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Juridical Rationale and Role in Islamisation
Patricia Crone, in her recent analysis of the origins and development of Islamic political thought, makes an important nexus between the mass captivity and enslavement of non—Muslims during jihad campaigns, and the prominent role of coercion in these major modalities of Islamisation. Following a successful jihad, she notes:
Male captives might be killed or enslaved, whatever their religious affiliation. (People of the Book were not protected by Islamic law until they had accepted dhimma.) Captives might also be given the choice between Islam and death, or they might pronounce the confession of faith of their own accord to avoid execution: jurists ruled that their change of status was to be accepted even though they had only converted out of fear. Women and children captured in the course of the campaigns were usually enslaved, again regardless of their faith...Nor should the importance of captives be underestimated. Muslim warriors routinely took large numbers of them. Leaving aside those who converted to avoid execution, some were ransomed and the rest enslaved, usually for domestic use. Dispersed in Muslim households, slaves almost always converted, encouraged or pressurised by their masters, driven by a need to bond with others, or slowly, becoming accustomed to seeing things through Muslim eyes even if they tried to resist. Though neither the dhimmi nor the slave had been faced with a choice between Islam and death, it would be absurd to deny that force played a major role in their conversion. 
For the idolatrous Hindus, enslaved in vast numbers during the waves of jihad conquests that ravaged the Indian subcontinent for well over a half millennium (beginning at the outset of the 8th century C.E.), the guiding principles of Islamic law regarding their fate were unequivocally coercive. Jihad slavery also contributed substantively to the growth of the Muslim population in India. K.S. Lal elucidates both of these points: 
The Hindus who naturally resisted Muslim occupation were considered to be rebels. Besides they were idolaters (mushrik) and could not be accorded the status of Kafirs, of the People of the Book — Christians and Jews... Muslim scriptures and treatises advocated jihad against idolaters for whom the law advocated only Islam or death... The fact was that the Muslim regime was giving [them] a choice between Islam and death only. Those who were killed in battle were dead and gone; but their dependents were made slaves. They ceased to be Hindus; they were made Musalmans in course of time if not immediately after captivity...slave taking in India was the most flourishing and successful [Muslim] missionary activity...Every Sultan, as [a] champion of Islam, considered it a political necessity to plant or raise [the] Muslim population all over India for the Islamisation of the country and countering native resistance.
Vryonis describes how jihad slavery, as practiced by the Seljuk’s and early Ottomans, was an important modality of Islamisation in Asia Minor during the 11th through the 14th century :
A further contributing factor to the decline in the numbers of Christian inhabitants was slavery...Since the beginning of the Arab razzias into the land of Rum, human booty had come to constitute a very important portion of the spoils. There is ample testimony in the contemporary accounts that this situation did not change when the Turks took over the direction of the jihad in Anatolia. They enslaved men, women, and children from all major urban centers and from the countryside where the populations were defenceless. In the earlier years before the Turkish settlements were permanently affected in Anatolia, the captives were sent off to Persia and elsewhere, but after the establishment of the Anatolian Turkish principalities, a portion of the enslaved were retained in Anatolia for the service of the conquerors.
After characterising the coercive, often brutal methods used to impose the devshirme child levy, and the resulting attrition of the native Christian populations (i.e., from both expropriation and flight), Papoulia concludes that this Ottoman institution, a method of Islamisation par excellence, also constituted a de facto state of war: 
...that the sources speak of piasimo (seizure) aichmalotos paidon (capture) and arpage paidon (grabbing of children) indicates that the children lost through the devshirme were understood as casualties of war. Of course, the question arises whether, according to Islamic law, it is possible to regard the devshirme as a form of the state of war, although the Ottoman historians during the empire's golden age attempted to interpret this measure as a consequence of conquest by force be'anwa. It is true that the Greeks and the other peoples of the Balkan peninsula did not as a rule surrender without resistance, and therefore the fate of the conquered had to be determined according to the principles of the Koran regarding the Ahl-al-Qitâb: i.e. either to be exterminated or be compelled to convert to Islam or to enter the status of protection, of aman, by paying the taxes and particularly the jizya (poll-tax). The fact that the Ottomans, in the case of voluntary surrender, conceded certain privileges one of which was exemption from this heavy burden, indicates that its measure was understood as a penalisation for the resistance of the population and the devshirme was an expression of the perpetuation of the state of war between the conqueror and the conquered... the sole existence of the institution of devshirme is sufficient to postulate the perpetuation of a state of war.
