Prohibition on Child and Forced Labour

Prohibition on Child and Forced Labour

Labour rights are so important that the last words of the Prophet (ﷺ) were about protecting workers’ rights and being kind to them. Ali (RA) narrates that the “Prophet (ﷺ) urged us to attend to our prayers and pay our zakat and to be kind to those in our possession (slaves/servants). He repeated those words until his soul departed”.
(Adab al Mufrad: 156)


فَجَعَلَ يُوصِي بِالصَّلاَةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ، وَقَالَ كَذَاكَ حَتَّى فَاضَتْ نَفْسُهُ

 

Prohibition on Child and Forced Labour

  1. The provisions in this Chapter shall apply to all forms of work performed by children, whether or not the child is a worker. A child under the age of 14 years shall not be engaged in any work except light work (maximum of 2-hour work per day).[1]

 

  1. The minimum age for full-time employment shall be 16 years or earlier, depending on the completion of compulsory education.[2]
  2. A child who has attained the age of twelve years may be engaged to perform light work, provided that such work: a) is not harmful to the child’s health or safety, or the child’s moral or material welfare or development; and b) does not interfere with the child’s attendance at school, participation in vocational orientation or training programmes or the child’s capacity to benefit from instruction received.

 

  1. No person shall engage or permit the engagement of a child under the age of eighteen years to perform hazardous work.[3]
  2. No person shall engage or permit the engagement of a child under the age of eighteen years in any hazardous work, which constitutes the worst forms of child labour. The worst forms of child labour shall include:

 

  1. all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom, forced or compulsory labour, and forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict;[4]
  2. the use, procurement or offer of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or pornographic performances;
  3. the use, procurement or offer of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in international treaties as ratified by the Government;
  4. work, which by its nature or circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of the child.[5]
  1. No person shall engage in the recruitment or use of forced labour or assist any other person in engaging in such activities.[6]

 


 

[1]The Quran, while making mankind conscious about the importance of childcare, declares the duty of parents towards children as a duty towards Allah saying: “O mankind! Fear your Lord, Who (initiated) your creation from a single soul, then from it created its mate, and from these two spread (the creation of) countless men and women. So, fear Allah for Whose sake you solicit needs from one another. And (become Godfearing) towards your own kith and kin (as well). Allah is indeed Ever-Watchful over you”. [4:1].


يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا

 The Quran refers to the fundamental duty of parents as “protection of children from harm” in this world and the hereafter (66:06). To make the heedful of the importance of a child the Quran appreciates the role of a mother and a father in his raring and caring saying: “His mother bears him with much pain”. [31:14]; “With much pain his mother bears him and with much pain she brings him into the world. [46:15]. It is also provided, “men feel full by the lure of women and of their off springs”. [3:14].

“Of all that a father can give to his children, the best is their good manners” [Tirmidhi: 1952)].


مَا نَحَلَ وَالِدٌ وَلَدًا مِنْ نَحْلٍ أَفْضَلَ مِنْ أَدَبٍ حَسَنٍ

 Under Islamic law the period of minority of a child is divided into stages and the mother and the father have been required to take care of a child even if they separate. At no point of time the child should remain unattended. Custody can be given to the mother, father or a near relative, as may be appropriate in the given scheme under Islamic law. Any person can be disqualified for retaining the custody of the child if he fails to perform his obligations towards the child. Living indecent life can also be a cause for disqualification. Asking a child to go for labour and earn in any way can definitely disqualify a parent or guardian from his entitlement to posses the child.

In no situation a child can be left to support himself or any other person by resorting to child labour. Any child not able to get maintenance from father or his relative would be supported by any person in the Muslim society with means to do so. If such a person or persons fail to respond to this obligatory duty, the Quran describes them as traitors and defaulters before Allah. The relevant verses of the Quran read as follows: “Have you seen him who denies the requital? So, he is the one who pushes away the orphan, and does not persuade (others) to feed the needy. So, woe to those performers of prayers, who are neglectful of their prayers, who (do good only to) show off, and refuse (to give even for) small neighbourly needs”. (Al Maun-108:1-7).

As regards the property of a child, to take its care is primarily the responsibility of the father and after his death the responsibility is that of his executor, appointed by will (Wasiyah). Next to the father’s executor, the minor’s father’s father can under law take care of his estate. The entitlement to protect minor’s property does not necessarily pass to the same persons who are entitled to minor’s custody. Where no executors have been appointed by the father or grandfather, the Court can appoint someone to take care of minor’s property.

Taking due care of the property of orphans has been expressly made obligatory by the Quran:

“To those weak of understanding make not over your property, which Allah has made a means of support for you, but feed and clothe them therewith, and speak to them words of kindness and justice. Make trial of orphans until they reach the age of marriage; if then you find sound judgment in them, release their property to them; but consume it not wastefully, nor in haste against their growing up. If the guardian is well-off, let him claim no remuneration, but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable. When ye release their property to them, take witnesses in their presence: but all-sufficient is Allah in taking account. From what is left by parents and those nearest related, there is a share for men and a share for women, whether the property be small or large, a determinate share. But if at the time of division other relatives, or orphans, or poor, are present, feed them out of the (property), and speak to them words of kindness and justice. Let those (disposing of an estate) have the same fear in their minds as they would have for their own if they had left a helpless family behind: let them fear Allah, and speak words of appropriate (comfort). Those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, eat up a fire into their own bodies: they will soon be enduring a blazing Fire!” (Al Nisa-4:5-10).

With such a comprehensive scheme of child care and protection, Islam leaves no scope for the approval and existence of any form of child labour-forced or bonded labour, trafficking, use in war, prostitution, pornography, illicit activities, drug peddling or engagement for hazardous work. More so when the Prophet says: “Acquisition of knowledge is obligatory for all male Muslims and female Muslims”. [Ibn Majah: 224]

The Quran emphasizes the importance of knowledge saying: “Most fearful of Allah are those people who are learned (Ulema)”. (35: 68). Allah asks: “Ponder! Can learned people and the ignorant people be equal?” [39: 09].

Maintenance law of Islam is also well established and meets the requirements of child care instead of leaving a child in destitution or work in preference to leaning. Maintenance in Islam means making of all arrangements necessary for the sustenance of a child including the expenditure for nourishment, health, education and training. The father is primarily responsible to provide maintenance to his children, male and female, whether in his own custody or in the custody of someone else. The daughters are entitled to be maintained till they get married, even if the marriage takes place after the attainment of puberty. After marriage the responsibility shifts to the husband. Where the husband of the daughter dies or her marriage gets dissolved, such a daughter is placed back in the position of the unmarried daughters. A male child can claim maintenance from father until he attains majority, and after that if he is indigent or physically or mentally disabled or, in the present system of education is still under studies.

Thus, it may be again pointed out that the Quran admonishes in very explicit terms all those who do not attend their duty towards the needy ones. It demands from men a fellow feeling and due concern for others who need attention and care. There can be no question of any approbation of exploiting children in any way or engaging them in child labour.

The Prophet (ﷺ) has clearly laid down the principle that “children should not be put under the burden of earning…,” (Muwatta Malik: Book 54, Hadith 42)


وَلاَ تُكَلِّفُوا الصَّغِيرَ الْكَسْبَ

 About the orphans (which can include helpless children), The Prophet (ﷺ) has said, “Myself and the one who maintains an orphan will be in heaven together like two adjacent fingers in a hand”. (Sahih Bukhari: 6005)


أَنَا وَكَافِلُ الْيَتِيمِ، فِي الْجَنَّةِ هَكَذَا ‏”‏‏.‏ وَقَالَ بِإِصْبَعَيْهِ السَّبَّابَةِ وَالْوُسْطَى

Further, the Prophet has emphasized: The best Muslim home (community) is one in which an orphan is being treated the best, and the worst home (community) is the one in which any orphan is being ill-treated. (Ibn Majah:3679).


