Weeks after over 200 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped by Boko haram in 2014, a video was released on YouTube. “I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market by Allah” said the Boko haram leader. “There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.” In consonance, Egyptian sheikh, Abu Ishaq al-Huwayni said: “Spoils, slaves and prisoners are only to be taken in war between Muslims and infidels …The milk al-yamin are the sex slaves. You go to the market, look at the sex slave, and buy her. She becomes your wife, (but) she doesn’t need a (marriage) contract or a divorce like a free woman.”
Kuwaiti politician, Salwa al-Mutairi admits: “Sex slaves are not forbidden by Islam. On the contrary, sex slaves are under a different law than the free woman.” Recently, an ISIS recruit in London, Patrick Kabele, wrote in his diary: “In our religion, Islam, it is OK to have slaves. The prophet had slaves so I’m talking if I ever possess slaves … It’s an integral part of our religion.”
Indeed, there have been reports of Yazidi women captured and used as sex slaves by ISIS fighters. A Christian woman narrated how she was “married,” raped and simultaneously divorced by 10 different Muslims in one single night. In its official publication, Daqib, the Islamic State says:
“After capture, the Yazidi women and children were then divided according to Sharia among the fighters of Islamic State … Before Satan sows doubt among the weak-minded and weak hearted, remember that enslaving the kuffar [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of Sharia.” (BBC News, Dec. 22, 2014)
When Muslims from different social status, cultures and regions uniformly and confidently affirm slavery as an integral part of their religion, it clearly indicates that they all drink from a collective ideological fountain. They draw their inspirations from the same poisoned stream of the Quran and hadiths creating an outflow of barbarism and wickedness.
One thing we have to understand is that slavery has physical, social, mental and spiritual effects on people, and a religion that endorses it in any form must be firmly rejected. It’s also important to counter the arguments that seek to valorise or deny the evil of slavery.
Features of Islamic Slavery
1. Islamic slavery is basically directed at non-Muslims who are not immediately killed in jihad. Sura 47:4 says: “So, when you meet (in fight Jihad in Allah’s Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e take them as captives). Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity (i.e free them without ransom) or ransom (according to what benefits Islam), until the war lays down its burden.”
Sura 8:69 also says: “But (now) enjoy what ye took in war, lawful and good; but fear God…” In essence, after each raid, the men, women, children and wealth captured during as spoils of war are to be distributed among the Muslim fighters. This is why a Saudi Islamic scholar, Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzana said: “Slavery is a part of Islam. Slavery is part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long as there is Islam.”
2. Sura 16:75 highlights the mindset that drives Islamic slavery: “Allah coineth a similitude: (on the one hand) a (mere) chattel slave, who hath control of nothing, and (on the other hand) one on whom we have bestowed a fair provision from Us, and he spendeth thereof secretly and openly. Are they equal? Praise be to Allah!”
This means Allah ordained slavery as a means of enriching the Muslim and punishing the infidels who are sub-humans to be sold in markets like salt and pepper. Verse 71 says: “Then, those who are preferred will by no means hand over their wealth and properties to those (slaves) whom their right hands possess, so that they may be equal with them in respect thereof. Do they then deny the Favour of Allah?”
The god of Islam is opposed to human equality. In the hadith, heavenly rewards are promised to a slave “who observes Allah’s rights and obligations and is sincere to his master.” (Bukhari 52:522) Wouldn’t it have been noble if Allah condemned slavery? Why did Muhammad not create a society of freedom and equality?
I recently had an exchange with a Muslim who wrote: “Equality is exercised practically in Islam and all differences before Islam vanished among Muslim communities.” I pointed out to him that since slavery is endorsed by Islam, all humans aren’t equal in the farm of Islam. He replied: “Slaves are regarded as properties, so who has the right to blame Muslims for the use of their properties? Human beings must have different roles to play in life. Some must lead others.” This response reveals the extent to which Islam destroys human conscience and empathy. I asked him: “So would you like to play the role of a slave? How would you feel if you were killed and your wives and children were taken as sex slaves by a gang of people who believed that their god has approved of slavery?” He had no answer.