Under Shah Abbas I (1588—1626 C.E.), the Safavid Shi'ite theocracy of Iran expanded its earlier system of slave razzias into the Christian Georgian and Armenian areas of the Caucasus. Georgian, Armenian, and Circassian inhabitants of the Caucasus were enslaved in large numbers, and converted, thereby, to Shi'a Islam. The males were made to serve as (primarily) military or administrative slaves, while the females were forced into harems. A transition apparently took place between the 17th and 18th centuries such that fewer of the slaves came from the Caucasus, while greater numbers came via the Persian Gulf, originating from Africa.  Ricks notes that by the reign of Shah Sultan Husayn;
The size of the royal court had indeed expanded if the numbers of male and female slaves including white and black eunuchs are any indicators. According to a contemporary historian, Shah Sultan Husayn (d. 1722) made it a practice to arrive at Isfahan's markets on the first days of the Iranian New Year (March 21) with his entire court in attendance. It was estimated by the contemporary recorder that 5,000 male and female black and white slaves including the 100 black eunuchs comprised the royal party. 
Clement Huart, writing in the early 20th century (1907), observed that slaves, continued to be the most important component of the booty acquired during jihad campaigns or razzias: 
Not too long ago several expeditions crossed Amoû-Deryâ, i.e. the southern frontier of the steppes, and ravaged the eastern regions of Persia in order to procure slaves; other campaigns were launched into the very heart of unexplored Africa, setting fire to the inhabited areas and massacring the peaceful animist populations that lived there.
Willis characterises the timeless Islamic rationale for the enslavement of such 'barbarous' African animists, as follows: 
...as the opposition of Islam to kufr erupted from every corner of malice and mistrust, the lands of the enslavable barbarian became the favourite hunting ground for the 'people of reason and faith'—the parallels between slave and infidel began to fuse in the heat of jihad. Hence whether by capture or sale, it was as slave and not citizen that the kafir was destined to enter the Muslim domain. And since the condition of captives flowed from the status of their territories, the choice between freedom and servility came to rest on a single proof: the religion of a land is the religion of its amir (ruler); if he be Muslim, the land is a land of Islam (dar al—Islam); if he be pagan, the land is a land of unbelief (dar al—kufr). Appended to this principle was the kindred notion that the religion of a land is the religion of its majority; if it be Muslim, the land is a land of Islam; if it be pagan, the land is a land of kufr, and its inhabitants can be reckoned within the categories of enslavement under Muslim law. Again, as slavery became a simile for infidelity, so too did freedom remain the signal feature of Islam...The servile estate was hewn out of the ravaged remains of heathen villages — from the women and children who submitted to Islam and awaited their redemption...[according to Muslim jurist] al—Wanshirisi (d.1508), slavery is an affliction upon those who profess no Prophecy, who bear no allegiance to religious law. Moreover, slavery is an humiliation — a subjection— which rises from infidelity.
Based on his study and observations of Muslim slave razzias gleaned while serving in the Sudan during the Mahdist jihad at the close of the 19th century, Winston Churchill wrote this description (in 1899): 
all [of the Arab Muslim tribes in The Sudan], without exception, were hunters of men. To the great slave markets of Jeddah a continual stream of negro captives has flowed for hundreds of years. The invention of gunpowder and the adoption by the Arabs of firearms facilitated the traffic...Thus the situation in the Sudan for several centuries may be summed up as follows: The dominant race of Arab invaders was increasingly spreading its blood, religion, customs, and language among the black aboriginal population, and at the same time it harried and enslaved them...The warlike Arab tribes fought and brawled among themselves in ceaseless feud and strife. The negroes trembled in apprehension of capture, or rose locally against their oppressors.
All these elements of jihad slavery— its juridical rationale, employment as a method of forcible Islamisation (for non—Muslims in general, and directed at Sub—Saharan African Animists, specifically), and its association with devshirme—like levies of adolescent males for slave soldiering— are apparent in the contemporary jihad being waged against the Animists and Christians of southern Sudan, by the Arab Muslim—dominated Khartoum regime. 
