Friday, August 19, 2011

The meaning of enslavement in Islam


Can you please clarify the subject of Slaves in Islam. In The Koran, there are many mentions of this term in particular the instance where man is the slave to his Master Allah, which I fully understand and agree. But in many instances the Koran cites where one man/woman is the slave of another man/woman. In what context has Allah made this permissible, if it is permissible.
Your clarification on this subject would be most grateful.

Praise be to Allaah.

The enslavement of the Muslim to Allaah, may He be
glorified, is what He had commanded in His Book and is the Message with
which He sent the Messengers, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community,
nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allaah (Alone), and
avoid (or keep away from) Taaghoot (all false deities, i.e. do not worship
Taaghoot besides Allaah)” [al-Nahl 16:36].

The word ‘Uboodiyyah (enslavement) in Arabic
comes from the word Ta’beed (enthrallment, subjugation).
The phrase ‘abbadtu’l-tareeq means “I made the
way smooth and easy to walk on.” The enslavement of the slave to
Allaah has two meanings, one general and one specific. If by “slave”
I mean al-mu’abbad, i.e., one who is subjugated, this is
the general meaning which includes every created thing in the both the
higher and the lower realms, sentient and otherwise, animate and inanimate,
moving and stationary, kaafir and mu’min, righteous and immoral,
for every creature is subjugated by Allaah and is subject to His control,
and for each of them there is a limit at which it stops.

If by “slave” I mean al-‘aabid,
one who worships Allaah and obeys His commands, this meaning applies
specifically to the believers to the exclusion of the kaafireen, because
the believers are the true slaves of Allaah who attribute Lordship and
Divinity to Him Alone and recognize Him by His Names and Attributes,
and do not associate anything with Him. As Allaah says in the story
of Iblees (interpretation of the meaning):

“[Iblees (Satan)] said: ‘O my Lord! Because
You misled me, I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them (mankind)
on the earth, and I shall mislead them all. Except Your chosen,
(guided) slaves among them.’ (Allaah) said: ‘This
is the Way which will lead straight to Me. Certainly, you shall have
no authority over My slaves, except those who follow you of the Ghaawoon
(Mushrikoon and those who go astray, criminals, polytheists, and evildoers).’”
[al-Hijr 15:39-42]

With regard to the ‘ibaadah (worship) which
Allaah enjoins upon us, this is a word which includes everything that
Allaah loves and is pleased with of words and deeds, both open and hidden,
and excludes anything that may cancel that out. This definition includes
the Shahaadatayn, Salaah, Hajj, fasting, jihaad for the sake of Allaah,
enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and believing in
Allaah, the angels, the Messengers and the Last Day. The basis for this
worship is purity of intention, so that the aim of the worshipper is
to seek the Face of Allaah, may He be glorified, and the Home of the
Hereafter. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And Al-Muttaqûn (the pious) will be far removed
from it (Hell). He who spends his wealth for increase in self-purification,
And who has (in mind) no favour from anyone to be paid back, Except
to seek the Countenance of his Lord, the Most High. He surely, will
be pleased (when he will enter Paradise).” [al-Layl 92:17-21]

So purity of intention is essential, as is sincerity,
so that the believer strives to follow what Allaah has commanded and
to avoid what He has forbidden, prepares himself for the Meeting with
Allaah (may He be exalted), gives up feeling helpless and lazy, and
refrains from following his own desires, as Allaah says (interpretation
of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Be afraid of Allaah, and be
with those who are true (in words and deeds).” [al-Tawbah 9:119]

It is also essential to follow the Messenger
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so the worshipper should
worship Allaah in accordance with what He has prescribed and not in
accordance with what created beings desire or innovate. This is the
aim of following the Prophet who was sent from Allaah, Muhammad
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Purity of intention, sincerity
and following the Messenger are all essential. Once these matters are
understood, then it will be clear to us that everything that goes against
these essentials is in fact enslavement to people. So showing off is
a form of enslavement to people; Shirk is a form of enslavement to people;
neglecting Allaah’s commands and angering the Lord in order to
earn people’s approval is a form of enslavement to people. Everyone
who puts following his own desires before obeying his Lord has gone
beyond the bounds of ‘Uboodiyyah (enslavement to Allaah) and has
deviated from the Straight Path. Hence the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Doomed is the
slave of the dinar, doomed is the slave of the dirham, doomed is the
slave of fine cloth and doomed is the slave of velvet. If he is given
something he is pleased and if he is denied, he is angry. Doomed is
he! If he is pierced by a thorn, may he never be able to remove it.”

Enslavement to Allaah includes and implies love, fear
and hope. The slave loves his Lord, fears His punishment and hopes for
His Mercy and reward. These are the three essential pillars of ‘Uboodiyyah
or enslavement.

Enslavement to Allaah is an honour, not a cause of
humiliation, as the poet said:

“What increases me in honour and pride, so that
my feet nearly stepped on the Pleiades, is that I am included in Your
words ‘O My slaves,’ and that You made Ahmad my Prophet.”

We ask Allaah to make us among His righteous slaves.
May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.


No comments: