Islam Undressed: Muhammad’s Actions, Speaking Louder than Words
Now, from the Muslim perspective using their own writings, let us examine in more detail some specific actions that Muhammad ordered. There are more incidents we could reference (see Appendix B), but for the sake of time and space we have to limit the amount of detailed information. This additional material is presented to facilitate honest evaluation and judgment of Muhammad himself, because it is only by his actions that he can and should be judged.
The following 14 events and incidents (occurring in the last years of Muhammad’s life) will be examined:
1) The killing of Abu Afak.
2) The killing of Asma Marwan.
3) Attack upon the Banu Qaynuqa Jews.
4) The killing of Kab Ashraf.
5) The killing of Abu Rafi.
6) The killing of Ibn Sunayna.
7) Attack against the Banu Nadir Jews.
8) The killing of the Shepherd.
9) Massacre of the Qurayza Jews.
10) The torture killing of Kinana.
11) The killing of a slave Wife and Mother.
12) The slaying of an old woman from Fazara.
13) The killing of Abdullah Khatal and his Daughter.
14) The attack upon Tabuk.
The Murder of Abu Afak
This event took place around 2 A.H. In this incident Muhammad requested his men to kill an old Jewish man named Abu Afak, said to be 120 years old. He was a man with much experience and many years who probably became alarmed and concerned observing Muhammad and his followers. His method of rebellion was writing poems. It is chronicled that Abu Afak spoke out and urged his fellow Medinans to question Muhammad. Below are the details from Muslim sources.
From "The Life of Muhammad, op cit., page 675,
SALIM B. UMAYR'S EXPEDITION TO KILL ABU AFAK
Abu Afak was one of the Ubayda clan. He showed his disaffection when the apostle killed al-Harith b. Suwayd b. Samit and said:
"Long have I lived but never have I seen An assembly or collection of people More faithful to their undertaking And their allies when called upon Than the sons of Qayla when they assembled, Men who overthrew mountains and never submitted, A rider who came to them split them in two (saying) "Permitted", "Forbidden", of all sorts of things. Had you believed in glory or kingship You would have followed Tubba" [NOTE: Tubba was a ruler from Yemen who invaded what is presently Saudi Arabia: the Qaylites resisted him]
The apostle said, "Who will deal with this rascal for me?" Whereupon Salim b. Umayr, brother of B. Amr b. Auf, one of the "weepers", went forth and killed him. Umama Muzayriya said concerning that:
You gave the lie to God's religion and the man Ahmad! (Muhammad)
By him who was your father, evil is the son he produced!
A "hanif" gave you a thrust in the night saying
"Take that Abu Afak in spite of your age!"
Though I knew whether it was man or jinn
Who slew you in the dead of night (I would say naught).
Additional information is found in the Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, (Book of the Major Classes) by Ibn Sa'd, Volume 2  page 32:
Then occurred the "sariyyah" [raid] of Salim Ibn Umayr al-Amri against Abu Afak, the Jew, in [the month of] Shawwal in the beginning of the twentieth month from the hijrah [immigration from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD], of the Apostle of Allah. Abu Afak, was from Banu Amr Ibn Awf, and was an old man who had attained the age of one hundred and twenty years. He was a Jew, and used to instigate the people against the Apostle of Allah, and composed (satirical) verses [about Muhammad].
Salim Ibn Umayr who was one of the great weepers and who had participated in Badr, said, "I take a vow that I shall either kill Abu Afak or die before him. He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came, and Abu Afak slept in an open place. Salim Ibn Umayr knew it, so he placed the sword on his liver and pressed it till it reached his bed. The enemy of Allah screamed and the people who were his followers, rushed to him, took him to his house and interred him.
From a contemporary Muslim scholar - Ali Dashti's "23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad"  page 100:
"Abu Afak, a man of great age (reputedly 120 years) was killed because he had lampooned Mohammed. The deed was done by Salem b. Omayr at the behest of the Prophet, who had asked, "Who will deal with this rascal for me?" The killing of such an old man moved a poetess, Asma b. Marwan, to compose disrespectful verses about the Prophet, and she too was assassinated."
Prior to listing the assassinations Muhammad had ordered, Ali Dashti writes on page 97: "Thus Islam was gradually transformed from a purely spiritual mission into a militant and punitive organization whose progress depended on booty from raids and revenue from the Zakat tax." So here an aged man was killed upon Muhammad's direct command. He was no apparent physical threat to Muhammad, and he did not urge people to commit violent acts against Muhammad or his followers. There was no discussion with Jewish leaders, no dialogue with Abu Afak, simply an apparent outright killing of one of Muhammad's weak and defenseless critics. The aged Abu Afak urged the people who lived in Medina to doubt and question Muhammad's words and acts. Muhammad's sayings probably seemed strange and dictatorial to the old man, and he chided the Arabs that put their faith in Muhammad with satirical verses. But apparently when Muhammad heard of this he viewed the 120-year-old man as a threat, not to his life, but to his credibility. Nowhere does it say that Abu Afak urged his fellow Arabs to attack or harm Muhammad, yet in creatively speaking his mind for the benefit of his friends, this man was killed. Further understanding can be gleaned from the last statement in Umama b. Muzayriya's verse: "Though I knew whether it was man or jinn …who slew you in the dead of night (I would say naught)."
This statement displays that Muhammad's henchmen knew exactly what they were doing. They knew it was cold-blooded murder they were committing at Muhammad's request. They also intended to keep it secret, to hide their deeds from the populace at large, which is why Umama said he wouldn't reveal who murdered Abu Afak.
The Murder of Asma Marwan
This event immediately followed the murder of Abu Afak, also around 2 AH. The incident involves Muhammad's request for his men to murder a certain women named Asma b. Marwan. (Quoting from Guillaume, op cit, pages 675, 676)
UMAYR B. ADIYY'S JOURNEY TO KILL ASMA B. MARWAN "She was of B. Umayyya b. Zayd. When Abu Afak had been killed she displayed disaffection. Abdullah b. al-Harith b. Al-Fudayl from his father said that she was married to a man of B. Khatma called Yazid b. Zayd. Blaming Islam and its followers she said:
"I despise B. Malik and al-Nabit
and Auf and B. al-Khazraj.
You obey a stranger who is none of yours,
One not of Murad or Madhhij. [Note: Two tribes of Yamani origin]
Do you expect good from him after the killing of your chiefs
Like a hungry man waiting for a cook's broth?
Is there no man of pride who would attack him by surprise
And cut off the hopes of those who expect aught from him?"
Hassan b. Thabit answered her:
"Banu Wa'il and B. Waqif and Khatma
Are inferior to B. al-Khazraj.
When she called for folly woe to her in her weeping,
For death is coming.
She stirred up a man of glorious origin,
Noble in his going out and in his coming in.
Before midnight he dyed her in her blood
And incurred no guilt thereby."
When the apostle heard what she had said he said, "Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?" Umayr b. Adiy al-Khatmi who was with him heard him, and that very night he went to her house and killed her. In the morning he came to the apostle and told him what he had done and he [Muhammad] said, "You have helped God and His apostle, O Umayr!" When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, "Two goats won't butt their heads about her", so Umayr went back to his people.
Now there was a great commotion among B. Khatma that day about the affair of bint [girl] Marwan. She had five sons, and when Umayr went to them from the apostle he said, "I have killed bint Marwan, O sons of Khatma. Withstand me if you can; don't keep me waiting." That was the first day Islam became powerful among B. Khatma; before that those who were Muslims concealed the fact. The first of them to accept Islam was Umayr b. Adiy who was called the "Reader", and Abdullah b. Aus and Khuzayma b. Thabit. The day after Bint Marwan was killed the men of B. Khatma became Muslims because they saw the power of Islam."
And now let us look at another quote, this time from Ibn Sa'd's, "Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir" [op cit] volume 2, page 31:
"SARIYYAH OF UMAYR IBN ADI"
Then (occurred) the sariyyah of Umayr ibn adi Ibn Kharashah al-Khatmi against Asma Bint Marwan, of Banu Umayyah Ibn Zayd, when five nights had remained from the month of Ramadan, in the beginning of the nineteenth month from the hijrah of the apostle of Allah. Asma was the wife of Yazid Ibn Zayd Ibn Hisn al-Khatmi. She used to revile Islam, offend the prophet and instigate the (people) against him. She even composed verses. Umayr Ibn Adi came to her in the night and entered her house. Her children were sleeping around her. There was one whom she was suckling. He searched her with his hand because he was blind, and separated the child from her. He thrust his sword in her chest till it pierced up to her back. Then he offered the morning prayers with the prophet at al-Medina. The apostle of Allah said to him: "Have you slain the daughter of Marwan?" He said: "Yes. Is there something more for me to do?" He [Muhammad] said: "No two goats will butt together about her. This was the word that was first heard from the apostle of Allah. The apostle of Allah called him Umayr, "basir" (the seeing).