3. Islam grants Muslim masters the rights to sexually prey on their slaves as they wish. This precedent was set when Allah allegedly said to Muhammad: “O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom God has assigned to thee…” (Q 33:50)
Once, Muhammad sent his soldiers to wage wars against the people of Awtas. “They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions were reluctant to have [sexual] relations with the female captives because of their pagan husbands. So, Allah, the exalted, sent down the Quranic verse: “And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hand possess.” That is to say that they are lawful for them when they complete their waiting period.” (Muslim 11:2150)
Rape of slaves is allowed because Islamic Law stipulates that: “When a child or woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman’s previous marriage is immediately annulled” (Umdat al-Salik 9.13). In the Muslim mind, slaves are Allah’s provisions to accommodate their helpless libido.
Many Muslims try to hide this legalised depravity by quoting Sura 24:33 which says “Force not your slave girls to whoredom that ye may seek enjoyment of the life of the world, if they would preserve their chastity.”
This doesn’t hold water. First of all, there’s absolutely no justification for capturing, enslaving or sexually preying on any human being. One doesn’t need a prophet from a dusty cave to tell one that. It’s inherently sinful and morally deplorable. Second, why is the chastity of a female slave a priority placed above the salacity of her Muslim captor? This is like telling a rapist not to force his victims to get raped by other rapists or telling a victim to abstain from sex with other molesters so she can fully please her rapist! This is not a divine revelation but a cogitation of a depraved mind.
The hypocrisy of that verse quickly fades off in the hadiths:
“We got female captives in the war booty and we used to to coitus interruptus with them. So we asked Allah’s Apostle about it and he said ‘Do you really do that?’ repeating the question thrice. ‘There is no soul that is destined to exist but will come into existence till the Day of Resurrection” (Bukhari 62:137). Muhammad encouraged them to rape and impregnate their slaves. When Maimuna bint Al-Harih told him she had set her slave free, Muhammad replied “You would have got more [heavenly] reward if you had given her (i.e the slave girl) to one of your maternal uncles.” (47:765) This would have predisposed the slave to become a sexual prey.
4. Muslims quote Sura 90:13 that says “the freeing of slaves” is a good act, but they neglect the fact that this was an early Meccan sura. Many of Muhammad’s early converts were slaves, so it was convenient for him to preach freedom to them to gain their support. Later when he attained power in Medina, he and his followers enslaved others and sold them for gain. He said “The freed slave belongs to the people who have freed him” (Bukhari 80:753). Sura 24:33 says “And such of your slaves as seek a writing (of emancipation) write it for them if ye are aware of aught of good in them.” This means a slave’s freedom is arbitrarily determined by his/her master.
When a man emancipated 6 slaves he had at the time of his death, Muhammad “called for them and divided them into three sections, cast lots among them, and set two free and kept four in slavery” and he spoke severely of the man (Muslim 15:4112). A scholar pointed out that: “In Islamic tradition slavery was perceived as a means of converting non-Muslims. One task of the master was religious instruction and theoretically, Muslims could not be enslaved. Conversion (of a non-Muslim to Islam) did not automatically lead to emancipation, but assimilation into the Muslim society was deemed a prerequisite for emancipation” (Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2000, 17).
5. Allah so much approves of slavery that even in his paradise – his “gardens of pleasure” – there will be around Muslim men “eternal youths with goblets and awers and a cup of flowing wine” serving them (Sura 56:12-18). This is why slavery wasn’t abolished in Saudi Arabia until 1962; it was interwoven into the warp and woof of their cult. Some Muslims shamelessly admit that Islamic slavery was better because it mandates the master to take good care of his slaves. Anyone parroting this narrative lacks either human empathy or reflectivity. From Islamic records it can be seen that:
a) Slaves were sexually abused. Rayhana for example, was captured during the raid of the Bani Quraiza tribe and made a sex slave by Muhammad. Ibn Ishaq records that “She remained with him until she died in her power. The apostle had proposed to marry and put a veil on her, but she said: ‘Nay, leave me in your power, for that will be easier for me and for you.’ So he left her. She had repugnance towards Islam when she was captured and clung to Judaism.” (Sirat Rasulallah, 466) Do we expect her to love a man who killed her father, brothers and exterminated her tribe?
