Qur'an 47:4 is as follows:

So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken vengeance upon them [Himself], but [He ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of Allah - never will He waste their deeds. [47:4]

According to this verse, Allah commands us to leave prisoners of war either out of generosity or for a ransom. If the only way to obtain slaves is capturing them at war, how can one obtain new slaves in the light of this verse?

Essentially, doesn't this verse effectively put an end to slavery ?

  • 1
    It would be nice if you can include the resources that led to making the conclusion "that the only way to obtain slaves is capturing them at war" or capturing slaves in general!
    – Aboudi
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 16:02

1 Answer 1


You are confusing "obtaining slaves" with "enslaving people".

It is right (@Aboudi can read about it here) that Islam restricts the way to enslave people to prisoners of war that are not Muslim, as well as their wives and children.

But that does not mean one cannot buy human beings that are already slaves, effectively "obtaining new slaves".

The verse you cite is not considered as an abrogation for verses about prisoners of war, it is considered as extra options one can have regarding prisoners of war. To the best of my knowledge, there is no interpretation of this verse as a "naskhe" of the other verses, especially since it was revealed - if I remember correctly - well before the Banu Qurayza events, in which women and children were enslaved.

So no, while Islam prevented many ways of acquiring slaves and enslaving free people, as well as encouraged many ways to free slaves and took many steps in that direction, it most definitely did not put an end to slavery.

(If something is unclear, please do comment and I will edit my answer ;)


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