Tag Archives: Hadith

Explanation Of “Do Not Say ‘Salaam’ To Jews…” Hadith

Kaleef K. Karim

I have always advised Muslims and others that when you use a Hadith or a Quranic verse, you should know the historical background as why it was said and when it was revealed. If you do not know the very basics of when and why a verse of the Quran was revealed or why the Prophet (p) said a statement, don’t try give an explanation and lead  innocent people astray. Without its historical background one will at times give an interpretation that may be alien to the way it was understood when it was uttered. For example, the following Hadith is often quoted and twisted by individuals who want to paint the Islamic faith negatively:

“Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: Do not greet the Jews and the Christians before they greet you and when you meet any one of them on the roads force him to go to the narrowest part of it.” (Sahih Muslim Book 26, Hadith 5389. Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/muslim/39/16 )

And:

“Narrated Abu Hurairah: that the Messenger of Allah said: “Do not precede the Jews and the Christians with the Salam. And if one of you meets them in the path, then force them to its narrow portion.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 5, Book 40, Hadith 2700. Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam, https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/42/13 )

Just reading the above reports by itself may seem to give a reader an impression that the Prophet (p) discriminated against other religious groups. However, this is not the case when we consult historical sources on the same incident. This saying was uttered mainly against an enemy group who aimed to harm the Prophet (p) and the Muslims. There are two Hadith reports on this:

“It was narrated from Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman Al Juhani that the Messenger of Allah said: “I am riding to the Jews tomorrow. Do not initiate the greeting with them, and if they greet you, then say: Wa ‘alaikum (and also upon you)”. Sunan Ibn Majah volume 5, Book 33, Hadith 3699. Eng. Tran., Hasan Darussalam https://sunnah.com/ibnmajah/33/43 )

And here:

“Abu Basra al-Ghifari reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I will ride to the Jews tomorrow. Do not give them the greeting first. If they greet you, then say, ‘and on you.’” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad Book 44, Hadith 1102. Eng. Tran., Sahih Al-Albani, https://sunnah.com/adab/44/2 )

The part where it says, “I will ride to the Jews” or “I am riding to the Jews” indicates that the Prophet (p) was at war with this group of people in his time. There are two clear proofs from classical scholars that this statement was made in relation to war.

The 9th century Persian Islamic scholar Abu Isa Muḥammad ibn Isa as-Sulami ad-Darir al-Bughi at-Tirmidhi (824 – 892 CE) placed this Hadith in the category of “The Book on military expeditions” [1]:

“21 THE BOOK ON MILITARY EXPEDITIONS
(41)Chapter: What Has Been Related About Greeting The People Of The Book With Salam
Narrated Abu Hurairah:That the Messenger of Allah said: “Do not precede the Jews and the Christians with the Salam. And if one you meets one of them in the path, then force him to its narrow portion.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 3, Book 19, Hadith 1602 Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam, https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/21/65 

The 14/15th century Shafi’I scholar Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (1372 – 1449 CE) placed this Hadith in the category of “The Book On Jihad”:

“Bulugh al-Maram – The Book on Jihad
Abu Hurairah (RAA) narrated that The Messenger of Allah said: “Do not start by saluting the Jews and the Christians (when you meet them), and if you meet any of them on the road, force him to go to the narrowest part of the road.” (Bulugh al-Maram Book 11, Hadith 1350. Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/urn/2116100 )

It is quite clear that among classical scholars of Islam, they deemed this Hadith report to be in relation to war only.

Who exactly was this group that the Prophet (p) and his companions were at war with? This saying was uttered on the occasion of the Banu Qurayza incident. The Prophet and his people were marching to the Banu Qurayza tribe. This tribe just had violated the peace treaty and attacked the Muslim community. They had violated the treated and helped the Quraysh in war against the Muslims, in the battle of Khandaq: “Battle Of The Trench (al-Khandaq – al-Ahzab)“ https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/18/battle-of-the-trench-al-khandaq-al-ahzab/

For more information on Banu Quraizah incident, see the following article please: “Re-Examining Banu Qurayzah Incident” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/01/01/re-examining-banu-qurayzah-incident/

The medieval sunni scholar Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292 – 1350 CE) states that the Hadith was uttered in relation to when the Muslims “went out to Banu Quraizah” [2]:

“Regarding His Guidance In Giving Salutations Of Peace To The People Of The Scripture
It has been authentically reported from the Prophet that he said:
‘Do not anticipate them in offering salutations of peace; and if you meet them in the road, force them to the narrowest part of it.’
However, it has been said: That was in special circumstances, when HE WENT OUT TO BANU QURAIZAH and he said: ‘Do not anticipate them in offering salutations of peace.’ ” (Provisions for the Hereafter (Zaad Al-Ma’ad) by Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, page 211 – 212)

Contemporary Professor Said Fares Hassan comments on this particular Hadith and gives a plausible explanation(s) as why the Prophet uttered those words on that occasion:

“The Qur’an is the ultimate source, and the Sunnah runs in its orbit and does not depart from it. Therefore if the Qur’an states the principle of justice and righteousness in dealing with non-Muslims, then prophetic hadith such as ‘do not initiate peace greeting i.e., saying ‘peace be upon you,’ with the Jews and oblige them to take the side of the road’ should be reinterpreted in terms of the Qur’an and not otherwise. Such a statement should not be taken at its face value. The Sunnah has to be considered as an integral structure in its own right, however closely linked to the Qur’an as an elaboration of its values in a relative specific context. Based on the principle, the above hadith is applicable only in its specific context. It is reported that the Prophet instructed Muslims not to greet the Jews when he was heading to war against the Jewish community of BANU QURAYZAH for the breaching of their covenant with him. Muslims were advised not to greet them because if they exchange greetings, THIS WILL BE LIKE GIVING THE JEWS AN AMAN, THAT IS, CONCLUDING A PEACE TREATY, which is not desired in this specific situation. Against this specific incident, the Qur’an lays the general principle that ‘Allah does not forbid you to deal justly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes’ (Qur’an 60:8). If one adds to this some other prophetic Hadiths that support the Qur’anic principle, one can conclude the inapplicability of the statement preventing the greeting of non-Muslims.” (Fiqh al-Aqalliyat – History, Development, and Progress [Palgrave Macmillan, 2013], by Said Fares Hassan, page 104)

This explanation offered by Professor Said Fares Hassan has also been given by other classical scholars in the past. The highly respected scholar Ishaq bin Rahwaih (777 – 852 CE) comments in relation to the report under discussion. He writes:

“إذا كانت حاجة إليه فلك أن تبدأه بالسلام، ومعنى قول النبي (لا تبدؤوهم بالسلام)لما خاف أن يدعوا ذلك أمانا وكان قد غدا إلى يهود
“If there is a need for it, then initiate the greeting. As for the meaning of the words of the Prophet “Do not greet them”, he said this out of fear that this might signify to them that they are safe, while he already marched against the Jews (Banu Qurayzah).” (Masaa’il al-Imam Ahmad wa Ishaq bin Rahwaih, volume 1, page 87)

When the historical context of the Hadith is taken into account, we see that the Prophet (p) said this statement in the time of war. Hence, the Hadith reports under discussion has been understood from the earliest of days of Islam as a safeguard not to give false hope to the enemy. For example, since the Prophet (p) and his companions were going out to battle against a treacherous group of people, they did not want to greet them since that would amount to giving them security. Hence, that would be considered treachery on their part if they did. Thus, the companions at the time were prohibited from greeting them.

Furthermore, to better explain what scholar Ishaq bin Rahwaih (777 – 852 CE) is saying, we have to look Islamic teachings and see how strict Islam is when it comes to treachery:

“Aman may be given by Muslims to non-Muslims and by non-Muslims to Muslims. At the time of ‘Umar, the second Caliph, during a war, a Persian soldier took shelter at the top of a tree. A Muslims soldier told him in Persian cum Arabic ‘matrasi’ (don’t be afraid). His adversary thought that he was given a pledge and protection and came down. Sadly, he was killed by the Muslim soldier. The matter was reported to the Caliph, who warned the commander, saying ‘As God is my witness, if I hear anyone has done this I shall cut his neck.”’ (Badruddin Ayni, Umdah Al-Qari Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhari, (Cairo Al-Taba Muneeriya, n.d.), volume 15, page 94) (The Concept Of Treaty In Relation To War And Peace In Islam, [Fikr-O-Nazar Urdu Journal (July-Sept 2009)], by Dr. Muhammad Munir, volume 47, No. 1, page 43 – 65)

And according to Shaybani (749 -805 CE):

“‘Umar wrote to his commander in Iraq that if anyone gave pledge to any enemy soldier buy sing, inter alia, the Persian words ‘matrasi’, then these words are binding.’ (Shaybani, Siyar al-Kabir, volume 1, page 199) (The Concept Of Treaty In Relation To War And Peace In Islam, [Fikr-O-Nazar Urdu Journal (July-Sept 2009)], by Dr. Muhammad Munir, volume 47, No. 1, page 43 – 65)

Muwatta Malik (711 -795 CE):

“…DO NOT ACT TREACHEROUSLY. Do not mutilate and do not kill children.” (Muwatta Malik Book 21, Hadith 11 Eng. Tran.)

And:

“Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war, do not embezzle the spoils; DO NOT COMMIT TREACHERY; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children.” (Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4294)

Conclusion:

In light of the context, the Prophet Muhammed (p) was worried that he was going to give the enemy a false sense of security by imitating greetings. If one is responsible in any way for providing the enemy a false sense of security and then you fight him, Islam considers this to be an act of treachery. That is the justice of Islam. And so the Prophet was just trying to be extra cautious in regards to this situation with the Banu Qurayza.

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Related articles:

(1) – “‘Those Who Wage War And Make Mischief’ – Quran 5:33” (Ukil & Urayna) https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/18/those-who-wage-war-and-make-mischief-quran-533/

(2) – “Baseless Story Of Kinana Ibn Al-Rabi – Treasure?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2015/04/04/baseless-story-of-kinana-ibn-al-rabi-treasure/

(3) – “Hadith Without Context Is Meaningless: Abu Bakr’s ‘Apostasy’ Wars” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/10/17/hadith-without-context-is-meaningless-abu-bakrs-apostasy-wars/

(4) – “Revisiting Abu Bakr’s Conversation With Umar And The Delegation(s): Ridda Wars” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/10/22/revisiting-abu-bakrs-conversation-with-umar-and-the-delegations-ridda-wars/

(5) – “The Hadith ‘…Fight Until They Say There Is No god But Allah’ Explained” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/12/25/the-hadith-fight-until-they-say-there-is-no-god-but-allah-explained/

(6) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/25/early-expeditions-and-battles-of-islam/

(7) – “Muhammed A Mercy: Analysing Dogs Killed In Madinah” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/12/06/muhammed-a-mercy-analysing-dogs-killed-in-madinah/

(8) – “What Happened To The Captive Women In Awtas Incident?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/06/23/what-happened-to-the-captive-women-in-awtas-incident/

(9) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/05/27/most-misinterpreted-verses-of-the-quran/

(10) – “Did Jews Get Expelled From Arabia?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/01/10/did-jews-get-expelled-from-arabia/

(11) – “Ali Ibn Abi Talib Did Not Burn Apostates Alive – Historical Analysis” https://discover-the-truth.com/2017/03/11/ali-ibn-abi-talib-did-not-burn-apostates-alive-historical-analysis/
Reference:

[1] Commenting on this, classical scholar Abu Eisa stated that those people were at war with they should not be honored:
[He said:] There are narrations on this topic from Ibn ‘Umar, Anas, and Abu Basrah Al-Ghifari the Companion of the Prophet.
[Abu ‘Eisa said:] This Hadith is Hasan Sahih. And regarding the meaning of this Hadith: “Do not precede the Jews and the Christians”: Some of the people of knowledge said that it only means that it is disliked because it would be honoring them, and the Muslims were ordered to humiliate them. For this reason, when one of them is met on the path, then the path is not yielded for him, because doing so would amount to honoring them.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 3, Book 19, Hadith 1602 Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam, https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/21/65 )
[2] 14th century scholar Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (1335 – 1393 CE) comments in regards to treachery:
“…if he makes a contract he is treacherous and does not fulfil the contract. He says:
Fullfill your contracts. Contracts will be asked about.’ Surat al-Isra:34)
And he says:
‘Be true to Allah’s contract when you have agreed to it, and do not break your oaths once they are confirmed and you have made Allah your guarantee’ – Surat an-Nahl: 91
And he says:
‘Those who sell Allah’s contract and their own oaths for a party price, such people will have no portion in the akhirah and on the Day of Rising Allah will not speak to them or look at them or purify them. They will have a painful punishment.’ – (Surah Al Imran:77)
There is in the two Sahih books from Ibn Umar that the Prophet said, ‘For every treacherous one there is a banner on the Day of Rising by which he will be recognised.’
And in a version, ‘The treacherous one will have set up for him a standard on the Day of Rising, and it will be said, ‘This is the treachery of so-and-son! Al-Bukhari (3188) and Muslim (1735)
They both also narrated it in a hadith of Anas in the same sense.
Muslim narrated a hadith of Abu Sa’id that the Prophet said, ‘Every treacherous one will have a standard at his buttocks on the Day of Rising.’ Muslim (1738)
TREACHERY IS HARAM IN EVERY CONTRACT between Muslims and another, EVEN IF THE PERSON WITH WHOM THE CONTRACT IS MADE IS A KAFIR. For this reason there is in the hadith of Abdullah ibn Amr from the Prophet ‘Whoever kills a person whom he has an agreement without a just cause will not smell the gragrance of the Garden, and its fragrance can be experienced at a distance of forty years travel.’ Al-Bukhari narrated it. (Al-Bukhari (3166, 6914).
Allah, exalted is He, commands in His Book that we fulfil idolaters contracts if they undertake to fulfil their contracts and do not fail in them.” (“Jami’al –Ulum Wal – Hikam”) – Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali [Translated by Abdassamad Clarke – Turath Publishing, 1428/2007], page 744 – 745)

Aisha And Muhammed’s Marriage – Puberty

Kaleef K. Karim

Content:

1. Was Aisha’s Marriage Common In History?
2. Khawlah Suggested The Prophet To Marry Aisha
3. Aisha And Dolls
4. Jariyya – Young Lady
5. Aisha Reached Puberty Before Marriage Was Consummated

Introduction,

Among the claims made in regards to Prophet Muhammed’s marriage to Aisha is that such a marriage was uncommon. Some online detractors even go the extend to avoid and deliberately make out to their readers that such a marriage was unheard off in history.

Indeed there are a number of authentic reports in Sahih al Bukhari and other sources which say that her marriage was consummated at the age of 9 (or 10 in some other sources). This was the time she had reached the age of puberty. Although this age is something that has been accepted among the conservative Muslims in the past and today, there are some 20th century proponents who have pointed out based on external evidence from a number of authentic reports that her age was older than what is commonly accepted among Muslims. I won’t go into much more detail on this here, as there may be an article on this matter in the near future to see if what is presented has any validity.

1. Was Aisha’s Marriage Common In History?

Yes, her marriage was very common. Among the ancient cultures and societies it was custom when a girl hits puberty she was transitioned into adulthood. This was the stage where girls who hit puberty were deemed to be a woman, and a time for them to be married off.

The Bible for example gives us many instances where Prophets married very young girls, for today it may shock some readers, but these type of marriages were very common.