Now to sum this up and put it in perspective; Muhammad had al-Harith b. Suwayd b. Samit killed. This upset Abu Afak, so he spoke out against it. So, likewise, Muhammad had Abu Afak eliminated. This offended Asma b. Marwan, and she spoke out against that deed she deemed evil. She encouraged her fellow tribesmen to take action against Muhammad. When Muhammad heard of what she had said, he had her killed also. Then the assassins called in the 5 sons of the woman and swords in hand challenged them to withstand Islam. They say they had no chance to survive and chose survival (they became Muslim).
Further note Hassan Thabit's poem as a response to her: "Before midnight he dyed her in her blood and incurred no guilt thereby." Even here his closest followers were fully aware of Muhammad's methods and understood that murder was allowed for Islam. There is nothing to refute that they had been murdering people all along, and Thabit rightly knew the she would be on Muhammad's hit list quite shortly. And, true to form, Muhammad dispatched his followers to kill her.
Now, at first glance, this order to kill Asma might seem justifiable to some. The woman Asma was calling for someone to do away with Muhammad. But then, after all, the man had been murdering her friends. But from Muhammad's viewpoint it is understandable that he might be troubled by her call. It is obvious that peaceful folks who are no threat to their neighbors normally have no reason to fear, but Muhammad's followers were practicing a hard-ball form of religion with no room for dissent or opposition. Today gang leaders, organized mobsters, drug cartels, and other criminal elements are similarly upset by those that expose and speak out against their murderous activities.
So let's look deeper at the event and examine the context of Asma's views, relationship to her tribe, and the threat she posed to Muhammad;
1.Asma had seen Muhammad in action. She had personal knowledge of several apparent cold-blooded murders. Of course, it seems reasonable by western standards that she should speak out against them.
2.Her tribe was not under Muhammad's rule. Perhaps they had a treaty with Muhammad, perhaps not. Either way, this woman was apparently free by local laws and norms to speak her mind. If a treaty existed, and she was out of line, Muhammad could have complained to her tribe's leaders, and they could have commanded her to be silent or dealt with the situation.
3.What's more noteworthy about this event is that after she was murdered, Muhammad said; "Two goats won't butt their head about her", meaning no one will care about her death. Obviously at a minimum her children, her family, and her friends felt differently, but that did not register as important to Muhammad any more than the value of her life as an unbeliever.
The summary of these three points is this: if no one of significance really cared about her being murdered, then no one really cared about what she had to say. She was a woman without influence and power. Her people also knew about Muhammad having Abu Afak murdered, and they didn't care about that either. In that light, it seems unlikely anyone would take her seriously enough to respond to her urgings to murder Muhammad, who was the leader of a powerful group of people. None of her own people were willing to put their lives on the line for her words. Although her stand seemed justified and principled, it had insufficient local support, which Muhammad perceived.
The bottom line is that Asma b. Marwan was not a legitimate threat to Muhammad. She was not a leader of her tribe and had little or no influence. As such she was neither a physical threat nor wielded power to command followers. She was little more than a nuisance, yet Muhammad had her murdered in premeditated cold blood anyway. It appears that both Asma and Abu Afak were killed simply because they rejected Muhammad, and their deaths chronicled to serve as examples in order to dissuade other would be critics.
Muhammad’s Attack upon the Jews of Banu Qaynuqa
Shortly after Muhammad arrived in Medina he had conflict with the Jews. There were a number of large and small tribes of Jews in and around Medina. The Banu Qaynuqa Jews were one of the larger tribes. Muhammad desperately wanted the Jews to believe in him, but almost to the man they refused. Jews, with their knowledge of the words of earlier prophets, perceived immediately that Muhammad’s claim of being a prophet did not jibe with their traditions and earlier prophetic teachings. As such they quickly rejected him. Their rejection undermined Muhammad's credibility because they had the "Scriptures" (i.e. Torah or Old Testament). Thus, they were perceived a threat to Muhammad and the theology he was in the process of establishing. From early on there were very ill feelings between the Jews and Muhammad. As Muhammad's power grew he began to confront the Jews.
Tabari places this incident with the Banu Qaynuqa as occurring in 2 AH. To set the stage, we start with a quote from the esteemed collection of Hadith by Imam Muslim. The name "Abu'l-Qasim" is another of Muhammad's names. To quote Sahih Muslim, op cit, Book 019, Number 4363: [NOTE: words in parenthesis are from the translator - Ahmad Sidiqqi].
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira who said: We were (sitting) in the mosque when the Messenger of Allah came to us and said: (Let us) go to the Jews. We went out with him until we came to them. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) stood up and called out to them (saying): O ye assembly of Jews, accept Islam (and) you will be safe. They said: Abu'l-Qasim, you have communicated (God's Message to us). The Messenger of Allah said: I want this (i.e. you should admit that God's Message has been communicated to you), accept Islam and you would be safe. They said: Abu'l-Qasim, you have communicated (Allah's Message). The Messenger of Allah said: I want this... - He said to them (the same words) the third time (and on getting the same reply) he added: You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I wish that I should expel you from this land Those of you who have any property with them should sell it, otherwise they should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle (and they may have to go away leaving everything behind).
Muhammad wanted them to submit to him. Note that the Jews rejected him and then how he threatened them: O ye assembly of Jews, accept Islam (and) you will be safe … Notice how Muhammad’s declaration – "You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle,". So now Muhammad believed he co-owned the entire world with God. Some might say that his ego had already gotten the better of him. Also note that his intentions were well known with them – "You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I wish that I should expel you from this land." The enmity between them had grown and Muhammad was looking for a way to rid himself of those disbelieving Jews that he considered a threat to his credibility.
The Banu Qaynuqa Jews were primarily goldsmiths, tradesman, and craftsman. They were on his bad side and he needed an opportunity to deal with them. He did not have to wait long. His opportunity arose following a problem between some Muslims and Jews. There are a lot of details surrounding this incident, but for length’s sake we will limit our presentation. This incident in and of itself is a worthy subject for a separate in-depth investigation. However, what is important here is to display yet another facet of Muhammad’s inclination to violence. Even at this stage of his ascent to power, attacking and killing numerous innocent people seems well within his character. In the eyes of the devout then and now, those that opposed or disagreed with Muhammad also opposed and disagreed with God, and thus faced God’s wrath, expressed through Muhammad.
For more details, the source references for further study are; Sahih Muslim #4363, Guillaume, page 260, 364, 365, Ibn Sa’d, volume 2, page 32 The summary of the incident is as follows:
First, …Muhammad and the Qaynuqa were already at odds. They had rejected Muhammad and resisted his demand that they acknowledge his prophet-hood. Instead they made fun of him and vexed him. They treated him as a false, ridiculous, egotistical man who claimed greatness and prophet-hood. Naturally, Muhammad could not long tolerate them.
Then, …after Muhammad’s victory at Badr, he called the Qaynuqa Jews together and demanded that they now acknowledge his prophet-hood, or, they would end up like the defeated Meccans (see the Sahih Muslim quote above). The Jews still refused him, and stated they were ready to fight him if that was what he wanted. Their fate was set with this refusal.
Shortly thereafter, an incident occurred in a market place providing the convenient pretext for what was to follow. A Qaynuqa Jew played a bad joke upon a Muslim lady leading to her humiliation. Her male companion killed the Jew. His friends in turn killed the Muslim which led to a confrontation between Muhammad and the Qaynuqa. Muhammad made no attempt to work things out with the Jews. Rather he received a visitation from a spirit named "Gabriel" - the same spirit that visited him for the first time in a cave when he was attempting suicide. The timely "revelation" (pretext) concerning those Jews can be reviewed in Sura 3: 12, 13. During this visitation, the ever reliable Gabriel provided exactly what Muhammad needed to avenge his rejection. The details come from the "Kitab al Tabaqat al Kabir", op cit, vol 2, page 32:
Then occurred the ghazwah of the Apostle of Allah against the Banu Qaynuqa on Saturday, in the middle of Shawwal, after the commencement of the twentieth month from the hijrah. These people were Jews and allies of Abd Allah Ibn Ubayyi Ibn Salul. They were the bravest of Jews, and were goldsmiths. They had entered into a pact with the Prophet. When the battle of Badr took place they transgressed and showed jealousy and violated the pact and the covenant. Thereupon Allah the Blessed and the High revealed to His Prophet: "And if thou fears treachery from any folk, then throw back to them (their treaty) fairly. Lo! Allah loves not the treacherous". [Sura 8:58] The Apostle of Allah had said: 'I fear the Banu Quynuqa' but after this verse it is stated that he marched against them.
With the altercation in the market place and the script from heaven, Muhammad now had full justification and divine permission from Allah to attack the Qaynuqa . He therefore didn't feel the need to engage in any kind of negotiations to work out the problems with the Jews, rather he immediately moved to rid himself of them. Muhammad besieged them for about fifteen days, and then the Qaynuqa surrendered. Another key piece of additional piece of information is provided by Ibn Sa'd:
They shut themselves up in their fortress, so he (Prophet) strongly besieged them, till Allah cast fear in their hearts. They submitted to the orders of the Apostle of Allah, that their property would be for the Prophet while they would take their women and children with them. Then under his orders their hands were tied behind their backs. The Apostle of Allah appointed al-Mudhir Ibn Qadamah al-Slimi, of the Banu al-Silm, the tribe of Sa'd Ibn Khaythamah to tie their hands behind their backs. Abd Allah Ibn Ubayyi had a talk with the Apostle of Allah about them and entreated him (to release them). Thereupon he (Prophet) said: Leave them, may Allah curse them and curse him who is with them! He abandoned the idea of their killing and ordered them to be banished from Madinah.
Another critical set of details, relative to my argument is provided from Guillaume, pages 363, 364:
My father Ishaq b. Yasar told me from Ubada - …"when the B. Qaynuqa fought the apostle Abdullah b. Ubayy espoused their cause and defended them, and Ubada Samit who was one of the B. Auf, who had the same alliance with them as had Abdullah, went to the apostle and renounced all responsibility for them in favor of God and the apostle, saying, "O apostle of God, I take God and His apostle and the believers as my friends, and I renounce my agreement and friendship with these unbelievers: Concerning him and Abdullah b. Ubayy, this passage from the chapter of the Table came down [2 – Sura 5:56] "O you who believe, take not Jews and Christians as friends. They are friends of one another. Who of you takes them as friends is one of them. God will not guild the unjust people. You can see those in whose heart there is sickness, i.e. Abdullah b. Ubayy when he said, "I fear a change of circumstances." Acting hastily in regard to them they say we fear that change of circumstances may overtake us. Peradventure God will bring victory or an act from Him so that they will be sorry for their secret thought, and those who believe will say, "Are these those who swore by God their most binding oath?" [that they were with you], as far as God’s words, "Verily God and His apostle are your friends, and those who believe, who perform prayer, give alms and bow in homage," mentioning Ubada taking God and His apostle and the believers as friends, and renouncing his agreement and friendship with the B. Qaynuqa…
There are a number of issues to be dealt with in relation to this incident. As a side note it is interesting to look at the "pact/treaty" that the Muslim writers claim to have existed between the various Jewish tribes and Muhammad. An analysis of this so-called "Charter of Medina", or "treaty", done by A. Wensinch, "Muhammad and the Jews of Medina"  page 70, reveals that this "treaty" was really more of an edict issued by Muhammad upon the Jews, rather than what might today be considered a "treaty". Muhammad laid a burden of regulation upon the Jews, which they had to accommodate, and with which they were apparently in full compliance. What is important is that Muhammad was at odds with the Jews because they had rejected him, and after his victory at Badr, Muhammad now felt confident that he could threaten, and then move against them, despite the earlier assurances in a Charter made at a time when Muhammad's forces were less dominant.
Accordingly, one of the more questionable and ugly actions committed by Muhammad against the Jews then occurred. The Jews shut themselves up in their fortress, and then succumbed to the siege after 15 days. The surrender terms were to abandon all their property while they would take their women and children and depart. They were undoubtedly unhappy with those terms but survival instinct compelled them to comply. They resigned themselves to follow the dictates of the man and his powerful forces arrayed against them.
Thus Jews surrendered to Muhammad expecting to be expelled and to take their families with them as agreed. However, as they surrendered, Muhammad ordered that their hands be tied behind their backs. Muhammad was preparing to massacre the males! They surrendered expecting acceptable terms, but once completely defenseless, Muhammad tied them up in preparation for wholesale slaughter. Then, an interesting exchange takes place, which seems a blot to Muhammad's claim of infallibility. A pagan confronts Muhammad and demands that the Jews not be massacred. Muhammad was challenged by the pagan to not commit the evil act, and in response Muhammad grew angered to the point where it was evident to all "shadows appeared upon his face". Tabari records:
The Messenger of God besieged them until they surrendered at his discretion. Abd Allah b. Ubayy b. Salul rose up when God had put them in his power, and said, "Muhammad, treat my mawali well"; for they were the confederates of al-Khazraj. The Prophet delayed his answer, so Abd Allah repeated, "Muhammad, treat my mawali well." The Prophet turned away from him, and he put his hand into (the Messenger's) collar. The Messenger of God said, "Let me go!" - he was so angry that they could see shadows in his face (that is, his face colored). Then he said, "Damn you, let me go!" He replied, "No, by God, I will not let you go until you treat my mawali well. Four hundred men without armor and three hundred with coats of mail, who defended me from the Arab and the non-Arab alike, and you would mow them down in a single morning? By God, I do not feel safe and am afraid of what the future may have in store." So the Messenger of God said, "They are yours."
So, we see a pagan apparently shaming Muhammad, a religious man, to not carry out his brutal plan to murder 700 Jewish males, shaming him into keeping his word given in the surrender terms. On this event alone, it could be argued that the pagan had more honor, more human compassion, and a stronger sense of right and wrong than Muhammad. His morality was superior to Muhammad's by any standard, which only served to anger the prophet. Islam considers that when a young boy begins puberty he is an adult, so these males were probably aged from 14 on up. Abd Allah was apparently a warlord or mercenary who for political, military, and/or economic reasons allied himself with Muhammad's forces for this campaign. It should be noted here that for whatever reason the pagan later wisely counted himself amongst the 'believers' (as apparently all who survived the march of Islam in those days did in order to survive and prosper). His share of booty was undoubtedly increased in this and subsequent actions after his 'miraculous' conversion.
Another similar minor incident occurred between Ubayy and Ubada Samit. From Sir William Muir's work "The Life of Muhammad"  chapter 13, we read:
Abdallah upbraided Obada (they were both principals in the confederacy with the Cainucaa,) for the part he had taken in abandoning their allies, and aiding in their exile: -- "What! art thou free from the oath with which we ratified their alliance? Hast thou forgotten how they stood by us, and shed for us their blood, on such and such a day? "- and he began enumerating the engagements in which they had fought together. Obada cut him short with the decisive answer, -- "hearts have changed. Islam hath blotted all treaties out."
Samit Ubada had an alliance with the Qaynuqa Jews. They had stood together at one time, and shed blood to defend Ubada and his tribe, but, because of the conflict between the Muslims and the Jews, Samit broke his alliance with the Jews. And, accordingly, there was yet another "revelation" for Muhammad justifying and supporting this, which will be further addressed.
The incident and record demonstrates that Muhammad was prepared to eliminate anyone, individuals or entire tribes, who in Muhammad's mind opposed him. All that was needed was a convenient event, or any statement of opposition, and the requisite revelation was generated to justify murder on a large scale. There was no attempt at diplomacy as a small problem between his people and the Jews progressed from an incident, to a "revelation", to an all-out attack. Muhammad decided that going straight to war was preferable to trying to work out any misunderstandings. Was it really necessary to eradicate an entire tribe of people over an incident in which one Muslim was himself killed after he killed another man? One is left wondering …if Muhammad is an example for all mankind as claimed, why are his patience and peace making skills so meager?
The Murder of Kab Ashraf
Muhammad continued to have problems with various people around Medina who refused to acknowledge his claims of divinity. Kab Ashraf was a prominent local who made it known that he did not believe in Muhammad. Kab never lifted a weapon against Muhammad (or any Muslim) he only voiced his opinion against Muhammad, and allegedly made up some unsavory poems about Muslim women. Muhammad saw him as a threat, and therefore had him killed in the night. Tabari states that this murder took place in 3 AH.
Abu Ja'far (al-Tabari) says: In this year the Prophet sent a party against Ka'b b. al-Ashraf. Al-Waqidi asserts that the Prophet sent this party in Rabi' al-Awwal of this year. Ibn Humayd--Salamah-bn Ishaq says: When the Meccans suffered disaster at Badr, Zayd b. Harithah went to the people of the Safilah and 'Abd Allah b. Rawahah went to the people of the Aliyah, both sent by the Messenger of God to the Muslims in Medina to bring the good news of the victory granted to him by God and the killing of a number of polytheists.
According to Ibn Humayd--Salamah--Muhammad b. Ishaq--'Abd Allah b. Mughith b. Abi Burdah b. Asir al-Zafari, and 'Abd Allah b. Abi Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm, and 'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatadah and Salih b. Abi Umamah b. Sahl; all of them, (Ibn Ishaq) said, related a part of his story to me: Ka'b b. al-Ashraf, was a man of (the tribe of) Tayyi', one of the Banu Nabhan, and his mother was from the (Jewish clan of) Banu al-Nadir. When the news reached him, he said, "Alas! Is this true? Can Muhammad have killed these people whom these two men (meaning Zayd b. Harithah and 'Abd Allah b. Rawahah) have named? These are the nobles of the Arabs and the kings of men! By God, if Muhammad has killed these people, then the belly of the earth is a better place for us than its surface!" When the enemy of God became convinced of the truth of the report, he set out and went to Mecca to stay with al-Muttalib b. Abi Wada'ah b. Dubayrah al-Sahmi, who was married to 'Atikah bt. Asid b. Abi al-'Is b. Umayyah b. 'Abd Shams. She received him and offered him hospitality, and he began to arouse people against the Messenger of God, to recite verses, and to weep for the People of the Well from the Quraysh who were killed at Badr. Then Ka'b b. al-Ashraf went back to Medina and composed the following amatory poem on Umm al-Fadl bt. al-Harith: Umm al-Fadl bt. al-Harith was the wife of al'Abbas, but it is not clear why Ka'b should have praised her. She was from the important nomadic tribe of 'Amir b. Sa'sa'ah.
Are you leaving without stopping in a valley,
and abandoning Umm al-Fadl in the Haram?
Pale-skinned she is, and scented with saffron; if she
were squeezed, she would exude scent, henna and hair-dye.
When she makes to rise, but then does not, what
lies between her ankles and elbows quivers.
Like Umm Hakim when she was close to us,
the bonds that link us are firm and unsevered.
One of the Banu 'Amir by whom my heart is driven
to madness; but if she wished, she could cure Ka'b of
The chief of women; and her father is the chief of
his tribe, a people of high repute, who live up to their
Never before have I seen a sun rising at night, appearing to us when there is no moon.
Then he composed love poetry on some of the women of the Muslims, causing them offence.
According to Ibn Humayd--Salamah--Muhammad b. Ishaq--'Abd Allab b. al-Mughith b. Abi Burdah: The Prophet said, "Who will rid me of Ibn al-Ashraf?" Muhammad b. Maslamah, the brother of the Banu 'Abd al-Ashhal, said, "I will rid you of him, O Messenger of God. I will kill him."
"Do it then," he said, "if you can."
Muhammad b. Maslamah went back and remained three days, neither eating nor drinking more than would keep him alive. The Messenger of God got to hear of this, so he summoned him and said to him, "Why have you left off food and drink?"
"O Messenger of God," he said, "I said something, and I do not know whether or not I can fulfil it."
"All that you are obliged to do is try," he replied.
"O Messenger of God," he said, "we shall have to tell lies."
"Say what you like," he replied. "You are absolved in this matter."
Then Muhammad b. Maslamah, Silkan b. Salamah b. Waqsh, otherwise known as Abu Na'ilah, one of the Banu 'Abd al-Ashhal, and the foster brother of Ka'b, 'Abbad b. Bishr b. Waqsh, one of the Banu 'Abd al-Ashhal, al-Harith b. Aws b. Mu'adh, one of the Banu 'Abd al-Ashhal, and Abu 'Abs b. Jabr, one of the Banu Harithah, made a plan to kill him. Before they all went to Ibn al-Ashraf, they sent ahead Silkan b. Salamah Abu Na'ilah. He went to him, and they spoke together for a while, and recited verses to one another, for Abu Na'ilah was something of a poet. Then he said, "Ibn al-Ashraf, I have come to you about a matter of which I should like to speak to you, but keep it to yourself."
"Go ahead," he replied."
"The arrival of this man has been an affliction for us," he said. "The Beduin are hostile to us, and all of them attack us. We cannot travel along the roads, and the result is that our families are facing ruin and suffering. We are all suffering and our families are suffering."
Ka'b replied, "By God, I, Ibn al-Ashraf, warned you, Ibn Salamah, that things would turn out like this."
Silkan said, "I would like you to sell us some food. We will give you a surety and make a firm contract; please treat us generously."
"Give me your sons as a surety," he said.
"Do you want to disgrace is?" he asked. "I have some companions with me who think the same way that I do. I would like to bring them to you so that you can sell to them; please treat us generously. We will deposit with you sufficient coats of mail to guarantee payment of the debt." Silkan wanted him not to be suspicious about the weapons when they came bearing them.
He replied, "Coats of mail will be a satisfactory guarantee."
Silkan went back to his companions, informed them of what had happened, and told them to take their weapons, set off, and join him. They came together at the house of the Messenger of God.
According to Ibn Humayd--Salamah--Muhammad b. Ishaq--Thawr b. Zayd al-Dili--'Ikrimah, the mawla of Ibn 'Abbas--Ibn 'Abbas: The Messenger of God went with them to Baqi' al-Gharqad and then sent them off, saying, "Go in the name of God; O God, aid them!" Then the Messenger of God went back to his house. It was a moonlit night, and they went forward until they reached Ka'b's stronghold. One of the features of Medina was the existence of many "strongholds" (atam, sing. utum), that is, small forts or fortified houses where those inside were secure from hostile attack. Then Abu Na'ilah called out to him. He had recently married, and he leapt up in his blanket. His wife took hold of one end of it, and said, "You are a fighting man; a man of war does not leave his house at an hour like this."
He replied, "It is Abu Na'ilah. If he had found me sleeping, he would not have awakened me."
"By God," she said, "I sense evil in his voice!"
Then Ka'b said to her, "Even if a brave man is summoned to a sword thrust, he responds." He went down and spoke with them for a while, and they spoke with him.
Then they said to him, "Would you like to walk with us, Ibn al-Ashraf, to Shi'b al-'Ajuz, so that we can talk there for the rest of the night?"
"If you like," he said. So they set out together and walked for a while. Then Abu Na'ilah thrust his hand into the hair of his temple and smelt it, and said, "I have never known perfume to smell so good as it does tonight." hen he walked on for a while, and did the same thing again, so that Ka'b relaxed his guard. Then he said, "Strike the enemy of God!" Their swords rained blows upon him, but to no avail. Muhammad b. Maslamah said later, "When I saw that our swords were of no avail, I remembered a long, thin dagger which I had in my scabbard, and I took hold of it. By this time the enemy of God had shouted so loudly that lamps had been lit in all the strongholds around us. I plunged the dagger into his breast and pressed upon it so heavily that it reached his pubic region, and the enemy of God fell. Al-Harith b. Aws b. Mu'adh had been wounded in the head or the leg, struck by one of our swords. We left, passing through the quarters of the Banu Umayyah b. Zayd and the Banu Qurayzah, and then through Bu'ath, until we climbed up the harrah of al-'Urayd. Our companion al-Harith b. Aws was lagging behind us, bleeding heavily, so we waited for him for a while, and then he came to us, having followed in our footsteps."We lifted him up and carried him to the Messenger of God at the end of the night. He was standing in prayer, so we greeted him, and he came out ot meet us. We told him that the enemy of God had been killed, he spat upon the wound of our companion, and we returned to our families. The next morning, the Jews were in a state of fear on account of our attack upon the enemy of God, and there was not a Jew there but feared for his life.
Allah's Apostle said, "Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?"
Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, "O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?"
The Prophet said, "Yes,"
Muhammad bin Maslama said, "Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab)."
The Prophet said, "You may say it."
Then Muhammad bin Maslama went to Kab and said, "That man (i.e. Muhammad demands Sadaqa (i.e. Zakat) from us, and he has troubled us, and I have come to borrow something from you." On that, Kab said, "By Allah, you will get tired of him!"
Muhammad bin Maslama said, "Now as we have followed him, we do not want to leave him unless and until we see how his end is going to be. Now we want you to lend us a camel load or two of food." (Some difference between narrators about a camel load or two.)
Kab said, "Yes, (I will lend you), but you should mortgage something to me." Muhammad bin Mas-lama and his companion said, "What do you want?"
