Channel: Jamal Badawi
In the Name of God, the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and the Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon his servant and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and slave servant of God, I greet you with our usual greeting on our program at the universal greetings of peace. This is a greeting that has been used by all of the profits from Abraham through the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu alaikum, which means is beyond you. Today we have our ninth program in our series dealing with the social system of
Islam. We had planned today to start our
series on the family. However, we since doing our program last week on Islamic position on slavery, we had several other points that we felt we should touch on before moving on to our next topic in the series. So today we will continue our discussion of Islam's position on slavery, or the emancipation of persons in bondage. I'm your host, Khalid Rashid and I have joining me as usual on the program, Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University by the Jamal Assalamu alaikum.
As a profession, I wonder if perhaps I could ask you before we continue our discussion today, if I could just ask you to go back to last week's program and quickly summarize the main points that we touched on on this topic. Certainly.
We started first by indicating that at the advent of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him about 1400 years ago,
slavery was an institution which was both
very deep and widespread, and very inhuman as well. The challenge before Islam was to try and change the situation by providing emancipation on to claims on the physical level, as well as emancipation also on the more important psychological and spiritual level.
And we mentioned that the approach that you find throughout the Quran and prophetic tradition is to first of all show that there is no such division of people such as masters and slaves, that there is only one master of the whole universe, and that's God, all other creations are His servants. The second thing that the Quran emphasized is the equality of all human beings and there is no superiority or inferiority, on the basis of, of ethnic, nationalistic, or any other grounds that the only criteria is piety and good deeds.
Having done this, we indicated again, that Islam took even a further step by changing the total conception or the total nature of the institution,
from slavery to more of a domestic servants really, in preparation for totally removing that institution from the existence.
We have indicated, we have submitted evidence from the single Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, for example, when he called How are
your servants they say, even your status, you are looking your servants are your brothers. So not only was changed from a slave was regarded as a think, to a domestic or servant, but it was even changed from a servant to a brothers. We indicated also the Quran, emphasis on good treatment, and chapter four, not only to parents, but it included in the very same verse also people who are in bondage. It follows from this that it was quite obvious in the case of Islam that all harrassment humiliations and any form of indignity must be stopped in the treatment of people who are or who were in bondage. In addition to this, it was also
indicated that Islam opened the door wide, to emancipate those who were already in bondage, either by on the behest of people who happen to be in charge of them by way of atonement for certain sins, which the Quran indicate that the punishment for that or the atonement, would be to free a person in bondage, or in some cases, even by way of punishment for mistreatment of the person in bondage, like slapping on the face or severe beatings that the only retribution for that would be to free that person. The result of this, as we discussed last time, was the fact that in the history of Islam, we find many great singers who
Actually where for my stage or came from the sense of former slaves, including people like Bill and Al mokdad
died of a heart attack was hammer I'll talk about and others.
The in the last part of the program, a question was raised as to why slavery was not totally forbidden, even in a gradual way, like the prohibition of drinks or intoxicants. In the case of
early parts of Islam, we indicated that drinking or intoxicants is a personal habit. And since the beginning of the Islamic State of Medina, there was only about 10 years left in the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. And this were enough to detoxify people from things, whether, whereas the question of slavery was a very deep rooted institution that required more time than mere 10 years, to really, totally read the community or society from it. But we indicated that Islam approach the problem on two fronts. On one hand, by drying all sources of new slavery, such as kidnapping people aggressive war, or taking people because they didn't pay their debts, this was
sources of slavery before it's done, all these were dried, with the exception of one case, and that is legitimate warfare, and in the absence of other agreements of exchange of prisoners of war. On the other hand, it approached also by opening the door for those who are already in bondage through the various method described before, in order to gradually within perhaps a generation or two to have been possible to totally eliminate the institution from existence.
To pick up on on that in terms of the sources, is it correct to say that, that Islam succeeded in drawing up all of the sources of Nibbana bunnies, except those cases of work at this? Yeah, that's correct. But with some qualification of the word, war, or war captain, because the word war also could be intercepted by people in a variety of ways. That's why I was quantifying. I said, war, which I which is legitimate, from an Islamic point of view, what that automatically eliminates words, for example, by way of aggression against other people who are peaceful, that's not permissible in Islam.