1.1. Prophet Jacob’s daughter, Dinah was given away in marriage when she was below the age of 9-years-old to Shechem. The marriage didn’t last long as Dinah’s brothers murdered members of Shechem’s family due to Shechem’s act before the marriage: “Bible: How Old Was Dinah When She Was Married To Shechem?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/08/02/bible-how-old-was-dinah-when-she-was-married-to-shechem/

1.2. There is also the case wherein King David in his old age wasn’t getting warm in his bed. His nurses (doctors) proposed to bring a young girl to warm him up. To bring him back to his youthful strength. This is while King David was 70-years-old, the girl Abishag was no older than 12-years-old when she was married off to him: “King David’s Marriage To 12 Year Old Abishag – Bible“ https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/09/17/king-davids-marriage-to-12-year-old-abishag-bible/

. Another two piece articles have been written about this incident, please see here: https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/09/21/exploring-1-kings-14-knew-her-not-king-davids-12-year-old-bride/

And here: https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/09/25/bible-evidence-that-david-married-12-year-old-abishag/

1.3. The most common marriage that is widely known among scholars is that of Isaac and Rebecca. Some very early scholars have pointed out that she was no older than 3-years-old when she was married off to Isaac. However, this number is not in accord with the Biblical text. I wrote a very detailed article on this showing that Rebecca was anything below the age of 9, but not three. The Biblical text support the evidence provided that Isaac was 40-years-old when he married 8-year-old Rebecca: “The Age Of Rebecca When She Married Isaac – Biblical Perspective“ https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/10/26/the-age-of-rebecca-when-she-married-isaac-biblical-perceptive/ .

Here is another piece on Rebecca and Isaac’s marriage: https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/11/14/was-rebekah-3-10-years-old-when-married-off-to-isaac/

1.4. The apocryphal writings report that Mary was 12-years-old when she was given away in marriage to 80-year-old (other reports say 90-year-old) Joseph the carpenter. Some modern Christians uncomfortable about this account have dismissed it. Mary being married off at 12-years-old is not just reported in apocryphal writings, this is well attested also by some of the earliest Church fathers: “Mary the wife of Joseph The carpenter”: https://discover-the-truth.com/2013/09/30/marriage-of-mary-to-joseph-the-carpenter/

1.5. There is also the case with Moses and his men marrying prepubescent girls, this is related in the Biblical verse, Numbers 31:18: https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/08/07/a-detailed-historical-examination-of-numbers-3118/

1.6. Away from the Bible, just over 100 years ago, the age of consent in America and Europe was 10, and in the State of Delaware it was as low as 7: “Age of Consent in European and American History“: https://discover-the-truth.com/2013/09/09/age-of-consent-in-european-american-history/

The New York Times, in 1895 mentions the age of consent laws in a publication: “The Age Of Consent Laws In America, 1800s“: https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/09/13/the-age-of-consent-laws-in-america-1800s/

Scholars have pointed out that what we call “child-marriage” today was never brought up. A female was deemed to be an adult the moment she hit puberty. Same was the case for boys, they were deemed be an adults the moment there were signs of pubic hair or had a wet dream.

If one thinks these above cases are only in the past, they are mistaken.

In 1972, a case was brought in Pinellas County, it was said that Sherry Johnson, of Tallahassee, was raped at the age of 10. As a result of this she got impregnated by the perpetrator. Sherry Johnson’s mom gave approval for her daughter to “marry the 20-year-old” man: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2014-03-18/news/fl-minors-marriage-legislature-20140318_1_stafford-parental-consent-vital-statistics

And here: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2014-03-18/news/fl-minors-marriage-legislature-20140318_1_stafford-parental-consent-vital-statistics

The law did not prohibit the couple from getting married, even though he was a lot older. [1]

Away from the 1970s, between 2000 and 2010 over 240 thousand children were married off in America: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/02/10/why-does-the-united-states-still-let-12-year-old-girls-get-married/?utm_term=.2215ab3c97de

The youngest girl married was 12-years-old. The vast majority of the time the men were a lot older than the girls. Despite this, such marriages continue to this very day in many Christian, Jewish and even secular communities https://www.good.is/articles/child-marriage-america . [2] [3]

With parental consent a 12 to 14-year-old can be married in some states in America:

“A handful of other states sanction extremely early marriages with parental consent: In Alabama, South Carolina and Utah, girls can marry at 14; in New Hampshire it’s 13; in Massachusetts and Kansas, 12.”(“Early marriage survives in the U.S.”, last acessed 27th february 2017, online source, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-0412120359dec12-story.html#page=1)

Here is New Hampshire’s Law:

“The state of New Hampshire requires males as young as 14 and females as young as 13 to obtain parental consent before a marriage license will be granted. The statute does not provide specific exceptions, but allows the judge to grant marriage license requests if he or she believes it is in the couple’s best interests.” (“New Hampshire Marriage Age Requirements Laws” (Last accessed 19th February 2017), online source, http://statelaws.findlaw.com/new-hampshire-law/new-hampshire-marriage-age-requirements-laws.html )

As recently as 2014, in Spain a girl of 14 years-old could get married by Law. They lifted the age from 14 to 16 years of age as pressure was mounted on the government (online source, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/04/spain-raises-age-of-consent ). [4]

As we have read so far, Aisha’s marriage 1400 society was normal, very common among the ancient cultures and all the way to the present day.

2. Khawlah Suggested The Prophet To Marry Aisha

The Prophet Muhammed (p) became sad at the loss of his beloved wife, Khadija. He had four young children to bring up by himself. To heal his wounds at the demise of his wife, Khawlah bint Hakim offered to search around to find him a new wife. She went over to the Prophet Muhammed (p) and suggested two options, one was the virgin, Aisha the daughter of his closest friend from Jahiliyyah days, Abu Bakr, and the other was a former widow, Sawdah bint Zamah [5]. Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya – Ibn Kathir quotes a Hadith from Musnad of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal on this:

“Imam Ahmad stated in the Musnad, of A’isha, ‘the mother of the faithful,’ that Muhammad b. Bishr related to him, from Bishr and Muhammad b. Amr, who was told the following by Abu Salama and Yahya: ‘When Khadija died, Khawla, daughter of Hakim, the wife of Uthman b. Maz’un, came and said, ‘O Messenger of God, wouldn’t you like to get married?’ He replied, to whom?’
‘To either a virgin or to someone previously married, as you wish.’
‘And who would the virgin be?’ He asked. She replied, ‘That creation of God you enjoy above all others, A’isha, daughter of Abu Bakr!’
‘And who would the previously married woman be?’ He asked. ‘Sawda, daughter of Zam’a,’ she answered. ‘She has expressed belief in you and has become your follower.’
‘You may go,’ he told her, ‘and make mention of me to them.’ ‘She entered Abu Bakr’s house and said to his wife, ‘Umm Ruman, what goodness and blessings God brings you!’ ‘How do you mean?’ She enquired. ‘The Messenger of God (SAAS) has sent me to ask to become engaged to A’isha!’
‘See Abu Bakr when he comes in,’ she replied.
‘Abu Bakr did come and Khawla said, ‘O Abu Bakr, what goodness and blessings God brings you!’
‘How so?’ he asked.
‘The Messenger of God (SAAS) has sent me to ask to become engaged to A’isha!’ … Umm Ruman told me, ‘Mut’im b. Adi has asked for her in marriage to his son; and, I swear, Abu Bakr went in to see Mut’im b. Adi who had his wife, Umm al-Sabi, with him. She commented, ‘Well, son of Abu Quhafa, are you perhaps having our friend change his religion and join yours if he gets married into your family?’ Abu Bakr asked Mut’im b. Adi, ‘Is this how you respond?’ He replied, ‘It’s she who said that.’ ‘And so Abu Bakr left, God having relieved him of the promise he had made to Mut’im. He returned home and told Khawla, ‘Call for the Messenger of God (SAAS) to come to me.’ She did so and he agreed to her (Aisha) marriage to him (Muhammed)…” (The Life of the Prophet Muhammed (‘Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya’) [Translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick, Garnet Publishing – Copyright 2000, The Center for Muslim Contribution To civilization], by Ibn Kathir, volume 2, page 94 – 95)

Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk – Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari [6]:

“The Reason Why The Messenger of God Asked for the Hands of Both A’ishah and Sawdah in Marriage and the Received Reports as to with Whom He First Contracted the Marriage
… When Khadijah died, Khawlah bt. Hakim b. Umayyah b. al-Awqas, wife of Uthman b. Maz’un, who was in Mecca, said [to the Messenger of God]. ‘O Messenger of God, will you not marry?’ He replied, ‘Whom’? ‘A Maiden,’ she said, ‘if you like, or a non-maiden.’ He replied, ‘Who is the maiden?’ ‘The daughter of the dearest creature of God to you,’ she answered, ‘A’ishah bt. Abi Bakr.’ He asked, ‘And who is the non-maiden?’ ‘Sawdah bt. Zam’ah b. Qays,’ she replied, ‘she has [long] believed in you and has followed you.’ [So the Prophet] asked her to go and propose to them on his behalf. She went to Abu Bakr’s house, where she found Umm Ruman, mother of A’ishah, and said, ‘O Umm Ruman, what a good thing and a blessing has God brought to you!’ She said, ‘What is that?’ Khawlah replied, ‘The Messenger of God has sent me to ask for A’ishah’s hand in marriage on his behalf.’ She answered. ‘I ask that you wait for Abu Bakr, for he should be on his way.’ When Abu Bakr came, Khawlah repeated what she had said. He replied, ‘She is [like] his brother’s daughter. Would she be appropriate for him?’ When Khawlah returned to the Messenger of God and told him about it he said, ‘God back to him and say that he is my brother in Islam and that I am his brother [in Islam], so his daughter is good for me.’ She cae to Abu Bakr and told him what the Messenger of God had said. Then he asked her to wait until he returned. Umm Ruman said that al-Mut’im b. Adi has asked A’ishah’s hand for his son, but Abu Bakr had not promised anything. Abu Bakr left and went to Mut’im while his wife, mother of the son for whom he had asked A’ishah’s hand, was with him.” (The History Of al-Tabari (Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-muluk”) – The Last Years Of the Prophet [Translated and annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala, University of California, Los Angeles – State University Of New York, 1990], volume IX (9), page 129 – 130)

al-Bayhaqi:

“This is an account of the same circumstances related by al-Bayhaqi through Ahmad b. Abd al-Jabbar, as follows, ‘Abd Allah b. Idris al-Azdi related to us, from Muhammad b. Amr, from Yahya b. Abd al-Rahman b. Hatib who reported, ‘A’isha said, ‘When Khadija died Khawla, daughter of Hakim, came and said, ‘O Messenger of God, would you like to be married?’ ‘To whom?’ he enquired. ‘It could, if you wish, be to a virgin or to a woman previously married,’ she replied. ‘Which virgin, and which previously married?’ he asked. ‘The virgin could be the daughter of that creation of God whom you love best; the previously married woman would be Sawda, daughter of Zam’a. She has expressed belief in you and become your follower.’ ‘Make mention of me to them, he told her.’” (The Life of the Prophet Muhammed (‘Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya’) [Translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick, Garnet Publishing – Copyright 2000, The Center for Muslim Contribution To civilization], by Ibn Kathir, volume 2, page 96)

And:

“In other words the messenger of God desists from marrying? He said: And who [do you suggest]? She said: Do you want a young woman (bakra) or an old woman (thayiba)? He said: So who is the young woman? She said: The daughter of the most beloved of Allah’s creation to you, ‘Aisha bint Abi Bakr. And he said: Who is the older woman? She said: Sawdah bint Zama‘ah. He said: So go and mention me to both of them.“ (Abu al-Qasim al-Ṭabarani, al-Mu‘jam al-Kabir (Cairo: Maktabah ibn Taymiyah, 1994), 5923:23. Nu‘im bin al-Ḥakim al-Naysaburi, al-Mustadarak ala al-Ṣahihayn (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘ilmiyah, 1999), tradition 2704, 2:181. Isnad graded Sahih) (“A Modern Matn Criticism on the Tradition on Aisha’s Age of Marriage: Translation and Analysis”, p. 18-19, source, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279513550_A_Modern_Matn_Criticism_on_the_Tradition_on_’A’isha’s_Age_of_Marriage_Translation_and_Analysis )

We gather from the above reports that the marriage of Aisha was suggested by Khawlah who was a close family friend. She encouraged Prophet Muhammad to marry Aisha ‘to form a close relationship with Abu Bakr’s family’.

Another important information that needs highlighting here is, the above reports tell us that Aisha was already engaged to Jubayr Ibn Mut’im Ibn Adi, a young man who had not embraced Islam at the time. This shows that marriage of the Prophet (p) and Aisha was not uncommon. As far as history is witness, there was nothing unusual about this marriage.

Barnaby Rogerson comments on this, regarding Khawlah suggesting the marriage and saying that the marriage was consummated years later when Aisha had physically matured, “after her menstruation”:

“After Khadijah died the Prophet’s household and his daughters were cared for by Khawlah, the wife of one of his loyal followers. After the first period of mourning had passed, Khawlah suggested that he should find another wife. She herself put forward two candidates, the very beautiful Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr, and Sawdah, a motherly thirty-year-old. Muhammad chose both of them Sawdah, of the Muslims who had taken refuge in Abyssinia, had recently been widowed. She was therefore immediately available and moved in to take charge of the household. Aisha, then still a pre-pubescent virgin, was betrothed by her father BUT DID NOT PHYSICALLY BECOME MUHAMMAD’S WIFE UNTIL SHE WAS CONSIDERED SEXUALLY MATURE, AFTER HER MENSTRUATION.” (The Prophet Muhammad: And the Roots of the Sunni-Shia Schism [Hachette Digital, 2003], by Barnaby Rogerson page 55)

 

3. Aisha And Dolls

Narrated ‘Aisha: I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah’s Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for ‘Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not reached the age of puberty.) (Fateh-al-Bari, volume 13, page 143) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, volume 8, Book 73, Number 151)

The above report(s) is often cited by some critics as evidence that Aisha played with dolls, therefore she was a prepubescent girl after her marriage was consummated. This claim has no foundation, given that we have many reports, which tell us that Aisha hit puberty long before the marriage was consummated with Prophet Muhammed (p).

It should be noted the part where it’s in brackets,

(“The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for ‘Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty”.)

This is not part of the report, it is in fact a commentary of Sahih Bukhari titled ‘Fath-al-Bari’, written in the year 1428, by Shafi qadi, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani.

