Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Sons and Daughters of Amun

n objective observer could look at Black America and note that we only get together or rally around racism. The more blatant the racist event the more crowded the meeting places, the streets and the more intense the cries for unity and organization. Without the racism or when it subsides (or appears to subside) we drift back into normalcy and the status quo. This cycle has been going on since the mid 70's, from the 'Boston busing crisis' to the murder of Yusuf Hawkins, to Rodney King, to the Jena 6 incident, to Ferguson. Racism motivates us, incites us, increases black awareness, organizes us and gives us some sense of  collective identity. It's almost as though we are children of racism. 

But racism is not a good parent. 
After it pops up, it invariably leaves us unfulfilled, frustrated and disillusioned without transforming us into what we want to be and placing us where we want to be...because only we can do that. 

And in truth, we are simply not the sons and daughters of racism. 

Our sense of identity and civilization was forged tens of centuries before racism became the favorite tool of the current system of Western European domination. 
We are Sons and Daughters of Amun. 
Historically and scientifically we come from Amun. 

Amun as a concept goes at least back to the 5th Dynasty  (2495 BC).
"The Hidden One," Amen is "King of the Netjeru," a major name of the Neter in Waset (Thebes), Upper Kemet.
In reality it goes back to the source; that hidden blackness, the unknowable, unfathomable, intelligent energy first manifested in our universe as gamma rays...as light.
Whatever we are now, whatever we consider ourselves let us remember we all come from this same source; the hidden essence made manifest through light, energy and the and elements it formed.
In ancient Kemet and Nubia, the concept of Amun was the hidden consciousness behind all reality and the burst of light and manifested energy were represented by Ra. This is the true meaning of 'Amun-Ra.'

If we think about it,  the understanding of Amun can be the fundamental source of our unity. We can use this as a foundation from which to build. Whether we call ourselves Baptist, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Democrat, Republican, Hebrew Israelite or Greek, before any of these divisions, we came from the essence (Amun). And even historically African civilization began in  Nubia, the region that produced Amun. This was over a thousand years before the Bible arose. Many, if not most, historians today believe that the worship of Amun had started in Sudan long before Egypt.1

Nubians never saw themselves as "foreigners" in Egypt (Kemet). In their minds, Egypt and Kush were northern and southern halves of an ancient original domain of Amun. These two lands, in their view, had been united in mythical times; subsequently they grew apart, to be united again in historical times only by the greatest pharaohs. As Sons of Amun, the Kushite kings saw themselves as heirs of those pharaohs, believing they were the Neter’s (God's) representatives - from his southern sphere - chosen to unite and protect his ancient empire and to restore Ma'at - "truth, order, and justice" - throughout the land. 

In fact, historian Herman Bell has said he strongly believes the ancient Egyptian ruler Akhenaton had adopted the idea of one God (monotheism) upon contact with Nubians and Nubian culture.

Bell, who recently visited the Selaim village north of Dongola, some 600km north of Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, argued that king Akhenaton who called for monotheism in 1350 B.C had followed the Nubians in this belief. Bell suggested that the Nile Valley civilization had started in Nubia and then moved northwards.
Likewise, this same general region is where the most ancient people originated and later spread to west and south Africa. This is one thing upon which we can all agree, we are sons and daughters of Amun. 
 And we are chosen to unite and protect his ancient reality and  restore Ma'at - "truth, order, and justice" - throughout the land.
It's a great place to start.
1For example see: P. F. Service, The Ancient African Kingdom of Kush (Cultures of the Past) (New York: Benchmark Books, 1998) 35.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Islam, Slavery and Black People Pt. 2: A Comment From Chancellor Williams

Adal Sultantate, Ethiopia 1430 AD

For well over fourteen hundred years Africans have been living Islam. They have used it to inform their African dress, music, diet, social structures, their self governance, their learning and sciences. By their own volition Africans have been Muslim for approximately as long as Anglo Saxons and Germans have been Christian. This heritage runs deep. Most of the great West African Empires and cities were Muslim, including Timbuktu, Djenne, Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Fouta Djallon, the Sokoto Sultanate in Nigeria and Niger, and Kanem-Bornu; not to mention the powerful East African States such as the Ajuran Empire, the Adal Sultanate and the Mahdiyya in Sudan.  When Africans were brought to America their connection with this past was  essentially cut off. We had no clue all this had been going on.
As awareness grew in the 1960's and '70's, many African Americans began to reflect this awareness in their  their thinking as well as in their names. Then something happened in the early 90's. The paragraph below is a reflection of the change. This article will examine the single paragraph below by Chancellor Williams.