خَيْرُ بَيْتٍ فِي الْمُسْلِمِينَ بَيْتٌ فِيهِ يَتِيمٌ يُحْسَنُ إِلَيْهِ وَشَرُّ بَيْتٍ فِي الْمُسْلِمِينَ بَيْتٌ فِيهِ يَتِيمٌ يُسَاءُ إِلَيْهِ

 The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Those who do not show mercy to our young ones and do not realise the right of our elders are not from us”. (Sunan Abi Dawud: 4943) 


مَنْ لَمْ يَرْحَمْ صَغِيرَنَا وَيَعْرِفْ حَقَّ كَبِيرِنَا فَلَيْسَ مِنَّا

A fundamental principle in the employment relationship is kindness and compassion towards those who are dependent on the employer. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Allah Almighty will not show mercy to the person who does not show mercy to other people”. (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad: 370)


مَنْ لاَ يَرْحَمِ النَّاسَ لاَ يَرْحَمْهُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ‏

Prohibition on Child and Forced Labour Hadith 1  

In engaging children for employment, due care should be exercised in choosing the work. The work must not be harmful to the child’s health or safety, or the child’s moral or material welfare or development. The work must not be beyond the worker’s capacity. The Quran gives some clear principle which it describes as the “capacity”.  People are not even required to follow religion beyond their capacities. Therefore, children cannot be made to do work which is assessed as beyond their power. “Allah does not put under stress any soul more than its endurance”. (02:286)

 


لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللّٰهُ نَفۡسًا اِلَّا وُسۡعَهَا۝

 

“So, fear Allah as much as you are able to”. (64:16)


فَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ مَا اسۡتَطَعۡتُمۡ۝

 The Prophet (ﷺ) also declared: “if I order you to do something, then do of it as much as you can”. (Sahih Bukhari: 7288)


وَإِذَا أَمَرْتُكُمْ بِأَمْرٍ فَأْتُوا مِنْهُ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ

Islam, while requiring Hajj for Muslims, has placed a condition of capacity.  It shows that while assigning responsibilities, a worker’s capacity and capability must be considered. “Hence, pilgrimage unto the Temple is a duty owed to God by all people who are able to undertake it”. (03:97)


وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۝

 It is an employee’s right that they are not asked to do a task (especially physical task) beyond their capacity. It prohibits child labour, bonded labour and excessive hours of work. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “It is the right of a slave that he should be fed and clothed and not asked to do what is beyond his strength”. (Adab al Mufrad: 192 & 193)


لِلْمَمْلُوكِ طَعَامُهُ وَكِسْوَتُهُ، وَلاَ يُكَلَّفُ مِنَ الْعَمَلِ مَا لاَ يُطِيقُ

Anas (RA) reported: “I served the Prophet (ﷺ) for ten years, and he never said to me, “Uf”. (a minor harsh word denoting impatience) and never blamed me by saying, “Why did you do so or why did not you do so?”. (Sahih Bukhari: 6038)


خَدَمْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَشْرَ سِنِينَ، فَمَا قَالَ لِي أُفٍّ‏.‏ وَلاَ لِمَ صَنَعْتَ وَلاَ أَلاَّ صَنَعْتَ

 The believers are asked to ensure not only their safety but also the safety of their family. Though the verse relates to the hereafter, the scholars have interpreted it expansively. It is also parents’ responsibility not to engage a child in work which impacts his or health or education. “Believers! Safeguard yourselves and your families against a Fire whose fuel is men and stones”. (66:06) 

يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا قُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَكُمۡ وَاَهۡلِيۡكُمۡ نَارًا وَّقُوۡدُهَا النَّاسُ وَالۡحِجَارَةُ۝

 [2] Since seeking knowledge is the primary duty of every person, it is assumed that the minimum age for employment should be same or higher than the compulsory education age. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every Muslim”. (Sunan Ibn Majah: Book 1, 224) 

طَلَبُ الْعِلْمِ فَرِيضَةٌ عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ

It is the responsibility of parents and state to ensure that children complete their education and start working full time only after that. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “It is a sufficient sin for a man that he neglects him (those) whom he maintains (is supposed to take care of)”. (Sunan Abi Dawud: 1692) 

كَفَى بِالْمَرْءِ إِثْمًا أَنْ يُضَيِّعَ مَنْ يَقُوتُ

 
Prohibition on Chield and Forced Labour Hadith 2  
“All of you are guardians and responsible for your wards and the things under your care”. (Sahih Bukhari: 893)


وَكُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَمَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ

 [3] Even for Jihad (the Holy war), the Prophet (ﷺ) did not allow children to participate: “Ibn e Umar related the following: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) called me to present myself in front of him or the eve of the battle of Uhud, while I was fourteen years of age at that time, and he did not allow me to take part in that battle, but he called me in front of him on the eve of the battle of the Trench when I was fifteen years old, and he allowed me (to join the battle)”. Nafi` said, “I went to `Umar bin `Abdul `Aziz who was Caliph at that time and related the above narration to him, He said, “This age (fifteen) is the limit between childhood and manhood”, and wrote to his governors to give salaries to those who reached the age of fifteen”. (Bukhari: 2664)

 

[4] The Prophet (ﷺ) never engaged children in war. Moreover, he prohibited the killing of women and children in conflict. “The Prophet (ﷺ) saw a woman who had been killed on the road, and he forbade killing women and children”. (Sunan Ibn Majah: 2841)


أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم رَأَى امْرَأَةً مَقْتُولَةً فِي بَعْضِ الطَّرِيقِ فَنَهَى عَنْ قَتْلِ النِّسَاءِ وَالصِّبْيَانِ

 The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Do not kill a decrepit old man, or a young infant, or a child, or a woman”. (Sunan Abi Dawud: 2614)


لاَ تَقْتُلُوا شَيْخًا فَانِيًا وَلاَ طِفْلاً وَلاَ صَغِيرًا وَلاَ امْرَأَةً

In another narration, the Prophet (ﷺ) ordered not to kill children and non-combatant workers/servants during the war. (Sunan Kubra Nasai: 7395)


لا تقتلَنَّ ذرِّيَّةً ولا عسيفًا

“Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (RA) was sending armies to ash-Sham. He went for a walk with Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan (RA) who was the commander of one of the battalions. It is claimed that Yazid said to Abu Bakr (RA), “Will you ride or shall I get down?” Abu Bakr (RA) said, “I will not ride and you will not get down. I intend these steps of mine to be in the way of Allah.”

Then Abu Bakr (RA) advised Yazid (RA), “You will find a people who claim to have totally given themselves to Allah. Leave them to what they claim to have given themselves. You will find a people who have shaved the middle of their heads, strike what they have shaved with the sword.

“I advise you ten things:

Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the booty, and do not be cowardly.” (Muwatta Malik: Book 21, Hadith 10)

أَنَّ أَبَا بَكْرٍ الصِّدِّيقَ، بَعَثَ جُيُوشًا إِلَى الشَّامِ فَخَرَجَ يَمْشِي مَعَ يَزِيدَ بْنِ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ – وَكَانَ أَمِيرَ رُبْعٍ مِنْ تِلْكَ الأَرْبَاعِ – فَزَعَمُوا أَنَّ يَزِيدَ قَالَ لأَبِي بَكْرٍ إِمَّا أَنْ تَرْكَبَ وَإِمَّا أَنْ أَنْزِلَ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ مَا أَنْتَ بِنَازِلٍ وَمَا أَنَا بِرَاكِبٍ إِنِّي أَحْتَسِبُ خُطَاىَ هَذِهِ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ إِنَّكَ سَتَجِدُ قَوْمًا زَعَمُوا أَنَّهُمْ حَبَّسُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ لِلَّهِ فَذَرْهُمْ وَمَا زَعَمُوا أَنَّهُمْ حَبَّسُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ لَهُ وَسَتَجِدُ قَوْمًا فَحَصُوا عَنْ أَوْسَاطِ رُءُوسِهِمْ مِنَ الشَّعَرِ فَاضْرِبْ مَا فَحَصُوا عَنْهُ بِالسَّيْفِ وَإِنِّي مُوصِيكَ بِعَشْرٍ لاَ تَقْتُلَنَّ امْرَأَةً وَلاَ صَبِيًّا وَلاَ كَبِيرًا هَرِمًا وَلاَ تَقْطَعَنَّ شَجَرًا مُثْمِرًا وَلاَ تُخَرِّبَنَّ عَامِرًا وَلاَ تَعْقِرَنَّ شَاةً وَلاَ بَعِيرًا إِلاَّ لِمَأْكُلَةٍ وَلاَ تَحْرِقَنَّ نَحْلاً وَلاَ تُفَرِّقَنَّهُ وَلاَ تَغْلُلْ وَلاَ تَجْبُنْ

