Muhammad's views on slavery
Muḥammad - (محمد)
Available historical sources confirm the circumstances of Muhammad's direction and ownership of slaves including slave concubines – amounting to at least 34 males and some 16 females – commencing in his infancy with the death of his father and continuing uninterrupted until his own death more than six decades later.
His slaves and slave associates, including former slaves, came from a diversity of African and Middle Eastern origins. Amongst them are those whom he inherited or qualified to own as offspring of his existing slaves, those he accepted as gifts, those that he purchased or sold, some of whom he personally manumitted or otherwise assisted to emancipate, those who were captured – often in his military campaigns, and even some of his wives and other members of his household. 
His attitudes and pronouncements regarding the subject of slavery reveal abiding belief in the principle of a slave's loyalty to her or his master and in a master's circumscribed duty of reciprocation. By their fiat a master could sell and may trade their slaves, was not required to free or repatriate those no longer wanted, and was empowered to deem which were worthy to be granted a mukataba while holding authorisation to deny property and earnings to those not so deemed. Female slaves were not permitted to withhold their fertility from a master even through married to another at the time of their enslavement, they had no ownership of their mahr, they could not marry without their master's consent, and they might (in the interpretation of Shi'a jurisprudence) even be compelled to sexually serve a third party.
Muhammad would send his companions like Abu Bakr and Uthman ibn Affan to buy slaves to free. Many early converts to Islam were the poor and former slaves like Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi.
He restricted the traditional means of enslavement, he established a principle that slaves may have authority over free men in Islamic government and religious and military affairs, he urged compassion and moderation as the general rule for their treatment, he enforced emancipation as the necessary atonement for having assaulted one's slave without just cause, and he deemed manumission as either meritorious or as a means or requirement for muslims to earn forgiveness for serious transgressions.
Slavery in Islam 
The major juristic schools of Islam have historically accepted the institution of slavery. Muhammad and those of his companions who could afford it themselves owned slaves, some of which they emancipated, and others of which they additionally acquired from amongst captured prisoners of war. Arabian slaves are posited to have benefited from the Islamic reformulation, through "reforms of a humanitarian tendency both at the time of Muhammad and the later early caliphs".
In Islamic law, the topic of slavery is covered at great length. Muhammad's fiqh brought major changes considered to have been of far-reaching effect to the practice of it inherited from antiquity, from Rome, and from Byzantium.
His Qur'an propounds manumission to be a meritorious deed either prescribed or allowed as a condition of repentance for certain grave sins and shortcomings. Fiqh treats slavery as an exceptional circumstance, applying a rebuttable presumption of freeborn status to those of doubtful or unclear origins. Moreover, as opposed to pre-Islamic slavery, it permits the origination of enslavement in only two classes or circumstances: capture in war, or birth to parents who are themselves both already enslaved. Also, the innovation of the mukataba availed slaves deemed worthy [Quran 24:33] an opportunity to purchase or earn their own eventual emancipation, and Islamic elevation of the status of an umm walad (a female slave who had born a child acknowledged by her master as his offspring) restricting some of the possibilities for such a woman to be enslaved to an alternative master while the child remained alive.
His slave associates 
Shortly after his birth he was suckled by Thueiba, a slave of his uncle Abu Lahab, for a few days. He and Khadija retained a warm relationship with her, regularly offering her gifts until the occurrence of her death in 7 AH. Khadijah's boy slave Maisara is known to have accompanied Muhammad on his journeys with her caravans in the period prior to the latter's marriage to her.
The Ethiopian Abu Bakra (full name Nufay ibn Haris al Masruh), is an example of a fugitive slave who sought refuge amongst the Muslims, fought for them as a traitor besieging his community at Ta'if, himself became Muslim, and was refused to be returned to that community or to any condition of enslavement by Muhammad. Nine other slaves of the besieged garrison at Taif also availed themselves of Muhammad's offer to be freed as a reward for defection. As a free man he closely observed the sunnah of Muhammad in the role of one of his more trusted associates. He died in Basra in the year 51 or 52 AH (670–672 CE) and was the father of some 20 children.
Muhammad financially assisted Salman the Persian to redeem his own slave money. Salman's closeness to Muhammad is signified by the latter's description of him as "a member of my household". After converting to Islam he became notable for devising the successful military tactics employed by the Muslims in the Battle of the Trench and for pursuing the strategy of employing a catapult at the unsuccessful Siege of Ta'if. He died in 33, 36, or 37 AH (654–659 CE).
