Riyad Us-Saliheen رياض الصالحين
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The Merit of Emancipation of Slaves
Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), "Which deed is most excellent?" He replied, "Faith in Allah and Jihad in His path." I then asked, "Which slaves are most excellent (to set free)?" He replied, "Those who are held in high esteem by their people and whose value is higher."[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].


Commentary:
It is evident that a slave who is more valuable in the eyes of his master will be difficult to part with, whether he is purchased to set free or liberated on one's own accord. Hence, it will be more meritorious to free such a slave than ordinary ones. This conduct furnishes the principle that the reward of sacrificing something for Allah goes with its quality. The more precious the thing sacrificed, the greater its reward will be. The Qur'an expressly states:
{By no means shall you attain Al-Birr - piety, righteousness - here it means Allah's reward, (i.e., Jannah), unless you spend (in Allah's Cause) of that which you love.} (3:92).
The institution of slavery is now finished, but its other forms do exist, i.e., debtor, guarantor, prisoners, etc. To liberate these from their burden is a meritorious act, and all these forms are covered by the Quranic phrase "freeing a neck" (slave, etc.).

236/1359 - Riyad Us-Saliheen (Gardens of the Righteous)
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الحديث التالي احاديث الباب آيات الباب الحديث السابق الفهرس
باب فضل العتق
وعَنْ أبي ذَرٍّ ، رضي اللَّه عنهُ ، قالَ : قُلْتُ يا رسُولَ اللَّه ، أيُّ الأعْمالِ أفضَل ؟ قَال : « الإيمانُ باللَّه ، والجِهادُ في سبيلِ اللَّه » قَالَ : قُلْتُ : أيُّ الرِّقَابِ أفْضَلُ ؟ قالَ : « أنْفَسُهَا عِنْد أَهْلِهَا ، وَأَكثَرُهَا ثَمَناً » متفقٌ عليه .
1359/236 - رياض الصالحين
الحديث التالي احاديث الباب آيات الباب الحديث السابق الفهرس