Slavery is the process of stripping a person of the free will on his or her own existence, and legally surrendering it to another. There is no record on how such a process took place in history, yet it was associated with general exercise of mightiness against weakness. Most of the ancient tribes, principalities and states had known this practice, which was organized, legalized and regulated as well. Generally, the ancient civilizations had been built on drastic sweat, tears and bloods of their slaves; whom without, great doubts would be achieving concurrent conclusive legacy of Mankind.

 The oldest legal document; Code of Law (1760BC) Issued by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi; had included about 34 clauses related to slavery out of its 282. This mathematically means that about 13% of activities were slave-related. In ancient Greece, most of the households had at least one slave, while 25% of the populations of Roman Empire were salves. As this practice was dominated by military offensives, almost no racial group was free from being enslaved in some point of time.

The so-called “Blue-Blood Dynasties” had their distinction not only for the un-tanned skin, but also as belonging to a slave-free heir. The Spanish-originated phrase could be traced in 35 languages between Spain and Philippines. Among tan or dark skin peoples in Americas, Africa and Asia; other phrases are used to serve the same meaning. Interestingly, only Arabic literature is void from such an ethnic segregation, as their nobility was conventionally driven by wealth not blood. Later, Arabs and Muslims start to distinct kinships related to the Prophet pbuh and his Rightly-Guided Caliphs. Certainly; more specialized researches in folklore, linguistics and anthropology would reveal the depth of the concept, and enable answering the relevant nobility of religious ancestries.

418px-GeromeslavemarketGenerally, slavery was defined in four groups; war captives, forced labor, merchandized, and by born. Emancipation was usually driven by civic rulings, religious abolition or terms of emancipation. War captivity was the principle slavery resource; which was permanent or temporarily, based on conditions of emancipation. Both sex slavery and debt slavery are sub-groups of forced labor, which sometimes being initiated by a person to be enslaved or by his family-bread provider. While slave trade was formal business in most of the history, by born slavery varies as per cultural or religious attributes.

Throughout history, laws and customs had regulated processing ownership, inheritance, obligations and permissions of enslaved people and their owners. The complexities of urbanism in particular, had added more sophistication and details to the slavery code. However, both intent and grouping had never been affected by these details, which contrarily and notably had contributed to the slave trading and volume. This can answer the question on derivatives that globalized the slave trade across particular centers. Since 1600th BC, it was great business chronologically in Egypt, Greece, Rome, Tunisia, Yemen, Iberia, Netherlands, Tanganyika, Turkey, and Haiti; which ended in 1800th AD.

Islam had been called for in Arabian Peninsula in 600th AD, where the slavery issue formed a corner stone in its publicity, and eventually dominated reasonable amount of early legislations and guidelines. The slave motorized society in early days of Islam would require elaboration on managing the matter, within its cultural and regulatory contexts. This is no different from the same on earlier religions, which had differently addressed legal, social or economic foundations of slavery.

 Then, what were the historical spots of slavery?

Despite the fierce debates, the modern scientific dialectic had dropped the “Curse of Ham” as Jewish justification of enslavement of both Canaanites and Black African. Despite the complex laws and guidelines, Judaism is distinct by permitting Permanent Slavery, Parent Perpetration and Fixed Term slavery. Also, distinction between Israelites and non-Israelites slaves had driven the Jewish regulations. The Old Testimony had treated the salves as extension to the family, allowing them to celebrate and perform their religious rituals and duties.

Both pro-slavery and abolitionism Christian advocates have found justification in the paradox between Old and New Testimonies. The ancient strong Christian states had to permit slavery to maintain and sustain their economic gears, with less intension to both religious and philosophical arguments. During that time, one third of the population was slaves. The New Testimony had clearly urged Christians to treat slaves as brothers, while condemning the practice of slavery. Christian Europe had suffered the Barbarian wars in the Middle Ages, which resulted in the first institution of slavery named “Serfdom”. This was new socio economic system that bond un-free peasants to the farming land. This system was common all over the Feudalist continent till early 1900th AD, and had inspired the Collective Farm system throughout the communist hemisphere.


