Islam and the Abolition of Slavery by William Gervase Clarence-Smith

By William Gervase Clarence-Smith

Contemporay debates approximately Muslim slavery happen in a context of fierce polemics among Islam and different trust structures. whereas Islamic teams had an ambivalent and customarily muted impression at the felony repudiation of slavery, a starting to be spiritual dedication to abolition was once crucial if laws used to be to be enforced within the 20th century. Drawing on examples from the entire 'abode' of Islam, from the Philipines to Senegal and from the Caucasus to South Africa,Gervase Clarence-Smith levels around the heritage of Islam, paying specific consciousness to the interval from the overdue 18th century to the current. He indicates that "sharia-minded" makes an attempt to accomplish nearer adherence to the holy legislations limited slavery, whether they didn't finish it. besides the fact that, the sharia itself was once now not as transparent concerning the legality of servitude as is generally assumed, and innovative students in the faculties of legislations may also have completed complete emancipation over the longer term. The effect of mystical and millenarian Islam was once contradictory, sometimes delivering a supportive schedule of freedom, yet in different circumstances inflicting nice surges of enslavement. The revisionist Islam that emerged from the 18th century used to be divided. "Fundamentalists" under pressure the literal fact of the founding texts of Islam, and hence chanced on it tough to desert slavery thoroughly. "Modernists,' attractive to the spirit instead of to the letter of scripture, spawned the main radical competitors of slavery, significantly Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, the Islamic William Wilberforce. as soon as slavery had disappeared, it used to be the Sufi mystics who did so much to combine former slaves socially and religiously, keeping off the deep social divisions that experience plagued Western societies within the aftermath of abolition. during this very important new publication, Clarence-Smith offers the 1st common survey of the Islamic debate on slavery. Sweeping away entrenched myths, he hopes to stimulate extra examine in this ignored subject, thereby contributing to therapeutic the spiritual rifts that threaten to rip our global aside within the twenty first century.

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Garrett Dejong considered that, 'the abolition of slavery would mean an upsetting of the entire system of Islam'. Even contemporary authors follow this line. J o h n Hunwick and Eve Troutt Powell aver that, 'there was never any formal movement for the abolition of slavery, or even the suppression of the slave trade, i n the Muslim world'. Rodney Stark affirms that, 'the fundamental problem facing Muslim theologians vis-a-vis the morality of slavery is that Muhammad bought, sold, captured and owned slaves'.

During the Egyptian cotton boom of the 1860s and 1870s, triggered by the Civil War in the United States, even modest Egyptian peasants bought slaves. Apart from field work, they performed domestic tasks or corvee for the state, while Circassian concubines became status symbols. Anatolian agrarian prosperity rested to some extent on Black and Circassian field slaves, and there was scarcely an Iraqi family or middling Muslim household i n India without a slave. 'Smallholder slavery' was generally most intense on the Islamic frontier.

B o n o 1964: 96-9; Clissold 1977: 35. M o n l a u 1964: 61-4, 67, 70, 92-3, 97-8; B o n o 1964: 101-3; Deardon 1976: 15-16. M o n l a u 1964: 53, 57-8; B o n o 1964: 92-4, Clissold 1977: 6; Colley 2002: 44-5. Clissold 1977: 101. M o n l a u 1964: 75. B o n o 1964: 91-2, 100, 256-66; Clissold 1977: 6, 93-8. Pennell 1989: 45-6. 30 A Fragile Sunni Consensus war on France in 1681, he informed Marseilles merchants that they were still welcome to come and buy slaves. Kidnapping and raiding were far more common than holy war i n Southeast Asia, although some authors have graced Moro naval raids from the southern Philippines with the name of jihads.

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