Extent and Persistence
The scale and scope of Islamic slavery in Africa are comparable to the Western trans—Atlantic slave trade to the Americas, and as Willis has observed (somewhat wryly),  the former '...out—distances the more popular subject in its length of duration.' Quantitative estimates for the trans-Atlantic slave trade (16th through the end of the 19th century) of 10,500,000 (or somewhat higher ), are at least matched (if not exceeded by 50%) by a contemporary estimate for the Islamic slave trade out of Africa. Professor Ralph Austen's working figure for this composite of the trans-Saharan, Red Sea, and Indian Ocean traffic generated by the Islamic slave trade from 650 through 1905 C.E., is 17,000,000.  Moreover, the plight of those enslaved animist peoples drawn from the savannah and northern forest belts of western and central Africa for the trans—Saharan trade was comparable to the sufferings experienced by the unfortunate victims of the trans—Atlantic slave trade. 
In the Nineteenth Century, slaves reached the ports of Ottoman Tripoli by three main Saharan routes, all so harsh that the experience of slaves forced to travel them bore comparison with the horrors of the so—called 'middle—passage' of the Atlantic.
This illuminating comparison, important as it is, ignores other vast domains of jihad slavery: throughout Europe (Mediterranean and Western Europe, as well as Central and Eastern Europe, involving the Arabs [Western/Mediterranean], and later the Ottoman Turks and Tatars [Central and Eastern Europe]); Muscovite Russia (subjected to Tatar depredations); Asia Minor (under Seljuk and Ottoman domination); Persia, Armenia, and Georgia (subjected to the systematised jihad slavery campaigns waged by the Shi'ite Safavids, in particular); and the Indian subcontinent (razzias and jihad campaigns by the Arabs in the 7th and 8th centuries, and later depredations by the Ghaznavids, during the Delhi Sultanate, the Timurid jihad, and under the Mughals). As a cursory introduction to the extent of jihad slavery beyond the African continent, three brief examples are provided: the Seljuks in Asia Minor (11th and 12th centuries); the Ottomans in the Balkans (15th century); and the Tatars in southern Poland and Muscovite Russia (mid—15th through 17th centuries).
The capture of Christians in Asia Minor by the Seljuk Turks was very extensive in the 11th and 12th centuries.  Following the seizure and pillage of Edessa, 16,000 were enslaved.  Michael the Syrian reported that when the Turks of Nur al—Din were brought into Cilicia by Mleh the Armenian, they enslaved 16,000 Christians, whom they sold at Aleppo.  A major series of razzias conducted in the Greek provinces of Western Asia Minor enslaved thousands of Greeks (Vryonis believes the figure of 100,000 cited in a contemporary account is exaggerated ), and according to Michael the Syrian, they were sold in slave markets as distant as Persia.  During razzias conducted by the Turks in 1185 and over the next few years, 26,000 inhabitants from Cappadocia, Armenian, and Mesopotamia were captured and sent off to the slave markets.  Vryonis concludes: 
...these few sources seem to indicate that the slave trade was a flourishing one. In fact, Asia Minor continued to be a major source of slaves for the Islamic world through the 14th century.
The Ottoman Sultans, in accord with Shari'a prescriptions, promoted jihad slavery aggressively in the Balkans, especially during the 15th century reigns of Mehmed I (1402—1421), Murad II (1421—1451), and Mehmed II (1451—1481).  Alexandrescu—Dersca summarises the considerable extent of this enslavement, and suggests the importance of its demographic effect: 
The contemporary Turkish, Byzantine and Latin chroniclers are unanimous in recognising that during the campaigns conducted on behalf of the unification of Greek and Latin Romania and the Slavic Balkans under the banner of Islam, as well as during their razzias on Christian territory, the Ottomans reduced masses of inhabitants to slavery. The Ottoman chronicler Ašikpašazade relates that during the expedition of Ali pasha Evrenosoghlu in Hungary (1437), as well as on the return from the campaign of Murad II against Belgrade (1438), the number of captives surpassed that of the combatants. The Byzantine chronicler Ducas states that the inhabitants of Smederevo, which was occupied by the Ottomans, were led off into bondage. The same thing happened when the Turks of Menteše descended upon the islands of Rhodes and Cos and also during the expedition of the Ottoman fleet to Enos and Lesbos. Ducas even cites numbers: 70,000 inhabitants carried off into slavery during the campaign of Mehmed II in Morée (1460). The Italian Franciscan Bartholomé de Yano (Giano dell'Umbria) speaks about 60,000 to 70,000 slaves captured over the course of two expeditions of the akinğis in Transylvania (1438) and about 300,000 to 600,000 Hungarian captives. If these figures seem exaggerated, others seem more accurate: forty inhabitants captured by the Turks of Menteše during a razzia in Rhodes, 7,000 inhabitants reduced to slavery following the siege of Thessalonika (1430), according to John Anagnostes, and ten thousand inhabitants led off into captivity during the siege of Mytilene (1462), according to the Metropolitan of Lesbos, Leonard of Chios. Given the present state of the documentation available to us, we cannot calculate the scale on which slaves were introduced into Turkish Romania by this method. According to Bartholomé de Yano, it would amount to 400,000 slaves captured in the four years from 1437 to 1443. Even allowing for a certain degree of exaggeration, we must acknowledge that slaves played an important demographic part during the fifteenth—century Ottoman expansion.