 [5] The Prophet (ﷺ) instructed the following: “Be kind to your children, and perfect their manners”. (Sunan Ibn Majah: 3671)


أَكْرِمُوا أَوْلاَدَكُمْ وَأَحْسِنُوا أَدَبَهُمْ

[6] Engaging someone in forced labour ins prohibited in Islam. “The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah says, ‘I will be against three persons on the Day of Resurrection: -1. One who makes a covenant in My Name, but he proves treacherous. -2. One who sells a free person (as a slave) and eats the price, -3. And one who employs a labourer and gets the full work done by him but does not pay him his wages”. (Sahih Bukhari: 2227) 


قَالَ اللَّهُ: ثَلاَثَةٌ أَنَا خَصْمُهُمْ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ: رَجُلٌ أَعْطَى بِي ثُمَّ غَدَرَ، وَرَجُلٌ بَاعَ حُرًّا فَأَكَلَ ثَمَنَهُ، وَرَجُلٌ اسْتَأْجَرَ أَجِيرًا فَاسْتَوْفَى مِنْهُ وَلَمْ يُعْطِ أَجْرَهُ

Forced labour includes both aspects: selling a person as a slave and not paying a person their due wages. The Prophet, at another occasion, said: “Beware, if anyone wrongs a contracting man, or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyond his capacity, or takes from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for him on the Day of Judgment”. (Sunan Abi Dawud: 3052)


أَلاَ مَنْ ظَلَمَ مُعَاهِدًا أَوِ انْتَقَصَهُ أَوْ كَلَّفَهُ فَوْقَ طَاقَتِهِ أَوْ أَخَذَ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا بِغَيْرِ طِيبِ نَفْسٍ فَأَنَا حَجِيجُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

 

Quran, while quoting the conversation between Musa (AS) and Shuaib (AS) indicates the tributes of a good employer: The verse also indicates that worker should not be engaged in forced labour or made to work excessive hours: “And I do not want to make it hard for you. If Allah wills, you will find me of the pious”. (28:27) 


وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَنْ أَشُقَّ عَلَيْكَ ۚ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ۝

The Prophet (ﷺ) highlighted the torment that a perpetrator of forced and bonded labour will have to face on the Day of Judgment. It includes all those who engage child labour and force others to do excessive hours of work and in treacherous working conditions.

 

“And whoever puts the people into difficulties, Allah will put him into difficulties on the Day of Resurrection”. (Bukhari: 7152)


وَمَنْ يُشَاقِقْ يَشْقُقِ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

The Prophet (ﷺ) spoke of the master and worker relationship in the following words: “Those who work for you (your slaves) are your brethren upon whom Allah has given you authority. So, if one has one’s brethren under one’s control, one should feed them with the like of what one eats and clothe them with the like of what one wears. You should not overburden them with what they cannot bear, and if you do so, help them (in their hard job)”. (Sahih al-Bukhari: 2545

