I know that Muhammad encouraged the freeing of slaves throughout his lifetime, but I'm wondering why it wasn't eventually made forbidden to own slaves, like for example how alcohol was made forbidden?


Islam banned all forms of slavery except within the context of war where slavery serves as an alternative to a captive being killed when the ruler deems the individual unfit to be released or ransomed. It's a way to save the captive's life (the end goal still being the freeing of slaves). Outside of war, slavery is forbidden. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said in hadith that on the Day of Judgement, he will be against "one who sells a free person (as a slave) and eats the price" ~ Bukhari 2227.

Slavery serving this purpose within war is the reason there is no total Qur'anic ban on slavery whereas, in contrast, there being no usefulness and mostly harms associated with alcohol is the reason there is a direct Qur'anic ban on alcohol.

  • "There being no usefulness...associated with alcohol" The Qur'an explicitly states there's still benefit to wine and gambling, yet that is still forbidden where slavery is not. Your post really doesn't get to the heart of why there's an apparent double standard here, which I believe is what the questioner is ultimately looking for. – goldPseudo May 23 '19 at 20:52
  • The Quran also explicitly states in the same verse that you are referring to that the harms far exceed the benefit. I've sufficiently pointed out that slavery serves a greater societal benefit whereas alcohol serves a greater societal harm. – Muslimah May 24 '19 at 0:29
  • ^ You said the reason for it not being banned in the Quran is because there are cases in which slavery is beneficial, but I still wonder why the Quran doesn't stipulate these conditions and explain under what circumstances slavery is permissible . It is only the hadith which you mentioned that says something about it. Also, regarding that hadith Bukhari 2227, it seems it is merely referring to selling a free person as a slave, but what about selling a person who already IS a slave? Also, what does "eats the price" mean? – John Doe May 24 '19 at 4:22
  • Also, that hadith seems to cover all contexts, including wartime in the disapproval of selling free men/women into slavery. – John Doe May 24 '19 at 4:36
  • Also I forgot to include as part of my questions 2 posts ago ^^: What happens if someone simply wants to keep a slave they already own? ( neither buying nor selling occurs in this case). – John Doe May 24 '19 at 4:38

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