4 years ago
It is historically known that Islam is the first system that set human rights LONG BEFORE the Magna cart and the United Nation resolutions concerning human rights.
In fact Islam didn't invent slavery; it was there in the Judeo-Christian civilization and the ancient civilizations long before Islam downed on the world. However, Islam doesn’t order enslaving people but uprooted its sources and treated them as human beings. Consider the Holy Scripture approach towards slaves; they were treated like animals.
But why didn’t Islam abolish slavery at once?
The answer that most sociologists agree on is that many social and economic troubles would have been triggered if Islam had banned slavery at once; at the time of the prophet there was a big business depending on slavery. The social and economic conditions in the Arabian Peninsula were highly connected with slavery. Had Islam abolished slavery all at once, many social and economic problems would have arisen. The slaves themselves wouldn’t have had a source of livelihood and also many economic troubles would have arisen. Also remember that people at that time had already embraced Islam and still weak in their faith, so there might have been some probabilities that they might have objected.
How did Islam abolish slavery?
In fact Islam didn’t tolerate slavery but rather dried its sources and followed successful divine strategies to uproot this problem gradually.
These strategies are:
(1) Islam has made freeing slaves an act of righteousness
(2) Punishing a slave severely is atoned by freeing him.
(3) Relative slaves are to be freed at once.
(4) Killing a believer accidently entails setting a slave free by the sinner.
(5) Breaking an oath is to be atoned by freeing a slave
(6) Whoever says to his wife, “you are to me like my mother's back” ( a pagan way of divorce) and then returns to her, his atonement can be gained by freeing a slave. (Quran58:3)
(7) Whoever invalidates the fast of any day in Ramadan by sexual intercourse with his wife (during the time of fasting) should free a slave, this will atone his sin.
(8) A slave can free himself by a manumission contract.
(9) The state treasury is to help on freeing slaves.
The Prophet Muhammad alone liberated as many as 63 slaves. 'Aishah, the prophet’s wife, liberated 67 slaves. 'Abd Allah ibn 'Umar liberated one thousand. Abdalrahman, the prophet’s companion, purchased thirty thousand and set them free, and likewise, most of the companions did the same. (Is there still any doubt that Islam is the Religion of Human Rights?)
Also note that Slaves in Islam are our brothers and sisters. Islam has set unprecedented ethical system for treating slaves.
For the sake of brevity, I would like to mention these points: please note that all of these points are extracted from long holy texts (Quran and hadiths):
(1) Slaves are to be fed from the same food the slave holder eats
(2) Slaves are to be clothed from the same material the slave holder wears
(3) The “word” slave is strictly forbidden in Islam when referring to a slave; in the place of it the words” brothers and sisters should be used.
(4) None of the slave is to be given tasks that he can’t bear, in case it is necessary the slave holder should help him.
(5) Slaves are not to be killed, if that happened, the killer should be killed even if he is a slave holder
(6) Slaves can be given high posts in the Islamic state such as army leaders, Imams...etc. Even during the Islamic history salves became kings.
(7) Slaves can be Imam of Muslims in the prayer.
(8) Slaves can be a prayer caller.