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His approach to what was already an age-old institution was reformist and not revolutionary.The Prophet had not in mind to bring about the abolition of slavery.

He had been emancipated when Abu Bakr paid his ransom upon Muhammad's instruction.The mainstream view; however, is that the Qur'an recognizes the basic inequality between master and slave and the rights of the former over the latter.The historian Brunschvig states that from a spiritual perspective, "the slave has the same value as the free man, and the same eternity is in store for his soul; in this earthly life, failing emancipation, there remains the fact of his inferior status, to which he must piously resign himself." Slaves are mentioned in at least twenty-nine verses of the Qur'an, most of these are Medinan and refer to the legal status of slaves.Female slaves were at times forced into prostitution for the benefit of their masters, in accordance with Near Eastern customs.The historical accounts of the early years of Islam report that "slaves of non-Muslim masters ... Sumayyah bint Khayyat is famous as the first martyr of Islam, having been killed with a spear by Abū Jahl when she refused to give up her faith.

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