1.In 1,400 years of Islamic history there was never a movement to end slavery in a Muslim country and by Muslims.The only exception is Mauritania,Africa, where 340,000 to 680,000 people of Mauritania’s 3.4 million population are slaves. Despite that Mauritania abolished slavery in 1989 and again in 2007.
Check it out:
2.The reason is that the Koran says a slave has to have the permission of his master to be free,the master can free him but if he thinks he deserves it(chapter 24:33 of the Koran).
About the Chrisitan record on opposition to slavery
There is a Christian scholar called David Marshall who knows alot,it is impressive.He verifies what he says.Now he has debated atheist scholar Richard Carrier(who believes there is a 75% probability that Jesus never existed).
Check out David Marshall’s blog “Christ the Tao”(Way)
Tao is the Chinese word for “way”.Marshall has great knowledge of Chinese civilization.
The interesting books written by Marshall
1.”Jesus and the Religions of Man”(2000)
2.”True Son of Heaven: How Jesus Fulfills the Chinese Culture”(2002)
3.”Why the Jesus Seminar can’t find Jesus, and Grandma Marshall Could: A Populist Defense of the Gospels”(2005)
4.”The Truth Behind the New Atheism: Responding to the Emerging Challenges to God and Christianity”(2007)
5.”The Truth About Jesus and the “Lost Gospels”: A Reasoned Look at Thomas, Judas, and the Gnostic Gospels” (2007)
You can order them here in Amazon:
A very informative article by David Marshall on Christian opposition to slavery
Since he is a careful scholar I here repeat the content of the article but I rearrange it a bit to make it a little easier to digest.
But first,information that did not appear in David Marshall’s article
It is pertinent and refers to NT verses not included by him.
In the New Testament
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:20-21:
“Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.
1.Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it
2.But if you can become free,do it.”
Paul says to the slave that he can get freedom by himself while in the Koran it is with the permission of the master.
Why did Paul express himself that way?
Because in the Antiquity there was alot of injustice.Many became slaves due to kidnapping.
Example: the Case of Julius Ceaser
He was captured by pirates when a young man.An enormous amount was asked for his freedom.If he had not got it then Julius Ceaser would have been sold as a slave by the pirates.In spite of it,when Ceaser conquered Gaul(France) he sold 1 million of its inhabitants as slaves.
Jesus says he is the Slave of All
“Yet it will not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.And whoever of you desires to be first will be slave(Note:doulos,in Greek)of all.
For even the Son of Man(Note:Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
The Golden Rule and Hebrews
1.The Golden Rule,which is the given the status of Law by Jesus and Paul and others in the NT.
2.Law is the highest level in Judaism and it is simply:
“Do to others as you you would have them do to you”.
To read all the Golden Rule verses in the NT
“The Specific Reason the Golden Rule is the Heart of the NT and Not of the Koran”
Here it is in Hebrews 13:3:
“Remember the prisoner as if you were a prisoner. And remember those who are treated badly as if you yourselves were suffering.”
Slaves are definitely prisoners,they are not free,and many times were badly treated.
Condemation of slave-trafficking,in effect,condemnation of slavery(2 examples)
1.If you are a slave-trafficker,who kidnapped some men and women, then you are in possession of slaves.
2.Thus for a brief time,till you sell them,you are a slaveowner.Here are the 2 examples where slave-traffickers are condemned as evil.
Example 1(by Paul)
1 Timothy 1:8-10(Young’s Literal Translation):
“And we have known that the law is good, if any one may use it lawfully;having known this, that for a righteous man law is not set,
but for lawless and insubordinate persons, ungodly and sinners, impious and profane,
parricides and matricides, men-slayers,whoremongers, sodomites, men-stealers,
Here the author talks of the time of the Antichrist.
“Standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, “Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.”
1.And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her,
2.Because no one buys their cargoes any more:
3.Cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood
4.And every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble, and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots
5.And slaves(Note:literally “bodies” in Greek) and human lives.
