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How many references are there to slavery in the Qur'an, bible and old testament? - Islamiqate Prior Revelations,qur'an,christianity,ahl al-kitab (people of the book),previous revelations,torah (old testament),slavery,injil (bible)
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in category Prior Revelations

How many references are there to slavery in the Qur'an, bible and old testament?

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A review of the Qur'an, the New Testament and the Old Testament seems to suggest there are around:

- 30 verses in the Qur'an,
- 50 verses in the New Testament and
- 105 verses in the Old Testament

In relation to the total number of verses in each book, 6,236 in the Qur'an, 7,957 in the New Testament and 5,853 in the Old Testament, this indicates:

- 0.5% of the verses in the Qur'an,
- 0.6% of the verses in the New Testament,
- 1.8% of the verses in the Old Testament

These results indicate a significant quantitative difference between the three in terms of references to slavery.

Regarding the Qur'an, the term "slavery" is potentially misleading. The taking of captives in war, controlling and trading them, was widespread during the prophet's era. Slavery as the Europeans practised it, enslaving free people for no crime, is categorically condemned by Islam. Islam put in place the ethics relating to the treatment of captives in war. It required they be treated on the basis of brotherhood, each having rights and duties, with judicial structures maintaining oversight. Islam condemned the notion of slavery and replaced it with 'riq' laws, i.e., laws relating to prisoners/captives of war. Islam permitted prisoners of war to free themselves or allowed others to ransom them. It encouraged their legal guardians to free them, granting them a high rank in paradise for doing so. The Islamic concept of prisoners of war is based on the principle of brotherhood. Prisoners in the Islamic context were first war captives and often achieved significant power, knowledge or government offices. (For further clarification, read: Why is slavery permitted in Islam?)


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