Mohammed and the Unbelievers
More Battles and Romantic Troubles
THE ATTACK ON LIHYAN
I718 A few months after the annihilation of the last Jews of Medina, Mohammed led his troops on an attack upon the Arabs of Lihyan. They moved at a rapid pace but when they arrived, the Lihyan tribe was high in the mountains and fortified. They had been warned. He headed south with two hundred riders toward Mecca just for the psychological pressure. Then they headed back to Medina. War is deceit.
THE ATTACK ON DHU QARAD
I720 Mohammed had been back in Medina only a few days when the Ghatafan Ar-abs raided Mohammed’s camel pasture. They killed the Muslim herder and left with his wife and the camels. A rider came and told Mohammed and the chase was on. A small, quick posse was sent out ahead of a larger army. The posse was to make contact and harass the Ghatafans, and the army would come up and crush them.
I721 The army never engaged the Ghatafans, but the posse did manage to kill two of them and get one of their own killed. A few camels were recovered and they all went back to Medina.
THE RAID ON THE MUSTALIQ TRIBE
I725 Mohammed heard that the Arab tribe, the Mustaliqs, were gathering against him. So he set out with his army to oppose them. He contacted them at a watering hole and combat started. Islam was victorious and the Mustaliqs and their women, children, and goods were taken as spoils of war and distributed to the fighters. Only one Muslim was killed and that was by mistake by another Muslim.
M19,4292 I [Ibn Aun ] wrote to Nafi inquiring from him whether it was necessary to extend to the disbelievers an invitation to accept Islam before attacking them in fight. He wrote in reply to me that it was necessary in the early days of Islam. The Messenger of Allah made a raid upon Banu Mustaliq while they were unaware and their cattle were having a drink at the water. He killed those who fought and imprisoned others. On that very day, he cap-tured Al-Harith. Nafi said that this tradition was related to him by Umar who himself was among the raiding troops.
B5,59,459 Entering the mosque, Ibn Muhairiz saw Abu Said and asked him whether coitus interruptus was sanctified by Allah.
Abu Said said, “Accompanying Mohammed at the Battle of Banu Al-Mustaliq, we were rewarded with Arab captives, including several woman which were very sought after because celibacy had become quite a hardship. We had planned to practice coitus interruptus but felt that we should seek instruction first from Mohammed. [Ed. Pregnancy was undesirable in the slaves because it diminished their value on the market.]
“Mohammed said, however, ‘It is better that you not interrupt copulation to prevent pregnancy, because if a soul is predestined to exist, then it will exist.’”
After the battle, a fight broke out between the original Immigrants of the Quraysh tribe and the Helpers of Medina. Although Islam tried to have no tribal differences, there were rivalries between the Immigrants and the Helpers.
I726 One of the Helpers and an Immigrant were at the water when one shoved the other and they fell to fighting. One called out for his allies, the Helpers, and the other yelled for his friends, the Immigrants. Both groups were professional killers and the insults started. One Helper, who was a leader, said, “What? The Immigrants dispute our authority, and they have come to outnumber us in our own city. The Quraysh bums are an example of the old saying, ‘Feed a dog and it will devour you.’ When we return to our town, the stronger will drive out the weaker.”
I726 When this was reported back to Mohammed, Umar was standing there and said, “Tell Abbad to go and kill him.” Mohammed was in a bind. “Then people will say that Mohammed will kill his own,” he said. “No. Give orders to set off now.” It was earlier than he usually set out. He had the Muslims walk on foot for a day and night until, when they stopped, they were completely exhausted and fell to sleep at once. Mohammed’s strategy worked. The men were too tired to argue and fight. The next morning they got up and a forced march with all the captives and their livestock finally put them back in Medina.
I728 After they had been back in Medina only a short time, another of the Helpers, a man of authority, came to Mohammed and offered to kill the offending Helper for Mohammed. Mohammed said no, that it could all be worked out. He turned to Umar, who had suggested killing the man immediately and said, “Now what do you think? Had I killed him when everyone was angry it would have created civil war. Now his own offer to kill him.” Umar replied that Mohammed was the better strategist. But the tension between the Helpers and the Immigrants was to fester and erupt later.