And now the Content of the Article by David Marshall:
Timeline of the Christian Abolitionist Movement
In the New Testament( 2 examples)
50s AD: Paul writes:
“In Christ, there is neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free.” (Galatians 3:28)
The full implications have been debated ever since; certainly it precludes treating slaves as less than human.
In the 60s:
Paul writes a letter to his fellow Christian, Philemon, asking that he take back Onesimus “no longer as a slave, but as a brother.” His meaning has been debated ever since.
In the time of the Roman Empire(which ended in 475)
In the 300s:
Ambrose, bishop of Milan, melts down communion vessels to redeem captives: “The ornament of my sacrament is the redemption of captives; and those alone are precious vessels, that redeem souls from death.”
Paulinus, bishop of Nola, liberates his own slaves, spends his considerable wealth redeeming citizens of Campania, and then, (allegedly, will need to look into this further), goes into slavery to redeem one captive.
Gregory of Nyssa,an important Christian cleric, critiques slavery in the light of Christian theology:
“‘I obtained servants and maidens.’”What are you saying? You condemn man who is free and autonomous to servitude,
and you contradict God by perverting the natural law. Man, who was created as lord over the earth, you have put under the yoke of servitude as a transgressor and rebel against the divine precept. You have forgotten the limit of your authority which consists in jurisdiction over brutish animals . . . “
“God has said, ‘Let us make man according to our image and likeness’ [Gen 1.26]. Since we are made according to God’s likeness and are appointed to rule over the entire earth, tell me, who is the person who sells and buys? . . . How can we properly estimate the earth in its entirety as well as its contents? If these things are inestimable, tell me, how much greater is man’s value who is over them . . . ? ”
Socrates Scholasticus, a contemporary historian, tells how Acacius, Bishop of Amida in modern Turkey, talked his priests into melting down holy vessels in order to redeem 7,000 Persian captives and send them home. He explains:
“Our God, my brethren, needs neither dishes nor cups; for he neither eats nor drinks, nor is in want of anything. Since then, by the liberality of its faithful members the church possesses many vessels both of gold and silver, it behooves us to sell them, that by the money thus raised we may be able to redeem the prisoners and also supply them with food.”
1.Augustine(354-430),born in what is now Algeria, was the most important Christian philosopher of Antiquity,a convert to Christianity from paganism,
2.And author of “The City of God”(his masterpiece) and “The Confessions”(his autobiography).
St. Augustine argues that, while slavery occurs as punishment for sins, and might be a just substitute for killing soldiers on the losing side of a just war, it was not part of God’s plan for humanity:
“This relationship is prescribed by the order of nature, and it is in this situation that God created man. For he says, ‘Let him have lordship over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky . . . and all the reptiles that crawl on the earth.’ He did not wish the rational being, made in his own image, to have dominion over any but irrational creatures, not man over man, but man over the beasts . . . The origins of the Latin word for slave, servus, is believed to be derived from the fact that those who by the laws of war could rightly be put to death by the conquerors, became servi, slaves, when they were preserved . . . But even this enslavement could not have happened, if it were not for the deserts of sin . . . ”
“The first cause of servitude, therefore, is sin, by which man was placed under man in a condition of bondage: a condition which can come about only by the judgment of God, in Whom there is no injustice.”
“By nature, then, in the condition in which God first created man, no man is the slave either of another man or of sin. But it is also true that servitude itself is ordained as a punishment by that law which enjoins the preservation of the order of nature, and forbids its disruption . . . The apostle therefore admonishes servants to be obedient to their masters, and to serve them loyally and with a good will, so that, if they cannot be freed by their masters, they can at least make their own slavery to some extent free . . .” (City of God, Book 19, chapter 15)
Doug also brings to my attention a letter from Augustine to his friend Alypius (who he writes about in the Confessions; by this time bishop of the nearby city of Tagaste). In the letter, apparently written in 428 AD, he writes sadly that in Africa “there is now an enormous crowd of what are called mangones” (slave-traders), who were “draining the population” of North Africa. Slave-traders inhabit wild places to waylay travelers, and break into peoples’ homes to snatch children. (One of whom, having been liberated, he describes interviewing.) He recounts how, in one incident, the Christians of Hippo liberated more than a hundred slaves:
“Let me give you just one example, and you can estimate from it the total extent of their activity throughout Africa and along its coasts. About four months before I wrote this letter, a crowd of people collected from different regions, but particularly from Numidia, were brought here by Galatian merchants to be transported from the shores of Hippo (It is only, or at least mainly, the Galatians who are so eager to engage in this form of commerce). However, a faithful Christian was at hand, who was aware of our practice of performing acts of mercy in such cases; and he brought the news to the church. Immediately, about 120 people were set free by us (though I was absent at the time), some from the ship which they had to board, others from a place where they had been hidden before being put on board. We discovered that barely five or six of these had been sold by their parents. On hearing about the misfortunes that had led the rest of them to the Galatians, via their abductors and kidnappers, hardly one of us could restrain their tears.”