The claim that “Aisha playing with dolls proves she was too immature to marry Muhammad”, this is baseless. Not only do we have historical evidence proving that Aisha hit puberty, the BBC America produced a documentary which show women above the age of 18 play with dolls:

“Monica Walsh, a 41-year-old wife and mother of a 2-year-old daughter from Orange County, N.Y., has one doll – “Hayden.” And, yes, she told Lauer, she plays with her doll “the same way a man might make a big train station and play with his train station or play with his sports car, his boat or his motorcycle.”
Fran Sullivan, 62, lives in Florida and has never had children. She brought two reborns to New York, “Robin” and “Nicholas,” and said she has a collection of more than 600 dolls of all kinds, including a number of reborn dolls.” (“Bogus baby boom: Women who collect lifelike dolls”, by Mike Celizic, online source (last accessed 8th February 2017), http://www.today.com/id/26970782/ns/today-today_news/t/bogus-%20baby-boom-women-who-collect-lifelike-dolls/ )

 

The BBC UK (2013) also published an article on this, titled “Teddy bears: Adults on their stuffed toy companions”, showing how grown up women play with teddy bears often:

“I have a small brown bear, Frank by name. He is so called because he is an earnest, honest, upright bear. He was given to me by a friend, as a promise that he would come home to me – and Frank. Frank had looked after my friend when his life went wrong. My friend never came home, he went to France and found someone else. Now Frank and I look after each other and we go everywhere together. Frank is a very special wee bear and very knowing. He has a beautiful soul. I will love him always. He is a good listener and he is my best friend. Heather, Rutland

My partner and I have 17 teddy bears which we’ve collected over the last five years, one of whom is my partner’s best friend and has been since he was 18 months old. Our teddies are a huge part of our lives. They travel the world with us and I couldn’t “bear” to leave any of them at home. Laura, Exeter, Devon.” (“Teddy bears: Adults on their stuffed toy companions” (BBC Magazine., Published 8 February 2013), online source (Last accessed 8th February 2017), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21367728 )

Additionally, this is also supported by the New York Times: http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/motherhood-reborn-and-everlasting/  [7]

Dr. Juliette Peers says that it was very fashionable for adult women to carry dolls in public in the early 20th century:

“As dolls were becoming closely identified with medicalized norms of girls’ behaviour, many adult doll-type products began production in the 1920s and 1930s. Some of these, such as the Lenci felt dolls from Italy, crossed over from adult mascot or living room decorations into the realm of children’s toys. Others-such as the pinchusion dolls and porcelain dolls in the shape of hair tidies, bookends, perfume bottles, vases powder bowls, powder puffs, lamp bases and face brooches- would have been familiar items to the younger teen at least in their personal home environment and their mother’s room, if not standing on the girl’s dressing table o decorating her bedroom. DURING THE 1920S, IT WAS TRENDY FOR ADULT WOMEN TO CARRY DOLLS IN PUBLIC, especially in urban areas, as a fashion accessory, and perfume flasks, purses and handbags were produced with doll or teddy bear faces. The Nancy Ann Story Book Company of California produced small dolls in series that encouraged young girls to collect the whole set. The Nancy Ann Dolls crossed over from the younger to a young ADULT AUDIENCE, who regarded them a mascots and ornaments. Because the Nancy Ann dolls were extremely popular, the company had to switch to locally produced dolls when the supply sources in Axis countries became unavailable during World War II.” (Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia [Claudia Mitchell, Jacqueline Reid-Walsh (editors), GP – Greenwood Press, 2008] by Dr. Juliette Peers, volume 1, page 28)

And here:

“Collectible dolls are often given as presents to girls by doting parents and grandparents, as well as being bought as personal items by adult women.” (Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia [Claudia Mitchell, Jacqueline Reid-Walsh (editors), GP – Greenwood Press, 2008] by Dr. Juliette Peers, volume 1, page 36)

The above instances on dolls, show that just because one has a doll or plays with one it does not equate to the person being a child. As the above evidence has demonstrated, adult women play with dolls also. Therefore, this claim that Aisha was prepubescent for merely playing dolls is baseless, since we know that grown women in this very era play with dolls.

4. Jariyya – Young Lady

In order to cast doubt on Aisha’s marriage being consummated at the time when she hit puberty, some critics have claimed that the Arabic word Jariyya used in a number of instances with Aisha shows that she did not hit puberty before her marriage was consummated. For this they don’t present any evidence, other than make claims and play with words. The following Hadith is used for their claims:

“On that Allah’s Messenger called Buraira and said, ‘O Burair. Did you ever see anything which roused your suspicions about her?’ Buraira said, ‘No, by Allah Who has sent you with the Truth, I have never seen in her anything faulty except that she is a girl of immature age, who sometimes sleeps and leaves the dough for the goats to eat.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith volume 3, Book 48, Hadith 829. Eng. Tran., http://quranx.com/Hadith/Bukhari/USC-MSA/Volume-3/Book-48/Hadith-829/ )

Br. Bassam Zawadi gives evidence that there is nothing in the Hadith that suggests that she was “immature”, in the sense of being prepubescent:

“Looking at the Arabic text, I don’t see word “immature” anywhere. It only states that she is a YOUNG GIRL, which we will already know. But if someone is young that doesn’t necessarily imply that he or she is immature.
Secondly, the companion was not criticizing Aisha for her age. Rather, he was saying that her fault was that she:
GOES TO SLEEP while kneading the flour and the lamb eats that’.
Imam Nawawi (1233 – 1277) states in his commentary:
And the meaning of this statement is that there are no faults about her (Aisha) to begin with. There is nothing wrong about her EXCEPT THAT SHE SLEEPS WHILE KNEADING THE FLOUR. (Imam Nawawi, Sharh Saheeh Muslim, Kitab: Al Tawbah, Bab: Fee Hadeeth Al Ifk Wa Qubool Tawbat Al Qaazhif, Commentary on Hadith no. 4974, Source http://hadith.al-islam.com/Loader.aspx?pageid=261 )

The companion might have attributed her carelessness due to the fact that she was young and did not take seriously her responsibility over her tasks. However, this does not imply she was immature or psychologically incapable of being married.” (“Refuting Sam Shamoun’s Arguments Regarding The Prophet’s Marriage To Aisha”, by Bassam Zawadi, online source (last accessed 16th February 2017), http://www.call-to-monotheism.com/refuting_sam_shamoun_s_arguments_regarding_the_prophet_s_marriage_to_aisha )

Nowhere in the above Hadith does it prove the claims that have been made. In fact we have a number of Hadith wherein it explicitly mentions that she started menstruating while she moved in to Prophet Muhammed’s house. This evidence will be shown later, in section 5.

Br. Bassam is correct here indeed! Jariyya Haditha is used elsewhere by Aisha, and it literally means “young girl” or “young lady”. Being young does not equate to being prepubescent or immature. The main issue as shown was that she sleeps and sometimes neglects certain tasks. The following report has the exact same words used as the above report, notice “young lady” from Aisha’s own statement,

“At that time women were light in weight and were not fleshy for they used to eat little (food), so those people did not feel the lightness of the howdah while raising it up, and I was still a YOUNG LADY [JARIYYA HADITHA]. They drove away the camel and proceeded. Then I found my necklace after the army had gone.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 6, Book 60, Hadith 274, Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/urn/180850 )

Furthermore, the word Jariyya is understood by Arabic English dictionaries as being referring to someone who is an adult. They tell us that Jariyya is used for a girl, slave, concubine and it is always used for grown up adult females:

“جَارِيَةٌ Jariya pl. –at, … jawarin girl; slave GIRL; maid, servant; ship, vessel.”
(Hans Wehr A Dictionary of Modern written Arabic [Edited by John Milton – Spoken Language Services, Inc. 1976], page 146)

English-Arabic Dictionary – Professor Francis Joseph Steingass:

“… Jari, flowing, running, current; passing, happening; – 5 jariya-t pl. jawari, slave-girl; GIRL; mercy of God; ship; sun.” (English-Arabic Dictionary: For the Use of Both Travellers and Students [LONDON – Crosby Lockwood And Son 7, Stationers Hall Court, Ludgate Hill, E.C.] by Professor Francis Joseph Steingass, page 214)

Edward William Lane’s Lexicon:

“جَارِيَةٌ A ship; (S, Msb, K ; ) because of its running upon the sea: (Msb : )an epithet in which the quality of a subst. predominates: pl. … (TA.) – The sun; (K;) because of its running from region to region: (TA : ) or the sun’s disk in the sky. (T. TA.) And … The Stars. (TA. [But see art. …]) – The mind: pl. as above. (TA.) – A GIRL, or YOUNG WOMAN; S, Mgh, Msb, K ; ) a female of which the male is termed …; so called because her activity and running; opposed to …: (Mgh : ) and a female slave; (Mgh voce …;) [in the sense] applied even to one who is an OLD WOMAN, unable to work, or to employ herself actively; alluding to what she was: (Msb : ) pl. as above. (Msb, K.) – The eye of any animal. (TA.) – A benefit, favour, boon, or blessing, bestowed by God (K, TA) upon his servants. (TA.).” (Edward Lane’s Lexicon, page 419, online source)

 

Arabic-English Dictionary Of Qur’anic Usage – Elsaid M. Badawi & Muhammad Abdel Haleem:

“… j-r-y to run, to flow, to stream, to sail; stream, channel, the way of things; vessel, boat; to continue, to be constant; YOUNG FEMALE, overseer. Of this root, five forms occur 64 times in the Qur’an: … jara 57 times; … jariyatun twice; … jariyat once; jawari three times and … majri once.” (Arabic-English Dictionary Of Qur’anic Usage [Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands, 2008] by Elsaid M. Badawi, Muhammad Abdel Haleem, page 161)

 

Dictionary Of The Holy Qur’an – Malik Ghulam Farid:

“… [aor. … inf. Noun … and …] …: The water flowed, ran quickly. …: The horse ran. … : A continuous or permanent charity; … also means, a ship (plural lll) because of its running upon the sea; the sun; … Stars (81:17). ); a girl or YOUNG WOMAN; the wind; a female slave; an OLD WOMAN; the eye of an animal; a benefit, favour, blessing or boon bestowed by God upon His servants.” (Dictionary Of The Holy Qur’an of With References and Explanation of the Text by Malik Ghulam Farid M. A., page 134)

 

Dr. Mary Ann Fay:

“The word jawar and its variants (e.g., sing. JARIYA) are only used in connection with WOMEN and should be understood as the female equivalent of mamluk or tabi, that is, as a slave who is manumitted and becomes a client of his/her patron. Like mamluk, the word tabi is used to describe the relationship between men, not between men and women or women and women. Women are ma’tuqa or Jariyya.” (Women, The Family, And Dvorce Laws In Islamic History [Edited by Amira El Azhary Sonbol – Syracuse University Press. – First Edition, 1996], by Mary Ann Fay, page 163)

Professor of History Madeline C. Zilfe:

“Jariya (T. cariya) slave WOMAN; concubine.”
(Women In The Ottoman Empire Middle Eastern Women In The Early Modern Era [Koninlijke Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands, 1997], by Madeline C. Zilfe, page 300 (Glossary))

Professor Joel L. Kraemer:

“Arab WOMEN were also entertainers, singers, musicians and poetesses (JARIYA qayna: ‘female slaver singer’) in royal courts.” (The Cambridge Genizah Collections: Their Contents and Significance [Cambridge University Press, 2002], by Joel L. Kraemer, page 184)

With the above evidences in perspective, Jariya is a young girl and it is used in the sense of a mature woman. Jariya is a person that has passed the age of puberty.

5. Aisha Reached Puberty Before Marriage Was Consummated

It is claimed when the marriage of Aisha was consummated she was a prepubescent girl. This not true when one looks at some of the earliest historical sources of Islam:

Narrated AISHA: (the wife of the Prophet) I had seen my parents following Islam since I attained the age of PUBERTY. Not a day passed but the Prophet visited us, both in the mornings and evenings.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 1, Book 8, Hadith 465 https://sunnah.com/bukhari/8/124)

The above report is also reported elsewhere but with a slight variation of words. While the above has the word “puberty”, this exchanged with “remember”. While the former Hadith says she hit puberty, this Hadith (below) says that she remembers things. This suggests that at this stage of her life she had reached the mental faculty to discern things:

“Narrated Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) “I do not remember (A’QAL) my parents believing in any religion other than the Religion (of Islam), and our being visited by Allah’s Messenger in the morning and in the evening. One day, while we were sitting in the house of Abu Bakr (my father) at noon, someone said, ‘This is Allah’s Messenger coming at an hour at which he never used to visit us.’ Abu Bakr said, ‘There must be something very urgent that has brought him at this hour.’ The Prophet said, ‘I have been allowed to go out (of Mecca) to migrate.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 8, Book 73, Hadith 102, https://sunnah.com/bukhari/78/107 )

In the two narrations we have read we see that Aisha had seen her parents follow Islam since she ‘attained the age of puberty’ and in the second report she was mentally mature. She goes on to say that a day did not pass, but that the Prophet Muhammad visited her (Aisha) and her parents. The Hadith reports presented shows that Aisha had reached puberty and had mentally matured to discern things while she still living with her parents, before the marriage was consummated to Prophet Muhammed (p).

Some critics have cast doubt on the Hadith where it mentions that Aisha hit “puberty” and claim that the translation that was made by the renowned scholar Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan is unreliable. As such we looked at Arabic-English Dictionaries on the word a’qal. The late professor Hans Wehr (1909 – 1981) who studied at the University of Munster published a book, “A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic”. He comments on the word “A’qal”:

“… a’qal more reasonable; brighter, smarter, more intelligent | … a’qal al’umr the most reasonable time of life, the years of reason and MATURITY.” (Hans Wehr A Dictionary of Modern written Arabic [Edited by John Milton – Spoken Language Services, Inc. 1976],  page 737)

Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan’s rendering of “puberty” in the first report is line with Professor Hans Wehr’s understanding of the Arabic language.

The narrations presented prove that Aisha had already hit puberty before the consummation of the marriage taken place. This is also confirmed by the 9th century scholar Abu Dawud Sulayman Ibn al-Ash‘ath al-Azdi as-Sijistani (817 – 889 CE), where he comments on a Hadith and says that Aisha herself says that she menstruated the same day the marriage was consummated:

“I was then brought to the Messenger of Allah, and he took up cohabitation with me when I was nine. She halted me at the door, and I burst into laughter.
Abu Dawud said: That is to say: I MENSTRUATED, and I was brought in a house, and there were some women of the Ansari in it. They said: With good luck and blessing. The tradition of one of them has been included in the other.” (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 42, Hadith 4915. Eng. Tran., Sahih al-Albani, https://sunnah.com/abudawud/43/161 )

Additionally, we have another narration where science attests that Aisha had hit puberty before the marriage was consummated. The following report states:

Narrated Aisha: The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. THEN I GOT ILL AND MY HAIR FELL DOWN. LATER ON MY HAIR GREW (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became Allright, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 5, Book 58, Hadith 234)

The above narration is also reported in Sunan Ibn Majah:

“Aishah said: “The Messenger of Allah married me when I was six years old. Then we came to Al-Madinah and settled among Banu Harith bin Khazraj. I BECAME ILL AND MY HAIR FELL OUT, THEN IT GREW BACK AND BECAME ABUNDANT. My mother Umm Ruman came to me while I was on an Urjuhah with some of my friends, and called for me. I went to her, and I did not know what she wanted. She took me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house, and I was panting. When I got my breath back, she took some water and wiped my face and head, and led me into the house. There were some woman of the Ansar inside the house, and they said: ‘With blessings and good fortune (from Allah).’ (My mother) handed me over to them and they tidied me up. And suddenly I saw the Messenger of Allah in the morning. And she handed me over to him and I was at that time, nine years old.” (Sahih) Sunan Ibn Majah volume 3, Book 9, Hadith 1876., Sahih Darussalam, http://www.sunnah.com/ibnmajah/9 )

It’s important to pay close attention to the above two narrations. Some may wonder, what is important about the part in the narration that is capitalized in bold, where it says,

“Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew”

This part of the Hadith shows explicitly from the point of science that Aisha hit puberty before the marriage was consummated with the Prophet (p). Hair loss is common among women. Hair loss happens when a girl goes through changes with her body i.e, hitting puberty.

