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Right n. 27: The Right of the Freed Slave

حق المولى الجارية عليه نعمتك

وَأَمَّا حَقُّ مَوْلاكَ الْجَارِيَةِ عَلَيْهِ نِعْمَتُكَ فَأَنْ تَعْلَمَ أَنَّ اللهَ جَعَلَكَ حَامِيَةً عَلَيْهِ، وَوَاقِيَةً وناصِرًا وَمَعْقِلاً، وَجَعَلَهُ لَكَ وَسِيلَةً وَسَبَباً بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ فَبالْحَرِيِّ أَنْ يَحْجُبَكَ عَنِ النَّارِ فَيَكُونَ فِي ذَلِكَ ثَوَابٌ مِنْهُ فِي الآجِلِ، ويَحْكُمُ لَكَ بمِيرَاثِهِ فِي الْعَاجِلِ إذَا لم يَكُنْ لَهُ رَحِمٌ، مُكَافَأَةً لِمَا أَنفَقْتَهُ مِنْ مَالِكَ عَلَيْهِ وَقُمْتَ بهِ مِنْ حَقِّهِ بَعْدَ إنفَاقِ مَالِكَ، فَإنْ لَمْ تَقُمْ بحَقِّهِ خِيفَ عَلَيْكَ أَنْ لا يَطِيبَ لَكَ مِيرَاثُهُ. وَلا قُوَّةَ إلا باللهِ.

And the right of the slave whom you have favored1 is that you should know that2 God has established you as his supporter, and shelter and assistant, and refuge, and He has established him for you as the means and as a mediator between you and Him. Then by freeing him, he will protect you from the Fire. And this is the reward you get from him in the future.

And your immediate reward is to inherit from him if he does not have any relations of kin. There is a compensation for the property you have spent for him, and respecting his rights after you spent your property. Then if you do not respect his rights, there is the fear upon you that his inheritance would not be purified for you. And there is no power but in God.

In the previous chapter, Imam Sajjad clearly expressed the rights of the master incumbent on the freed slave. In this chapter, we discuss the rights of the freed slave incumbent on his master as expressed by Imam Sajjad. In fact, the natural rights of the freed slave on his master are discussed.

Man might get haughty or proud of himself if he does someone else a favor or frees him. Then he might mention his favors to him and belittle him. Imam Sajjad has advised us so as to eliminate the possibility of this haughtiness or undue pride. He said: “You should know that God has established you as his supporter, shelter, assistant and refugee, and He has established him for you as the means and as a mediator between you and Him.”

Duties of the Freed Slave

In what follows we read: “Then by freeing him, he will protect you from the Fire. In addition, you get this reward from him in the future. In addition, your immediate reward is to inherit from him if he does not have any relations of kin. There is a compensation for the property you spent for him, and respecting his rights after you spent your property.” This refers to the jurisprudence decree that one shall inherit from his freed slave if the slave does not have any relations of kin. Therefore, there are both worldly and heavenly rewards for freeing a slave. Next, we will review some of the traditions in this regard.

The Reward for Freeing a Slave

In the second tradition in section one of the Chapter Itaq in Wasa`il al-Shī`ah we read: “Zurarah quoted on the authority of Imam Baqir on the authority of God’s Prophet :

مَنْ أعْتَقَ مُسلِماً أعتَقَ اللهُ العَزيزُ الجَبّارُ بِكُلِّ عُضْوٍ مِنهُ عُضْواً مِن النّارِ.

“God the Honorable, the Almighty shall rescue from the Fire (of Hell) the body parts of whoever frees a Muslim slave - a part for a part.”3

Imam Sadiq narrated that once Fatima the daughter of Asad went to see the Prophet and said: “I have decided to free my slave maid.” The Prophet said:

إنْ فَعَلتِ أعْتَقَ اللهُ بِكُلِّ عُضْوٍ مِنها عُضواً مِنكِ مِن النّارِ.

“If you do that, then for every body-part of hers, God will free a corresponding part of your body from the Fire (of Hell).”4

Shiite Imams and Freeing Slaves

In another tradition in the same chapter, we read that Imam Sadiq said:

إنّ أبا جَعْفَرٍ عَلَيهِ السّلامُ ماتَ وَتَركَ سِتّينَ مَملوكاً فَأعْتَقَ ثُلُثَهُم عِندَ مَوتِهِ.

“Imam Baqir had sixty slaves. At the time of his death, he freed twenty of them.”5

The Prophet of God and the Imams were always the first ones to free their slaves to demonstrate the worldly and heavenly benefits of this act to their followers.

  • 1. By freeing him.
  • 2. In the other version it is followed by: “God has made your freeing him a means of access to Him and a veil against the Fire. Your immediate reward is to inherit from him – if he does not have any relatives – as a compensation for the property you have spent for him, and your ultimate reward is the Garden.”
  • 3. Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, v.16, pp.2-5.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Ibid.

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