1.St. Patrick(387-460) (patron saint of Ireland) rebukes Coroticus for enslaving Christians and threatens him with damnation.
2.Patrick,born in Wales,was captured by the then pagan Irish and taken to Ireland.He was a slave for 6 years,from ages 16-22.
“I do not know what to lament more: those who have been slain, or those whom they have taken captive, or those whom the devil has mightily ensnared. Together with him they will be slaves in Hell in an eternal punishment; for who commits sin is a slave and will be called a son of the devil.”
The assumption here, which has NT precedent, is that slave-trading is a “sin,” and a particularly nasty one, showing that the sinner is “mightily ensnared” by the devil. Patrick’s rant continues:
“Far from the love of God is a man who hands over Christians to the Picts and Scots . . .They have filled their houses with the spoils of dead Christians, they live on plunder . . . This is the custom of the Roman Christians of Gaul: they send holy and able men to the Franks and other heathen with so many thousand solidi to ransom baptized captives. You prefer to kill and sell them to a foreign nation that has no knowledge of God. You betray the members of Christ as it were into a brothel. What hope have you in God, or anyone who thinks as you do, or converses with you in words of flattery? God will judge.”
The Koran does allow Freeing Slaves but make it Conditional
If the master thinks the slave deserves it he frees a slave.
“And let those who find not the means to marry be abstinent till God enriches them of His bounty.
1.Those your right hands own (Note:slaves) who seek emancipation, contract with them accordingly
2.If you know some good in them (Note:if you think the slave deserves freedom)
And give them of the wealth of God that He has given you. And constrain not your slave-girls to prostitution, if they desire to live in chastity, that you may seek the chance goods of the present life. Whosoever constrains them, surely God, after their being constrained, is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.”
It is also made implicit in this verse:
“O Prophet, say to the captives (Note:people made slaves in war) in your hands:
1. “If God knows of any good in your hearts (Note:if you deserve it)
2.He will give you better than what has been taken from you
(Note:they had just been made slaves,their freedom had been taken away) ,
and He will forgive you; surely God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.” ”
“You are taking it out of Context!”
That is the accusation made by Muslims and some on-Muslims.They mean to say is:
1.There is something in the Koran that limits the slavery passages to the 23 year career of Muhammad from 610-632.Muhammad died in 632.
2.Or something in the Islamic tradition and later writings.
Not according to Muhammad’s closest Companions
In reality there is nothing that limits it to Muhammad’s life.Slavery has been part of Islamic law for some 1300 years and the first 4 caliphs of Islam were friends and even relatives of Muhammad.
1.Abu Bekr:his father-in-law (ruled 632-634)
2.Omar (ruled 634-644,assasinated)
3.Othman (ruled 644-656-assasinated)
4.Ali:cousin and son-in-law (ruled 656-661,assasinated)
They all,as far as we can tell,approved of enslaving others.No documents regarding them say they ever thought slavery was a temporary institution,to gradually disappear.
To verify the Koranic citations go to quranbrowser.com, which has:
1.Six translations by Muslims.
2.Four translations by non-Muslims.
3.The text in Arabic,with Latin letters.
To verify the Bible citations
In this website you have the Bible in many languages(Spanish,English,