Mohammed and the Unbelievers
Mohammed’s Last Year
THE FAREWELL PILGRIMAGE
I968 Ten years after entering Medina, Mohammed made what was to be his last pil-grimage to Mecca, where he made his farewell address. He told the Muslims that usury was abolished; Allah would judge them and their works; all the blood shed be-fore Islam was to be left unavenged; and the lunar calendar was the sacred calendar and was not to be adjusted with respect to the solar calendar.
I969 He also told them men had rights over their wives and women had rights over their husbands. The wives were never to commit adultery or act in a sexual manner toward others. If they did, they were to be put in separate rooms and beaten lightly. If they refrained from what was forbidden, they had the right to food and clothing. Men were to lay injunctions on women lightly for they were prisoners of men and had no control over their persons.
M473 He said to feed and clothe the slaves well.
I969 He said every Muslim was a Muslim’s brother and to take from a brother only what he willingly gave.
I970 Then Mohammed led the Muslims through the rituals of the
THE FINAL STATE OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS
M453 When Mohammed first was preaching, his religion was Arabian. Then during the last phase in Mecca, he made Allah the same as Jehovah and introduced Jewish elements into his faith. When Mohammed moved to Medina, he argued with the Jews when they denied his status as a prophet in the line of the Jews. He then annihilated the Jews and said no more about his Jewish roots. In his last statement regarding them, Jews and Christians became perpetual second-class citizens, dhimmis:
9:29 Make war on those who have received the Scriptures [Jews and Christians] but do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day. They do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden. The Christians and Jews do not follow the religion of truth until they submit and pay the poll tax [jizya] and they are humiliated.
MISSIONS TO WORLD LEADERS
T1561 Mohammed sent letters to the leaders of the countries immediately sur-rounding Arabia demanding submission to Islam. The leader of Egypt thought enough of the invitation to send Mohammed four slave girls. One of these girls was especially attractive to Mohammed, and she was a Christian. Her name was Mary and, as the reader will remember, she bore him a son.
T1566 The letter was received well by the Christian leader in Rome. He said he knew from the sacred texts that Mohammed was a prophet sent by god and that Christians had been expecting him. He would follow Mohammed except that doing so would get him into political trouble with his Roman superiors. So he sent Mohammed’s ambassadors to a Christian bishop instead.
T1567 The bishop also said Mohammed was the one prophesied in the Christian texts and was even mentioned by name. But in the end no one took any action.
T1569 The letter from Mohammed demanding submission to Islam was also sent to the Ethiopian Christian king. The king replied that Mohammed was the one prophe-sied in the Christian texts and was the prophet of the only god. He sent his son and sixty Ethiopians by boat to Mohammed, but the boat sank.
T1572 When the letter was delivered to the king of the Persians, he tore it up. Mo-hammed said his kingdom was torn up at that moment.
A SUMMARY OF MOHAMMED’S ARMED EVENTS
I973 In a nine-year period, Mohammed personally attended twenty-seven raids. There were thirty-eight other battles and expeditions. This was a total of sixty-five armed events, not including assassinations and executions, for an average of one every seven weeks over a period of nine years.
M19,4294 When the Messenger of Allah appointed anyone as leader of an army or detachment, he would especially exhort him to fear Allah and to be good to the Muslims who were with him.
He would say: Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war, do not embezzle the spoils; do not break your pledge; do not mutilate the dead bodies; and do not kill the children.
When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to accept Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. Then invite them to migrate from their lands to the land of Islam and inform them that, if they do so, they shall have all the privileges and obliga-tions of the Muslims. If they refuse to migrate, tell them that they will have the status of Bedouin Muslims and will be subjected to the Commands of Allah like other Muslims, but they will not get any share from the spoils of war except when they actually fight with the Muslims against the disbelievers.
If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the jizya [the tax of submission]. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them. When you lay siege to a fort and the besieged appeal to you for protection in the name of Allah and His Prophet, do not accord to them the guarantee of Allah and His Prophet, but accord to them your own guarantee and the guarantee of your companions for it is a lesser sin that the security given by you or your companions be disregarded than that the security granted in the name of Al-lah and His Prophet be violated.
When you besiege a fort and the besieged want you to let them out in ac-cordance with Allah’s Command, do not let them come out in accordance with His Command, but do so at your own command for you do not know whether or not you will be able to carry out Allah’s behest with regard to them.
B4,52,73 Allah’s Apostle said, “Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords.”
I974 Mohammed sent Ghalib on a night cavalry raid on an Arab tribe. Near the village, he and his men captured one of the tribe’s leaders who said he was now a Muslim. He was told that, if he was a Muslim, then one night tied up would do him no harm. They bound him and left him guarded by a black man, who was ordered to kill him if he tried to alert the rest of the tribe.
