Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Slavery, Slave Trade
(2,617 words)

1. Medieval Period

Gaonic responsa and Cairo Geniza documents alike allude to the fact that Jews living in Islamic lands in the medieval period owned slaves and engaged in the slave trade. Male and female slaves were identified by different terms—ṣabī or ghulām (Ar. boy) for males, and jāriya or waṣīfa (Ar. maid) for females—and were generally assigned different functions in the household economy. The concentration of Jewish economic life in crafts and trade rather than agricultural prod…

Cite this page
Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman and Onur Yildirim, “Slavery, Slave Trade”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 26 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1878-9781_ejiw_COM_000524>
First published online: 2010

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