Chapter on the Mukatab

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 53. Chapter on the Mukatab

XXI: The wrong action of someone who slanders his slave

XXI: The mukatab and his payments in yearly instalments

The words of Allah, "If any slaves you own desire to make a contract to free themselves, write it for them if you know of good in them and give them some of the wealth Allah has given you." (24:33)

Ibn Jurayj said, "I said to 'Ata', 'Is it mandatory for me to give him a kitaba if I know that he has money?' He said, 'I only think that it is mandatory. 'Amr ibn Dinar said that.' I said to 'Ata', 'Do you relate it from anyone?' He said, 'No.' Then he reported to me that Musa ibn Anas reported to him that Sirin asked Anas for a kitaba. He had a lot of money, but he refused. So he went to 'Umar and 'Umar said, 'Give him a kitaba.' He refused, so 'Umar beat him with a whip and recited, "Write it for them if you know of good in them."' So he gave him the contract."

2421. 'A'isha said that Barira came to her to ask her help in buying her freedom-contract (kitaba) She owed five awqiyas which she was to pay in instalments over five years. Wanting to buy her, 'A'isha said her, "Do you think that if I give it to them all at once, your people will sell you to me, and then I will set you free. but your wala' will be with me?" Barira went to her people and presented that to them. They said, "No, her wala' will remain with us." 'A'isha said, "I went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and mentioned that to him." He said to her, "Buy her and set her free. The wala' is with the one who sets her free." Then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stood up and said, "Why is it that some people make conditions which are not in the Book of Allah? Any condition which is not in the Book of Allah is invalid. The condition of Allah is truer and firmer."

XXII: Conditions permitted for the mukatab. The one who made a condition which was not in the Book of Allah.

Ibn 'Umar reported from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in it.

2422. It is related from 'Urwa from 'A'isha that Barira came to her to ask her help in buying her freedom-contract (kitaba). She had not paid any of her kitaba. 'A'isha told her, 'Return to your people. If your people like for me pay off your kitaba for you and I have your wala', I will do it ' Barira mentioned that to her owners and they refused. They said, 'If she wants a reward for you, then let her do it and we will keep your wala'.' 'A'isha mentioned that to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to her, "Buy her and set her free. The wala' is with the one who sets free.'" He said, "Then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stood up and said, 'Why is it that some people make conditions which are not in the Book of Allah? Any condition which is not in the Book of Allah is invalid even if it is stipulated a hundred times. The condition of Allah is truer and firmer."

2423. It is related that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said, "'A'isha, the Umm al-Mu'minin, wanted to buy a slave-girl in order to set her free. Her people said, 'Provided that we kee[ her wala'.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Do not let that stop you. The wala' is with the one who sets free.'"

XXIII: The mukatab asking for help and asking people to help

2424. It is related that 'A'isha said, "Barira came and said, 'I have a freedom-contract with my owners for nine awqiyas, with one awqiya every year. Help me.' 'A'isha said, 'If your people like, I will give it to them all at once and then I will set you free. but your wala' will be with me ' Barira went to her owners and they refused to let her do that. She said, 'I offered that to them and they refused until they kept the wala'.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, heard about that and asked me about it and I told him. He said, "Take her and set her free and give them the condition of the wala'. The wala' is with the one who sets free.'" 'A'isha said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stood up among the people and praised and glorified Allah. Then he said, 'Following on from that: why is it that some men among you make conditions which are not in the Book of Allah? Any condition which is not in the Book of Allah is invalid even if it is stipulated a hundred times. The decision of Allah is truer and firmer. What is wrong with some men among you who say, 'Set see, so-and-so, and I will have the wala'. The wala' is for the one who sets free.'"

XXIV: Selling a mukatab if he agrees

'A'isha said, "He is still a slave as long as he still owes anything." Zayd ibn Thabit said, "As long as he still owes a dirham."

Ibn 'Umar said, "He is a slave if he lives, if he dies and if he becomes insane as long as he still owes anything."

2425. It is related from 'Amra bint 'Abdu'r-Rahman that Barira came to ask for the help of 'A'isha, the Umm al-Mu'minin. She said to her, "If your owners like for me to pay them your price all at once and then set you free, I will do it." Barira mentioned that to her people and they said, "No, unless we have your wala'."

Malik said that Yahya said, "'Amra claimed that 'A'isha mentioned that to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Buy her and set her free. The wala' belongs to the one who sets free.'" (Muwatta, Book 38, 19)

XXV: When the mukatab says, "Buy me and set me free," and he is purchased for that purpose

2426. It is related that Ayman said, "I visited 'A'isha and said, 'I was the slave of 'Utba ibn Abi Lahab. He died and his sons inherited me and they sold me to Ibn Abi 'Amr. Ibn Abi 'Amr set me free and the sons of 'Utba had made the wala' a precondition.' She said, 'Barira visited when she was a mukataba and said, "Buy me and set me free." I said, "Yes." She said, "They will not sell me without making my wala' a precondition."' 'A'isha said, 'I have no need of that. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came to hear of that - or it reached him - and he mentioned that to 'A'isha and 'A'isha mentioned what she had said to her. He said, "Buy her and set her free. Let them make whatever conditions they like.' So 'A'isha bought her and set her free and her people made the wala' a precondition. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'The wala' belongs to the one who sets free, even if they made a hundred conditions.'"