Arab slavery

Slave market in Yemen, 1237

Arab slavery (fl. 650-1962) is slavery as practised by Arabs. Saudi Arabia outlawed it in 1962, Sudan in 2005. Mauritania outlawed slavery at least five times: 1905, 1961, 1961, 1981, 2007. It probably still goes on there. This post is about the sort that went on from 650 to 1962 with the support of Islam and the law.

Some slaves worked in households, fields, mines or galley ships. Some were eunuchs, some were concubines. Some were white, some were black. Some guarded harems, some fought in the army. Some commanded armies, some ruled cities.

Rights and wrongs:


Kinds of slaves, among others:

Slave uprisings: One of the most famous was in the late 800s in Basra (Iraq) by East African field slaves.

Source: Bernard Lewis, “Race and Slavery in the Middle East” (1990).

See also: