Mohammed the Slave-Owner


  Mary the Copt


  Kidnapping Raids


  The Kingdom


  Thy Right Hand


  The Good Side


  Black Slaves


  Naught But a Sinner


  Islamic History


  The Future of Slavery



Mary the Christian Slave-Girl from Egypt

Mohammed ibn Abdallah was given a very special gift: Mary the Christian Slave-Girl from Egypt. He could have answered his benefactors in this way: 'How revolting! Do you seriously think you can give one human being to another, as if she were a thing rather than a person? Has anyone bothered to solicit this young lady's consent? What does she want to do with her life?' But he did not.

According to the best Muslim biographers, this remarkable woman never converted to Islam, though she must have been under pressure to do so. Giving birth to Mohammed's son Ibrahim raised her status, though the young boy sadly did not survive to adulthood.

Mohammed evidently felt this was a thoughtful gift, as he gave the same blessing to others:

"The same informant told me that the apostle gave him in compensation Bir Ha, today the castle of B. Hudayla in Medina. It was a property belonging to Abu Talha b. Sahl which he had given as alms to the apostle who gave it to Hassan for his blow. He also gave him Sirin a Copt slave-girl, and she bare him 'Abdu'l-Rahman." (The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, pp. 498-499).
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Equality Testimony
Dwellers of Hell-Fire Mental Deficiency
Four Wives Wife-Beating
Head-Scarf Temporary Marriage
Right Hands Possess



Kidnapping Raids

Not only was Mohammed ibn Abdallah willing to accept a slave-girl as a gift, he and his followers were ready, willing and able to enslave formerly free women and children through unprovoked kidnapping raids:

"Narrated Ibn Aun:

"I wrote a letter to Nafi and Nafi wrote in reply to my letter that the Prophet had suddenly attacked Bani Mustaliq without warning while they were heedless and their cattle were being watered at the places of water. Their fighting men were killed and their women and children were taken as captives; the Prophet got Juwairiya on that day. Nafi said that Ibn 'Umar had told him the above narration and that Ibn 'Umar was in that army." (Hadith Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 46, Number 717).

Many Americans are familiar with a sect called the Nation of Islam, which promotes a decidedly one-sided view of history:

"Human history's greatest crime was the traffic in black flesh when the devil white man went into Africa and murdered and kidnapped to bring to the West in chains, in slave ships, millions of black men, women, and children, who were worked and beaten and tortured as slaves.
"The devil white man cut these black people off from all knowledge of their own kind, and cut them off from any knowledge of their own language, religion, and past culture, until the black man in America was the earth's only race of people who had absolutely no knowledge of his true identity." (The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, p. 162).

Sure enough; had they retained knowledge of 'their own religion,' purportedly Islam, they'd realize there's nothing wrong with slave raids, their own Prophet, whom they are taught to emulate, did it. There must be some contamination from Christianity going on here. Let's just put it this way: Jesus never enslaved anybody.

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The Kingdom

Saudi Arabia only got around to abolishing slavery in the 1960's:

"Some parts of Africa and much of the Islamic world retained slavery at the end of World War I. For this reason the League of Nations and later the United Nations took the final extinction of slavery to be one of their obligations. . .After World War II the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention of Human Rights proclaimed the immorality and the illegality of slavery. Slavery was abolished in most Islamic countries, although it persisted in Saudi Arabia into the 1960s. It finally was made illegal in the Arabian Peninsula in 1962." (Encyclopedia Britannica online).

Worse, some Muslim jurists see that move as a mistake: "Shaykh Saleh al-Fawzan, a Saudi jurist, issued a fatwa (a legal opinion) in which he claimed that not only is slavery lawful in Islam, but that it ought to be legalized in Saudi Arabia. Al-Fawzan went further in accusing Muslim scholars who condemned and outlawed slavery of being ignorant and infidels." ('The Great Theft,' Khaled Abou El-Fadl, p. 255).

Mohammed ibn Abdallah's own personal example explains the delay in abolishing slavery in the Islamic world and Saudi Arabia. This individual is held up to the emulation of all mankind in the Koran, and he was a slave-owner.

The Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram claims its actions in kidnapping, and selling, school-girls are legitimate because,

"Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video earlier in May that he has taken the girls because Allah told him to do so, and threatened to sell them to Islamic militants
"'There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women,' Shekau said in the local Hausa language." ('Islamic Leader Condemns Boko Haram and Terrorism,' by Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post, May 28, 2014).

Those who condemn Boko Haram as savages and barbarians are condemning as well Mohammed and his associates.


Need a Koran?


Right Hand

The Koran cannot be mistaken for an anti-slavery tract. Specific provision is made, in God's own voice, for the continuation of this institution:

  • “O Prophet! we allow thee thy wives whom thou hast dowered, and the slaves whom thy right hand possesseth out of the booty which God hath granted thee, and the daughters of thy uncle, and of thy paternal and maternal aunts who fled with thee to Medina, and any believing woman who hath given herself up to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to wed her — a Privilege for thee above the rest of the Faithful.”
  • (Koran Sura 33:49).

It may be objected, doesn't the Bible also specifically allow slavery— the Bible, "which in itself and its present King James version has enslaved the world." (Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, p. 185)? The Biblical evidence is often presented in a one-sided and tendentious manner, ignoring all that is intended to limit and ameliorate this once nearly universal human institution, and high-lighting instead every permissive loop-hole. For instance,

"The blackboard had fixed upon it in permanent paint, on one side, the United States flag and under it the words, 'Slavery, Suffering and Death,' then the word 'Christianity' alongside the sign of the Cross. Beneath the Cross was a painting of a black man hanged from a tree. On the other side was painted what we were taught was the Muslim flag, the crescent and star on a red background with the words 'Islam: Freedom, Justice, Equality,' and beneath that 'Which One Will Survive the War of Armageddon?'" (Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, p. 195).

Is this a fair summary, or is it not by accident that Christian nations led the charge to abolish slavery, with the Muslim world bringing up to the rear:


Young Mohammed recognized by the Monk Bahira



The Good Side

In fairness to Mohammed, his thoughts on this subject were not uniformly unenlightened; he encouraged manumission, particularly of Muslim slaves:

"Narrated Abu Huraira:

"The Prophet said, "If somebody manumits a Muslim slave, Allah will save from the Fire every part of his body for freeing the corresponding parts of the slave's body, even his private parts will be saved from the Fire) because of freeing the slave's private parts." (Hadith Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 79, Number 706).

Slaves who fled from hostile pagan tribes to the Muslim community were not returned to their pagan masters:

"If any slave or female slave emigrated from them [the pagans] to the Muslims, then they would be considered free persons (not slaves) and they would have the same rights as given to other emigrants." (Hadith Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 63, Number 210.)

So Muslim doctrine and practice in this area, though nothing to boast of, is not uniformly negative.

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Black Slaves

The affinity certain groups, like Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam, feel for Mohammed ibn Abdallah is difficult to understand, given that he was a white man who kept black slaves. A white man:

"Narrated Anas bin Malik: While we were sitting with the Prophet in the mosque, a man came riding on a camel. He made his camel kneel down in the mosque, tied its foreleg and then said: 'Who amongst you is Muhammad?' At that time the Prophet was sitting amongst us (his companions) leaning on his arm. We replied, 'This white man reclining on his arm.'" (Hadith Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 3, Number 63).

. . .who kept black slaves:

"So I went to the upper room where the Prophet was and requested to a black slave of his: 'Will you get the permission of (Allah's Apostle) for Umar (to enter)?' The slave went in, talked to the Prophet about it and came out saying, 'I mentioned you to him but he did not reply."'" (Hadith Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 648.)

"Narrated 'Umar: "I came and behold, Allah's Apostle was staying on an attic room and a black slave of Allah's Apostle was at the top if its stairs. I said to him, '(Tell the Prophet) that here is 'Umar bin Al-Khattab (asking for permission to enter).' Then he admitted me." (Hadith Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 91, Number 368.)

"Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah's Apostle was on a journey and he had a black slave called Anjasha, and he was driving the camels (very fast, and there were women riding on those camels). Allah's Apostle said, 'Waihaka (May Allah be merciful to you), O Anjasha! Drive slowly (the camels) with the glass vessels (women)!'" (Hadith Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 182.)

Reportedly the word for 'black' and 'slave' in Arabic is 'abd,' making it slightly redundant to say 'black slave.'




What was Mohammed's complexion? According to 'Ali, white and ruddy: "'Ali used to say when he described the apostle: 'He was neither too tall nor unduly short but of normal height; his hair was not too curly nor lank, but definitely curly; his face was not fat nor rounded; it was white tinged with red; his eyes were black, fringed with long lashes; he was firmly knit and broad shouldered; the hair on his body was fine, thick on hands and feet.'" (Ibn Hisham's Notes, The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, pp. 725-726). Of course, the value of testimonies of this sort is open to question.

Mohammed perceives nothing wrong in principle with slavery:

"God maketh comparison between a slave the property of his lord, who hath no power over anything, and a free man whom we have ourselves supplied with goodly supplies, and who giveth alms therefrom both in secret and openly. Shall they be held equal? No: praise be to God! But most men know it not." (Koran Sura 16:77).

So much for 'all men are created equal.'

Mohammed was greatly elated by the believers' success at the battle of Badr. But violence begets violence, and the Quraysh wanted pay-back. At the battle of Uhud they got it. The warrior who killed Mohammed's uncle Hamza was a black slave, Wahshi, promised his freedom in exchange. In the resulting propaganda exchange, the believers make it clear they do not perceive themselves as a community of color:

"God brought on you in the early dawn
Tall and white-skinned men from Hashim,
Everyone slashing with his sharp sword:
Hamza my lion and 'Ali my falcon."
(The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, p. 385).

Some of this poetry, produced by the community, sounds an obnoxious note of racial superiority, as if the victorious Quraysh were somehow contemptible because they fielded black soldiers:

"You collected them, black slaves, men of no descent,
O leaders of infidels whom their insolent ones deceived." (The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, p. 405).

No wonder they lost, they should have looked for merit, not skin color.

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Naught But a Sinner

It is not so surprising that a man who lived in seventh century Arabia saw nothing wrong with slavery. It was not an enlightened time or place. Mohammed was naught but a sinner, but unfortunately he was not saved by grace. The Koran concedes his erring ways and need for forgiveness:

"Therefore be steadfast thou and patient; for true is the promise of God: and seek pardon for thy fault, and celebrate the praise of thy Lord at evening and at morning." (Koran Sura 40:57).

"Know, then, that there is no god but God: and ask pardon for thy sin, and for believers, both men and women. God knoweth your busy movements, and your final resting-places." (Koran Sura 47:21).

"In token that God forgiveth thy earlier and later faults, and fulfilleth His goodness to thee, and guideth thee on the right way, and that God succoreth thee with a mighty succor." (Koran Sura 48:2-3).

"God forgive thee! Why didst thou give them leave to stay behind, ere they who make true excuses had become known to thee, and thou hadst known the liars?" (Koran Sura 9:43).

Sura 80 of the Koran is devoted to scolding Mohammed for his rudeness to a blind man:

"He FROWNED, and he turned his back,
Because the blind man came to him!
But what assured thee that he would not be cleansed by the Faith,
Or be warned, and the warning profit him?
As to him who is wealthy —
To him thou wast all attention:
Yet is it not thy concern if he be not cleansed:
But as to him who cometh to thee in earnest,
And full of fears —
Him dost thou neglect." (Sura 80:1-10).

Though millions follow him in hopes of finding salvation, he was unsure of his own eternal destiny: "He was asked whether a Muslim man who had died would go to paradise. His response was, 'As to him, by Allah, death has overtaken him, and I hope the best for him. By Allah, though I am the Apostle of Allah, yet I do not not know what Allah will do to me.' If Prophet Muhammad himself did not know if Allah would have mercy on him and send him to paradise, who are ordinary Muslims in Allah's sight?" (Hussein Hajji Wario, Cracks in the Crescent, p. 179).

