real Islamic scholar please stand up?
https://literaryreview.co.uk/sanctioned-by-sharia

I watched his lecture on Sahaba over 15 yrs ago and knew this guy was a charlatan just promoted by his media savvy wife 

a ideological prostitute who would jump on any bandwagon as long as it suited his agenda

his approach is basically “ if I’m a self hating white westerner l can dazzle all these self doubting insecure brown Muslims and really propel my career ahead of much more serious nuanced scholars “

only thing going for him is that he is very good looking 

 

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On 7/11/2020 at 12:11 AM, Ali_Hussain said:

Yes or that it is out and out still present, I believe that Apple use slave labour, Nike too maybe. 

Loads of prostitutes are people trafficked from Eastern Europe.

Chocolate is picked by children for next to nothing in Africa, slavery is obviously still present and we are all benefiting from it. Although the counter argument would be that in most of those cases, the people being exploited are probably glad to have the little salary that they receive, although in some cases they aren't allowed to leave their place of work, which is obviously worse than just being exploited.

Which is why white supremacists talking about slavery as if they have the moral high ground are hypocrites, given they didn't really phase out anything, it just evolved into companies in foreign companies, when they industrialised they saw no need for slavery and now you have white supremacists dog whistling about how generous they were to "end" slavery and how it was all due to the abolitionist movement. The problem with these people is they often point the finger at other societies when their version of slavery was objectively the most savage. 

 

Either way i'm not justifying the instances where slaves were treated badly in islamic society, they still will go to jahannam for it.

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On 2/14/2024 at 8:47 AM, Ahmad8888 said:

Which is why white supremacists talking about slavery as if they have the moral high ground are hypocrites, given they didn't really phase out anything, it just evolved into companies in foreign companies, when they industrialised they saw no need for slavery and now you have white supremacists dog whistling about how generous they were to "end" slavery and how it was all due to the abolitionist movement. The problem with these people is they often point the finger at other societies when their version of slavery was objectively the most savage. 

 

Either way i'm not justifying the instances where slaves were treated badly in islamic society, they still will go to jahannam for it.

And look at how Arabs in gulf have evolved slavery into this migrant labor movement, isn’t this slavery ?

Objectively the most savage ? Have you heard of galley slaves 

you know ottomans kept them just like Christian’s did 

you cannot whitewash slavery of Arabs Turks and Persians just because 0.01% rose to high status 

just like you cannot ignore discrimination  against blacks in Jim Crow America because a handful blacks became successful 

 

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3 hours ago, Panzerwaffe said:

you cannot whitewash slavery of Arabs Turks and Persians just because 0.01% rose to high status 

Where slavery has been practiced in a wholly abusive fashion you end up with the sort of situation that you have in the United States today. There is a whole demographic strata of US society whose performance metrics are wholly different from the rest of society.

The US prison system is effectively the modern-day equivalent of the plantation lock-up.

I don't see that in the countries that you refer to above.

I am not saying abuse, etc., did not happen in Muslim countries, but the scale would not have been at a society-wide level because if it had been, the social factors would still be visible. They are not.

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7 hours ago, Haji 2003 said:

Where slavery has been practiced in a wholly abusive fashion you end up with the sort of situation that you have in the United States today. There is a whole demographic strata of US society whose performance metrics are wholly different from the rest of society.

The US prison system is effectively the modern-day equivalent of the plantation lock-up.

I don't see that in the countries that you refer to above.

I am not saying abuse, etc., did not happen in Muslim countries, but the scale would not have been at a society-wide level because if it had been, the social factors would still be visible. They are not.

I would read Thomas sowell a AA writer to address the issues in US 

condition of humans in general is far times in Middle East Asia Africa rather than west that is why so many Muslims are trying to migrate to the west 

 

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21 hours ago, Panzerwaffe said:

And look at how Arabs in gulf have evolved slavery into this migrant labor movement, isn’t this slavery ?

Objectively the most savage ? Have you heard of galley slaves 

you know ottomans kept them just like Christian’s did 

you cannot whitewash slavery of Arabs Turks and Persians just because 0.01% rose to high status 

just like you cannot ignore discrimination  against blacks in Jim Crow America because a handful blacks became successful 

 

Where did I whitewash the slavery the ottomans, arabs did????? And most importantly why did you bring up some whataboutism about the evolution of slavery in arab gulf states? Did I strike a nerve? All I did was point out an observation I had. 

I never denied the arab gulf states are engaging in modern day slavery, most importantly i never denied or tried to whitewash the way the ottomans treated their slaves or some other arab empire. All I did was point the sheer hypocrisy of white supremacists and it struck a nerve. 

 

And yes european slavery was the most brutal , especially how the spanish treated the natives, you can't just gloss over that and use  "ever heard about the Galley ship slaves?". And yes I heard it used more than 5 times by white supremacists who want to resort to whataboutism when people point to the parts of their history which aren't as nice as they want it to be.

 

Edit: If you're going to bring up galley slavery in response to european slavery, don't forget europeans also engaged in it, the french for example had king louis in the 17th century litterally had the largest galley force(largest ship i think), he would sentence men to life instead of the death sentence.

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Posted (edited)
On 2/21/2024 at 10:17 PM, Ahmad8888 said:

Where did I whitewash the slavery the ottomans, arabs did????? And most importantly why did you bring up some whataboutism about the evolution of slavery in arab gulf states? Did I strike a nerve? All I did was point out an observation I had. 

I never denied the arab gulf states are engaging in modern day slavery, most importantly i never denied or tried to whitewash the way the ottomans treated their slaves or some other arab empire. All I did was point the sheer hypocrisy of white supremacists and it struck a nerve. 

 

And yes european slavery was the most brutal , especially how the spanish treated the natives, you can't just gloss over that and use  "ever heard about the Galley ship slaves?". And yes I heard it used more than 5 times by white supremacists who want to resort to whataboutism when people point to the parts of their history which aren't as nice as they want it to be.

 

Edit: If you're going to bring up galley slavery in response to european slavery, don't forget europeans also engaged in it, the french for example had king louis in the 17th century litterally had the largest galley force(largest ship i think), he would sentence men to life instead of the death sentence.

Yea your anti white prejudice and deliberate downplaying of atrocities by Arab Turks definitely struck a nerve 

 

im of indo Pakistani origin so I have no dog ( or swine) in this fight 

I clearly addressed your questions in my earlier post 

 

all Arab Turk Persian European African Hindustani etc slave masters were scum 

All those unfairly taken as slaves were victims 

 

Simple 

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