The guidance from the Qu'ran to the Muslims on how to treat slaves is to - Free them!

I'm Muslim but wondering what's up with the slavegirl word in the Quran. Does it have a different mistranslated meaning?

Well, First of all, in all things, we need to take the words of Allah according to their context.
during the 1st days of islam, slavery was a so usual way of treating human people of lower conditions and prisoners of war.

If The Prophet would have asked his potential followers to stop slavery right away, the large majority of people would have been schocked and reare who would have followed him. it's a question of psychology and wisdom. the words of God are sacred, yes, but human people are weak. that's why wisdom, philosophy and also strategy were necessary to convince them until they get the message by themselves.

Besides, the Calife Omar Ibn Al Khattab made a great demonstration of the principle of equality of humans in Islam when his governor in Egypt, Amr Ibn Al As's son had been beaten in a horse race by a local peasant. Of course, as the governor's son, he couldn't stand it and whipped him instantly.
after this event happened, the peasant wrote to the Calife about the unfair treatment given to him by the governor's son.

Omar Ibn Al Khattab called them both, and after he heard both of them and witnesses, he asked the peasant to whip Amar Ibn Al As's son right away in the presence of the father, i.e. the governor of Egypt. and after doing so, the calife asked the peasant to do so to the governor himself, but the peasant didn't want to. then, the governor complainted about this treatment, to which the Calife replied by his famous words, engraved in the marble of human universal memory, he said: "When did you enslave humans while their mothers gave them birth free??".

The slavery is something long ago, we think. It is not forbidden in Islam but it is "hated". That means u shouldn't have slaves and free them as soon as possible.

And the slaves that were captivated were usually men and freed as soon as possible.

It said in the holy Qu'ran and in prophet Muhammed's words that you should release slaves and it is well rewarded !

BUT, Slaves are not forbidden in Islam - but hated!

It is not forbidden, but there are rules in Islam about it, so those who have them must respect them.

But, remember, it is hated to have slaves.

Islam opens a lot of doors for slaves to be freed.

Most of the sins that Muslims do will be forgiven if he give a slave his freedom. Read a lot about it in the Fiqh and you will find it.

So, when you read the Sahih hadith about Azl, which is suspect for many reasons, but could be true, you must put it in a historical context.

But Before I go to the hadith be also aware of the fact that slavery exists until now, so called trafficking and the trafficking is not in the Muslim countries, but in Europe and Asia.

This year, 2013, the United Nations is commemorating the abolition of the slave trade although slavery continues in different forms in almost every country in the world.

Public perception of modern slavery is often confused with reports of workers in low-wage jobs or inhumane working conditions. However, modern-day slaves differ from these workers because they are forced to work under the threat of extreme violence.

The fastest growing problem in modern slavery is trafficking people into the West.

Sahih Muslim, Book 8:3371
The hadith that rages many, for good reasons, because Islam and authentic Muslims hate Slavery, is this one:

From Sahih Muslim, a hadith collection:

Book 008, Number 3371:
 Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa'id al Khadri (Allah he pleased with him): 0 Abu Sa'id, did you hear Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) mentioning al-'azl? He said: Yes, and added: We went out with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi'l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing 'azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid-conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah's Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah's Messenger [Muhammad] (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.
Analysing the hadith
Many questions arise when reading it.

Firstly, where is the Arabic source?
Secondly, what war was this?
Thirdly, when did this occur?
Fourthly, what were the circumstances it was said in?
Fiftly when was slavery abolished in Mecka and Medina, i.e. how long did it take until every slave in Saudi-Arabia was free?
Sixtly, what are the Sahih Collection and how did it occur?
Seventhly, if this is true, which I doubt, then the apostle of Allah is only saying a fact, without any prohibitions, because Allah forbid everything only by baby-steps, so it is possible, but unlikely, that if this happened then the prophet didn't like it, but couldn't do anything, because it wasn't the right time to do so. And Allaho Alem.

I begin with the easy questions first.

Battle of Mustaliq
This was the war of Bi'l-Mustaliq. but Before I go on to the details of this war I searched for the Word Mustaliq on the Internet and found this interesting piece to read

The war and the consequences that followed it.
"The enemies of Islam, after steering the course of futile warfare against the new religion for five years, came to realize fully that exterminating Islam is not accessible in the battlefields, so they resorted to other tactics. They, being reputed gossip-mongers, decided to launch a widespread propaganda campaign aiming at slandering the person of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in a most sensitive area of the Arabian Life, namely ethics and traditions."
Source: Sunnipathislam

This reveals something about the circumstances the hadith was said in, but not fully.

The source of the hadith
I also want to know the source of this hadith. It is taken from the Sealed Nectar written by Shaykh Safi ur Rahman Mubarakpuri. For those who don’t know the Shaykh was one of the major scholars upon the Sunnah in India. He is popularly known for his award winning work on the Seerah of the Messenger of Allah, entitled “ar Raheeq ul Makhtoom” or “The Sealed Nectar“and his supervision of the translation and abridgement of Taseer Ibn Katheer/Kathir.

