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Indeed when Zayd's father a wealthy nobleman tracked his son down and offered to buy his freedom from Muhammad, Muhammad told Zayd that he was free to go with his father with no money changing hands, and to his father's astonishment Zayd chose to stay with Muhammad. There are a number of hadith that show that the Prophet treated slaves well and expected others to do the same He will not enter Paradise who behaveth ill to his slaves. The Companions said, 'O Apostle of God! The slaves that say their prayers are your brothers.
They slaves or servants are your brothers, and Allah has put them under your command. So the one under whose hand Allah has put his brother, should feed him of what he eats, and give him dresses of what he wears, and should not ask him to do a thing beyond his capacity. And if at all he asks him to do a hard task, he should help him therein. Of these three, one is he who enslaves a free man, then sells him and eats this money'. Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari: Slavery in Muslim history lasted much longer than the Atlantic slave trade - although slavery had existed in many cultures long before Islam.
The Muslim slave trade from Africa seems to have enslaved roughly similar numbers estimates vary between 11 and 14 million Africans to the Atlantic slave trade, and the transportation conditions endured by victims of the Eastern trade were probably just as horrible in their own way as those of the Atlantic slave trade. One poignant fact is that when the Atlantic slave trade was abolished the Eastern trade expanded, suggesting that for some Africans the abolition of the Atlantic trade didn't lead to freedom, but merely changed their slave destination.
Slavery played a significant part in the history of Muslim civilisation, but it was a form of slavery that was inherently different from the 'slave trade' in that the Muslim concept of slavery regarded those enslaved as people who had some, albeit fewer, human rights that must be respected. What was notably different from the slavery of the western world, however, was the degree to which they [slaves] were protected by Muslim law. When the law was observed, their treatment was good.
They might expect to marry and have families of their own, and they had a good chance of being freed. There were also built in avenues of escape. But even though slavery under Islam could be significantly less harsh that that of the Atlantic slave trade, both involved serious breaches of human rights and restricted liberty. However well they were treated the slaves still had restricted freedom, and when the law was not obeyed their lives could be very unpleasant. The relationship between slave and master in Islam is a very different relationship from that between the American plantation labourer and owner.
It was a much more personalized relationship and relatively benevolent. Everything here is relative -- being a slave is being a slave and it shouldn't be romanticized. The nature of the Atlantic trade and therefore the survival of racism in the West has been one of segregation. There wasn't this separation in Islam. Whites didn't push blacks off the pavement. They didn't forbid restaurants to serve them. I don't think that there's any disputing that slavery was a more benevolent institution in Islam than it was in the West. Western slavery was motivated by economics - people were enslaved to provide a cheap and disposable workforce on plantations.
Muslims historically did not use slaves as an engine of economic production on the same scale as the West, although some Muslims profited from the actual trading of slaves. Though Arab and Muslim traders became notorious in the supply of African slaves for the American and Caribbean plantations, there are few examples in the annals of Islam of the collective forced labour found in the Western hemisphere. The 9th century slave rebellion in Iraq may have deterred Muslims from the industrial use of slaves by showing the danger of having a very large slave community in any one place.
Apart from 9th century Iraq, the largest scale slave use outside the military was on the clove plantations of Zanzibar. Nonetheless, as William Gervase Clarence-Smith writes, slaves did play a large part in Muslim economies:. Even if large estates were rare, they were not absent. More striking were the numerous slaves on middling and small properties, a phenomenon about which surprisingly little has been written. Servile labour was also common in workshops, construction, mining, water control, transport by land and sea, and the extraction of marine resources.
Whether a 'Slave Mode of Production' ever existed in Islam is moot, but the economic role of slavery was substantial, at least in certain places and at specific times. Slaves were also used for domestic work, military service, sexual slavery and civil administration. Something particular to Islamic slave systems was the creation of a slave elite in some Muslim societies that allowed individuals to achieve considerable status, and even power and wealth, while still remaining in some form of 'enslavement'.
The slave elite had enormous value to their Muslim masters because they were a military and administrative group made up of 'outsiders' who didn't have tribal and family allegiances that could conflict with their loyalty to their masters.
What is jihadism?