إِنَّ إِخْوَانَكُمْ خَوَلُكُمْ جَعَلَهُمُ اللَّهُ تَحْتَ أَيْدِيكُمْ، فَمَنْ كَانَ أَخُوهُ تَحْتَ يَدِهِ فَلْيُطْعِمْهُ مِمَّا يَأْكُلُ، وَلْيُلْبِسْهُ مِمَّا يَلْبَسُ، وَلاَ تُكَلِّفُوهُمْ مَا يَغْلِبُهُمْ، فَإِنْ كَلَّفْتُمُوهُمْ مَا يَغْلِبُهُمْ فَأَعِينُوهُمْ

  “The last words of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) were: “Prayer, prayer! And fear Allah about what your right hands possess, i.e., your workers”. (Musnad Ahmad: 585)

كَانَ آخِرُ كَلَامِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الصَّلَاةَ الصَّلَاةَ اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ فِيمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُك

The practice of forced labour has existed in the world in the form of slavery, bonded labour for the debts with usury, caste obligations and so on. Mostly, orphans are being held in forced labour for the unpaid debts with usury outstanding through manipulation against their parents and poor oppressed people exploited for generations. Allah and the Prophet prohibited usury (undue benefit) in all its forms [2:275] and ordained: Those who unjustly eat up the property (includes work potential) of orphans, eat up a fire into their own bodies: they will soon be enduring a blazing fire! [04:10].

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَالَ الْيَتَامَى ظُلْمًا إِنَّمَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِي بُطُونِهِمْ نَارًا وَسَيَصْلَوْنَ سَعِيرًا

Those who gorge themselves on usury behave but as he might behave whom Satan has confounded with his touch; for they say, “Buying and selling is but a kind of usury” – the while God has made buying and selling lawful and usury unlawful. Hence, whoever becomes aware of his Sustainer’s admonition, and thereupon desists [from usury], may keep his past gains, and it will be for God to judge him; but as for those who return to it – they are destined for the fire, therein to abide”. (02:275)

الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا لَا يَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا الْبَيْعُ مِثْلُ الرِّبَا وَأَحَلَّ اللَّهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا فَمَنْ جَاءَهُ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِ فَانْتَهَى فَلَهُ مَا سَلَفَ وَأَمْرُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَمَنْ عَادَ فَأُولَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

 Islam also granted the persons bound as slaves a right to claim freedom from the bondage through a contract with persons holding them as slaves or as bonded labourer. In Islamic law, a mukataba (مكاتبة) is a contract of manumission between a master and a slave according to which the slave is required to pay a certain sum of money during a specific time period in exchange for freedom. In the legal literature, slaves who enter this contract are known as mukatab. Even in such a contract, the Prophet (ﷺ)advised not to cause too much hardship for the slave/worker.

“Whoever frees his share of a slave or part of his share, must pay from his wealth if he has any wealth if he has any wealth (in order to buy the rest of the slave’s freedom). If he does not have wealth, then the slave should be asked to work for the price (of his freedom), without that causing him too much hardship.” (Ibn Majah: 2527)

مَنْ أَعْتَقَ نَصِيبًا لَهُ فِي مَمْلُوكٍ أَوْ شِقْصًا فَعَلَيْهِ خَلاَصُهُ مِنْ مَالِهِ إِنْ كَانَ لَهُ مَالٌ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ مَالٌ اسْتُسْعِيَ الْعَبْدُ فِي قِيمَتِهِ غَيْرَ مَشْقُوقٍ عَلَيْهِ

 The Quran has supported the Mukataba in the following words: “And if any of those whom you rightfully possess desire [to obtain] a deed of freedom, write it out for them if you are aware of any good in them: and give them [their share] of the wealth of God which He has given you”. (24:33)


وَالَّذِينَ يَبْتَغُونَ الْكِتَابَ مِمَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ فَكَاتِبُوهُمْ إِنْ عَلِمْتُمْ فِيهِمْ خَيْرًا وَآتُوهُمْ مِنْ مَالِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي آتَاكُمْ

 

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