"The Blacks in the United states seem to be more mixed up and confused over the search for racial identity than anywhere else. Hence, many are dropping their white western slave master's names and adopting - not African - but their white Arab and Berber slavemaster's names! For the Arabs themselves are a white people, the semitic division of Caucasian and therefore blood brothers of the Jews against whom they are now arrayed for war."

 The Destruction of Black Civilization, Chancellor Williams, pp. 22-23.

Ok, let's start with the first two sentences. "The Blacks in the United states seem to be more mixed up and confused over the search for racial identity than anywhere else. Hence, many are dropping their white western slave master's names and adopting - not African - but their white Arab and Berber slavemaster's names!" 

Are we really mixed up about our 'racial identity'? We're black,(or "blacks" as Chancellor said.) It's that simple, because "racial identity" is a simple, superficial category and it is as vague as it is simple. Because as we all know race and blackness are social constructs that can mean a lot of things, depending on an individual's perspective, presumptions, and the norms and stereotypes of the society at the time.

But we are not simply a race, we are a people, an African people with an array of distinct cultural, historical and ethnic lineages and heritages. Many of them go back to the Fulani, the Wolof, the Soninke, the Jallonke, the Mandinke, the Jakhanke, the 
Mandé etc. The majority of these people have been Muslim for as long as their oral histories can recall, approximately one thousand years. They have names like Karim, Malik, Kadir (Qadir), Fatima, Khadijah or Amina. 

So, if I, for example, through DNA, trace my lineage back to Mali, and find many people in my region are named Kadir and I change my name to Kadir, how exactly am I mixed up? Am I not re-connecting with my actual heritage? Am I mixed up because Kadir is originally an Arabic word? If that's the case Williams should take that up with the people of West Africa and forty seven generations of our ancestors there who have been Muslim and have used Kadir and similar names.

And further, how is that different from a European-American naming himself Michael*, Joseph, John*, or James? Those are all originally North African, Middle Eastern, Hebrew/Aramaic names.  (*Ex. Michael from Hebrew: 
 Mīkhāʼēl מִיכָאֵל "like *El" (the *Powerful One) and John, from Yohanan (יוֹחָנָן‎), "Graced by Yah"). 
Not to mention that Arabic (along with Hebrew and Ancient Egyptian) is an Afroasiatic language with an ancient prototype that originated in Ethiopia. Chancellor Williams may not have known this during his time, but now we know.

Next he says, we are- "adopting our white Arab and Berber slavemaster's names!"

First, plain and simple, not one of the African empires, nations and people in history had an 'Arab slave master.' They were a free and independent people. Although slavery did exist, the overwhelming majority of Africans weren't sold or taken as slaves by Arabs, and the vast majority of Arabs didn't buy or take slaves, so why would this be the defining theme when referring to 'Arabs' or Muslims?
(The answers lies in the motives and biases of 18th and 19th century Western Christian Orientalist scholars, but we'll discuss that later.)  
See also, http://www.innercivilization.com/2017/12/islam-black-people-and-slavery-pt-1.html

Most of us are literally in America because the non-islamic 'traditional African' Empires of the Ashanti, the Fon, the Oyo (Yoruba), the Kong, the Kingdom of Benin, the Kingdom of Koya, the Kingdom of Khasso, the Kingdom of Kaabu, the Fante Confederacy and the Dahomey enslaved us and sold us here. Does that mean all Africans are our slave masters? Why don't we say the 'African slave master' when dealing with any Africans? Because all Africans didn't enslave us. 

Second, it appears that Chancellor Williams is assuming the Berbers were white. However, the vast majority of 'berbers' are a black people. This point has been made clear by scholars like Dana Marniche Reynolds. See, http://afroasiatics.blogspot.com/2014/03/ ; also http://afroasiatics.blogspot.com/2016/01/

Third, and probably most importantly. The huge assumption in this paragraph made by Williams is that we took on these names simply to rebel against the 'white slave- master' or purely for cultural identity or socio-political reasons. While those may be factors, the central reason was because of their spiritual significance and meaning. This is aptly explained by Elijah Muhammad, the one man primarily responsible for the adoption of these names. 

"The Black man from the root beginning is from a Black Father. The Black man (so-called American Negro) is a member of the family and a direct descendant of the Creator who made the Heavens and the Earth. Therefore the son should be called by the name of his Father and not called by the name of an alien. The white race is an alien people to the Black Man. So many times you have heard that God has 99 names or attributes. The 100th name or attribute is Allah. Many of his attributes refer to names such as Power (Qadir), The Mighty (Al Aziz) , The Wise (Al Hakim) , the Most Merciful (Ar-Rahim), The Maker (Al-Bari), the Fashioner (AL Musawwir), the Knower (Al-Alim), the All -Hearing One (As-Sami), the All Seeing One(Al- Basiyr). So many of these names that we should have are pertaining to our Father."

