Slavery existed on earth since time immemorial. Long before the advent of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), slavery existed and the conditions of slaves were horrible and appalling. Islam came and introduced copious reforms which gradually led to the emancipation of the slaves and the abolition of slavery.
Although Islam did not issue a decree to abolish slavery, its reforms led to the virtual abolition of slavery in the ranks of Muslims. It is not permissible to capture free people and reduce them into slavery as was the European practice for many centuries. The brutal treatment which Europeans meted out to slaves was never part of Islamic culture. The history and the books of Islam are replete with the treatment which Muslims meted out to slaves. Emancipation of slaves is a great ibaadat in Islam. For forgiveness of certain sins, the manumission of slaves is considered necessary.
Islam permits the taking of slaves in a war situation. When the Islamic army conquers a kaafir land, the Islamic government is allowed to take the captives of war and assign them as slaves to the Muslim public. Instead of sending the captives of war to prisons and concentration camps, they are distributed among the Muslim populace. Muslims are under Shar’i obligation to treat the slaves kindly as if they were members of their own family. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) commanded that they be fed the same food and be clothed in the same garments as the master. This is a broad principle which is the basis for treatment of slaves.
While slavery exists in theory in the books of Islam, in practice it had died out very long ago. The slaves under Muslim control were so highly trained, educated and looked after that they even became the rulers of the Islamic empire. The Mamluke dynasty is the reign of slaves who ruled the Islamic world at one time.
The stories of cruelty which the Europeans and other kuffaar are spreading about Arab maltreatment of slaves are part of the conspiracy of the west to discredit Islam. If some cruel and selfish Arabs had exploited the slaves, this cannot be blamed on Islam nor on the entire nation of Arabs. Such claims are false and malicious. The Europeans have a history of brutality which they perpetrated on the slaves. They are undoubtedly involved in conspiracies to eliminate Islam. The events in Bosnia and elsewhere are ample testimony for their plots.
Unscrupulous exists in all societies and in all nations. But the callous misdeeds of a few men cannot be regarded as the practice of the whole nation. Slavery does not exist today anywhere among Muslims to the best of our knowledge. Islam does not permit the capture of free persons and reducing them into slavery as was the case with the Europeans who set out from their countries especially to capture Africans from Africa and sell them in America and Europe as slaves. While some Arabs may have been involved in this illicit trade, the Arab race cannot be held for such misconduct just as the Arabs or any other nation cannot be held responsible for the drug-trafficking which today members of their respected races are carrying on throughout the world. Such evil men will be found in every community and in every age. But, the attempt to label the whole Arab nation as cruel and brutal because a handful of unscrupulous arabs may have imitated the Europeans in the slave-trade, is a clear plot to discredit Islam because the Arabs are Muslims, hence, the propaganda goes to put out that Islam teaches Arabs to be cruel to slaves. But, this is false.
27th Safar 1416
26th july 1995