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November 16, 2003

Slavery & Islam

Zack Ajmal has a post that deals with the Islamic attitude toward slavery. He asserts:

Though I am disappointed in the Quran in allowing the rape of slave girls, I also think of Islam as not a rigid religion but something as evolves and progresses as we become better human beings. I also recognize the progress humanity has made in the last millenium or two.

I applaud Zack's viewpoint. But is this a common stance in the Ummah? I think not. Is it a common viewpoint in the American Muslim community? Perhaps. Someone needs to do some scholarly research on the attitudes and opinions of the American Muslim community!

The crux is this: If most Muslims look back to a lost golden age, the past, as Al Qaeda et al. seem to, there is a problem. If on the other hand most Muslims accept the idea of progressive revelation, hope can always be found in the future. My understanding of Islamic "orthodoxy" is that progressive revelation is problematic in light of the idea that the Koran is "Uncreated" and "Eternal" (at least for Sunnis). Nevertheless, the religious imagination has a great capacity for co-existence of parodoxes and circumlocutions around plain common sense in the interests of preserving the purity of doctrine. In support of my contention, look at the Donmeh who continue to follow Sabbatai Zvi.

Posted by razib at 08:31 PM