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Islam the misunderstood religion: Is religion antiquated?

Jun 14, 2013, 12:33 PM

The communists, who hoodwink people by claiming to be scientific, trade in ideas borrowed from their masters abroad which they arrogantly parade giving a false impression of having discovered an unalterable and eternal truth, the genuineness of which cannot be challenged, nor contradicted. The truth they claim to have discovered is dialectical materialism-the theory which states that human life is dialectical materialism-the theory which states that human life is divided into certain definite economic phases such as can neither be avoided, nor passed by mankind viz, first communism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism and the second communism (deemed to be the last page in the book of history) and that all creeds, disciplines, and thoughts that human history knows of were in fact a mere reflection of the various economic conditions or economic systems that prevailed at different periods of human history. These past creeds and belief were all right for those bygone ages, for them fully co-ordinated with the economic structure and circumstances of those times but they can never be suitable for the next higher stages of human development as these are always based on quite a new and different pattern of economy, Hence, they conclude, there can be no single system of life such as could be suitable for all times to come. Now as Islam came to the world at a time when the stage of slavery was coming to an end and that of feudalism just beginning, it brought with itself laws, creeds and a discipline of life all which were in concord with the prevalent circumstances of economic existence. That is why it approved of slavery as well as permitted feudalism, for Islam could not anticipate the next stage of economic development nor give any system to the world for which the economic condition were not yet ripe for, as the blessed Lord Karl Marx said, it was absolutely impossible.

We intend to discuss this problem or slavery in its historical, social as well as psychological context with an open mind and without allowing ourselves to be hoodwinked by the clamors of these tricksters and so-called scientific scholars.

When a modern man looks at the problem of slavery with his twentieth century background and in the light of the hideous crimes perpetrated during the slave trade and the abominably barbarous treatment that was meted out to slaves (especially in the Roman Empire)he discovers it as a most shocking and horrid crime. He is at a loss and finds it extremely difficult to understand as to how such a thing could be approved of by a religion or a system of life. He wonders: how could Islam allow slavery when all its other laws and principles point towards the freedom of man from all types and forms of slavery? And then overwhelmed by a sense of shame he desires: would that Islam had set our hearts and minds at ease by banning slavery in clear, explicit terms!

Let us pause here awhile and see as to what story the historical facts have got to tell us. The fact is that the hideous crimes committed against the slaves in the Roman Empire are quite foreign to Islamic history. We have got ample evidence with regard to the life the slaves in the Roman world led which is quite sufficient to illustrate the great change brought about by Islam in their fate.

The slave in the Roman world was considered a mere “commodity” and not a human being. He had no rights whatsoever although he was encumbered with cumbrous duties and obligations. And whence did these slaves come? They were captured in wars, which were not initiated by any noble principle or lofty ideals but were solely directed by a wish to enslave other peoples and exploit them for self-aggrandizement. These wars were waged in order to enable the Roman people indulge in licentious luxuries and live in prosperity, enjoy cold and hot baths, costly costumes, delicious and tasty foods of every kind, and revel in sensual pleasure-drinking bouts, whoredom, dancing as well as public gatherings and festivals. In order to provide for these enjoyments they subjugated other nations and exploited them most mercilessly. Egypt which was freed from Roman over lordship by Islam was treated no less cruelly. It constituted a granary of wheat for the Roman Empire, besides furnishing various kinds of other material resources.

To satisfy this greedy lust of the Roman imperialists the slaves toiled for them in the fields. As mentioned above, they enjoyed no rights. When working in the fields they were fettered in heavy manacles so as to prevent their running away. They were never fed properly but given provisions just sufficient to keep them alive and fit to do their work, and this too not because they thought it was their right to be provided for with sustenance as even the beasts and trees are. During the work they were whipped just for the savage pleasure of it which was much relished by their sadist lord or his agent. At the end of the day large groups of them-from ten to fifty men a group and still fettered in their manacles-were herded together to sleep in dark, foul-smelling cells infested with mice and insects. They were denied even the comfort of wide and spacious folds such as are enjoyed by cattle in their enclosures.

But the worst and most revolting feature of the Roman attitude towards these slaves was represented by what formed their best-loved diversion which, by the way, also brings into light the innate, barbarous and inhuman character of the Roman civilization-the civilization which is in modern times represented by modern people with all the means of imperialistic exploitation at their disposal. The slaves carrying swords and lances were led out into the arenas with their masters and occasionally the emperor himself seated around exalted seats in order to watch them fight, in dead earnest, for their diversion. The slaves fell upon one another with their swords and spears, recklessly hacking themselves to pieces. The climax was reached when someone of the fighters killed a fellow-slave and threw him cold and lifeless on the ground. At this he was lustily applauded with loud hurrahs, vigorous hand clapping and joyous, hearty laughter.

 This was how the slaves fared in the Roman world. We need not dwell upon their legal position in this set-up: the absolute right of the master to kill, punish or exploit them mercilessly without any right on their part, to complain even, and without expecting any moral support whatever from any quarter, as it would add little to our knowledge after going over all that we have in brief described above.

The slave was no better off than this in Persia, India and other countries. Despite all their minor differences the fate of the slave remained the same among all these nations: his life had no worth, his murder no retaliation, he was burdened with cumbersome obligation carrying with them little or no rights in return. The system prevalent in these countries differed neither in intent nor in content with regard to the slaves: they differed merely in the degree or intensity of their cruelty and hideousness which they betrayed in their attitudes towards slaves.

Such were the conditions of life that obtained when Islam arrived on the scene. Its advent heralded the restoration of human dignity to these slaves. It told the masters as to their slaves: “You are (sprung) the one from the other”. (iv: 25) It proclaimed that: “He who kills his slave, we shall kill him; who mutilates his nose, we shall cut his nose; and who gelds our slave, we shall get him gelded in return”. It recognized a common, descent abode as well as return for all men, master and slave alike, saying: “You are all sons of Adam and Adam was created from dust”, and stressed that these was no superiority for a master over his slave merely because of his being a master: whatever superiority there was, it rested on piety: “There is no superiority for an Arab, nor for a black man over a red one, nor for a red over a black man save due to piety”…..

To be continued