Shannon Harrison, Melissa Piliang and Wilma explain why, when hair disorders occur:

“DEFINITION
Alopecia is the general term for hair loss. Hair loss can occur from the scalp and any hair-bearing part of the body. Hair has great social and cultural importance, and patients with hair loss experience anxiety and concern…..
PREVALENCE
….The most common form of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia (pattern hair loss), which increases with age; at least 80% of white men show some degree of thinning by the age of 70 year. Androgenetic alopecia OCCURS WITH THE ONSET OF PUBERTY and in males is dependent on circulating androgens. FEMALE PATTERN HAIR LOSS (female androgenetic alopecia) ALSO STARTS AFTER PUBERTY…” (Current Clinical Medicine: Expert Consult [Second edition – Elsevier Inc, 2010], by Shannon Harrison, Melissa Piliang, & Wilma Bergfeld, page 289 – 290)

Dr. Lisa Akbari:

“Studies show that hair loss affects approximately one third of all women. Although hair loss is most commonly seen after menopause, it can begin AS EARLY AS PUBERTY.” (Every Woman’s Guide to Beautiful Hair at Any Age: Learn What Can Be Done to keep a beautiful head of hair for a lifetime [SourceBooks, Inc – Naperville, Illinois, 2007] by Lisa Akbari page 70 -71)

Scholars Gisela Torres and Stephen K. Tyring:

“Androgenic alopecia may develop in a WOMAN at any time AFTER THE ONSET OF PUBERTY, although it most often occurs during the perimenopausal period or at times of hormonal change.
Primary Care for Women [Second edition – Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004] by Gisela Torres and Stephen K. Tyring, page 838)

The following facts we can gather from this evidence: (1) Aisha got ill and a lot of her hair started falling (hitting puberty). (2) After a while (months or year(s)) her hair grew again. (3) Aisha states that she was 9 years old when the marriage was consummated and this is when she started living with Prophet Mohammed (p) as the report states:

“(My mother) handed me over to them and they tidied me up. And suddenly I saw the Messenger of Allah in the morning. And she handed me over to him and I was at that time, nine years old.”

The claim that “Aisha was a prepubescent girl when her marriage was consummated”, the evidences presented refutes this. From the perspective of modern science, the scholars attest that Aisha did indeed hit puberty before the marriage was consummated.

Conclusion

Many any of the claims made in regards to Aisha and Muhammed (p) does not hold up when we consulted historical facts. Furthermore the ahadith reports shown explicitly mentioned that Aisha had reached puberty long before the marriage was consummated with the Prophet (p).

Hence, from the original Arabic language, it is clear that Aisha was at the age of puberty when she was married off. The scientific evidence presented on Aisha losing a lot of hair shows that she had begun her first menstrual period before the marriage was consummated. We know from the evidence presented that Prophet Muhammed (p) married her at the time when she was at the age where she was physically and mentally ready for marriage, 1400 years ago.

 

References:

[1] “Law would ban marriage in Florida before age 16” Last accessed 27th February 2017,
http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2014-03-18/news/fl-minors-marriage-legislature-20140318_1_stafford-parental-consent-vital-statistics
[2] “Why can 12-year-olds still get married in the United States?” Last accessed 27th February 2017,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/02/10/why-does-the-united-states-still-let-12-year-old-girls-get-married/?utm_term=.2215ab3c97de
[3] “The Rate Of Child Marriages In America Is Alarming”, last acessed 27th February 2017, https://www.good.is/articles/child-marriage-america
[4] “Spain raises age of consent from 13 to 16”, last accessed 27th February 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/04/spain-raises-age-of-consent
[5] Xavier Williams:
“Ayesha Siddiqua: A woman named Khawlah Bint Hakeem suggested that Prophet Muhammad marry Ayesha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, to form a close relationship with Abu Bakr’s family. She was already engaged to Jober Ibn Al Moteam Ibn Oday. At this time Jober was not yet a Muslim. The people of Mecca did not object to Ayeshah becoming married because although she was young, she was mature enough to understand the responsibility of marriage.” (World Religions, True Beliefs and New Age Spirituality: A New Age Study on How Economic Tides and Parental Conditioning Mold Our World of Ethics, Religions, Beliefs, Sex And Relationships, by Xavier Williams, page 285)
[6] Some have claimed that Abu Bakr’s reluctance actually shows that it probably wasn’t all that accepted to marry your daughter off. In actual fact, the hadith says that Abu Bakr’s reluctance was actually because him and Muhammad were seen as brothers because they knew each other for many years, not because of Aisha’s age some have claimed. Prophet Muhammad replied that they weren’t literal brothers so it was fine. Furthermore, given that Aisha was already in the process of being given away in marriage to Jubayr Ibn Mut’im Ibn Adi shows that the age was not the issue with Abu Bakr.
[7] “Motherhood, Reborn and Everlasting”, last accessed 27th February 2017, http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/motherhood-reborn-and-everlasting/

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Related Articles:

(1) – “Minimum Age For Marriage In The Quran” https://discover-the-truth.com/2014/11/21/minimum-age-for-marriage-in-the-quran/

(2) – “India: Villagers attack police who prevented child marriages” (*) http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/04/india-villagers-attack-police-who-prevented-child-marriages/

(3) – “200 Thousand Christian Children Were Married Before 10 In India” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/07/01/200-thousand-christian-children-were-married-before-10-in-india/

(4) – “Indian teenager annuls her child ‘marriage‘” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-17838022

(5) – “Indian underage brides ‘at 44%’“ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/mobile/world/south_asia/7936777.stm

What Is The Understanding Of ‘I Have Been Commanded To Fight…’ Hadith

Kaleef K. Karim

This is a part two on this Hadith report (below) which is often quoted out of its historical context. In the previous piece, which can be seen here: “The Hadith ‘…Fight Until They Say There Is No god But Allah’ Explained“, we showed evidence that the Hadith was never understood by the Prophet nor his companions of carrying out forced conversion of polytheist Makkans:

“I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay the Zakah.” (Fath al-Bari, volume 1, page 95) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Abridged by A Group of Scholars Under The Supervision Of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri. Maktaba Dar-us-Salam – Second Edition, 2003] volume 4, page 377)”

When we analysed the report in its historical context, we saw that the Prophet (p) gave amnesty and forgave the polytheists for the wrong they had done to the Muslims and their non-Muslim ally, Banu Khuza’a.

The polytheists Makkans with Banu Bakr attacked and murdered members of Banu Khuza’a, an ally of Prophet Muhammed. Previous to this incident, the Quraysh agreed to a treaty two years back promising not to break the treaty they agreed too with the Muslims. Soon after, the Quraysh with Banu Bakr attacked and murdered members of Muhammed’s ally, the Banu Khuza’a tribe. This led to the conquest of Makkah.

In this article, we will show further evidence from the Hadith itself and classical to contemporary commentaries that forced conversion did not take place because the very report that is used refutes this. Let’s now turn to the reports:

“The Messenger of Allah said: “I have been ordered to fight the people until they say: ‘La ilaha illallah’. So when they say that, their blood and their wealth are safe from me, except for a right, and their reckoning is for Allah.” Then he recited: So remind them – ‘YOU ARE ONLY ONE WHO REMINDS. YOU ARE NOT A DICTATOR OVER THEM’ (Quran 88:21-22). (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 5, Book 44, Hadith 3341 (Eng. Tran., Sahih, Darussalam))

This is also reported in Sahih Muslim:

“It is narrated on the authority of Jabir that the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded that I should fight against people till they declare that there is no god but Allah, and when they profess it that there is no god but Allah, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my behalf except where it is justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah, and then he (the Holy Prophet) recited (this verse of the Holy Qur’an):” THOU ART NOT OVER THEM A WARDEN” (lxxxviii (88), 22).” (Sahih Muslim Book 1, Hadith 32 http://sunnah.com/muslim/1/35 )

Pay close attention to both reports where the following is said:

“YOU ARE ONLY ONE WHO REMINDS. YOU ARE NOT A DICTATOR OVER THEM’ (Quran 88:21-22).”

And:

“then he (the Holy Prophet) RECITED (this verse of the Holy Qur’an):” THOU ART NOT OVER THEM A WARDEN” (lxxxviii (88), 22).”

The Prophet (p) is literally quoting word for word Quran 88:21-22. So what is the significance of these words some may ask? Well, since we know for a fact that he quoted those words in the same sentence of fighting the idolaters, the verse shows that the Prophet (p) forbade forced conversion. He commanded his companions not to forcefully convert anyone.

Classical to contemporary scholars all agree that this verse was revealed to the Prophet (p) that forcing someone to convert to Islam is categorically forbidden (Haram). Let’s read S. 88:21-22,

“21. So remind them (O Muhammad, YOU ARE ONLY A ONE WHO REMINDS.

22. You are NOT a dictator over them.” Q. 88:21-22 Hilali & Khan Translation

 

The Quranic verse 88:21-22 is clear that the Prophet (p) was not sent to force anyone to Islam. Some missionaries not handling the fact that the Prophet (p) was sent only to preach, and not force anyone’s will, they claim that Surah 88:22 was abrogated by Surah 9:5 (“Sword verse”).

If this verse was abrogated by Surah 9:5, then the question needs to be answered as to why the Prophet (p) uttered Surah 88:21-22 on the occasion of Surah 9:5? If it was abrogated, why would he insist his companions not to force anyone to accept Islam on the occasion of when Q. 9:5 was revealed? To the contrary, this shows that Prophet (p) did not see Q. 88:21-22 abrogated, but rather a command that is to be followed until the day of judgement.

Furthermore, another way for some missionaries to try to bypass this clear command of Surah 88:21-22, that forced conversion is Haram (forbidden), they try to present the following verses after S. 88:22,

“21. So remind them (O Muhammad), you are only a one who reminds.

22. You are not a dictator over them.

23. Save the one who turns away and disbelieves

24. Then Allah will punish him with the greatest punishment.

25. Verily, to Us will be their return;

26. Then verily, for Us will be their reckoning.” S. 88:21-26 Hilali-Khan Translation

 

Some of these missionary critics do acknowledge and admit here that forced conversion is not allowed, but they say since the individuals at Prophet Muhammed’s lifetime rejected Islam, he is somehow allowed to murder them since he is “Allah’s agent of judgement” sent to harm non-believers for refusing to accept Islam, they claim. This kind of deceptive interpretation goes against the very text of Quran and a classical exegesis. Sadly this type of deceptive interpretation by missionaries is rampant online.

Since we know that Surah 88:21-22 was uttered on the occasion of Surah 9:5, on the conquest of Makkah, where is the evidence of polytheists being put to death for rejecting Islam? It does not exist. We know from the earliest sources of Islam that the polytheists were fought against as a result of them breaking a treaty and murdering members of the non-Muslim tribe Banu Khuza’a, who at the time were an ally of the Muslims. As a result of Banu Bakr and Quraysh attacking and murdering Muhammed’s non-Muslim ally the Banu Khuza’a, the conquest of Makkah took place. We have written a detailed article on this matter, please click on the following article: “The Hadith ‘…Fight Until They Say There Is No god But Allah’ Explained“. They were fought against because they broke the treaty and killing innocent people, not their beliefs.

I would like to add another important information about Surah 88:21-22 – the chapter as a whole is regarded by the companions of Prophet Muhammed (p) and the majority of scholars to have been revealed in Makkah. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

The Muslims did not raise their hand against the Quraysh, let alone try to kill them. The Muslims were a minority in Makkah, they were persecuted, tortured, imprisoned and even killed. This is a historical fact. This lasted for over ten years, this is when the Muslims fled to Madinah to find safe sanctuary. Even there they were pursued and persecuted because they denied, and rejected polytheism. We have documented many incidents when the Muslims arrived in Madinah, they were persecuted by the Quraysh as soon as they arrived: “Did Quraysh Persecute Muslims When They Fled To Madinah?“. So the idea perpetuated by some that the Prophet (p) was ordered to kill those who rejected Islam is false since we know that the whole chapter 88 of the Quran was revealed in Makkah and no fighting ever took place in Makkah, while they were a minority. And since no fighting or forceful conversion did not take place, then by default the command would also be the same when the Prophet (p) uttered the same words of Q. 88:22 on the conquest of Makkah. Besides the Quranic verse (S. 88:21-22), the earliest sources of Islam on the conquest of Makkah also refute this oft-repeated myth about forced conversion.

In view of the immediate context of S. 88:21-26, one sees that the passage is ordering that Prophet Muhammed, and his companions (p) are not allowed to force anyone to Islam. And those who have been presented with the truth and reject it, they will be dealt with on the day of judgement by God. The punishment that is described against those who reject the truth is from God, the words,

“Allah will punish him…” – Quran 88:24

These words couldn’t get any clearer. That the one who punishes is God Himself. Let’s now show some evidence from classical to contemporary exegesis.

Muslim and Non-Muslim Exegesis on Quran 88:21-22

Reverend E. M. Wherry was a notorious Christian missionary who in his writings does not hide his hatred towards Islam and Muhammed, he says the following:

“(21, 22) See note on chap. Ii. 119.”
A Comprehensive Commentary On The Quran – Comprising Sale’s Translation And Preliminary Discourse,With Additional Notes And Emendations Together With A Complete Index To The Text, Preliminary Discourse And Notes, [London – Kegan Paul,, Trench, Trubner, & Co. Ltd. Paternoster House, Charing Cross Road., 1886] by The Rev. E. M. Wherry, M. A., Vol. IV (vol. 4), page 248- 249)

E. M. Wherry directs us to look for chapter 2, verse 119 for the explanation of Surah 88:22, and here he clearly admits that conversion to Islam was through “persuasion”:

“(119) We have sent there … a preacher. This is Muhammad’s claim concerning himself. He ever sets himself forth as a preacher, yet as a messenger of God, an apostle, by whom the Quran was to be conveyed to and enforced upon the world. The power by which it was to be enforced, AT THE TIME THIS PASSAGE WAS WRITTEN, WAS PERSUASION. The pains consequent on unbelief were the pains of hell-fire. …” (A Comprehensive Commentary On The Quran Comprising Sale’s Translation And Preliminary Discourse, With Additional Notes And Emendations – Together with A Complete Inter To The Cert, Preliminary Discourse And Notes, [LONDON. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Limited Paternoster House, Charing Cross Road, 1896] by the Rev. E. M. Wherry, M. A., vol. I (vol. 1), page 333)

Notice E. M. Wherry saying the “pains” of unbelief is dealt with in “hell-fire”.

The 20th-century scholar Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi says that the Prophet (p) was not appointed to force the will of the deniers (unbelievers):

“8 That is, “If a person does not listen to reason, he may not. YOU HAVE NOT BEEN APPOINTED TO FORCE THE WILL OF THE DENIERS. Your only task is to distinguish the right from the wrong for the people and warn them of the consequences of following the wrong way; so this is the task you should continue to perform.” (Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an – online source http://englishtafsir.com/Quran/88/index.html )

Classical scholar Ibn Kathir (1301 – 1373 AD) commenting on Q. 88:21-22, he says that one cannot force a person to “faith” i.e., forcing someone to believe in Islam is prohibited:

THE MESSENGER IS ONLY CHARGED WITH DELIVERING THE MESSAGE
Allah says,

‘So remind them — you are only one who reminds. You are not a Musaytir over them’ meaning, “O Muhammad! REMIND THE PEOPLE with what you have been sent with to them.”

YOUR DUTY IS ONLY TO CONVEY (THE MESSAGE) and on Us is the reckoning.’ (13:40) Then Allah says,

‘You are not a Musaytir over them.’ Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others said, “You are not a dictator over them.” This means that you CANNOT create faith in their hearts. Ibn Zayd said, “YOU ARE NOT THE ONE WHO CAN FORCE THEM TO HAVE FAITH.’