B4,52,256 As-Sab Bin Jaththama said, “The Prophet passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa or Waddan and was asked whether it was permissible to at-tack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger.”
The Prophet replied, “The women and children are from pagans.” I also heard the Prophet saying, “The institution of Hima [reserved pasture land] is invalid except for Allah and His Apostle.”
I974 The cavalry got to the tribal area at night. One of them went to scout and lay down on a hill overlooking the village. A villager saw a dark shape on the hill and thought the scout might be a dog. He shot the “shape” twice with arrows, but the scout did not move; so the man figured the shape was not something that was alive.
I974 When the tribe had herded in their cattle, milked them, and gone to bed, they were attacked by the jihadists who cried out, “Slay, slay.” Some of the tribe were killed, and their cattle were driven off. The cries of the injured attracted the attention of the other tribe members, and the Muslims fled with the cattle. As they were pur-sued, the thieves went down through a dry gulch, but soon thereafter a flood came down the gulch and prevented pursuit by the injured tribe. The Muslims took the stolen cattle to Mohammed.
THE RAID AGAINST THE JUDHAM
I976 Mohammed sent an envoy to a Byzantine chief. On the way home, the envoy was raided and lost all his goods to the tribe of Judham. The envoy appealed to a neighboring tribe who were under treaty with Mohammed. They attacked the Jud-ham and recovered the stolen goods.
B4,52,196 Mohammed said, “I have been directed to fight the kafirs until every one of them admits, ‘There is only one god and that is Allah.’ Whoever says, ‘There is only one god and that is Allah,’ his body and possessions will be protected by me except for violations of Islamic law, in which case his fate is with Allah, to be punished or forgiven as He sees fit.”
I977 When the envoy returned to Mohammed and told the story, Mohammed sent out Zayd with armed men for vengeance against the thieves. The men attacked what they thought was the enemy clan, killing five men and stealing one hundred women and children as well as their cattle.
I978 When the chief of the clan found out what had happened, he saddled his camel and took a treaty to Mohammed. The Muslim army had attacked the wrong clan; this clan had a treaty with Mohammed. So Mohammed had Ali go out and meet the vic-torious armed band, and they returned the women, children, and cattle to the clan. The clan forgave them the five dead.
B4,52,259 Allah’s Apostle sent us on a mission and said, “If you find so-and-so and so-and-so, burn both of them with fire.”
When we intended to depart, Allah’s Apostle said, “I have ordered you to burn so-and-so and so-and-so, and it is none but Allah Who punishes with fire, so, if you find them, just kill them.”
I980 The same commander, Zayd, was attacked by a tribe and, besides losing the fight, was personally wounded. While healing from his wounds, he swore not to have sex until he had avenged his pride. So when he was healed he set out to settle the score. This time he was more successful and triumphed over the enemy. One of the leader’s wives was an old woman; her legs were tied to two camels, and she was torn apart. Her daughter was taken back to Medina as a pleasure slave for one of Mo-hammed’s men, who in turn gave her to another man. They produced a son who grew up to become a leading legal scholar.
T1559 Another woman had the misfortune to be the fairest of the
Arabs. She became the slave of Salama, who brought her back to Medina. Moham-med said, “Salama, how excellent was the father who begot you! Give me the woman.” Salama replied, “Messenger of Allah, I have not yet stripped her clothing. She is yours.” Mohammed sent her to Mecca as a slave to trade for some captured Muslims.
ANOTHER KILLING OF JEWS
B4,52,176 Allah’s Apostle said, “Muslims will fight with the Jews till some of them will hide behind stones. The stones will betray them saying, ‘O Abdul-lah [slave of Allah]! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him.’ ”
I981 One of the Jews of Khaybar was trying to work with another Arab tribe to re-sist the jihad of Islam. Word got back to Mohammed. This was before Khaybar was conquered by Mohammed, and it took some strategy to kill the man. Mohammed sent an agent with several other Muslims who went to the Jew as friends. They treated him well and said Mohammed wished to give him an appointment and honor him.
I981 The Muslims and a company of Jews left for Medina but, about six miles out-side Khaybar, the Jew they were trying to assassinate got suspicious and started to turn back. One of the Arabs rushed him with a sword and cut off his leg. The Jew re-turned the blow with a stick he had in his hand and wounded the attacker in the head. The other Muslims fell upon the other Jews and killed them, except for one who managed to escape.
I981 When they got back to Mohammed, he spit on the head wound and the wound did not fester or cause any pain.
ANOTHER ENEMY OF ALLAH KILLED
I982 Another Arab leader was trying to get men together to resist the onslaught of Mohammed. So Mohammed chose one of his best men to assassinate him. The as-sassin asked Mohammed how he would recognize the leader. Mohammed said, “He looks like Satan. When you see him you will shudder.”
