From Secular African:
One of the most controversial aspects of Islam is its doctrine of slavery. It incites controversy because slavery in the modern world is clearly considered a contemptible practise. In Islamic doctrine however, it isn’t. For centuries, abolitionist groups from the West and non-Western world lobbied strenuously to see slavery become abolished in Western colonies from Africa to India and beyond.
The formal abolishment of slavery in Muslim countries was not enacted in all of Islam’s one thousand three hundred years or so history at the time, until the intervention of the West. Saudi Arabia finally caved in and formally abolished slavery in 1962 only upon continued Western imposition.
Although slave trade was banned in Niger by French colonists a century ago, the cultural practice of slave ownership was not banned until recently in 2005! In Islamic culture, Islamic doctrine sanctions a tripartite model of slavery that encompasses Enslavement (domestic and industrial labor), Slave trade and Sex-slavery.
Prophet Muhammad himself who didn’tparticipate in any of these practices prior to taking up his Islamic mission, inaugurated this tripartite model into Islam. He set the template for his followers by selling female slaves off in exchange for weapons and horses, making slaves of common folk whom he captured in warfare, and making a concubine of beautiful widowed Rayhana the same night he murdered her relatives and husband’s entire Banu Qurayza tribe! Prophet Muhammad said that Allah has ‘made war booty legal‘ for the Muslim, and that Muslim men are allowed to do as they please with their female war captives including having sexual relations with them. Islam does not permit men to rape their male captives, but there is absolutely no limit to the number of female sex-slaves a Muslim male is allowed to keep.
In obedience to Allah’s set principles in the Quran, many Sultans who ruled over conquered territories hadharems bursting with concubines in the thousands. Moulay Ismail had 4,000, Akhbar had 5,000, and the harem of And al-Rahman III (d.961) in Cordoba contained over 6,000 concubines, to name a few. Concubinage was sealed into the DNA of Islamic culture.
Prior to these Sultans, leading Muslim men during Muhammad’s time kept numerous sized concubines – women acquired as ‘booty’ from jihadi onslaughts. The Prophet never dissuaded them from such practice. Islam is pretty clear on whether or not slavery is lawful. It is lawful. Islam only forbids the enslavement of born Muslims.