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The enemies of Islam always seek to criticizing Islam and accusing its purity and perfection. Among the suspicions raised about Islam is the issue of slavery in Islam.

First, we must all know that slavery is an issue that was not established by Islam, rather it existed before its appearance. During  that time, slavery was practiced through different means; people were enslaved through kidnapping, abduction, wars, and debts. 

However, Islam adopted a noble stand towards the institution of slavery; it limited its sources, increased the means towards their freedom. One cannot find a single verse or a Hadith calling for slavery or prompting it. Rather, there are many texts on the Qur'an and the Sunnah that exhort Muslims to emancipate them.

Compared to the constitutions of the civilized world, which states that women fighters deserve to be killed, women who fight against Muslims should not be killed according to Islamic legislation, nor should they be left free - although they came to kill Muslims -  but it is permissible to enslave them. This, in itself is a clear indication of the  Islamic tolerance and justice. 

Islam preserved the rights of slaves and asserted Muslims to treat slaves kindly until they obtained their freedom. This was stated in many texts of the Shari’ah in which slaves were described as brothers to their masters. The Prophet peace be upon him said:

[هم إخوانكم، وخولكم جعلهم الله تحت أيديكم فمن كان أخوه تحت يده فليطعمه مما يأكل ويلبسه مما يلبس ولا تكلفوهم ما يغلبهم، فإن كلفتموهم فأعينوهم].

[Your slaves are your brothers. Allah has placed them under your authority. He who has his brother under him, should feed him from whatever he eats, and dress him with whatever he dresses, and do not burden them (assign burdensome task to them) beyond their capability; and if you burden them then help them out]. (narrated by Al-Bukhari, 6050).

Moreover, Islam made freeing a slave one of the expiations that must be offered by a Muslim who commits a certain prohibited deeds, such as intercourse during the days of Ramadan. 

Not only that, Islam also allocated a portion of the money of Zakat, i.e. the state budget, to be spent on liberation of slaves and help those - among them- who need help to be freed. Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an:

{إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ ۖ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ} (التوبة:60).

Interpretation of the meaning:

{Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler - an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise} (9:60).

Here, one can see that the problem with those who raised such suspicion is that they think the situation of slavery in Islam is the same as it is in other religions, while the difference between them is quite vast.

 

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