Can a helpless non-muslim voluntarily accept slavery to pay off his/debt or to maintain a lifestyle? Where exactly in Quran/Hadith, voluntarily slavery is prohibited?

  • At least a hint of an answer should be available in Are Muslim men allowed to have sex slaves
    – Medi1Saif
    Sep 26, 2021 at 19:55
  • @Medi1Saif thanks but it does not address whether Islam prohibits voluntarily slavery or not.
    – Dave M
    Sep 27, 2021 at 4:14
  • 1
    Your question is rather strange. If a person owes a debt or wishes to maintain a lifestyle then he might as well work on ijarah rather than become a slave. A slave typically does not earn money for his work, nor does he own property, rather he becomes property. In the old times when a person was unable to pay his debts he was enslaved. This wasn't voluntary and did not benefit the debtor, rather it was so that the creditor could get his money back.
    – UmH
    Sep 27, 2021 at 4:33
  • @UmH by maintaining lifestyle means that the master will be responsible for slave's accommodation, food and well being. Master will also pay-off his or her debt.
    – Dave M
    Sep 27, 2021 at 4:57
  • this is also useful islam.stackexchange.com/questions/46545/… Sep 28, 2021 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


Yes, Islam prohibits enslavement of a free person, even if he voluntarily accepts it.

Enslaving a free person is categorically prohibited:

قال الله ثلاثة أنا خصمهم يوم القيامة... ورجل باع حرا فأكل ثمنه

Allah says, 'I will be against three persons on the Day of Resurrection: ... One who sells a free person (as a slave) and eats the price


The only exception to this is the case of a Harbi Kafir. For every other case the default prohibition noted above will hold. A free person does not own himself - rather Allah owns him and his freedom is Allah's right which can only be relinquished through His permission.

والحرية حق لله تعالى فلا يقدر أحد على إبطاله إلا بحكم الشرع، فلا يجوز إبطال هذا الحق، ومن ذلك أنه لا يجوز استرقاق الحر ولو رضي بذلك

Freedom is the right of Allah, hence no one has the power to overturn it except with a command from Shariah. Hence it is not permitted to violate this right, and a free person can not be enslaved, even if he consents to it

Encyclopedia of Islamic Jurisprudence (الموسوعة الفقهية)

Other references: islamqa , غمز عيون البصائر في شرح الأشباه والنظائر , بدائع الصنائع, درر الحكام شرح غرر الأحكام,

  • Thanks for your effort to answer my question. You said that Harbi Kafir is the only exception. My question is actually for a Harbi Kafir i.e. a non-muslim who is not a Dhimmi. Can you elaborate more on this? Unfortunately I don't know Arabic so I can't read your links. Does Islam really prohibit voluntarily slavery of a Harbi Kafir to a Muslim?
    – Dave M
    Sep 28, 2021 at 19:10
  • A Harbi Kafir can be enslaved, it does not matter whether it is voluntary or involuntary, the choice rests upon the leader of the Muslims he can execute (adult males only), enslave, ransom, or free a captured Harbi Kafir.
    – UmH
    Sep 29, 2021 at 3:56
  • Can a "Harbi Kafir" be enslaved to an ordinary Muslim voluntarily when there is no Muslim leadership around? Where does Islam prohibit it?
    – Dave M
    Oct 15, 2021 at 23:43
  • @DaveM good Question. It is a fact that the blood and wealth of a Harbi kafir is not sacred, so a very long list of scholars such as Qurtubi, nawawi, shafi’i, ibn rushd, ibn Qudamah... permitted a muslim to either kill or enslave a harbi upon meeting them. And to do this, they didn’t say this must be specifically approved by the caliph or must only be done on an expedition. But many did prohibit launching offensive wars without an imam, so I suppose it depends on whether you can classify the singular enslavement of a harbi kafir as offensive jihad.
    – Hisham
    Mar 22, 2022 at 1:10

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