~ Elijah Muhammad, Our Savior Has Arrived, (1974).

This is the same as assuming Africans throughout the centuries were forced to convert to Islam at sword point or that they had to convert to do business. The problem is that (aside from ignoring the actual history) this view ignores the agency, and undermines the dignity of the African mind. Islam spread to Southeast Asia, Iran, India, Afghanistan, etc., yet we don't assume they were forced to convert. Why when it comes to our own African people we assume they were victims and not intelligent, conscious actors with their own sense of determination and preferences? What Western scholars and their students have overlooked is the possibility that Africans appreciated the principles and the aesthetics of the Qur'an as well as the way it sounded to their ears and to their hearts. In fact, the word 'baneex' in the West African Wolof language, meaning pleasure and satisfaction, is traditionally used to describe the experience of learning the Qur'an.

Finally, let's deal with the last sentence in William's paragraph:  "For the Arabs themselves are a white people, the Semitic division of Caucasian and therefore blood brothers of the Jews against whom they are now arrayed for war."

To begin with, this phrase 'semitic division of Caucasian' has no valid meaning in current anthropology. Semitic is not a race.* It is more of a language designation, now called Afroasiatic because it originated in Africa and eventually branched into Asia.  Caucasian is a false category. It's a fabrication made up by 18th Century Europeans and has no real scientific meaning. See, http://www.innercivilization.com/2014/11/a-myth-of-epic-proportions.html .

*(The Ashkenazi Jews we are currently familiar with have mixed Near Eastern and Southern European/Mediterranean origins, though some admixture with Khazar and Slavic populations after 100 CE was not excluded. 
'During Greco-Roman times, recorded mass conversions led to 6 million people practicing Judaism in Roman times or up to 10% of the population of the Roman Empire. Thus, the genetic proximity of these European/Syrian Jewish populations, including Ashkenazi Jews, to each other and to French, Northern Italian, and Sardinian populations favors the idea of non-Semitic Mediterranean ancestry in the formation of the European/Syrian Jewish groups and is incompatible with theories that Ashkenazi Jews are for the most part the direct lineal descendants of converted Khazars or Slavs. The genetic proximity of Ashkenazi Jews to southern European populations has been observed in several other recent studies. Admixture with local populations, including Khazars and Slavs, may have occurred subsequently during the 1000 year (2nd millennium) history of the European Jews.')(Atzmon & et al. 2010) See  also, https://web.archive.org/web/20110721133548/http://ftp.beitberl.ac.il/~bbsite/misc/ezer_anglit/klali/05_123.pdf, Golden, Peter B. (2007b). "The Conversion of the Khazars to Judaism". In Golden, Peter B.; Ben-Shammai,, Haggai; Róna-Tas, András. The World of the Khazars: New Perspectives. Handbook of Oriental Studies. 17. BRILL. pp. 123–161. ISBN 978-90-04-16042-2. Retrieved 13 February 2013.

'Arab' is not a race either. There have been a number of different ethnic groups on the Arabian peninsula. But we do know the original Arabs were black. 
Here's a description of the Arabs from an early source, before the Northern Saudi takeover.

"They are African in character, often in identity. Indeed, the dialect commonly used along the south-eastern coast hardly differs from that used by the Somali Africans on the opposite shore. it is remarkable that where the grammar of the Arabic, now spoken by the “pure” Arabs, differs from that of the north, it approaches to or coincides with the Abyssinian.
The pre-Islamitic institutions of Yemen and its allied provinces-its monarchies, courts, armies, and sergs-bear a marked resemblance to the historical Africo-Egyptian type, and even to the modern Abyssinian. The physical conformation of the pure-blooded Arab inhabitants of Yemen, Hadramaut, Oman, and the adjoining districts-the shape and size of the head, the slenderness of the lower limbs, the comparative scantiness of hair, and other particulars- point in an African rather than an Asiatic direction. The general habits of the people,-given to sedentary rather than nomad occupations, fond of village life, of society, of dance and music; good cultivators of the soil, tolerate traders, moderate artisans, but averse to pastoral pursuits-have much more in common with the inhabitants of the African than with those of the western Asiatic continent. The extreme facility of marriage which exists in all classes of the southern Arabs with the African races; the fecundity of such unions; and the slightness or even absence of any caste feeling between the dark “pure” Arab and the still darker native of modern Africa-conditions different from those obtaining almost everywhere else-may be regarded as pointing in the direction of a community of origin.” 

