Jabir reported: A person from the Banu ‘Udhra wanted to set a slave free after his death. This news reached Allah’s Messenger . Upon this he said: Have you any property besides it? He said: No. Upon this he said: Who would buy (the slave) from me? Nu’aim bin Abdullah bought it for eight hundred dirhams and (this amount was) brought to the Messenger who returned it to him (the owner), and then said: Start with your own self and spend it on yourself; and if anything is left, it should be spent on your family; and if anything is left (after meeting the needs of the family) it should be spent on relatives; and if anything is left from the family, it should be spent like this, like this. And he was saying: In front of you, on right and on your left.” (Abu Dawood)

It was a common practice to assure the slave of his freedom after the death of the slave owner. The Blessed Messenger found that the charity which the person was showing in setting a slave free was beyond his capacity. If the slave was set free in this manner, there would be left nothing for his family to fall back upon in time of adversity. The Messenger’s injunction to start spending with one’s own self means one should not neglect oneself in meeting one’s genuine needs. Thus it is clear that spending should not be confined to one sector only but to all sectors so that no sector should be deprived of its due share.

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