The Threat for Whoever turns away from the Truth
Concerning Allah’s statement,

(Save the one who turns away and disbelieves.) meaning, he turns away from acting upon its pillars, and he disbelieves in the truth with his heart and his tongue. This is similar to Allah’s statement,

(So he neither believed nor prayed! But on the contrary, he belied and turn away!) (75:31-32) Thus, Allah says,
(Then ALLAH WILL PUNISH HIM with the greatest punishment.) Allah then says,
(VERILY, TO US WILL BE THEIR RETURN) meaning, their place of return and their resort.
(Then verily, for Us will be their reckoning.) meaning, `WE WILL RECKON THEIR DEEDS FOR THEM AND REQUITE THEM FOR THOSE DEEDS.’ If they did good, they will receive good, and if they did evil, they will receive evil. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Ghashiyah.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathird (Abridged) – (Surat At-Taghabun to the end of the Qur’an) [Abridged by A group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri., Darussalam., Second Edition, 2003], volume 10, page 463 – 465)

Muhammad b. al-Sa’ib al-Kalbi (d. 146/763) [14]:

“‘(Remind them) admonish them, (for thou art but a remembrancer) YOU ARE BUT A WARNER BY MEANS OF THE QUR’AN; it is also said that this means: you are only an admonisher by the Qur’an and through Allah. Thou art not’ O Muhammad ‘at all a warder over them’ you are NOT imposed on them such that you force them to accept faith. … (ALLAH WILL PUNISH HIM) IN THE HEREAFTER (WITH DIREST PUNISHMENT) I.E. WITH THE PUNISHMENT OF THE FIRE. (Lo! unto Us is their return) in the HEREAFTER. (And Ours their reckoning) their steadfastness in the life of the world and reward and punishment in the Hereafter’. ” (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas on Surah 88:21-22 online source, http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=88&tAyahNo=22&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )

 

A Thematic Commentary on the Qurʼan – Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ghazali (1917 – 1996):

SURAH 88
Al-Ghashiyah
(The Overwhelming Event)

The Surah opens with a reverberating question: ‘Have you heard of the overwhelming event?’ (1). The title of this Surah, al-Ghashiyah (The Overwhelming Event), DENOTES THE DAY OF RESURRECTION because it is a day when people’s minds will be overwhelmed. The Surah then continues to provoke fear and hope through promises and threats, before it calls on the Arab mind to look around its environment and observe the camels and the mountains and the stretching horizons. The Arabs were directed to conclude that only One God was deserving of worship and that the idols they had inherited should be abandoned.

The Surah closes by defining the mission of the Muslim community, namely to ENLIGHTEN AND REMIND. As people forget or overlook the purpose of their existence, Muslims are expected to take up the task of confronting ungodliness and evil in the world. They draw their power and strength from the Qur’an, the book that had brought them honor and respect, but which they have now all but neglected.

The Surah threatens the wrong-doers with misery, describing their faces: ‘On that day there shall be downcast faces, worn out, haggard’ (2-3). They will drink seething water and eat food of no benefit to them. As for the believers, they will be in a different world altogether. ‘There shall be radiant faces, of men pleased with their labors, residing in a LOFTY PARADISE’ (8-10). Paradise is a place that is free of idle talk or vain chatter, because such behaviour does not befit wise and pious people.

Believers should use their minds to increase understanding of the world and that which lies beyond its physical presence. ‘Would they not reflect on how camels were created and how the heavens were raised on high?’ (17-18). It is an open invitation to mankind to reflect on all aspects of the universe and all its phenomena and creatures. Very few of the early Muslim scholars can escape the criticism that they were too infatuated with the study of Hellenistic Greek philosophy rather than devoting their attention to the study of the Qur’anic philosophy of matter.

The Surah then makes a most profound statement which encapsulates the essence of the mission of Islam. It says:

‘Therefore, admonish, for you are but a warner; you have no power them’ (21-22).

THIS IS A CLEAR AFFIRMATION THAT MUSLIMS ARE NOT DIRECTED TO ESTABLISH TYRANNICAL, colonialist community steeped in greed, but a community that liberates the human mind and DIRECTS MANKIND TOWARDS PERFECTION. A Muslim state is not established for the benefit of one particular race or ethnic group; rather, it is the outcome of sincere and honest endeavour to please God Almighty.

Virtue in today’s world has been stifled as evil, injustice, and vice find protection and promotion. There has never been a greater need for a believing authority to rise to protect the good, establish justice, and work for faith and reform. Whatever the outcome, THE FINAL RETURN SHALL BE TO GOD ALMIGHTY: ‘TO US IS THEIR RETURN, AND WE WILL BRING THEM TO ACCOUNT’ (25-26). “(A Thematic Commentary on the Qurʼan, [Translated from the Arabic by Ashur A. Shamis – Revised by Zaynab Alawiye – The International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1421 AH/2000AC] by Shaykh Muḥammad Ghazali page 717 – 718)

An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Quran:

“Verily, the creation of the sky, earth, mountains, and animals indicate that there is a plan and purpose for the creation of man and the world. The Prophet’s mission is to make people acquainted with the goal of that creation, with his admonishments and lead them to the path of development and nearness to Allah. Of course, the path of development is paved when they do it willingly and without any outer forces, otherwise it is meaningless. THE PROPHET (S) CANNOT FORCE THEM TO OBEY ALLAH AND EVEN IF HE COULD, IT WOULD BE USELESS.

Some have supposed that this instruction has been abrogated when the verses of the command for Holy War were revealed.

WHAT A GREAT MISTAKE! The Prophet’s mission for publicity of Islam and admonition began from the early days of his prophecy and continued until the last moments of his life. It has been continuing since then; at first by his sinless successors and then by the Islamic scholars. This responsibility will never stop. The lack of obligation on the people, in accepting Islam, is also a permanent principle.

However, Holy War is different. The goal is mainly to stand AGAINST TRANSGRESSORS and remove the hindrances from the path of true believers.

This matter is somewhat similar to that of Surah Nisa, No.4, verse 80 which says:

“…But IF ANY TURN AWAY, WE HAVE NOT SENT THEE TO WATCH OVER THEIR (EVIL DEEDS)”.

It is the same in Surah An’am, No. 6, verse 107 and Surah Shura, No. 42, verse 48.

The term /musaytir/ is based on /satr/ ‘a line of a book or writing’ and means ‘a person who arranges the lines of a book’ or ‘one who has absolute authority over a thing or a person and writes down its manner of action, or makes him do something by force’.

In the next verse, as an exception, it says:

“But whoever turns back and disbelieves.”

Opinions are divided about the commentary of this ‘exception’: The first idea says that the exception is from the object of the verb /fathakkir/ to ‘give admonition’. Accepting this, it means ‘you do not need to give admonition to the enemies who reject Allah and do not take your advice’.
This is similar to what is said in Surah Zukhruf, No. 43, verse 83:

SO LEAVE THEM TO BABBLE AND PLAY (WITH VANITIES) until they meet that Day of theirs, which they have been promised”.

The second idea denotes that if the sentence is considered as a conditional sentence, there is something omitted in the sentence and hence the meaning is,

‘Do thou give admonition, because admonishment is useful for all, unless they are enemies of Allah’.
It is similar to what is said in Surah A’1a, No. 87, verse 9:

“Therefore give admonition in case the admonition profits (the hearer)”.

The third idea says that the exception is from the pronoun /’alayhim/ in verse 22, then it would mean: ‘Thou art NOT one to manage (men’s) affair, except in so far as you receive authority to do so against those who reject Allah and do wrong with you.’

This commentary seems more agreeable.

The ‘exception’ may be unrelated; if so, the meaning is: ‘But those who turn back and reject Allah, He has authority over them, or He will punish them with a mighty punishment’.

‘Mighty punishment’ is the punishment IN THE HEREAFTER and is compared with the punishment in the present life as it is said in Surah Zumar, No. 39, verse 26:

“So GOD GAVE THEM A TASTE OF HUMILIATION in the present life, but greater is the punishment of the HEREAFTER.”
It is probable that the purpose of the ‘mighty punishment’ is a definite intensive PUNISHMENT IN HELL for some SINNERS IN THE HEREAFTER, because the punishment of all evildoers will not be the same in HELL.

At the end of the Surah, it says with a threatening tone that:

“Surely to Us will be their Return;”

“Then surely upon Us will be the taking of their account.”

This is, in fact, a kind of consoling for the Prophet (S) in order for him not to be upset about their obstinacy and to keep his responsibility in view. It is also a threat for all those who are obstinate in understanding who it is that will reckon with them.

Thus, Surah Ghashiyah which began by SPEAKING ABOUT THE HEREAFTER, ENDS BY SPEAKING ABOUT THE HEREAFTER also, but in between, ‘monotheism’ and ‘prophecy’, are discussed which is the basis of Resurrection.
Meanwhile, in the beginning verses, a portion of the severe punishments for the evildoers, and then a great part of the rewards of the good-doers are mentioned. By the way, PEOPLE ARE FREE EITHER TO BELIEVE AND FOLLOW THE WAY OR NOT, but they are warned that their return will certainly be to Allah and it is He Who will take care of their account.

Therefore, IT CLEARLY STATES THAT THE HOLY PROPHET (S) IS SENT TO TEACH AND DIRECT PEOPLE ON THE WAY AND HE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR PEOPLE’S REJECTIONS AND CORRUPTIONS. All prophets of Allah have been commissioned in like manner.” (An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Quran [The Scientific and Religious Research Center Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali Public Library – Translator Sayyid Abbas Sadr-‘ameli], compiled by a group of Muslim scholars, under the direction of Allamah Al-Hajj Sayyid Kamal Faqih Imani, volume 19, page 301 – 303, online source http://islamicmobility.com/pdf/An_Enlightening_Com_intothe_Light_ofthe_Holy_Quran_vol19.pdf )

The Holy Quran – Commentary – Tafsir by Agha Mehdi Pooya states that there is no “compulsion in religion”. He comments further that the Prophet Muhammed is not a compeller and it is “Allah who will punish”:

“[Pooya/Ali Commentary 88:21-22]
The Prophet of Allah is sent to teach, preach and guide the people, but not to force people to adopt the right path. Musaytir has been used here in the sense of an enforced or compeller who forces or coerces in order to make any one carry out commands against one’s will under duress. As has been said in Baqarah: 256, there is NO COMPULSION IN RELIGION, so the Prophet of Allah is NOT A COMPELLER in this sense, otherwise as the vicegerent of Allah he has the authority to execute His divine legislative will. It is Allah who will punish the transgressors. …” The Holy Quran – Commentary – Tafsir by Ayatullah Agha Mehdi Pooya & S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali (Surah 71 to 114), page 81)

Scholar Yusuf Ali (1872 – 1952) states that the Prophet (p) was not sent to force people’s will and that “punishment belongs to Allah alone”:

“6107 The Prophet of Allah is sent to teach and direct people on the way. HE IS NOT SENT TO FORCE THEIR WILL, or to punish them, except insofar as he may receive authority to do so. Punishment belongs to Allah alone. And Punishment is certain in the Hereafter, when true values will be restored.” (The Meaning of The Noble Qur’an [Edition 2006] by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, page 449 http://www.ulc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/English-Quran-With-Commentaries.pdf)

Fi Dhilal Al Qur’an – Qutb says that the job of the Prophet (p) was to remind people of the Message of Islam and no other role. And his task was not to convert people by force, as such is forbidden (Haram) in Islam:

“The Prophet’s Mission
Having dealt first with the hereafter, and pointed out some apparent aspects of the universe, the surah now addresses the Prophet, (peace be upon him), laying down the nature of his mission and limits of his role. It then concludes with a final reminder to mankind: “Therefore exhort them; your task is only to exhort. You are not their overseer. But he who turns his back and disbelieves, God shall inflict on him the greatest suffering. To Us they shall surely return, when We shall bring them to account.” (Verses 21-26)

Remind them, then, of the hereafter and the universe, and all there is in each of them. YOUR SPECIFIC TASK IS TO REMIND PEOPLE, AND YOU HAVE NO OTHER ROLE. This is indeed your mission for which you have been suitably equipped. “You are not their overseer.” (Verse 22) You have no control over their hearts and you cannot compel them to adopt the faith. Men’s hearts are in the hands of God, the Merciful. Jihad, which means striving for God’s cause and which was later made a duty of the Prophet and all Muslims, DID NOT AIM AT CONVERTING PEOPLE TO ISLAM BY FORCE. Its only aim was to remove all hindrances in the way of the Islamic message, so that it could be delivered freely, and people would not be prevented from listening to it or be persecuted for doing so. This is the role the Prophet can fulfil: to remove the obstacles which prevent him from delivering his message.

The notion that the Prophet’s mission is confined to reminding people and delivering God’s message is often repeated and stressed in the Qur’an. There are several reasons for this emphasis, the first of which is to relieve the Prophet of the heavy burden of directing the course of the Islamic message once he has conveyed it.
He must leave it to God to decide its course. The urgency of the human yearning to win victory for the truth and to get people to benefit from its absolute goodness is so keen that such repetition is required to make the advocates of this message distinguish their own desires and ambitions from their mission. When this distinction is clear, they proceed in fulfilment of their duty, regardless of the response and consequence. THUS ADVOCATES OF ISLAM DO NOT WORRY THEMSELVES OVER WHO HAS ACCEPTED THE FAITH AND WHO HAS NOT. They are not charged with this burden, which becomes particularly heavy at times of adversity, when a favourable response becomes a rarity and enemies abound. “But he who turns his back and disbelieves, God shall inflict on him the greatest suffering.” (Verses 23-24) They will no doubt return to God, and He will inevitably administer their retribution. Such is the final and decisive note on which the surah ends: “To Us they shall surely return, when We shall bring them to account.” (Verses 25-26)

The definition of the Prophet’s role and the role of every subsequent advocate of Islam is thus completed. They have only to remind and the reckoning will be made by God. It must be stressed, however, that the process of reminding includes the removal of hindrances so that people are free to listen to the divine message. This is the aim of jihad as it is understood from the Qur’an and the Prophet’s history. It is a process which neither admits negligence NOR PERMITS AGGRESSION. (In The Shade Of The Qur’an (“Fi Dhilal Al Qur’an”) by Sayyid Qutb Vol XVIII (vol. 18), page 143 – 144)

The Tafsir Anwarul Bayan by scholar Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani (1924/1925 – 2001) writes that the responsibility of the Prophet Muhammed (p) was only to preach the Message and “not force people to believe (in Islam)”:

“…because of his overwhelming concern for his Ummah, the Holy Prophet used to become extremely grieved when people REFUSED TO ACCEPT ISLAM. Therefore, Allah said to him, ‘So give advice, for you are an advisor. You have not been appointed as a warder over them’ i.e., YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IS ONLY TO PREACH THE MESSAGE AND NOT FORCE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE. Whoever believed after the message reached him, shall be successful.“ (Illuminating Discourses On The Quran (“Tafsir Anwarul Bayan”) [Translation Edited by Mufti Afzal Hussain Elias. – Revised by Maulana Arshad Fakhri based on Ma’ariful Quran. – Darul Ishaat, Urdu Bazar, Karachi. First Edition, 2005] by Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani, volume 5, page 390)

Maarif ul Quran – Mufti Mohammad Shafi (1897 – 1976) writes that it is God Almighty who guides the “unbelievers”, and Prophet Muhammed (p) is only a “preacher”:

“In conclusion of the Chapter, the Messenger of Allah is comforted thus:
… ‘You are not a taskmaster set up over them, … 88:22’
THE HOLY PROPHET IS TOLD THAT HE IS ONLY A PREACHER, and as such he must keep on preaching. He should not worry beyond that. IT IS FOR ALLAH TO CALL THE UNBELIEVERS TO HIM to render account of their deeds and actions…” (Maarif ul Quran: Quran Translation and Commentary [Translated by Maulana Ahmed Khalil Aziz. Revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani] by Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi, volume 8, page 777)

 

Asrar At-Tanzil – Scholar Amir Muhammad Akram A’wan:

“Propagator

A propagator must have these four qualities: (1) Must work tirelessly like… and be content with whatever food is available. (2) Posses lofty determination and courage like the sky (3) Be as firm as the mountains and finally (4) Should be as furnishing and humble as the earth, without a trace of arrogance. Each action must be aimed at benefitting mankind; by way of delivering the oppressed as well as checking the oppressor.