Yet Muslims set this fallible man up as a template to be imitated. To take a test case, look at his immediate reaction to the Muslim set-back at the battle of Uhud. His uncle Hamza was killed and his body mutilated, and he wanted pay-back:

"I have been told that the apostle went out seeking Hamza and found him at the bottom of the valley with his belly ripped up and his liver missing, and his nose and ears cut off. Muhammad b. Ja'far b. al-Zubayr told me that when he saw this the apostle said: 'Were it not that Safiya would be miserable and it might before a custom after me I would leave him as he is, so that his body might find its way into the bellies of beasts and the crops of birds. If God gives me victory over Quraysh in the future I will mutilate 30 of their men.' When the Muslims saw the apostle's grief and anger against those who had thus treated his uncle, they said, 'By God, if God gives us victory over them in the future we will mutilate them as no Arab has ever mutilated anyone.'" (The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, p. 387).

This is an understandable human reaction, and it was imitated by the faithful, as is their wont. But Mohammed thought better of it:

"Burayda b. Sufyan b. Farwa al-Aslami from Muhammad b. Ka'b al-Qurazi, and a man I have no reason to suspect from Ibn 'Abbas told me that God sent down concerning the words of the apostle and his companions 'If you punish, then punish as you have been punished. If you endure patiently that is better for the patient. Endure thou patiently. Thy endurance is only in God. Grieve not for them, and be not in distress at what they plot.' So the apostle pardoned them and was patient and forbade mutilation." (The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, pp. 387-388).

Good for him! He was capable of taking correction. And so what is the rule: 30X mutilation, the initial proclamation, or no mutilation, the later correction? The latter. But when he left this world, on his death-bed asking for but not receiving writing materials, what wrongs remained to be made right by this man? What unrepented errors still remain, not blotted out, in his biography? What folly to make a fallible man into an idol, holding him up as if he were the perfect man, a grand example for all to follow! In the modern world, imitating this man can actually get you into legal trouble. He married a nine-year old girl:

  • “Narrated Aisha:

    “The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, 'Best wishes and Allah's Blessing and a good luck.' Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah's Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age.”
  • (Hadith Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 234).

In response, Muslim apologists such as Yahya Snow assert that the Bible fixes the age of consent at puberty, citing Ezekiel 16:4-14. This Bible passage, recounting God's love for Jerusalem personified as a wife, does imply that there is an age of consent: "Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love. . ." (Ezekiel 16:8), however it does not fix that age, either at puberty or at any other time. The rabbis who authored the Talmud established the age of consent on their own authority, not relying upon any Biblical definition. There is no evidence that Aisha, at the age of nine, had attained puberty, but it is not impossible that she had. Moreover Yahya Snow cites the Catholic Encyclopedia in evidence that Joseph was aged ninety when he married Mary, aged twelve to fourteen. But there is no reliable historical information to this effect, and the narratives relied upon were crafted to establish Mary's perpetual virginity! This is a Catholic belief incomprehensible to Muslims. The article cited itself says, "These dreams, as St. Jerome styles them. . .are void of authority. . ." It is likely the creative authors chose these ages for Joseph and Mary precisely to make it impossible for the reader to believe this marriage was ever consummated. Biographical information made up in the first place to establish the non-consummation of a marriage cannot be offered as evidence for the appropriate age for consummation of a marriage!

   Mary   Mary: Perpetual Virgin?

Nations such as Saudi Arabia are left unable to join the civilized world's preference for an age of consent in the range of 14-16 years, because they must follow Mohammed ibn Abdallah's unworthy example. Instead of defending the indefensible, Muslim apologists would be doing their own societies a favor by remaining silent on this issue. A little girl playing with dolls should not be forced into marriage, neither in the seventh century nor today. One poor little girl begged, "'Save me. I don't want him,' she cried." (Al Arabiya News, January 17, 2010.)

