Slavery and Islam
Fatwa No: 82182

  • Fatwa Date:28-1-2002 - Thul-Qi'dah 15, 1422
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I am doing research on slavery in Islam. Is there slavery in Islam? What is the Fatwa for owning a slave nowadays?


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

At the advent of Islam, slavery was common in the whole world, so Islam admitted it. But Islam always emphasizes to free the slaves. So it is imposed in Islam to free a slave in expiation in many conditions:
1. When a person kills somebody by mistake, he has to free a slave.
2. When a person makes Dhihar on his wife, i.e., comparing the wife to the mother's back by saying to her: You are to me like the back of my mother, (i.e., unlawful for me to approach).
3. When one makes sexual intercourse in the day of Ramadan.
4. When a person breaks his oath, he has to free a slave.
5. When a person slaps his slave's face, he must free him.
6. When a slave woman gives birth from her master, she will be freed after the death of her master.
In addition to all of this, it is appreciated in Islam to help a slave to be freed from slavery. As we know there is no slavery in these days. We advise you to refer to the books of Fiqh on this subject. Islam bans the enslavement of free people. Allah says in the Qudsi Hadeeth: “I am opponent to three kinds of people: One of them is the one who enslaves a free man.”
For your knowledge, till this time enslavement in its modern form exists, don't you hear about kidnapping nets?! They kidnap children and sell them, especially from eastern Asia, the Balkans and other hot points of the world.
They misuse them in many bad fields such as prostitution, smuggling drugs, magic, taking their body parts etc. You will find all these abuses in Europe, not in Muslim countries. The history of slave trade in Europe by piracy and kidnapping is well known. The Afro Americans are not but a sign of white trade!!
For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 357964, 256111, 84431, and 83687.
Allah knows best.

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