Ka'b replied, "Mortgage your women to me."
They said, "How can we mortgage our women to you and you are the most handsome of the 'Arabs?"
Ka'b said, "Then mortgage your sons to me."
They said, "How can we mortgage our sons to you? Later they would be abused by the people's saying that so-and-so has been mortgaged for a camel load of food. That would cause us great disgrace, but we will mortgage our arms to you."
Muhammad bin Maslama and his companion promised Kab that Muhammad would return to him. He came to Kab at night along with Kab's foster brother, Abu Na'ila. Kab invited them to come into his fort, and then he went down to them. His wife asked him, "Where are you going at this time?" Kab replied, "None but Muhammad bin Maslama and my (foster) brother Abu Na'ila have come." His wife said, "I hear a voice as if dropping blood is from him."
Ka'b said. "They are none but my brother Muhammad bin Maslama and my foster brother Abu Naila. A generous man should respond to a call at night even if invited to be killed." Muhammad bin Maslama went with two men. (Some narrators mention the men as 'Abu bin Jabr. Al Harith bin Aus and Abbad bin Bishr). So Muhammad bin Maslama went in together with two men, and sail to them, "When Ka'b comes, I will touch his hair and smell it, and when you see that I have got hold of his head, strip him. I will let you smell his head." Kab bin Al-Ashraf came down to them wrapped in his clothes, and diffusing perfume. Muhammad bin Maslama said, "I have never smelt a better scent than this."
Ka'b replied. "I have got the best Arab women who know how to use the high class of perfume." Muhammad bin Maslama requested Ka'b "Will you allow me to smell your head?"
Ka'b said, "Yes."
Muhammad smelt it and made his companions smell it as well.
Then he requested Ka'b again, "Will you let me (smell your head)?"
Ka'b said, "Yes."When Muhammad got a strong hold of him, he said (to his companions), "Get at him!" So they killed him and went to the Prophet and informed him. (Abu Rafi) was killed after Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf.
Further note: On page 442 (Ibn Ishaq) there is a descriptive poem part of which deals with Kab’s murder. A Muslim composes the poem, which in part says:
"…By Muhammad’s order when he sent secretly by night
Kab’s brother, to go to Kab
He beguiled him and brought him down with guile"
Note what happened here. Ka'b encouraged Muhammad's enemies, and made up some poems about Muslim women. Muhammad didn't like it, and had him murdered. To accomplish their action against Kab, Muhammad allowed them to lie to Kab in order to get him to lower his defenses and trust them. After they kill Ka'b, they behead him and brought the severed head to Muhammad. When Muhammad sees his head, Muhammad praises God for Ka'b being slain! Some obvious questions come to mind:
1) Did Muhammad abide by the treaty he had with the Jews? Was it lawful to dispatch men to commit the murder of one of their leaders under cover of night using deceit and cunning, or is no other law binding against the cause of Islam? If Kab were a real criminal, couldn't Muhammad have dealt with him according to the local law or agreements he had with the Jews?
2) What are the implications for societies today? In effect, do Muslims believe they can ignore local law and still murder in the night those who oppose them or Islam?
3) Are deceit and lies, when deployed against non-believers in the violent advancement of Islam, still acceptable behavior today?
The Murder of Abu Rafi
Allah's Apostle sent some men from the Ansar to ((kill) Abu Rafi, the Jew, and appointed 'Abdullah bin Atik as their leader. Abu Rafi used to hurt Allah's Apostle and help his enemies against him. He lived in his castle in the land of Hijaz. When those men approached (the castle) after the sun had set and the people had brought back their livestock to their homes. Abdullah (bin Atik) said to his companions, "Sit down at your places. I am going, and I will try to play a trick on the gate-keeper so that I may enter (the castle)."
So 'Abdullah proceeded towards the castle, and when he approached the gate, he covered himself with his clothes, pretending to answer the call of nature. The people had gone in, and the gate-keeper (considered 'Abdullah as one of the castle's servants) addressing him saying, "O Allah's Servant! Enter if you wish, for I want to close the gate."
'Abdullah added in his story, "So I went in (the castle) and hid myself. When the people got inside, the gate-keeper closed the gate and hung the keys on a fixed wooden peg. I got up and took the keys and opened the gate. Some people were staying late at night with Abu Rafi for a pleasant night chat in a room of his. When his companions of nightly entertainment went away, I ascended to him, and whenever I opened a door, I closed it from inside. I said to myself, 'Should these people discover my presence, they will not be able to catch me till I have killed him.' So I reached him and found him sleeping in a dark house amidst his family, I could not recognize his location in the house. So I shouted, 'O Abu Rafi!'
"Abu Rafi said, 'Who is it?' I proceeded towards the source of the voice and hit him with the sword, and because of my perplexity, I could not kill him. He cried loudly, and I came out of the house and waited for a while, and then went to him again and said, 'What is this voice, O Abu Rafi?'
"He said, 'Woe to your mother! A man in my house has hit me with a sword!' I again hit him severely but I did not kill him. Then I drove the point of the sword into his belly (and pressed it through) till it touched his back, and I realized that I have killed him. I then opened the doors one by one till I reached the staircase, and thinking that I had reached the ground, I stepped out and fell down and got my leg broken in a moonlit night. I tied my leg with a turban and proceeded on till I sat at the gate, and said, 'I will not go out tonight till I know that I have killed him.'"So, when (early in the morning) the cock crowed, the announcer of the casualty stood on the wall saying, 'I announce the death of Abu Rafi, the merchant of Hijaz. Thereupon I went to my companions and said, 'Let us save ourselves, for Allah has killed Abu Rafi,' So I (along with my companions proceeded and) went to the Prophet and described the whole story to him. "He said, 'Stretch out your (broken) leg. I stretched it out and he rubbed it and it became All right as if I had never had any ailment whatsoever."
The Murder of Ibn Sunayna
Muhammad's problems with the various Jews were not over. They continued to reject him, which he could not tolerate. His animosity towards them seemed to be ever increasing. Just after the murder of Kab Ashraf, and before the battle of Uhud (3 AH), Muhammad ordered his followers to "kill any Jew that comes under your power". Anti-Semitism is defined as; "an intense dislike for and prejudice against Jewish people". By that standard, Muhammad could be considered Islam's original anti-Semite.
From Guillaume, op cit, page 369:
"The apostle said, "Kill any Jew that falls into your power." Thereupon Muhayyisa b. Masud leapt upon Ibn Sunayna, a Jewish merchant with whom they had social and business relations, and killed him. Huwayyisa was not a Muslim at the time though he was the elder brother. When Muhayyisa killed him Huwayyisa began to beat him, saying, 'You enemy of God, did you kill him when much of the fat on your belly comes from his wealth?' Muhayyisa answered, 'Had the one who ordered me to kill him ordered me to kill you I would have cut your head off.'"
This story is also supported in the Sunan of Abu Dawud  Book 19, Number 2996:
Narrated Muhayyisah: The Apostle of Allah said: If you gain a victory over the men of Jews, kill them. So Muhayyisah jumped over Shubaybah, a man of the Jewish merchants. He had close relations with them. He then killed him. At that time Huwayyisah (brother of Muhayyisah) had not embraced Islam. He was older than Muhayyisah. When he killed him, Huwayyisah beat him and said: O enemy of Allah, I swear by Allah, you have a good deal of fat in your belly from his property.
Yet another murder committed upon Muhammad's command. Note that Muhayyisa would have killed a family member at the drop of a hat. Here Muhammad’s ‘revelation’ and directions are clear and unambiguous, ordering all his followers to wantonly murder any and all Jewish people they may encounter. Hitler also did this, but in the name of Arian purity rather than in the name of a ‘religion of peace’.
A quote from an Islamic scholar – Wensinck, op cit, writes in, "Muhammad and the Jews of Medina", page 113:
"It is remarkable that tradition attributes Muhammad's most cruel acts to divine order, namely the siege of Qaynuqa, the murder of Kab, and his attack upon Qurayzah. Allah's conscience seems to be more elastic than that of his creatures."..... Ibn Ishaq and al-Waqidi report that the prophet said the morning after the murder (of Kab Ashraf), "Kill any Jew you can lay your hands on."
Whether this is a display of the elastic conscience of a loving, merciful, and forgiving God, or simply a display of the elasticity of Muhammad’s conscience is certainly debatable. Without question though, there is indeed something unique about Muhammad’s conscience, as was the case with so many other leaders in history who engaged in wholesale killings to advance a cause. This incident shows that Muhammad had unsuspecting people, even those who had good relations with Muslims, murdered in cold blood simply because they were Jewish. There was no other apparent justification to murder these Jews other than they had chosen not to be Muhammad's followers. Undeniably the actions in this incident were the work of Muhammad's executioner committing murder at his explicit instruction.
