The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Islam is closed to dhimmis and other slaves

Within a post collecting Dr. Jonathan Brown's apologiae for, er, sex slavery at Georgetown University, Robert Spencer quotes this hadith, from Jabir (bin Abd Allah, d. 78 / 697 at the Madina):

There came a slave and pledged allegiance to Allah's Apostle on migration; he did not know that he was a slave. Then there came his master and demanded him back, whereupon Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Sell him to me. And he bought him for two black slaves, and he did not afterwards take allegiance from anyone until he had asked him whether he was a slave.

First, observe that there are no names mentioned here except for the Prophet's own, and that this event does not affect the narrative of the Sira. There isn't even an appeal to the Qur'an. The hadith's sole purpose is to pass a judgement in fiqh, and to date this judgement to on migration which means Year One A.H.

The hadith's legal-case assumes that the lot of a slave under a Muslim master was an unpleasant one. We have already discussed here the case of Safiya, sex slave to Muhammad himself. If Islamic masters were so wonderful, Jabir would have had his Muhammad character accept their slaves' Islam, and the slave in this story would have returned with joy to his Muslim master and redoubled his efforts on his behalf.

Now, consider the situation under Abd al-Malik in the 70s / 690s. MANY dhimmis were converting to Islam, or pretending to, in order to get out of paying jizya. They were also fleeing the farm to get out of kharaj. (You will notice that they did not plead to be made formal slaves to a Muslim master.) When al-Hajjaj was appointed over the East, he forced the ex-dhimmi pretended "mawali" back to serfdom. This is not long after Jabir's death.

It is reasonable to suspect that in Jabir's lifetime slaves were escaping their plantations in the Dead Sea and Khuzistan to get out of the (horrible) conditions there, too. A runaway professing Islam could appeal to an Islamic court. Against that, Jabir's hadith floated a Prophetic precedent - reject the slave's Islam; and if he cannot be reunited with his master then the Islamic State will find two slaves to recompense him. No mere qadi may appeal the judgement of God's Prophet. As for whatever slaves ran away after this ruling took effect, which again is backdated to 1 A.H., the hadith revokes Islam from them, so they may be treated in the classical way you have seen on Game of Thrones.

This ruling assumes that slaves were cheap. This agrees best with the early years of the futuh conquests. Also after Sebastopolis in the 70s / 690s, the Mediterranean was reopened to piracy.

posted by Zimri on 09:52 | link | 0 comments

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