Secondly, words for national glory, or simply expansion of territory for no other purpose. That's, again, not permissible in Islam, word for the purpose of reading some other people for the purpose of taking peoples as captives as it used to happen before Islam, again, that was not permitted. So when we're talking about war, we're really talking about wars, from the Islamic jurisprudence point of view, which is permitted only in two cases. One is to fight back, those who are aggressors, to repel aggression, and secondly, to remove human tyranny, which may be standing in the way of people's freedom of choice, particularly freedom of faith. But other than this, it would not be
regarded as illegitimate or from the Islamic standpoint,
it follows from this then, that a person who is captured in a world like this is basically an aggressor. Really nothing more a person who is really standing and attacking
the peaceful people in their own
places or acting in a tyrannical way.
It to say that you have no right to capture a person like this would be too simplistic and too unrealistic.
So Islam addresses the question in a more open way. It's not the question whether or not you have the right to capture him. You do have the right to capture him. But the essential question, what to do with him, how he should be treated? And this is a question that we find Islamic law has been quite specific, and how those people should be treated. But the most important and most general rule here, the basic guideline is that they should be treated with all due compassion, even though they were aggressive. I'll give you just one example. In the case of batches of batch, one of the earliest battles with the pagans.
Those people who are taking in captivity, actually were given the better food by the characters.
In other words, the better quality food available even in the army at that time was given to those were captured even though they were aggressive. In fact, at a later time, many people were so impressed with this compassion that they turned to Islam which shows that the main purpose really is not
Capturing people but rather guidance rather than a collection of any benefits for those who are fighting.
The other thing also is that even in the case of war captives, it does not mean at all, that each and every pow, prisoner of war is destined to be a quote unquote, enslaved or to remain in bondage.
in a society, like the seventh century,
society, for example, where you don't have prisons or concentration camps and all that the only realistic way really, to look after those people who are captured is simply to have them under the supervision or the church of some of the people who participated in the battle. That was the only realistic way to look after them, both in terms of their needs, as well as for purposes of security also, at least until the the hostilities come to an end. So it shows then that
even in the case, which is, like I said, the very restricted source of any additional bondage, even in that case of legitimate warfare, and aggression by others, still, it was never viewed as our vision as a perpetual state of bondage. It's all just temporary.
superseded the Geneva agreement on treatment of for captained by some several countries hundreds of years. Now, we've already said that
there wasn't any outright banning of this whole of slavery. Is there any documentation which would indicate, however, that the institution of slavery or the state of captivity or bondage was meant to be a transitory situation and not a perpetual situation? Oh, yes, done. Lots of evidence for this, both from the Quran and Muslim regard as the Word of God as well as the prophetic tradition, explanations and behavior of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. I refer to, for example, to chapter 47, in the Quran, particularly in verse five,
whereby it talks about what happens in the battlefield and warfare. And it says,
After inflicting punishment on of course, people who are aggressive in the battlefield after really defeating them, it says that a man and ba do well in math either and
which means, after this happens, there's only one of two choices, either mainland, which means generosity or freeing those advantage, with no return, just free, generous, compassionate treatment, or the choice is still given
today, and is usually translated as ransom, but I understand the word ransom sometimes have a negative connotation, is it just a blackmail or something.
But Strictly speaking, ransom
has been interpreted to mean one of three basic things.
It could be a ransom by payment of certain amount of money, which is only fair because after all, a person who's coming to fight an aggressive war, he's inflicting damage and property and damage in life. So it's only fair to demand that before he regains his freedom, he should pay for some of the damage damage that he caused.
A second is also paid and in Arabic is to exchange also something for something which means exchange of POW. And that happened also, in some cases, during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him when he freed some people in order for regaining the freedom of captured Muslim soldiers.
The third case, which was quite unique in all history,
is to ask the prisoner of war to offer some useful help to the community.
In return for getting his freedom. Does that sound
right? remember some of the ideas that have been suggested, for example, instead of throwing people in jail, let them pay for their crimes by making some service to the community, right? When we think that this is a 20th century concept is not one of the early examples and the bet after the Battle of budget in the seventh century,
that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him offered to some of the captives.
In that world, those were captured, that they can gain back their freedom if they teach 10 Muslims how to read and write.
