Context of this hadith

Sunan Ibn Majah 2517

We used to sell our slave women and the mothers of our children (Umahat Awaldina) when the Prophet (ﷺ) was still living among us, and we did not see anything wrong with that.

Why it’s say mother of our children i mean you can’t sell slave when she gets pregnant by master right?

1 Answer 1


Selling an Umm Walad (a slave who has given birth to a child of her owner) is not permitted according to the vast majority of the jurists. This includes the madhab of the sahaba such as Umar, Usman, Ali (one or earlier opinion), Ibn Abbas (one report), Aisha, Ibn Masud. And this is the view of the four Sunni madhabs: Malikis, Hanafis, Shafi'is and Hanbalis. You are most likely only aware of this madhab since it is the predominant opinion.

The evidence for this madhab includes among other things the following hadith:

نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن بيع أمهات الأولاد , لا يبعن ولا يوهبن ولا يورثن , يستمتع بها سيدها ما بدا له فإذا مات فهي حرة

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ forbade the sale of the (slave) mothers of one's children, they can not be sold, nor gifted, nor inherited. The master will make use of her while he is alive and when he dies she shall be free.

Sunan al-Daraqutni

Nevertheless there is minority opinion that holds their sale as permitted. This has been reported from Ali (second or later opinion), Ibn Abbas (one report), Ibn Zubair and others. And among other things the evidence for this madhab is the report you have quoted, which suggests that the Prophet ﷺ did not forbid this sale and hence it must be permissible.

A more complete version of the hadith of Jabir ibn Abdullah is as follows:

عن جابر بن عبد الله، قال بعنا أمهات الأولاد على عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وأبي بكر فلما كان عمر نهانا فانتهينا ‏

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah:

We sold slave-mothers during the time of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and of Abu Bakr. When Umar was in power, he forbade us and we stopped.

Abu Dawud

The explanation of the majority for this hadith is that Jabir was unaware that the Prophet ﷺ had later forbidden their sale, and the matter was never brought into the attention of Abu Bakr. When the matter was brought to the attention of Umar, he informed Jabir that the sale is forbidden. This is similar to the case of Nikah al-Mut'ah near the Ahl as-Sunnah. Other explanations also exist.


وفي رواية قال { كنا نبيع سرارينا وأمهات أولادنا ، والنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم حي ، لا يرى بذلك بأسا } رواه الدارقطني والبيهقي بإسناد صحيح قال الخطابي وغيره : يحتمل أن بيعها كان مباحا في أول الإسلام ، ثم نهى عنه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في آخر حياته ، ولم يشتهر ذلك النهي إلى زمن عمر ، فلما بلغ عمر النهي نهاهم ، والله سبحانه وتعالى أعلم

Majmoo‘ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab

جمهور الفقهاء - وعليه أكثر التابعين على أن السيد لا يجوز له في أم ولده التصرف بما ينقل الملك، فلا يجوز بيعها، ولا وقفها، ولا رهنها، ولا تورث، بل تعتق بموت السيد من كل المال ويزول الملك عنها.

Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah

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