It says in The Kuwaiti encylopedia that the purpose of slavery is to punish the disbelievers for not submitting to God. It also says that slavery is humiliation for the enslaved person.

Please see:

If this is the purpose of slavery, to humiliate those who do not submit to God, then why does Islam allow a muslim to be a slave?

  • For example a non muslim slave may convert to Islam, but from what I understand it is still not a leal obligation to free him/her; or a woman can give birth to a slave child who can be raised as a muslim slave.

There is a hadith that a fellow muslim cannot be mistreated, so I am asking for clarification.

  • ENslaving is punishment for Kufr not retention as a slave. A Muslim who is free is never enslaved however one who is already a slave is kept a slave because of reasons, such as to protect the right of the owner and more.
    – UmH
    Commented Jul 9 at 11:37
  • I see, so if the generals of a society refused to accept Islam or be dhimis and thereafter, that society was defeated in war by the Muslims, is slavery basically a collective punishment on everyone in the nation because the leaders didn't accept it?
    – user56846
    Commented Jul 9 at 12:42
  • You are now asking a different question. Whether or not enslavement can occur consists of two details: i) Disbelief. This must exist on the individual level, one who was already a Muslim before the battle can not be enslaved, even if he lives inside non-Muslim territory. ii) Lack or Breach of treaty. This applies at the level of the faction. Any individual who endorses or remains silent on the actions of his tribe and does not instead disavow them and join the Muslims before the battle will have the same legal status as the leaders of his faction.
    – UmH
    Commented Jul 9 at 14:28

1 Answer 1


I had not seen such an interpretation (at least in Shia Islam). As far as I have seen, slavery in Islam was way different than slavery prior to Islam. You probably know one of the reasons Arabs used to consider the holy prophet PBUH as their enemy was that he was considering those slaves equal in humanity to those who were free. Balal was a slave, Ammar and his parents were slaves, and Salman was a slave. Islam wanted them to be free. But then there is a slavery in Islam itself, which is way different. Slavery was a mean to treat those who were enemy to Islam and took part in wars against Islam, for them to live inside Muslim houses, closely touch an Islimic style of life, get familiar with Islamic beliefs, in the hope to become a Muslim. Muslims were commanded how to treat the slaves, to feed them, to dress them, and the slaves had rights and rules of themselves, different than those of free people but anyway there were rules. The owner was not like their god, and had duties about them, and was responsible about them in front of Allah. Also Islam defined the notion of freeing the slaves, as a mechanism for the slaves who have changed to Islam to be freed in several opportunities, like when someone break his fast intentionally, and he should set slaves free (if he has any slave left for him). This was due to such rules that you see there remained almost no slave in the Islamic territory after some years. That ISIS used to get slaves is not part of Islam, and at least in Shia Islam no one can even get slave now in the absence of the holy prophet PBUH and his succeeders, PBUT.

As for reference, cf. here and here for some rules about slavery in Islam, and specifically look here in the second link above, which is about being kind to slaves. Then look at here where the website of the grand Ayatullah Makarem Shirazi explains why Islam didn't forbid slavery but conduct rules to restrict it, and here where the same website addresses several questions regarding slavery in Islam mainly from the Shia point of view. (The references are all in Persian, so you should use a translator if required.)

PS. I have seen Jaziyyeh being stated as a mean for humiliation of Kuffar who want not to convert to Islam in wars and etc., but about slavery I have not seen before this interpretation, and Allah knows best.

  • This useless with no explanation from ulema Commented yesterday
  • @MohammadAlam, added several links to support the answer. (I am only familiar with the Shia point of view.)
    – owari
    Commented yesterday

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