Slavery and indirection

Narrated ‘Aisha: ‘Utba (bin Abi Waqqas) said to his brother Sa’d, “The son of the slave girl of Zam’a is my son, so be his custodian.”

So when it was the year of the Conquest of Mecca, Sa’d took that child and said, “He is my nephew, and my brother told me to be his custodian.”

On that, ‘Abu bin Zam’a got up and said, “But the child is my brother, and the son of my father’s slave girl as he was born on his bed.” So they both went to the Prophet.

Sa’d said, “O Allah’s Apostle! (This is) the son of my brother and he told me to be his custodian.”

Then ‘Abu bin Zam’a said, “(But he is) my brother and the son of the slave girl of my father, born on his bed.”

The Prophet said, “This child is for you. O ‘Abu bin Zam’a, as the child is for the owner of the bed, and the adulterer receives the stones.”

He then ordered (his wife) Sauda bint Zam’a to cover herself before that boy as he noticed the boy’s resemblance to ‘Utba. Since then the boy had never seen Sauda till he died. (Sahih Bukhari)

The slave girl is a subordinate plateau of your selfhood/world/life. This aspect of your life exists in potential with respect to immanence (reception of Prophecy). A “boy” is the idealised product: ideal gnosis, the product of marriage.

The hadith deals with the fragmented, scattered version of this ideal. It considers its own indirection: the prison of its indirection being the awful trope of civil laws relating to slavery of the 7th century, subverted here. There hadith does not legitimate civil slavery, it subverts the laws of slavery, treating them as a metaphor for indirection, for fragmentation, for scattering of truth into the matter (slavegirl) of your situated habitus (7th century or 21st).


Because the slavegirl is not married: and her consummation exists outside of marriage and outside the household that possesses her. Prophecy does not unite with this plateau directly: instead, production of truth derives from intermediate (apparent) interaction with the Others (habitus, social situation, that which exists externally to the house of your selfhood).

This product is apparently in the custody of its father and the uncle: but they are intermediate (apparent, false) versions of Harun and Musa. (As it has been written — Safiyah/Shekhina, wife of Prophecy, is the daughter of Harun and the niece of Musa.) Intermediate, apparent, false versions of the diamond dialectic mate and relate with your throwness (into a 7th or 21st century prison of power/language gaming), yielding an indirect truth.

Indirect truth is still truth, not by telecommunication, but by Grace of God: its ownership belongs to the real you, the real household, as it moves, wheeled, trans-temporally along tracks of gilgul/reincarnation.

And so the son (next incarnation) of the slavegirl’s owner inherits the child, the indirect truth, Gracefully acquired.

How is this truth Gracefully acquired? By mention of the Prophet’s wife, Sauda bint Zam’a: by the ritual of her veiling before indirection. That is, her veiling before the boy is the indirection, fragmentation, ironic misprison of the truth (boy) contained (indirectly) in this hadith.

The hadith is her veiling, the boy’s truth the product of the Self ironically mated with an external, apparent, temporary tribal habitus of (a profoundly unfair) 7th century civic law.


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