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حدثنا أبو بكر قال: حدثنا وكيع، قال: حدثنا أسامة بن زيد، عن أبي حازم، عن سهل بن سعد: أنهم مروا عليه بجارية قد زينت، فدعا بها ونظر إليها وأجلسها في حجره ومسح على رأسها ودعا لها بالبركة

22790- Narrated by Waki: Usamah ibn Zaid narrated to us, from Abu Hazim, from Sahl ibn Sa'd: They passed by him with a slave girl who had been adorned. So he called for her, looked at her, seated her in his lap, wiped over her head, and prayed for her with blessings.

حدثنا أبو بكر قال: حدثنا وكيع قال: حدثنا أسامة بن زيد عن بعض أشياخه قال: قال عمر: إذا أراد أحد منكم أن يحسن الجارية فليزينها وليطوف بها يتعرض بها رزق الله

22791- Narrated by Waki: Usamah ibn Zaid narrated to us, from some of his elders, he said: Umar said, "If one of you intends to improve the condition of a slave girl, let him adorn her and take her around, for thereby Allah's sustenance may come."

حدثنا أبو بكر قال: حدثنا وكيع، قال: حدثنا العلاء بن عبد الكريم، عن عمار بن عمران، رجل من زيد الله عن امرأة منهم، عن عائشة، أنها شوفت جارية وطافت بها وقالت: لعلنا نصيب بها بعض شباب قريش

22792- Narrated by Waki: Al-Ala ibn Abd al-Karim narrated to us, from Ammar ibn Imran, a man from Zaid Allah, from a woman among them, from Aisha: She observed a slave girl, walked around with her, and said, "Perhaps some young men from the Quraysh might be interested in her."

Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah

Are these hadiths authentic? What justifies advertizing a girl to tempt men? why are the slave girls allowed to be adorned and is this wrong since the prophet (saw) said the worst of the women are those that show off their beauty?

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2 Answers 2

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General classification of the Athaar

First of all these 3 narrations are Athaar. Secondly, these Athaar are mentioned (in this order) in Musannaf ibn Abi Sahybah in a subchapter entitled:

في تزيين السلعة
On decorating items (for sale)

This explains why decoration or adornments like good clothes, kohl or alike, are regarded as permissible since one wants to present his items at its best to sell them at a good price.

Note that as I've explained in Authenticity of a Narration in musannaf ibn abi shaybah the order of these Athar shows that they are already regarded by the author himself as less strong than the first two Athar he mentioned right below the title:

حدثنا أبو بكر قال: حدثنا خالد بن عبد الرحمن بن بكير عن ابن سيرين عن شريح قال: يزين الرجل سلعته بما شاء (Source)
Abu Bakr told us, he said: Khalid bin Abdul Rahman ibn Bukair told us, on the authority of Ibn Sirin, on the authority of Shurayh, who said: “A man decorates his goods however he wants.”

Which is the opinion of a tabi'y. Which is similar to the next statement:

حدثنا أبو بكر قال: حدثنا وكيع قال: حدثنا سفيان عن هشام عن ابن سيرين قال: لا بأس بالتزيين، وكره الغش. (Source)
Abu Bakr told us, he said: Waki' told us, he said: Sufyan told us, on the authority of Hisham, on the authority of Ibn Sireen, he said: There is no harm in beautification, and deception is disliked.

The above statements already give a legitimation for decorating slaves with adornments. Further in general the rules for slave women are more relaxed than those for free women, as already is indicated by:

And whoever among you cannot [find] the means to marry free, believing women, then [he may marry] from those whom your right hands possess of believing slave girls. And Allah is most knowing about your faith. You [believers] are of one another. So marry them with the permission of their people and give them their due compensation according to what is acceptable. [They should be] chaste, neither [of] those who commit unlawful intercourse randomly nor those who take [secret] lovers. But once they are sheltered in marriage, if they should commit adultery, then for them is half the punishment for free [unmarried] women. This [allowance] is for him among you who fears sin, but to be patient is better for you. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (4:25)

And you may find Athaar showing that slave women were prohibited from wearing hijab to distinguish them from free women.

Our same three narrations were also compiled in another subchapter entitled:

ما قالوا في الجارية تشوف ويطاف بها (See here and the following pages)
What did they say about the slave girl being seen and taken around?

However, since there was no stronger evidence abu Bakr ibn abi Shabyah here changed the order setting the narration on the authority of 'Aishah before that of 'umar and then concluding with Sahl ibn Sa'ads narration. Note that the wording of 'Aishah's athar was a bit difficult depending on the copies editors checked these three wordings were used:

نصطاد in "What did they say about the slave girl being seen and taken around?"
نصيب in "On decorating items"
نتصيد in "On decorating items" in one copy.

Qualification of each Athar:

The first Athar was narrated on the authority to the Sahabi Sahl ibn Sa'ad who died 91 a.H. in Medina where he was born 8 years before the hijra.

