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Chapter 27. Disciplining and Handling Family and Slaves

Know that if your family notices that you have surpassed them in wealth or social status, they will begrudge you. However, since deserting them is prohibited, one should then deal wisely with them for it is a critical matter i.e. being good and kind to them, without informing them of that which is unknown to them. From the worst mistakes when dealing with family members is to grant some of them and deprive others. Nonetheless, whoever chooses to do so, should strive incredibly hard to conceal this from them so that they do not detest him as a result of that.

As for slaves, in actual fact, they own their masters, because they are the ones who administer their masters' food and beverage, therefore a person should be kind to them so that they do not wind up murdering him [i.e. poisoning his food or drinks]. Bizr Jamhur said, "We are the kings over our people, and our servants are the kings over our souls, and there is no way that we can be fully cautious of our servants, therefore we deal with them wisely and go along with them. A king should keep his prestige with them, while being lenient towards them. However he should be even kinder to them, particularly those who are in charge of his food and drink." Also know that if the slaves are smart, they may hide some secrets from you and so they might cheat you; on the other hand if they are foolish then you will not benefit from them, because they will not understand what you want and so will not be able to fulfill your needs. The correct procedure is to employ the foolish ones inside the house and the smart ones outside the house as this will ensure that all wants and aims are fulfilled safely.

Section One: Being Cautious

It is also a grave mistake to allow a teenage slave boy to enter the house, particularly if he is attractive and there are women in the house, for if they do not fall for him, he might fall for them. Further, it is a risk to leave a pubescent boy among slave girls because the intensity of sexual desire and the ignorance of youth makes one forget the magnitude of the prohibition.

These are fundamental rules that should be remedied with their cures, and should not be left to continue until they bring about worse circumstances.