Islamic Slavery

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Originally published: Wayback Machine The Koran takes for granted slavery’s existence as a permanent human institution; regulates its practice in considerable detail; endows it with divine approval; and explicitly guarantees Muslims the right to own slaves, either by purchase or as bounty of war. A Koranic “decree of Allah” gives a man permission to have sexual relations with his slave girls as well as with his wives and nonetheless remain “free from blame.” (4:24; 23:1-6). The Koran permits the emancipation of slaves as an act of “expiation” for the breaking of an oath (5:89). But while such occasional gestures are encouraged under a narrow range of circumstances, the institution of

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