Fisher  has analysed the slave razzias conducted by the Muslim Crimean Tatars against the Christian populations of southern Poland and Muscovite Russia during the mid—15th through late 17th century (1463—1794). Relying upon admittedly incomplete sources ('...no doubt there are many more slave raids that the author has not uncovered' ), his conservative tabulations  indicate that at least 3 million (3,000,000) persons — men, women, and children — were captured and enslaved during this so—called 'harvesting of the steppe'. Fisher describes the plight of those enslaved: 
...the first ordeal [of the captive] was the long march to the Crimea. Often in chains and always on foot, many of the captives died en route. Since on many occasions the Tatar raiding party feared reprisals or, in the seventeenth century, attempts by Cossack bands to free the captives, the marches were hurried. Ill or wounded captives were usually killed rather than be allowed to slow the procession. Heberstein wrote... 'the old and infirm men who will not fetch much as a sale, are given up to the Tatar youths either to be stoned, or thrown into the sea, or to be killed by any sort of death they might please.' An Ottoman traveler in the mid—sixteenth century who witnessed one such march of captives from Galicia marveled that any would reach their destination — the slave markets of Kefe. He complained that their treatment was so bad that the mortality rate would unnecessarily drive their price up beyond the reach of potential buyers such as himself. A Polish proverb stated: 'Oh how much better to lie on one's bier, than to be a captive on the way to Tartary'
The persistence of Islamic slavery is as impressive and unique as its extent. Slavery was openly practiced in both Ottoman Turkey , and Shi'ite (Qajar) Iran , through the first decade of the 20th century. As Toledano points out,  regarding Ottoman Turkey, kul (administrative)/ harem slavery,
...survived at the core of the Ottoman elite until the demise of the empire and the fall of the house of Osman in the second decade of the 20th century.
Moreover, Ricks  indicates that despite the modernising pressures and reforms culminating in the Iranian Constitutional Movement of 1905—1911, which effectively eliminated military and agricultural slavery,
The presence of domestic slaves, however, in both the urban and rural regions of Southern Iran had not ceased as quickly. Some Iranians today attest to the continued presence of African and Indian slave girls...
Slavery on the Arabian peninsula was not abolished formally until 1962 in Saudi Arabia, 32 and 1970 in Yemen and Oman. 33 Writing in 1989, Gordon  observed that although Mauritania abolished slavery officially on July 15, 1980,
...as the government itself acknowledges, the practice is till alive and well. It is estimated that 200,000 men, women, and children are subject to being bought and sold like so many cattle in this North African country, toiling as domestics, shepherds, and farmhands.
Finally, as discussed earlier, there has been a recrudescence of jihad slavery, since 1983 in the Sudan. 
An Overview of Eunuch Slavery—the 'Hideous Trade'
Eunuch slaves — males castrated usually between the ages of 4 and 12 (due to the high risk of death, preferentially, between ages 8 and 12),  were in considerable demand in Islamic societies. They served most notably as supervisors of women in the harems of the rulers and elites of the Ottoman Empire, its contemporary Muslim neighbours (such as Safavid Iran), and earlier Muslim dominions. The extent and persistence of eunuch slavery — becoming prominent within 200 years of the initial 7th century Arab jihad conquests , through the beginning of the 20th century  — are peculiar to the Islamic incarnation of this aptly named 'hideous trade'. For example, Toledano documents that as late as 1903, the Ottoman imperial harem contained from 400 to 500 female slaves, supervised and guarded by 194 black African eunuchs. 
