03-09-2012, 11:25 AM
Never criticise anybody till you've walked a mile in their shoes..that way you'll be a mile away from them AND have their shoes
03-12-2012, 12:50 AM
Allah's Apostle said "Three persons will have a double reward: 1. A Person from the people of the scriptures who believed in his prophet (Jesus or Moses) and then believed in the Prophet Muhammad (i .e. has embraced Islam). 2. A slave who discharges his duties to Allah and his master. 3. A master of a woman-slave who teaches her good manners and educates her in the best possible way and manumits her and then marries her
*Note that each step of the discussion of how a female slave is treated is not contingent on the next one. So for instance, her education is not incumbent on him teaching her manners and her manumussion is not correlated to having to marry the master.
The added level of complexity comes in when we adjust our mind to the fact that how society is ordered today is not the only way that it is allowed to be ordered across the world and across time. For instance, is the inner city African American more free than Malcolm X and MLK were years ago or less free? Is freedom defined as simply: the right to be mobile + the right to say as you please + the right to not recieve an order? Are African nations and occupied nations in a state of perpetual slavery or are they free? Is the underlying article of free will what defines slavery versus freedom? For instance, though the emancipation proclamation was promulgated in the 1800s would we then have defined Blacks as less free or more free relative to the Civil Rights Act era under Kennedy?
Why I raise these questions is that Islamic theology makes radical statements regarding the definition and role of a slave:
"At Ar-Rabadha I met Abu Dhar who was wearing a cloak, and his slave, too, was wearing a similar one. I asked about the reason for it. He replied, "I abused a person by calling his mother with bad names." The Prophet said to me, 'O Abu Dhar! Did you abuse him by calling his mother with bad names You still have some characteristics of ignorance. Your slaves are your brothers and Allah has put them under your command. So whoever has a brother under his command should feed him of what he eats and dress him of what he wears. Do not ask them (slaves) to do things beyond their capacity (power) and if you do so, then help them.' "
The execution of what is deemed "dress him of what he wears" is clearly provided by the behavior of Abu Dhar. Meaning of Tor Khan gets to wear a nice Chapaan and a cotton turban he needs to ensure his slave gets some of his wealth as well. If Tor Khan asks his slave to build a house, and notes that he is overdoing it, he must pitch in and help.
Then the Quran completes the circle with the following ayaah at its front end:
"Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous."
Surah Baqraah indicates that this is a righteous act.
In short Islam
1. Does not declare slavery haraam
2. But it does advocate freeing slaves completely
3. In a societal structure where slaves are kept, a bill of rights exists to protect them
I would assume this renders the act Makruh, but I am not an alim and am discussing this as an amateur.
Is there room for innovation? For instance, if a Caliph promulgates an emancipation proclamation, is he exceeding his authority?
The question of innovation was actively debated during Othmaan Ibn Afaan's time as many of is reforms such as
1) Collecting the Quran into a single Mushaaf
2) Organizing the muezzins
are discussed as potential innovations... yet they recieved a consensus opinion.
Yet Omar attempted to limit the dowry and the females of the populace were able to counter him and debate him about his abuse of executive privelege (i.e. he declared unlawful what God and his Prophet had not).
yet Omar also suspended the hand cutting in a time of famine...
So my gut feeling is that if a Caliph did something of the sort he could gather a consensus... but these are vibrant and lively debates that need to be had.
I actually do not consider this a "dirty secret" of the Muslim world... rather I consider the discussion found in the corpus of the hadith and the Quran as revolutionary when it comes to human rights. Thankfully, they provide a basis to reach a consensus statement.
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