One of the oldest seerah books mentions the following incident enter image description here

This slave voluntarily abandoned his muharrib master. Is ransom to be paid in such cases? Why is it exempted, if it was exempted? Why doesnt it come under the ruling of a slave running away from his master?

  • Please don't post screenshots of text like this. It just makes searching text unnecessarily difficult.
    – goldPseudo
    Jan 13 at 14:44
  • Apologies, I can link the tweet if its desired. Next time I will definitely post the source where I found Jan 13 at 15:04
  • I'm not saying it needs a link or a source, I'm just asking you to please take the time to write it out as actual text, not a screenshot.
    – goldPseudo
    Jan 13 at 16:27
  • Ok sir, noted please Jan 13 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


No, it is not required to pay ransom to the Ahl al-Harb when their prisoners or slaves have escaped of their own accord and joined us. Ransom is only paid to convince the enemy to let go of Muslim prisoners, its purpose is not to make the exchange halal. If the prisoners get free by some other means (such as by escaping themselves or being rescued) then there is no need to persuade the enemy as the matter is no longer under their control.

Similarly, it is not forbidden for a Muslim prisoner\slave of the Harbis to run away from them, rather it is prescribed to do so.

The reason is that:

  • The life and property of a Harbi is not protected. That is because war exists against them and war involves taking away their life and property. Slaves are part of their property and hence can flee or be taken away without compensation. Indeed taking away their lives and properties is prescribed:

    ولا يطئون موطئا يغيظ الكفار ولا ينالون من عدو نيلا إلا كتب لهم به عمل صالح

    Nor do they tread on any ground that enrages the disbelievers, nor do they inflict upon an enemy any infliction but that is registered for them as a righteous deed.

    Quran 9:120

    أمرت أن أقاتل الناس حتى يشهدوا أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمدا رسول الله ... فإذا فعلوا ذلك عصموا مني دماءهم وأموالهم

    I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger ... so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me.


  • A non-muslim can not be allowed to own a Muslim slave as non-Muslims can not be allowed authority over Muslims. Hence the ownership of the non-Muslim over the Muslim slave is invalid in the first place:

    لا يتخذ المؤمنون الكافرين أولياء

    Let not believers take disbelievers as allies\guardians

    Quran 3:28

    ولن يجعل الله للكافرين على المؤمنين سبيلا

    Never will Allah give the disbelievers over the believers a way [to overcome them]

    Quran 4:141

    Even if the non-Muslim owner was a Dhimmi under Islamic law if he came into possession of a Muslim slave he would be forced to sell the slave to a Muslim owner.


خرج عبدان إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم - يعني يوم الحديبية - قبل الصلح فكتب إليه مواليهم فقالوا يا محمد والله ما خرجوا إليك رغبة في دينك وإنما خرجوا هربا من الرق فقال ناس صدقوا يا رسول الله ردهم إليهم ‏.‏ فغضب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وقال ‏‏ ما أراكم تنتهون يا معشر قريش حتى يبعث الله عليكم من يضرب رقابكم على هذا ‏ ‏.‏ وأبى أن يردهم وقال ‏ هم عتقاء الله عز وجل

Some slaves came out to God’s Messenger, i.e. on the day of al-Hudaibiya, before the peace was ratified, and their masters wrote to him saying, “We swear by God, Muhammad, that they have not gone out to you through desire for your religion, but they have done so only to fly from servitude.” Some people assured him they had spoken the truth and advised him to send them back to them, but God’s Messenger became angry and said, “I do not think you people of Quraish will cease till God sends someone to you who will cut off your heads for this.” He refused to send them back, saving they were God’s freedmen.

Abu Dawud

وسألناه أن يرد علينا أبا بكرة وكان عبدا لنا، أتى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو محاصر ثقيفا فأسلم، فأبى أن يرده علينا " قال: «هو طليق الله، ثم طليق رسوله» ، فلم يرده علينا

We asked the Prophetﷺ to return Abu Bakra to us who used to be our slave and had defected towards the Prophet ﷺ and accepted Islam during the seige of Thaqif (the siege of Tai'f).

The Prophet ﷺ refused to return him and said: "He was freed by Allah and His Messenger"

Sunan Sa’eed bin Mansoor and Musnad Ahmad also see Bukhari

وإذا خرج عبد الحربي إلينا مسلما عتق

If the slave of an enemy moves over to our territory as a Muslim, he stands emancipated

Al-Hidayah fi Sharh Bidayat al-Mubtadi


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