Chapter 16: Murder, Inc.

When Muhammad left to attack the Meccan caravan, the Jews and polytheists of Yathrib were nervous. When he returned victorious over the Meccan army, they were terrified.

The day of the beheading of Uqbah Muayt, Muhammad dispatched two heralds to Yathrib to announce his victory. Arriving in the heat of the late morning on Muhammad’s personal camel, his adopted son Zayd spread the news in Lower Yathrib, while Abdullah Rawaha, the man who had urged Muhammad to incinerate all of the captives in a forest fire, brought the news to Upper Yathrib.

Riding his mount into the courtyard of the mosque, Zayd proclaimed the victory from atop the camel. “O Helpers, rejoice at the safety of the Messenger of God and at the killing and capture of the polytheists!” When he named the dead Meccans, the believers broke into cries of Allahu Akbar! Children ran through the streets and alleys crying, “The evil Abu Jahl is dead!” repeating Muhammad’s nickname for Abul Hakam.[1]

The Jews and pagan Arabs were in a state of shock and at first refused to believe it. They turned the fact that Zayd was riding Muhammad’s camel into evidence that he had in fact been slain and his army defeated. It was a trick of some kind. One of the polytheists boasted to Osama, the nine-year-old son of Zayd, “Your master has been killed, and all those with him!” The boy ran to his father to ask about it. Zayd told him it was untrue. Muhammad had indeed been victorious, and he, his army, and their prisoners would arrive in Yathrib in the next day or two. The youngster ran back to the polytheist and accused him of spreading lies. “We’re going to have you up before the Messenger of God, and he will execute you!”[2]

The rumor of Muhammad’s death took on a life of its own and was not contained until enraged followers poured into the streets and frightened nonbelievers with threats of violence.

Muhammad arrived the next morning, a day ahead of his triumphant warriors and their dejected captives. When he entered Najjar territory, he lifted the skinny Osama onto the camel to ride with him the rest of the way. Once he was back at his mosque, powerful clan leaders who had kept their distance from him found it prudent to drop in to congratulate him for his victory.

Muhammad had brought one of the captives, Suhayl Amr, with him and turned his wife Sauda’s room into a holding cell. An important Meccan leader, Suhayl was a former brother-in-law of Sauda and was the man Muhammad had first appealed to for protection after he was run out of Taif four years earlier. While Suhayl had kept a polite distance from Muhammad’s religion, his brother Sakran Amr had joined it as had Sauda, and they were among the second wave of emigrées to Abyssinia. Sakran later died there. Suhayl was captured at Badr, but escaped during the forced march to Yathrib. Muhammad ordered that whoever found him should kill him, but after Suhayl was discovered hiding in a clutch of trees Muhammad tethered him to his camel and forced him walk to Yathrib with his hands tied behind his neck. Muhammad apparently did not have the opportunity to inform Sauda about the guest arrangement. When he arrived at the mosque with his captive in tow, she was out visiting the family of two young men who had been killed at Badr. Upon returning home she was startled to find her former brother-in- law kneeling the corner of her room, his hands still roped behind his neck. “O Abu Yazid,” she said, calling him by his nickname. “You gave yourself up then! Couldn’t you have died a noble death?”[3]

Muhammad spent much of the next month working out ransom deals. The high-value prisoners ended up paying four thousand dirhams for their release, representing about thirty pounds of pure silver. As one of the important captives, Suhayl was made to pay the full amount. A Meccan who went to Yathrib to negotiate his release traded places with him and was kept as a hostage until Suhayl sent the ransom money from Mecca. Some of the indigent captives who were literate were offered their freedom in exchange for teaching reading and writing to the children of the Yathrib converts.

Muhammad’s uncle Abbas paid the most for his freedom. As a major investor in all the caravans going out of Mecca, Abbas was well off and was known for his fondness for gold. At that time he owned forty slaves whom he employed in his various import-export enterprises. The literature states he was made to pay forty awqiyyas in gold dinars, equivalent to one hundred and seventy-five ounces of gold,[4] to secure his release and that of several of his nephews and confederates. As with the war booty, Muhammad kept one fifth of the ransom amounts, the balance distributed among the captors.

