This hadith in Sahih Al Bukhari shows Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم sold Mudabbar. While it is not permissible to sell Mudabbar as per Fuqaha.

حَدَّثَنَا آدَمُ بْنُ أَبِي إِيَاسٍ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، حَدَّثَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ دِينَارٍ، سَمِعْتُ جَابِرَ بْنَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ أَعْتَقَ رَجُلٌ مِنَّا عَبْدًا لَهُ عَنْ دُبُرٍ، فَدَعَا النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِهِ فَبَاعَهُ‏.‏ قَالَ جَابِرٌ مَاتَ الْغُلاَمُ عَامَ أَوَّلَ‏.‏

Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah: A man amongst us declared that his slave would be freed after his death. The Prophet (ﷺ) called for that slave and sold him. The slave died the same year.

Sahih al-Bukhari 2534

I am a little confused over this matter related to Mudabbar. Please explain whether it is permissible or not to sell Mudabbar. Also was it just only exceptional case related to the Prophet!


1 Answer 1


Refer to the first part of my answer on What is the explanation of the apparent contradiction on manumission of slaves in ahadith?

There is disagreement on whether or not it is permitted to sell a Mudabbar slave. A Mudabbar is a slave regarding whom his owner has declared that he would be free after the owner's death.

The Hanafis and Malikis hold that when the owner makes this declaration then it is binding and the owner does not have the ability to retract it. Hence near them it is not permitted to sell such a slave as that would contravene his declaration.

They have suggested a number of possible explanations for the hadith which you are asking about:

  • For Tadbir to be valid the slave must be valued at less than 1/3rd of the owner's wealth. A will of more than a third is not enforced as it contravenes the rights of the heirs. In the given case the person did not have any other property and so this Tadbir was for more than a third. See the answer linked above.

  • The Prophet ﷺ sold the usufruct of the slave rather than the person of the slave, i.e. he rented him for a temporary period of time. Refer again to the answer linked above.

  • The Tadbir for that slave was conditional rather than absolute. A conditional Tadbir is for example one where the owner says that the slave will be free if the owner dies within the month. Such a conditional Tadbir is not binding according to some of them.

  • There was a debt due on the owner. According to some of them it is permitted to sell when there is a debt in order to satisfy the right of the creditors.

Other madhabs disagree on whether Tadbir is binding at all. The Shafi'is state that it is not binding, and the owner is free to sell the slave because of need or otherwise. Tadbir is just like leaving a will and if a person states in his will to do something with some of his property then that does not prevent him changing his mind and selling that property before his death.

Still others consider it permitted to sell when there is a need. And in this case there was a need.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .