Saturday, 18 April 2009

Muhammad and the death of Kinana, Part II

Excess cruelty, even rebuked by Allah himself!!! …

Continues from Part I


Ibn Abi Al-Huqaiq was despatched to the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] to negotiate the surrender treaty. The Prophet [pbuh] agreed to spare their lives on condition they evacuate Khaibar and the adjacent land, leaving whatever gold and silver they had in their possession. However, he stipulated that he would disavow any commitment if they concealed anything. Shortly afterwards, the forts were handed over to the Muslims and all Khaibar was reduced and brought under the way of Islam. 
This treaty notwithstanding, Abi Al-Huqaiq’s two sons concealed a leather bagfull of jewels, and money belonging to Huyai bin Al-Akhtab, who carried it with him when Banu Nadir had been banished. Kinanah bin Ar-Rabi‘, who had hidden the musk somewhere, was obdurate in his denial and so he was killed when the musk was discovered and his dishonesty was proven. Abi Al-Huqaiq’s two sons were killed in recompense for breaching the covenant, and Safiyah, Huyai’s daughter was taken as a captive
. (source

We thus have Abu Dawud, Ibn Hisham, al-Tabari, Ibn Kathir, Muhammad Husayn Haykal, Martin Lings and Saif-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri all endorsing this story, 
all agreeing that Kinana was killed for concealing the whereabouts of the treasure of al-Nadir. How could all these scholars and writers acceptas fact a "spurious" report from an author who gave no chain tosubstantiate the veracity of this narrative? 

Zawadi wants his readers to simply ignore all of these sources for the opinion of one Muslim writer who rejects this event, not on the grounds that it lacks any historical veracity even though this is the impression he wants to give, but because it portrays the prophet of Islam in a less than favorable light. Shibli Nu'Mani indirectly admits that this is the real reason why he rejects this episode, 

That a man should be tortured with burns on his chest by the sparks of a flint IS TOO HEINOUS A DEED for a Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who had earned for himself the title of Rahma'lil Alamin (Mercy for all the worlds). After all, did he not let the woman who had sought to poison him go scot free? Who would expect such a soul to order human body to be so burnt for the sake of a few coins.

As does Zawadi: 

When I first read about it, I MYSELF WAS QUITE SHOCKED that the Prophet would torture some one just because of some treasure… 

It is amusing how their reticence in accepting this account on the grounds that it contradicts the Qur’anic teaching regarding Muhammad being a mercy supports one of the points we made. As we noted, Muslims typically are appalled by any anecdote that portrays Muhammad in an unfavorable light and normally reject such stories. Why then would Ibn Ishaq and subsequent Muslim scholars and historians pass on this report if it weren’t based on actual history? 
Why weren’t they as shocked as Zawadi and why couldn’t they see that the torture ofKinana was too heinous a deed for the "Mercy for all worlds" to commit

Now regarding the 
story of the Jewess poisoning Muhammad, even though it is true that certain reports state that Muhammad didn’t kill her

Narrated Anas bin Malik: A Jewess brought a poisoned (cooked) sheep for the Prophet who ate from it. She was brought to the Prophet and he was asked, "Shall we kill her?" He said, "No." I continued to see the effect ofthe poison on the palate of the mouth of Allah's Apostle. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 786

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: Ibn Shihab said: Jabir ibn Abdullah used to say that a Jewess from the inhabitants of Khaybar poisoned a roasted sheep and presented it to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) who took its foreleg and ate from it. A group of his companions also ate with him

The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) then said: Take your hands away (from the food). The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) then sent someone to the Jewes sand he called her. He said to her: Have you poisoned this sheep? The Jewess replied: Who has informed you? He said: This foreleg which I have in my hand has informed me. She said: Yes. He said: What did you intend by it? She said: I thought if you were a prophet, it would not harm you; if you were not a prophet, we should rid ourselves of him (i.e. the Prophet). The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) then forgave her, and did not punish her. But some of his companions who ate it, died. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) had himself cupped on his shoulder on account of that which he had eaten from the sheep. Abu Hind cupped him with the horn and knife. He was a client of Banu Bayadah from the Ansar. (Sunan Abu Dawud,Book 39, Number 4495

Other traditions, however, contradict this and say that she was killed: 

… When the Apostle of Allah conquered Khaybar and he had peace of mind, Zaynab Bintal-Harith, the brother of Marhab, who was the spouse of Sallam Ibn Mishkam, inquired: Which part of the goat is liked by Muhammad? They said: The foreleg. Then she slaughtered one from her goats and roasted it (the meat). Then she wanted a poison which could not fail…The Apostle of Allah took the foreleg, a piece of which he put into his mouth. Bishr Ibn al-Barra took another bone and put it into his mouth. When the Apostle of Allah ate one morsel of it Bishr ate his and other people also ate from it. Then the Apostle of Allah said: Hold back your hands! because this foreleg… informed me that it is poisoned. There uponBishr said: By Him who has made you great! I discovered it from the morsel I took. Nothing prevented me from emitting it out, but the idea that I did notl ike to make your food unrelishing. When you had eaten what was in your mouth I did not like to save my life after yours, and I also thought you would not have eaten it if there was something wrong… The Apostle of Allah sent for Zaynab and said to her: What induced you to do what you have done? She replied: You have done to my people what you have done. You have killed my father, my uncleand my husband, so I said to myself: If you are a prophet, the foreleg will inform you; and others have said: If you are a king we will get rid of you. The Jewess returned as she had come. He (Ibn Sa‘d) said: The Apostle ofAllah handed her over to the heirs of Bishr Ibn al-Bara who put her to death. THIS IS THE APPROVED VERSION WITH US. (Ibn Sa'ad's Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. (Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi - 110 002 India], Volume II, pp. 251-252) 