So O’ PROPHET YOU MAY SIMPLY ADVISE PEOPLE as advising them is your responsibility. YOU DO NOT FORCE THEM INTO BELIEVING. It is Allah’s domain to severely punish those who turn away from your advice and Din and opt for infidelity. Undoubtedly they have to return to Us one day and We will Personally take them to account.” (Holy Quran – Translation & Commentary – Asrar At-Tanzil [Idarah-e Naqshbandiah Owaisiah, Dar al-Irfan Munara, Distt, Chakwal. First edition, 2004] by Amir Muhammad Akram A’wan, volume 5, page 481)

The giant 14th Century Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292 – 1350 AD) in the book “Hidayatul Hayara Fi Ajwibatul Yahood wa al-Nasara” he writes on Surah al-Tawbah, specifically on the occasion of this Hadith report under discussion. He writes that the Prophet Muhammed (p) never forced anyone to accept Islam:

“When God sent His Apostle (p), most of the followers of these religions responded to him and to his successsors, voluntarily and willingly. NOBODY WAS COMPELLED TO DO SO. THE APOSTLE FOUGHT ONLY THOSE WHO FOUGHT AND WAGED WAR AGAINST HIM. He did not fight those who made peace with him, neither did he fight those who were under the pledge of truce. He was obeying the bidding of God Most Sublime were he said:

‘Let there be no compulsion in Religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects Evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks, and God heareth and knowth all things ‘ (al-Baqarah: 256).

THE APOSTLE DID NOT COMPEL ANYONE TO ADOPT ISLAM. The above quoted verse from the Qur’an negates compulsion in the sense of prohibition that is: do not compel a soul to embrace the Religion. The verse (Sura) was revealed to admonish some of the men among the companions whose children embraced Judaism and Christianity before the advent of Islam, and where with the advent of Islam, their fathers embraced the religion of Muhammad and attempted to compel their children to follow their lead. God Most Exalted prohibited the fathers from resorting to compulsion to inspire their children to embrace Islam out of their choice. … To him who ponders over the biography of the Prophet (p) it becomes clear that he did not compel anyone to embrace his religion, and that he only fought those who fought him. He did not fight those who made truce with him as long as they kept and honoured the truce. He never broke a promise, for God Most High bid him to fulfil his promises to them as long as they kept theirs. A propos, God Most Exalted said:

‘How can there be a league before God and His apostle, with the pagans, except thoe with whom ye made a treaty near the Sacred Mosque? As long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them for God doth love the righteous’ (AL-TAWBAH: 7).

… Likewise, when the Prophet Muhammad made truce with (the tribe of) Quraysh holding for ten years, HE DID NOT START ANY FIGHT WITH THEM; BUT WHEN THEY VIOLATED THE MUTUAL AGREEMENT AND RAISED ARMS AGAINST HIM, HE FOUGHT BACK… he stopped the fight when they retreated and went off. The point is that he did not compel anyone at all to embrace his religion; but people embraced his RELIGION VOLUNTARILY and willingly. When most of the people earth realized the True Guidance, and that he is genuinely the Apostle of God, they embraced his call. (Guidance To The Uncertain In Reply To The Jews And The Nazarenes (‘Hidayatul Hayara Fi Ajwibatul Yahud wa al-Nasara’) – [Translated by Abdelhay El-Masry, Dar Al-Kotob Al-Ilmiyah] by Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziah, page 25 – 27)

Conclusion:

With the above evidence shown, we see that the Hadith that is used by proponents, claiming that report shows Muhammed ordered his followers to forcefully convert idolaters is not true. The very same report used by critics, the Prophet commands his followers not to force anyone to believe in Islam, he uses word for word Surah 88:21-22, which as we have seen all scholars agree that forced conversion is not allowed in Islam. The verse ordered Muslims not to convert anyone to Islam by force. As such act, forcing someone’s will is categorically forbidden (Haram) in Islam.

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Related articles:

(1) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam

(2) – “Muhammed A Mercy: Analysing Dogs Killed In Madinah

(3) – “What Happened To The Captive Women In Awtas Incident?

(4) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?

(5) – “‘Those Who Wage War And Make Mischief’ – Quran 5:33

(6) – “Did Jews Get Expelled From Arabia?

(7) – “Does Biblical Law Force Rape Victim To Marry Rapist?

(8) – “2 Samuel 13:14 And Deuteronomy 21:14

(9) – “Social Conditions: Christians And Jews In Early Period Of Islam“

(10) – “The Truth About Jizyah

References:

[1] Shaykh Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi:
“Period of Revelation
The whole subject matter of the Surah indicates that this too is ONE OF THE EARLIEST SURAHS TO BE REVEALED; but this was the period when the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had started preaching his message publicly, and the people of MAKKAH were hearing it and ignoring it carelessly and thoughtlessly.” (Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an – online source http://englishtafsir.com/Quran/88/index.html)
[2] Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi:
“Surat-ul-Ghashia
The Enveloping. LXXXVIII
(MAKKAN, 1 Section and 26 verses) (Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an – Translation and Commentary Of The Holy Qur’an [Published By Darul Ishaat Urdu Bazaar Karachi: Pakistan. First edition, 1991] by Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi, volume 4, page 495)
[3] Maulana Muhammad Ali:
“The Overwhelming Event, whose mention in the first verse supplies a name to this chapter, is the doom of the opponents in this life and their punishment in the Hereafter. The DATE OF REVELATION IS PLACED ABOUT THE FOURTH YEAR OF THE PROPHET’S CALL.” (The Holy Quran Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction [Year 2002 Edition] by Maulana Muhammad Ali, page 1206)
[4] Ibn Kathir:
“The Tafsir Of Surat AL-GHASHIYAH
(Chapter – 88)
Which was REVEALED IN MAKKAH”. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) – (Surat At-Taghabun to the end of the Qur’an) [Abridged by A group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri., Darussalam., Second Edition, 2003], volume 10, page 455)
[5] The Holy Qur’an – Arabic Text With English Translation & Short Commentary:
“CHAPTER 88
Al-Ghashiyah
(Revealed BEFORE HIJRAH)
Dated of Revelation and Context
The Surah, like the preceding one, was revealed early at MECCA. Eminent early Muslims scholars such as Ibn Abbas and Ibn Zubair hold this view. The famous German orientalist Noldeke places it in the fourth year of the Call. …” (The Holy Qur’an – Arabic Text With English Translation & Short Commentary [Published by Islam International Publications Limited, Present edition (UK), 2002] by Malik Ghulam Farid, page 1257)
[6] Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi:
“Surah Al-Ghashiyah
(The Overwhelming Event)
THIS SURAH IS MAKKI, and it has 26 verses. (Maarif ul Quran: Quran Translation and Commentary [Translated by Maulana Ahmed Khalil Aziz. Revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani] by Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi, volume 8, page 772)
[7] The Qur’an With Annotated Interpretation in Modern English – Ali Unal:
“REVEALED IN MAKKAH, this surah of 26 verses derives its name from the word AL-GHASHIYAH (the overwhelming, meaning the Resurrection Day) in the first verse. It draws attention to the hardships and punishment the unbelievers will suffer in the Hereafter, and the bliss with which the believers will be favored. It also calls on us to reflect on some manifestations and evidence of God’s Power and Wisdom.” ((The Qur’an With Annotated Interpretation in Modern English by Ali Unal, page 1161)
[8] An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Quran:
“Surah Ghashiyah, Chapter 88
(The Overwhelming Event) Number of Verses: 26
Contents of Surah Ghashiyah
This Surah is ONE OF THE MECCAN SURAHS which contains mainly the following three themes: The first subject is the ‘Resurrection’ and the contrast between the destinies of the Good and the Evil in the ‘Hereafter’. The second subject is ‘Monotheism’ with reference to the creation of the sky, the earth, and the mountains. Man should consider these wonderful matters as admonishments. The third subject is ‘Prophecy’ and some of the duties that the holy Prophet (S) was required to perform. On the whole, the Surah strengthens the idea for the basis of religion and faith, as well as all MECCAN SURAHS do.” (An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Quran [The Scientific and Religious Research Center Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali Public Library – Translator Sayyid Abbas Sadr-‘ameli], compiled by a group of Muslim scholars, under the direction of Allamah Al-Hajj Sayyid Kamal Faqih Imani, volume 19, page 288 – 289, online source http://islamicmobility.com/pdf/An_Enlightening_Com_intothe_Light_ofthe_Holy_Quran_vol19.pdf )
[9] So Qur’an al-Karim:
“Al-Ghashiyah – 88 – 1037 – MAKKI” (So Qur’an al-Karim – Ago so Kiya pema ana iron ko basa a iranon sa pilimpinas – iniranon i: Sheik AbdulAziz Guroalim Saromantang [King Fahd Complex For The printing Of the Holy Qur’an, Madinah, K. S. A.], page 1067)
[10] Professor Shah Farid-ul-Haque:
“Surah Number 88: Al-Ghashiyah (The Overwhelming)
REVEALED AT: MAKKAH
Total verses: 26” (Al-Quran-ul-Kareem (English Translation) Kanz-ul-Eeman – An English Translation from ‘Kanz-Ul-Eeman’ – English Text Translation by Professor Shah Farid-ul-Haque, page 207, online source http://www.nooremadinah.net/Al-Quran/EnglishTranslation/Download/QuranEnglishTranslation.pdf )
[11] Scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali:
“Introduction And Summary To Surrah 88 – Al-Ghashiyah
This is a late surah of the EARLY MAKKAN PERIOD, perhaps close in date to S. 53. Its subject matter is the contrast between the destinies of the Good and the Evil in the Hereafter – on the day when the true balance will be restored The signs of Allah even in this life should remind us of the day of account, for Allah is good, and his creation is for a just purpose. (The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an [Amana Publications, 2004] by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, page 1639)
[12] Asrar At-Tanzil – Shaykh Amir Muhammad Akram A’wan:
“Surah al Ghathiah
(The Enveloping)
REVEALED AT MAKKAH, it has twenty six Ayat and only one section.” (Holy Quran – Translation & Commentary – Asrar At-Tanzil [Idarah-e Naqshbandiah Owaisiah, Dar al-Irfan Munara, Distt, Chakwal. First edition, 2004] by Amir Muhammad Akram A’wan, volume 5, page 479)
[13] Dr. Muhammad Asad:
“REVEALED most probably about the MIDDLE OF THE MECCA PERIOD, this surah derives its title from the participial noun al-ghashiyah in the first verse.” (The Message of The Quran Translated and Explained by Dr. Muhammad Asad [Leopold Weiss], page 862, online source https://asadullahali.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/the-message-of-the-quran.pdf )
[14] Professor Asma Afsaruddin says that the companion Ibn Abass is not the author of this exegesis “Tanwir min Miqbas ibn Abbas”. The professor points out that the original author of this exegesis is Muhammad b. al-Sa’ib al-Kalbi (d.146/763):
“1 The work attributed to Ibn ‘Abbas is titled Tanwir al-miqbas min tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas; the EXTANT VERSION HAS BEEN ATTRIBUTED TO MUHAMMAD B. AL-SA’IB AL-KALBI (d.146/763). For a discussion of this work’s probable authorship, see Andrew Rippin 1994, 38–83 and more recently, Harald Motzki 2006, 147–63.” (The Hermeneutics Of Inter-Faith Relations: Retrieving Moderation And Pluraism As Universal Principles In Qur’anic Exegesis [Journal of Religious Ethics Inc., 2009] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 333 (footnote 1))

M

i-have-been-commanded-refutation

What Does The Arabic Word Fitnah Mean?

The following article was retrieved from “discover-the-truth.com

Often times the Arabic word “fitna” (فِتْنَةٌ) in Surah 2:190-194 and Surah 8:39 gets associated by critics to mean “shirk” (disbelief). They claim when the Quran ordered early companions of Muhammed to fight against “fitna”, they assert here that they were ordered to fight non-Muslims merely because of them not believing in Islam. This claim has no foundation whatsoever when one looks at the earliest sources of Islam.

The following Hadith saying is from a Companion of prophet Muhammed (p) and he clarifies what is meant by “fitna” (فِتْنَةٌ):

“Narrated Sa`id bin Jubair:`Abdullah bin `Umar came to us and we hoped that he would narrate to us a good Hadith. But before we asked him, a man got up and said to him, “O Abu `Abdur-Rahman! Narrate to us about the battles during the time of the afflictions, as Allah says:– ‘And fight them until there is no more afflictions (i.e. no more worshipping of others besides Allah).’” (2.193) Ibn `Umar said (to the man), “Do you know what is meant by afflictions? Let your mother bereave you! Muhammad used to fight against the pagans, FOR A MUSLIM WAS PUT TO TRIAL IN HIS RELIGION (THE PAGANS WILL EITHER KILL HIM OR CHAIN HIM AS A CAPTIVE). His fighting was not like your fighting which is carried on for the sake of ruling.
Arabic:
حَدَّثَنَا إِسْحَاقُ الْوَاسِطِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا خَالِدٌ، عَنْ بَيَانٍ، عَنْ وَبَرَةَ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ، قَالَ خَرَجَ عَلَيْنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عُمَرَ فَرَجَوْنَا أَنْ يُحَدِّثَنَا، حَدِيثًا حَسَنًا ـ قَالَ ـ فَبَادَرَنَا إِلَيْهِ رَجُلٌ فَقَالَ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ حَدِّثْنَا عَنِ الْقِتَالِ فِي الْفِتْنَةِ وَاللَّهُ يَقُولُ ‏{‏وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ‏}‏ فَقَالَ هَلْ تَدْرِي مَا الْفِتْنَةُ ثَكِلَتْكَ أُمُّكَ، إِنَّمَا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُقَاتِلُ الْمُشْرِكِينَ، وَكَانَ الدُّخُولُ فِي دِينِهِمْ فِتْنَةً، وَلَيْسَ كَقِتَالِكُمْ عَلَى الْمُلْكِ‏.‏ “ (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 9, Book 88, Hadith 215 https://sunnah.com/bukhari/92/46)

That above hadith says fighting can’t be “for leadership”/supremacy. The fitna fighting was in relation to persecution and oppression. Here is a longer version:

