May the peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.
My master, there is a question from some atheist brothers who propose arguments against Islamic rulings pertaining to war, including the following:
“Regarding the Islamic conquests, even at the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap), the victorious Islamic army would take the women and sell them like slaves. Also, the Muslims would share them between each other and buy and sell them. That being said, during the battle, the Islamic army had also killed their fathers and husbands. So how would a woman accept this? How would a man draw close to her under these circumstances? Isn’t it humiliating? And what is the difference between these acts and what Daesh [ISIS] is doing today?” These are questions from an atheist. Thank you, sir.
May the peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.
May God welcome you, my beloved.
Before answering, an important issue related to this subject must be recognized, which is that the issues of slavery, sexual exploitation, and exploitation of labor workers are considered to be among the genetic strategies for the spread, survival, and transmission to subsequent generations. This is clear from the existence and survival [of these strategies] throughout the history of evolution in more than one animal kingdom, even until today. The cuckoo bird is the best example of this exploitation. This bird exploits other birds by having the host bird incubate its eggs and serve its young. Ants that enslave some insects and other ant species are another example.
Homo sapiens (which as a body, represents a a genetic colony) has practiced the process of exploitation throughout its history. Until relatively recent times, the worst forms of slavery were practiced in America. Not only was there the exploitation of slave labor, but also the practice of torture and abuse toward them.
And still, until today, individuals from the Homo sapiens continue to exploit whenever they find an opportunity to escape their crimes without being punished. There are many stories of sexual exploitation through rape, deception or any other means, and such acts are happening continuously.
Based on what I see, slavery exists today in the ugliest imaginable form. However, it is not enslavement of an individual in order to gain manpower and exploit him, so as to have power over the individual. It is the exploitation and enslavement of nations, countries and people instead. If we look at what happened in Libya, Syria, and Yemen in another way, we can see, from one aspect, that it was a dirty operation. It was conducted to collect capital coming out of those countries for another Arabian country when its economy declined in 2008, so it would reap the benefits by freezing the economies of these countries, thus giving the advantage to other countries. Just like that, the economies of the Yemeni and Syrian people have been siphoned off, while the majority of them are actually suffering from poverty and destitution, having been taking advantage of by a wealthy Arabian nation that takes on the role of a hyena: taking advantage of opportunities to prey upon a carcass or injured animal.
There is much more slavery today than there was one or two thousand years ago. Today, masses of people are completely taken advantage of whenever the opportunity rises. Based on what common knowledge dictates about slavery, it is correct for individuals to be free, not slaves, as there shouldn’t be anyone exploiting their individual efforts and work for immediate and individualistic gain. However, the reality is that their work and personal effort, and perhaps even the efforts of their fathers and forefathers, are being exploited and acquired through an economic, military, and political mix.
It seems that slavery in its old form is impractical today. What is practical is to go directly behind the scenes to the anticipated benefit of slavery, namely: the economy, taking over production, labor, whenever an opportunity is available for certain governments, countries, or let us say—human hyenas.
And if the answer is “no”, as the facts demonstrated in that time, then to what extent can you move forward to guarantee survival and progress? In reality, the matter is constrained to a single solution, which is to work with what is best and appropriate under such conditions and in the extremely animalistic environments that had overcome the minds of the Homo sapiens of that time. There was no choice for Islam, other than to organize slavery in such a way that it would lead to its abolishment and repulsiveness over time. Islam made the free person and the slave equal for the sake of God, and because of their value as human beings. Islam made the act of kindness towards the slave and releasing him one of the best ways to get closer to God, along with other legislations.
As for Islam as a religion, it did not bring about slavery. Rather, slavery existed before Islam, and every country in the world or communities of Homo shame sapiens practiced it during war. The Islamic army in the time of the Prophet pbuhap wasn’t able to forgo slavery because if they did, it would mean defeat and immediate elimination. Even before Islam began to spread in the Arabian Peninsula, if your adversaries didn’t know that you would reciprocate with the same punishment, they would not be deterred or leave you in peace. This is why the Almighty said: “And if you punish [an enemy, O believers], punish with the equivalent of what you were harmed with. But if you are patient—it is better for those who are patient.” You will find that the Messenger had tried to exercise patience in exchange for enduring harm, so he released the hostages of Badr and did not enslave them. And this is a clear gesture, in complete opposition to what he had practiced with the likes of them at the time. But will the other side treat you in the same manner!!!
If this answer is sufficient for you, then there you have it. But if you have a suggestion or a point to discuss, I will be at your service, God willing, explaining whatever requires clarification. Just a note: I used the term “Homo Sapiens” instead of “human” intentionally, in order to point to his genetic and animalistic sides that drive him towards slavery and exploitation and its two divisions: sex and labor.