“The original inhabitants of Arabia…were not the familiar Arabs of our time but a very much darker people.  A proto-'negroid' belt of mankind stretched across the ancient world from Africa to Malaya.  This belt…(gave) rise to the Hamitic peoples of Africa, to the Dravidian peoples of India, and to an intermediate dark people inhabiting the Arabian peninsula.
Bertram Thomas, Cambridge educated historian and Finance Minister, reported in his work ‘The Arabs" (New York, Doubleday 1937).

What about the Arabic language? This is the heart of the matter. Those names Chancellor Williams was concerned with were Arabic, so where do these names and the language originate? The answer is Africa, plain and simple. The spoken language is older but the written forms can be traced back to the 9th century B.C. See below:

"The ancient South Arabian script (Old South Arabian ms'nd; modern Arabic: المُسنَد‎‎ musnad) branched from the Proto-Sinaitic script in about the 9th century BC. The earliest inscriptions in the alphabet date to the 9th century BC in the Northern Red Sea Region, Eritrea (Africa). (Fattovich, Rodolfo, "Akkälä Guzay" in Uhlig, Siegbert, ed. Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: A-C. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz KG, 2003, p. 169.)

This becomes more clear when comparing Arabic with some of the words in the Ge'ez language. Geez is is an ancient South Semitic language and is a member of the Ethiopian Semitic group. The language originated in southern regions of Eritrea and the northern region of Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa.

For example, the word Sigd is Ge'ez for "prostration" and is akin to the Aramaic seged.  The root letters s-g-d are also the same as in Mesgid (etymologically related to Masjid in another Semitic tongue - Arabic (s-j-d), and identical to the Hebrew root s-g-d, or "worship").

 This is not an attack on Chancellor Williams at all. His work was indeed a well written, well researched attempt to explain African history. But Chancellor was born in 1893, Bennettsville, South Carolina. His formal education was based on Western Orientalist materials with many built in biases and distortions. We are only now sorting them out. It's one thing to adopt Western names but it's another to adopt Western classifications, categories and concepts of thought without questioning them. Otherwise, you'll be seeing the world through their eyes, or even worse, through eyes they've trained to see what they want you to see. Chancellor Williams also admitted to being a devout Christian (another European thought construct. See, http://www.innercivilization.com/2014/07/is-christianity-white-mans-religion.html), so it wouldn't be reckless to assume that his Christian sentiments influenced his views on anything relating to Islam. Nevertheless, it's our job to expand our understanding of reality, transcend self imposed limiting belief systems and try to respect the diverse genius and understanding of our ancestors in Africa and beyond. 
Sudanese Ansar, Mahdist State 1898A.D.

 "And do not mix up the truth with the falsehood, nor hide the truth while you know (it)."
Qur'an 2:42.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Islam, Black People and Slavery Pt. 1

In the last thirty years or so there has been a campaign to 'expose' Islam by highlighting the East African or Arab Slave trade and making it equivalent with Islam. This is, obviously a tactic used to smear and slander, but it is very effective. Obviously, Islam cannot be reduced to slavery, quite the same way black people or the whole of black experience cannot (and should not) be reduced to slavery. But, if any black person tries to, fully understand, explain, or put this affair in context, he is automatically said to be defending 'his Arab slave master'. No more history has to be investigated; no actual culprits named, no tribes, people, dynamics, motivations or even a causal connection between the teachings of Islam and the slave trade has to be made. 

Apparently all we need to know is that Arabs came from outside of the African continent, subjugated its inhabitants and put Africans in slavery. Period.  Our attitudes get locked in emotionally, and this narrow loop continues indefinitely. This is how myths are made. And even more sadly, this is how ignorance perpetuates and grows.

Such a narrative answers very few questions. How did over 70% of West Africa become Muslim? How did Somalia, which is 99% muslim, get into Islam? Why are Nubians, Sudanese and Fulani muslim? Why are countries in Africa like Djbouti, Niger,  Mali, Mauritania, Senegal all over 94% muslim? How long have they been this way? What is an Arab? What is slavery? What exactly is Islam? Is it even a religion? We have direct ancestors that arrived here on slave ships from Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, etc., who had been muslim going back over 900 years, why don't we know anything about them or their culture, or even care?

And here is the central question to ask: Did Islam, or the teachings of Islam condone the East African slave trade? If so, exactly which teachings?

One huge step towards true independence comes when we make up our minds to refuse to entertain any limiting beliefs, or refuse to embrace any approach that encourages us to dismiss or reject information - whatever the subject matter. We are a mature people, there's no information we can't handle. We should be able to take a step back from our emotions - survey any history, facts or subjects, analyze the data, process the information and then make balanced judgments that will help further our interests and deepen our understanding of the world and reality. If we can't do this, we might as well throw in the towel, right now, and accept servitude to the other peoples of the world who have developed their insight and perception this way.

This short article simply seeks to clarify a few basic matters.

What is Islam?

Ayé la bá ‘Màle
 Islam is as old as life
-From an African Yoruba saying.

Islam was never defined by Muhammad in the Qur'an but its roots and meaning go back many centuries before he existed. Muhammad never claimed to invent 'Islam' but rather he sought to make more explicit a reality which has always existed in human consciousness. If we were to ask what is the name of the faith and way of life of all the prophets, wise men, and sages of the world,  many may call it 'truth', 'righteousness',  assent, voluntary surrender to the "All", or 'peace'.  Muhammad called it 'peace' (salaam). It cannot be invented by a person. This truth or reality has always been here and will always be here. It is only our perception of it that changes, based upon language, time, place and depth of understanding.

This concept existed going back to at least 1700 B.C.  (S-L-M) The root meaning translates to "whole, safe, intact, free (of evils of any kind), reconciled (with)". The same root and meaning appears in Ge'ez: ሰላም S-L-M. (Ge'ez is an ancient Ethiopian/South Arabian language). The same root word appears in ancient Hebrew. From Strong's concordance: Peace- salam/salem/shalam = to be safe, sound, healthy, perfect, complete. It signifies a sense of well-being and harmony both within and without; - completeness, wholeness, peace, health, welfare, safety, fullness, rest, harmony.

Jesus was called "the Prince of (Salam) Peace... رئيس السلام"

The name 'Solomon' is also a derivative of this word, from שָׁלוֹם (shalom, “peace”).

Keep in mind this is somewhat different than the meaning we are familiar with, currently. 'Peace' in English is derived from the latin 'Pax' which means the cessation of violence and was meant to designate the short periods between the many Roman wars. 

 In English, the word "peace" conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of civil disturbance or hostilities, or a personality free from internal and external strife. However, the ancient African and Middle Eastern verb root-'slm' conveys both a dynamic and a static meaning 1)"to be complete or whole" and also 2) "to live well." 

Psalms 34:14
"Depart from evil, and do good; seek (slm) peace, and pursue it."

Job 22:21 "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at (slm) peace: thereby good shall come unto thee."

Isaiah 32:17
"And the work of righteousness shall be (slm) peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever."

Luke 1:79
 "...To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into 'the way of (slm)' peace."

 Muhammad spoke of Islam in terms of 'diyn'* meaning 'way of conduct',  judgment, self governance. *(Diyn has been mistranslated as religion). So in other words, his teachings were about 'the way of peace', or the way towards developing judgment, balance, peace, harmony and wholeness.

Qur'an 5:16

يَّهۡدِىۡ بِهِ اللّٰهُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ رِضۡوَانَهٗ سُبُلَ السَّلٰمِ وَيُخۡرِجُهُمۡ مِّنَ الظُّلُمٰتِ اِلَى النُّوۡرِ بِاِذۡنِهٖ وَيَهۡدِيۡهِمۡ اِلٰى صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِيۡمٍ‏ 

 "Allah guides those who seek his pleasure to ways of peace, and brings them forth out of darkness into light by his leave, and he guides them to a straight path." 

It has been said that Islam came to Africa and subjugated black people.
But, obviously, "wholeness, or wellness" couldn't have come into Africa and have subjugated or enslaved black people. 

So what is meant by Islam in this context? There are additional meanings of Islam that we have to be aware of.  It's important for our understanding to distinguish between the way of life of peace, wellness and wholeness as taught by Muhammad and the wise sages of the ancient past,  and Islam in its contemporary usage. 'Islam' can currently mean all of the trappings, material artifacts, scholarly pronouncements, and the multitude of traditions attached and associated with the 'Islam' Muhammad tried to name. Islam can also refer to any history that took place in North Africa and the Middle East for the past fourteen hundred years. Any history; the Caliphate, domed Mosques, dhikr beads, Shariah Law, the Islamic conquests, the Islamic Empire, fundamentalism, Sunnism,  Shi'ism, so-called orthodox Islam, Hadith literature, the Star and crescent, the Ulema, etc., are all associated with Islam but did not exist during the prophet Muhammad's time and were not part of his teachings. 
So a distinction should be made between Islam and 'Islamic History' or the 'Islamic Empire'; they are related but they are not the same. This becomes more clear as we look at the difference between Muhammad's teachings on slavery and the East African Slave Trade.'

