What happens when authorities you venerate condone something you know is wrong?
Every major religion and philosophy once condoned or approved of slavery, but in modern times nothing is seen as more evil. Americans confront this crisis of authority when they erect statues of Founding Fathers who slept with their slaves. And Muslims faced it when ISIS revived sex-slavery, justifying it with verses from the Quran and the practice of Muhammad.
Exploring the moral and ultimately theological problem of slavery, Jonathan A.C. Brown traces how the Christian, Jewish and Islamic traditions have tried to reconcile modern moral certainties with the infallibility of God’s message. He lays out how Islam viewed slavery in theory, and the reality of how it was practiced across Islamic civilization. Finally, Brown carefully examines arguments put forward by Muslims for the abolition of slavery.
CONTENTS Introduction: Can We Talk About Slavery?
What I Argue in this Book
Apology for Slavery?
Power and the Study of Slavery
Blackness, Whiteness and Slavery 1. Does ‘Slavery’ Exist? The Problem of Definition
The Main Argument
Definition: A Creative Process
Definition to Discourse: A Political Process
Defining ˈslā-v(ə-)rē: We Know It When We See It
Defining Slavery as Status or a Condition
Slavery as Unfreedom
Slavery as Human Property
Slavery as Distinction: The Lowest Rung & Marginality
Slavery as Coercion & Exploitation under the Threat of Violence
The Problem with Modern-Day Slavery
Slavery & Islam – A Very Political Question
Conclusion: Of Course, Slavery Exists
The Proper Terms for Speaking about ‘Slavery’ 2. Slavery in the Shariah
What Islam Says about Slavery – Ideals and Reality
Slavery in the Quran & Sunna
Inheriting the Near East – Roman, Jewish and Near Eastern Laws versus Islam
Islam’s Reform of Slavery
Basic Principles of Riqq
in the Shariah
The Ambiguities of Slavery in the Shariah Riqq
& Rights in the Shariah
Summary: Law and Ethics 3. Slavery in Islamic Civilization
What is Islamic Civilization?
Is there ‘Islamic Slavery’?
The Shariah & Islamic Slavery
The Classic Slavery Zone
Consuming People & ‘Ascending Miscegenation’
Routes of the Muslim Slave Trade
Blackness and Slavery in Islamic Civilization
The Roles and Experiences of Slaves in Islamic Civilization
The Slave as Uprooted Person and Commodity
The Slave as Domestic Labor . . . Even Trusted Member of a Household
Slave as Sexual Partner
Slave as Saint, Scholar or Poet
Slave as Elite Administrator & Courtesan
Slave as Soldier – When Soldiers often Ruled
Slave as Rebel 4. The Slavery Conundrum
No Squaring the Circle: The American/Islamic Slavery Conundrum
Slavery is Evil Religions and Slavery
Slavery is Slavery: The Problem of Labeling ‘Slavery’ with One Moral Judgment
The Past as Moral Authority: Can We Part with the Past? 5. Abolishing Slavery in Islam
Is Abolition Indigenous to Islam or Not?
Islam as Emancipatory Force – An Alternative History
Abolishing Slavery . . . For Whom? Concentric Circles of Abolition
‘The Lawgiver Looks Expectantly Towards Freedom’ – Abolition as an Aim of the Shariah
Doubling Down – Progressive Islam & the Axiomatic Evil of Slavery
Prohibited by the Ruler but Not by God: The Crucial Matter of Taqyid al-Mubah
If You Can’t Do it Right, You Can’t Do it at All – Prohibiting Riqq
Same Shariah, Diff erent Conditions – The Obsolescence or Unfavorability of Slavery
Slavery: A Moot Point & Bad PR
Defending Slavery in Islam 6. The Prophet & ISIS: Evaluating Muslim Abolition
Do Muslim Approaches to Abolition Pass Moral Muster?
A Consensus on Abolition
Could Slavery in Islam ever be Unabolished?
Abolition vs. ISIS
This Author’s Opinion 7. Concubines and Consent: Can We Solve the Moral Problem of Slavery?
Species of Moral Change
Moral Disgust at Slavery Today
Conclusion & Crisis: Concubinage and Consent
Disbelief is Unproductive Appendices Select Bibliography Notes Index