The thorniest ransom involved his son in law, Abu al-As, the son of Khadija’s sister Hala. Muhammad had married his eldest daughter Zaynab to him a year or so before the epileptic experience on Mount Hira. Though she accepted her father’s religion, she remained in Mecca with her disbelieving husband after Muhammad fled for his life to Yathrib. By all accounts they deeply loved one another. When news of her husband’s capture reached her, she sent ransom money and an onyx necklace Khadija had given her as a wedding present. Muhammad let his son-in-law go after he agreed to send Zaynab to Yathrib and to recognize that they were no longer married due to the fact he refused to join the religion. Once back in Mecca, Abu al-As told his wife they had no choice but to separate and arranged for his brother to escort her to Yathrib.

The Meccans, however, intervened when she was already on the road, having learned about her departure at the last minute. They saw her leaving as an insult. Her father had slaughtered dozens of their people and was holding many more for ransom, so they forced her to return as a hostage. She was pregnant at the time, and the tussling caused her to fall from her camel. As a result she miscarried. Abu Sufyan, who was now the most powerful man of Mecca, finally allowed her to leave. He wanted revenge against Muhammad, but he did not believe that withholding a daughter from her father was the right thing to do. Muhammad later sent a raiding party with orders to burn to death the men who had forced her back to Mecca, bringing about the miscarriage, but a day after the raiders left, he sent word he had changed his mind about roasting them alive. “Just kill them,” he told them. “No one has the right to punish by fire save God.”[5]

In Mecca, the news of the Badr defeat shattered the town. Everyone was related to everyone else, and everyone therefore had lost a son, brother, father, cousin, or uncle. Even though he himself had lost a son and many close relatives, Abu Sufyan suppressed his grief and advised the people against mourning because it would drain too much of their sorrow. That would take away the energy needed for vengeance. Hearing this, a blind man who had lost three sons had a slave lead him to a mountain retreat above the town so that he could grieve in private. He brought wine with him, and after getting drunk he wept unconsolably and poured sand over his head. About the same time a wave of wailing broke out in the valley, and the sound reached him. The Meccans had ignored Abu Sufyan’s advice, and their sorrow broke out all across town. The blind man sent the slave to investigate. The slave returned and lied about it, telling his master that it was only a woman weeping over a lost camel.

Instead of refraining from mourning, the women of Mecca cut their hair and put up curtains in the alleys and roads to mark places for people to gather to grieve for their beloved. A favorite camel or horse of the slain would be brought and they would stand around it with their heads bowed and with one hand placed gently on the creature as if to connect with the spirit of the dead through the animal.

One of the few who refused to mourn was Abu Sufyan’s wife Hind, a strong-willed woman who burned with desire for vengeance against Muhammad for killing her son Hanzala, her father Utba Rabia, her brother Walid, and her uncle Shayba. When a woman asked her, “Will you not cry over . . . the people of your house?” She replied, “May God afflict your throat! Shall I cry over them so it will reach Muhammad and his companions and the women of the Khazraj, so they will rejoice over our misfortune? No, by God, not until I am revenged of Muhammad and his companions.”[6]

Hind refused to sleep with her husband until he struck back at Muhammad, and Abu Sufyan himself publicly renounced the pleasures of life until he made a display of Meccan backbone. As soon as all of the ransom money had been paid and the captured Meccans returned, he organized a raiding party of two hundred men and led them north to Yathrib. They waited until late at night to enter through the rugged southeast mountain pass into the highlands of Yathrib where most of the Jewish fortresses were located. Abu Sufyan first banged on the thick gate of the fortress of Huyayy Akhtab, one of the leaders of the Nadir tribe, to request entry for himself and his men, but was refused. He led his men to the nearby fortress of Sallam Mishkam, the chief rabbi of the Nadirs, who swung the doors open and regaled them with food and wine. Sallam, one of the rabbis who had debated theology with Muhammad and later ridiculed him, shared what intelligence he had about him. Abu Sufyan wanted to kill Muhammad, but the only way to do so would be to attack him at his mosque in the center of Najjar territory. Under cover of darkness, he and his small force could reach the mosque before being detected, but even if they were able to kill Muhammad it was not likely many of them would get out of Yathrib alive. It would be a suicide mission.

