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 the neglected topic. He draws on examples from the 'abode of Islam', from the Philippines to Senegal and from the Caucasus to South Africa, paying particular attention for the period from the late eighteenth 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 Western society 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).