Perhaps the reader might wonder the about the purpose of this incident being chronicled in the Islamic Holy works. The nature of the slaying, jumping upon an employer, an apparent innocent man whose only sin was being a Jewish, after being explicitly incited by Muhammad, appears particularly barbaric and cruel. But to Muslims this incident serves to portray the conversion of the previously non-believing older brother, Huwayyisah. This story was archived not to document this brutal murder per se, but because it serves as a powerful example of the correct treatment of Jews. Apparently this is what passes for Islamic spirituality, implying that for some the path to conversion comes after following Muhammad’s directions to kill unbelievers. One Muslim scholar I had an exchange with on the matter made it very clear he believes the story is not so much a tale of the death of a hapless Jew, but the wonderful conversion story of a brother which verifies to him that Allah is God. Of course, Huwayyisah may have converted out of fear and respect for raw power, since at that time apparently it was possible to kill non-believers indiscriminately, his brother having just mentioned he was prepared to do so…
The Attack against the Banu Nadir Jews
Similar to the attack on the Qaynuqa, the attack on the Banu Nadir Jews arose from Muhammad's desire for an opportunity to move against those that rejected his authority. Tabari states the attack occurred during year 4 from the Hijrah (4 AH). This event, like the attack upon the Qaynuqa has a large amount of detail, but we will only document the relevant portions for the argument at hand. However, the following references are provided should the reader wish to review the entire accounts.
References: Tabari volume 7, page 156+; Sahih Muslim, # 4324, 4347; Sunan of Abu Dawud, # 2676; Ibn Ishaq "Sirat Rasulallah" (translated by A. Guillaume) "The Life of Muhammad", pages 265 & 437+; Ibn Sa'd's, "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir", Volume 2, pages 68-71;
"The Life of Muhammad", by Muir, found:
This event, detained to show one aspect of Jihad, also displays Muhammad's unusual rational for attacking the Nadir. The incident started when Muhammad visited the Nadir to ask them to pay bloodwit - i.e. financial compensation, for a man who was murdered by one of their tribe. The Nadir agreed. While there, it is claimed that some of the Jews decided to kill Muhammad, by dropping a large rock upon him, from the roof of a nearby building. According to the sources, not all of the Jews agreed to attempt to kill him. However, Muhammad was given a "warning from heaven", that they were going to try to kill him so he quickly left the Nadir's area. Following that, Muhammad attacked them. He laid siege to their fort. During the siege Muhammad ordered his men to burn down the Nadir's date palm trees. This palm grove was very large and provided food and finances for the Nadir. As Muhammad destroyed their grove, the Nadir challenged Muhammad.
The Jews took refuge in their forts and the apostle ordered that the palm trees should be cut down and burnt, and they called out to him, "Muhammad, you have prohibited wanton destruction and blamed those guilty of it. Why then are you cutting down and burning our palm trees?"
The Jews said this because previously Muhammad had told his men that they were not to destroy food trees. But here, the Jews saw that Muhammad contradicted himself and went against his own teachings. As a response, Muhammad has yet another timely revelation:
Tabari, op cit, volume 7, page 158 provides more details:
When the Messenger of God's companions returned they went to him and found him sitting in the mosque. They said, "O Messenger of God, we waited for you but you did not come back." "The Jews intended to kill me," he replied, "and God informed me of it. Call Muhammad b. Maslamah to me." When Muhammad b. Maslamah came, he was told to go to the Jews and say to them, "Leave my country and do not live with me. You have intended treachery." Muhammad b. Maslamah went to them and said, "The Messenger of God orders you to depart from his country." They said, "Muhammad, we never thought that a man of al-Aws would come to us with such a message." "Hearts have changed," he replied, "and Islam has wiped out the old covenants." "We will go," they said.
And an interesting verse is now revealed from The Sunan of Abu Dawud, op cit, Book 14, Number 2676. Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:
When the children of a woman (in pre-Islamic days) did not survive, she took a vow on herself that if her child survives, she would convert it a Jew. When Banu an-Nadir were expelled (from Arabia), there were some children of the Ansar (Helpers) among them. They said: We shall not leave our children. So Allah the Exalted revealed; "Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error."
In "The Qur’an and Its Interpreters"  volume 1, pages 252- 256, by Muhammad Ayoub, there are several differing Tafsir presented on this verse. Ayoub presents Wahidi's tafsir. Wahidi relates on the authority of Sa'id ibn Jubayr, who related it on the authority of Ibn Abbas:
"When the children of a woman of the Ansar all died in infancy, she vowed that if a child were to live, she would bring it up as a Jew. Thus when the Jewish tribe of al-Nadir was evicted from Medina [4/625], there were among them sons of the Ansar. The Ansar said, "O Apostle of God, what will become of our children!" Thus God sent down this verse." Sa'id ibn Jubayr said, "Therefore whoever wished to join them did so, and whoever wished to enter Islam did so likewise."
While Ayoub presents other tafsir on this verse, some of them supporting the concept that people are not to be forced into Islam, the only Hadith from a Sahih collection that I've found is the one above. And that context has nothing to do with not forcing people into Islam; rather, it allows captured Jews some limited family options. There will be more on this later.
The Murder of the Shepherd
From Guillaume, op cit, page 673 an incident is detailed as occurring in 4 AH. It involves another Muslim man named Amr Umayya, who was sent out by Muhammad to murder Muhammad's enemy Abu Sufyan. However, their assassination attempt failed. As he returned home, he met a one-eyed shepherd. The shepherd and the Muslim man both identified themselves as members of the same Arab clan. Prior to going asleep, the shepherd said that he would never become a Muslim. Umayya waited for the shepherd to fall asleep, and thereafter:
Umayya returned and spoke with Muhammad. He relates: "He [Muhammad] asked my news and when I told him what had happened he blessed me".
So, Muhammad blessed one of his men who brutally murdered a one-eyed shepherd while he slept. This shepherd did not assail Muhammad, but he did not believe in him. The shepherd did not invoke war against Muhammad. However, he wanted the freedom to choose his own faith and way, and he rejected Muhammad. Apparently Umayya was determined not to return empty handed following his failure to murder the individual Muhammad targeted, and his selection of the handicapped Shepherd appears to be a random accident. So we see another person who didn't want to follow Muhammad, and another justified murder - simply for casually mentioning without malice that he did not intend to follow Muhammad. Muhammad's trail of blood continued to grow, a pattern very familiar to all who followed him then and now.
Although with the citations in Appendix A and these descriptions we have covered a lot, we have not covered all of the Qur’an’s verses related to Jihad, nor have we covered all of Muhammad's violent actions. However, it should be obvious that shortly after Muhammad's arrival in Medina, the concept of shedding the blood of those that opposed or refused Muhammad's rule was justified and ordained. Thus as soon as Muhammad had military power to force his will on others he began to put it to use, to spread his domination by any and all means available to him.
So far we've seen that Muhammad had people murdered, and that he even had whole tribes eliminated. Mothers, old men, friendly non-Muslim businessmen, handicapped shepherds, critics, all fell to his sword. He even would have massacred the adult males of an entire tribe of Jews, had not a pagan stopped him. Likewise he told another tribe (Banu Nadir) that they had ten days to leave or they would be beheaded. He allowed his followers to lie and deceive his enemies to murder them. We've seen him destroy the financial wealth of a tribe in order to defeat them. And those that followed Muhammad betrayed and broke former allegiances with friends and tribes in order to act against them.
After reading thus far, what should we think? Is it becoming clearer why there are so many devout Muslims who also espouse violent methods against non-brothers? Is it also becoming obvious why most Muslim peoples and nations are so feeble in their efforts to stop the extremists amongst them? In fact, the fastest and perhaps only way for Muslim terrorists in our day to be truly defeated, would be for them to first lose their grass-root local support, and then to be turned upon by 'peaceful' Islam, … but it appears that would be contrary to the teachings and philosophies of Muhammad. Unfortunately, if true Islam deep down actually supports the twisted rationalization behind terrorism, then our hope for effective help from the Muslim community in the war on terror is not likely to be realized. The sad fact is that many ‘moderate’ true believers are content to support others to sacrifice themselves in Jihad and hope that their tactic support is sufficient to earn themselves a ticket to paradise riding the coattails of the martyrs. Additionally, to oppose Jihadist warriors is to guarantee a very unpleasant ticket to a fiery Muslim Hell, and out of fear few Muslims are willing to take that risk.