Yet he needed something to show for the raid. Sallam pointed out an easy target–a farm owned by one of Muhammad’s followers located in the southeast corner of the highlands. That morning, the Meccans struck the farm, killing the owner and a slave. They set fire to the houses, barley fields, and palm groves and were gone before Muhammad could muster a force against them. Muhammad chased the raiding party for several days, but Abu Sufyan slipped away through the desert.

The victory at Badr gave Muhammad the confidence to take on his Yathrib enemies. Immediately following his return from Badr, he orchestrated the assassination of poets who had mocked or criticized him. Their influence worried him. News spread by gossip, but the attitude towards the news was shaped by poetry—the editorials of the day. Jewish poets and pagan poets friendly to the Jews were whipping up opposition to him with their verses. They branded him an outsider and questioned the wisdom of letting him acquire power in Yathrib. Muhammad decided that murder was the best way to deal with them.

The first of the poets to die was an elderly sheikh named Abu Afak who had irked Muhammad even before Badr with satirical verses. After Muhammad returned victorious, the sheikh composed a strident poem that obliquely called for Muhammad’s ouster by heaping praise of Yathrib’s ancestors who had repulsed foreign invasions. When Muhammad heard of the poem, he solicited a killer at one of the mosque assemblies: “Who will deal with this rascal for me?”[7] A convert of the Najjar tribe who had fought at Badr took up the challenge. He plunged his sword into the sheikh while he was asleep in the courtyard of his home.

"WHO WILL RID ME OF . . . ?" Whenever he wanted someone dead, Muhammad would often recruit an assassin at the mosque. When the killer returned to report the murder had been successfully carried out, Muhammad would praise him in front of the congregation for his good work in "the cause of Allah."

“WHO WILL RID ME OF . . . ?” Whenever he wanted someone dead, Muhammad would often recruit an assassin at the mosque. When the killer returned to report the murder had been successfully carried out, Muhammad would praise him in front of the congregation for his good work in “the cause of Allah.”

Equally ruthless was the murder of Asma, the daughter of Marwan, who was noted for her strong opinions and sharp tongue. The details of her background are sketchy, but she may have been a Jewish convert or belonged to a clan on friendly terms with the Jews, because she lived in the shadow of one of the Jewish fortresses. Instead of being intimidated by the murder of Abu Afak, she composed forceful verses blasting the tribes of Yathrib for allowing an outsider the run of their valley. “Fuck the men of Malik and Nabit and Aws and Khazraj! You obey a stranger who does not belong among you.”[8] The poem went on to criticize her people for letting Muhammad get away with the murder of their leaders, an allusion to the killing of Abu Afak, and she called for a manly man to take it upon himself to slay him.

Muhammad reacted to these words the same way he reacted to Abu Afak’s verses. At a mosque assembly, he fumed that the woman had harmed Allah and his messenger and therefore deserved to die. “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?” he bellowed.[9] A member of the tribe of Asma’s husband jumped to his feet. He was partly blind, but he could see sufficiently to make his way to her home late that same night. It is said that when the assassin broke into her home, Asma was asleep with her young children and had a swaddled newborn in her arms. The killer moved the infant to one side and plunged his sword into her. At dawn prayers that morning, he reported to Muhammad at the mosque. When Muhammad saw him, he motioned for him to come to him and said, “Did you kill the daughter of Marwan?” The assassin replied, “Yes, for you are dearer to me than my father, O Messenger of God.” The killer, however, worried that his action might have angered Allah, but Muhammad told him not to worry about it: “Two goats won’t butt their heads together over her.”[10] Muhammad then praised the killer to his congregation as a man who had greatly helped Allah and his messenger.