Slavery in multi-caste India was complicated due to various ideological, religious and socio economic patterns; which some stills valid till date. The interpretation of the concurrent term of slavery was not practiced in ancient India, as forced labor was an economic trend rather than a social one. From 500 BC till 1200 AD, various forms of enslavement and their legal and statutory implications were observed. Arabs’ capture of Sindh in 700thAD had brought their known slavery practice, which marked the spread of Indo-ethnicities in Arabian Peninsula, Mesopotamia, Levant and Central Asia. Turko-Afghans, Arabs and Persians had begun to massively trade the Indian slaves in 1000th AD, following the Muslims’ victorious invasion and full control of the subcontinent. Notably, this control had notoriously contributed to phenomenon of “By-Sword- Conversion”; which lift unhealed wounds in Indian society. Portuguese and Dutch had traded heavily in Indian slavery, till the issuing of Indian Slavery Act in 1843 AD, which affected the lives of nearly 9,000,000 slaves in the subcontinent. Today, the subcontinent has more than 20 million, mostly children, whom are considered bonded salves, while an unknown number is sex-slaves.

Slavery practices in Japan, Korea, Philippines Indonesia and China had varied between bonded labor and sexual slavery. African slavery is the most known and debated practice, which triggered all anti-slavery movements and actions. In today’s world, forced slavery and sexual slavery are still in practice in Africa and South Asia, despite the international acts and resolutions. For some visionaries, slavery maybe lost its known terminologies for new others extracted from global trends in economic, enterprising and investment. These are namely; human trafficking, wage slavery and penal slavery, which had been respectively known in Europe, North America and Australia. Deteriorated living conditions because of inequality, unemployment and ill-governance, is the concurrent cause for hidden slavery which force people to trade their free choice for bread.

The Roma (Gypsy) are the living dilemma of both physical and emotional humiliations. Their history since their migration in 1200th AD from west India, spreading throughout Neat East, North Africa, Europe, and across the Atlantic to North America, had horrible stories of abuse, torture and ill-persecutions wherever they land. Their issue still open till date; despite the enthusiastic activities of advocates and political groups. They are a living example on cultural classification and segregation that are deeply embedded within our humane mind-set.

Now, what are the slavery concepts in Islam?

Early Islamic state did not offend or force the change of slavery patterns in Arabian Peninsula, considering its importance for those tribal and nomad communities. Adequately to the cultural environment; gradual change had synchronized the growing religious belief and awareness. The word Abed (slave in classic Arabic) was increasingly used as a prefix as new Muslim names; attached with names and descriptions of Allah swt; e.g., Abdalla, Abdelrahman, Abdelqadir, etc. This was smart cultural move meant to vacate the word from its notorious meaning. However, it is fair to admit that both presence and role of slavery among Arabs, who were the early recipients of Islam, had colored their future practices as Muslims and Rulers of vast ethnic and geographic coverage.

Notably, Islamic rulings and guidelines did not regulate obtaining slaves in any case accept religious war, inheritance or voluntary enslavement. The voluntary enslavement is confusing as was only subject to females above the legal age, who would on a-free-will enslave themselves to a Muslim man. This was not associated with any elaboration on emancipating these females. Also, there was nothing on merchandizing of slaves, despite what been repeatedly recorded of purchasing Muslim slaves in order to emancipate them. Therefore, Islamic societies did not know abolition concepts or movements, but official rulings during the last three centuries, to correspond with some civic or political reforms.

Islam had set parameters for slavery, which later been often violated with the growing urban complex of its societies and ethnic groups. Some Islamic societies had conventional or new strong-economic patterns based on indispensible slavery for its growth and sustainability. Others were culturally and socially complex to tolerate abounding slavery. However, in later Islamic states, demise between free and slave persons had diminished, which enabled Mamluks (terms created by Ayyubid dynasty, who at their height ruled Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Libya, Hijaz and Yemen in 1188 AD; which means slaves in modern Arabic, but inspired by Arian-Turkish culture) to rule Egypt and Syria for four centuries.

These concepts were interpreted in the following patterns:

Firstly. Gradual reduction of slavery was managed by regulating some religious and civic violations or offensives; which were alternatively pardoned by emancipation of slaves. Therefore, number of salves in the First Islamic State was much lowered. Then; the forcibly growing slavery trends had been divided into two different scenes, driven by cultural and urban sophistications. In Arabian Peninsula, Nomadic or Arab Muslims had treated their slaves as servants. In other parts of the State; Urban or Arabizationed Muslims had treated slave as controlled properties. Therefore, both fictions and non-fiction tales were focusing on the second trend, which had witnessed many varieties, activities and excitements..!!

Secondly. The Muslim believers were continuously educated on equality among all races with no nobility or ethnic preference. This principle was based on acknowledgement of a sole Creator swt; which is the core of Islamic belief. Rejecting such a belief by surrounding nations, had justified the famous Jihad wars, which had generated the war captivities; or slaves. Historically, the Muslim army was constituted by volunteers who can afford their own ammunitions, logistics and supply, therefore, their war captives were simply their own. When the Islamic state got matured and grown, it became capable to recruit and fund its troops; it overwrote the individual ownership of war captives.

