Being a master

Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

IX. Being a master

82. Being a good master

156. 'Ali ibn Talib reported that when the illness of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, deepened, he said, "'Ali! Bring me a page on which I can write something for my community after which they will not go astray." 'Ali said, "I feared that he would die before I could do that, so I said, 'I will remember better than the paper.' His head was between my forearm and my leg. He recommended the prayer, zakat and kind treatment of slaves. he spoke like that until he died." He commanded him to testify, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. Anyone who testifies to that is saved from the Fire."

157. 'Abdullah reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Respond to invitations. Do not reject gifts. Do not beat Muslims."

158. 'Ali reported that the last words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, were: "The prayer! The prayer! Fear Allah concerning your slaves!"

83. Being a bad owner

159. Abu'd-Darda' used to say to people. "We know you better than the veterinarian knows his animals. We recognise the best of you from the worst of you. The best of you is the one whose good is hoped for and the one whose evil you are safe from. As for the worst of you, that is the person whose good is not hoped for and whose evil you are not safe from and he does not free slaves."

160. Abu Umama said, "Ingratitude is typified by someone who refuses to give, lives alone, and beats his slave."

161. Al-Hasan reported that a man ordered one of his slaves to draw water using one of his camels and the man fell asleep. The master came with a torch and put it in his face and the slave fell into the well. In the morning, the slave went to 'Umar ibn al-Khattab and 'Umar saw what had happened to his slave and therefore 'Umar set him free."

84. Selling a slave among the Bedouins

162. 'Amra reported that 'A'isha had made one of her slavegirls a mudabbar (one who would be set free after her death). Then 'A'isha became ill and her nephews consulted a gypsy doctor. He said, "You are asking me for information about a bewitched woman. A slavegirl of hers has bewitched her." 'A'isha was told and asked the girl, "Have you put a spell on me?" "Yes," she replied. "Why?' she asked. "Because you will never free me," she answered. Then 'A'isha said, "Sell her to the worst masters among the Arabs."

85. Forgiving a slave

163. Abu Umama said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came with two slaves and gave one of them to 'Ali and said, 'Do not beat him. I have forbidden beating the people of the prayer and I saw him praying before we came.' He gave Abu Dharr a slave and said, "I recommend that you treat him well,' so Abu Dharr set him free. He said, 'What have you done?' He replied, 'You commanded me to treat him well, so I set him free.'"

164. Anas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came to Madina without any servant. Abu Talha took my hand and brought me to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Prophet of Allah!' This is Anas, a clever and intelligent boy. Let him serve him.'"

Anas said, "I served him when he was at home and on journeys from the time he came to Madina until he died, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He never said to me about anything I had done, 'Why did you do this?' nor did he say to me about something I had not done, 'Why did you not do such-and-such?'"

86. When a slave steals

165. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When a slave steals, sell him, even for a half an awqiya."

87. A slave who commits wrong actions

166. Laqit ibn Sabira reported that his father said, "I went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when a shepherd had driven a lamp into the evening pasture. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Do not suppose that we have a hundred sheep and do not want to give you more than only a lamb. When the shepherd brought the lamb, we sacrificed a sheep in its place.'"

Laqit said, "Part of what he said is, 'Do not beat your wife as you would beat your slavegirl. When you wash your nose, snuff up water freely unless you are fasting.'"

88. Someone who finishes something for his slave, fearing people's bad opinion

167. Abu'l-'Aliyya said, "We were ordered to finish off things for the servant and to measure and count because we did not want to allow them to accustom themselves to bad habits nor for anyone to think evil of us."

80. Someone who counts things for his slave fearing people's opinion

168. Salman said, "I count the soup bones for my slave, fearing people's opinion."

169. same as 168.

90. Disciplining the servant

170. Yazid ibn 'Abdullah said, "'Abdullah ibn 'Umar sent a slave of his with some gold ­ or silver -­ and he changed it and deferred the exchange (i.e. he changed gold into silver or vice versa and did not take the money straightaway. This is haram.) Then he went back to Ibn 'Umar who gave him a painful beating. He said, 'Go and take what is mine and do not exchange it!'"

171. Abu Mas'ud said, "I was beating a slave of mine when I heard a voice behind me, 'Know, Abu Mas'ud, that Allah is able to call you to account for this slave.' I turned around and there was the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. I said, 'Messenger of Allah, he is free for the sake of Allah!' He said, 'If you had not done that, the Fire would have touched you (or the Fire would have burned you).'"

91. Do not say, "May Allah make your face ugly"

172. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Do not say, 'May Allah make your face ugly.'"

173. Abu Hurayra said, "Do not say, 'May Allah make your face ugly and any face like your face.' Allah Almighty created Adam, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in the form that He ordained."

92. Avoid striking the face

174. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When one of you strikes his servant, let him avoid his face."

175. Jabir said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed by an animal which had been branded and its nostrils were smoking. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Allah curses any person who does this. No one should mark the face nor strike it.'"