It was believed that a corps of highly trained slaves loyal only to the ruler and dependent entirely on his good will would serve the state more reliably and efficiently than a hereditary nobility, whose interests might compete with those of the ruler. Peirce, The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire, Elite slavery is something of a paradox: One answer is that the slave gets authority and high office because they are dependant on the person who gives them their authority and status and who could remove that status if they chose.
Thus elite slaves must give total loyalty and obedience to their master in order to maintain their privileges. Another view is that the slave who achieves elite status is no longer really a slave, and is able to use their position and power to free themselves of many of the limitations of slavery. This is less convincing since even elite slaves are at risk of losing their privileged status until they break free completely. The dependency was not all one way - the masters in many ways relied on their elite slaves, because those slaves were the only people they could really trust.
And there was another reason why elite slaves were valuable - precisely because they were slaves, the elite slaves were free of some of the restrictions that limited free people, and this allowed them to do things for their masters that their masters could not otherwise achieve. The Mamluks were 'slave soldiers' who eventually came to rule Egypt for over two centuries from until overthrown by the Ottomans in the 16th century. After a brief period of oppression the Mamluks were able, once again, to play a significant role in running the country.
Mamluks were originally soldiers captured in Central Asia, but later boys aged were specifically taken or bought to be trained as slave soldiers. Their slave status was shown by the name 'Mamluk' which means 'owned'. Although the Mamluks were not free men they could not, for example, pass anything on to their children they were elite slaves who were held in high regard as professional soldiers loyal to their Islamic masters. Historians have been fascinated by the uniqueness of the Mamluk phenomenon. It was inhuman in some respects for example, Mamluks being denied the opportunity to bequeath their positions and privileges to their sons , yet it provided Islam with a superb military force and a sophisticated political system.
In 13th century Egypt loyalty to the masters dissolved and the Mamluks established themselves as the ruling dynasty. Once the Mamluks had successfully revolted against their masters they were, of course, no longer slaves. The basic ideal of military slavery - the Mamluk's total loyalty to his master who had bought, trained, maintained and freed him - was a pillar of Mamluk society in Ottoman Egypt, as it had been in the Mamluk Sultanate.
When the master decided that his Mamluk had reached maturity and was ready to assume an office, he set him free, and 'allowed him to grow his beard. The master often appointed these former slaves to army posts, to the beylicate [the beys were high ranking emirs who held important positions in Egyptian government], or to the regimental command. Very often, the master decided whom his former slave would marry, a decision which could advance the Mamluk socially and financially.
The devshirme system introduced in the 14th century compelled non-Muslims in parts of the Ottoman Empire to hand over some of their children to be converted to Islam and work as slaves. Some writers say that between half a million to one million people were enslaved in this way over the centuries. Conquered Christian communities, especially in the Balkans, had to surrender twenty percent of their male children to the state.
Some of these were trained for government service, where they were able to reach very high ranks, even that of Grand Vezir. Many of the others served in the elite military corps of the Ottoman Empire, called the Janissaries, which was almost exclusively made up of forced converts from Christianity. The devshirme played a key role in Sultan Mehmet's conquest of Constantinople, and from then on regularly held very senior posts in the imperial administration. Although members of the devshirme class were technically slaves, they were of great importance to the Sultan because they owed him their absolute loyalty and became vital to his power.
This status enabled some of the 'slaves' to become both powerful and wealthy. Their status remained restricted, and their children were not permitted to inherit their wealth or follow in their footsteps. Not all writers agree that the devshirme system was beneficial as well as oppressive, and point out that many Christian families were hostile and resentful about it - which is perhaps underlined by the use of force to impose the system. Male slaves who had had their sexual organs removed were called eunuchs, and played an important part in some Muslim societies as they did in some other cultures.
They had the advantage for their masters of not being subject to sexual influence, and as they were unlikely to marry, they had no family ties to hinder their devotion to duty. Eunuch slavery involved compulsory mutilation, which usually took place between the ages of 8 and Without modern medical skills and anaesthetics this was painful, and often led to fatal complications, and sometimes to physical or psychological problems for those who survived the operation.
