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Slave Soldiers and Islam
The Genesis of a Military System

by Daniel Pipes
New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1981

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Critics on Slave Soldiers and Islam

"On the one hand it is a specialist contribution to the history, particularly the early history, of Islam, on the other it is an important and original contribution to the growing corpus of military sociology... an original book on an important subject... with an intelligence and certainty of purpose which ensures its appeal to scholars far beyond the margins of Islamic studies."
- John Keegan, The Times (London), December 18, 1981

"His book has an attractiveness of argumentation, grounded on the necessary solid research, that makes it a stimulating contribution to Islamic historical studies."
- C. E. Bosworth, American Historical Review, 1982

"This vital and creative work will serve as an important stimulus to further debate on the nature of medieval Islamic institutions."
- Fedwa Malti-Douglas, The Middle East Journal, Spring 1982

"This book is a fascinating and closely researched account of the rise of the military slave system in early Islam. Portions of the work appeared previously in the Journal of Turkish Studies and the Journal of Strategic Studies, suggesting its broad appeal."
- Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs, Spring 1982

"This thought-provoking book... carefully reasoned... students of Islam, the Middle East, and military institutions will all profit from this stimulating book."
- Donald M. Reid, Military Affairs, April 1982

"Interesting and informative... an important contribution to our knowledge of early Islamic society. He begins with a useful and comprehensive survey... Pipes has unearthed some valuable new material, for which he deserves credit, and has shed light on an important aspect of Islamicate societies... through this book Pipes has made some original, sizeable contributions to Islamic studies."
- Stephanie White, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 1983

"Copiously documented arguments which are stimulating, even provocative... the fullest discussion of military slavery in medieval Islamic civilization to appear thus far."
- Donald P. Little, Muslim World, 1983

In addition, Slave Soldiers and Islam has been honored to be called one of the seven "worst books on Islam" (along with books by Joseph Schacht and John Wanborough) by stealth Islamist, Khaled Abou el Fadl.

Other Language Editions


Tentara budak dan Islam: Asal-muasal Sebuah Sistem Militer
Jakarta: Pustaka Firdaus, 1986
Translated into Indonesian by Sori Siregar.


The survey of slaves in war in Ch. 2 missed two further examples:

  1. Boevie kholopi, or "combat servants/slaves" in 16th-18th century Russia.
  2. Genízaros, a Spanish version of the Turkish yenicheri (janissary), in 18th-19th century New Mexico.

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