Islam and the Abolition of Slavery

William Clarence-Smith

Islam and the Abolition of Slavery is a tour de force.’ –– Times Literary Supplement

Bibliographic Details
Islam and the Abolition of Slavery Hardback
September 2005£40.00
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Islam and the Abolition of Slavery Paperback
February 2020£16.99
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In this important book, Clarence-Smith provides the first general survey of the Islamic debate on slavery. Sweeping away entrenched myths, he hopes to stimulate more research on this neglected topic. He draws on examples from the ‘abode of Islam’, from the Philippines to Sengal and from the Caucasus to South Africa, paying particular attention to the period from the late 18th century to the present. Once slavery had disappeared, it was the Sufi mystics who did most to integrate former slaves socially and religiously, avoiding the deep social divisions that have plagued th Western societies in the aftermath of abolition.


William Clarence-Smith is Professor of the Economic History of Asia and Africa at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and teaches a course Islamic reform in Southeast Asia. He has written widely on slavery, colonialism, entrepreneurial diasporas, and tropical agriculture. He edited The Economics of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century (1989).


‘As a historian, Clarence-Smith has certainly made his case. Islam and the Abolition of Slavery is a tour de force.’ –– Times Literary Supplement

Islam and the Abolition of Slavery’ is a tour de force which ranges over the entire Islamic world, from the Hijrah to the present, and for good measure includes comparisons with the attitudes and practice of other major world religions towards the “embarrassing institution”.’ –– Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

‘An impressive survey … and objective analysis.’ –– Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung