If you want to learn about Islamic views on slavery and the historical practice of slavery in Islam and what the Qur’an teaches on the subject, I recommend starting with the Wikipedia link above. This Wikipedia article has in-depth coverage of Islamic views on slavery. It discusses 1400 years of the practice of slavery in Islam. It mentions the number of verses in the Quran dealing with slavery and many laws regulating slavery under Sharia Law.
It talks about the racist aspect of slavery in Islam which led to the freeing of Arab slaves by Muslims in Arabia. It says this practice actually led to the enslavement of more people outside of Arabia to keep up with the demand for slaves in Arabia– which is horrible because so many died during the capture and transport process.
It explains that Islam allows for sexual exploitation of slave women (based on the Quran) and notes that 2 female slaves were imported into Muslim countries for every male slave because of that practice while noting that most slaves shipped across the Atlantic were males because they were needed for plantation work.
It quotes Islamic scholars who justify the enslavement of Non-Muslims even today.
It thoroughly and succinctly covers the subject of Islamic slavery.
David Livingston is mentioned as a witness to the enslavement of blacks in Africa in the late 1800s. (I just happen to be reading David Livingston’s Final Journals at this time and he gives detailed accounts of the murder and destruction engaged in by Arab Muslims in their African slave trade.)
Approximately 17 million Africans were enslaved by the Arabs and many more millions (perhaps 85 million) perished in the process. The number who perished seems hard to believe, but is based on eye witness accounts of capture events, and knowledge of practices like castration which killed 80 to 90% of the victims of that practice, and huge numbers who died from diseases, and those who perished from maltreatment, and even those who died of heartbreak among captives. David Livingston said many Africans died from nothing other than broken hearts when they were taken from their homes and families.
I am also reading a book called Captives, about the Barbary Pirates who enslaved over one million Europeans– also mentioned in the Wikipedia article. Many other Europeans and Asians were enslaved throughout the centuries of Islamic colonialism.
Some verses in the Quran mention setting slaves free to redress a wrongdoing by a Muslim, but setting a slave free is only possible if one owns slaves.
Another verse cited as humanitarian for forbidding the prostituting of slave girls ends by saying, but if you do, Allah is merciful! That ending anulls the prohibition and actually encourages the sexual exploitation of slaves by mentioning it.
Let’s look at some more verses from the Qur’an on the subject of slavery:
Qur’an (33:50) – “O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those (slaves) whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee”
This verse has Allah allowing sex slavery.
Qur’an (23:5-6) – “..who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess…”
Qur’an (4:24) – “And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.”
This verse allows for the rape of married women captured in war. Some of the women Muhammad, himself, freed from slavery and took as wives were war captives. He killed their husbands the very day he enslaved them and then freed them and married them. That is not benevolent behavior. Think how painful that would be for a woman– if you can even imagine it.
Muslims have no abolitionists among them. Islamic slavery has been slowed and limited and even outlawed in some of their countries because of western human rights activists– and for no other reason. Islam still endorses the enslavement of Non-Muslims and some Muslim countries still practice slavery openly today.
Read the wikipedia article if this subject interests you and you want more details.
As someone said, “Knowledge is power.”