Why Didn’t Islam Abolish Slavery-Q&A Series

Tom Facchine


Channel: Tom Facchine

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Why didn't Islam abolish slavery? Okay, and the way that that question is worded is perfect, because it shows the whole problem with the framing, we have the words abolish, and we have the word slavery. There's no such thing as slavery in Islam. There's, there's a different word and a different concept. You can't just translate words, words across languages, and assume that they mean the exact same thing. So when we say slavery in English, we imagine something, what do we imagine, especially those who are from North America, we imagine the experience of slavery in North America, which was one of the worst, most ridiculously unjust, racist forms of, of servitude or bondage,

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whatever you want to call it that's ever existed in human history. Right? If you want an analog to what is permitted in Islamic law, under certain circumstances, and with strict rules and guidelines, the analog is not slavery. The analog is refugee resettlement, that has a closer analogue to what is permitted in Assam, then slavery as we know it in North America, because and this is something that I tried to drive home to people, you know, for, for us here in Utica, we understand the life of refugees a little bit more than most people, because we have a lot of refugees in our community, and you meet some of these refugees, and they've spent years if not decades in refugee camps, and ask

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them, What is the situation in these refugee camps? How is life like, how many people make it into these refugee camps? What happens right, and all of this goes back to a broader question, which is about what should happen with non combatants after a war or a battle has taken place, because that's the only possible way for someone to become, quote, unquote, enslaved within Islamic law is there's a battle. It's military aged men against military aged men on the battlefield. Okay, let's say one side wins, the other side loses, all the men are killed, or most of them and some of them are taken prisoner, and some of them flee. They leave behind dependents, they have women that they left

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behind, they have children that they left behind, they have elderly, it's in different sort of religious people that are left behind who's gonna take care of them out? That's the question that Islamic law tries to solve when it talks about it. Okay, what happens now, I want anybody if you know, anybody from Palestine, or from Iraq, or from Syria, or these countries that have experienced warfare in the last 10 years and have had a huge refugee populations, ask them what happens to refugees, they're okay. Sometimes they're slaughtered mercilessly. Women, children, elderly, sometimes, if they're fortunate, they make it to a refugee camp, where they live for decades, on

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handouts. Sometimes they're exploited in order to get bare necessities. Sometimes they're sexually exploited. Sometimes children are captured and sold into sexual slavery, sometimes women are raped, or women are taken advantage of in order to be given their basic needs to survive. Is this a great system? It's a horrible system, we see a very, very few amount of people who are able to get on a plane and come to places like the United States or Europe or something like that. And we say, wow, you know, mashallah, this is working great, right? But what about all the people that are left behind? Right? They're out of sight. And so they're out of mind? We don't see them. We don't

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recognize that that's actually the norm, much more the norm than the person who gets on a plane and comes to the west. The other thing What about those few people who do make it to the west, what happens here we showed a documentary, not us personally as a machine but us as a community down at the at the at the theater, Utica, the last refuge, beautiful documentary about the refugee kind of resettlement process here in Utica. Okay, so Gord It was a wonderful documentary, a huge community moment. And then what was the first person for the q&a, the first person to get up and ask a question, what did they say, for those who are there? And these people and they come and they take

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our tax dollars, and they take whatever? What was that resentment, resentment from the native population against people from outside, people feeling that they shouldn't have to pay for other people to come here, even though the person completely misunderstood the situation? refugee resettlement is different from immigration, refugee resettlement, the refugees actually have to pay the money back at the end. They didn't understand any of that they were lumping together refugees with migrants. But you could tell the register the resentment, and many people in the United States and in Europe now what do they have towards people who come from outside resentment? Okay, so these

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are I'm just bringing these things to show. What does Islamic law what are the problems that it has to solve? It has to solve who's going to take care of these people? And how do you do it in a way that there's not going to be tons of resentment from the native population? Okay, the solution and Islamic law. Okay, third thing before I talk about what the actual solution Islamic law is, Does something have to be 100% Good to be halal? No, it does not. It can be halal and be 60% good. 70% good. 80% good. Does something have to be pure evil to be haram? Yes or no? Not

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I'll give you the fence yes or no? No, no, Allah says in surah sonbhadra that alcohol has been added. The alcohol has benefit. And yet it's haram. Right? Something can be 60% harmful 70% harmful, 80% harmful and it can be haram. Okay. There are things within the Cydia that they are permissible, although they have harm, although they have harm, right. And there are things that are haram in the Sharia, even though there are benefits, or maybe one in 1000 people can do it and like be okay. Right. So there's a probabilistic reasoning. That's what it's called within the Sharia. Okay, so when we're thinking about solutions to these real problems, actual people, refugees, non combatants,

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the solution, it does not have to be 100%. Good for it to be Hello. Okay. And so what is the solution that Islamic law comes up with that the Sharia has for these types of people, the solution is something called Rick. Okay, which is often and I think mistranslated as slavery, where as people are placed, not within camps, not isolated or ghettoized off by themselves, but they're placed in individual homes, and they are assimilated into the culture. How are you going to incentivize that for people? How are you going to stop people from being resentful? You're going to stop people from being resentful by making it halal that that person uses that person's labor, with all of the

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restrictions that the Sharia also places on that thing. Remember, this is not the slavery of North America, where the the field hand works, you know, they live in this hut, this shack that's completely falling apart and they eat, you know, leftovers, table scraps. The Prophet alayhi salatu salam said that if you have someone like this in this situation, they eat the same food you eat, they wear the same clothes you wear, if you give them something hard to do you help them with it. And all these different guidelines to make sure that what happened in North America doesn't happen within the Muslim lands. Okay? Is it 100%? Good? No, it's not 100% Good. And we don't have to

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imagine that it is. The person is away from their culture away from their homeland, away from their all those sorts of things. They've got relatives that maybe they were separated from, or relatives that were, you know, slain in battle. There's harm, but this is the greatest possible the greatest possible answer and situate answer to this delicate situation, how are you going to assimilate and then all of this sort of thing, don't forget all of the guidelines in the Quran and the Sunnah for when to free a slave. You break your fast, intentionally during Ramadan for your slave, right? The secondary interpretation of the eye and Surah to know where Allah says, if you see any good in your

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slaves, and they come to you asking you for freedom, do it. Write them a freedom contract is called keytab. It's basically a contract to ease them into society. So when you ask the question, Why didn't Islam abolish slavery, because this mechanism is important for society. This mechanism is important for a way to assimilate the families, non combatants within a situation of war into a society where they have a likelihood of accepting Islam, where they're going to be taken care of, they're going to have their basic needs a roof over their head, food, shelter, clothing, and they're not going to be taken advantage of or oppressed in any sort of undo, undo way. And Allah knows best