93. Someone who slaps his slave should free him even though he is under no obligation to do so

176. Hilal ibn Yasaf said, "We used to sell linen in the house of Suwayd ibn Muqarrin. A slavegirl came out and said something to one of the men and that man slapped her. Suwayd ibn Muqarrin asked him, 'Did you slap her face? We were seven and we only had a single servant. Then one of us slapped her and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered him to set her free.'"

177. Ibn 'Umar said, "I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'The expiation for someone who slaps his slave or beats him more than he deserves is to set him free.'"

178. Mu'awiya ibn Muqarrin said, "I slapped a mawla of mine and he fled. Then my father called me and said, 'I will tell you a story. We, the sons of Muqarrin, were seven, and we had one servant. Then one of us slapped her and that was mentioned to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He said, 'Order them to set her free.' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was told. 'She is the only servant they have.' He said, 'Then let them hire her and when they no longer need her, let her go on her way.'"

179. Shu'ba said, "Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir said to me, 'What is your name?' I replied, 'Shu'ba.' He said, 'Abu Shu'ba related to me that when Suwayd ibn Muqarrin al-Muzani saw a man strike his slave, he said. 'Do you not know that the face is forbidden? In the time of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, we were seven brothers and we only had one servant. Then one of us slapped him (sic.) and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded that we set him free.'"

180. Abu 'Umar Zadhan said, "We were with Ibn 'Umar when he summoned a slave of his whom he had beaten and he uncovered his back. 'Does it hurt?' he asked. 'No,' he replied. Then he set him free. He picked up a stick from the ground and then said, 'I do not have a reward (for him) worth as much as this stick.' I asked, 'Abu 'Abdu'r-Rahman, why do you say this?' He replied, 'I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, "The expiation of someone who beats a slave more than he deserves or slaps his face is that he must set him free."'"

94. The qisas (retaliation) of the slave

181. 'Ammar ibn Yasir said, "None of you beats his slave unjustly without the slave receiving retaliation from him on the Day of Rising."

182. Abu Layla said, "Salman went out and when his animal fodder fell from the manger, he told his servant, 'If it were not that I fear retaliation, I would make you hurt (i.e. by beating you)."

183. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Give people their rights. Even the hornless sheep will take retaliation from the horned sheep."

184. Umm Salama reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was in his house and called for a slave of his (or hers) and she was slow in coming. The anger showed in his face. Umm Salama went to the curtain and found the slavegirl playing. He had a siwak-stick with him and said, '"Were it not that I fear retaliation on the Day of Rising with this siwak."

Muhammad ibn al-Haytham added: She was playing with an animal. He said, "When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, brought her, Umm Salama said, 'Messenger of Allah! Let her swear that she did not hear you!' She said, 'He had a siwak stick in his hand.'"

185. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "On the Day of Rising, retaliation will be taken from anyone who gives a beating."

186. same as 185.

95. "Clothe them from the clothes you yourself wear."

187. 'Ubada ibn al-Walid said, "My father and I went out to seek knowledge from the Ansar in this area before they died. The first one we met was Abu'l-Yasar, the Companion of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who had been one of his salves. Abu'l-Yasar was wearing one striped robe and one mu'afiri robe and his slave was also wearing one striped robe and one mu'afiri robe. I said to him, 'Uncle! Why don't you take your slave's striped robe and give him your mu'afiri robe, or take his mu'afiri robe and give him your striped robe? Then he would have a complete outfit and you would have a complete outfit.' He wiped his head and said, 'O Allah, bless him in it! Nephew, these two eyes of mine have seen and these two ears of mine have heart and my heart has retained,' and he pointed towards his heart, 'that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Feed them from what you yourself eat and clothe them from the clothes you yourself wear." It is easier for me to give him the goods of this world than to have my good actions taken away from me on the Day of Rising.'"

188. Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, advised that slaves should be well-treated. He said, 'Feed them from what you eat and clothe them from what you wear. Do not punish what Allah has created.'"

96. Insulting slaves

189. Al-Ma'rur ibn Suwayd said, "I saw Abu Dharr wearing a robe and his slave was also wearing a robe. We asked him about that and he said, 'I insulted a man and he complained about me to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to me, 'Did you insult him by his mother?' 'Yes,' I replied. He said, 'Your brothers are your property. Allah has put them under your authority. If someone has his brother under his authority, he should feed him from what he eats and clothe him from what he wears and not burden him with anything that will be too much for him. If you burden him with what will be too much for him, then help him.'"

97. Should a person help his slave?

190. Sallam ibn 'Amr reported from one of the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Your slaves are your brothers, so treat him well. Ask for their help in what is too much for you and help them in what is too much for them."

191. Abu Hurayra said, 'Help the worker in his work. The one who works for Allah will not be disappointed," i.e. the servant.

98. Do not burden a slave with work which he is incapable of doing

192. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The slave has his food and clothing. Do not burden a slave with work which he is incapable of doing."