But an equally important and unique feature of Muslim eunuch slavery was the acquisition of eunuchs from foreign 'slave producing areas' , i.e., non—Muslim frontier zones subjected to razzias. As David Ayalon observed, 
...the overwhelming majority of the eunuchs, like the overwhelming majority of all other slaves in Islam, had been brought over from outside the borders of Muslim lands.
Eunuch slaves in China, in stark contrast, were almost exclusively Chinese procured locally. 
Hogendorn  has identified the three main slave producing regions, as they evolved in importance over time, from the 8th through the late 19th centuries:
These areas were the forested parts of central and eastern Europe called by Muslims the 'Bild as—Saqaliba' ('slave country'), the word saqlab meaning slave in Arabic (and related to the ethnic designation 'Slav'); the steppes of central Asia called the 'Bilad al—Atrak' ('Turks' country' or Turkestan); and eventually most important, the savanna and the fringes of the wooded territory south of the Sahara called the country of the blacks or 'Bilad as—Sudan'.
Lastly, given the crudeness of available surgical methods and absence of sterile techniques, the human gelding procedure by which eunuchs were 'manufactured' was associated with extraordinary rates of morbidity and mortality. Hogendorn describes the severity of the operation, and provides mortality information from West and East Africa: 
Castration can be partial (removal of the testicles only or removal of the penis only), or total (removal of both). In the later period of the trade, that is, after Africa became the most important source for Mediterranean Islam, it appears that most eunuchs sold to the markets underwent total removal. This version of the operation, though considered most appropriate for slaves in constant proximity to harem members, posed a very high danger of death for two reasons. First was the extensive hemorrhaging, with the consequent possibility of almost immediate death. The hemorrhaging could not be stopped by traditional cauterisation because that would close the urethra leading to eventual death because of inability to pass urine. The second danger lay in infection of the urethra, with the formation of pus blocking it and so causing death in a few days.
...when the castration was carried out in sub—Saharan West and West—Central Africa...a figure of 90% [is] often mentioned. Even higher death rates were occasionally reported, unsurprising in tropical areas where the danger of infection of wounds was especially high. At least one contemporary price quotation supports a figure of over 90% mortality: Turkish merchants are said to have been willing to pay 250 to 300 (Maria Theresa) dollars each for eunuchs in Borno (northeast Nigeria) at a time when the local price of young male slaves does not seem to have exceeded about 20 dollars...Many sources indicate very high death rates from the operation in eastern Africa.. Richard Millant's  general figure for the Sudan and Ethiopia is 90%.
Contemporary manifestations of Islamic slavery—certainly the razzias (raids) waged by Arab Muslim militias against their black Christian, animist, and animist—Muslim prey in both the southern Sudan and Darfur—and even in its own context, the persistence of slavery in Mauritania (again, black slaves, Arab masters)—reflect the pernicious impact of jihad slavery as an enduring Muslim institution. Even Ottoman society, arguably the most progressive in Muslim history, and upheld just recently at a United Nations conference as a paragon of Islamic ecumenism, never produced a William Wilberforce, much less a broad, religiously—based slavery abolition movement spearheaded by committed Muslim ulema. Indeed, it is only modern Muslim freethinkers, anachronistically referred to as 'apostates,' who have had the courage and intellectual integrity to renounce the jihad, including jihad slavery, unequivocally, and based upon an honest acknowledgement of its devastating military and social history. When the voices of these Muslim freethinkers are silenced in the Islamic world—by imprisonment and torture, or execution—the outcome is tragic, but hardly unexpected. That such insightful and courageous voices have been marginalised or ignored altogether in the West is equally tragic and reflects the distressing ignorance of Western policymaking elites.
...based on the pattern of slave raiding over the past fifteen years and the observations of Western and Arab travelers in southern Darfur and Kordofan, conservatively puts the number of chattel slaves close to or over 100,000. There are many more in state—owned concentration camps, euphemistically called "peace camps" by the government of Sudan, and in militant Qur'anic schools, where boys train to become mujahidun (warriors of jihad).
11. John Ralph Willis. Slaves and slavery in Muslim Africa, Preface, p. vii.
34. Gordon. Slavery in the Arab World, Preface, second page (pages not numbered).
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