By chance or by intention, the assassin walked through the cemetery during Asma’s burial. One the grieving family members pointed him out as her killer. He boasted about it to them and challenged them to do something about it. He warned them that the same fate would befall them if they insulted Muhammad.

The affair came to an end with another poem. Around that time, Muhammad began using the public relations talent of Hassan Thabit, a Yathrib poet who would serve from then on as one of his spokesmen. One of Thabit’s first compositions praised Asma’s killer:

She stirred up a man of glorious origin,
Noble in his coming in and his going out.
He colored her in the redness of blood
Shortly before dawn, and he felt no guilt.[11]

THE MURDER OF ASMA, the daughter of Marwan. Muhammad wanted her dead because of a poem she composed criticizing the tribes of Yathrib for failing to retaliate against him after he assassinated an elderly sheik who had composed satirical verses about him.

THE MURDER OF ASMA, the daughter of Marwan. Muhammad wanted her dead because of a poem she composed criticizing the tribes of Yathrib for failing to retaliate against him after he assassinated an elderly sheik who had composed satirical verses about him.

In addition to murdering his critics, Muhammad also launched the first phase of an unprecedented program of religious cleansing and genocide against the Jews of Yathrib, beginning with his closest Jewish neighbors, the Qaynuqas. With the change of prayer direction to Mecca and the invention of a new Abraham storyline, Muhammad signaled that he had severed his links to their religion for good. But merely turning his back on them was not enough. A few weeks after the battle of Badr, he stood before the gate of their fortress and gave the entire tribe an ultimatum: Join his religion, or “God” would bring down his vengeance on them just as he had done to the Meccans for rejecting him as the bearer of truth. “You know that I am a prophet who has been sent—you will find that in your scriptures and God’s covenant with you.”[12]

The Qaynuqa fortress, less than two miles from Muhammad’s mosque, was an imposing four-story castle built at the top of the slope leading to Upper Yathrib and was near a strategic bridge over one of the major riverbeds that had been gouged deep by torrential runoff. Unlike the Nadir and Qurayza Jews, who owed their wealth to agriculture, the Qaynuqa Jews made their money as goldsmiths, artisans, arms manufacturers, and merchants. Their market was located in the plaza in front of the fortress and was famous throughout Arabia for its offerings of fine jewelry. They were allies of the Khazraj and had sided with them in several of the intertribal wars of the previous decades. Their warriors had more than once saved the day for Abdullah Ubayy, the polytheist leader of the Khazraj. When Muhammad delivered his ultimatum, the Jewish leaders came out of the fortress in an attempt to reason with him. They pointed out that his Torah claims were without merit: Their holy books said nothing about him. He was not even a Jew, so how could he be their prophet? They reminded him of a nonaggression pact existed between them; the fact of not accepting his religion did not violate the pact.[13] One of the Jewish leaders was defiant: “Don’t delude yourself just because you did battle with those who lacked knowledge of warfare and so you could take advantage of them. If you fight against us, you’ll find us to be real men!”[14]

Muhammad was a stickler for adhering to agreements when they benefited him, but discarded them when they were no longer useful. His solution to the nonaggression pact was to compose a Koran verse that allowed him to repudiate a treaty if he “feared treachery” from the other party. To this end he had Allah say: “And if thou fearest treachery from any folk, then throw back to them (their treaty) fairly. Lo! Allah loveth not the treacherous.”[15]

The ruins of the Qaynuqa fortress.

The ruins of the Qaynuqa fortress in present day Medina.

