Slave in Quran

Some one keep telling me she have done an extensive research regarding slavery in Quran – and that is a stupid claim. I have compile and summarize verse in Quran that have word “slave”. So I would like to give my rebuttal.

Allah has command the righteous Muslim to spend their money for ransom the slaves. This verse is showing that Muslim are very concern for freeing slave which none in others religion.

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah.fearing. (Quran 2: 177)

In below passage God said it is better to married slave rather than unbeliever (idolaters) woman. Here Allah have raise the status of slave to become equal as free-man or free woman. After married with slave woman, the owner CAN NOT sell him as normal slave ever, because he already is already become his wife. A son born from his womb will become a free man.

Do not marry unbelieving women (idolaters), until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you. Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you. Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the Fire. But Allah beckons by His Grace to the Garden (of bliss) and forgiveness, and makes His Signs clear to mankind: That they may celebrate His praise. ( Quran 2: 221)

In law of Islam, freeing a slave is being put as priority, i.e “accident kill” such car accident, or etc. This show a commitment of Muslim to freeing slavery.

Never should a believer kill a believer; but (If it so happens) by mistake, (Compensation is due): If one (so) kills a believer, it is ordained that he should free a believing slave, and pay compensation to the deceased’s family, unless they remit it freely. If the deceased belonged to a people at war with you, and he was a believer, the freeing of a believing slave (Is enough). If he belonged to a people with whom ye have treaty of Mutual alliance, compensation should be paid to his family, and a believing slave be freed. For those who find this beyond their means, (is prescribed) a fast for two months running: by way of repentance to Allah. for Allah hath all knowledge and all wisdom. (Quran 3: 92)

Some time we like to give an oaths, and later we can fulfill it. Allah have give a way to release you from oath, one of the way is freeing slave.

Allah will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. If that is beyond your means, fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths ye have sworn. But keep to your oaths. Thus doth Allah make clear to you His signs, that ye may be grateful. (Quran 5: 89)

Some time slave prefer to freeing themselves from his owner, owner are required to write in writing (contract) with his slave for freeing himself for certain sum. In this verse show that, slave also can keep their own property and wealth to free himself. If how how he going to free himself.

In verse also, Quran have forbid the owner to use his maid as prostitute or concubine or mistress, but Quran not forbid to married a slave (as per verse 2:221), and become wife.

Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which Allah has given to you. But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is Allah, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them), (Quran 24: 33)


In Quran, not much been have been told about slavery (as per someone claim), most of the verse is about releasing a slave.

So, I become confuse why such claim being told. If you dare to compare, compile and compare with your own scripture, see anything different?

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7 responses to “Slave in Quran


    This article has indepth coverage of the issue. It discusses 1400 years of the practice of slavery in Islam. It mentions almost 30 verses in the Quran dealing with slavery and many rules enforced under Sharia Law concerning slaves. It says the freeing of slaves by Muslims actually led to the enslavement of more people to keep up with demands– which is horrible because so many died during the capture and transportation process. It explains that Islam allows for sexual exploitation of slave women (based on the Quran) and notes that 2 females slaves were imported into Muslim countries for every male slave because of that practice. (Most slaves shipped across the Atlantic were males because they were used for plantation work.) It quotes Islamic scholars who justify the enslavement of Non-Muslims even today. It thoroughly covers the subject in a succinct way.

    It mentions David Livingston as a witness to the enslavement of blacks in Africa in the late 1800s. I happen to be reading David Livingston’s Final Journals at this time and he talks alot about the murder and destruction engaged in by Arab Muslims in their African slave trade. It is estimated that at least 17 million Africans were enslaved and many more millions (perhaps 85 million) perished in the process. I am also reading a book called Captives, about the Barbary Pirates who enslaved over one million Europeans– also mentioned in the Wikipedia article. Many other Europeans and Asians were enslaved throughiout the centuries of Islamic expansion.

    In looking at the few verses from the Quran that you quoted, I found it odd that you don’t notice the fact that telling someone to free a slave to cover a wrongdoing is only possible because they have slaves. Also, the verse you mentioned about not prostituting slave girls ended by saying, if you do, Allah is merciful! That ending abrogates the prohibition.

    Have you actually read the Quran for yourself? I have and it clearly allows for slavery and the sexual exploitation of slaves.

    The Qur’an:
    Qur’an (33:50) – “O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those (slaves) whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee”

    Qur’an (23:5-6) – “..who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess…”

    Qur’an (4:24) – “And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.” [This verse allows for the rape of married women who have been captured in war.]

    Some of the women Muhammad freed from slavery and took as wives were war captives. He killed their husbands the very day he enslaved them and then freed them and married them. That is not benevolent behavior. Think how painful that would be for a woman– if you can even imagine it.

    If you are sincere in your objection to slavery, I believe you have higher moral standards than the Quran and Islam.

    • Actually you don’t read my statement and title. Did you read my title, “Slave in Quran”, not slave in history.
      Dont worry I will write in “Slave: History in Christian and Islam” soon enough. Let discuss based on scripture 1st. So we can compare apple to apple.

      I know Christian like to cut a portion of verse to suit their believe, but don’t do too much. It was irritating.

      Did I said we cant not have sex with slave woman? Read back my articles above.
      The slave who make sex with owner is called slave-wife. The status of slave is not void but status increase by being a wife. The slave can not sell as slave anymore, ever. The son born is free man and we need to married the slave to have sex with her but the ceremony is simple than free-woman.

      The concubine is western word, we don’t have concubine, we have slave-wife. Concubine in Western is prostitute or adulterers, it can not be compare here. Can you find any word “concubine” in Quran? Sorry, Quran is Arabic, and there was no word similar to concubine in Quran, it just a accusation from Qur’an-hater.

      You read back the link you attach to me:

      Maulana Mawdudi of Jamaat-e-Islami has said:
      Islam has clearly and categorically forbidden the primitive practice of capturing a free man, to make him a slave or to sell him into slavery. On this point the clear and unequivocal words of [Muhammad] are as follows:

      “There are three categories of people against whom I shall myself be a plaintiff on the Day of Judgement. Of these three, one is he who enslaves a free man, then sells him and eats this money” (al-Bukhari and Ibn Majjah).

      Shiekh Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, a shariah judge and founder of Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, gives the following explanation:

      When Islam came, for the situations where people were taken into slavery (e.g. debt), Islam imposed Shari’ah solutions to those situations other than slavery. … It (Islam) made the existing slave and owner form a business contract, based upon the freedom, not upon slavery … As for the situation of war, … it clarified the rule of the captive in that either they are favoured by releasing without any exchange, or they are ransomed for money or exchanged for Muslims or non-Muslim citizens of the Caliphate.[130]

      and the website of his organization insists: “nowadays there are no sharia circumstances where slavery can return.”

    • You also quote some of the verse in Quran, thanks for quote them. But you have make an editing process to the verse, and that is not ethical act. Let me bring a full verse.

      Qur’an (33:50) – O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makka) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her;- this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess;- in order that there should be no difficulty for thee. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

      Qur’an (23:5-6) Who abstain from sex, Except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (in their case) they are free from blame,
      but I already mention that slave who make sex are becoming wife of that person. What are you want to highlight here.

      Qur’an (4:24)Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath Allah ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property,- desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree Mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.
      I dont know you read a full verse or not. but you always read halfway (typical Christian style, yes I know). the sentence after that, even it was lawful, Muslim should provide gift, dowers, she need to agree (slave need to say yes).

      So, I have give my rebuttal. So what you Bible said about slavery? If you don’t want to tell I also can understand. I feel sorry for Christian slave during early age of Christian. So pity, their Bible approve the cruel act.

  2. I appreciate your response, Hifzan. I believe you are a “moderate” Muslim. I’ve been reading various views and some Muslims condemn slavery today while others justify it. So many viewpoints– but the Quran allows for and even encourages slavery and since it can’t be changed, I don’t know how Muslims can deny it.

    Muhammad must have been speaking of Arabs or Muslims when he said mentioned not enslaving a free man, because he regularly enslaved free people who were Non-Muslims and all the leaders who followed him did the same. I really think you need to spend more time reading about Muslims throughout history.

    I’m not sure why you were objecting to the word concubine. A concubine is a secondary wife (as Hagar was to Abraham) not a prostitute.

    Christianity, based on the teachings of Jesus, has never sanctioned slavery. We have no extensive passages in the New Testament dealing with slavery because it was not a practice of Christians. As I said before, some men had slaves before they became Christians and needed instructions for dealing with them. And some slaves who became Christians and had unbelieving masters needed instructions on living as a Christian slave. That’s the only reason teachings on slavery are even mentioned in the New Testament.

    Jesus came to set captives free, not to enslave men. If there are any scriptures in the Bible where Jesus encourages slavery, it news to me.

    • It is not me who moderate, it always there from beginning. Fatwa (Jurisprudence) is always there. A teaching itself is moderate.

      You said so many view point you can refer to slave but, you can not come with one solid answer. Is it that your extensive research? I suggest to you study back. Get a reputable teacher.

      I have read the history, you should read back the history by your link given to me:
      The Islamic prophet Muhammad encouraged manumission of slaves, even if one had to purchase them first. On many occasions, Muhammad’s companions, at his direction, freed slaves in abundance. Muhammad personally freed 63 slaves, and his wife Aisha freed 67. In total his household and friends freed 39,237 slaves.(wiki)

      I object concubine word because it not coming from our scholar, why I should refer to non-Muslim Qur’an-hater interpretation ? The word concubine commonly refer to mistress, prostitute; and it wrong. Second wife is my religion is also called wife, there was no double standard to that term. So it was totally wrong to use the word itself.

      I know there have verse about slavery in NT, and more in OT. but never mind, there was nothing good to reveal it.

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