So you see, this is a very constructive approach and mutually beneficial. And of course, a prisoner of war would rather be
A teacher then be a prisoner. I mean, it's an honorable job. So that was beneficial both to the Muslim community, as well as those who are in bondage and they gain the freedom. And in some cases, as indicated also the Prophet also implemented the verse in the Quran Amendment, which means actually letting people our free with no return it did happen in some cases. So all of this was various approaches. The problem, Another common question on those races are both the whole situation of compromise. And I wonder factors that explain the position of Islam on that, and whether or not there
are any contribution towards the solution of that particular problem provided by Islam? Certainly. Well, as you know, the question of concubines or concubinage has been, according to many
sociologists and others historians, has been an institution which was already in existence just like slavery, it was a very common institution. In fact, many authorities indicate that concubinage was quite common, particularly among the Semites, and especially among the Hebrew and the Hebrew tradition. This has been the case, as you know, some even Hebrew prophets were believed to have had so many concubines
when Islam came, it did not accept the institution as it is just as slavery also. And the approach again, was to gradually,
first of all, change the nature and perception of the institution and then gradually
removing it from existence altogether. Now,
basically, a woman captured in the battlefield,
is treated exactly the same as men in terms of the kind of treatment and compassion. But in the case of women captured in the battlefield, which is, of course, not the normal case, you're not supposed to plunder the civilians. But in the case of an actual battlefield,
there is an additional problem
that women particularly are relatively more prone to violence be committed against them than men, particularly, quite frankly, late the possibilities of rape, for example, by the victorious army.
And until now, even in the 20th century, we hear a lot about, you know, some of the wars that goes on in different places, Southeast Asia and other places where a great deal of violence is committed against women in particular.
Now, this there is a number of problems then,
even if those women are spirit, the initial of possible clunkers by victorious army,
there is a problem that when they are defeated when their people are defeated, those women might have already lost their breadwinners, the fathers, their husbands or their brothers. This makes the problem in the case of women even more complex, because on one hand, you've got to
take measures to prevent violence and rape be committed against them. On the other hand, you have to protect
society and themselves also from corruption, and be pushed under the circumstances under the pressures of need to earn their living in ways which are not honorable, and which Islam does not regard as legitimate such as you know, prostitution and other similar methods. In this case, or dealing with a situation as it existed in the seventh century, or as it may be duplicated anytime or any place.
The clinic law, this permit cohabitation was with those concubines or captors. That provided a number of benefits indeed, because number one, the relationship is basically a marriage like relationship. In other words, she's the goddess lady as a wife, for all practical purposes of the person who has, for example captured out or one of the people were in the battlefield.
The only difference perhaps, between this cohabitation and the traditional marriage relationship is the absence of consent.
Of course, consent is a very important condition in marriage according to standard law even in the normal cases. But as you know, in the unusual case of warfare and captivity, obviously, the restriction are there on freedom, which is a normal thing that goes with captivity anyway.
But other ways, there are additional
features of this particular arrangement.
Number one, you don't have to prison to imprison these women or put them in concentration camps. Nor do you just leave them in society to be pushed into things that they didn't, they don't really want to do, such as prostitution, you want also to prevent any mutual competition because these are also human beings. And there are also meals in the society where they are kept captured. And you can just preach people be chaste without, while at the same time opening the doorway for this temptation and possibilities of problems.
So by having one person to live with,
as a husband, she's provided with a home, she's provided with the old her needs in terms of food, clothing, medication, everything, in addition, quite frankly, with Islam never shied away from that question for sure is provided also, with that section of her instinctive needs, also, that she wants to mention it and then also as, as a woman,
this also results in preventing any attack on her because now she's a wife, or in the status really, practically have a wife of another mentor, nobody else can touch her or commit any violence against her. But on top of that, one of the beautiful things that is then provided also instead of law is that if that woman, there's a child to her husband,
then that child is free, immediately upon his birth, and she herself also becomes free at the death, or Upon the death of her husband. In other words, once she has a child, he cannot, for example, give her away to someone else or do anything, she just remains as his wife until he dies, and then she's free. But even then, we find that both in terms of the prophetic tradition and practice, a strong recommendation was made that the best way really is to free that woman and then offer her marriage she accepts and then have just the traditional normal, wife husband type of relationship. Indeed, in Gujarati, which is one of the more most important collections of prophetic tradition. Prophet
Muhammad says that if a patient has a woman captive or concubine, then he brings her up, right? teaches her, freeze her, and then marry her, that God will give him two rewards.