Eunuchs had a particular role as guardians of the harem and were the main way in which the women of the harem had contact with the world outside. In the Ottoman Empire eunuchs from Africa held considerable power from the mid sixteenth century to the eighteenth. It's recorded that the Ottoman family owned eunuchs as late as , of whom 35 'bore a title of some seniority'. Concubinage may be defined as the more or less permanent cohabitation outside the marriage bond of a man with a woman or women, whose position would be that of secondary wives, women bought, acquired by gift, captured in war, or domestic slaves.
Enslaved women were given many tasks and one of the most common was working as a domestic servant. But some female slaves were forced to become sex workers: Concubines were women who were sexually available to their master, but not married to him.
A Muslim man could have as many concubines as he could afford. Concubinage was not unique to Islam; the Bible records that King Solomon and King David both had concubines, and it is recorded in other cultures too. Being a concubine did have some benefits: The child was also free and would inherit from their father as any other children.
Concubinage was not prostitution in the commercial sense both because that was explicitly forbidden and because only the owner could legitimately have sex with a female slave; anyone else who had sex with her was guilty of fornication. Concubines lived in the harem, an area of the household where women lived separately from men. The nature of Ottoman harems is described by Ehud R Toledano:. The harem system grew out of the need in Ottoman society to achieve gender segregation and limit women's accessibility to men who did not belong to their family.
Households were divided into two separate sections: At the head of the women's part reigned the master's mother or his first wife out of a maximum of four wives allowed by Islam. The concubines were also part of the harem, where all the attendants were women. Male guests of the master were not entertained in the harem. An active and well-developed social network linked harems of similar status across Ottoman towns and villages; mutual visits and outdoor excursions were common.
For the women who actually spent their lives in the harems, reality was, of course, far more mixed and complicated.
Precolonial reform and experimentation from 1683 to 1818
As they grew up, they would be paired with the men of the family either as concubines or as legal wives. However, harem slaves' freedom of choice was rather limited, as was that of women in general in an essentially male-dominated environment. Harem slaves frequently had to endure sexual harassment from male members of the family.
A balanced view might be to say that sexual slavery in this context was a very bad thing, but that it was possible for some of the more fortunate victims to gain benefits that provided some degree of compensation. Concubines could play an important political role and have considerable direct political influence on the policy of the state. More than any other Muslim dynasty, the Ottomans raised the practice of slave concubinage to a reproductive principle: The benefit to the state, or at least to the ruling dynasty, of having the ruling line born through concubines rather than wives was that only one family was involved - the family of a concubine was irrelevant, but the family of a wife would expect to gain power and influence through their relationship to the mother of the son.
These conflicting interests could threaten the succession and weaken the ruling family. This didn't eliminate conflict between heirs and families altogether, but it probably reduced it. Concubines as well as wives also played an important role in strengthening cohesion, stability, and continuity at household level too, as this remark about 18th century Cairo demonstrates:.
Marital and nonmarital unions strengthened the links among men; women legitimized the succession of men to power, and women's property ownership added to the overall wealth, prestige, and power of a household. And later in the same article the writer describes the inevitable tension inherent in the status of harem women in that society:. However, the harem was not a prison; it was instead the family quarters of an upper-class home which became exclusively female space when men not related to the women were in the house and whose entry into the harem was forbidden.
Women, heavily veiled, could and did leave their homes Women were not imprisoned in the harem or in the veils and cloaks that concealed their bodies and faces on the street, but both customs were important signifiers of women's lack of sexual autonomy and of men's control over the selection of women's sexual and marital partners. Therefore, the eighteenth-century Egyptian household should not be seen as the site of unrelieved oppression of women but rather in terms of asymmetries of power between men and women.
Slavery remained part of the fabric of Islam for over years although the Druze, a group that sprung from Muslim roots, abolished it in the 11th century. While slavery was in theory greatly limited by Islamic law, in practice it persisted on a large scale in Muslim lands. During the 20th century attitudes to slavery changed radically and in The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam stated that:.
Human beings are born free, and no one has the right to enslave, humiliate, oppress or exploit them, and there can be no subjugation but to God the Most-High. The Declaration also includes a number of other articles that are incompatible with slavery, although "All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah ". Since slavery is permitted by Islamic law, Muslim countries have used secular law to ban it. Some countries outlawed slavery only comparatively recently:.
The idea that slavery should be abandoned began to be seriously discussed in the 16th century. The Mughal Emperor Akbar banned the slave trade in his Indian territory.
