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?