Abu Sirma
Then I want to know who Abu Sirma is. I have to look up his age and his background. I can't find anything about his, except in hadiths.

I find his name in this hadith found in 'The Book Pertaining to Repentance and Exhortation to Repentance (Kitab Al-Tauba)' of Sahih Muslim. I don't trust the hadith as I don't have the arabic source, but I use it anyway.

"Abu Sirma reported that when the time of the death of Abu Ayyub Ansari drew near, he said: I used to conceal from you a thing which I heard from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as sayirig: Had you not committed sins, Allah would have brought into existence a creation that would have committed sin (and Allah) would have forgiven them." 67:6620

What can I figure out from this?

Abu Ayyub Ansari
Firstly, Abu Sirma lived when Abu Ayyub Ansari lived. When did Abu Ayyub Ansari live? He was born 576 in Mecka, and died at the age of 97 or 98 in the year of 674 in Constantinople, Byzantine. When did the prophet Muhammad live? He was born in the year 570 and died in the year of 632 at the age of 62 in Yathrib, Arabia, present-day Medina, Saudi-Arabia. In 595 he married Khadija until 619, when Muhammad was 49 years old. Tom Cruise is born in 1962 and is today 51 years old. This very year Muhammad Peace be upon him remarried a woman, a widow, who had a son. Her name was Sawda bint Zam'a.

Sawda bint Zam'a
She was married to him the rest of Muhammad's, peace be upon him, life. In 632, when she become widow for the second time, she received a gift of money, which she spent on charity. Muawiyah I, the first caliph of the Umayyad dynasty bought her house in Medina for 180,000 dirhams. She died in Medina in October 674, 42 years after prophet Muhammad died. Muhammad married her in Shawwal, in the tenth year of His Prophethood, a few days after the death of Khadijah. She was older than Muhammad. If she was older than him, then it means that she was more than 49 years old when she married him. If she then lived another 42 years we sum it up to 91 years old, at least. For me, this is interesting, because a lot of people at that age grew old. Abu Ayyub Ansari was also old when he died. He died at the age of 97 or 98, in 674, the same year as Sawda died. They didn't die in the same village though. She died in Medina, while Abu Ayyub Ansari died in Constantinople.

No, when I remind me of the age and time the hadith was said in, I want to know when the battle of Mustaliq occured.

The battle of Banu Mustaliq took place in December, 627AD, 8th(Sha'ban) month of 6AH of the Islamic Calendar. 200 families were taken as captives, 200 camels and 5000 sheep and goats, as well as a huge quantity of household goodswere taken as booty. The household goods were sold in an auction to the highest bidders.

The battle took place eight years after Khadija had passed away. At this time he was 57 years old, married to Sawda who was more than 57 years old, Aicha raa, Hafsa who was Umar ibn al-Khattabs daughter. Zaynab bint Khuzayma, who the prophet loved and respected very highly died that very same year of the battle. In 628, when 200 families of the tribe of Mustaliq was being captivated, 18 years after the first revelation, 7 years after the emigration to Medina from Mecka, prophet Muhammad peace be upon Him married Juwayriyya bint al-Harith, who was 20 years old (born 608) He was at that time also married to Zaynab bint Jahsh. So, she entered a household with four wives.

The Muslims
The Muslim army had sent a message to Banu Mustaliq to accept Islam, and in doing so abandon their hostilities and continue to live in peace and security in their own land. Instead of accepting this offer Banu Mustalaq declared war and shot one of the Muslim soldiers with an arrow, at which point wild fighting broke out

Juwayriyya bint Harith
She was captured, but not put in prison. She could leave the Place she stayed in, and go and talk to the prophet directly by herself.

"At the first opportunity [after her capture] she went to the Prophet, and pleaded her case with him. She told him that she was the daughter of a chieftain and used to command and because of her unfortunate circumstance she found herself in this helpless position. From a throne made of gold she had fallen into dust. ...How could she possibly live the life as a slave? She pleaded with the Prophet, to take notice of the pitiful and desperate condition in which she found herself.

The Prophet, was moved by her sorrowful plea and asked her if she would like to live as a free woman and be part of his household if he paid her ransom. She had never in her dreams expected this offer. Moved deeply by this unexpected elevation in her status, she exclaimed she would be more than happy to accept."

She was very happy, at the age of 20, to marry him, even though he was a little older than Tom Cruise is today.

Some time later her father and all the men of her tribe who had been freed also accepted Islam as their religion.
This was routine. Most men was married to more than four women before Islam arrived. Islam came to take that away, and preferably decrease it to just one woman. Everybody, more or less, had more than one wife and most of the households also had slaves, male and female.