Thirdly. Political Islam is no different from any other governing regime; which applies the psychology of war and peace. Therefore, truce terms between Muslim armies and defeated nations had been ruled to include the supply of slaves. These truce-salves were often recruited in armed battalions or assigned for particular state logistics. Later, their surplus had been put for auctions; which had initiated the famous and notorious slave business.

Fourthly. Islam, as well as most of religions, had constrained any unlawful consensual relations between the two sexes. Muslim men were permitted to touch and conceive their female slaves, whom usually converted to Islam. Muslim female salves were almost wives, missing only the formal spouse title and inheritance share. This had produced the famous yet notorious Hareem phenomenon (means the spouse females whom are not formal wives); which was associated with grown power and wealth of Muslim States. Eventually, the female slaves lose their enslavement once delivered a child, who is legitimately recognized with full family rights. Simply; the father cannot sale the slave mother of his children. Even so, childless Hareem were rarely put for trade, but would be given away.

Fifthly. As all people are born free, there is no born-slavery in Islam nor penal or forced. War generated slavery was a closed issue since 1700th AD, while the concurrent generated from demotic violence in some tribal areas, like Darfur, is mutual yet unspoken tradition between rivals. Female slaves would be used as servant and sex mates, and their conceived children are recognized as free sons and daughters. Penal slavery is stranger to Muslim heritage, contrarily to capital punishment. Forced slavery among Muslim is more adequately to be described as wage slavery, which allows the slave a payment against effort, right of marriage and lawful inheritance.

Certainly, involvement of some Muslims in modern humane trafficking, resulting in sex slavery and wage slavery cannot condemn Islam for the same. Generally, slavery contradicts with universal welfare, stable urbanism and good governance, which is the strive of all Mankind.


  1. adilsud says:

    The Slave Market..

    Le Marché d’esclaves
    The Slave Market
    By Jean-Léon Gérôme،

    Jean Leon Gerome had visited Turkey, Egypt, Morocco and Syria, creating many paintings on life within Ottoman Empire.. At those times; Women were commodity for sale and buy, with preference for European women..
    Total number of European females sold within Ottoman markets exceeds 1,250,000
    This is more than all African bought into slavery in United States (800,000)

    Many commentators had advocated how Islam encouraged Slavery, permitting Muslims to wed and mate their slaves as much as they can.. Regretfully, such false claims contradict the true essence of the Religion and factual chronicles of times..

    Yes, Islam did not prevent Slavery, one of the oldest social codes among humans.. It had considered how it was economically critical at those times, yet no single phrase in Quran or Hadith had came encouraging Slavery..
    On the contrary; Slavery had eelier declined by the emancipation, which was verdict or a penal tool against some violations..

    However, much Muslims turned the activity into formal one using the given legislative opportunity in absence of literal prevention or prohibition..
    As usual, Philosophies and Religious frameworks are not to be blamed to followers ill-interpretations..!


  2. adilsud says:

    The article by the so-called luckylarrysilverstein is interesting enough to share statistics, historical false-tales and ambiguous claims.. However, it is typical reflections of anti-Islam irrationalities, and short-sighted intellectualities.. However, references made to suspicious individuals, groups and websites is not helpful to establish a case, nor to attack one..!

    Both open and indirect claims that Islam is a man-made doctrine, is worthless any debate.. and vs. verses..

    Actually, Arabic salve trade is much older than Islam, probably to the dawn of Egyptian Civilization, as recorded in many archeological documents and referrals.. 3000BC, Arabs had different names and descriptions, yet shared the same arrogance among nomads as Noah’s decedents.. As per the Talmudic interpretations, both Shem and Japheth had echoed the curse their dad made on Ham.. Therefore, no wonder that Blacks were socio-politically downgraded till the modern times.. Yet, despite Obama-fashion; they are not 100% equally and suspicion-free perceived among other races..

    The Ottomans had about three hundred thousand Black slaves, whereas only few were castrated as being assigned to serve at the Hareem.. Regardless how this awful practice is acceptable of not, Turkey has today more than three million black population.. The same applies among decedents of Black slaves among the Arabs. At Arabian Peninsula, North Africa and Egypt many black nationals, who are decedents of slaves are highly educated and employed, with large families and kinships.. Recently, Ben Hamam of Qatar had occupied the world media attention about FIFA 2020.. He is black, and a high profile at Qatari government and business community.. Certainly, his grand ancestors were not castrated..

