Slavery and Islam

Slavery and Islam: What is Sam Harris saying…

Welcome to learning the true perspective! Then you decide- what is left to decimate Sam Harris an illiterate of historical contexts?
  1. Righteousness is the core concept taught in Islam for success in the afterlife. It is inscribed in Quran that ransoming of slaves is a sure act to attain this success.
  2. Quran 90:12-13 And what will explain to you the path that is steep? [It is:] freeing of Slaves.
  3. Indeed, there isn’t in the Holy Quran or in the Islamic teachings an explicit command given to enslave!
  1. The likely misunderstanding may arise from this verse: “Quran 33:50 O’ Prophet, indeed We have made lawful to you … those under your right hand from what Allah has given to you [of captives] …”
  2. Therefore, the question really is why did Prophet Muhammad take slaves? And why did he go to war?
  3. It apparently looks like if these arguments of Sam are answered he may then perhaps begin a fresh lookout for God!
  4. In historical contexts men and women knew the consequences of raids and war, at least in Arabian context- they did.
  5. Islam repulsive of advocating plunder or offensive, however, did grant required defense. Naturally, battles came Islam’s way and Muslims had to endure, which brought-in slaves by the victory that God had granted Muslims over the disbelieving Arabs, who were restlessly warring the Prophet of God to uproot Islam from within the Arabian Peninsula, therefore slaves had to be managed.
  6. Understandably slaves were provided with physical needs and so was derived from them by the traditions entwined of this industry. Nonetheless, sexual procedures were part and parcel of commerce unstated by both parties, and to deprive them of this essential physical need was considered pejorative.
  7. Moral judgment, therefore, is not of sexual usage- as wrongly comprehended by critics, but of humane treatment and dignity.
  8. Identifying the final Prophet of God as a warlord and a slave trader is preposterous akin to rat bagging one’s skull full of garbage. Having lived times of Bush and Blair, Sam Harris is busy bleaching his neurons with a jar of tar.
  1. The complexity in slave-industry back then was such that a large number of people had come to be traded for in this priced market. And then who relied on this industry for means of security and for basics of life wherein under wealthy masters they found the comfort of life.
  2. If say Quran were to prohibit slavery sharply, then there could suddenly be large sums of people left alone which wasn’t in the best interests of the organized level of the civil society in seventh-century Arabia.
  3. Besides in God’s wisdom amendments are not abruptly introduced upsetting elements of social order. Slaves were clearly assets to those who possessed them. They hung around them in the desert like the shade-giving clouds.
  4. Say suppose in the best interest of workers if companies were legally-enforced to pay a contractor’s wage to all employees or be made to hire permanent employees only by making them proportional shareholders in the firm would then say Google Inc. comply with the law? Such is the intricacy when dealing with public affairs.
  1. Not even a single offensive in the war was endeavored by Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet, in fact, advocated several legislations favoring slaves. Which brought them lost rights and dignity as we will discuss. Freeing the slaves was made a way to atone for one’s sins before God.
  2. The leaps, God had helped Prophet Muhammad achieve jubilation to improve the conditions of slaves is tantamount to pioneering employees’ rights in among the top businesses in the present world.

“In present set-up, Hi-Tech firms own slaves (permanent employees), don’t they? Some may agree and others can disagree. Of-course modern-day slaves (permanent employees) can conveniently resign from positions after serving nervous notice periods extending up to three months or greater than it; drafted for full-exploitation by industrialists to please their off-shore investors even for the mundane jobs (a point of view from developing countries) which is tantamount to marketing strategies of exploitable labour resources and advertised cheap labour. Modern slaves endure all this to fight survival given the fierce competition even so in the western countries. Then…these freed slaves still recuperating diffidently prepare for the next shackle. Can you go jobless on welfare payments? Perhaps, but not long, may it be worse in the third world countries, where funeral’s immanence is closer realized than welfare.”

If you were to burst open a conversation with Human Resource manager (HR), negotiating for rights for your adventures in real life outside the workplace such as setting up second jobs (businesses etc.) you would soon learn a list of prohibitions which are from a suitcase of prior agreed contract, detailing how you have literally slave-traded your liberties from being free to own any newer pursuits. A briefing from HR to permanent employees would involve learning how tightly mapped are permanent employees’ commitments to service say Gizmo-software Inc. The fear of losing your job lurks in the corner-cut of your eye such as if you were to ask for excesses or requested part-time work for legitimate reasons be it for study side by side with fewer hours of work etc. Let us not discuss circumstances surrounding workers in India or China where employees are phenomenally less privileged than the medieval slaves of the Muslim world.