His slaves 
According to Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya, Muhammad "had many male and female slaves. He used to buy and sell them, but he purchased more than he sold, especially after God empowered him by His message, as well as after his immigration from Mecca. He once sold one black slave for two. His name was Jacob al-Mudbir. His purchases of slaves were more. He was used to renting out and hiring many slaves, but he hired more slaves than he rented out". The names and basic biographical details of some notable among those slaves are disclosed in early Islamic literature. Many additionally are themselves historical sources cited as narrators of hadith.
Close associates 
Zayd ibn Haritha from Yemen, also known as Abu Usama al Kalbi, was given by Khadijah to Muhammad, who in turn declared him free and adopted him. When adoption was forbidden by Islam, Muhammad became his guardian. He was appointed by Muhammad as the first commander in the Battle of Mu'tah He was often appointed by Muhammad as a commander of expeditions and he participated in all the battles engaged in by the Muslim Army from the Battle of Badr until his death at Mu'tah.
Usama ibn Zayd, the son of Zayd ibn Haritha and Umm Ayman, was raised under the auspices of Muhammad who is known to have said that among the children he was the one whom he loved most, with the exception of his own daughter, Fatimah. At the age of 18, he was appointed by Muhammad as the commander of the army in Syria. He died in 54, 58 or 59 AH (mid-to-late 670s CE).
Employed slaves 
Aslam, also known as Abu Rafi al Qibti ("the gypsy") was gifted to Muhammad by the latter's uncle Abbas and eventually set free. A participant in the Battle of Uhud, the Battle of the Trench, and the Battle of Khaybar. He worked as a carpenter.
Safeenah ibn Farookh, whose real name was Mihraan, is reported to have been named thus ("Anta safeenah (You are a ship)") by Muhammad because he and his companions used to make him carry heavy amounts of their luggage when they traveled. He was bought by Umm Salamah, and freed only on the condition that he serve Muhammad as long as he lived. He died around the year 79 AH (698 – 699 CE).
Mid’am, a Nubian black slave was presented to Muhammad by Rifaa ibn Zayd and killed as result of sustaining an arrow wound while unsaddling a camel of Muhammad's at the Battle of Khaybar. Kirkirah, another Nubian, was also killed at Khaybar.
Anjashah al-Haadi was a black slave noted as accompanying Muhammad on a journey and who Anas described as being reproached by him for driving camels too fast while women were mounted upon them.
Shamghun (Sham'un) ibn Zayd, better known as Abu Rahhana, was a guard slave of his who was for some time a border guard at Ashkelon. He participated in the conquest of Syria, and eventually settled there.
Military veterans and victims of hostilities 
Abu Muwayhabah was both purchased and set free by Muhammad. He was a member of the first Islamic school (the Ahl al Suffa, or "People of the Verandah") and a participant in the battle at al-Muraysi against the Banu Mustaliq in 628 where he was entrusted to escort the camel of Aisha. Otherwise Ayman, a son of Umm Ayman (see below) was killed at the Battle of Hunayn. and Yassaar, a Nubian, is another of his slaves reported as having been killed by the Arniyeen on another occasion.
- Abu Asib, also known as Ahmar. He resided in the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (the Grand Mosque at Medina), was known for his careful observance of sunnah, and was also a member of the Ahl al Suffa.
- Thawbaan ibn Bujdud, of Yemeni origin. After Muhammad's death he moved to Hims in the region of Syria.
- Abu Yasar Zayd bin Bula, a Negro who was captured in the Battle of Bani Salaba as an item of looted war spoils appropriated by Muhammad, who then set him free.
- Jacob al-Mudbir, a black slave sold for two others.
- Nafi. Emancipated by Muhammad.
- Rabaah, a Nubian. He attended the first Islamic school.
- Fudaalah, a Yemeni.
- Maaboor, a eunuch.
- Anasah, whose kunyah was Abu Mashrah.
- Tahmaan, also known as Keesaan.
- Marwaan, possibly yet another name of Tahmaan.
- Mihraan, alternatively known as Maymun.
- Waaqid and his father Abu Waaqid.
- 'Ubayd, literally "little servant".
- Abu Kabshah Sulaym, Aflah, Dhakwaan, Hunayn, Sandar, Qassaam, and Abu ‘Usayb
Wives and concubines 
Safiyya bint Huyayy, according to Islamic account, adopted Islam and became a wife of Muhammad. She lived more than a decade after him as a widow and became involved in the first power politics of the early Muslim community and left a large inheritance to her Jewish family.
