Always interesting to read a fair and balanced view.


Arab slavery (fl. 650-1962) is slavery as practised by Arabs. Saudi Arabia outlawed it in 1962, Sudan in 2005. Mauritania outlawed slavery at least five times: 1905, 1961, 1961, 1981, 2007. It probably still goes on there. This post is about the sort that went on from 650 to 1962 with the support of Islam and the law.

Some slaves worked in households, fields, mines or galley ships. Some were eunuchs, some were concubines. Some were white, some were black. Some guarded harems, some fought in the army. Some commanded armies, some ruled cities.

Rights and wrongs:

  • Islam was cool with slavery so long as Muslims were not made into slaves. Arabs got most of their slaves from beyond the Muslim world – but did not necessarily free those who later converted to Islam.
  • Slaves could not in most cases own property, enter contracts (except with their master), marry (unless…

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