Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān

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Slaves and Slavery
(2,487 words)

Persons incorporated into a family in a subordinate position who are subservient to a master who owns them and may sell them, and the institution of acquiring, keeping, selling, and freeing slaves. Slaves are mentioned in at least twenty- nine verses of the Qurʾān, most of these are Medinan and refer to the legal status of slaves. Seven separate terms refer to slaves, the most common of which is the phrase “that which your/their right hands own” (mā malakat aymānukum/aymānuhum/aymānuhunna/yamīnuka), found in fifteen places. This phrase often refers to female concubines (q.v.), thoug…

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Brockopp, Jonathan E., “Slaves and Slavery”, in: Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC. Consulted online on 11 August 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1875-3922_q3_EQSIM_00393>

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