What was Muhammad's and the Qur'an's view on slavery?

Before Muhammad's time in Arabia, free men and women would be taken into slavery because of debt, by the whim of powerful tribal chiefs, by powerful fathers who sometimes sold their children,  through kidnapping and slave raids,  and as prisoners of war.

Muhammad spoke out and ended all of these practices with one restricted exception; the faithful were allowed to take prisoners of war in defensive wars only; (the Qur'an forbids any form of military aggression.)   
This was an old custom also practiced throughout Africa. The idea was that instead of killing those who lost the war, their lives would be ransomed as a debt to be paid off by service. Once the debt was paid off, the person was to be integrated into society. This was a more humane approach and minimized senseless killing.

"In Islam the principle is based on freedom and not slavery. Historical researches show that a step by step policy adopted in early Islam to depreciate the phenomenon of slavery gradually so its effects and consequences would not disturb the society. On the other side, regarding the non-existence of the prison organization in early Islam, because in wars there was no specific organization for protection of captives and prisoners, therefore this responsibility was distributed among people who were mostly rich in the society by sale of captives to them."

 'Slavery in Islam: An Islamic Sufi Approach' Bijan Bidabad1 Mehdi Tabatabaei.

Additionally, there was pressure to free any other slaves. 

This was made clear in the Qur'an.

"But he hath not attempted the Ascent -
And what will make you comprehend what the ascent is?
(It is) freeing the slave."
[Qur'an 90:10-14].

For information on the true appearance of the prophet Muhammad, see: http://www.innercivilization.com/2015/02/was-prophet-muhammad-black.html

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Whoever frees a believing slave, Allah will save all the parts of his body from the (Hell) Fire as he has freed the body-parts of the slave." 

"Righteousness is not turning your faces towards the east or the west. Righteous are those who believe in God, the Last Day, the angels, the scripture, and the prophets; and they give the money, cheerfully, to the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the traveller, the beggars, and to free the slaves..." [Qur'an 2:177].

Our next issue is treatment of the slaves, or rather- captives.
Here it becomes important to define slavery. As noted above, during Muhammad's time, 'slavery' was a process designed to integrate prisoners of war back into society. In America, as black people, when we hear the word slavery it triggers thoughts of murder, rape, torture, dehumanization, absolute control, the selling away of children, and exploitation. 

But if we look at Muhammad's instructions as to the treatment of "slaves", we see the description of a different kind of relationship. 

Man from the Banu Hawazin tribe considered to be the descendants of Hawazin, son of Mansur, son of Ikrimah, son of Khasafah, son of Qays ʿAylān, son of Mudar, son of Nizar, son of Ma'ad, son of Adnan, son of Aa'd, son of U'dud, son of Sind, son of Ya'rub, son of Yashjub, son of Nabeth, son of Qedar, son of Ishmael, or Ishmaelites, son of Abraham. The Hawazin were pastoral nomads that inhabited the steppes between Mecca and Medina during Muhammad's time.

These are Muhammad's words: “Your servants and your slaves are your brothers. Anyone who has slaves should give them from what he eats and wears. He should not charge them with work beyond their capabilities. If you must set them to hard work, in any case I advise you to help them.”

Source: Bukhari, Iman, 22; Adab, 44; Muslim, Iman, 38–40; Abu Dawud, Adab, 124

“Not one of you should [ when introducing someone ] say ‘This is my slave’ , ‘This is my concubine’. He should call them ‘my daughter’ or ‘my son’ or ‘my brother’.”

Source: Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 2 ,4

"If anyone separates mother from her child then Allah will separate him on the Day of Resurrection from his dear ones. Sayyidina Abu Ayyub reported that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said."
-[Ahmed 23558]

"(Show) kindness unto parents, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and unto the neighbour who is of kin (unto you) and the neighbour who is not of kin, and the fellow-traveller and the wayfarer and (the slaves) whom your right hands possess."

Qur'an 4:36.

Samurah (RAA) narrated that The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“Whoever kills his slave we shall kill him, and whoever cuts the nose of his slave we shall cut off his nose.” Related by Ahmad and the four lmams. At-Tirmidhi graded it as Hasan. Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i added the following, “and whoever castrates his slave we shall castrate him.” Al-Hakim graded this addition as Sahih.
The concern for the respectful treatment of human beings even in servitude traces all the way back to Ancient Kemet. It is written in many versions of the 42 negative confessions. 

