THE INSTITUTION OF SLAVERY AND SLAVE TRADE
Slavery is a social institution defined by law and custom as the most absolute involuntary form of human servitude. The definitive characteristics of slaves are as follows: their labour or services are obtained through force; their physical beings are regarded as the property of a another person, their owner; and they are entirely subject to their owners will. Since earliest times slaves have been legally defined as things; therefore, they could, among other possibilities, be bought, sold, traded, given as a gift or pledged for a debt by their owner, usually without any resource to personal or legal objection or restraint.
The practice of slavery dates to historic times, although it’s institutionalization probably first occurred in early historical times, when agricultural advances made possible more highly organized societies. Slaves were needed for various specialized functions in these societies and we’re obtained either through raids or conquest of other peoples or within the society itself, when some people sold themselves or their family members to pay debts or were enslaved for punishment for crimes.
SLAVERY IN THE MIDDLE AGES
The introduction of Christianity, it’s adoption as the official religion of the Roman Empire, and it’s subsequent spread over Europe and parts of middle East during the Middle Ages tended to improve the condition but did not eliminate the practice of slavery. After the fall of Rome during barbarian inversions that occurred at various times between the 5th and 10th centuries, the ancient institution of slavery was transformed into the generally less binding system known as serfdom.
In conclusion, Islam which was introduced in the 7th century A.D, recognized the Institution of slavery from the beginning. The prophet Mohammed urged his followers to use slaves kindly, however, and on the whole slaves owned by Muslims were comparatively well treated. Most were employed to domestic servants.
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