The Muslim leader and reformer Nasr al-Din denounced slavery to the people of Senegal in the s and banned the sale of slaves to Christians there, undermining the French trade in slaves. In some countries, slaves who held high rank demonstrated that slaves were perfectly capable of playing any role in society if they were freed.
Rather than just relying on impeachment, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani obliged rebellion upon the people if the caliph began to act with no regard for Islamic law. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said that to ignore such a situation is haraam , and those who cannot revolt inside the caliphate should launch a struggle from outside.
Al-Asqalani used two ayahs from the Qur'an to justify this:. And they the sinners on qiyama will say, 'Our Lord! We obeyed our leaders and our chiefs, and they misled us from the right path. Give them the leaders double the punishment you give us and curse them with a very great curse' Islamic lawyers commented that when the rulers refuse to step down via successful impeachment through the Majlis, becoming dictators through the support of a corrupt army, if the majority agree they have the option to launch a revolution against them. Many noted that this option is only exercised after factoring in the potential cost of life.
The following hadith establishes the principle of rule of law in relation to nepotism and accountability . The people of Quraish worried about the lady from Bani Makhzum who had committed theft. They asked, "Who will intercede for her with Allah's Apostle? By Allah, if Fatima , the daughter of Muhammad my daughter stole, I would cut off her hand. Various Islamic lawyers do however place multiple conditions, and stipulations e. It is well known during a time of drought in the Rashidun caliphate period, capital punishments were suspended until the effects of the drought passed.
Islamic jurists later formulated the concept of the rule of law, the equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law of the land, where no person is above the law and where officials and private citizens are under a duty to obey the same law. A Qadi Islamic judge was also not allowed to discriminate on the grounds of religion , race , colour , kinship or prejudice. There were also a number of cases where Caliphs had to appear before judges as they prepared to take their verdict.
According to Noah Feldman, a law professor at Harvard University , the legal scholars and jurists who once upheld the rule of law were replaced by a law governed by the state due to the codification of Sharia by the Ottoman Empire in the early 19th century: How the scholars lost their exalted status as keepers of the law is a complex story, but it can be summed up in the adage that partial reforms are sometimes worse than none at all.
In the early 19th century, the Ottoman empire responded to military setbacks with an internal reform movement. The most important reform was the attempt to codify Shariah. This Westernizing process, foreign to the Islamic legal tradition, sought to transform Shariah from a body of doctrines and principles to be discovered by the human efforts of the scholars into a set of rules that could be looked up in a book. Once the law existed in codified form, however, the law itself was able to replace the scholars as the source of authority.
Codification took from the scholars their all-important claim to have the final say over the content of the law and transferred that power to the state.
According to scholar Moojan Momen, "One of the key statements in the Qur'an around which much of the exegesis" on the issue of what Islamic doctrine says about who is in charge is based on the verse. For Sunnis, uulaa al-amr are the rulers Caliphs and kings but for Shi'is this expression refers to the Imams. According to scholar Bernard Lewis, this Qur'anic verse has been. But there are also sayings that put strict limits on the duty of obedience.
Two dicta attributed to the Prophet and universally accepted as authentic are indicative. One says, "there is no obedience in sin"; in other words, if the ruler orders something contrary to the divine law, not only is there no duty of obedience, but there is a duty of disobedience. This is more than the right of revolution that appears in Western political thought.
It is a duty of revolution, or at least of disobedience and opposition to authority. The other pronouncement, "do not obey a creature against his creator," again clearly limits the authority of the ruler, whatever form of ruler that may be. However, Ibn Taymiyyah — an important 14th century scholar of the Hanbali school — says in Tafseer for this verse "there is no obedience in sin"; that people should ignore the order of the ruler if it would disobey the divine law and shouldn't use this as excuse for revolution because it will spell Muslims bloods.
In Shia Islam, three attitudes towards rulers predominated — political cooperation with the ruler, political activism challenging the ruler, and aloofness from politics — with "writings of Shi'i ulama through the ages" showing "elements of all three of these attitudes. Extremism within Islam goes back to the 7th century to the Kharijites. The Kharijites were particularly noted for adopting a radical approach to Takfir , whereby they declared other Muslims to be unbelievers and therefore deemed them worthy of death.
