notably the practice of various conquered people and countries Muslims encountered, especially in provinces previously under Roman law.In spite of this, Lewis also states, "Islamic practice still represented a vast improvement on that inherited from antiquity, from Rome, and from Byzantium." Murray Gordon writes: "It was not surprising that Muhammad, who accepted the existing socio-political order, looked upon slavery as part of the natural order of things.Pious exhortations from jurists to free men to address their slaves by such euphemistic terms as "my boy" and "my girl" stemmed from the belief that God, not their masters, was responsible for the slave's status.Bernard Lewis states that the Qur'anic legislation brought two major changes to ancient slavery which were to have far-reaching effects: presumption of freedom, and the ban on the enslavement of free persons except in strictly defined circumstances.
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.
Some rulers even relied on military and administrative slaves to such a degree that they seized power.
In some cases, the treatment of slaves was so harsh that it led to uprisings, such as the Zanj Rebellion.
Slavery was widely practiced in pre-Islamic Arabia, as well as in the rest of the ancient and early medieval world.
The minority were white slaves of foreign extraction, likely brought in by Arab caravaners (or the product of Bedouin captures) stretching back to biblical times.