With this, all he needed to do nullify the pact with the Qaynuqa Jews was to allege feeling fear of them. A prankish incident at the Qaynuqa market gave him the pretext he needed. A young Bedouin woman who was married to a Yathrib convert had taken a trinket to sell to a goldsmith at one of the Qaynuqa artisan booths. While she sat with him haggling over its value, a Jew came up from behind and pinned her skirt in such a way that when she stood up her buttocks were exposed. Everyone broke out in laughter at her embarrassment. One of Muhammad’s followers saw what happened and killed the perpetrator. In reprisal, a group of Jews surrounded him and slew him. That was all Muhammad needed to declare, “I fear the Banu Qaynuqa.”[16][17]

That same day he assembled several hundred followers to lay siege to the Qaynuqa fortress. The Jews barricaded themselves inside and prayed their allies would come to their rescue, but help never came. Over the next few days, Muhammad used the incentive of booty to encourage even more people to join the siege. The number of volunteers ended up formidable enough to dissuade anyone from helping the Qaynuqas. Not even the other Jewish tribes sent help. Their closest non-Jewish ally was Abdullah Ubayy, but his power was in decline relative to Muhammad’s, and he decided it was not in his interest to intervene.

The Jews held out for two weeks, but despairing of outside help, they finally threw themselves at Muhammad’s mercy. He was the wrong man to go to for mercy. He hated them for rejecting him and wanted to exterminate them. Perhaps anticipating the need for it, he had composed a verse at Badr in which he gave himself Allah’s blessing to commit mass murder: “It is not for any Prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land.”[18]

As the surrendering Jews came out of the fortress, they were shackled, and word spread throughout the valley that Muhammad intended to behead them all. Though Abudullah Ubayy had not come to their rescue militarily, he rushed to the scene and demanded that Muhammad treat them properly. When Muhammad ignored him, the burly Khazraj chieftain grabbed him by his tunic and screamed in face to leave them alone. Muhammad turned red with rage and shouted, “Damn you, let me go!” Abdullah said, “No, by God, I will not let you go until you treat my (allies) 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.” Muhammad finally yielded and said in effect, “Have it your way then, damn you.”[19]

Muhammad expelled the Qaynuqas and seized their property, including their fortresses, blockhouses, businesses, artisan tools, and a huge cache of armor and weapons. All that he left to them were their camels and personal possessions. He gave them a few days to pack up and leave the land that had been theirs for nearly a thousand years. Muhammad ordered one of his men to escort them out of town. When they had gone beyond the limits of the valley, the man told them to keep going, the farther the better, and never to come back. Some of them went to Khaybar, others to another Jewish oasis of Wadi al-Qura. Most of them eventually migrated to Syria and settled in Jewish communities.

Muhammad, meanwhile, had the booty transported to the mosque courtyard where he divvied it up. He gave himself first pick of the weapons as a part of his fifth, selecting for himself swords, spears, and armor that had acquired such fame in battles they had been given names. The balance he distributed among his companions. As he made the distribution, he said to the faithful, “Those who take God and His apostle and the believers as friends, they are of God’s party, they are the victorious.”[20]

Following the expulsion of the Qaynuqa Jews, the assassination of poet-critics continued. At the top of Muhammad’s hit list was Kab Ashraf. He was a wealthy perfume merchant, half-Jewish through his mother, who was of the Nadir tribe. Before the battle of Badr, he had insulted Muhammad repeatedly in aggressive poetry that expressed the theme taken up by the other critics, essentially that Muhammad was an outsider who had disrupted the life of the valley and should be ousted. After the Meccan defeat at Badr, a distraught Ashraf went to Mecca to urge them to take revenge against their mutual enemy. He flattered them by telling them their religion was better than Muhammad’s: “You are more righteous and better guided,” he said. From Mecca, Ashraf composed poems that praised the Meccans, lamented the death of their warriors, and called for action against Muhammad.

When Muhammad learned of his poems, he undertook a smear campaign not only against Ashraf, but also against Meccans who harbored him. Hassan Thabit, Muhammad’s hired poet, branded Ashraf’s hosts as “slaves of deceit” and “schooled monkeys.” Volleys of insulting poems were fired in each direction, but Muhammad’s invective eventually won out. Even though Ashraf espoused their cause, the notoriety resulting from Thabit’s barbs led the Meccans to end their hospitality, forcing Ashraf to leave.

