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CASE BY CASE ATTACK ON NON MUSLIMS

 

The Case of Uqba bin Abu Mu’ayt
 

Of all the people killed by Muhammad, Uqba was among those most worthy of punishment.  He ridiculed and tormented Muhammad while the latter was still in Mecca.  Indeed, Uqba was so disrespectful that he once spit in Muhammad’s face,[5] and he later fought the Muslims at Badr.  He is only listed here because of the particularly callous response that Muhammad gave him at his execution:  “When the apostle ordered him to be killed Uqba said, ‘But who will look after my children, O Muhammad?’  ‘Hell,’ he said.”[6]  


The Case of Ka’b bin al-Ashraf

When Ka’b heard of all the men who had been killed by Muslims at the Battle of Badr, he wept for the departed and composed a poem in memory of their good works.  The Muslims responded with poetry of their own.  One Muslim woman answered:


Would that those weltering in their blood


Could be seen by those who live between Mecca’s mountains!
They would know for certain and would see


How they were dragged along by hair and beard.[7]


After this, Ka’b wrote poetry against the Muslim women, and Muhammad subsequently called for his assassination:


The apostle said . . . “Who will rid me of Ibnu’l-Ashraf [Ka’b]?”  Muhammad bin Maslama . . . said, “I will deal with him for you, O apostle of God, I will kill him.”  [Muhammad] said, “Do so if you can.” . . . The apostle said, “All that is incumbent upon you is that you should try.”  [The assassin] said, “O apostle of God, we shall have to tell lies.”  He answered, “Say what you like, for you are free in this matter.”[8]



Muhammad bin Maslama, having received from Muhammad permission to lie, proceeded with his plan to murder Ka’b.  The Muslims sent Silkan, a lover of poetry, to befriend Ka’b.  Silkan and Ka’b spent some time reciting verses to one another, until the former asked a favor of his new friend.  Silkan said that he and his companions wanted to buy some food from Ka’b and that he would put down a number of weapons as a pledge until payment could be made.  He did this so that Ka’b “would not take alarm at the sight of weapons when they brought them.”  The Muslims came later with their weapons and invited Ka’b to join them for a walk, and he gladly joined them.


[A]fter a time Abu Na’ila ran his hand through [Ka’b’s] hair.  Then he smelt his hand, and said, “I have never smelt a scent finer than this.”  They walked on farther and he did the same so that Ka’b suspected no evil.  Then after a space he did it for the third time, and cried, “Smite the enemy of God!”  So they smote him, and their swords clashed over him with no effect.  Muhammad bin Maslama said, “I remembered my dagger when I saw that our swords were useless, and I seized it.  Meanwhile the enemy of God had made such a noise that every fort around us was showing a light.  I thrust it into the lower part of his body, then I bore down upon it until I reached his genitals, and the enemy of God fell to the ground.”[9]


The assassination of Ka’b had the desired effect:  “Our attack upon God’s enemy cast terror among the Jews, and there was no Jew in
Medina who did not fear for his life.”[10]


The Case of Ibn Sunayna


Ibn Sunayna was a Jewish merchant whose only crime seems to be that he was in town when the Muslims went on a killing spree:


The apostle said, “Kill any Jew that falls into your power.”  Thereupon Muhayyisa bin Mas’ud 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.”  He said that this was the beginning of Huwayyisa’s acceptance of Islam.  The other replied, “By God, if Muhammad had ordered you to kill me would you have killed me?”  He said, “Yes, by God, had he ordered me to cut off your head I would have done so.”  He exclaimed, “By God, a religion which can bring you to this is marvelous!”  And he became a Muslim.[11]

The Case of Mirba bin Qayzi


News of Muhammad’s victories and assassinations spread rapidly, and many people became angry at him.  One such person was a blind man named Mirba bin Qayzi:


[The Muslims] came out in the territory of Mirba bin Qayzi who was a blind man, a disaffected person.  When he perceived the approach of the apostle and his men he got up and threw dust in their faces saying, “You may be the apostle of God, but I won’t let you through my garden!”  I was told that he took a handful of dust and said, “By God, Muhammad, if I could be sure that I should not hit someone else I would throw it in your face.”  The people rushed on him to kill him, and the apostle said, “Do not kill him, for this blind man is blind of heart, blind of sight.”  Sa’d bin Zayd . . . rushed at him before the apostle had forbidden this and hit him on the head with his bow so that he split it open.”[12]



In Muhammad’s defense, he did order his men not to kill Mirba.  Nevertheless, the passage shows how quick the Muslims were to kill anyone who insulted Muhammad, and that they were growing accustomed to doing so.  Further, we have no evidence that Muhammad so much as reprimanded Sa’d for bludgeoning the man.


The Case of the Qurayza Jews


The men of Qurayza resisted Muhammad and attempted to form an alliance against him.  When the alliance faltered, Muhammad acted quickly.  His armies surrounded them and “besieged them

for twenty-five nights until they were sore pressed and God cast terror into their hearts.”[13]  Muhammad selected Sa’d bin Mu’adh to decide their punishment, and al-Aus, an ally of Qurayza, agreed to let Sa’d choose the punishment.  Sa’d declared that “the men should be killed, the property divided, and the women and children taken as captives.”[14]


Then they surrendered, and the apostle confined them in Medina. . . . Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it.  Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches. . . . There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900.  As they were being taken out in batches to the apostle they asked Ka’b what he thought would be done with them.  He replied, “Will you never understand?  Don’t you see that the summoner never stops and those who are taken away do not return?  By Allah it is death!”  This went on until the apostle made an end of them.[15]


