The Prophet was particularly kind to slaves. He used to say, “They are your brothers; give them to eat what you eat; give them to wear what you wear.” Whenever he received any slaves, he always gave them freedom but they could never free themselves from his kindness and generosity. They left their parents, relatives and family and regarded it as an honour to live in bondage to him. Zaid bin Hartha was a slave. Muhammad freed him and gave him the choice to go with his father, who had come to take him, but he refused to go with his father and preferred to stay. Muhammad loved Usama, son of Zaid, so much that he used to say that if he had been a girl, he would have put jewellery on her.
Slaves felt humiliated at being called slaves. He advised his companions not to say “my slave” or “my slave-girl” but to say, “my son” or “my daughter”. He also told the slaves not to call their masters “lord” for God alone was the Lord. He was so kind to slaves that his last bequest before he died was, “Fear God in the matter of slaves.” Abu Dhar was one of the converts and Muhammad praised him for his honesty. Once he abused a non-Arab slave, who complained to the Holy Prophet about this. He reprimanded Abu Dhar and said, “You are still ignorant; these slaves are your brothers. God has given you power over them; if they are not suited to your temperament, sell them. Don’t harm God’s creatures. Give them to eat what you eat; give them to wear what you wear. Don’t give them so much work that they cannot do it all. If you give them a lot of work, then give them a hand to finish that work.”
Once Abu Masud Ansari was beating his slave when he heard a voice behind him say, “Abu Masud! God has more power and control over you than you have over this slave.” Abu Masud turned and saw it was God’s Messenger. He said, “O God’s Messenger! I free this slave for the pleasure of God.” Muhammad replied, “If you had not done so, the fire of Hell would have touched you.” People arranged the marriages of slaves but forcibly separated them whenever they wished. One man arranged the marriage of his slave to his slave-girl and then wanted to separate them. The slave complained to God’s Messenger, who stood up in the Mosque and -addressed the people, “Why do people marry slaves and then separate them? The right of marriage and divorce belongs only to the husband and wife.” The effect of this kindness was that many slaves of polytheists used to run away and come to him. He used to grant them freedom. When the spoils of war were distributed, slaves were given their due share. The newly freed slaves received their shares first for they did not have any capital.