Can a slave request his freedom from his Muslim / Jewish or Christian owner?

Can a slave request his freedom from his Muslim / Jewish or Christian owner?

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


First, it is important to know that thousands of years ago life was different than today.  Today, people would not accept slavery for any reason.  The reason for this is because people are a lot more independent both financially, education wise, mentally, etc…  

But people back then were different.  When a tribe or a group of people lose a major battle and their money is mostly, if not all, is taken as war booty by the other side, then people could and would accept being slaves for the following reasons:

1- Both financial and social security.   When their country or tribe lost the war, they also lost most or all of their money as war booty.  Being out of money and food, it becomes necessary for an individual to find the means for basic survival in life.  Living as a slave would provide this.

2- Protection from hostile individuals.   Even under the Islamic rule, you can still find hostile individuals who violate the Law and take matters into their own hands.  An enemy family can be sometimes in danger if they do not have a “protector”.

3- Widows, Orphans, and the extremely poor of the enemy side need financial and social protection from a Master.  Back then, there were no governments with good social systems that protected everyone.  Slavery back then was that social system in special cases.

There are probably more points I can add, but I think these are sufficient.   Let us now see the Islamic System toward Slaves:

Slaves can request and get their freedom from their Muslim Masters:

Yes, slaves were taken from the blood-thirsty and hostile enemies, but they were also given the right to get their freedom whenever they want.  The Noble Quran not only allows slaves to request their freedom from their Muslim masters, but also orders the Muslim masters to pay the slaves money to help them stand on their feet and to be able to face life with a good jump start.

Let us look at Noble Verse 24:33 “Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until God gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which God has given to you.

But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is God, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them),” In this Noble Verse, we see that if a slave requests his freedom from his Muslim master, then his master not only must help him earn his freedom if there is good in the Slave, but also pay him money so the slave can have a good start in his free life.

“The law of slavery in the legal sense of the term is now obsolete.  While it had any meaning, Islam made the slave’s lot as easy as possible.  A slave, male, or female, could ask for conditional manumission by a written deed fixing the amount required for manumission and allowing the slave meanwhile to earn money by lawful means and perhaps marry and bring up a family. 

Such a deed was not to be refused if the request was genuine and the slave had character.  Not only that, but the master is directed to help with money out of his own resources in order to enable the slave to earn his or her own liberty.” [2]

Again, the Prophet peace be upon him said:

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari:  “The Prophet said, “Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom).”  (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Food, Meals, Volume 7, Book 65, Number 286)”

2- Can a slave request his freedom from his Jewish or Christian owner?

Let us look at Leviticus 25:44-46 “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.” 

What kind of a human value does the Bible give to slaves?   If slaves and their children must be inherited and passed down to newer generations as slaves, then how in the world will they ever gain their freedom?  Does the Bible believe in Freedom?  Does the Bible believe in liberating human beings from slavery?  

 Apparently, it does not!

“All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered.  (From the NIV Bible, 1 Timothy 6:1)”

“Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be defamed.  (From the RSV Bible, 1 Timothy 6:1)”

In either translation, we clearly see that the Bible is not a book for freeing slaves.   Slavery was practiced very badly during the times of Judaism and Christianity and was fought against and ended during the times of Islam.  It is part of the Bible’s “teaching” to practice and promote slavery!  And fighting it would “slander” or “defame” the teachings of the Bible.


1- The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an.
Translator:  Abdullah Yusuf Ali.

2- The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an [1].  Footnotes #2991, page 875.

Allah knows Best.

Almighty Allah is the highest and most knowledgeable, and the attribution of knowledge to him is the safest.

Right from Almighty Allah and wrong from me and Satan

Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar- 

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Arrogance is not only a sign of insecurity, but also a sign of immaturity. Mature and fully realised persons can get their points across, even emphatically without demeaning or intimidating others.