By the time he returned to Yathrib, Abu Afak and Asma had been murdered, and Ashraf feared for his life. When Muhammad learned of his return, he recruited an assassin during a mosque assembly. The volunteer this time was a man named Muhammad Maslama, a Badr veteran who jumped at the opportunity to curry favor with Muhammad by killing someone for him. But he worried that he was presented with a technical challenge the previous assassins had not faced. Whereas their victims were relatively easy to reach, Ashraf lived in a fortified blockhouse built atop a low hill. Given that he knew his life was in danger, he did not readily venture beyond the walls of his stronghold. He would have to be lured out, but Maslama was concerned the use of deceit would offend Allah. When Muhammad told him to do whatever was necessary to get the job done, Maslama enlisted the help of four other zealots, one of them a foster brother of Ashraf nicknamed Abu Naila. The foster brother was able to earn Ashraf’s trust by claiming during a visit with Ashraf that he was dissatisfied with Muhammad. He was bringing ruin to his followers through taxes, and it was getting so tough they did not have enough money left over for food. He and several other men badly needed an emergency loan to buy food for their families. Would he please help them out? As collateral for the loan, they were willing to turn over their weapons and armor to him. Abu Naila knew the lure was working when Ashraf said, “So, by God, you too are tired of him!”[21]

On the night of the murder, the conspirators met with Muhammad at the mosque to inform him of their plan. He escorted them as far as a cemetery and said, “Go in Allah’s name.” The lure worked as planned. While the other men hid in the darkness, Abu Naila, with Maslama at his side, called to Ashraf from the road to meet with them. He came out with the loan money reeking of perfumed hair. He had just gotten in bed with his wife and they were bedaubed with the expensive perfume Ashraf dealt in. Abu Naila complimented him on the perfume and ran his fingers through his scented hair as if to show appreciation, then grabbed hold and pulled Ashraf’s head back—the signal for the other men to rush in. Shouting, “Kill the enemy of Allah!” Maslama shoved a knife into Ashraf’s abdomen and ripped it downward so that his intestines spilled out. In some versions of the story, they cut his head off, either by sawing it off with the knife or with the slash of a sword.[22] Fearful the Jews would send out search parties, they made their way back to the mosque through the outlying lava fields, taking Ashraf’s head with them. By the time they got to the mosque it was nearing dawn and Muhammad was at prayer. When he greeted them they dropped Ashraf’s head at his feet.[23] Muhammad gave praise to Allah for the death of his enemy and complimented them for their good work.

The literature does not state what was done with the head; possibly it was impaled on a spear for everyone to see. What is known is that following dawn prayers, Muhammad incited his followers against all of the Jews: “Whoever of the Jews falls into your hands, kill him!”[24]

The Jews locked themselves into their strongholds, fearful they would soon be subjected to a siege, but the only known victim of the murder directive at that time was a Jewish merchant named Sunayna. He was slain when one of his business associates, a convert named Muhayyisa, lured him out of his home and stabbed him to death. The killer’s older brother, who was not a convert, beat him savagely for it. “Did you kill him when much of the fat on your belly comes from his wealth?” Revealing the depth of his zealotry, Muhayyisa said, “Had the one who ordered me to kill him ordered me to kill you I would have cut your head off.” The literature states that the brother saw the light. He exclaimed, “By God, a religion which can bring you to this is indeed a marvel.” He soon signed up.[25]

When some Jews and polytheists complained that Ashraf had not committed any crimes that merited his death, Muhammad warned that anyone insulting him in the future “shall be put to the sword.”[26]

THE MURDER OF KAB ASHRAF. A wealthy Jewish perfume merchant, Ashraf was one of several poets Muhammad assassinated for composing poems critical of him. Ashraf lived in a fortified compound and had to be lured out.

THE MURDER OF KAB ASHRAF. A wealthy Jewish perfume merchant, Ashraf was one of several poets Muhammad assassinated for composing poems critical of him. Ashraf lived in a fortified compound and had to be lured out.