Now we continue our review of Muhammad’s actions. Talk is very cheap, lets review more of what Muhammad actually did as he came into power?
Muhammad's Massacre of the Qurayza Jews
Muhammad lived among various Jewish tribes. He had issued an injunction or edict towards them where he expected them to fulfill certain conditions related to living in Medina. One of these was that the Jews were not to help Muhammad's enemies.
During A.H. 5, (i.e. 626, 627 A.D.), an important siege / battle took place, "The Battle of the Trench". During this time, Muhammad's enemies (Meccans and their allies), negotiated with the Jews of the tribe of Banu Qurayza to aid them against Muhammad. In the end the Jews did not betray Muhammad and did not allow the Quraysh to use their land to launch an attack, and they did not participate in any attack against Muhammad. Certainly they were not Muhammad's best friends, having seen the brutalities and murders he had carried out against so many of their own people, but they obviously feared the political/military realities after the Quraysh army departed, and did not want to be Muhammad’s targets.
The Quraysh eventually lifted the siege and returned to their homes. Following that, Muhammad claimed that the angel Gabriel came to him and ordered him to attack the Banu Qurayza. (Notice that it is this spirit "Gabriel" at work again, motivating Muhammad to attack). By this point in time the Muslims were aware that the Qurayza negotiated with the Quraysh. Though the negotiations did not result in the feared alliance, still they were of great concern to the Muslims and incited hatred towards the Jews, so refusal of the Quraysh to participate in action against Muhammad was about to be rewarded Islamic style. Sa'd Muadh, one of Muhammad's top lieutenants, who was severely wounded during the Battle of the Trench, proclaimed that he did not want to die until he had seen the Jews destroyed. As the confrontation began, a Muslim who was on good terms with the Qurayza told them that Muhammad intended to massacre the Jews.
Eventually, the Jews could not hold out and they surrendered, probably assuming their non aggressive stand during the battle of the Trench would prevent them from receiving a fate worse than previous cities he had conquered. By the time they realized their peril, it was too late, they were without weapons and their hands were bound behind their backs. Muhammad picked out one of his men to judge their fate: the very same Sa'd Muadh, who had made the previously mentioned death declaration, of which undoubtedly Muhammad was aware. Sa'd proclaimed that the adult males (any teenage boy who had started puberty) were to be beheaded, and, the woman and children enslaved. Thus Muhammad massacred 800 prisoners of war and enslaved their women and children.
The Sirat Rasulallah, op cit, page 464, records what one of the Jewish leaders said:
Huyayy was brought out wearing a flowered robe in which he had made holes about the size of the finger-tips in every part so that it should not be taken from him as spoil, with his hands bound to his neck by a rope. When he saw the apostle he said, 'By God, I do not blame myself for opposing you, but he who forsakes God will be forsaken.' Then he went to the men and said, 'God's command is right. A book and a decree, and massacre have been written against the Sons of Israel.' Then he sat down and his head was struck off.
Muhammad massacred 800 men, not for making war upon him, not for aiding his enemies, but only because they were a threat to his further aims. They had rejected Muhammad and Islam, and they would not follow him as a prophet. Consequently, they would have to be removed. At this point in time, there were no more pagan leaders to plead for these Jews (as Ubayy had done for the Qaynuqa). There were no more Jewish tribes or allies nearby to lend them a hand, (they had all been expelled). Now Muhammad was free to do what appears he intended from the beginning: massacre those who threatened him and/or refused to become his followers.
Apparently some of these Jews were given the option of becoming Muslims but they refused. From the only records available, only four Jews are recorded as having converted - obviously to save their own lives. The Jews believed Muhammad was a false prophet, hence their leader accepted their massacre instead of yielding to him.
Edward Gibbon, in his classic history, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" described the aftermath of the assault:
Gibbon was a respected historian and not some Zionist. But even the Arab's own historians make no pretensions about their military conquests. There was no benevolence or spreading enlightenment as a motivation. It was all about rape and plunder. The History of Al-Tabari (pg. 166, 175), written in the 10th century clearly outlines the slaughter and pillaging and rapacious motivations of these forces. Even in recent history, the Arab tribes under the direction of Lawrence of Arabia weren't motivated to attack the Turks for anything other than simple plunder and gold.
The Torture and Death of Kinana
Previously we learned that Muhammad attacked the Jewish settlement of Khaibar following the treaty of Hudaybiyya. One particularly heinous incident among several stand out. Here is the material.
On page 515 of Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah", (The Life of the Prophet of God), the events of the conquest of Khaibar are detailed. This event occurred about 3 years before Muhammad's death due to poisoning. Khaibar was a large Jewish settlement about 95 miles north of Medina. The Jews there were primarily farmers. Khaibar was known to have some of the best date palms in the region. The Jews there were well to do because they had worked hard and earned it. They had good relations with the surrounding tribes of pagans, Christians, and Jews.
Prior to Muhammad's conquest of Khaibar, the Meccans had just stopped him from performing a pilgrimage to Mecca. Outside of Mecca, he also signed a humiliating treaty with the Meccans - a treaty that a number of his leading followers didn't like. This humiliated and embarrassed Muhammad and his followers, who then sought redemption in a different course of action. Apparently to placate his men, Muhammad claimed to have a "revelation" that God would give them the possessions of the Jews of Khaibar. Six weeks later he marched on Khaibar with the intent to conquer and plunde:
page 515 reads:
"Kinana al-Rabi, who had the custody of the treasure of Banu Nadir, was brought to the apostle who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came (Tabari says "was brought"), to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, "Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?" He said "Yes". The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr Al-Awwam, "Torture him until you extract what he has." So he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud."
Many might find Muhammad's orders to torture Kinana to obtain "buried treasure" similar to what criminals do to obtain people's money or possessions. It is not difficult to picture organized crime figures beating some one or torturing them to make them talk. "Talk!, tell us where the money is!, or we'll make your pain even worse!". Finally, when he is near death, Muhammad has his head cut off. It appears that Muhammad's greed drove him to torture and then murder, for the sole purpose to obtain money.
Think about Muhammad's statement, "Torture him until you extract what he has". This is the prophet of Islam in action when he now has the power of the sword with no threat of external consequence. What kind of a man is this prophet of Islam, and what does this say about the people who choose to follow him, as all who do must also choose to justify and support all his deeds. Millions have gone to their death unwilling to risk their eternity on the man, but an even greater number have hitched their wagons to his destiny. It's an age-old dilemma and choice still being forced on many throughout the world today.
The Murder of a Slave Wife and Mother
This incident involves a Muslim man who murdered his own slave wife and mother of his children. From the Hadith of Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4348: Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:
A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet was informed about it.
He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up.
He sat before the Prophet and said: Apostle of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her.
Thereupon the Prophet said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood.
To continue to quote from Note #3800 states:
We see that Muhammad allowed people to murder others simply for insulting him. Here, a slave woman, who was used as a concubine by her Muslim master, paid for her criticism of Muhammad with her life. The man murdered the mother of two of his children apparently in the presence of his young, and when the prophet hears of it he makes a special effort to sanction and justify the brutal act. It seems the opportunity to establish fear in the hearts of all should they disparage Muhammad simply could not be passed up.
Now then, was that slave a threat? Were Muslims going to leave Islam because of a slave women's criticism? Of course not, she was only an irritant to her husband. But Muhammad could not long tolerate any personal criticism. His ego could not allow his credibility undermined by anyone, no matter how insignificant and powerless, so he allowed and encouraged his followers to murder anyone who expressed different views. This incident also shows that Muhammad allowed his followers to even murder members of their own families.
The Murder of the Old Woman from Fazara
The incident involves the actions of Muslims who were sent out by Muhammad on a raid against the Fazara tribe. The Muslims were initially defeated in their first encounter with the Fazara. The wounded Muslim leader swore vengeance. After he recovered he went out and attacked the Fazara again. One very old woman was captured. Here is the account from :
Here, Muhammad's companions went out and attacked people, took some prisoners, then committed some brutal atrocities against their captives. These men were so destitute of basic human values, that they ripped an old woman in half by using camels! One wonders how many Muslims are intimately acquainted with the record of brutal killings Muhammad himself did or explicitly ordered, sanctioned, and justified. Muhammad and his followers seemed every bit as brutal as the worst humanity has ever produced.
The Murder of Abdullah Khatal and his Daughter
The incident involves another slave woman who was murdered, upon Muhammad's command because she had mocked Muhammad some time earlier.
