More Lies about the Prophet's role in getting his opponents killed
Updated: Jul 19, 2022
Some Muslim and non-Muslim historians allege that the Prophet ordered the killing of Abu Afak, Sofian ibn Khalid, Abu Rafi, Ozeir bin Zarim, Abu Sufian, and Nadhir bin Harith, Okba, Abdul Ozza, and Moawiya bin Mughaira. They also allege, without providing evidence, that the Prophet got Umm Kirfa executed and Urnee robbers' bodies mutilated after the killing. They also say that the Prophet tortured Kinana, chief of the Jews of Khyber, and his cousin.
The non-Muslims pick up these events from Muslim historians, add their assumptions, and promote lies against the Prophet, propagating that he was a prophet of terror and that Islam originated in violence. Much of the propaganda revolves around these lies. The earliest Muslim historians or writers included whatever they heard from their contemporaries without verifying their claims. None of their contemporaries were present at the time of the Prophet; whatever some attributed to them was what they heard from someone.
Most of these allegations are on one narration, and none of the allegations give any solid evidence. These accounts contradict each other and whatever they attributed to the Prophet defies his character and the Quranic teachings. The historians did not apply the Quranic criterion to analyze the reported incidents. Moreover, they also ignored the teachings of the Prophet in dealing with matters they were writing. A cursory analysis of the reported events reveals that the Prophet had no part in the events attributed to him. Here is a brief description of some alleged incidents attributed to the Prophet.
The Prophet is accused of asking his companions to kill Abu Afak, a poet who reportedly was very vocal in his criticism of Islam. He is said to be 120 years old. Ibn Ishaq, in his work Life of Muhammad (lost and rewritten from memory by Ibn Hisham some 50 years after it was reportedly first jotted down) and Ibn Sa'd, based on oral narrations, concluded that the Prophet was upset at his criticism and commanded his companions to get rid of him.
It is said that the Prophet reportedly used the following expression: "who will get rid of that rascal." The two early historians did not identify the sources. The reported incident contradicts the Quranic teachings of forgiveness and dealing with those critical of others. The Quran says: "Nor can goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!" (41:34)
It is unimaginable that the one preaching the above divine teaching would be the first to violate it.
The Quran further says: "Let those (disposing of an estate) have the same fear in their minds as they would have for their own if they had left a helpless family behind: Let them fear Allah, and speak words of appropriate (comfort)." (4:9)
Or "O you who believe! Fear Allah, and (always) say a word directed to the Right: (33:70)
The language attributed to the Prophet is very vulgar. Nowhere in the authentic literature had we read that the Prophet ever used an obscene or foul word to describe his enemies. This incident should be out of the books based on a simple comparison with the Quranic message. It is false and, at best, can be called a forgery.
Let us examine the narrations in Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Sa'd.
Ibn Ishaq's account
"Salim b. Umayr's expedition to kill Abu Afak."
Abu Afak was one of the B. Amr b. Auf of the B. Ubayda clan. He showed his disaffection when the apostle [Muhammad] killed al-Harith b. Suwayd b. Samit 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
Then 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.
The apostle [Muhammad] said, "Who will deal with this rascal for me?" After which Salim b. Umayr, brother of B. Amr b. Auf, one of the "weepers," went forth and killed him.
Umama b. Muzayriya said concerning that:
You lied to God's religion and the man Ahmad [the Prophet]!
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, despite your age!
Though I knew whether it was man or jinn
Who slew you in the dead of night (I would say no).
Ibn Sa'd's account
Another description of this story comes from The Major Classic by ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi, although this work gets inspiration from the former source:
"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 hijra, of the Apostle of Allah. Abu Afak was from Banu Amr Ibn Awf and was an older 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, one of the great weepers who had participated in Badr, said, "I take a vow that I shall either kill Abu Afak or die before him. So 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."
The two accounts differ in their narrations. Ibn Ishaq's report attributes the killing to the Prophet, while Ibn Sa'd say that the companions committed it on their own
Ibn Ishaq also accuses the Prophet of killing one al-Harith b. Suwayd b. Samit, while Ibn Sa'd, does not mention that at all. One does not find any reference to the killing of Harith except in Ibn Ishaq's work. Ibn Sa'd has strong reasons not to include the details given by Ibn Ishaq, who did not provide any source for his information. The writings were fake, as is evident from the accounts of Wakidi and his secretary on this incident. Wakidi says that Salim had taken a vow to kill Abu Afak or die himself, while his secretary, as reported by Sir W. Muir, says, "this was the command of the Prophet."
Based on the discrepancies, there is no reason to believe that the Prophet knew about the incident attributed to him.
It is reported in some books of history that Sofian bin Khalid, leader of the Bani Lahyan tribe, vowed to wage war against Muslims. Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Hisham, and Ibn Sad did not report that the Prophet instructed his companions to kill him. Abu Dawood's collection of the Prophet's sayings mentions that "belief is the restraint to assassination and no believer should commit the assassination. How can the Prophet act contrary to his own words? The story is a concocted one.
Abu Rafe, known as Sallam Ibn Abul Hozeiq, was the chief of bani Nazeer. He was a prominent leader in the war against Muslims in the battle of confederates. There is no evidence to suggest that the Prophet asked his companions to kill him. Ibn Ishaq does not give any account of that. However, the secretary of Waqidi says that the Prophet gave the command to kill him. Strangely, the earlier writers did not find any report of such an act, while the later ones wrote about it in great detail.
Oseir bin Zarim
He was the chief of Bani Nazeer. He reportedly mobilized tribes against Muslims, and the Prophet commanded his companions to eliminate him. In the writings of early writers, there is nothing that Oseir's death had anything to do with the Prophet. The later narratives are incomplete and imperfect and have no evidence that the Prophet knew about the killing.
Ibn Sad, secretary of Waqidi, reported that Abu Sufian sent a Bedouin to Medina to assassinate the Prophet. Fortunately, the plot got discovered, and the Prophet allegedly retaliated by sending one Amr to assassinate Abu Sufian. However, Ibn Ishaq and Waqidi are silent on this, and there is nothing to prove that this report is accurate.
Nadhr bin Harith, one of the prisoners of war, was killed after Badr's battle. However, other reports by Ibn Manda and Abu Naeem say that Nadhr bin Harith was present at the battle of Hunain, eight years after the battle of Badr. They also say that the Prophet gave him one hundred camels. Nadhr was among the earliest Muslims who had migrated to Abyssinia.
Okba bin Muit is another prisoner reportedly killed after the battle of Badr. Ibn Ishaq says that Asim killed him, while Ibn Hisham says Ali killed him. There is also a discrepancy in the mode of Okba's execution. Some say he was beheaded; others say he was crucified, and his body was mutilated. However, no account of his killing meets the criterion of accuracy.
According to some historians, Abdul Ozza is another prisoner killed after the battle of Badr. However, there are reports that the Prophet released him because of his compassion for his five daughters and freed him without compensation. But Abdul Ozza returned to his people, encouraged his supporters to bear arms against the Prophet, and joined the Makkan army. He was killed in a skirmish at Hamra in the battle. He was not killed at the command of the Prophet, as was alleged.
Moawiya bin Mughaira was also freed by the Prophet and was asked to leave Medina within three days. Yet he overstayed, tried to instigate the people against the Prophet, and broke his covenant. He was reprimanded, and yet he did not keep his words. As a result, he was duly prosecuted and brought to justice.
Um Kirfa is mentioned as the one who was reportedly killed at the command of the Prophet with her legs tied to camels. Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Hisham, and Waqidi did not account for that. The Prophet was not even aware of her or her killing.
One of the allegations against the Prophet is that he ordered his companions to kill Urnee robbers who had plundered Medina's camels and cut off their herdsman's hands and legs. But, again, this lies against the Prophet, who warned his companions against the mutilation.
The Prophet showed benevolence and kindness to the prisoners of war. Some reports talk about this treatment of prisoners. For example, we read in the hadith literature accounts saying: "Blessing be on the men of Medina. They made us ride, while they walked, they gave us wheat bread to eat, when there was little of it, contenting themselves with dates."
The Prophet generally freed prisoners. For example, the prisoners of the Bani Mustalik were released by the Prophet without any ransom. The Bani Hawazin's six thousand prisoners at Honain were set free. Even those who had plotted to kill the Prophet at the Hudaibiya were freed. It is reported that they were 80 in number.
Lies exist without any evidence. The Prophet's life is an example of mercy and kindness. It is unimaginable even to think that the Prophet would indulge in the act of violence and torture even against his enemies. Some Muslim historians have indeed written accounts to suggest revenge and violence against the enemies of Muslims. Yet, when judged based on evidence, none qualify to be called authentic or accurate.
One must never lose sight of the fact that the identity of the Prophet is built around the Quranic concept of "mercy to the worlds," and anything that challenges that identity is false, wrong, and an utter lie no matter who says and where it comes from. This simple principle will liberate us from scores of lies presented as part of the statements and actions attributed to our Prophet.