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About this episode

In this enlightening video, Shaykh Yasir Qadhi divulges details on the section of society in medieval era of Islam or pre- Islamic era called the Mawali or mamluks or Abds which means slaves.

Is Islam, the status of slaves is not the same as what was in the western world. The term mamluk or Abd meant a slave and when he or she was freed, he would be known as a maula.any mistreatment to slaves was strictly forbidden in Islam and the penalty for such a misdeed was to free the slave in question.

The Prophet ﷺ is said to have owned 50 - 90 mamluks in his lifetime and the interesting part of this information is that he never ever acquired an abd intentionally : rather it was always that he had been gifted one by his wives, the chieftains or Sahabas or the rulers of other countries.

It is also worth mentioning and commendable that the Prophet ﷺ freed all of his Mamluks without exception and they attained the status of maulas. The practice of attaining mamluks was never a practice that was merited for or praised rather numerous instances are seen where great regard has been given to maulas so much so that different Hadith too certify this very aspect. In fact, the only way that mamluks (mostly Non Arabs) could be acquired as per Islam was if they were prisoners of war that had not been ransomed and they too would eventually convert to Islam.

A mamluk worth mentioning here is Zayd Ibn Harithah RA who was the first mamluk and he was so loved and adored by the Prophet ﷺ that he chose to remain in servitude to him rather than go back to his parents.

Abu Huraira RA narrated, “The Prophet ﷺ said, "Whoever frees a Muslim slave, Allah will save all the parts of his body from the (Hell) Fire as he has freed the body-parts of the slave."

There were numerous mamluks at the time of Pre Islamic period and they have been mentioned by name in a book compiled by Imam as - Saliheen.some of them are - Kirkira, hormuz, badam, shukraan and many more.

Abu Rafi who was the mamluk of Al Abbas, the uncle of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, narrates that:i once saw Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari wearing a cloak and his slave was wearing a cloak too. I asked for the reason in similarity between the two cloaks and hue replied, "Once I abused a man and he complained of me to the Prophet. The Prophet ﷺ asked me, 'Did you abuse him by slighting his mother?' He added, 'Your slaves are your brethren upon whom Allah has given you authority. So, if one has one's brethren under one's control, one should feed them with the like of what one eats and clothe them with the like of what one wears. You should not overburden them with what they cannot bear, and if you do so, help them (in their hard job)."

For more such amazing Hadith and stories, do listen intently and get a fresh perspective on the status of mulas in Islam.

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Dr Mufti Ismail Menk is a leading global Islamic scholar born and raised in Zimbabwe. He studied Shariah in Madinah and holds a Doctorate of Social Guidance from Aldersgate University.

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