Translation of the Manual of Islamic Sacred Law

English translations of religious and other texts commonly exclude sections in the original language that might be offensive to Western readers. Understandable as this is, such omissions hide important material needed to understand the author’s work, and each other. 

Reliance of the Traveler is the classic manual of Islamic Sacred Law written by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d 1368 AD). For those of us who do not know Arabic, Nuh Ha Mim Keller provided a revised edition which shows Arabic and English in parallel (Amana publications 1991).  It is an essential resource for people studying Islam and is an important part of the Shariah, including the Quran and the Hadiths (the words and example of Mohammad). According to Wikipedia, many countries in the world use at least part of the Shariah in their legal system, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Gaza Strip, Ghana, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Uganda, West Bank, and Yemen.  Organizations such as the Islamic State (ISIS) base their law on a strict fundamentalist version of Shariah, and there are strong movements to implement Shariah in the rest of the world, including the West.

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Slavery in the Bible

Some people say that the Bible promotes slavery and other social evils. Others say that it does not. What does the Bible actually teach about slavery?

Introduction

Slavery has been a major institution in the world since the beginning of time. The most ancient documents we possess from Egypt and Mesopotamia refer to slavery in the third millennium before Christ. Almost every known people group has owned slaves. The Muslims had slave armies such as the Janissaries and Mamelukes. African tribes had slaves, as did the Pre-Columbian Indian empires and the peoples of East Asia. China abolished official slavery in 1910, and India officially abolished it under British suzerainty in 1843. The history of slavery in Europe and North America is well known. What is less appreciated is that American Indians and even some light-skinned blacks had slaves. Human Rights Watch estimated that in 2009, 28 million people were enslaved worldwide, a business worth $91 billion annually.

Slaves generally came from the following sources:
1. Prisoners of war – men were often killed but could be enslaved. Women and children were a problem. After war it was impractical to have thousands of women and children, often unable to support themselves in the Bronze Age, without having someone responsible for them. Therefore they were enslaved, a practice considered a humanitarian improvement on mass slaughter (Numbers 31, Deuteronomy 20:10-18).
2. Free parents with excessive debt could sell their children.
3. Children of slaves often automatically became slaves.
4. Children abandoned at birth could be collected and sold as slaves.
5. Slave traders captured free people, men, women and children, and sold them to others as slaves. This activity was punishable by death in Israel (Exodus 21:16).
6. Slaves could be bought and sold, or given as gifts or inheritance to others.

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