(From the Papyrus of Nu, Brit. Mus. No. 10477, Sheet 22)

"I have not vilified a slave to his master. 
I have not [attempted] to direct servants. Or ( I have not domineered over slaves)."

Muhammad also spoke out against the slave trade or the institution of trading in slaves. 
"The worst of men is he who sells men."

[Related by Jabir Ibn Abdallah.
The Anti-slavery Reporter, June 1884, p.135]

Muhammad was aware that the kidnapping, sale and mistreatment of human beings amounts to oppression, which he also spoke against, plainly: 

"As for that Abode of the Hereafter We assign it unto those who seek not oppression in the earth, nor yet corruption. The sequel is for those who ward off (evil)."
HQ 28:83

Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.”
 Volume 3, Book 43, Number 624:Sahih Bukhari.

So what happened?
Put simply, after Muhammad died, some of his followers, seized power for themselves, killed and marginalized his family (Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn), subdued by force all of the Arabs on the Peninsula who opposed them and launched a series of aggressive military campaigns, even though the Qur'an only allows fighting in self defense. (Muhammad only fought defensive battles). The result was 'the Islamic Empire' stretching from Portugal and Spain across North Africa to as far as India. The kindness, dignity, peace and respect that Muhammad taught still managed to exist, but it existed within the larger framework of this Empire. And it was the Empire that developed the slave trade in violation of Muhammad's teachings. Specifically, in one of the great ironies of history, it was Mu'awiyah I, the son of  Abu Sufyan, Muhammad's and Islam's sworn enemy, who took the reigns of power over the faithful in 661 A.D., built a powerful Dynasty for his family the Umayyads and they authoritatively controlled the Islamic world for almost one hundred years. The Umayyads built an expansive worldly kingdom all too often at the expense of spiritual concerns - a development that disturbed many of the faithful Muslims. They were seen as "tyrannical, anti-Islamic and godless".  In fact, the Umayyad caliphate is often referred to as the first secular state in the world.   [Umayyad dynasty/Islamic History Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-03-26.]
As noted by this scholar:
"The mutilation of the human body was also explicitly forbidden by Mohammad, and the institution which flourished both in the Persian and the Byzantine empires was denounced in severe terms. Slavery by purchase was unknown during the reigns of the first four Caliphs,  'the legitimate Caliphs' as they are called by the Sunnis. There is, at least, no authentic record of any slave having been acquired by purchase during their tenure of office. But with the accession of the usurping house of Ummayya a change came over the spirit of Islam. Mu'awiyah was the first Muslim sovereign who introduced into the Islamic world the practice of acquiring slaves by purchase. He was also the first to adopt the Byzantine custom of guarding his women by eunuchs. We see that the earnest attempt of Islam to stop its followers from acquiring new slaves was foiled by family of Umayyah." 
[Ameer Ali, Muhammadan Law, vol. 2, pp. 31-2.]

Ultimately, this empire expanded and created the great demand for slaves and servants. 

What did black people have to do with all of this?
First, it should be understood that Muslims enslaved as many  Europeans as they did Africans (possibly even more). Europeans don't like to discuss this point, but it's true. (This also accounts for the lightening up of the complexion of many Arabs over the centuries.) At this time it's important to understand what an Arab is.  'Arab' is not a race, or an ethnicity. There are a number of ethnic groups that have resided in the Arabian peninsula and an even larger number of ethnic groups who are considered Arab based on the definition of 'Arab" as a language group rather than a race of people. For example the Original Arabs were black, Cushitic Bejas or Ethiopian. They crossed over the Red Sea and settled on the peninsula in ancient times. Later, northern, more pale people migrated south and became Arabized by the darker, original Arabs. The Arabic language itself is part of the Afroasiatic language family (along with Amharic and Ancient Egyptian) and originated in the region of Ethiopia. In fact, in Arabic, the root word for 'black', 'aswad' means chief, lord, master. Muhammad was from the Hijaz, the southwest region of Arabia, closest culturally and geographically to Nubia and Ethiopia.
See, https://www.africaresource.com/rasta/sesostris-the-great-the-egyptian-hercules/the-original-black-african-arabs-of-arabia-part-1/