So that has been highly commendable act, it happened with the Prophet peace be upon him in one of the battle. One of the women, you know, that was his concubine, actually, he freed her, he offered her to free her, and sent her to the people. If she wanted to marry him. She accepted to marry him. And in fact, as a result of that
gesture of goodwill and humanity on his part
100 other relatives
from that woman, people from her tribe, were freed by Muslims because he said, my goodness, our Prophet is now married to that lady, and we have their in laws. How could we keep captives the indoors of the Prophet? So that was a like a gesture on the personal invitation to them, that you should go ahead, actually, and free them without condition and measure them if we accept them. That's a more humane and more
Most of the measures that we've discussed, leading to emancipation have depended upon the goodwill and the voluntary delivery of the slave owner, the master the person who has the other individual in bondage. Is it possible for a person who's in bondage, the slaves themselves to be able to initiate any kind of action which would bring about emancipation? Absolutely. And I think Islam was first in that. It is a concept known as mocha. mocha means something literally something like a deed. And that means that in Islamic law, any person in bondage can go to the person who's holding them and says, All right, I offer you this contract or a deed that in return pertaining to some mutually
agreed sum of money, I get back my freedom.
Now, upon the payment of this agreed upon amount, the person is automatically set free. So yes, there is indication of that one hour, so that the discretion of the master can the master refuse to refuse the contract that you mentioned and the person voluntarily wishes he doesn't want to accept the other way understanding and the way also the lifting jurist interpret that is by reference to the Quran itself. In chapter 24, verse 33, when
a man could Pikachu boom
hydrant, and sanitation is that portion that relate to this issue of faith and if any of your slaves asked for a deed in writing, that is to enable them to, to earn their freedom or a certain sum, give them says give them not you may give them such a deep, if you know any good in them, he gave them something yourself out of the means which God has given to you.
Which means that you should accept the contract number one, number two, you should even give them some financial help or reduce the amount even that's offered, so that you enabled them to free themselves as soon as possible. This is the way how it was interpreted by Muslim jurists It was reported, for example, that's almost the second case after the Prophet
insisted on one companion meant and diplomatic to free, a person by the name of Siri. And actually he threatened him and he hits him with a stick in the spirit that must accept it. And like some jurors say, like, Harry said that if armor knew that it was permissible to refuse, you would have not threatened us that you should accept the contract. And by the way, he happened to be the father of one of the great scholars in the history of Islam, Muhammad is sitting there, it's another indication. So many juries say that if the person defuse the ruler, or his appointee, as a judge, for example, has the right to force the person to accept the contract and free the person. A little
have a few minutes left in terms of the personal environment displays and stuff, how are they able to obtain the funds needed to regain their freedom. This is again some first in the case of of Islam, in the Quran, in chapter nine, verse six, when it talks about the way the amount of the care or charity should be spent, it specifies they will fill the cup that is, and also choose that the care or charity, in order to free those people in bondage. So the person who's seeking freedom is entitled legally, to take part of plastic parts of this charity, in addition to this, decide this institutional charity in numerous sayings of the Prophet peace be upon him, he employs people also
to add to play on their own, in addition to that, to help people gain their freedom. And there's a famous incident during the lifetime of the first case, after the profits were a phishing campaign. He said, I have no money. Should I go ahead with this contract? He said yes. And then he asked people to give him charity, people gave him so much that he could pay his muster and something was left. He said, What should I do with the rest? He said, use it to help some other person in bondage to gain his his freedom. One very interesting
thing that happened during the reign of Mr. Mandela he was
on stage almost 100 years after Prophet Mohammed that is, rulers regional ruler in North Africa. Yes, you have inside, wrote to him and said I collected the money for charity. And there is not enough for people to take that shows the economic prosperity. What should I do with it? All right. use that money to buy people in bondage and then set them free. This was a unique aspect that we find in an extended history that is almost unparalleled.
I think we should stop the fact
that we're out of time. We want to thank you for watching our program invite you back next week when we got rolling. We'll start our next topic on the family and thank you for watching Assalamu alaikum peace