In the 19th century, European colonization of the Muslim world coincided with the retreat of the Ottoman Empire , the French conquest of Algeria , the disappearance of the Moghul Empire in India , the Russian incursions into the Caucasus and Central Asia. The first Muslim reaction to European colonization was of "peasant and religious", not urban origin. Sharia in defiance of local common law was imposed to unify tribes. All these movements eventually failed "despite spectacular victories such as the destruction of the British army in Afghanistan in and the taking of Kharoum in The second Muslim reaction to European encroachment later in the century and early 20th century was not violent resistance but the adoption of some Western political, social, cultural and technological ways.
Members of the urban elite, particularly in Egypt , Iran , and Turkey advocated and practiced "Westernization". The failure of the attempts at political westernization, according to some, was exemplified by the Tanzimat reorganization of the Ottoman rulers. Sharia was codified into law which was called the Mecelle and an elected legislature was established to make law. These steps took away the Ulama 's role of "discovering" the law and the formerly powerful scholar class weakened and withered into religious functionaries, while the legislature was suspended less than a year after its inauguration and never recovered to replace the Ulama as a separate "branch" of government providing Separation of powers.
In addition to the legitimacy given by medieval scholarly opinion, nostalgia for the days of successful Islamic empire simmered under later Western colonialism. This nostalgia played a major role in the Islamist political ideal of Islamic state, a state in which Islamic law is preeminent. Many democratic Islamist movements, such as the Jamaat-e-Islami and Muslim Brotherhood have used the democratic process and focus on votes and coalition-building with other political parties. Radical movements such as Taliban and al-Qaeda embrace militant Islamic ideology.
Al-Quada was prominent for being part of the anti-Soviet resistance in Afghanistan in the s. There was also concern that Western ideas and influence were spreading throughout Muslim societies. This led to considerable resentment of the influence of the European powers. The Muslim Brotherhood was created in Egypt as a movement to resist and harry the British. During the s, the predominant ideology within the Arab world was pan-Arabism which deemphasized religion and emphasized the creation of socialist, secular states based on Arab nationalism rather than Islam.
However, governments based on Arab nationalism have found themselves facing economic stagnation and disorder. Increasingly, the borders of these states were seen as artificial colonial creations - which they were, having literally been drawn on a map by European colonial powers. According to scholar Vali Nasr , political tendencies of Sunni and Shia Islamic ideology differ, with Sunni Islamic revivalism "in Pakistan and much of the Arab world" being "far from politically revolutionary", while Shia political Islam is strongly influenced by Ruhollah Khomeini and his talk of the oppression of the poor and class war.
Sunni revivalism "is rooted in conservative religious impulses and the bazaars, mixing mercantile interests with religious values. Khomeini's version of Islamism engaged the poor and spoke of class war.
Graham Fuller has also noted that he found "no mainstream Islamist organization with the exception of [shia] Iran with radical social views or a revolutionary approach to the social order apart from the imposition of legal justice. The following sources generally prescribe to the theory that there is a distinct 20th-century movement called Islamism:. These authors in general locate the issues of Islamic political intolerance and fanaticism not in Islam, but in the generally low level of awareness of Islam's own mechanisms for dealing with these, among modern believers, in part a result of Islam being suppressed prior to modern times.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
What is jihadism? - BBC News
This article is about the issue of politics in the religion of Islam. For the movement of "Political Islam", see Islamism. Profession of faith Prayer Fasting Alms-giving Pilgrimage. Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam Iqbal s. Principles of State and Government Asad Ma'alim fi al-Tariq "Milestones" Qutb Governance of the Jurist "Velayat-e faqih" Khomeini Caliphate and Islamic ethics. Ulema , Islamic ethics , and Islam and secularism. Islamism and Islamic state. Serjeant argues that the constitution is in fact eight different treaties which can be dated according to events as they transpired in Medina with the first treaty being written shortly after Muhammad's arrival.
The Politics of Islam, Vintage Books, , p. The Formation of the Classical Islamic World: Skizzen und Vorabeiten , IV, Berlin: State and Government in Medieval Islam. Retrieved 19 September Translated by Henri Laoust. The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original PDF on Fruits of the tree of extremism".