rising up as an alternative to slavery arms to support production economics. It was then when honorable men initiated the talks of ceasing slavery as an inhuman system, that is no more a necessity for production. Names like put an end to the matter in the westernmost side of the globe. On the other side, in the old world in 1794, France abolished slavery and freed all enslaved people in her colonies. Then by time, slavery became part of the past in most of the globe. Unfortunately, a country like the Saudi monarchy was one of the very late states to abolish slavery, it was not before 1964 when
However, when we talk about terms like war prisoners’ ransom today in the 21st century, it will look very odd, but it was a regular practice in the medieval chivalric world in Europe. Capturing war prisoners to be released against a sum, usually paid by the prisoners’ tribe or family was also known and practiced in Arabia, and whoever will not be released, shall be enslaved. It was the ancient world daily bread though it looks strange today. Islam, only likely to all other religions, did not try to denounce slavery abruptly, as it was essential to maintain production economics in that time in the 7th century. This we think was the same reason called Judaism and Christianity to tolerate slavery for centuries. However, Islam had developed several temporal regulations to limit slavery and to improve living conditions of the poor humans who were trapped as slaves. We dare to claim Islam had developed organized quantitative limitations as well as some qualitative limitations to slavery and its suffering.
Quantitative Limitations to Slavery:
- Granted to war prisoners –as the first source of supply- different options to avoid being enslaved. First was ransom, second was social performance (e.g. educating a group of illiterates like the case of Badr war prisoners) and the third was converting to Islam.
- Prevented capturing children as the second major source of suuply.
- Set freeing slaves as a repentance condition for many sins and wrong deeds, like accidental murders, preaching an oath …etc.
- Entitled the female slave who gives birth for immediate freedom. Also mandated her husband to consider her as a free wife on spot.
This last regulation was behind a great misperception of Islamic attitude against family planning and contraceptives. When a group of men came to Apostle of God, informing they practice coitus interruptus with their slave girls, then apostle prevented them doing so. It was perceived by many jurists as rejection of family planning. While it was about disarming these people from the trick they used to keep enslaving their girls, preventing them from the right God granted to them when they conceive. Therefore, Muhammad rejected these trials. We support our understanding with what “Omar ibn El-Khattab” when asked about coitus interruptus with wives for family planning, stated, confirming it was used freely during apostle’s life, and was not prohibited by Islam.
Qualitative Limitations to Slavery Morbidities:
- Improved their living conditions in terms of food, clothing and shelter. Mandating it to be relative to their masters’ socio-economic status. Also advising masters to treat their slaves in the same manners they would like to be treated if they were enslaved themselves. Moreover, nominated slaves to be "brothers" of their owners.
- Prohibited employment of slave-girls in prostitution. An act that was common & was not considered socially shameful before Islam. "Umayya ibn Harb", the ancestors of the later Umayyads employed his slave girls in prostitution in Mecca before Islam.
- Encouraged Muslims to free and marry their slave girls even before they give birth as proven by apostolic teachings.
Based on what we listed here, we can say: Yes, Islam tolerated slavery system as a necessity in the seventh century, and applied regulations to decrease the magnitude of suffering of slaves. However, from the general direction of Islam, we can say, if Apostle was alive by the 18th century he would have supported slavery abolition to the fullest extent. Religions give us a broad direction or trend to follow, not a literal doctrine to apply. Islamic trend was absolutely against slavery, only with the cautious treatmen that shall not harm social composition and production relations in the 7th century.