A diffident and apologetic sister from Oregon discovers the Quranic basis of abolitionism

Floris Noor to Ismaa’eel Abu Adam

I am so sad that you have given up your Iman but I pray and hope you will return to Allah. It really pains me to see a practicing muslim like you leaving Islam only because you have somehow concluded that Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was infallible, divine or angelic while his actions tell you otherwise. I know many muslims over glorify him and the opposite is true with Wahabbism. There are the two extremes. The middle path is realizing, that he was a human, a politician, a 7th century ARAB, and a prophet of Allah. I guess I am able to accept that. I weigh his side which my 21st century lifestyle cannot comprehend, but when I look at the Progressive laws/rules and regulations he introduced in 7th century, it out weighs the other side. I don’t believe there is any morality in slavery but I also know it exited in 7th century Arabia. Even though Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and Quran doesn’t command to abolish it, but the out pouring regulations that were applied to this practice are far more convincing to me that it cannot be from anyone but God. You also talk about “imagine your wife, your sister etc " May I say, IF you were living in a 7th century Arabia, would you rather be a slave under Muhammad, or slave under other religions/culture? I know that the best option would be there was no slavery but if we are dealing with practical life and ground realities, we need to address them.He was a MAN! he wasn’t an angel nor a god. He was a politician, a strange king who LIMITED to 9 wives, 2 slaves in an era when he would not have been questioned for having MORE than 100 even. Why stop at 9 when he could have had as many as he wanted? Ok let’s say for argument sake, because wives have rights so he didn’t want to deal with that but what about slaves? Why not have 100s? I mean come on, Thomas jefferson, the father of our constitution even had 300 slaves in 18th century and no one questioned his integrity because 300 is socially acceptable in 18th century. 7th century slave practice would have justified having a lot more than 2 slaves, don’t you think? It would look bad for him if it was in 21st century, but in 7th century it was a norm for kings to have many while Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم only few? How do you rationalize that? The embarrassment (like you mentioned in case of christian slave woman) that you claim he wanted to avoid, it almost seems like you are looking at 7th century Arabia through the glasses on 21st century man. What embarrassment because in 7th century, it was not just normal, but accepted. Let’s come back to recent history when slave owners, our founding fathers’ wives knew who their husbands are sleeping with and the kids that are born through them. The only difference is that in 18th century, those kids are considered slaves while Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم accepted and wept for his sons who died, one of whom was born through his slave girl. I am sorry if this doesn’t shock you. 7th century man sounds way more progressive than Thomas Jefferson who has given us our “21st century constitutional rights" that we so proudly take as highest level of living standards. Unless you are willing to GIVE UP your constitutional rights because they were penned down by, according to your moral standards, by very immoral and cruel men. You need to remind yourself, its IMMORAL for 21st century, in 7th century even the enslaved didn’t consider it immoral because they would enslave others if given the opportunity. You spoke about saffiya, while completely ignoring the fact that she has transmitted hadiths and has praised Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم saying, he has the “best of character" than any man she knew. That statement means she compared him with her father, her brother and her ex-killed husband and yet she found him the man with best of character. Killing of those men was not to marry Saffiya only which I know you know! their execution was a political move which could mean life and death for muslims of that time.May I recommend you do some introspection because I feel, you left christianity but not the indoctrination of finding divinity in humans. In psychology we call it subconscious social conditioning. It is a mindset, attitude that we learn UNCONSCIOUSLY. The celibacy lifestyle, the catholic fathers, saints and mothers who devoid their beastial nature any gratification, that life is of lie which is not Islam. Jesus is made out to be divine, so he never had wives or any sexual relation, as if sex is sinful filthy. Islam doesn’t preach that and recognizes beastial desires, only teaches us to regulate and control. Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم was not god, he did have urges, he did feel pain, he did desire women and he did lead people towards a much higher social standards than what was being practiced around him, in 7th century Arabia.You bring 7th century social practices into 21st century then even their dressing will bother you. Their level of hygiene will bother you. But that would be irrational and flawed way of looking at History and Islam. What Muhammad did was the best in his social context. Islam is not “practicing slavery" or how many times you can or must have sex with who and where. these are not part of the foundation of our faith. To be a muslim, this is the Hadith that holds significance FOR ALL TIMES because it defines Islam. What you are describing is not Islam, but the prescription which was written for a 7th century Arabian society. I am pasting the Hadith that pin-points at what ISLAM is for eternity. (read closely because no where in it is stated that belief in 7th century rules & regulations is part of Islam)While we were one day sitting with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), there appeared before us a man dressed in extremely white clothes and with very black hair. No traces of journeying were visible on him, and none of us knew him. He sat down close by the Prophet (peace be upon him), rested his knee against his thighs, and said, “O Muhammad! Inform me about Islam."The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, that you should perform salah, pay the Zakah, fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj to the House, if you are able to do so."The man said, “You have spoken truly." We were astonished at his questioning him (the Messenger) and telling him that he was right, but he went on to say, “Inform me about iman."He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, “It is that you believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in qadar (fate), both in its good and in its evil aspects." He said, “You have spoken truly."Then he (the man) said, “Inform me about Ihsan." He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, “It is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him, for though you cannot see Him yet (know that) He sees you."He said, “Inform me about the Hour." He (the Messenger of Allah) said, “About that, the one questioned knows no more than the questioner." So he said, “Well, inform me about the signs thereof." He said, “They are that the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, that you will see the barefooted, naked, destitute, the herdsmen of the sheep (competing with each other) in raising lofty buildings." Thereupon the man went of. I waited a while, and then he (the Messenger of Allah) said, “O Umar, do you know who that questioner was?" I replied, “Allah and His Messenger know better." He said, “That was Jibril (the Angel Gabriel). He came to teach you your religion."
Ishmael Abraham Assalamu alaykum sister May Allah reward you for the passionate and persuasive comment on brother Isma’eel’s timeline. I would add that Quran 90:11-13 does abolish slavery by saying that if we want to liberate our souls from a valley in Hellfire called aqabah we must liberate slaves. And, liberation from Hellfire is an eternal issue transcending 7th century.
Floris Noor JazakAllah khayr…this is so beautiful and precise “…And have shown him the two ways? But he has not broken through the difficult pass. And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass? It is the FREEING of a slave Or feeding on a day of severe hunger…"

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