Slavery in Islam and the Bible: What’s the Difference?


Muhammad, as per the Koran in Surah 33:21 (and elsewhere), is a "beautiful pattern" in regards to human conduct. He is considered sinless, the last of the prophets, the seal of the prophets, and the supreme example of conduct for all of mankind to follow. His "Sunnah" is the basis for Islamic Law and jurisprudence. And yet . . . He was a slaver. He did not just own slaves, he enslaved men who were once free.

Further, he was not a simply a man of his time as there were people in his time that opposed slavery. The abolition of slavery had to be imposed on much of Africa and the Middle East due in part to Muhammad's example of owning slaves. Muhammad was not a just man, but clearly a false prophet.

Of course the Bible allowed for slavery, and Islam claims to be aligned with the Bible, but it also allowed for the abolition or prohibition of slavery. There can be and there was a prohibitionist movement in Christianity; however, there cannot be a legitimate prohibitionist movement in Islam. There has not been one, nor will there ever be one. 

Christianity views prophets as men who sin. Muslims view all prophets as sinless. Muhammad obviously falls into this category, but in Islam it goes a huge step further and declares Muhammad's example to be an example from God that all people are to emulate. As such, slavery is "halal," which means "acceptable." It is a sin in Islam to render something "haram" ("prohibited") which God has deemed "halal" (and vice versa). In Christianity and Judaism, the institution of slavery had God's approval. However, in Islam, it is God's command.

David Whitsell
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