حدثنا أبو بكر قال: حدثنا وكيع قال: حدثنا أسامة بن زيد عن أبي حازم عن سهل بن سعد أنهم مروا عليه يحارية قد زينت، فدعا بها ونظر إليها واجلسها في حجره ومسح على رأسها ودعا لها بالبركة (Source)
22790- Abu Bakr told us, he said, Waki' told us: Usamah ibn Zaid narrated to us, from Abu Hazim, from Sahl ibn Sa'd: They passed by him with a slave girl who had been adorned. So he called for her, looked at her, seated her in his lap, wiped over her head, and prayed for her with blessings.

  • Abu Hazim أبو حازم is also known as Salamah ibn Dinar who died according different srouces either 133 a.H., 135 a.H., 140 a.H. or 144 a.H.. He is a trustworthy tabi'y and narrator who met Sahl ibn Sa'ad, abu Hurairah and the two 'Abdullahs ibn 'Umar and ibn 'Amr ibn al-'Aas among the sahabah.
  • Usama ibn Zaid al-Laithi أسامة بن زيد الليثي (this helps distinguish him from Usamah ibn Zaid ibn Aslam the known Sahabhi who was called the son of Muhammad till Allah declared adoption as void) أسامة بن زيد he died 153 a.H., he was qualified as sadooq and he is a known teacher of Waki' ibn al-Jarrah and ibn Manajwayh confirmed his narration from abu Hazim. Note that there's a third Usamah ibn Zaid which is called al-'Umari al-Madani as a-Dhahabi pointed at, as a postscript in his biography of Usama ibn Zaid al-Laithi, in Siyar 'aalam an-Nubalaa', saying that this third Usama is even weaker than our Usama here.
  • Waki' ibn al-Jarrah وكيع بن الجراح died 196 or 197 a.H. he is a known teacher of both ibn Shaybah brothers, abu Bakr and 'Uthman. He further was first student and then also a teacher of Sufyan a-Thawri. He has a good reputation as a narrator.

So we see this narrator chain is connected and has a light weakness on the level of Usama ibn Zaid which qualifies it as hassan.

The second athar was narrated on the authority of 'Umar al-Khattab:

حدثنا أبو بكر قال: حدثنا وكيع قال: حدثنا أسامة بن زيد عن بعض أشياخه قال: قال عمر: إذا أراد أحد منكم أن يحسن الجارية فليزينها وليطوف بها يتعرض بها رزق الله (Source)
22791- Abu Bakr told us, he said, Waki' told us: Usamah ibn Zaid narrated to us, from some of his sheikhs, he said: Umar said, "If one of you intends to improve the condition of a slave girl, let him adorn her and take her around, for thereby Allah's sustenance may come."

Besides the issue of Usama ibn Zaid al-Laithi being sadooq this report has an unknown narrator referred to as "some of his sheikhs" which can either be corrected by some backup report or regarded as weak for this missing person.

The third report on the authoirthy of 'Aishah:

حدثنا أبو بكر قال: حدثنا وكيع، قال: حدثنا العلاء بن عبد الكريم، عن عمار بن عمران، رجل من زيد الله عن امرأة منهم، عن عائشة، أنها شوفت جارية وطافت بها وقالت: لعلنا نصيب بها بعض شباب قريش (Source)
22792- Abu Bakr told us, he said, Waki' told us: al-'Alaa' ibn 'abd al-Karim narrated to us, from 'Ammar ibn 'Imran, a man from Zaid Allah, from a woman among them, from Aishah: She observed a slave girl, walked around with her, and said, "Perhaps some young men from the Quraysh might be interested in her."

While al-'Alaa' ibn 'abd al-Karim is a known trustworthy narrator from Kufa who was quoted in the Sunan of abi Dawod and ibn Majah, the chain is filled with at least two unknown narrators the man named 'Ammar ibn 'Imran from Zaid Allah and the woman from among them. Which is a clear weakness of this chain.

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  • so Umar RA said in that athar that the slave girl should be adorned and shown around to people, that her condition be improved, that "condition" refers to likelihood of sale as in Allah's sustenance? Commented Mar 23 at 4:21
  • So they can be adorned with jewelry and perfume the way a free woman can't?
    – z shawn
    Commented Mar 24 at 18:29
  • Yes to both your questions
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Mar 24 at 19:15
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The reports in which a transmitter is not properly identified and mentioned instead as 'some of his elders' or 'a woman ' can not be judged for authenticity and are considered weak.

Anyways, the purpose is not to tempt men to do something haram rather it applies to a slave who is up for sale and is being done to signal and attract buyers. The chapter is about beautifying stuff which one wishes to sell. According to some scholars, adornment (eye-liner, hand pigment, good clothes) is permissible even for a free woman when she is being looked at by her suitor for the purpose of proposing marriage.

سبيعة بنت الحارث الأسلمية ... تجملت للخطاب

Subai'ah bint Al-Harith Al-Aslamiyyah... adorned herself to receive proposals of marriage.

Bukhari, Muslim, Nasai, Abu Dawud

إذا خطب أحدكم المرأة فإن استطاع أن ينظر إلى ما يدعوه إلى نكاحها فليفعل

When one of you asked a woman in marriage, if he is able to look at what will induce him to marry her, he should do so.

Abu Dawud

And if that is permissible then it could also be permissible for a slave woman who is being sold since looking at her for the purpose of appraisal for purchase is lawful and the laws of veiling for a slave woman are more relaxed.

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