  1. In the Quranic narrative, a series of prohibitions were enacted for the upliftment of slaves. Restoration of their heritage was instituted by the right to tribal identity of the slaves: “Quran 33:5 Call them by [the names of] their fathers; it is more just in the sight of Allah. But if you do not know their fathers (instead of call them friends, ‘maula’) – then they are [still] your brothers in religion and those entrusted to you …” American slaves bore names after their masters’ even to this day black people in the USA carry these names such as Michelle, Robinson, Malcolm, Jackson etc. A name-belt which was scrapped long ago in seventh-century by God’s revelation.

Frankly to mention slaves relished the Islamic institution as I may highlight ahead. The point of information is slaves aren’t typical of the Islamic establishment. Slavery was still lately rife in the USA and the famous Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was a long-standing victim of this legacy is among the latest examples to reckon.

Just by altering titles, values aren’t restored in the praise of human dignity and there is no assurance for human-rights to become operational availing true-liberation. The famous example is of Israelites, who weren’t slaves to Pharaoh, but they were of-course free men still enslaved into laborious works of Egyptian grandeurs, where their rights to dignity didn’t matter at all. Therefore, in effect, they were proper slaves in the capacity of the trade. Medieval laws enslaved people for theft! Quran has captured this from the annals of history. Wherein Joseph’s blood brother was played to be held a slave for theft in Egypt by Joseph’s men [Quran 12:75]. Quran instead advocated substitute penalties for criminal acts.

  1. Then came the moral uplifting legislation which was to integrate slaves by way of marriage: “Quran 24:32 And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”
  2. Marriage was the game changer! Which therefore would help slaves earn free status sooner in public life for mutual rights and to become ready to inherit from relationships.

Then comes the following statement gracing the slaves who despite odds had believed- shimmering above all classes of disbelievers in the eyes of God: “Quran 2:221 Do not marry unbelieving women [idolaters], until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you. Nor marry [your girls] to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you. Unbelievers do [but] beckon you to the Fire. But Allah beckons by His Grace to the Garden [of bliss] and forgiveness, and makes His Signs clear to mankind: That they may celebrate His praise.” Even in this case, Quran is found to attest payments of dower to female slaves according to what was acceptable for them. Is it understood that this dower will clearly be less than the market set value for receiving free women: “Quran 4:25 And whoever among you cannot [find] the means to marry free, believing women, then [let him marry] from those whom your right hands possess of believing slave girls. And Allah is most knowing about your faith. You [believers] are of one another. So marry them with the permission of their people and give them their due compensation according to what is acceptable. [They should be] chaste, neither [of] those who commit unlawful intercourse randomly nor those who take [secret] lovers. But once they are sheltered in marriage, if they should commit adultery, then for them is half the punishment for free [unmarried] women. This [allowance] is for him among you who fears sin, but to be patient is better for you. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

  1. To people, it was becoming clear that God was steadily making it difficult for the Muslim community to practice slavery.
  2. In Islamic institution slaves would stand shoulder to shoulder in prayers literally touching master’s shoulder (which was contemptuous pre-Islamic Arabia);
  3. Slaves would dine from the same plate;
  4. Their identities were now recognized with proper names;
  5. Their criminal penalties halved: “Quran 4:25 …But once they are sheltered in marriage, if they should commit adultery, then for them is half the punishment of a free woman…”;

The practice of enslaving wasn’t directly-proscribed in the Quran, as such when in threat-to-life engagements of war enslaving was not prohibited, but God gradually eased this industry towards amends. At the completion of Quranic revelation which is a twenty-three-year period, morals among Muslim community were set not to enslave non-combatants, which was a great achievement awarded by Islamic interference in this business. Having said Quran delivered significant impetus to elevate dignity to slaves in this industry + it has legislated heavily for their emancipation giving them- the employees’ status of modern-day workforce per highly reputed firm’s standards. By the power of faith alone, this could be achieved. This is indeed true freedom! If the slave man or women requested freedom- God taught the Muslim community to honor their plea with handsome returns: “Quran 24:33 … And those who seek a contract [for eventual emancipation] from among your slaves- then make a contract with them if you know there is within them goodness and give them from the wealth of Allah which He has given you…”; it is akin to not just resigning the job but freedom from duties with a pay-check. How many private companies treat their employees this way?

  1. In addition, several flamboyant injunctions were in place to set them free if they so desired a contract of release, it had to be drafted. As slaves could not anymore be held in captivity by way of resentment:
  2. Female slaves could not be availed for promiscuity: “Quran 24:33 …But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that you may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, Allah is, [to them] Forgiving, Most Merciful.”;

Critics of religion mostly from western origins often roll down the path to misunderstand several vital aspects involved in historical contexts of cultural practice. I’m not alluding to the lately let-fall-worthy of dungeons western chronicles of the 20th-century values, which were infested with false calls to liberating some such as Vietnamese while enslaving blacks in the homeland, even today white men suffer from racists mentalities. For which candid fellows from within their race invent labels such as red-necks and bogans in an effort to shun racism and xenophobia etc. Because of Sam’s literacy of an extreme context which he identifying to a culture, he sees, he comes to declare: these hard-fought feats were outcomes of secular achievement of the scientific world. In fact, to his surprise which were uprisings due to the civil rights movements first fought by the blacks themselves (I don’t know if it is correct to call it a secular-scientific movement). Sam then caricatures generalizations of this context upon religions of the world, especially Islam to strike Prophet Muhammad- a model example of humanity.

