10 Things You Need to Know About Slavery in Islam

1. Muslim slave trade in Africa has lasted 14 centuries and continues to this day in places like Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan.

2. Over 17 million slaves (mostly black women and children) were transported out of Africa by Islamic traders. Another 85 million are believed to have died en route.

3. The Prophet Muhammad practiced and approved of slavery, and directed his men to do the same.

4. The Qur’an devotes more verses to informing Muslim men of their right to keep women as sex slaves, than it does to telling them to pray five times a day.

5. The Arabic word for “black” (Abd) is synonymous with the word for “slave”.

6. Muhammad’s father-in-law, Umar declared that Arabs could not be taken as slaves, and freed all Arab slaves.  This led to the wide Islamic campaign to capture slaves in Africa, Europe and Asia.

7. Western slave trade exploited Africans primarily for agricultural labor. The Arab slave trade on the other hand, has more often used men for military service, and women for sex and for their wombs – to produce children who will be Muslims.

8. Many Muslim leaders since Muhammad have had harems of hundreds (or even thousands) of non-Muslim young girls and women to service their desires.

9. Converting to Islam does not automatically grant a slave his freedom, although this is said to increase the slave master’s heavenly reward.

10. According to Islamic courts, slave masters may treat their slaves however they choose without fear of penalty.

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