The role of Islam in the Arab slave trade

In our research for the manifestation of truth, we have discussed the role of Christianity in the European slave trade. It is therefore necessary to know also what were the moral supports of the second African holocaust.

Femmes africaines enchaînées, mise en esclavage par les Arabes en Tanzanie
African women chained, enslaved by Arabs in Tanzania

Does Islam allow slavery?

Yes Islam allows the enslavement of human beings. Though the Islam prophet Muhammad condemned the practice and encouraged the freeing of slaves, other passages from the Koran regulate and thus condone slavery. Here are some excerpts:

Surah 33, Verse 52: ‘’Not lawful to you, are (any additional ) women after, nor for you to exchange them for wives, even if their beauty were to please you, except what your right hand possesses. And ever is Allah, over all things, an Observer.”

Surah 16, Verse 71: “And Allah has favored some of you over others in provision. But those who were favored would not hand over their provision to those whom their right hands possess so they would be equal to them therein. Then is it the favor of Allah they reject?”.

Surah 4, Verse 24: “And also prohibited to you are all married women except those your right hand possesses. (…) Indeed, Allah is ever knowing and Wise.”

Surah 23, Verse 1: “Blessed are the Muslims (…) that preserve their sex (from intercourses) … except with their wives and slaves that they own.”

Surah 33, Verse 50: “O Prophet! We have made lawful to you your wives to whom you have given their due compensation and those thy right hand possesses out of the captives that Allah has intended to you …”

Surah 24, Verse 33 : “Do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life. And if someone should compel them, then indeed, Allah is [to them], after their compulsion, Forgiving and Merciful.”

Did slavery in the Muslim world only target Blacks?

No, slavery in the Muslim world did not specifically target blacks. If the curse of Ham (the Black) was known by Muslim theologians, it has not been used like in the example of Christianity to designate the Kamits (Blacks) in the setting of servitude. If Islam does not generally distinguish between races, there is clearly a difference between its followers (believers) and those who are not (non believers). In the Islamic philosophy, humans are divided into two categories. The unbelievers are eventually doomed to become believers by the so-called holy war (jihad) or by persuasion.

Les Arabes et autres musulmans ont mis en esclavage des millions de Blancs européens.
Arabs and other Muslims enslaved millions of White Europeans

Non-Muslims, especially Vitalists (animists) are thus seen as sub-humans and labeled with insults like: idolater, pagan, kafir, infidel, non believer, godless. And therefore it is perfectly normal to enslave them. If kamitophobia (racism against Blacks) was theorized by Arab elites, it is mainly on this Koranic distinction between believer and non believer that the slave trade will be built.

Islam and African collaborations

We must first clarify beforehand that it is not about saying here that Black collaborators are the first responsible for the slave trade. Just like Hitler had 150,000 Jews in his army, and that some white Europeans have raided millions of whites in order to deliver them to the Arabs, and that Arabs and Berbers (Harkis) fought other Arabs and Berbers for France in the Algerian war, the role of Blacks in the slave trade must not make us forget that the primary responsibles are the sponsors, and therefore the Arabs, Turks and Iranians.

Abu Bakar’s supposed representation of Mecia Viladestes dating from 1413. Source:
Abu Bakar’s supposed representation of Mecia Viladestes dating from 1413.

Islam entered with violence in Africa from 639. After a bitter war against the first Berbers who were black, Arabs eventually forcibly Islamized the indigenous Blacks of the Maghreb. It should be known that every good Muslim has the duty to expand Islam. So the first Berbers, through Jihad, came to West Africa in the 11th century under the commandment of the Almoravid black king Abu Bakar in order to destroy the pearl of the continent at that time, the vitalist empire of Ghana.

So those blacks from North Africa, through the chaos that they created – opened West Africa to Arabs and therefore to slavery. Through war and persuasion, some Kamit (black) regional chiefs, were islamized, and those ones then applied the jihad to the vitalist Kamits. Even Ahmed Baba, probably the greatest Black scientist (Malian) of the Imperial era, while rejecting the curse of Ham, supported the believer-non believer division and condoned the enslavement of Vitalists [1].

Each holy war enabled to collect “infidels” who were captives and were then delivered to the Arab slavers. Samory Touré, true hero of the struggle against the French colonial invasion but a radical anti-vitalist, led a jihad in West Africa, delivering other Africans to Arabs. Tippu Tip, a Black from Tanzania and descendant of Arabs, literally bled East Africa for 20 years, sowing – with Arabs – absolute terror up to the shores of the Congo River. He is the most famous collaborator in the Arab slave trade. His attitude was entirely similar to that of the famous Mulatto princes of Sao Tome, sons of Portuguese delinquents and enslaved African women, raised in hatred of blacks, who raided Central Africa with Europeans.

