Is political freedom an Islamic value?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Let me start by stating a couple of assumptions that are not, I think, particularly extravagant. The first is that most human societies are familiar with the relationship between master and slave, and the contrast it generates between being a slave and being a free person. The second is that a capacity for drawing analogies is a standard part of the mental faculties of humans. Given these assumptions, we should not, I think, be surprised if we find people making analogies between slavery and freedom on the one hand and other relationships involving an asymmetrical distribution of power on the other. One such asymmetrical relationship for many societies is that between husband and wife. Asmāʾ bint Abī Bakr, daughter of the first Caliph, is reported to have said: ‘Marriage is slavery, so you should think twice to whom you enslave your daughter.’ The point she is making is not that a woman is legally the slave of her husband, but that you could think of it that way; the pay-off of doing so is that you are likely to pause before marrying off your daughter to some domestic tyrant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFreedom and the Construction of Europe
Subtitle of host publicationFree Persons and Free States
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781139519298
ISBN (Print)9781107033078
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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