Saturday, 22 August 2009

Mohammed’s Treatment of Slaves.

”Slaves as commodities”

Extract from Living by the Point of My Spear (The explanation of “Living by the Point of My Spears” can be read in Zaki Ameen’s website: . This small book is only a chapter of the original book, which is 700 pages long, written in Arabic and is not translated into English yet)

Mohammed had 24 male slaves and 11 female slaves.

In his Qur’an, Mohammed discriminated against men according to their colour. He states: “The law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman” (1). This means that if a white man killed another white man, the killer has to be killed as a punishment for killing a human being, but, if a white man killed a black man, the white man shall not be killed as he did not kill a human being; he has to pay a fine.

Ibn Kathir (2), a scholar in interpreting the Qur’an, explained this verse saying that the slave is a commodity, and if a slave was killed by mistake or unintentionally, no fine or compensation should be paid. Mohammed also said in his Qur’an:

”If one (so) kills by mistake a Believer, it is ordained that he should free a believing slave” (3), meaning that if a man killed another man unintentionally, he can erase his sin by freeing a Muslim slave.  Non-Muslim slaves shall not be freed from slavery. If Mohammed aimed to free slaves from their slavery, why did he set this condition? No Jewish or Christian slave shall be freed from slavery!

Mohammed aimed to increase the number of his followers and troops. He saw slaves as commodities and as part of free men’s property that can be inherited. The following incident clarifies this:

A dying Muslim man freed six of his slaves. After his death, his heirs complained to Mohammed.  Mohammed said “If I knew what he did, I would not pray over his corpse!”(4)  He felt sorry that he had prayed over a dead Muslim man who had freed his slaves!  The story continues … “So Mohammed bought the six slaves and cast lots amongst them, he freed only two slaves and returned the remaining four to the heirs!

Mohammed legitimised ways to return slaves to their slavery and beat them. He said that the master could beat his slave anywhere except his/her face (5), as it might deform them and decrease the value of this commodity!  In another verse Mohammed regulated the punishment of an adulterous woman and used discrimination in allocating this punishment, based on the woman’s status as master or slave, by saying in his Qur’an:

“If they fall into shame, their punishment is half that for free women” (6). In a case where the sin of adultery was committed by a slave woman (whether married or single) the punishment should be 50 whips, while the free married woman should be stoned till death (7). Again Mohammed confirmed that slaves are commodities that shall not be killed, as this will lead to financial losses to their masters.

(1) Qur’an 2 The Cow Al Baqarah -178
(2) Ibn kathir Pg 233
(3) Qur’an, The women , An-Nisa 92
(4) Musnad Al-Imam Ahmed saying number 19158
(5) Sahih Al Bukhari , Al atik saying 2559
(6) Qur’an,  4the women , An-Nisa 24
(7) Ibn Kathir Pg 463



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