Tippu Tip
Tippu Tip

Here is a description of the preparations for the jihad of a Hausa sultanate (Niger-Nigeria), reported by French emissaries. One subject spoke these words at a place in the kingdom: ‘’This is the will of the Serki: in the name of Sultan Bellu, the victorious, may the blessings of God be upon him, all you people of Mutanin, are called to be here tomorrow morning , armed and mounted , with adequate provisions to depart, some to the Zenfa, others to the Zender, for the hunting of the Koholanes idolaters, enemies of the glorious sultan, our master. – May God curse them “. [2]

But this is also to say that being a Muslim did not guarantee immunity, because Arabs – always hungry for captives – were even doing the jihad in order to punish the past disbelief of the new Islamized Blacks or to punish those who did not practice Islam in a rigorous way. In that way, there were, genuine jihadist terrorist groups running accross Africa for centuries.

Many of West African peoples had obviously embraced Islam – apparently only – for security or political reasons while never giving up on vitalism. That was the case of the first emperors of Mali, from Sundjata to Abubakari II. Sundjata Keita who was a vitalist even punished by death the collaboration with slavers. Mansa Musa was the first true Muslim emperor, and like his predecessors, he did not take part in the trade.

Mansa Kankan Musa, Illustration by Angus McBride
Contrary to what some say, the greatest king of the Imperial era did not sell his subjects during his famous pilgrimage to Mecca (Mansa Kanku Musa, Illustration by Angus McBride)

Believing that he was safe after embracing Islam and inventing themselves an origin in Muhammad’s tribe, a king of Bornu (around Lake Chad) – addressing the Sultan of Egypt in the 14th century – complained that his yet-Muslim citizens had been raided by Arabs and said : “Arab tribes have devastated our whole country, the Bornu country (…) they made prisoners out of free people among us, those of our strain among Muslims (…) they took our people as commodities “. [3] 

Was there any non-Muslim collaboration in the slave trade?

In his book Le Génocide Voilé,Tidiane N’Diaye only mentioned the vitalist kings of Dahomey (now Benin) as non-Muslim collaborators. Yet those kings at that time, while swearing in the name of their ancestors, categorically denied any involvement in the sales of captives, considering what was said and written about them as “slanders”. Vitalism was actually a psychological weapon of resistance, as in South Africa where Chaka kaSenzangakhona Zuli opposed the Arabs. We do not know if there was any black vitalist that has collaborated. Finally we should give thanks to all black Muslims who refused to cooperate, like the Senegalese religious leader Cheikh Amadou Bamba.

The current behavior of Black Muslims towards the Arab slave trade

Enfant africain mis en esclavage par les Arabes Tanzanie
An African child in Tanzania enslaved by Arabs, 20th century

Black Muslims today are generally in denial of the horror experienced by their ancestors. Their religious solidarity orders them to protect Arabs. It’s a story they do not want to talk about, however they are very vocal when it is time to talk about the European slave trade.

The mention of the Arab slave trade is perceived by many as a spiritual attack. They see themselves first as Muslims before being Blacks. And some respond with an incredible aggressiveness towards those who mention this page of history that partly explains the decline of Africa. The extremists even think that the non-believers got what they deserved.

This attitude of many black Muslims, this sometimes total lack of compassion for our 11 million deported ancestors [4] who have horribly suffered from castration, rape, forced labor, insults, remoteness, is unspeakable. This too, we may say, is a form of collaboration.

Illustration d'une caravane de négriers arabes déportant des Africains à travers le désert
Illustration of an Arab slave caravan deporting Africans across the desert


Islam has had a very active role in its foundations and its use in the Arab slave trade. The name “Arab-Muslim slave trade,” which is debated, may be illustrative of it. But the biggest impression from this study is that Blacks are spiritually very fragile. The first purpose of the cooperation of Europeans with Arabs during the slave trade of Whites was enrichment. Christians and Jews strongly contributed to this trafficking for the sake of money. Africans themselves have not worked mainly for money, they did it first, they thought, because of God !!

It is absolutely absurd that we taught the Arabs the existence of God – through the Blacks of Egypt and the Blacks of Arabia (Sabeans) – and that they have transformed our religion to found their own and then come and tell us that ours is void, thus justifying our enslavement. Abid, meaning slave, became synonymous with Black in the Arab world. Whether Muslim or not, a Kamit is generally despised by white Muslims, while he might be willing to protect them.

The best lesson from all this, is that Kama (Africa) should be put away from any spiritual alienation in the future. The reform and peaceful promotion of Vitalism and defence are therefore crucial projects for the Black world.


By : Lisapo ya Kama © (All rights reserved. Any copying or translation of the text of this article is strictly forbbiden without the written approval of Lisapo ya Kama)

Notes :

• Le génocide voilé, Tidiane N’diaye
• [1] Le génocide voilé, Tidiane N’diaye, pages 121-122
• [2] Same, pages 107-108
• [3] La traite négrière européenne, vérités et mensonges, Jean Philippe Omotunde, pages 155-156
• [4] Le partenariat Afrique-Europe dans la mondialisation, Emmanuel Nkunzumwami, page 28.

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