Let's pause and examine this paragraph. Muhammad ordered that an apostate man and his two slave girls to be killed. Khatal was ordered killed, not because he killed his Muslim male slave, but because he apostatized. Islamic law does not allow a Muslim man to be put to death for killing a slave. Muhammad also ordered two slave girls to be killed for singing satirical songs about him. They sung satirical songs about Muhammad probably at least a year or more earlier. Now, after Muhammad conquered Mecca, it was his time to pay those slave girls back. These slave girls were not threats to Islam, or to the new Islamic State, they were only simple slave girls. They were ordered executed only because they sang a silly song about Muhammad. Page 551 finishes the story of the slave girls:
Needless to say, if the second slave girl did not ask for immunity, Muhammad would have had her murdered also. Muhammad had her sister killed just for poking a little fun of him in song. A sense of humor was apparently not one of Muhammad's strong suits.
Muhammad's Attack upon Tabuk
There are many, many, violent incidents that could be drawn from. We conclude the incidents section with this event because it shows Muhammad's beliefs regarding Jihad and his mission of conquest for Islam. In one of his latest acts, it seems clear that Muhammad had no intention of living peacefully, side by side with non-Muslims, even with those who were far from his community's borders. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that non-Muslims were his enemies because they had rejected him. As recorded in the Qur’an, non-Muslims had these options: become Muslim, pay extortion tax, or fight and die.
Muhammad heard the Romans were going to attack him. He marshaled 30,000 of his troops and they went north to the town of Tabuk to do battle with the Romans. However, upon arriving, they found that there was no threat at all. Instead, Muhammad sent a detachment to Ayla, to give them the aforementioned options: convert, pay the Jizya extortion tax, or die. The Christian leader there decided to pay tribute. Details of the incident can be reviewed at http://answering-islam.org/Books/Muir/Life4/chap28.htm, from which the following is extracted:
"To John ibn Rabah and the Chiefs of Aylah. Peace be on you! I praise God for you, beside whom there is no Lord. I will not fight against you until I have written thus unto you. Believe, or else pay tribute. And be obedient unto the Lord and his Prophet, and the messengers of his Prophet. Honor them and clothe them with excellent vestments, not with inferior raiment. Specially clothe Zeid with excellent garments. As long as my messengers are pleased, so likewise am I. Ye know the tribute. If ye desire to have security by sea and by land, obey the Lord and his Apostle, and he will defend you from every claim, whether by Arab or foreigner, saving the claim of the Lord and his Apostle. But if ye oppose and displease them, I will not accept from you a single thing, until I have fought against you and taken captive your little ones and slain the elder.
Think about what exactly is being said here; Do what me and my associates tell you, give us your finest merchandise, If my men are happy, I'm happy, pay me the money and you'll be protected, upset me or them and your family will not be safe. Frankly, Muhammad's words to John ibn Rabah read like a script strait from The Godfather.
Summary of these 13 actions by Muhammad:
Muhammad's attack upon these people demonstrate commitment to his teachings in Sura 9; "Make war upon the Christians and Jews, unless they convert or pay the extortion." Real Islam is both clearly taught in the Qur’an, and even more clearly demonstrated by Muhammad's actions. Muhammad's actions speak very loudly here, only the completely deaf could miss the shrill screaming from innumerable victims crying out from the grave. Committed near the end of his life, Muhammad’s acts clearly portray what he wanted his followers to continue to do: attack and conquer non-Muslim people. The vast majority of Islamic theologians today understand amongst themselves that these final acts and teachings abrogate all earlier more conciliatory verses. The earlier more tolerant versus are repeated for western consumption only, so that the frog might not notice how hot the pot is becoming until it is too late…
Documentation shows many more people suffered a similar fate, but here is a summary of the just outlined 9 individual murders committed upon Muhammad's requests or efforts.
1) Abu Afak, a 120-year-old man, murdered while he slept.
2) Asma Marwan, mother of five, murdered while she slept.
3) A slave women and mother of two, murdered while she slept.
4) A one-eyed shepherd, murdered while he slept.
5) A very old women, ripped in half by Muslims who captured her on a raid.
6) A slave girl, who was murdered because she poked fun at Muhammad.
7) Murder of Kab Ashraf, a prominent local who did not believe in Muhammad.
8) Murder of Ibn Sunayna (Jewish merchant on good social/business terms with Muslims).
9) The torture and death of Kinana, to extract money.
If these descriptions of pure and simple murder shock the reader, consider that we can present these stories from the only source available … the Islamic friendly written history of the events. There are always two sides to every story, but the victims' side of these incidents is simply not available, so the full story can never be known. One can only imagine just how far the truth may have been massaged to make the official record more palatable, or what additional important information has been omitted. The only thing that is certain is that the official account was never at risk of being challenged … dead people generally don't talk very much. No one knows what other factors were at play beyond the data presented by those who wrote such history, but if we had the power to interview the victims and get their perspective on the events, they could easily turn out to be even more deplorable, gross, and inhumane. Even so, to most reasonable people, no further information is needed to deplore the actions of Muhammad and his followers in relation to these events.
One is also left wondering how many completely undocumented events may have not quite made it into the official record for reasons unknown. The question naturally arises, did all war-like and murderous actions of Muhammad and his close lieutenants get chronicled in the sacred works? Certainly we do not have an hour by hour accounting of the all Jihadic actions of the man and his people, and considering the ‘inspirational’ events that were chronicled, one can only imagine how many and what manner of horrific events occurred but were never documented. Any study of more modern Muslim relationships with her neighbors may help fill in the holes left by the early Islamic writers.
History is written from the vantage point of the dominant victorious culture, and revisionist history seems a favorite pastime of Islamic scholars. Of course, most Muslims would be terribly offended at the suggestion that Islamic history may be slanted, but before you dismiss the possibility out of hand, consider Muslim revisionist history being written today. Amongst Muslims today there is a widespread belief that a worldwide Jewish conspiracy exists whose goal is to dominate the world, the outgoing Malaysian prime minister just stated that and received the applause of Muslim leaders worldwide. A book long since exposed plainly as pure fiction, Protocols of the Elders of Zion was initially spread by the intelligence services of the Russian czar in 1895. Leaders and lay alike in the Muslim world believe the work contains the actual minutes of conspiratorial meetings among Jewish leaders, who were plotting to take over the world. The book is gospel truth to these people, and no amount of logic or rational argument can steer those who believe this type of nonsense away from it. Even three years after 9/11, most in the Muslim Middle East, including the most educated and most intelligent, actually believe that Mossad (Israel's intelligence service) carried out the September 11 attacks on America. Then there is Monsieur Meysson who wrote a bestseller in France that claims no airplane crashed into the Pentagon, because no debris from the crash was ever found. To his mind, it was all a plot by the CIA and the U.S. military, who used an U.S. Air Force cruise missile to murder Americans in a conspiracy to justify a new Middle East war. Arab countries also regularly host conferences where Holocaust deniers masquerading as historians claim to be able to "prove" there was no massacre of Jews by the Nazis during World War II. Many Muslims worldwide praise Hitler for his services, yet almost in the same breath deny the Holocaust as "a big illusion of the Jews". Despite a history printing articles denouncing the holocaust as a farce, the second most influential Egyptian daily newspaper, Al-Akhbar, printed on April 18, 2001: "Our thanks go the late Hitler who wrought, in advance, the vengeance of the Palestinians upon the most despicable villains on the face of the earth. However, we rebuke Hitler for the fact that the vengeance was insufficient". Spin and violence seem the chief export of Islam, and simple reverse extrapolation using this kind of empirical data supports the suggestion there was much more murder and mayhem committed by Muhammad and his followers than Islamic scripture documents.
- Ibn Sa'd, (d. 852 A.D.), "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir", (Book of the Major Classes), translated by S. Moinul Haq, Pakistan Historical Society
- Dashti, Ali, "23 Years: A Study in the Prophetic Career of Mohammad", Mazda, Costa Mesa, CA, 1994. Translated by F.R.C. Bagley
- Wensinck, A., "Muhammad and the Jews of Medina", pub. by K. S. V.
- WILLIAM MUIR, ESQ. "THE LIFE OF MAHOMET. VOLUME III" [Smith, Elder, & Co., London, 1861], Chapter 13 (http://www.answering-islam.org/Books/Muir/Life3/chap13.htm)
- Abu Dawud, Suliman, "Sunan", al-Madina, New Delhi, 1985, translated by A. Hasan [Internet version available at: www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud ]
- Ayoub, Mahmoud, "The Qur’an and Its Interpreters" vol. II - The House of Imran, Albany, N.Y.; State University of New York Press, 1992