Every male who had reached puberty was killed.[16]  A woman named Bunanah was beheaded because she had dropped a millstone on one of Muhammad’s men.[17]  Muhammad divided the women, children, and property among his men (taking a fifth of everything for himself).  Some of the women were sold for horses and weapons, and Muhammad kept one of the captive women, Rayhana, for himself.[18]


The Case of Sallam Ibn Abu’l-Huqayq


The events surrounding the death of Sallam are interesting.  Two tribes were competing with one another to see who could do the most for Muhammad:


One of the things which God did for His apostle was that these two tribes of the Ansar, Aus and Khazraj, competed the one with the other like two stallions:  if Aus did anything to the apostle’s advantage Khazraj would say, “They shall not have this superiority over us in the apostle’s eyes and in Islam” and they would not rest until they could do something similar.[19]


The men of Aus had received the honor of assassinating Ka’b bin al-Ashraf, so the men of Khazraj longed to boast of a similar achievement.  Hence, they went to Muhammad and asked for permission to murder Sallam Ibn Abu’l-Huqayq, and Muhammad granted their request.


When they got to Khaybar they went to Sallam’s house by night, having locked every door in the settlement on the inhabitants.  Now he was in an upper chamber of his to which a ladder led up.  They mounted this until they came to the door and asked to be allowed to come in.  His wife came out and asked who they were and they told her that they were Arabs in search of supplies.  She told them that their man was here and that they could come in.  When we entered we bolted the door of the room on her and ourselves fearing lest something should come between us and him.  His wife shrieked and warned him of us, so we ran at him with our swords as he was on his bed. . . . When we had smitten him with our swords Abdullah bin Unays bore down with his sword into his belly until it went right through him.”[20]


The Case of Kinana bin al-Rabi

 

Muhammad and his men conquered a town called Khaybar and distributed its riches and women among themselves.[21]  They captured Kinana bin al-Rabi, who was in charge of the treasure of one of the conquered tribes.  Muhammad demanded the treasure, but Kinana refused to tell him where it was hidden.


When [Muhammad] asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr bin 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 bin Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud [who had been killed in battle while conquering the town].[22]

 

The Case of Abu-Rafi


In a chapter titled “Killing a Sleeping Pagan,” Al-Bukhari gives the following report:


Allah’s Apostle (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) sent a group of Ansari men to kill Abu-Rafi.  One of them set out and entered their (i.e. the enemy’s) fort. That man said:  “I hid myself in a stable for their animals.  They closed the fort gate. Later they lost a donkey belonging to them, so they went out in its search.  I, too, went out along with them, pretending to look for it.  They found the donkey and entered their fort.  And I, too, entered along with them.  They closed the gate of the fort at night, and kept its keys in a small window where I could see them.  When those people slept, I took the keys and opened the gate of the fort and came upon Abu Rafi and said:  ‘O Abu Rafi.’  When he replied to me, I proceeded towards the voice and hit him.  He shouted and I came out to come back, pretending to be a helper.  I said:  ‘O Abu Rafi,’ changing the tone of my voice.  He asked me:  ‘What do you want; woe to your mother?’  I asked him:  ‘What has happened to you?’  He said:  ‘I don’t know who came to me and hit me.’  Then I drove my sword into his belly and pushed it forcibly until it touched the bone.”[23]


The Case of an Anonymous One-Eyed Shepherd

After failing at one of their assassination attempts, some Muslims were returning to Muhammad when one of them, an assassin named Amr, went into a cave.  He soon encountered a one-eyed shepherd driving a sheep.  The one-eyed man laid beside Amr (not realizing that he was a Muslim) and began to sing:


           
                          I won’t be a Muslim as long as I live,


           
                                   Nor heed to their religion give.[24]



Amr didn’t miss his chance to kill an infidel:

I said (to myself), “You will soon know!” and as soon as the badu was asleep and snoring I got up and killed him in a more horrible way than any man has been killed.  I put the end of my bow in his sound eye, then I bore down on it until I forced it out at the back of his neck.[25]


A couple of other people were killed during this failed expedition, yet when Amr reported the details to Muhammad, the Prophet blessed him for his work.[26]



 

 

The Case of Abu Afak


Abu Afak, saddened because Muhammad had killed someone named al-Harith, composed the following song in memory of the departed:


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.[27]



These words were too much for Muhammad to bear, so the Prophet of Islam flew into a rage that ended with the death of Abu Afak.[28]


The Case of Asma


A woman named Asma (who had five sons) was appalled at the murder of Abu Afak, so she wrote a poem against the Muslims in retaliation.  Ibn Ishaq relates the account of what followed:


When the apostle heard what she had said he said, “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?”  Umayr bin 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 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.[29]


The Case of Abdullah bin Khatal and His Two Singing Girls


Abdullah bin Khatal was a Muslim who later apostatized.  He had two singing girls who sang satirical songs about the Prophet.  As soon as Muhammad had the power, he ordered that all three be killed.  Abdullah was killed by two Muslims.  One of the singing girls was killed.  The other was later given immunity, for unknown reasons.[30]


The Case of al-Huwayrith


All that is known of al-Huwayrith is that he insulted Muhammad, that Muhammad demanded he be killed, and that Ali carried out Muhammad’s wishes.[31]


The Case of Sara, a Freed Slave


Sara was a freed slave who had insulted Muhammad in Mecca.  Muhammad commanded his men to kill her wherever they find her.  She was eventually found and trampled to death by a mounted soldier.[32]