Slavery and Islam – Part 1: The Problem of Slavery

by Professor Jonathan Brown and Dr Abdullah Hamid Ali (Research Advisor)

This is the first in three pieces on the question of Islam and slavery. It demonstrates that the very term ‘slavery’ is so ambiguous as to be functionally useless for the purposes of discussing extreme domination and exploitation across history. It should be conditions of extreme exploitation that are focused on, not shifting terms. The second essay will lay out the understanding of slavery in the Shariah and Islamic civilization. The final part will examine the abolition of slavery in Islam.

Read it here: Slavery and Islam – Part 1: The Problem of Slavery


Categories: Islam, Scholarship

16 replies

  1. Much needed article in today’s world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yaqeen Institute is releasing some excellent research papers.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jonathan AC Brown’s good , very good .
    To think some people will still misrepresent him is really unthinkable!
    Oh well ! Some people still misrepresent the ascetic prophet of Nazareth.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, some guy alrady wrote an article BUTCHERING his (nuanced) position as displayed in the paper. I don’t agree with some of his views, but that was still sad to see.


  5. This is going to be so useful to so many people. May Allah bless the people at Yaqeen.


  6. Jesus did not abolish slavery. St. Paul abolished circumcision, polygamy etc. but not slavery. Christianity is totally fine with slavery and it is allowed for a Christian ruler to enslave non-Christian captives in result of a war. Enslaved Christians can also be traded with.


  7. A question I read a long time ago on the internet asked, “Where is the African Diaspora in the Middle East that should normally exist if great trading of African slaves were carried out to the same level of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?”
    The Americas have more than 100 million people of African descent living there today. Most of them are descendants of slaves. This diaspora is irrefutable evidence that a huge slave industry existed in the past centuries.
    Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Spain were the centres for great Islamic Caliphates that lasted hundreds of years each. If African slave-trading was rife in these kingdoms, surely there would be large African Diasporas remaining as evidence as there is in the Americas?


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