Maria al-Qibtiyya, a Coptic slave given as a concubine to Muhammad by Muqawqis, the Byzantine ruler of Egypt and Alexandria, in the year 7 AH (about 629CE). She gave birth to Ibrahim ibn Muhammad  whom Muhammad loved dearly. Some sources indicate that she was freed and became Muhammad's wife, while other sources dispute this. Sirin (Shirin), the sister of Maria, was also given to Muhammad by Muqawqis. Muhammad saw fit to marry her to the poet Hassan ibn Thabit to whom she bore a son named Abdurrahman.
Salma (Umm Raafi’) was a concubine whom he later emancipated. She acted as a midwife within the household of Muhammad. She participated in the Battle of Khaybar as a nurse and cook for the Muslims. As mentioned above, she married Abu Rafi'. Maymoonah bint Sa’d, a servant, also said to have been a concubine and eventually set free. Umm al Rabab, or Mariya, was another concubine and Maymuna bint Abu Asib  was also was freed by him some time after his enjoying her as yet another one of his concubines.
- Umm Ayman, also known as Baraka, was a black Ethiopian whose real name was Baraka bint Sa'laba. She, along with five camels and a herd of sheep, was part of the livestock inheritance that Muhammad received from his father. She raised him and he addressed her as "mother" and referred to her as his "second mother". She participated in the Battle of Uhud as a water carrier, and in the Battle of Khaybar as a nurse and a cook. Upon marrying Khadijah, he freed her and he also arranged her marriage to Zayd.
- Rayhana bint Zayd. Captured after siege of Banu Quraiza.
- Unnamed. In December 627 the daughter of Omm Kirfa, a woman murdered by Zaid ibn Haritha and his associates in reprisal for her own association with those who had plundered Zaid's caravan near Wadi Al Cora, was presented as a slave to Muhammad who in turn presented her to one of his followers.
- Umm Ayyash. Known as one who assisted Muhammad to make wudhu. Emancipated.
- Maymoonah bint Abi ‘Usayb., Khadrah, Radwa, Razeenah, and Umm Dameerah.
Themes in his dealings with slaves and his approach to slavery 
Shortly after he began preaching Islam in his initial period in Mecca, several slaves allied themselves to him. Of them, Yasar and a Christian named are mentioned as being accused by the Quraysh of influencing him to foment political and relgious tumult in the city. In the same period a freed slave named Ammar and his family are recorded as being among the very earliest converts to Islam. While Muhammad remained building his religious community in their city, Quraysh rulers especially targeted converted slave Muslims among those that they persecuted with imprisonment and physical torments; see Yasir ibn Amir, Bilal ibn Ribah, Khabbab ibn al-Aratt, Abu Fakih, Abu Fuhayra, and Ammar ibn Yasir. Writing about that period, Muir has described that "the slaves of Mecca were peculiarly accessible to the solicitations of [Muhammad]. As foreigners they were generally familiar either with Judaism or Christianity. Isolated from the influences of hostile partisanship, persecution alienated them from the Quraysh, and misfortune made their hearts susceptible of spiritual impressions".
Once he gained the sponsorship of the clans of Medina and he began to accumulate political power through conquest and military and diplomatic successes his name became more often associated with instances of enslavement. Thus it is found that he voiced his approval of the enslavement of the captured women and children of the Bani Qurayza who had come under his authority after the military defeat of their menfolk. He expressed no qualms, either, about receiving slaves as gifts or seizing them as plunder and either holding them to the service of himself or distributing them as trophies amongst his followers. Behaving so, he presented three beautiful women from amongst imprisoned members of the conquered Banu Hawazin as slaves to his key supportive close marital relatives in early 630: Reeta, to Ali; Zeinab, to Uthman; and an unnamed third to Umar.; and several months later, the terms of Muhammad's treaty with the Jews of Mucna Adzruh and Jarba asserts his consequent personal ownership of "every slave amongst you ... excepting what the Apostle or his messenger shall remit".
In his personal example he did not emancipate all of his own slaves where he had the opportunity to do so during his lifetime, as the account of his final days and death mention the continuing attendance of his slaves as his servants beyond the time of his acknowledgment of the terminal character of his last illness. With his last instructions he addressed a number of subjects and took care to apportion his remaining gold but he did not emancipate or otherwise dispose of his remaining slaves who thus succeeded by inheritance to Fatimah.