Sidenote: The Jewess’ response 
provides a glimpse of how the people viewed Muhammad. They didn’t see him as a mercy from God but as a cruel, barbaric, murderous tyrant who sought to impose his rule and religion upon the necks of people. 

Narrated AbuSalamah: A Jewess presented a roasted sheep to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) at Khaybar… The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) theno rdered regarding her and she was killed. But he (Abu Salamah) did not mention the matter of cupping. (Sunan Abu Dawud,Book 39,Number 4496

NarratedAbuSalamah: … So he (the Prophet) sent for the Jewess (and said to her): What motivated you to do the wo rk you have done? She said: If you were a prophet, it would not harm you; but if you were a king, I should rid the people of you. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) then ordered regarding her and she was killed. He then said about the pain of which he died: I continued to feel pain from the morsel which I hadeaten at Khaybar. This is the time when it has cut off my aorta. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 39, Number 4498

Thus,it is not at all certain that Muhammad let the Jewess go free

The translator of Abu Dawud tries to reconcile the obvious discrepancies between these accounts: 

3935Some other traditions indicate that the Prophet ordered to kill her.This seems to be a contradiction between these traditions. The contradiction has been removed by the explanation that theProphet in the beginning did not order to kill her. But when Bishr b. al-Bara died of the poison of the sheep which he had eaten, he gave her to the heirs of Bishr for taking retaliation. They killed her as a retaliation. But the Prophet did not kill her on account of poisoning him. Further, this tradition of Jabir has ad isconnected chain. It is said that al-Zuhri did not meet Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah (‘Awn al-Ma‘bud, IV, 295). 

3936. The Prophet did not order to kill her in the first instance. When Bishrb. al-Bara died of this poison, he ordered to kill her in retaliation of  the slain. (Prof. Ahmad Hasan, Sunan Abu Dawud,Volume III, XXXIV. Kitab al-Diyat (Book of Types of Blood-Wit), Chapter 1649:I f A Man Gives Anyone Poison To Drink Or Eat, Will Retaliation Be Taken On HimOr Not?, pp. 1263-1264) 

This next source agrees with the above translator’s proposed harmonization: 

After the battles were over, the Jews made an attempt at the Prophet’s life. One oftheir women sent him a roasted sheep that was poisoned. She had applied poison more generously to its shoulders since she had learnt that he had preferred shoulder meat. When he began to eat, the shoulder told him that it was poisoned. He threw out what was in mouth. He cross-examined the woman and she admitted to poisoning the meat. He let her go without any punishment. However, later Bishr bin Bara’ bin Ma’rur died of the poison. He had taken a bit or two of  the meat. So the Prophet ordered the woman to be killed in retaliation
42 Hakim in 
Al-Mustadrak(3/220), and ‘Abdur-Razzaq in his Al-Musannaf through his own chain reaching Ubaiy bin Ka’b as Ibn Hajar mentioned in Al-Fath (16/18); Al-Waqidi (2/679); Bayhaqi in hisDala’il (4/256-264), who gathered together all the reports on this subject
… (Dr. Mahdi Rizqullah Ahmad, A Biography of the Prophet of Islam In the Light of Original Sources, Volume 2, Chapter 15: The Khayber Expedition Events and Expeditions between Badr and Uhud, p. 627)

This proposed harmonization introduces some major problems. If we accept the fact that she wasn’t killed then this means that Muhammad robbed the heirs of Bishr the right to retaliation. Yet if a Muslim comes back andsays that they remitted their right to justice out of respect for Muhammad then this poses a problem for those hadiths that say she was killed since Muhammad could have asked the heirs to let her go and they would have been alltoo willing to obey his wishes

After all, doesn’t even the Qur’an 
 sayit is better to remit than to demand one’s rights? 

We ordained therein for them: "Life for life, eye for eye, nose or nose, earfor ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal." But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what God hath revealed, they are (No better than)wrong-doers. S. 5:45 Y. Ali

And if you chastise, chastise even as you have been chastised; and yet assuredly if you are patient, better it is for those patient. S. 16:126 Arberry

But simply forgiving her would open the door wide for injustice to occur since this results in a situation where criminals can simply be pardoned without demanding just retribution. Either scenario leaves Muhammad and his religious system in shambles since the teachings of Islam fail to maintain a perfect balance between justice and mercy. 

