I don't mean a novel or a history book or a children's book from recent times, but a real serious book from ancient times, the Bible for example? If you have, please let me know.
I would like to know.
Honor of Allah's Slavery
Therefore, for a human being, there is no greater honor than to be a slave of God Almighty. If that expression slave was good enough for all of God's prophets, in the Bible, by name, it is good enough for you and me - and for everyone else.
There is a reason why Allah emphasizes that notion in the Qur'an repeatedly - the notion of all humans being nothing but Allah's slaves. And that is why whenever some of us try to raise our position a degree by calling ourselves servants rather than slaves because we are embarrassed by what others may say or think about us, Allah lowers our position a notch. We get a slap on our wrist from Almighty Allah.
That is how it works. As that other prince of poetry and Islamic thought put it: Khud badaltey nahin, Qur'an ko badaldeytey hain. Iqbal, right? I don't remember. Paraphrase: Some of us would rather change the Qur'an than change ourselves.
Making Masters Out of Slaves
But unlike much of human slavery, this is one slavery - being a slave of God Almighty - that uplifts and liberates. By making a human being a slave of the creator, this form of slavery places in the hands of the slave the keys to the treasures of heaven and earth. And it gives every individual human being the right and the title to be treated with the greatest honor, respect and dignity in this world.
Being Allah's slaves makes human beings the masters of all they survey, as someone put it, and all that they cannot even readily survey. It literally makes them the masters of the universe.
Read the Qur'an: Sakkhara lakum maa fis-samaawaati wa maa fil-ard. Paraphrase: He made subservient to your needs all that is in heavens and earth.
Slave of Allah: Master of the world! What is wrong with that?
Slave of Allah: Master of the world! What an equation! And what better deal can anyone imagine, ask for, offer or receive?
Making masters out of slaves! That is what Allah does with his slaves, the human beings. And that is also what Muslims did with their slaves. They not only set them free, they made them masters of their empires.
Hazrat Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him, the first elected ruler of the Muslims - and quite probably of the world - used to refer to Hazrat Bilal, may God be pleased with him, an Abyssinian slave that he purchased and set free, as "My master."
They Made Their Slaves Kings
Slave dynasty. Ever wonder what or who it was? It was former Muslim slaves being appointed by Muslims to be their kings.
It was Memlukes - slaves - becoming Muluke, kings. In India, in Egypt, elsewhere. Black slaves, white slaves, all kinds of slaves. Muslims made them kings and followed them to the ends of the earth. Very different from the way the Western world treated its slaves.
In many ways the world is a bad place. Mostly because of the way human beings act. Read today's newspapers and you will see in their headlines how our air, land and water are being destroyed by human activities. Or, if you will, read the Qur'an and get those same headlines from 1400 years ago: Zaharal fasaadu fil barri wa bahri bimaa kasabat aydinnaas.
One of the most egregious ways in which human beings abused our world was by treating slaves the way most of them did - in many cases worse than animals, and they often treated animals pretty bad.
For hundreds of years, European and American civilizations, and what may be called the economic and industrial miracle of the modern age, were built on the back of racialized slavery and fed with the blood and sweat of African slaves, many of them Muslims.
That is what the world got when the Muslims allowed their own culture of the Qur'an and civilization of Islam to decay and be dismantled - one final manifestation of which was their being thrown out of Spain (before there ever was a Spain, mind you) in 1492 by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand.
It was also the year Christopher Columbus set sail to transnavigate the globe. There were Muslim seamen and guides on board - and maps and navigational instruments derived from the discoveries Muslims had made earlier.
In general, Muslims worked diligently to bring about their own downfall - in Spain (that was yet to be Spain) and elsewhere. All you need to do is to look at how Muslims act now and you will have a pretty clear idea how they must have acted then. Practically everywhere Allah gave them a long rope and the Muslims all too often used it to hang themselves.
This is not to deny the role of all kinds of other factors that were involved, but only to point out the role the Muslims themselves played in their own defeats and destruction.
Yet the fact is, when it came to their treatment of slaves, Muslims did things a bit differently. They too had slaves. But the Muslims took their slaves and made them masters of their vast empires. They made them kings. That is how an entire dynasty of slaves came to rule large parts of the Muslim world. It was called, for obvious reasons, Mamaaleek - the slave dynasty.
Amazing people, these Muslims. They did some amazing things, even when they did not seem to be doing many things right.
Islam and Non-Islam:
A Rivalry of Truth and Falsehood
I thought I would explain that important difference quickly - the difference between Islam and non-Islam on the subject of slavery - hoping it would help people see through the avalanche of often false and malicious propaganda let loose against Islam and Muslims by non-Islam.