Frame The Debate Appropriately
When attacking the problem of Islamic slavery, pay special attention to how Islamic charlatans frame the debate. If the other person controls the language of key issues, they will be able to position themselves in favorable terms. Even though your argument is stronger, their argument will appear stronger only because they know how to use the right semantics. Atheists must gain semantic equality by choosing the appropriate words. Do not engage in a debate when you are forced to play by someone else’s rules. Islamic charlatans will try to control how the debate about slavery is structured, at every turn and opportunity.
Muhammad kidnapped, raped, bought and sold slaves with regularity. When discussing his actions, use the correct words and adjectives to describe them. When you talk about Islamic slavery use the correct words: slave, rape, forced labor, lashings, pain, suffering and humiliation. Do not use words like ‘indentured servitude.’ They were not ‘indentured’ servants – they were slaves. Muslims would like us all to believe that all of Muhammad’s slaves were ‘indentured’ servants.
For example, why you discuss how Muhammad slaughtered Safiya’s family at the battle of Kaybar, then raped her the following evening use the correct language. Use the words: slavery, humiliation, pain and degradation. Do not entertain terms like “consummated” the marriage. The reality is that Muhammad raped Safiya, use the word rape repeatedly. As you frame the debate, keep in mind that there is no honor, respect or dignity in slavery. The institution of slavery is deeply humiliating. There is nothing honorable, or dignified about being a slave.
Just as the Bible dictated that men should treat slaves well, being the plagiarized work it is, the Quran also reads that men should be good to their slaves. One would think that if a person wanted to be good to a slave they would just free them. Common sense really. Unfortunately, we are not talking about common sense – we are talking about Islam.
In Islam, slavery is not a contentious issue because it is a divinely sanctioned institution. The only contentious issue for Muslims is how to whitewash Islamic slavery. They only real concern they have is to make their brand of slavery appear like something ‘good’ and ‘dignified’.
Islamic charlatans like Bilal Philips will boast about the merits of slavery. Bilal Philips is one of many Islamic charlatans who have mastered rhetorical strategies, portraying Islamic slavery in a positive light. He would argue that all men are slaves before Allah, so what is so wrong with having a few slaves of your own? To them, slavery simply represents a human’s relationship with Allah. Typically arguing the merits of slavery in this sense is more effective among Muslims, Jews and Christians than it is with an atheist. With an atheist, these arguments just do not fly. We understand that Allah is just as real as Poseidon, Loki, or Thor. As atheists bring the issue of Islamic slavery to a head, Muslims can only deal with the issue by controlling how the entire debate is structured.
When Muslims do enter the slavery debate, they insist on dichotomizing slavery into two categories: ‘good’ slavery and ‘bad’ slavery. This may sound absurd to you now, but all one needs to do is carefully listen to how Muslims ‘explain’ why Muhammad was not that bad of a guy for allowing slavery. Closely observe how they structure their argument, how they attempt to control the issues being discussed. Sometimes they will construct both simple and complex red herring arguments. For example: they will say that Islamic slavery is not bad because Westerners owned slaves. The irrationality in this argument is very easy to spot. The argument is illogical because two wrongs do not make a right. A wrong action is still wrong even if another person does it.
It is a known fact that Muhammad himself owned thirty-six slaves. 1As Muslims attempt to control the conversation about Islamic slavery they will focus entirely on all the ‘good’ things Muhammad said about slaves. The Quran reads that Masters should be kind to their slaves. Masters are not supposed to beat their slaves like animals. Masters are not allowed to force their slaves into prostitution. As Muslims argue about all the nice things Muhammad said about slaves, you will notice a common theme. They completely ignore the common sense fact that if Muhammad was such a good, decent, moral human being then he should have freed all slaves from the beginning. Why allow slavery in the first place? It is immoral to own slaves from the beginning. Muslims consistently chose to ignore that plain, simple common sense fact repeatedly.
As we delve deeper and deeper, sucked into the irrationalities of their argument another troublesome question emerges. If the Quran is universally moral then we should be allowed to own slaves today. If the Quran contains everything that humans need to live a moral life – then we should be allowed to own slaves today. If a Muslim thinks that we should not be allowed to have slaves today, then they concede that the Quran is neither universally moral nor universally valid. They concede the Quran is not valid, timelessly, for all of humanity. Can we say that any Muslim who makes such claims about the Quran is a real Muslim?
Ibn Ishaq writes: “The apostle occupied the Jewish forts one after the other, taking prisoners as he went. Among these were Safiya, the wife of Kinana, the Khaibar chief, and two female cousins: [sisters of Kinana] the apostle chose Safiya for himself. The other prisoners were distributed among the Muslims. Bilal brought Safiya to the apostle, and they passed the bodies of several Jews on the way. Safiya’s female companions lamented and strewed dust on their heads. When the apostle of Allâh observed this scene, he said, ‘Remove these she devils from me.‘ But he ordered Safiya to remain, and threw his reda [cloak] over her. So the Muslims knew he had reserved her for his own. The apostle reprimanded Bilal, saying, ‘Hast thou lost all feelings of mercy, to make women pass by the corpses of their husbands?’”