193. Same as 192.

194. Ma'rur said, "We passed by Abu Dharr and he was wearing a garment and his slave had a robe on. We said, 'Why do you not take this and give this man something else instead of the robe?' He replied that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Allah has put your brothers under your authority. If someone has his brother under his authority, he should feed him from what he eats and clothe him from what he wears and not burden him with what will be too much for him. If he burdens him with what will be too much for him, he should help him.'"

99. A man's maintenance of his slave and servant is sadaqa

195. Al-Miqdam heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, "What you feed yourself is sadaqa. What you feed your child, your wife and your servant is sadaqa."

196. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The best sadaqa is that which leaves you free of want. The upper hand is better than the lower hand. Begin with those you look after. Your wife says, 'Spend on me or divorce me.' Your slave says, 'Spend on me or sell me.' Your child asks, 'On whom can we rely?'"

197. Abu Hurayra said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded sadaqa. A man said, 'I have a dinar.' He said, 'Spend it on yourself.' He said, 'I have another.' He said, 'Spend it on your wife.' He said, 'I have another.' He said, 'Spend it on your servant and then on whomever you see fit.'"

100. When someone dislikes eating with his slave

198. Ibn Jurayj related that Abu'z-Zubayr heard him ask Jabir about when a man's servant has finished his work and heat (i.e. cooking). Did the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, command that the servant be invited to eat? "Yes," he replied. If one of you dislikes to have his servant eat with him, he should give him his food by his own hand.'"

101. A slave should eat from what his master eats

199. Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, advised that slaves be well treated. He said, 'Feed them from what you eat and clothe them from what you wear and do not punish Allah's creation.'"

102. Does a man's servant sit with him when he eats?

200. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When one of your servants brings you food, he should sit with him. If you do not accept that, then you should give it to him.'"

201. Abu Mahdhura said, "I was sitting with 'Umar when Safwan ibn Umayya brought him a bowl which some people were carrying in a robe. They set it down in front of 'Umar. 'Umar then invited some poor people and some slaves belonging to the people around him and they ate with him. Then he aid, 'Allah will do a people ­ or else he said, 'Allah will curse a people' ­ who dislike having their slaves eat with them.' Safwan said, 'By Allah, we do not dislike them, but we prefer ourselves to them, and by Allah, we do not find good food which we can eat and feed it to them as well.'"

103. When a slave advises his master

202. 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When the slave advises his master and is assiduous in the worship of his Lord, he receives a double reward."

203. Salih ibn Hayy reported that a man said to 'Amir ash-Shu'bi, "Abu 'Amr! We say that when a man frees his umm walad and then marries her, he is like the one who rides his camel." 'Amir said, "Abu Burda related to me from his father that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to them: 'Three have a double reward: one of the People of the Book who believes in his Prophet and then believes in Muhammad has two rewards. When a slave carries out the due of Allah and the due of his master, he has a double reward. And (the third is) a man who has a slavegirl with whom he has intercourse and teaches her well and instructs her well and then sets her free and marries her. He has two rewards.'"

'Amir said, "We have given it to you for nothing. He was on his way to Madina.

204. Abu Musa reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The slave who is excellent in the worship of his Lord and fulfils the duties of obedience and counsel which he owes to his master, has two rewards."

205. Abu Burda reported from his father that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The slave has two rewards when he carries out Allah's due in worship (or he said that he is excellent in his worship) and the right of his owner who owns him."

104. The slave is a guardian

206. Ibn 'Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock. The amir of a people is a shepherd and he is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of the people of his house and he is responsible for his flock. A man's slave is the shepherd of his master's property and he is responsible for it. Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock."

207. Abu Hurayra said, "When a slave obeys his master, he has obeyed Allah Almighty. When he rebels against his master, he rebels against Allah Almighty."

105. The person who wished he were a slave

208. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When the Muslim slave performs the due of Allah and the due of his master, he will have two rewards."

Abu Hurayra said, "By the One who has the soul of Abu Hurayra in His hand! If it had not been for jihad in the Way of Allah, the hajj, and dutifulness to my mother, I would wish to die a slave!"

106. Do not say "'abdî" (my slave)

209. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "None of you should say, 'My slave ('abdi)' or 'my slavegirl (amati)' All of you are slaves of Allah and all of your women are slaves of Allah. Rather you should say, 'My boy (ghulami)', my slavegirl (jariyyati)', 'my lad (fatayi)' or 'my girl (fatati).'"

107. Does one say "my master (sayyidi)"?

210. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "None of you should say 'my slave ('abdi or amati)' and a slave should not say, 'my lord (rabbi or rabbati)'. They should say, 'my boy' or 'my girl' (fatayi and fatati) and 'my master' or 'mistress' (sayyidi and sayyidati)'. All of you are slaves, and the Lord is Allah, Almighty and Exalted."

211. Mutarrif reported that his father said, "I went in the delegation of the Banu 'Amir to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. They said, 'You are our master.' He said, 'The Master is Allah.' They said, 'The best of us in excellence and the greatest of us in generosity.' He said, 'Say what you like, but do not let Shaytan provoke you.'"