As another example, Mohammed had an adopted son named Zaid. Yet one day he announced, "Muhammad is not the father of any man among you..." (Sura 33:40). His adopted son Zaid must have been disappointed to hear this. Why did he disinherit this young man? There is a reason. By a stroke of the pen he invalidated adoption, from that time forward, for the whole Muslim world. Adoption is a near-universal human custom which brings together two populations who very badly need one another: orphan children and childless couples. But just like that, it was over: "God hath not given a man two hearts within him. . .nor hath he made your adopted sons to be as your own sons." (Sura 33:4). This revolution in family life, not previously suspected by the Arabs, who honored adoption even as do other peoples, was sent down to humankind just at the moment when Mohammed, who already had a sizeable harem, desired to marry Zaid's wife, a move that would have scandalized even the pagan Arabs. God not only allowed this irregular marriage, He demanded it: "And when Zaid had settled concerning her to divorce her, we married her to thee, that it might not be a crime in the faithful to marry the wives of their adopted sons, when they have settled the affair concerning them. And the behest of God is to be performed." (Sura 33:37).

What does this remind us of? In the times of ignorance, when benighted human beings worshipped idols, priest-craft stood ever ready to impose upon the public's credulity:

"Under Hrihor’s theocracy such oracles became part of the ordinary machinery of government. Whatever the High Priest wished legally to effect could be sanctioned by special oracle of the god at any time, and by prearrangement the cultus image before which the High Priest made known his desires invariably responded favourably by violent nodding of the head, or even by speech."
(Breasted, James Henry (2017-02-07). A History of Egypt from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest (Kindle Locations 4373-4376). Calathus Publishing.)

What a surprise: the Egyptian idol 'spoke,' and what's more amazing, it said just what would be convenient for the greedy priests. Whether or not the idol 'agreed,' the junior priest who pulled the lever that made the thing nod its head certainly agreed. The ancients used to talk about the 'ring of Gyges:' if you had a magic ring that made you invisible, what would you do? The same thing you would do if you knew everybody was looking? Mohammed had convinced these people, even against all the ups-and-downs and confusion reflected in abrogation and the like, that when he spoke, God spoke. So what did God say? God told him to marry his daughter-in-law, a very attractive young lady.

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Islamic History

For a history of Mohammed's ideas about society: war and peace, the slave and the free,— and how they played out in the real world, see:

Washington Irving
Mohammed and His
Successors

Mohammed's own history shows a progression, from the idealist of the Meccan period to the tyrant of Medina, who would not allow his followers any free choice in their own lives: "And it is not for a believer, man or woman, to have any choice in their affairs, when God and His Apostle have decreed a matter: and whoever disobeyeth God and His Apostle, erreth with palpable error." (Koran Sura 33:36). This is 'association' with a vengeance: a fallible, sinful man made himself a partner, an 'associate' if you will, of God.

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The Future of Slavery

One hates to think that this cruel institution will ever be revived, yet it has been revived, in those parts of Iraq and Syria under the cruel dominion of ISIS:

"Silence on slavery probably reflected strategic thinking, with public sympathies in mind: when the Islamic State began enslaving people, even some of its supporters balked. Nonetheless, the caliphate has continued to embrace slavery and crucifixion without apology. 'We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women,' Adnani, the spokesman, promised in one of his periodic valentines to the West. 'If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.'
"In October, Dabiq, the magazine of the Islamic State, published 'The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour,' an article that took up the question of whether Yazidis (the members of an ancient Kurdish sect that borrows elements of Islam, and had come under attack from Islamic State forces in northern Iraq) are lapsed Muslims, and therefore marked for death, or merely pagans and therefore fair game for enslavement." (What ISIS Really Wants, by Graeme Wood, The Atlantic Magazine, March 2015).

Islam does not have the resources within it to abolish slavery, because the founding texts, the Koran and the Hadith, support it, and the prophet himself, thought to be an exemplary person, owned slaved. Abolition therefore was a foreign, Christian import. The U.S. is currently involved in a bombing campaign against ISIS; one can hope that in this case Curtis LeMay was on to something, and that pushing these people back prior to their preferred seventh century, all the way back to the Stone Age, will solve the problem. However, realizing that this entity first arose in the chaos that unfolded upon the U.S. invasion of Iraq, it may be that violence feeds the beast rather than strangles it.

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