    Arabic is a root-based Sematic language; which is totally different from the noun-based Latin others.. Therefore, interpretations of Arabic-written referrals is an extreme assignment, which has average success.. This success is sufficient for the newly converted Muslims to understand their religion and practice their rituals and prayers.. The extend of literature complexity goes further to shake the epistemic capacity of today’s Arabic Speaking Muslims, who evolve to use layman vocabularies and expressions rather than the authentic language.. This is why, most of the interpretations of Quran and Hadeeth are likely apart the true meanings; with less attention and fund allocated by religious institutions.. This is why Political Islam evolved to be extreme and terrorist.. Saying that, I believe that any person needs to use Islamic referrals to twist-arms with Muslims, would end up in-vain efforts.. Arabic and non-Arabic speaking Muslims are mainly driven by personal interactions rather than contextures..


  3. adilsud says:

    Slavery, Sudan and Others..!

    Kathleen and Adam had invited me to a great challenging and energizing debate on Slavery in the Sudan. Kathleen had invited a controversial African American author, who is a Sudanese descendant, to contribute to her Radio Talk Show.
    For the common good, I find it great to share with readers.

    Firstly; I need to file my apology, as had unintentionally created confusion..! I had addressed the matter in four parallel streams: Slavery in the Sudan, Historical Slavery by Arabs, Slavery in Islam, and Slavery among non-Arabs.. I did not hi-light the demises.. I had dropped all allegations of Ms Boof, despite how she is a center-point for Kathleen’s interview..
    Pls allow me to conclude it; so far:

    a. Slavery in The Sudan:
    1. Alike everywhere else Sudan had known slavery not only North/South, but also South/North and South/South; as an extended African traditions. Linguistic and anthropological hurdles make it uneasy job to discover, understand and report.

    2. Sudan is a large country with more than 220 known tribes and ethnic groups, shallow administrative history and vast resources that had been crowned with crude oil. Ruling Sudan was always a British/Egyptian concern; not as Africa/Arab gate, but as North/South quest (Rich/Poor, Developed/Underdeveloped or Civilized/Indigenous Syndromes). )

    3. Media had celebrated the particular North/South slavery, echoing international politics and trends; rather than the fair stand to address the global issue. Same applies elsewhere among all Sudanese and African tribes. ( )

    4. There was no formal slavery in Sudan, as no paper had been historically issued to document a slave’s statuary. Slaves were either identified by their giving names, social rank or jobs. (My own grand grand father was named Abdelseed –Master’s Slave; which is a social affiliation to slavery, a religious affiliation to Sayed Al-Mirghani, a famous Sudanese Sufi or a typical folkloric affiliation to humility..!!)

    5. Slavery in Sudan was usually unilateral, and never transferred to the children. This is usually is confused with the volunteer attachment to the Mastering families due to disorder syndromes, not as social or cultural stigmas.

    6. Till date, particularly in Abyie area, nomadic Dinka and Messeriya are continuing their seasonal battles on water-rights; which is often resulted in enslavements, forced marriages and ethnically-mixed families. This will likely continue; despite the international efforts; which so-far failed to address the roots and solutions. ( )

    7. In Abyie; thanks to global media; they had started to learn the terms of ethnic cleansing..! It is the only place where current forms of slavery are taking place. Both parties battle and enslave each other. This is where most anti-slavery in Sudan are referring.. Ironically, rapping is not included in their code.. so-far..!!

    8. The complex geopolitics of Sudan had made it vulnerable to many as an attractive topic with challenging aggregates. Same applies to Prof. Mamdani; who had addressed many issues in wrong structure. ( )

    9. International officials had often showed great concerns for Darfur, rather than lost boys or slavery issues. This would tell how complex the issues are as well how sentimental the advocates. Despite all atrocities in Darfur, no slavery had been or currently practiced. ( )

    10. The local intellectual debates on Sudan have no room for shallow contributions alike what Ms Boof has. Dr Deng is a fine scholar who had regretfully changed positions and views between 1970th and 2010th. He simply followed the in-house confusion, which expat professional Sudanese – like me, are free from. ( )

    11. Dr Jok is a new name in the remote-Sudanese horizons, who would represent the new global trends of “Go-Getter” rather than the integral scientific foundations. Simply he mixes Historical theories with politics and common media trends. Should academics drive not be driven?

