I know that today there is a general consensus that slavery is banned. And that the only way to get slaves are by taking prisoners of war and giving them good treatment and the option to free themselves once they collect a certain amount of money.

My question is that was trading slaves allowed in early muslim society ? Were people able to buy and sell slaves to one another ? I couldn't understand this because it seems to compare slaves as objects or animals, please clarify this for me :) jazakum allahu khayran

1 Answer 1


Yes. If someone is legally a slave then it is permitted to buy, sell, gift, inherit, lend, pledge and lease that slave. Every transaction that is permitted for an object is also permitted for a slave. That is exactly what slavery is by definition.

إذا زنت الأمة ... ثم إن زنت الثالثة فليبعها، ولو بحبل من شعر

If a slave-girl commits illegal sexual intercourse ... and if she commits it a third time, then he should sell her even for a hair rope.


أخذه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال ‏ من يشتريه مني

The Prophet (ﷺ) took the slave and said, "Who will buy this slave from me?"


ومن ابتاع عبدا وله مال فماله للذي باعه إلا أن يشترط المبتاع

If somebody buys a slave having some property, the property will belong to the seller unless the buyer stipulate that it should belong to him.


There are some minor limitations on this, for example it is not permitted to sell a slave in a way which would cause separation between mother and child, or to sell a Muslim slave to a Kafir owner, or to sell an Umm Walad etc. However I am assuming that you are asking about the general ruling.

  • thank you for your answer, but i dont understand the wisdom behind this ruling, if slaves were treated like brothers and sisters and taken care of, why would buying and selling them be permissible ? Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 22:22
  • @Learningtocode well they are slaves so regardless of how well they are treated they’re still owned by you and of course you can sell what you own
    – Hisham
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 2:14
  • @UmH can you write a detail answer about slavery and concubinage law in islam? i need to know more about it
    – Fahim Khan
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 9:46

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