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Islam, Slaves and Slavery

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    Islam, Slaves and Slavery

    There has been much debate on why Islam didn't come for eradication of slavery.

    Some scholars believe that it was not as simple as eradication of burying daughters as keeping slaves was related to status quo. While traditions like burying daughters was condemned during pre-Islamic period, but there was no such concern about slaves in the society. Islam could have issued one order eradicating slavery, but that would have made slaves into new dilemma. They were totally dependent on their masters and Islam's order for eradicating slavery meant slaves becoming a separate group of people with no source of income and that is also subject to resentment of their earlier masters.

    So Islam came up with step by step strategy. There are several verses in Quran supporting freeing slaves. Kaffara (compensation) for many sins / mistakes was prescribed freeing a slave. There were teachings to feed and provide clothes to slaves like one feed and provide clothes to the family.

    In this thread, we will be looking at slaves from early Muslim history, whose lives were changed due to teachings of Islam. stay tuned.
    We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.

    #2
    Re: Islam, Slaves and Slavery

    No one could think about a slave calling for namaz from the roof of kaaba. Slaves were not allowed to sit in the shadow of kaaba in the presence of their masters. Islam changed the life of Bilal Habshi (Islam's first Mo'zin, Prophet's treasurer).

    Qalandaria: Brief History of Hazrat Bilal e Habshi R . A


    Bilal ibn Rabah(Arabic: بلال بن رباح‎) or Bilal al-Habashi was an Ethiopianborn in Mecca in the late 6th century, sometime between 578 and 582.

    The Islamic prophet Muhammad chose an African slave Bilal as his muezzin, effectively making him the first muezzin of the Islamic faith. He was among the slaves freed by Abu BakrMuhammad and slavery) and was known for his beautiful voice with which he called people to their prayers. His name can also be known as, "Bilal ibn Riyah" or "ibn Rabah" and he is sometimes known as "Bilal al-Habashi" or "Bilal the one from Ethiopia".He died sometime between 638 to 642, when he was just over sixty years old. (see Hadhrat Bilaal (Radhiallaahu Anhu) is a famous Sahaaba who accepted Islam in Makkah. When he accepted Islam, the non-believers placed great difficulties upon him which he bore with great forbearance in his youth. His father's name was Rabah and his mother's name Hamamah.


    His birth place is Abyssinia and this is why he is known as Habshi (the old name for Abyssinia is Habsh). He was the slave of a woman in Makkah when he accepted Islam. the Kaafirs of Makkah persecuted him severely. When Hadhrat Abu Bakr (Radhiallaahu Anhu) came to know about the pain and anguish which he underwent at the hands of the Kuffaar, he bought him and set him free.


    Hadhrat Bilaal (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was the muazzin of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). He remained constantly in the company of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). He was in charge of the needs of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam).


    Muhaddith Hakeem (Rahmatullaahi Alayhi) and Hafiz Abu Nuaim (Rahmatullaahi Alayhi) also regarded him as one of the Ashaabus-suffa.


    After he had accepted Islam, he participate with Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)in the battle of Badr and in all other battles. He called the Adhaan and he was the Muazzin of Masjidun-Nabawi as long as Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) remained in this world. His greatness is mentioned in the books of Hadith.

    Social Status


    BROTHERHOOD


    After Hijrat Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) formed 'Mooaakhaat' between the Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhu) which meant that two two brothers should be concerned about each other's difficulty and necessity. In this way all of them became Muslim brothers and they shared in the sorrow and grief of each other. Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) made Hadhrat Bilaal and Hadhrat Ubaida bin Haarith (Radhiallaahu Anhum) brothers and a few Historians mention that Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) made Hadhrat Abu Rawahah Khashami (Radhiallaahu Anhu) the brother of Hadhrat Bilaal (Radhiallaahu Anhu). (Isabah).

    PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR EXPENDITURE OF NABI (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)

    Hadhrat Bilaal (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was the Muazzin of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and his treasurer. If anyone came to Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) with any necessity then he used to ask Hadhrat Bilaal to carry out this task who would then make sure to get the necessary item and fulfil the need on behalf of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam).


    Abdullah Al-Hawzaani (Rahmatullaahi Alayhi) says that I met Hadhrat Bilaal and I asked him concerning the expenditure of Nabi entioned that from the time Allah Ta'aala gave him Nubuwwat until his death, this expenditure was entrusted to me. (this expenditure was for the needy, and those people who came from outside or anyone who asked for assistance. I used to do as commanded and fulfil this need). If some Muslims came who did not have anything to wear, then Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) should order me to take a loan and purchase a cloth to clothe the needy. (Hilyatul Awliyaa). Whilst doing this once Hadhrat Bilaal (Radhiallaahu Anhu) accumulated a heap of dates. Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked Hadhrat Bilaal (Radhiallaahu Anhu) what is this? Hadhrat Bilaal (Radhiallaahu Anhu) answered I have accumulated this for you and your visitors.


    Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, 'Don't you fear that the smoke of Jahannum (hell) will reach you (because of accumulating this).' Then he said, 'Oh Bilaal (Radhiallaahu Anhu), spend it and do not fear it becoming less from the One of the Arsh - Allah' (Ibid).
    We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Islam, Slaves and Slavery

      No matter what reason is given for continuation of slavery, it must be accepted that these explanations are not from Quran or Sunnat. In other words, some group can totally reject these explanations and reinstitute slavery. For example, someone can say that it is the path of
      Salaf or original Muslims, and if Salaf did not abolish slavery then we can't do it either.

      We can reject this line of reasoning, but it is not totally illogical and there will be some people who will fall for this reasoning, calling for establishment of slavery to protect the Sunnat.

      ---

      I think the only way to stop the potential reinstitution of things like slavery is by saying that some laws introduced in the early days of Islam were suited for that era and society. If time has moved on then some of those laws, like slavery, must be looked at with demands of new age and times.
      kahoon kis se mein ye ja kar, meri qaum e bad-guloo ne
      mujhe qatl kar diya he, ba-gunah e khush nawaai
      - Josh

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Islam, Slaves and Slavery

        Originally posted by khoji View Post
        No matter what reason is given for continuation of slavery, it must be accepted that these explanations are not from Quran or Sunnat. In other words, some group can totally reject these explanations and reinstitute slavery. For example, someone can say that it is the path of
        Salaf or original Muslims, and if Salaf did not abolish slavery then we can't do it either.

        We can reject this line of reasoning, but it is not totally illogical and there will be some people who will fall for this reasoning, calling for establishment of slavery to protect the Sunnat.

        ---

        I think the only way to stop the potential reinstitution of things like slavery is by saying that some laws introduced in the early days of Islam were suited for that era and society. If time has moved on then some of those laws, like slavery, must be looked at with demands of new age and times.
        Point is Islam didn't support slavery from very inception of revelation. Here is the translation of some verses (90:8 to 90:16) from earlier revealed Surah e Balad:

        Have We not made for him two eyes?
        And a tongue and two lips?
        And have shown him the two ways?
        But he has not broken through the difficult pass.
        And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass?It is the freeing of a slave
        Or feeding on a day of severe hunger
        An orphan of near relationship
        Or a needy person in misery

        Surat Al-Balad - The Noble Qur'an - ?????? ??????

        It is apparent that reeing a slave was considered one the noblest virtue from the inception of Islam.

        As I said, there are several sins / mistakes for which compensation was freeing a slave and afterwards the status of slaves and treatment given by the Prophet, his family and companions to slaves was exemplary in Arab society. Bilal Habshi (RA) is just one example. There is long list of slaves - including Zaid Bin Haritha (RA) who was just a family member (munh bola beta) to the Prophet. In a society, where slaves were given a status equal to insects, the Prophet played a vital role in the marriage of Zaid (RA) and Hazrat Zainab (RA) who was from Quresh family (Quresh who were very much status conscious).
        We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Islam, Slaves and Slavery

          Still it was allowed. And not every slave was freed even by the best of the companions. If the practice was as abhorred then people should have let go of the slaves out of piety and to seek closeness to God. For example, hazrat Ali and hazrat umar both owned slaves.

          So now if a group from among us wants to start this discarded practice then it would be difficult to stop them with any of our arguments. Because these arguments are only implied. These arguments against slavery don't come straight from Quran or Hadeeth. Thus the prophet never said that slavery is only being allowed for a while, and the real purpose is to abolish it gradually. This is only implied by us, which can be rejected by some hardened group of Muslims wanting to follow Salaf in all ways.
          kahoon kis se mein ye ja kar, meri qaum e bad-guloo ne
          mujhe qatl kar diya he, ba-gunah e khush nawaai
          - Josh

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Islam, Slaves and Slavery

            Originally posted by khoji View Post
            Still it was allowed. And not every slave was freed even by the best of the companions. If the practice was a abhorred then people should have let go of the slaves out of piety and to seek closeness to God.

            So now if a group from among us wants to start this discarded practice then it would be difficult to stop them with any of our arguments. Because these arguments are only implied. These arguments against slavery don't come straight from Quran or Hadeeth. Thus the prophet never said that slavery is only being allowed for a while, and the real purpose is to abolish it gradually. This is only implied by us, which can be rejected by some hardened group of Muslims wanting to follow Salaf in all ways.
            you are right that Islam didn't come up with the order of abhorrence of the practice, but it highlighted the sufferings and did encouraged good behavior with slaves which was otherwise not considered by the society. It is Islam which gave powers to Bilal (RA) to criticise Hazrat Umar (RA) policies openly. There was something in Islamic teachings that attracted slaves and poor towards it. It was not something implied, it was actions of the Prophet and his companions that reshaped the society and its behavior towards slaves. We don't hear cruelties like Ummaya bin Khalaf and likes did to their slaves by our Muslim salaf.
            We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.

            Comment

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