I am told the precondition for freeing a slave is that he/she needs to be Muslim in first place, based on the hadith of Sahih Muslim, where a slave girl is asked "where Allah was" and subsequently the speaker argued that the prophet wanted to find out whether she was a Muslim or not.

Incidentally there are other reports, which say a slave who delivered the child of master becomes freed upon death of master.

Since these two dont reconcile, hence the question: what are the preconditions for freeing a slave in Islam?

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1 Answer 1


A slave does not need to be Muslim to be freed, unless you are talking about something specific such as the obligatory freeing of a slave such as in the expiation for murder. Although freeing a Muslim slave obviously has greater priority and more reward.

Freeing a slave is permissible as long as it would not lead to harm or haram. For example some cases where it could be makruh or haram is when it is feared that after freeing the slave would defect to the enemy in the Dar al-Harb or when the slave would not have any way to sustain themselves after losing accommodation and maintenance from their owners.

Other than this the conditions are largely the same as that for transactions with other property: the person freeing the slave must be adult, sane, free, not having any restrictions placed on his spending and having ownership over the slave.

لا خلاف في جواز عتق المشرك تطوعا

There is no disagreement on the permissibility of manumitting a mushrik voluntarily

Fath al-Bari

ولا خلاف فى جواز عتق الكافر فى التطوع

There is no disagreement on the permissibility of manumitting a kafir voluntarily

kmaal al-Mu‘allim bi Fawaa’id Muslim

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