“Narrated Nafi: During the affliction of Ibn Az-Zubair, two men came to Ibn `Umar and said, “The people are lost, and you are the son of `Umar, and the companion of the Prophet, so what forbids you from coming out?” He said, “What forbids me is that Allah has prohibited the shedding of my brother’s blood.” They both said, “Didn’t Allah say, ‘And fight then until there is no more affliction?” He said “We fought until there was no more affliction and the worship is for Allah (Alone while you want to fight until there is affliction and until the worship become for other than Allah.” … Won’t you listen to why Allah has mentioned in His Book: ‘If two groups of believers fight each other, then make peace between them, but if one of then transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then you all fight against the one that transgresses. (49.9) and:–“AND FIGHT THEM TILL THERE IS NO MORE AFFLICTION (FITNA فِتْنَةٌ).” Ibn `Umar said, “WE DID IT, DURING THE LIFETIME OF ALLAH’S MESSENGER WHEN ISLAM HAD ONLY A FEW FOLLOWERS. A MAN WOULD BE PUT TO TRIAL BECAUSE OF HIS RELIGION; HE WOULD EITHER BE KILLED OR TORTURED. BUT WHEN THE MUSLIMS INCREASED, THERE WAS NO MORE AFFLICTIONS OR OPPRESSIONS (FITNA). …
Arabic
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بَشَّارٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْوَهَّابِ، حَدَّثَنَا عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ أَتَاهُ رَجُلاَنِ فِي فِتْنَةِ ابْنِ الزُّبَيْرِ فَقَالاَ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ ضُيِّعُوا، وَأَنْتَ ابْنُ عُمَرَ وَصَاحِبُ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَمَا يَمْنَعُكَ أَنْ تَخْرُجَ فَقَالَ يَمْنَعُنِي أَنَّ اللَّهَ حَرَّمَ دَمَ أَخِي‏.‏ فَقَالاَ أَلَمْ يَقُلِ اللَّهُ ‏{‏وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ ‏}‏ فَقَالَ قَاتَلْنَا حَتَّى لَمْ تَكُنْ فِتْنَةٌ، وَكَانَ الدِّينُ لِلَّهِ، وَأَنْتُمْ تُرِيدُونَ أَنْ تُقَاتِلُوا حَتَّى تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ، وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ‏.‏ وَزَادَ عُثْمَانُ بْنُ صَالِحٍ عَنِ ابْنِ وَهْبٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي فُلاَنٌ، وَحَيْوَةُ بْنُ شُرَيْحٍ، عَنْ بَكْرِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو الْمَعَافِرِيِّ، أَنَّ بُكَيْرَ بْنَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، حَدَّثَهُ عَنْ نَافِعٍ، أَنَّ رَجُلاً، أَتَى ابْنَ عُمَرَ فَقَالَ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ مَا حَمَلَكَ عَلَى أَنْ تَحُجَّ عَامًا وَتَعْتَمِرَ عَامًا، وَتَتْرُكَ الْجِهَادَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، وَقَدْ عَلِمْتَ مَا رَغَّبَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ قَالَ يَا ابْنَ أَخِي بُنِيَ الإِسْلاَمُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ إِيمَانٍ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ، وَالصَّلاَةِ الْخَمْسِ، وَصِيَامِ رَمَضَانَ، وَأَدَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ، وَحَجِّ الْبَيْتِ‏.‏ قَالَ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، أَلاَ تَسْمَعُ مَا ذَكَرَ اللَّهُ فِي كِتَابِهِ ‏{‏وَإِنْ طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا‏}‏ ‏{‏إِلَى أَمْرِ اللَّهِ‏}‏ ‏{‏قَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ‏}‏ قَالَ فَعَلْنَا عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَكَانَ الإِسْلاَمُ قَلِيلاً، فَكَانَ الرَّجُلُ يُفْتَنُ فِي دِينِهِ إِمَّا قَتَلُوهُ، وَإِمَّا يُعَذِّبُوهُ، حَتَّى كَثُرَ الإِسْلاَمُ فَلَمْ تَكُنْ فِتْنَةٌ‏.‏ قَالَ فَمَا قَوْلُكَ فِي عَلِيٍّ وَعُثْمَانَ قَالَ أَمَّا عُثْمَانُ فَكَأَنَّ اللَّهَ عَفَا عَنْهُ، وَأَمَّا أَنْتُمْ فَكَرِهْتُمْ أَنْ تَعْفُوا عَنْهُ، وَأَمَّا عَلِيٌّ فَابْنُ عَمِّ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَخَتَنُهُ‏.‏ وَأَشَارَ بِيَدِهِ فَقَالَ هَذَا بَيْتُهُ حَيْثُ تَرَوْنَ‏.‏
” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 6, Book 60, Hadith 40 https://sunnah.com/urn/41950)

And:

Narrated Ibn `Umar: … Ibn `Umar said, “O son of my brother! I would rather be blamed for not fighting because of this Verse than to be blamed because of another Verse where Allah says: ‘And whoever kills a believer intentionally…” (4.93) Then that man said, “Allah says:– ‘And fight them until there is no more afflictions (worshipping other besides Allah) and the religion (i.e. worship) will be all for Allah (Alone)” (8.39) Ibn `Umar said, “We did this during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger when the number of Muslims was small, and A MAN WAS PUT TO TRIAL BECAUSE OF HIS RELIGION, THE PAGANS WOULD EITHER KILL OR CHAIN HIM; BUT WHEN THE MUSLIMS INCREASED (AND ISLAM SPREAD), THERE WAS NO PERSECUTION (FITNA).” When that man saw that Ibn `Umar did not agree to his proposal, he said, “What is your opinion regarding `Ali and `Uthman?” Ibn `Umar said, “What is my opinion regarding `Ali and `Uthman? As for `Uthman, Allah forgave him and you disliked to forgive him, and `Ali is the cousin and son-in-law of Allah’s Messenger.” Then he pointed out with his hand and said, “And that is his daughter’s (house) which you can see.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 6, Book 60, Hadith 173 https://sunnah.com/urn/43280)

And this report from Fath al-Bari:

“’And fight them until there is no more FITNAH…’
Ibn Umar said, ‘We did that during the time of The Messenger of Allah when Islam was weak and the man would be tried in religion, EITHER TORMENTED TO DEATH OR BEING IMPRISONED. When Islam became stronger and widespread, there was no more Fitnah.’ …” (Fath al-Bari volume 8, page 160) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Abridged by A Group of Scholars Under The Supervision Of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri. Maktaba Dar-us-Salam – Second Edition, 2003] volume 4 page 314)

Ibn Kathir explains that “fitnah” in Surah 8:39-41 is understood classically to mean that a Muslim is persecuted so much that he may abandon his religion. In his footnote he provides Ibn Abi Hatim (854 – 938 AD) who also has this opinion:

“’until there is no Fitnah’ the Fitnah mentioned here means, until no Muslims is PERSECUTED so that he abandons his religion.” (Ibn Abi Hatim volume 5, page 1701) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Abridged by A Group of Scholars Under The Supervision Of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri. Maktaba Dar-us-Salam – Second Edition, 2003] volume 4 page 314)

When some commentaries or the above Hadith say fitna in connection with “no more worshipping of others besides Allah” in brackets, one should note here this is in reference to some Muslims who were forcefully converted to polytheism (Shirk) and thus they had to worship idols or gods of the persecutors. Thus no more shirk in the sense of them (persecutors) not being able to persecute an individual where they may fall back into polytheism due to the oppression.

Conclusion:

These Hadith reports shown proves unequivocally that fitnah requires physical persecution and oppression against Muslims before any fight can occur. It also proves that it is a fight by the weak against the oppressor and never a fight by the one in power to impose Islam on others. Therefore, “fitna” was understood by Prophet Muhammed’s companions as persecution and oppression.

Related articles:

(1) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?

(2) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam

(3) – “Did Quraysh Persecute Muslims When They Fled To Madinah?

(4) – “Did Muhammad Order Or Support The Killing Of Innocents?

fitna-is-persecution

What Is The Explanation Of “I have Been Commanded To Fight The People Until They Testify…”?

Kaleef K. Karim

Content:

1. Introduction
2. Background
3. Quraysh Broke The Treaty And Waged War
4. Analysing The Hadith
5. The Hadith rejects Forced Conversion Claim
6. The Quran Rejects Forced Conversion Claim
7.  Various Commentaries On The Hadith
8. Conclusion

1. Introduction

The following Hadith quotation (below) has often been quoted by some critics claiming that Prophet Muhammed (p) sanctions and/or approves of Muslims to forcefully convert non-Muslims to Islam:

“I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay the Zakah.” (Fath al-Bari, volume 1, page 95) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Abridged by A Group of Scholars Under The Supervision Of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri. Maktaba Dar-us-Salam – Second Edition, 2003] volume 4, page 377)”

When we get to read the Hadith and its historical context we find that this claim has no support from the Hadith nor was it interpreted in such a way. So what is the historical understanding of the Hadith report?

2. Background

Some of the earliest to contemporary scholars state that the Hadith report was said in connection to the pagan Arabs in Prophet Muhammed’s life time. Those words were uttered on the occasion of Surah al-Tawbah, specifically Surah 9:5, the “sword verse” as some would like to call it (Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Ibn Juzayy). [1] [2]

We wrote previously an article dedicated to Quran 9:5 – the verse was revealed as a result of the polytheists of Makkah breaking the treaty, attacking and killing Muhammed’s allies. As a result of their heinous and treacherous act, the Prophet (p) engaged the enemy.

Furthermore, it should be noted to our respected readers that in light of the Hadith report we are going to analyse, the Quraysh polytheists persecuted and murdered Muslims in Makkah for over ten years, and even when the Muslims fled to find safe sanctuary in Madinah they were persecuted once more: “Did Quraysh Persecute Muslims When They Fled To Madinah?

3. Quraysh Broke The Treaty And Waged War

Before we analyse the Hadith report, let’s briefly explain what happened on the occasion of Surah 9:5. In the sixth year of Hijri the Muslims and the polytheist Makkans made a treaty. Part of the treaty, the agreement was that neither parties would attack the other, nor would they attack any of their own allies. In this, all parties agreed and went their own ways. It didn’t take long when Banu Bakr tribe (who were an ally of Quraysh) attacked and murdered many of Banu Khuza’a’s tribe (they were the ally of the Muslims). The Quraysh being in the middle, the Muslims presumed that they would have tried to stop their ally (Banu Bakr) attacking and killing Banu Khuza’a. To the contrary, historical reports inform us that the polytheistic Quraysh supported Banu Bakr with weapons and their members also partook in killing Banu Khuza’a members. The Quraysh were the first to breach the terms of the treaty, attacking and murdering Prophet Muhammed’s ally. This is reported from many early sources.

Ibn Kathir (1301 – 1373 AD):

“‘then stand you true to them. Verily, Allah loves those who have Taqwa.’ The Messenger of Allah and the Muslims preserved the terms of the treaty with the people of Makkah from the month of Dhul-Qa`dah in the sixth year of Hijrah, until the QURAYSH BROKE IT AND HELPED THEIR ALLIES, BANU BAKR, AGAINST KHUZA`AH, the allies of Allah’s Messenger . AIDED BY THE QURAYSH, BANU BAKR KILLED SOME OF BANI KHUZA’AH in the Sacred Area! The Messenger of Allah led an invasion army in the month of Ramadan, of the eighth year, and Allah opened the Sacred Area for him to rule over them…It was also said that these Ayat refer to the idolators BREAKING THE PEACE AGREEMENT WITH MUSLIMS AND AIDING BANI BAKR, THEIR ALLIES, AGAINST KHUZA`AH, the ally of the Messenger of Allah. THIS IS WHY THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH MARCHED TO MAKKAH in the year of the victory, thus conquering it…” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Supervised by Abdul Malik Mujahid – First Edition, 2000] volume 4, page 377 – 378)

Tafsir Jalalayn:

“‘except for those you made a treaty with at the Masjid al-Haram’ Referring to the Treaty of Hudaybiyya. They are the Quraysh who were exempted before. ‘As long as they are straight with you, be straight with them’ i.e. as long as they carry out the treaty and do not break it, you should fulfill it. The ma is conditional and not adverbial. ‘Allah loves those who have taqwa’ The Prophet WAS STRAIGHT IN HIS TREATY WITH THEM UNTIL THEY BROKE IT BY HELPING THE BANU BAKR AGAINST KHUZA’A. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:7 – Online source http://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba1.html)

Tafsir al-Jalalayn goes further:

“Will you not (a-la, ‘will not’ or ‘is not’, denotes incitement) fight a people who broke, violated, their oaths, their pacts, and intended to expel the Messenger, from Mecca — for they discussed this between them in their council assembly — initiating, combat, against you first?, when THEY FOUGHT ALONGSIDE BANU BAKR AGAINST KHUZA‘A, YOUR ALLIES? So what is stopping you from fighting them? Are you afraid of them? God is more worthy of your fear, when you fail to fight them, if you are believers.” (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:13, Online source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=13&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2)

As-Sawi:

“[ As-Sawi: This refers to the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyya which stipulated that there would be no war for twenty years. The Banu Bakr formed an alliance with Quraysh and the Khuza’a with the Prophet. BANU BAKR THEN ATTACKED KHUZA’A AND QURAYSH HELPED THEM WITH WEAPONS, THUS BREAKING THE TREATY. ‘Amr b. ‘Allam al-Khuza’i went and informed the Prophet what had happened. The Prophet said, “You will not be helped if I do not help you,” and made preparations and went to Makka and conquered it in 8 AH. …”(Tafsir as-Sawi on Surah 9:3 – Online source http://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba1.html)

Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas:

“(Will ye not fight a folk) why is it that you do not fight a people, i.e. the people of Mecca (who broke their solemn pledges) which are between them and you, (and purposed to drive out the messenger) and wanted to kill the Messenger when they entered Dar al-Nadwah (and did attack you first) by BREAKING THEIR PLEDGE WHEN THEY HELPED THE BANU BAKR, THEIR ALLIES, AGAINST THE BANU KHUZA’AH, THE ALLIES OF THE PROPHET? (What! Fear ye them?) O believers, do you fear fighting them? (Now Allah hath more right that you should fear Him) because of leaving His command, (if ye are believers).” (Tanwir al-Miqbâs min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas on Surah 9:13 – Online Source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=13&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2)

Besides the above evidence, many earlier historical sources report similar accounts of this incident. That the Quraysh and Banu Bakr initiated warfare against Muhammed’s ally.

One of the earliest sources is Kitab al-Maghazi by Ma’mar Ibn Rashid (714-770 AD). He states that the Quraysh along with Banu Bakr attacked the Banu Khuza’ah tribe which were an ally of the Muslims at the time:

“During the two-year period of the Messenger of God’s truce with the Quraysh at al-Hudaybiyah, it is said that there was a war between the Bakr clan, allied with the Quraysh, and the KHUZA’AH CLAN, ALLIED WITH GOD’S MESSENGER. Now, THE QURAYSH PROVIDED AID TO THEIR ALLIES AGAINST KHUZA’AH, and when word of this reached the Messenger of God, he said, ‘By Him in Whose hands my soul resides, I will surely deny them what I and my household have been denied!’ He then began making preparations for war against the Quraysh.” (The Expeditions (“Kitab al-Maghazi”)- An Early Biography Of Muhammad by Ma’mar Ibn Rashid – According to the recension of Abd al-Razzaq al-San’ani [Edited and translated by Sean W. Anthony – Foreword by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem., NEW YORK University Press., 2014], page 95)

Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk – Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari:

THE NIGHT THAT THE BANU BAKR ATTACKED THE KHUZA’AH at al-Watir, they killed a man of Khuza’ah named Munabbih. Munabbih was a man with weak heart. He had gone out with a tribesman of his named Tamim b. Asad. Munabbih said to him: ‘Tamim save yourself! As for me, by God I am a dead man whether they kill me or spare me, for my heart has ceased beating.’ Tamim ran away and escaped, Munabbih they caught and killed. When the Khuza’ah entered Mecca, they took refuge in the house of Budayl b. Warqa al-Khuza’I and the house of one of their mawlas names Rafi. When THE QURAYSH LEAGUED TOGETHER [WITH THE BANU BAKR] AGAINST KHUZA’AH AND KILLED SOME OF THEIR MEN, BREAKING THE TREATY AND COVENANT THAT EXISTED BETWEEN THEM AND THE MESSENGER OF GOD BY VIOLATING THE KHUZA’AH, WHO HAD A PACT AND TREATY WITH HIM, Amr b. Salim al-Khuza’ah, one of the Banu Ka’b, went to the Messenger of God in Medina. This was one the things that prompted the conquest of Mecca. Amr stood before the Messenger of God while he was in the mosque sitting among the people…
AMONG THE TERM ON WHICH THE MESSENGER OF GOD AND QURAYSH HAD MADE PEACE WAS THAT THERE SHOULD BE NEITHER BETRAYAL NOR CLANDESTINE THEFT. QURAYSH AIDED THE BANU BAKR WITH WEAPONS… That is why the Messenger of God attacked the people of Mecca. …” (The History Of al-Tabari (“Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk”) – The Victory of Islam [Translated and annotated by Michael Fishbein, University of California, Los Angeles – Bibliotheca Persica, edited by Ehsan Yar-Shater – State University Of New York Press, Albany., 1997], by Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari, volume VIII (8), page 162 – 175)

In Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya Ibn Kathir reports in greater detail on this incident:

“’It was stipulated in the truce of al-Hudaybiyya that whoever wished to enter into an alliance with Muhammad could do so, and that those wishing to ally with Quraysh could also do that. Thereafter Khuza’a stated that they wished to be allied with the Messenger of God (SAAS) while Banu Bakr joined with Quraysh. ‘The truce remained in effect for some 17 or 18 months. But THEN BANU BAKR ATTACKED KHUZA’A AT NIGHT at a well called al-Watir, close to Mecca. QURAYSH, THINKING THAT BECAUSE IT WAS NIGHT AND THAT THEY WOULD NOT BE OBSERVED, ASSISTED BANU BAKR BY PROVIDING HORSES AND WEAPONS, AND THEY FOUGHT ALONG WITH THEM in order to express their hatred for the Messenger of God (SAAS). … Then Budayl b. Warq went with a group of Khuza’a to the Messenger of God (SAAS) and told how they had BEEN ATTACKED AND HOW QURAYSH HAD JOINED WITH BANU BAKR AGAINST THEM.” (The Life of the Prophet Muhammed (‘Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya’) [Translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick, Garnet Publishing – Copyright 2000, The Center for Muslim Contribution To civilization], by Ibn Kathir, volume 3, page 377 – 399)

It is clear from some of the earliest sources that Prophet Muhammed (p) nor his companions initiated war against the polytheist Quraysh. It was the Quraysh with Banu Bakr who provoked – led the Muslims to retaliate against them.