A practice bread and idealized in almost all known cultures of the world suddenly becomes an unbreakable wing of the Islamic faith.

A seventh-century Quran has set a unique bar, which in my humble opinion no other culture worth a name or any nation worth a wave of my hat is likely to achieve! Premodern cultures had slaves attaining to most duties akin to employees today servicing many sectors, back then an economy mostly built on trade and agriculture which did not emulate structured models for employment as found nowadays. In Corporate culture: will anytime sooner permanent employees earn entitlements and be shareholders (at least proportional to their services)? If not, will they be paid a contractor’s (independent vendor) wage? And will Sam endeavor to advocate for this cause? A question from Quran: “Quran 16:71 And Allah has favored some of you over others in provision. But those who are favored would not hand over their provision to those of their slaves so they would be equal to them therein. Then is it the favour of Allah they reject?” The need is the vital balance, where fairness is administered. And in where people could be secure, happy and healthy in any relationship adapted to serve the needs of the civilization.

  1. It takes a graduate degree for many modern-day slaves to work for American call-centers against their biological clocks for little peanuts? Is it fairer of the western world, an acclaimed human-rights watch-dog to benefit from such a trade? Can Sam Harris advocate impending reforms to bring-in dignity to hundreds of thousands of these unfortunates?
  1. Can then Sam dare to endeavor for the release of lovely candies from canny Sugar-Daddies?

Sugar-daddy in present-day secular and scientific world is “legal” way of sex-slavery for lustful gains. Where is Sam hiding? Besides, legalized prostitution and e-sex are avenues to purchase sex from sex-trades quelling human dignity into slavery for buyers in this trade: “Quran 24:33 …But force not your maids to …” Slaves clearly had great privileges in the Islamic constitution and they were heavily legislated from exploitation both in legal codecs and via sincerity in faith to God, lest to meet God’s punishments.

  1. Islam did, not only exhilarate people to grow-up from the practice of slavery but it educated the new Muslim community to shun enslaving free-civilians and therefore the results were remarkable if not for this elation in values, people of Persia and the populace of Christian Rome would not have embraced Islam in such brief time-spans.
  2. The premise based on the western version of slavery or a non-Islamic practice of slavery which Sam makes his reference was colloquial to times predating Islamic revival of Arabia.
  3. Quranic legislation concerning slaves in seventh-century were invoked to reform and impart dignity in this industry-sized adopted relationship.
  4. Islamic revival for slaves was akin to a clean and dignified employment reservation in which they were fed, clothed, sheltered, married and freed upon their fulfillment of a contract for emancipation.

Freeing slaves- for the expiation of sins: “Quran 5:92 Allah will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: For expiation, …; or give a slave (regardless of belief) his freedom…” And in case of killing a believer by mistake a believing slave was ordained to be freed: “Quran 4:92 Never should a believer kill a believer; but [If it so happens] by mistake, [Compensation is due]: If one [so] kills a believer, it is ordained that he should free a believing slave, and pay compensation to the deceased’s family, unless they remit it freely…” And then in case of a call practiced for dissolution of marriage in Arabia and then to reapproach the relationship back, freeing of a slave was stipulated: “Quran 58:3 But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered, – [It is ordained that such a one] should free a slave before they touch each other: Thus are you admonished to perform: and Allah is well acquainted with [all] that you do.” These were subtle injunctions chosen to promote freeing of slaves. And then came rigorous encouragement for the ransom slaves. Righteousness is one of the principal criteria for attaining Heaven (Paradise). Thus it is stipulated: “Quran 2:177 It is not righteousness that you turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness– to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain [or suffering] and  adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.” Among early believers of Quran freeing of slaves was rapid and unprecedented. Islamic standards had educated Muslims to concept God’s admonishments regarding this industry. This is precisely the reason why Islam’s downpour into Persia and Roman Syria was receipted by masses in that very quick time-spans because Muslims had by then successfully culled the practice of enslaving civilians. In case of Persia only those soldiers who fought guerrilla, warfare were enslaved others who fought on clear battlegrounds were not held prisoners of war but were assimilated among civilians. And with the Romans, none was enslaved but cornered troops of Byzantine Rome were freed! None of the civilians from these two empires were enslaved. This is among the many clear reasons for why even non-Arabic civilians such as (Persians) pouringly embraced Islam in such quick successions transforming the demographics of this region into torch-bearers of this new faith.

  1. Now you decide- what is left to decimate Sam Harris an illiterate of historical contexts?