To summarize the problems raised by Professor Hasan’s proposed harmonization: 

- If Muhammad didn’t kill the Jewess then this means that the heirs of Bishr received no satisfaction for the death of their loved one. 
- If she was killed then this means Muhammad wasn’t being as merciful as he could have been, and failed to live up to his description as "Mercy forall worlds", since he could have demanded that the family of Bishrrelinquish their right to justice and they would have obliged. This would have been much more merciful per Muhammad’s own instructions in the Qur’an . 
- Yet by forgiving her without demanding retribution would mean that Muhammad failed to maintain the balance between justice and mercy, righteousness and compassion. 

Sidenote: This assumes that the Jewess was wrong for what she did to Muhammad and deserved to be punished, when the reality ist hat she was simply seeking just retribution against a tyrant who harassed and murdered her family and people. 

For more on this topic and to see how the above Qur’anic references regarding relinquishing one’s right to retribution being more preferable contradict other Qur’anic citations on this matter, leading certain scholars to conclude that some of these texts have been abrogated, we recommend the following response:

More importantly, even though the Qur’an makes the assertion that 
Muhammadis a mercy to the worlds it also says that Muslims are by nature harsh and cruel towards unbelievers

O believers, whosoever of you turns from his religion, God will assuredly bring apeople He loves, and who love Him, humble towards the believers, disdainful towards the unbelievers, men who struggle in the path of God, not fearing the reproach of any reproacher. That is God's bounty; He gives it unto whom He will; and God is All-embracing, All-knowing. S. 5:54 Arberry

O Prophet (Muhammad SAW)! Strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be harsh againstt hem, their abode is Hell, - and worst indeed is that destination. S. 9:73 Hilali-Khan

Ibn Kathir stated that: 

The Order for Jihad against the Disbelievers and Hypocrites

Allah commanded His Messenger to strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and to be harsh against them. Allah also commanded him to be merciful with the believers who followed him, informing him that the destination of the disbelievers and hypocrites is the Fire in the Hereafter. Ibn Mas`ud commented on Allah's statement…

"With the hand, or at least have a stern face with them." Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah commanded the Prophet to fight the disbelievers with the sword, to strive against the hypocrites with the tongue and annulled lenient treatment of them." Ad-Dahhak commented, "Perform Jihad against the disbelievers with the sword and be harsh with the hypocrites with words, and this is the Jihad performed against them." Similar was said by Muqatiland Ar-Rabi`. Al-Hasan and Qatadah said, "Striving against them includese stablishing the (Islamic Penal) Law of equality against them." Incombining these statements, we could say that Allah causes punishment of the disbelievers and hypocrites with all of these methods in various conditions and situations, and Allah knows best. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir;source

The Qur’an 

O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you; and let them find in you a harshness; and know that God is with the godfearing. S. 9:123 Arberry

The two Jalals say: 

O you who believe, fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, that is, the nearest, followed by the next nearest of them, and let them find harshness in you, that is,  severity, in other words, be harsh with them, and know that God is with the pious, helping and granting [them] victory. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn;source

There is more from the Qur’an : 

Muhammad (SAW) is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves… S.48:29 Hilali-Khan

Here, again, is Ibn Kathir: 

just as He, the Exalted and Most Honored, said in another Ayah

(5:54) This is the description of the believers; harsh with the disbelievers, merciful and kind to the believers, angry without smiling before the disbelievers, smiling and beaming with pleasure before his believing brother. Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah

(9:123) The Prophet said

<> The Prophet also said…

<> Then he clasped his hands with his fingers interlaced. Both of these Hadiths were collected in theSahih… (Tafsir Ibn Kathirsource

The foregoing shows that 
Muhammad’s torture and murder of Kinana perfectly comports with the Qur’an ic depiction of Muslims being cruel and harsh

For more examples of Muhammad’s excessive cruelty and outright brutality wer ecommend the following articles and rebuttals:

Zawadi claimed that: 

As we can see there is no evidence what so ever for this story of Kinana because there is no narration or source given. It was contrary to the teachings of the Qur’an and the Prophet's character. Therefore, Christians have to stop using this argument against the glorious Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). 

Contrary to Zawadi’s assertion, 
the preceding data conclusively shows that there is plenty of solid evidence that the torture of Kinana is based on actual history. This means that Zawadi should continue to be shocked at the barbaric and inhumane behavior of one whom he erroneously believes to have beena prophet of the all-Merciful God

We would like to conclude our discussion by asking the following questions,specifically to those Muslims who do accept the veracity of this event: 

Since Muslims believe that Allah is the most merciful and that 
Muhammad was a mercy for creation why didn’t the Islamic deity do the more merciful thing and spare Kinana such pain and suffering

If Muhammad was truly a prophet then why didn’t Allah bother to reveal to him the exact location of the treasure? After all, if such a man was receiving supernatural information from the one above the seven heavens whoknows all things then why couldn’t he figure out where the wealth of al-Nadirlay buried? 

Couldn’t Allah have even used such supernatural insight to lead Kinana t obelieve that Muhammad was a prophet and therefore convert to Islam? 

So why didn’t Allah choose the better thing and reveal the whereabouts of the treasure when this would have provided supernatural verification for Muhammad’sprophetic claims and displayed mercy to a person who (according to Muslims) did not deserve to be shown kindness? 



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