Safiyah was taken to Muhammad’s tent. Muhammad wanted to have sex with her on that very night, only hours after torturing to death her husband. She resisted his advances. That night Abu Ayyub al-Ansari guarded the tent of Muhammad. When, in the early dawn, Muhammad saw Abu Ayyub strolling up and down, he asked him what he meant by this sentry-go; he replied: “I was afraid for you with this young lady. You had killed her father, her husband and many of her relatives, I was really afraid for you on her account”. (Ibn Ishaq, p. 766)
As Islamic charlatans attempt to excuse Islamic slavery, their arguments become stranger with each passing minute. They are able to appreciate the fact that American slavery is evil, yet they are blind to see that Muhammad’s slavery as evil. Muslims understand that Southern plantation owners were morally wrong when they forced African slaves to pick cotton, fruit, and tobacco. They understand that the plantation owners were morally repugnant human beings when they raped the female slaves. Yet, Muslims are unable to understand that Muhammad was equally wrong for owning slaves, working slaves, or forcing sex upon his Coptic slave. Adding insult to injury, the Quran states that men may have sex with their slave girls during peace and wartime. As you read these surahs, keep in mind that captured women are the lawful possession of their Muslim masters. Captured slaves are also permissible for marriage, as is the case with a beautiful seventeen-year-old Jewish girl Safiya. Muhammad slaughtered Safiya’s entire family in Khaybar, then within a night, consummated their marriage in his tent.
Any Master can effectively use the Quran to maintain power over their slaves. The Muslim will say things like, “in our holy book, we are all equal in Allah’s eyes. We are all slaves under Allah.” This rhetoric is supposed to make the slave feel good, and usually it does make them feel good. If it didn’t work they probably would not do it. Masters can pull verses from the Quran and Hadiths, left and right, making the slave feels good about his or her status. The key to retaining power is keeping slaves happy. Having a happy, dancing, jovial slave is much better than a sad, depressed, miserable slave. Islam manipulates Muslims into believing that in paradise everything will be set right. They are duped into believing that “all Masters and Slaves are equal before Allah – therefore slavery in the material world is good!” How amazing it is that Muslims willingly let an ideology devalue their own lives on earth. How amazing they actually buy into that shenanigan.
When Muslims discuss Islamic slavery, they make every effort to keep the conversation out of the temporal world. Temporal relates to time, the moment, this second or chronology. Their conversation will use language about heaven, eternity, paradise, compensation in paradise and spiritual jargon. The spiritual, supernatural jargon keeps our minds and attention off the reality of Islamic slavery. If you use appropriate words to discuss the brutality of Islamic slavery, you can effectively demonstrate to the Muslim that being a slave is not good. Use words like: humiliation, degradation, suffering, emotional pain, grief, tears, sadness, despair, sorrow, and suffering. You can counter their irrational frames, by changing the way you respond. Do not entertain concepts like paradise, compensation in paradise, Allah loves everyone including slaves, everyone is a slave to Allah, etc. The real, temporal, demonstrable world is the only world we know for sure exists. Unless Muslims are able to prove paradise exists, then the entire topic of paradise or compensation in paradise should be ignored. Talking about paradise is as useful as talking about Middle Earth, Shangri-la or Hades. Keep the conversation grounded in reality: this world, this time, this place, this suffering, this humiliation and the wrongness of these things. Refuse to entertain any frivolous conversations using frivolous language about ‘hypothetical’ ‘spiritual’ ‘utopia’ ‘paradise or ‘in theory’. Hypothetical conversations are an insult to reality. We live in reality and nowhere else.
Remember that Muslims arguing for Islamic slavery do so simply to maintain the integrity of Islam. They know slavery is wrong. They know the Quran is wrong for allowing it in the first place. All their arguments are frivolous, silly, and childish. Most importantly, they know it is true. The most important premise to understand in all of this is that Muslims abuse slaves in more than one way. They validate slavery and worse yet, they manipulate the slave in the worst way. With delusions of compensation in paradise, the slave will accept their situation. The lowly slave spirit has been uplifted. The lowly slave has something to dream about at night, that wonderful moment they will die and go to paradise. The Muslim duped the slave in every sense that a human being can be duped. The slave believes they will be compensated in the afterlife. The slave believes that there is something noble and good about being a slave. The slave believes that they are equal to their Master. After the Master has duped the slave into accepting his situation, the slave must get up and plow the fields, cook the food, and continue their lives of servitude. The slaves life has not improved, only his delusions. As the slave continues his daily routine, he thinks only about what is instead of what could be.
1. These are the names of Muhammad’s male slaves: Yakan Abu Sharh, Aflah, ‘Ubayd, Dhakwan, Tahman, Mirwan, Hunayn, Sanad, Fadala Yamamin, Anjasha al-Hadi, Mad’am, Karkara, Abu Rafi’, Thawban, Ab Kabsha, Salih, Rabah, Yara Nubyan, Fadila, Waqid, Mabur, Abu Waqid, Kasam, Abu ‘Ayb, Abu Muwayhiba, Zayd Ibn Haritha, and Mahran.
These are the names of Muhammad’s female slaves : Salma Um Rafi’, Maymuna daughter of Abu Asib, Maymuna daughter of Sa’d, Khadra, Radwa, Razina, Um Damira, Rayhana, Mary the Coptic, in addition to two other maid-slaves. Source – Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya in “Zad al-Ma’ad” (Part I, p. 160) and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya: “Zad al-Ma’ad” (his book) (Volume One, p. 116)