    12. Bottom lines: Sudanese Slavery is not denied linguistically or historically yet need to be adequately addressed to establish a reliable progressive knowledge. It will continue to be a hot topic in the media with fear to turn into an intellectual entertainment (alike claims and counter claims on Palestine/Israel issues). Therefore, maybe your Radio-Show should host some voices from the other side as well. I had suggested to you some entrusted intellectuals who would add value.

    b. Historical Slavery by Arabs:
    1. Like all ancient communities, Arabs had known slavery as domestic supplement, as trading material and as political element. Till date, there is informal or indirect slavery which is no different from India, South East Asia or Central African countries. ( )

    2. Slaves among Arabs were not color coded, as had come from all over the world. You may trace their DNA back to Caucus, Balkan, Persia, Iberia, Africa and very few from the Indian Subcontinent.

    3. In Arabian Peninsula, Egypt and Levant slaves used to hold documents describing their IDs. This was an Ottoman administrative practice. Last formal slave was formally emancipated in the Arabian Gulf in 1972, as part of its political modernization.

    4. Slavery for Arabs had no color code, unless related to the price tag. In many cases, color code would attribute the likelihood of how a slave is domestically entrusted or intimately preferred. The same had applied elsewhere since dawn of time.

    5. Arabs had exceptionally allowed Slaves to marry, breed and partially earn in addition to the globally shared conditioned-emancipation. Slavery among Arabs was not widely transferable to children.

    6. Wealthy Mamluk had encouraged slavery to build armies and work force, which was driven by prices rather than skills. The same was later exercised by Ottomans, and was widely reflected back in the dark-skin ghettos in most of Arab cities.

    7. The silly allegations that Palestinians are currently buying slave is out of any context. The dark-skin Palestinians (descendents of Ottoman armies and/or slaves) have their own issues of integration to ethnically and culturally develop. Unity against Zionism consolidating the Palestinian society. ( )

    8. Today’s Arabs celebrate their cultural diversity; with growing trend to erase cultural and ethnic barriers among their peoples. It is an inevitable move to join global human rights landscape and mind-set. Generally, facts of geopolitics and socioeconomics would put Arabs at higher ranks than African, which would fuel the African sense of inequality. ( )

    c. Slavery in Islam:
    1. Islam never encouraged nor condemned slavery. On the contrary, it encouraged emancipation of slaves, and been widely used in religious legislations and rulings. ( )

    2. Slavery in Islam was never color-coded, as was addressed as typical and generic human status. Many of famous early Muslims were emancipated slaves from various ethnicities. )

    3. Ottomans had used the non-condemnation of slavery to spread its trade and utilize the slaves for their expanded armies, economics and luxuries. Wherever Ottomans had their heavy boots, ghettos of slaves or ethnic disorders are formulated.

    4. The controversy stills alive by the recent debates launched by Fundamentalists and Jihadists, who had stood still on some historical rulings that cannot be applied in Today’s world. No one is further enslaved if defeated in the battlefields..!

    5. Most of religions are addressing a faithful utopia which is not there.. Therefore, many rulings, in most religions, are set as benchmarking rather than true conductions. Similarly, enslaving others or emancipating slaves is widely hypothetical.

    6. There is no doubt that Islam suffers from its incompetent preachers. This is what had open the doors not only for its confrontation with the other, but also within.. Today, many calls are intensifying to establish a new Islamic code of Knowledge, which would enable correcting practices, contributing to development, and adding value to the globe. ( )

    d. Slavery among non-Arabs:
    1. The most horrific practice in today’s world is the traditional female-gifts to priests, particularly in the Western African villages. This practice is only supported by ancient traditions, deformed political systems and out-dated rulings. This is widely practiced despite of the religious affiliations.

    2. Forced Marriages in Indian Subcontinent is the surviving form of hidden slavery, which is widely practiced in rural areas. The active NGOs in those countries are battling not only the traditional perceptions and concepts, but also syndromes and resulted disorders.

    3. Sweat-Shops in Indochina are commonly known among the native of these countries; which mix criminal structure with economic one. It is usually protected by organized crime rather than social traditions. It is the backbone of Chinese and Asian Tiger’s mysterious economic boom. Regretfully, very few researches address these facts.

    4. Recently, some Sudanese (1500 in total) had fled to Israel in their search to escape the deteriorated conditions back home. This had included Muslim, Christian, Darfureans and Dinks, yet mostly are unskilled labor. Many Eritrean and Ugandans had shared the same dangerous smuggling routes to Israel, who were all trapped by Israeli laws that do not recognize asylum seekers..! ( )


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s