How can a freed slave be sold?

The Details of the Question

Can you explain this hadith? Jabir bin Abdullah said: A man said, ‘After my death, my slave is free.’ However, the man had no other property. Therefore, the Prophet ordered the slave belonging to that man to be sold. The slave was sold for 700 or 990 dirhams. The hadith in question is as follows: According to what is reported from Jabir b. Abdullah, a man freed his slave based on the condition of his death, and he had no other property than that slave. Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) ordered the people there to bring that slave; and the slave was sold for seven hundred or nine hundred dirhams. (Bukhari; Ahkam 32, Buyu 59, Itq 9; Muslim, Zakah 41, Ayman 58; Nasai, Zakah 60. Buyu 84, Qudat 29: Ibn Majah. Itq 2. Buyu 37, 38, Wasaya 3: Muwatta, Ramadan 8: Ahmad b. Hanbal III. 305, 368-371)

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

First of all, we should state that we think that it is much more appropriate to deal with more current and necessary issues that will heal our social problems instead of such issues, which are of no use today, when slavery has been abolished in the world.

The aim of Islam is not to continue slavery, which existed when Islam emerged, but to improve the conditions of slaves first and to abolish it after that. Those who continue slavery today act against the purpose of Islam and harm the image of Islam.

The institution of female slavery, which is a historical issue, is not practiced by any means today.

After this brief information, let us explain the issue mentioned in the question:

According to some scholars, it is permissible to sell a slave whose freedom was made conditional on the death of his master. Shafi’i madhhab and the scholars who followed it adopt that view - based on the hadith above. Scholars such as Hz. Aisha, Tawus, Ata, Hasan, Mujahid, Ahmed b. Hanbal, Ishaq, Abu Thawr and Dawud hold the same view.

According to Abu Hanifa, Malik and the majority of the scholars of Hejaz, Damascus and Kufa, the sale in question is not permissible.

According to some narrations included by hadith scholars - such as Nasai and Daraqutni - regarding the issue, the master of the dead slave in question had some debt to pay and had no property; therefore, the Prophet (pbuh) ordered the slave to be sold to pay the debt of the man.

In fact, the scholars who say that it is not permissible base their view on those narrations.

In fact, according to some Maliki scholars, “The deed of a person who gives all of his property as sadaqah (charity) is invalid.”

However, according to Imam Nawawi, a person can give all of his property as sadaqah (charity). (see Nawawi, Sharhu Muslim, 11/141; Ibn Hajar, Fathul-Bari, 4/421-422)

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