Far from ignoring or condemning slavery, Islam condones the GLORIOUS age-old Muslim institution like no other religion.
Muslims are encouraged to live in the way of Muhammad, who was a slave owner and trader. He captured slaves in battle. He had sex with his slaves. And he instructed his men to do the same. In fact, the Qur'an has more to say about enjoying sex with slaves than it does about several of the "five pillars of Islam."
Slavery is deeply embedded in Islamic law and tradition. Although a slave-owner is cautioned against treating slaves harshly, basic human rights are not obliged.
Of the five references to freeing a slave in the Qur'an, three are prescribed as punitive measures against the slaveholder for unrelated sin, and limits the emancipation to just a single slave. Another (24:33) appears to allow a slave to buy their freedom if they are "good." (This is consistent with the traditional Islamic practice of wealth-building through the taking and ransoming of hostages, which began under Muhammad).
A tiny verse in one of the earliest Suras (90:13) does say that freeing a slave is good, however, this was "revealed" at a time when the Muslim community was miniscule and several of their new and potential recruits were either actual slaves or newly freed slaves. Many of these same people, and Muhammad himself, later went on to become owners and traders of slaves, both male and female, as they acquired the power to do so. The language of the Qur'an changed to accommodate slavery, which is why this early verse has had negligible impact on slavery in the Islamic world.
Contrary to popular myth, converting to Islam does not automatically earn a slave his freedom, although doing so is said to increase a slave master's heavenly reward (Muslim slaves are implied in Sura (4:92)). As far as the Islamic courts are concerned, a master may treat his slaves however he chooses without fear of punishment.
We may also look to the Noble Quran for our cue on Allah's commands with regard to this Glorious Institution.
Sura (33:50) - "O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those (slaves) whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee" This is a special command that Muhammad handed down to himself, allowing himself virtually unlimited sex. Others are limited to four wives, but may also have sex with an unlimited number of slaves, as the following verse make clear:
Sura (23:5-6) - "..who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess..." This verse allows the slave-owner to have sex with his slaves. See also Sura (70:29-30).
Sura (4:24) - "And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess." Even sex with married slaves is permissible.
Sura (24:32) - "And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves..." Breeding slaves based on fitness.
Sura (2:178) - "O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female." The message of this verse, which prescribes the rules of retaliation for murder, is that all humans are not created equal. The human value of a slave is less than that of a free person (and a woman's worth is also distinguished from that of a man's).
Or we can look to the actions and words of Allah's Apostle in the Hadith:
From the Hadith:
Bukhari (80:753) - "The Prophet said, 'The freed slave belongs to the people who have freed him.'"
Bukhari (52:255) - The slave who accepts Islam and continues serving his Muslim master will receive a double reward in heaven.
Bukhari (41.598) - Slaves are property. They cannot be freed if an owner has outstanding debt, but rather used to pay off the debt.
Bukhari (62:137) - An account of women taken as slaves in battle by Muhammad's men after their husbands and fathers were killed. The woman were raped with Muhammad's approval.
Bukhari (34:432) - Another account of females taken captive and raped with Muhammad's approval. In this case it is evident that the Muslims intend on selling the women after raping them because they are concerned about devaluing their price by impregnating them. Muhammad is asked about coitus interruptus.
Bukhari (47.765) - A woman is rebuked by Muhammad for freeing a slave girl. The prophet tells her that she would have gotten a greater heavenly reward by giving her to a relative (as a slave).
Bukhari (34:351) - Muhammad sells a slave for money. He was thus a slave trader.
Bukhari (72:734) - Some contemporary Muslims in the West, where slavery is believed to be a horrible crime, are reluctant to believe that Muhammad owned slaves. This is just one of many places in the Hadith where a reference is made to a human being owned by Muhammad. In this case, the slave is of African descent.
Muslim 3901 - Muhammad trades away two black slaves for one Muslim slave.
Muslim 4112 - A man freed six slaves on the event of his death, but Muhammad reversed the emancipation and kept four in slavery to himself. He cast lots to determine which two to free.
Bukhari (47:743) - Muhammad's own pulpit - from which he preached Islam - was built with slave labor on his command.
Bukhari (59:637) - "The Prophet sent Ali to Khalid to bring the Khumus (of the booty) and I hated Ali, and Ali had taken a bath (after a sexual act with a slave-girl from the Khumus). I said to Khalid, 'Don't you see this (i.e. Ali)?' When we reached the Prophet I mentioned that to him. He said, 'O Buraida! Do you hate Ali?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Do you hate him, for he deserves more than that from the Khumlus.'" Muhammad approved of his men having sex with slaves, as this episode involving his son-in-law, Ali, clearly proves. This hadith refutes the modern apologists who pretend that slaves were really "wives," since Muhammad had forbidden Ali from marrying another woman as long as Fatima (his favorite daughter) was living.
Abu Dawud (2150) - "The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur’anic verse: (Sura 4:24) 'And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.'" This is the background for verse 4:24 of the Qur'an. Not only does Allah grant permission for women to be captured and raped, but allows it to even be done in front of their husbands.
Ibn Ishaq (734) - A slave girl is given a "violent beating" by Ali in the presence of Muhammad, who does nothing about it.
Most telling, perhaps, is that slavery is still practiced in the Sudan, Niger, Mauritania and a few other corners of the Muslim world - and you won't see any of those Muslim apologists (who shamelessly repeat the lie that Islam abolished slavery) doing or saying anything about it!
Since Muhammad was a slave owner and slavery is permitted by the Qur'an, the Muslim world has never apologized and will NEVER apologize for this Wonderful Islamic Institution. Even Muslims in the West will often try to justify slavery under Islam, since it is a part of the Qur'an, as they should!
Allah knows best!