The murders spread terror throughout Yathrib and beyond and brought many of the polytheists into the fold, if only nominally to protect themselves and their property from Muhammad’s growing corps of fanatics. Even Asma Marwan’s extended family joined because they “saw the power”[27] of Muhammad’s religion. Fearing for his life, Abdullah Ubayy, the Khazraj chieftain and would-be king of Yathrib, also converted.

During his years of proselytizing in Mecca, Muhammad had gained only a hundred or so core believers. The string of assassinations and the expulsion of the Qaynuqa Jews took place over a period of months and brought about a rapid expansion to his religion so that it now included much of the non-Jewish population of Yathrib.

Terror, it turned out, was a convincing missionary.



(IMPORTANT! FOOTNOTE 26 below is crucial for understanding why Muslims of this day and age kill people who criticize Muhammad.)

1. Ibn Kathir, vol. 2, p. 316.
2. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 317.
3. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 320.
4. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 309. An awqiyya (also transliterated as uqiyah) was a unit of weight equivalent to the weight of forty silver dirhams, each dirham containing about 3.13 grams of pure silver. One awqiyya, therefore, is equivalent to 125 grams, which is equal to 4.38 troy ounces. If Abbas paid forty awqiyyas of gold, then he gave Muhammad a total of 175 troy ounces to secure his freedom. According to Ibn Ishaq, Abbas was made to pay one-hundred awqiyyas.
5. Ibn Ishaq, p. 316.
6. Waqidi, p. 62.
7. Ibn Ishaq, p. 675.
8. The literature notes that Asma’s poem contained vulgar language, but the standard translations omit it. The first words of the poem are usually translated as: “I despise.”
9. Ibn Ishaq, p. 676.
10. Ibid., p. 676.
11. Waqidi, p. 86.
12. Ibn Ishaq, p. 363.
13. The literature claims a treaty or agreement between Muhammad and all of the tribes and clans of Medina was reached after he arrived in Yathrib. It has been tagged the “Constitution of Medina,” but no signatories are named. This suggests the pact was either a verbal agreement or was simply a unilateral pronouncement on the part of Muhammad that he expected everyone to adhere to. To his mind, the articles of the “Constitution of Medina” came from Allah via the Angel Gabriel, and since it came from Allah it was binding on everyone whether they liked it or not.
14. Ibn Ishaq, p. 363.
15. Koran, 8:58.
16. Tabari, vol. 7, p. 86. The word “banu” means tribe or clan. It is possible Muhammad composed Koran verse 8:58 immediately following the Qaynuqa prank, and it became part of the “Booty” chapter. These verses were composed over a period of several weeks.
17. The literature casts this as a dialogue between Muhammad and the Angel Gabriel: “Muhammad [b. Abdullah] related to me from al-Zuhri from Urwa, saying: ‘Surely when the Prophet returned from Badr, they (the Jews) were envious and displayed deceit. Jibril (Angel Gabriel) revealed this verse to him: ‘If you fear treachery from any group, throw back (their covenant) to them (so as to be) on equal terms, for God loves not the treacherous.’ He said: ‘When Jibril had finished, the Messenger of God said to him, ‘I fear them.’ The Prophet marched to them on the basis of this verse until they yielded to his judgment.’ The Prophet got their possessions, and they kept their children and their women.”—Waqidi, p. 89.
18. Koran, 8:67.
19. Tabari, vol. 7, p. 86.
20. Ibn Ishaq, p. 364.
21. Ibn Kathir, vol. 3, p. 5.
22. Waqidi, p. 94.
23. Ibid., p. 95.
24. Tabari, vol. 7, p. 97.
25. Ibid., pp. 97-8.
26. Waqidi, p. 96. Waqidi quotes Muhammad: “He (Kab Ashraf) hurt us (Allah and his messenger) and insulted us with poetry, and one does not do this among you (Jews and polytheists) but he shall be put to the sword.” Muhammadanism is all about the precedents (Sunna) set by Muhammad. Because of his example of killing his critics, even today the followers of his cult continue to murder people for “blaspheming” him or his cult.
27. Ibn Ishaq, p. 676.