Nevertheless, the image we get is of pale Arabs invading and Africa, taking slaves and forcibly converting the African people by the sword. What is often said is that the Arabs or "Islam" invaded Africa, but what's never made clear unless one goes beyond this superficial view, is that these Arabs were at war with the Byzantine Empire which was European. The Byzantines were in control of Egypt and North Africa, and this is who the Arabs invaded and conquered. *(To add more complexity to the picture, Amr Ibn Aas, the Commander who initiated the campaign against Egypt was half Ethiopian. Ibn Kathir says in his book Al-Bidaaya Wa Al-Nihaaya: “He (Amr ibn Al-Aas) was black-skinned, tall, and bald. May Allah be content with him.” وكان أسمر، شديد السمرة، طويلا، أصلع رضي الله عنه)

Contrary to the popular myth, the Arabs never invaded and conquered any Sub-Saharan African people. Many scholars (including African scholars) have stressed this point but the myth in America persists among  misinformed black American Afrocentric lecturers.  

Children from the South Arabian Bedouin tribes of  the Shahara and Kathir.

"Much has been made of Arab invasions of Africa: they occurred in the North, but in Black Africa they are figments of the imagination. While the Arabs did conquer North Africa by force of Arms, they quite peaceably entered Black Africa. From the time of the Umayyad setbacks in the eighth century, no Arab army ever crossed the Sahara in an attempt to conquer Africa. The Arabs in these areas, who became great religious leaders, arrived as everywhere else individually and settled in peacefully. The Arab conquests dear to sociologists are necessary to their theories but did not exist in reality."
Pre-Colonial Black Africa, Cheikh Anta Diop, 1987: 101-102, 162, 163.

"No external conquest brought Islam to sub Saharan Africa. The work of spreading Islam was carried out by teachers and scholars who embodied Islamic knowledge and inscribed it into disparate communities across West Africa."

- Rudolph Ware III, professor of History, University of Michigan.

"Islam was brought to Sub-Saharan Africa in the first place via the trade routes from the Arab countries and North Africa. The African Muslims have always maintained quite close links with the Arab world, from which a number of its reformers came. But Islamisation was essentially carried out by Africans themselves, who shared the same life, spoke the same language, and lived in the same cultural world entirely. There is no doubt that, for African Muslims, “Africanicity” and Islam are in no way opposed. For them Islam is not an imported religion. For many, abandoning the Muslim religion is equivalent to the rejection of all their family and tribal traditions, so intermingled are the two socio-religious universes." Josef Stamer, Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa, Estella, 1995, pp. 121-125.

Muhammad saw himself at the end of a long line of prophets and wise men who lived in Africa and the Middle East 
and taught what he described as 'the way of peace.' He made it clear that he was not new, or a founder of any new religion, although this is what is told to us in comparative religion and by modern mainstream, so-called Orthodox Muslims. They erroneously say: The religion of Islam began in 610 A.D., following the first revelation to the Prophet Muhammad at the age of 40.
But Muhammad himself said in the Quran:

Qur'an 46:9 "Say: 'I am not an innovation (anything new) among the Messengers, and I know not what shall be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me; I am only a clear warner."

What he taught was that 'peace' was an aspect of the Creator and the nature of our souls, and that once we peel away veils of fear, ignorance, greed and agitation we will return to that state of peace. 

Qur'an 30:30 
"Then set your face upright for the 'diyn' (way of judgment) in the right state-- the nature made by Allah in which He has made mankind; there is no altering of Allah's creation; that is the upright 'diyn' (way), but most people do not know."

So the slave trade was (and is) a violation against Africa but also against Muhammad's teachings as well.   Yet, the truth remains. 

We can think of Islam as water. If someone poisons a glass of water, a well, or even a lake, does that mean all the water everywhere is poisoned? No, of course not. Can you accurately assert a generalization that "water is toxic"? No. 
In fact poisoned or polluted water cannot actually be considered water. Water is H20. Anything added to it would technically make it a different chemical compound.
 And would all this now mean we no longer need (pure) water? Or that water is no longer an essential part of our biological nature or system? No.
Likewise, if Islam was corrupted in specific times and places, by specific nations of people - that hardly means all of Islam is forever corrupt. The pure clarity, truth and power of Islam still remain for all who seek to understand it and experience it. 
It is our nature. 

"The essential concept of Islam is not a description of an absolute material entity.
It’s actually a description of potentialities;
a realm of possibilities more in the mental realm and the heart than the physical.
Islam refers to a path, or possibilities for experiences. 
And it cannot be overstated that a very important role is played by the observers of this path.
The way it plays out in the physical realm and in the future is relative to the observers of the path."

"And say: The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is a vanishing (thing)."
Qur'an 17:81