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Mudabbar: A Slave who is Promised Manumission (Ahadith 1928 – 1929)

Bismillah.

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 433 :
Narrated by Jabir (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) sold a Mudabbar (on behalf of his master who was still living and in need of money).

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 434 :
Narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) sold a Mudabbar.

Mudabbar is a slave who is promised to be manumitted. There could be two possibilities in this case:

  1. His master tells him: “you’re free after my death”.
  2. He offers his master money to set him free (also known as mukaatabah).

About mukaatabah, Allah says in the Qur’an:

 وَالَّذِينَ يَبْتَغُونَ الْكِتَـبَ مِمَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ فَكَـتِبُوهُمْ إِنْ عَلِمُتُمْ فِيهِمْ خَيْراً وَءَاتُوهُمْ مِّن مَّالِ اللَّهِ الَّذِى ءَاتَـكُمْ

And such of your servants as seek a writing (of emancipation), give them such writing, if you find that there is good and honesty in them. And give them something (yourselves) out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you. [24: 33]

Ibn Kathir comments:

The Command to grant Slaves a Contract of Emancipation

﴿وَالَّذِينَ يَبْتَغُونَ الْكِتَـبَ مِمَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ فَكَـتِبُوهُمْ إِنْ عَلِمُتُمْ فِيهِمْ خَيْراً﴾

(And such of your servants as seek a writing (of emancipation), give them such writing, if you find that there is good and honesty in them.) This is a command from Allah to slave-owners: if their servants ask them for a contract of emancipation, they should write it for them, provided that the servant has some skill and means of earning so that he can pay his master the money that is stipulated in the contract. Al-Bukhari said: “Rawh narrated from Ibn Jurayj: `I said to `Ata’, “If I know that my servant has money, is it obligatory for me to write him a contract of emancipation” He said, “I do not think it can be anything but obligatory.” `Amr bin Dinar said: “I said to `Ata’, `Are you narrating this from anybody’ He said, `No,’ then he told me that Musa bin Anas told him that Sirin, who had a lot of money, asked Anas for a contract of emancipation and he refused. So he went to `Umar (bin Al-Khattab), may Allah be pleased with him, and he said, `Write it for him.’ He refused, so `Umar hit him with his whip and recited,

﴿فَكَـتِبُوهُمْ إِنْ عَلِمُتُمْ فِيهِمْ خَيْراً﴾

(give them such writing, if you find that there is good and honesty in them.)Then he wrote the contract.” This was mentioned by Al-Bukhari with a disconnected chain of narration. It was also narrated by `Abdur-Razzaq who said Ibn Jurayj told them: I said to `Ata’, “If I know that my servant has some money, is it obligatory for me to write him a contract of emancipation” He said, `I do not think it can be anything but obligatory.”’ ﴿It was also said by `Amr bin Dinar who said, “I said to `Ata’, `Are you narrating this from anybody’ He said, `No.”’﴾ Ibn Jarir recorded that Sirin wanted Anas bin Malik to write a contract of emancipation and he delayed, then `Umar said to him, “You should certainly write him a contract of emancipation.” Its chain of narrators is Sahih. Allah’s saying:

﴿إِنْ عَلِمُتُمْ فِيهِمْ خَيْراً﴾

(if you find that there is good and honesty in them.) Some of them said (this means) trustworthiness. Some said: “Honesty,” and others said: “A skill and ability to earn.”

﴿وَءَاتُوهُمْ مِّن مَّالِ اللَّهِ الَّذِى ءَاتَـكُمْ﴾

(And give them something out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you.) This is the share of the wealth of Zakah that Allah stated to be their right. This is the opinion of Al-Hasan, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and his father and Muqatil bin Hayyan. It was also the opinion favored by Ibn Jarir.

﴿وَءَاتُوهُمْ مِّن مَّالِ اللَّهِ الَّذِى ءَاتَـكُمْ﴾

(And give them something out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you. ) Ibrahim An-Nakha`i said, “This is urging the people, their masters and others.” This was also the view of Buraydah bin Al-Husayb Al-Aslami and Qatadah. Ibn `Abbas said: “Allah commanded the believers to help in freeing slaves.”

Here’s a translated chapter from Imam Malik’s Muwatta on Mudabbar for further reading.

More info: Islam and Slavery

Manumitting Slaves (Hadith No. 446)

Salam,
Bismillah.

Volume 1, Book 8, Number 446:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

Barira came to seek my help regarding her manumission. I told her: “if you like I would pay your price to your masters but your Al-Wala* would be for me.” Her masters said, “If you like, you can pay what remains (of the price of her manumission), (Sufyan the sub-narrator once said), or if you like you can manumit her, but her (inheritance) Al-Wala* would be for us.” When Allah’s Apostle came, I spoke to him about it. He said, “Buy her and manumit her. No doubt Al-Wala* is for the manumitted.” Then Allah’s Apostle stood on the pulpit (or Allah’s Apostle ascended the pulpit as Sufyan once said), and said, “What about some people who impose conditions which are not present in Allah’s Book (Laws)? Whoever imposes conditions which are not in Allah’s Book (Laws), his conditions will be invalid even if he imposed them a hundred times.”
*Al-Wala: A kind of relationship (between the master who freed a slave and the freed-slave). Like guardianship.

Get the background knowledge on Islam, slavery and manumission here.

Story: Barira was a slave-girl. She wanted ‘Aisha (RA) to buy her off and free her. ‘Aisha agreed saying that she’ll be Barira’s guardian after manumission. Barira’s masters disagreed. Prophet (SAW) said: guardianship/Al-Wala is for the one who manumits, according to Allah’s Laws. And he addressed the people in the mosque regarding this issue, not pin-pointing Barira’s masters in public. Such was his mercy. So ‘Aisha bought off Barira and freed her.

Slavery doesn’t really exist anymore. When it did, Islam laid out proper rules regarding keeping slaves and manumitting them. Islam gave rights to slaves. Yeah. Now we have servants. They have rights too. Did you know?

Wassalam.

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