I982 The assassin put his sword on and headed to the town where the leader was supposed to be. He came upon a man with several women. He felt a shudder and ad-vanced toward the man while repeating prayers. The leader asked him who he was. The assassin said, “An Arab who has heard of you and the gathering of force to op-pose Mohammed.” The leader said he was indeed the man. The assassin walked with him a short distance and then killed him with his sword and fled with the women.
I982 The assassin returned to Mohammed. Mohammed looked at him and said, “The aim is accomplished.” The assassin replied, “I have killed him, O Apostle.” He replied, “You are right.” Then Mohammed took him into the house and gave him a stick and told him to keep it by him. When the assassin went into Medina, people asked him about the stick but he didn’t know what it meant. So he went back to Mo-hammed and asked about the meaning of the stick. Mohammed told him, “It is a sign between you and me on the day of resurrection. There are a few men who will be car-rying sticks then.”
I982 So the assassin fastened it to his sword and carried it every day. When he was buried, it was put into the grave with him.
THE RAID OF THE DOWRY
I989 A Muslim agreed to marry a woman and pay a high dowry price. He went to Mohammed for help with the dowry and told him the price. Mohammed said, “If you could just pick up money from the ground you could not have offered a higher price.”
I990 A few days later there was news of a man who was daring to oppose Moham-med. The man was about a day’s ride away. So the husband-to-be was put in charge of a small raiding party to see about the man and the degree of his threat. Moham-med gave them a very old and weak camel and the men set off.
I990 They arrived at the village of the suspected Arab at about sunset. The bride-groom went down to one end of the village, and his men went to the other. When the men heard, “Allah Akbar,” they were to charge.
I990 A shepherd from the village had gone out earlier and not returned, so the vil-lagers became worried. The chief took his sword and went out to look for the shep-herd. His companions begged him not to go out alone, but he was not afraid and went out.
I990 When the chief came upon him, the Muslim shot him through the heart with an arrow and he died without a word. The Muslim cut off his head and charged into the camp yelling, “Allah Akbar,” and his soldiers did the same. Everyone in the camp fled. The Muslims drove off the entire herd of camels and sheep. When the leader took the livestock and the head back to Mohammed, he was given thirteen camels. The price of the camels paid the dowry and he was married.
T1609 There were four women captured as slaves, and one was very beautiful. When Mohammed heard about her he said, “Give her to me.” He then gave her to a jihadist as a favor.
ORDERS FOR A RAID
I992 Abdullah was to be a leader of a raid and presented himself for orders. He was wearing a black turban, and Mohammed had him take it off and showed him how to wear it so that a small amount of the cloth hung down in the back. Mohammed said, “That is neater and better.” He then gave Abdullah the banner for the troops and said, “Take the banner. Fight everyone in the way of Allah (jihad) and kill those who disbelieve in Allah. Do not cheat about the spoils of war. Do not mutilate or kill chil-dren. This is Allah’s law and my practice.”
THE DEATH OF A POETESS
I996 There was a poetess who wrote a poem against Islam. Mohammed said, “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?” One of his followers heard him and on that very night he went to the woman’s home to kill her.
M239 The assassin, a blind man, was able to do the work in the dark as the woman slept. Her babe lay on her breast while her other children slept in the room. The stealthy assassin removed the child and drove the knife into her with such force that he pinned her to the bed.
I996 In the morning he went to Mohammed and told him. Mohammed said, “You have helped Allah and his apostle.” When asked about the consequences, Mohammed said, “Two goats won’t butt their heads together over this.”
M239 Mohammed turned to the people in the mosque and said, “If you wish to see a man who has assisted Allah and his prophet, look here.” Omar cried, “What, the blind Omeir!” “No,” said Mohammed, “call him Omeir the Seeing.”
I996 The mother, Marwan, had five sons and the assassin went to the sons and said, “I killed Bint Marwan, O sons. Withstand me if you can; don’t keep me waiting.” Is-lam became powerful that day, and many became Muslims when they saw the power of Islam.
I1000 One night Aisha complained of a headache, but Mohammed also had a head-ache and he said, “No, Aisha, O my head. Would it distress you if you were to die before me so that I might wrap you in your shroud and pray over you?” Aisha said, “I think that, if you did that, after you returned to the house you would simply spend the night with one of your other wives.” But the pain became worse and he took his final illness in the house of Aisha.
I1006 Mohammed was weakened and in a great deal of pain. Later he died with his head in Aisha’s lap.
T1834 His final words were, “There should not be two religions in Arabia” ( i.e., no Jews, no Christians).
Mohammed had established the ideal Islamic pattern of religious tolerance. Islam was to be dominant. All other religions had to submit to Islam.
T1831 Mohammed was buried beneath his bed. The bed was removed and a grave was dug where the bed had stood.
I1017 Abu Bakr was elected caliph to rule over Islam after Mohammed’s death.
This marks the end of Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, translated by A. Guillaume as The Life of Mohammed.