b) Slaves were dehumanised. They were only spared to be enslaved and used to ransom Muslim hostages. The hadith records how some non-Muslims were killed and some “that consisted of women and children” were taken as prisoners. The prettiest girl among them was sent to Mecca and used as a ransom for Muslims prisoners in Mecca (Muslim 19:4345). This is still practiced today.
c) Slaves were beaten. When Abu Bakr’s slave lost his camel, “He then began to beat him while the Apostle of Allah was smiling…” (Abu Dawud, 4:1814) Ibn Ishaq recorded that a slave girl was given a “violent beating” by Ali in Muhammad’s presence and he did nothing about it (Sirat, 734).
d) Slaves were sold as merchandise. Ibn Qayyim, says “Muhammad had many male and female slaves. He used to buy and sell them, but he purchased more slaves than he sold. He once sold one black slave for two” (Zad ad-Ma’ad, 1:160).
e) Slaves can’t own any property or choose when to get married. Muhammad said “If a slave marries without the permission of his master, his marriage is null and void.” (Abu Dawud 2074) The slaves were usually manumitted when they are too old to sexually satisfy their masters.
No Slavery, No Islam!
The Encyclopedia Britannica notes that: “Slaves were owned in all Islamic societies, both sedentary and nomadic, ranging from Arabia in the centre to North Africa in the west to what is now Pakistan and Indonesia in the east. Some Islamic states, such as the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate and the Sokoto Caliphate [Nigeria] must be termed slave societies because slaves there were very important numerically as well as a focus of the polities’ energies.”
Slavery was a political tool with which Islam spread its wings. As the Muslim armies conquered nations, they not only acquired spatial territories but also took over the bodies of women as an extension of their rule. So on one hand, they could eliminate multiple lives of the infidels, and on the other, use their women to multiply themselves in great numbers. It’s a war strategy utilized by all fascistic ideologies.
As Muslim armies subdued other nations and replaced their cultures with that of Islam, a higher form of slavery was the end-result. Those spared were not only physically imprisoned, but also mentally enslaved to despise their ancestors, bow to the savage god of Islam and adore the depraved prophet of Arabia. North Africans and Northern Nigerians today will need to dig very hard to unearth their original cultural identity before the Islamic colonizers. To be a Muslim, you have to be an Arab. You have to chant Arabic, dress Arabic, mimic Arab polity and travel to an Arab country to kiss an Arabian pagan stone. It’s a cult of the slave masters.
Yet, Africans are on the lowest rung of the Islamic ladder. It’s a well-noted fact that many of Muhammad’s slaves were blacks. After the armies of Umar invaded Egypt and conquered the Makurian Christians, one of the terms of their treaty included supplying Muslims an annual payment of 360 “high quality” African slaves. Till date, slavery is still legalised in Sudan, Mauritania, Niger and other Islamic nations. In March 7, 2012, South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, officially demanded the liberation of 30,000 slaves still held by Arabs in the North.
For centuries, many African Muslims were coached to emigrate to Saudi Arabia by Arab overlords who promised to take them to Islamic “holy sites” and teach them to read the Quran in Arabic only to end up as their slaves. This has now been disguised as millions of “guest workers” leaving Africa to chase a rainbow in Saudi Arabia. Ali Ahmed, Director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, says “The monarchy’s religious tradition still views blacks as slaves.” As at 2012, Saudis were selling castrated black men on Facebook – a reminiscence of the the 1960’s slave trade which an eye-witness recorded:
“Ten [African] boys were ranged in a circle on the dais (used to display the slaves), their buttocks toward us. They were all naked, and I saw with horror that five had been castrated. The (slave dealer) said that usually 10% of the boys are castrated, being purchased by Saudi homosexuals or by Yemenis, who own harems, as guards” (Sean O’ Callaghan, The Slave Trade Today, 1961, 75).
The god of Islam is a slave master who spiritually enslaves humanity. Muhammad was a slave master whose teachings still hold millions of people in mental and physical fetters. True freedom is in Christ Jesus. He says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)