I729 The captives of the tribe of Mustaliq were parceled out as spoils of war and ransom prices set upon their heads. If no one paid the ransoms, they were treated as spoils of war and slaves. One of them was a beautiful woman with a high price on her head. She came to Mohammed and asked him to see if the price could be reduced. Mohammed had a better idea. He would pay the ransom for the beautiful woman, and she could become his wife—in spite of the fact that she was already married. [The Koran gave permission for sex with married captives.] It was a deal. Mohammed paid the ransom, and the beautiful woman became wife number seven.
I729 A side effect of this marriage was that the captives were now related to Mo-hammed’s wife, so they were all released without ransom.
When Mohammed went on his missions to attack and kill those who resisted Is-lam, he took one of his wives with him. Which one got to go was determined by lots. Mohammed took Aisha with him to the battle against the Mustaliqs. At the time of this expedition she was fifteen years old and the favorite of his seven wives.
I731 There was a problem in taking one of Mohammed’s wives on an expedition and that was privacy. By now the veil had been proscribed for his wives so they could not be seen or heard. On trips, they rode in a tent-covered box that could be mounted on a camel’s saddle. On the way back from the expedition Aisha had gone out in the morning to relieve herself. When she returned, she discovered that she had lost a necklace and went back to find it. Meanwhile, the men in charge loaded the howdah on the camel and off they went without Aisha.
I732 When Aisha got back, the entire group had moved on. She wrapped herself in her smock and waited. They would return. Lo and behold, who should show up but a young warrior who had not spent the night in the camp. He put her on his camel and walked in search of the army, leading the camel with her on it. They could not catch the army, so the pair entered Medina, the young man leading the camel with Aisha on it.
I732 Here was a woman no one was even to speak with or see, and they had spent the day together all alone. Tongues began to wag, imaginations worked overtime, and gossip spread. Aisha fell ill and was bedridden for three weeks. While she was ill Mo-hammed spoke in the mosque about it. “Why are men worrying me about my family and saying false things about a man of whom I know nothing but good?”
I734 Tempers flared and men offered to kill the gossips. Something had to be done. Mohammed called in two men and asked their advice. The first said that both Aisha and the young man were innocent and the rumors were lies. Ali said, “Women are plentiful and can be exchanged one for another. Ask Aisha’s slave girl about Aisha.” So the slave girl was brought in, and Ali beat her severely and told her to tell Mo-hammed the truth about Aisha. The beaten slave told the prophet of Allah that she knew no ill of Aisha.
I735 Mohammed went to Aisha and told her what people were saying and that if she had done wrong to ask Allah for forgiveness. She told him she had done nothing to be forgiven for. Mohammed went into one of his trance states and Allah told him Aisha was innocent and the gossips should be flogged. This event determined the Koranic law about adultery. Adultery must have four witnesses. No witnesses means there is no adultery. Therefore, Aisha was innocent.
24:12 Why did the believing men and women, when they heard this, not think better of their own people and say, “This is an obvious lie”? Why did they not bring four witnesses? And because they could not find any witnesses, they are surely liars in Allah’s sight.
I735 As for those who gossiped and lied:
24:4 Those who make accusations against honorable women and are unable to pro-duce four witnesses should be given eighty lashes. Thereafter, do not accept their testimony, for they are terrible sinners, except those who repent afterwards and live righteously.
I736 But the scandal did not end there. One of those who were flogged was a poet. The young warrior who led Aisha’s camel appeared in a poem written by the poet and was offended, so he took his sword and cut the poet badly. The poet and his friends managed to bind the young warrior and take him to Mohammed. Mohammed wanted all the trouble to go away. He gave the wounded poet a nice home and a Christian slave girl for sex as compensation for the sword blow.