The exception from this was when the prophet Muhammad was married Khadija raa, who he held dearly to his heart even after her death. He didn't want to marry more than one woman, but when Islam came, he had to set an example for those who had more than one wife so they had something to follow. He showed them the way - how to treat and respect and be just to people, especially widows and other women who often had been seen down upon.

Okay, let us go back to Abu Ayyub Ansari and Abu Sirma. I don't know when he was born and would like to know that. I truly get confused, as I can't get any relevant information about him. I found some piece of information about slavery at that time though, but still I can't get any information about this man, Abu Sirma. Who was he?

Abu Sirma, a mystery?
He died after Abu Ayyub Ansari (674).  He also knew Abu Sa'id al Khudri who he talked to in the hadith.

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri was also called Sa'id ibn Malik Sinan al-Khazraji al-Khudri. He was Too young to fight at the Battle of Uhud in 625 where his father Malik ibn Sinan fell, he participated in subsequent Campaigns. This was only two years before the battle of Mustaliq. He must have been very young. He must have been born between 600 and 625. He is said variously to have died in 682-684 or 693. Why we don't know the exact date is also a mystery. But this would mean that he was between 60 and 93 years old when he died.

Abu Sa'id
Abu Sa'id is one of the narrators of hadith most frequently quoted. By one count, he has 1170 narrations, making him the seventh most prolific Companion in the transmission of the hadith.

Okay, now i have to know when Sahih Muslim was born and when he died to link these two together, but also searched and investigate more about Abu Sirma.

We have seen that this Project isn't easy. It takes time and effort to understand islam. Islam is great and you learn something new every day. Islam isn't as black and White as many want to see Islam - it is complex with nuances, shape and forms. You just can't look at a hadith and take it as it is. You must reflect upon it, reason and try to understand the background and if it is a true hadith or translation. You have to learn more about the people that lived and said those hadiths.

Sahih Muslim (Arabic: صحيح مسلم, ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, full title Al-Musnadu Al-Sahihu bi Naklil Adli) is one of the al-Kutub al-Sittah (six major ahadith) of the hadith in Sunni Islam. It is the second most authentic hadith collection after Sahih al-Bukhari, and is highly acclaimed by Sunni Muslims. It was collected by Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, also known as Imam Muslim. Sahih translates as authentic or correct.

What am i doing right know?
As you can see, i don't have all the answers. I try to understand the chain of the hadith. Who were the people behind the hadith? How old were they, how did they think? What did they do and say and where did they live?

Muslim Ibn al-hajjaj
The collector of the Sahih Muslim, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, was born into a Persian family in 204 AH (817 CE) in Nishapur (in modern-day Iran) and died in 261 AH (874/75 CE) in the city of his birth. He traveled widely to gather his collection of ahadith (plural of hadith), including to areas now in Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, Syria and Egypt.

He evaluated over 300,000 hadiths and choose 4,000 out of them. Each report in his collection was checked and the veracity of the chain of reporters was painstakingly established

Sahih Muslim is divided into 43 books, containing a total of 7190 narrations. However, it is important to realize that Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj never claimed to collect all authentic traditions as his goal was to collect only traditions that all Muslims should agree on about accuracy.

According to Munthiri, there are a total of 2,200 hadiths (without repetition) in Sahih Muslim. According to Muhammad Amin, there are 1,400 authentic hadiths that are reported in other books, mainly the six major hadith Collections.

This would make any one doubt about the sunnah, but it is simple. 1,400 hadith are reported in the six major hadith Collections. But what are they and can you find this hadith in them?

A major thing to understand is that people lived far longer than we do today. They lived for almost 90 years. Sahih Muslim, however, only attained the age of 57 years old. He was born 674-817

Book 037, Number 6620:

Abu Sirma reported that when the time of the death of Abu Ayyub Ansari drew near, he said: I used to conceal from you a thing which I heard from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as sayirig: Had you not committed sins, Allah would have brought into existence a creation that would have committed sin (and Allah) would have forgiven them.
Let us go back to Abu Ayyub ansari again, to find more clue about the time we dwell in.

When Muhammad arrived in Medina, he was offered accommodation by all of its inhabitants. He wished to stay with the Banu Najjar, whom he was distantly related to. Upon making inquiries as to the member of Banu Najjar closest to him, Muhammad was introduced to Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, with whom Muhammad then stayed for seven months.

Following the Muslim conquest of Egypt, Abu Ayyub moved to a house in Fustat adjacent to the mosque of Amr bin Al'aas which was completed in 642. Several other notable Companions were his neighbors, including Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Ubaida, Abu Zar, Abdullah ibn Umar and Abdullah ibn Amr bin Al'aas.

He also led a distinguished military career. Of him it was said, "He did not stay away from any battle the Muslims fought from the time of Muhammad to the time of Muawiyah, unless he was engaged at the same time in another."

to be continued...

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