His attitudes and pronouncements regarding slavery 
The circumstances where Muhammad reproved the beating of a slave who had transgressed against his or her master were those where the beating itself nullified the benefit to the master of the slave's punished independent charitable deed or otherwise because it created the circumstances of a blasphemy, not because of inherent abhorrence of aggression per se or of its effect upon the recipient. He condemned unjustified cruelty toward slaves even to the extent that for a master to slap her or his slave without just cause could only be atoned by freeing the slave. However, to his view the permission to beat a slave, still was broader than the analogous permission afforded to men with respect to free women under their authority. Generally he exhorted muslim believers to treat slaves with equanimity, and he commended the spirit of the act of manumission by a master equally to the degree that he damned the initiative of slave who might take their own freedom. To his very end he affirmed divine sanction for the authority of masters over slaves and he urged obedience to authorities - be they even peculiar foreign slaves - exercising Islamic rule.
Discipline by force 
|“||'Umair, the freed slave of Abi'l-Lahm, said: My master commanded me to cut some meat in strips; (as I was doing it) a poor man came to me and I gave him some of it to eat. My master came to know of that, and he beat me. I came to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and narrated it to him. He (the Holy Prophet) summoned him and said: Why did you beat him? He (Abi'l-Lahm) said: He gives away my food without being commanded to do so. Upon this he (the Holy Prophet) said: The reward would be shared by you two.||”|
|“||Zadhan reported that Ibn Umar called his slave and he found the marks (of beating) upon his back. He said to him: I have caused you pain. He said: No. But he (Ibn Umar) said: You are free. He then took hold of something from the earth and said: There is no reward for me even to the weight equal to it. I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who beats a slave without cognizable offence of his or slaps him (without any serious fault), then expiation for it is that he should set him free.||”|
|“||Abu Mas'ud reported that he had been beating his slave and he had been saying: I seek refuge with Allah, but he continued beating him, whereupon he said: I seek refuge with Allah's Messenger, and he spared him. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: By Allah, God has more dominance over you than you have over him (the slave). He said that he set him free.||”|
|“||Narrated 'Abdullah bin Zam'a: The Prophet forbade laughing at a person who passes wind, and said, "How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then he may embrace (sleep with) her?" And Hisham said, "As he beats his slave" ||”|
Wrongfulness of self-emancipation 
|“||God has forbidden the Paradise to the runaway slave"||”|
Obedience to Islamic government 
|“||I enjoin you to fear Allah, and to hear and obey even if it be an Abyssinian slave.||”|
Spiritual significance of manumission 
|“||And what will make you comprehend what the uphill road is? To free a slave, or the giving of food in a day of privation to an orphan near of kin or to the poor man lying in the dust. Then he is of those who believe and charge one another to show patience, and charge one another to show compassion. These are the people of the right hand.||”|
Final admonition 
Some reports of his Farewell Sermon incorporate the admonition:
|“||And your slaves! See that ye feed them with such food as ye eat yourselves; and clothe them with the stuff ye wear. And if they commit a fault which ye are not inclined to forgive, then sell them, for they are the servants of the Lord, and are not to be tormented.||”|
See also 
- Al-Bukhari Hadith Search: Manumission of Slaves
- BBC Religion and Ethics - Muhammad and Slavery
- University of Southern California Hadith Database Search Portal incorporating Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu-Dawud (partial), and Malik's Muwatta
- University of Southern California Qur'an Database Search Portal - employable for searches, eg. 'slave', 'hand and possess', 'maid and servant'
- al-Jawziyya, Muir, Aydin, Al-Tabari
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- Muir, al-Wackidi
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- Lovejoy, Paul E. (2000). Transformations in Slavery. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-78430-1. , p.2
- Qur'an 4:25
- Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. Mizan, The Social Law of Islam, Al-Mawrid
- Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Mizan, The Penal Law of Islam, Al-Mawrid
- The Qur'an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English By Ali Ünal Page 1323 
- Encyclopedia of the Qur'an, Slaves and Slavery
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- (According to Aydin) Abu Asib, Abu Bakra, Abu Muwayhiba, Abu Rafi, Abu Sallam, Abu Ubayd, Ayman, Mariya, Maymuna bint Abu Asib, Maymuna bint Sa'd, Mihran, Nafi, Safina, Salman, Thawban, Sirin, Salma, Shamghun, Shukran, Umm Ayyash, Usama, Zayd, and Zayd ibn Harisa
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