4. Analysing The Hadith

With above out of the way, we can now focus on the Hadith report:

“It was narrated from Anas bin Malik that: The Prophet said: “I have been commanded to fight the idolators until they bear witness to La ilaha illallah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah) and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. If they bear witness to La ilaha illallah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, and they pray as we pray and face our Qiblah, and eat our slaughtered animals, then their blood and wealth becomes forbidden to us except for a right that is due.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i volume 5, Book 37, Hadith 3971, (Sahih, Darussalam) http://sunnah.com/nasai/37/1 )

And:

“It was narrated from Anas bin Malik that: The Messenger of Allah said: “I have been commanded to fight the idolators until they bear witness to La ilaha illallah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah) and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. If they bear witness to La ilaha illallah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and they face our Qiblah, eat our slaughtered animals, and pray as we do, then their blood and wealth become forbidden except for a right that is due, and they will have the same rights and obligations as the Muslims.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i volume 5, Book 37, Hadith 3972, (Sahih, Darussalam) http://sunnah.com/nasai/37/2 )

The controversy among critics surrounds the following part of the Hadith:

“I have been commanded to fight the idolaters (or ‘people’) until they say La ilaha illallah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah) and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

Some critics have deduced from this part of the report that Prophet Muhammed (p) and his companions roamed around Arabia forcefully converting people to Islam with the point of the sword. This fanciful tale has sadly been perpetuated by orientalists and other critics of Islam for a while.

The classical understanding of the Hadith: as a result of the polytheists breaking the treaty, murdering members of Muhammed’s ally and persecuting the Muslims over for many years, the Muslims had no choice but to deal with those who continued hostility and bloodshed with the point of the sword, 1300 years ago.

Since they murdered and persecuted people for so many years, the polytheist warmongers had no right over their land. Expulsion of the criminals was a must rule in this circumstance in order to save the community from further harm they would commit. If they did abide by the treaty and didn’t do the things they did, they would have still had full control over their territory, but since they persecuted and murdered, they longer had a right to this. Now, the only choice that would have been offered to the criminals was one of the following:

1. Stop their hostilities, put their weapons down and live under the Muslim rule (government).
2. Embrace Islam.
3. Or leave the Muslim lands.

Scholars in the past have interpreted the Hadith slightly different and sometimes offered different choices shown to the one presented. I would argue that this position is in line with what the Prophet (p) did on this incident as our earliest sources confirm this. The decision to add choice number one with the other two was because of the Biography of Prophet Muhammed’s life (Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah) and other sources.

For example, when the Prophet Muhammed (p) conquered Makkah, he commanded his companions only to fight those who fought them. He went further, anybody that goes inside Abu Sufyan’s house or lock their doors and don’t engage in any fighting, they were safe and protected. Furthermore, We understand from history that when the Muslims took over Makkah they gave the polytheists amnesty and forgave them for the wrong they had done. As such, conversion nor expulsion on this occasion was necessary as long as the polytheists laid down their weapons and repented from the wrong they had done.

Sirat Rasul Allah – Ibn Ishaq:

THE APOSTLE HAD INSTRUCTED HIS COMMANDERS WHEN THEY HAD ENTERED MECCA ONLY TO FIGHT THOSE WHO RESISTED THEM… When the apostle of halted in the upper part of Mecca two of my brothers-in-law from B. Makhzum fled to me. (She was the wife of Hubayra b. Abu Wahb al-Makhzumi). Ali came in swearing that he would kill them, so I bolted the door of my house on them and went to the Apostle… Then he came forward and welcomed me and asked why I had come. When I told him about the two men and Ali he said: ‘WE GIVE PROTECTION TO WHOMSOEVER YOU GIVE PROTECTION AND WE GIVE SAFETY TO THOSE YOU PROTECT. HE MUST NOT KILL THEM.’” (The Life Of Muhammad – A Translation Of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah [With Introduction And Notes by A. Guillaume – Oxford University Press, Seventeenth Impression, 2004], page 550 – 552)

Kitab al-Maghazi – Ma’mar Ibn Rashid (714 – 770 AD):

“‘O Messenger of God!’ al-Abbas interjected . ‘Indeed, Abu Sufyan is one of the notables of our tribe, one of its elders. It would please me if you were to grant him something in recognition of his status.’
The Prophet decreed, ‘WHOEVER ENTERS THE HOUSE OF ABU SUFYAN IS SAFE.’ Abu Sufyan replied, ‘My house? My house!’
‘Yes,’ answered the Prophet, ‘AND WHOEVER LAYS DOWN HIS WEAPONS IS SAFE; AND WHOEVER LOCKS THE DOOR TO HIS HOUSE IS SAFE.’
Abu Sufyan left with al-Abbas, and while they were going down the road, al-Abbas feared that Abu Sufyan might still commit some act of treachery, so he sat him down on a mound of earth until the armies passed. …” (The Expeditions (“Kitab al-Maghazi”) – An Early Biography Of Muhammad by Ma’mar Ibn Rashid – According to the recension of Abd al-Razzaq al-San’ani [Edited and translated by Sean W. Anthony – Foreword by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem., NEW YORK University Press., 2014], page 99)

Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk – Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari (838 – 923 AD):

“So I said to him, ‘Messenger of God, Abu Sufyan is a man who loves glory. Grant him something that shall be [a cause for him] among his clansmen.’ He said, ‘YES, WHOEVER ENTERS THE HOUSE OF ABU SUFYAN SHALL BE SAFE; ANYONE WHO ENTERS THE SANCTUARY SHALL BE SAFE; AND ANYONE WHO LOCKS HIS DOOR BEHIND HIM SHALL BE SAFE.’
… Abu Sufyan departed in haste. When he reached Mecca, he shouted in the sanctuary, ‘People of Quraysh, behold Muhammad has come upon you with forces you cannot resist.’ ‘What then?’ They said, ‘Alas, what will your house avail us!’ He said, ‘ANYONE WHO ENTERS THE SANCTUARY WILL BE SAFE, AND ANYONE WHO LOCKS HIS DOOR BEHIND WILL BE SAFE.’ … When THE MESSENGER OF GOD ORDERED HIS COMMANDERS TO ENTER MECCA, HE CHARGED THEM TO KILL NO ONE except those who fought them…” (The History Of al-Tabari (“Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk”) – The Victory of Islam [Translated and annotated by Michael Fishbein, University of California, Los Angeles – Bibliotheca Persica, edited by Ehsan Yar-Shater – State University Of New York Press, Albany., 1997], by Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari, volume VIII (8), page 173 – 178)

Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan – al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri (d. 892 AD):

“…Kuraish had gathered their mob and followers saying, ‘Let us send these ahead. If they win, we will join them; and if defeated, we shall give whatever is demanded.’ ‘Do ye see’ said the Prophet, ‘THE MOB OF KURAISH?’ ‘We do,’ answered the Ansar. He then made a sign with one hand over the other as if to say, ‘kill them.’ To this the Prophet added, ‘Meet me at ‘as-Safa’. Accordingly we set out, each man killing whomever he wanted to kill, until abu-Sufyan came to the Prophet saying, ‘O Prophet of Allah, the majority of Kuraish is annihilated. … THE PROPHET THEREUPON ANNOUNCED, ‘HE WHO ENTERS THE HOUSE OF ABU SUFYAN IS SAFE, HE WHO CLOSES HIS OWN DOOR IS SAFE, AND HE WHO LAYS DOWN HIS ARMS IS SAFE.’ On this the Ansar the Ansar remarked one to the other, ‘The man is moved by love to his relatives and compassion on his clan.’ …
THE PEOPLE THEN CROWDED TO THE HOUSE OF ABU SUFYAN AND CLOSED ITS DOORS LAYING DOWN THEIR ARMS. … On the occasion of the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet made the following statement, ‘Slay no wounded person, pursue no fugitive, execute no prisoner; and whoever closes his door is safe.’ … On the day of the conquest of Makkah the Prophet asked Kuraish, ‘What think ye?’ To which they replied, ‘What we think is good, and what say is good. A noble brother thou art, and the son of a noble brother. Thou hast succeeded.’ The Prophet then said, ‘My answer is that given by my brother Joseph, ‘NO BLAME BE ON YOU THIS DAY. ALLAH WILL FORGIVE YOU; FOR HE IS THE MOST MERCIFUL OF THE MERCIFUL. …” (The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, [Translated by Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD – NEW YORK: Columbia University, Longmans, Green & Co., Agents – London: P. S. King & Son. Ltd., 1916], volume 1, page 65 – 68)

Although the polytheists were given amnesty and forgiven as long as they laid their weapons down and sought peace, there was an exception to few people. The Prophet (p) ordered his companions to kill certain specific individuals even if they were caught holding on the curtains of the Kab’ah. The names are, Abdullah Ibn Sa’d Ibn Abi Sarh, Abdullah Ibn Khattal, Miqyas b. Subahah, Al-Huwayrith b. Nuqaydh b. Wahb b. Abd. B. Qusayy, Ikrima b. Abi Jahl and Hind b. Utbah and few other names. These individuals persecuted, murdered people cold bloodily, and in some cases committed treachery against the State. As such, the Prophet (p) ordered that they should be dealt with wherever they may be.

It would be similar to a criminal making a run for a serious crime he or she may have committed in America today. If the authorities apprehend him or her they could get the death penalty in the court of law. The seriousness of the crime would not absolve the perpetrator from being tried. This is similar to this incident, 1300 years ago.

Since Prophet Muhammed (p) was the head of State, judge, jury and had the authority from God to execute those who committed heinous crimes, at the same time it was also in his hand to forgive. But in the case of these individuals, the only thing that could save their lives is if they went on the run (left Muslim lands) or embraced Islam, and repented from past crimes they had done. Some ran away, others came to the Prophet (p) asking for forgiveness and were granted. And some were executed for the past crimes.

It should be noted, those who insisted on hostility and warfare against the Muslims, they would have been dealt with the point of the sword or exiled (leave the lands where the Muslims resided), 1300 years ago. They would have no right to stay on the same land with the Muslims or other peaceful tribes who were non-Muslim. These rules were intended to make sure the community as a whole (Muslim and non-Muslim) were safe and were free to live without being persecuted against.

Indeed Prophet Muhammed’s (p) role in the community as a whole was to defend the rights of the marginalised and protect those who were victims of injustice. As such, if the polytheists at the time wanted protection and laid down their weapons, the Prophet (p) protected them as the evidence has shown.

This evidence here shows that the Prophet (p) nor his companions fought as a result of their beliefs. Rather it was due to them breaking the treaty and shedding blood which subsequently led to the Muslims conquering Makkah.

5. The Hadith rejects Forced Conversion Claim

The forced conversions claim, it is not permissible to force anyone to enter Islam. It is haram (forbidden).

In the book “Hidayatul Hayara Fi Ajwibatul Yahud wa al-Nasara” the scholar Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292 – 1350 AD) comments on Surah al-Tawbah. He writes that the Prophet (p) never forced anyone to accept Islam:

“When God sent His Apostle (p), most of the followers of these religions responded to him and to his successsors, voluntarily and willingly. NOBODY WAS COMPELLED TO DO SO. THE APOSTLE FOUGHT ONLY THOSE WHO FOUGHT AND WAGED WAR AGAINST HIM. He did not fight those who made peace with him, neither did he fight those who were under the pledge of truce. He was obeying the bidding of God Most Sublime were he said:

‘Let there be no compulsion in Religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects Evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks, and God heareth and knowth all things ‘ (al-Baqarah: 256).

THE APOSTLE DID NOT COMPEL ANYONE TO ADOPT ISLAM. The above quoted verse from the Qur’an negates compulsion in the sense of prohibition that is: do not compel a soul to embrace the Religion. The verse (Sura) was revealed to admonish some of the men among the companions whose children embraced Judaism and Christianity before the advent of Islam, and where with the advent of Islam, their fathers embraced the religion of Muhammad and attempted to compel their children to follow their lead. God Most Exalted prohibited the fathers from resorting to compulsion to inspire their children to embrace Islam out of their choice. … To him who ponders over the biography of the Prophet (p) it becomes clear that he did not compel anyone to embrace his religion, and that he only fought those who fought him. He did not fight those who made truce with him as long as they kept and honoured the truce. He never broke a promise, for God Most High bid him to fulfil his promises to them as long as they kept theirs. A propos, God Most Exalted said:

‘How can there be a league before God and His apostle, with the pagans, except thoe with whom ye made a treaty near the Sacred Mosque? As long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them for God doth love the righteous’ (AL-TAWBAH: 7).

… Likewise, when the Prophet Muhammad made truce with (the tribe of) Quraysh holding for ten years, HE DID NOT START ANY FIGHT WITH THEM; BUT WHEN THEY VIOLATED THE MUTUAL AGREEMENT AND RAISED ARMS AGAINST HIM, HE FOUGHT BACK… he stopped the fight when they retreated and went off. The point is that he did not compel anyone at all to embrace his religion; but people embraced his RELIGION VOLUNTARILY and willingly. When most of the people earth realized the True Guidance, and that he is genuinely the Apostle of God, they embraced his call. (Guidance To The Uncertain In Reply To The Jews And The Nazarenes (‘Hidayatul Hayara Fi Ajwibatul Yahud wa al-Nasara’) – [Translated by Abdelhay El-Masry, Dar Al-Kotob Al-Ilmiyah] by Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziah, page 25 – 27)

In fact, the very report that is used by proponents tells us that forced conversion is forbidden (haram):

“Jabir narrated that: the Messenger of Allah said: “I have been ordered to fight the people until they say: ‘La ilaha illallah’. So when they say that, their blood and their wealth are safe from me, except for a right, and their reckoning is for Allah.” Then he recited: So remind them – ‘YOU ARE ONLY ONE WHO REMINDS. YOU ARE NOT A DICTATOR OVER THEM’ (Quran 88:22). (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 5, Book 44, Hadith 3341 (Sahih, Darussalam))

This Hadith is also reported in Sahih Muslim:

“It is narrated on the authority of Jabir that the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded that I should fight against people till they declare that there is no god but Allah, and when they profess it that there is no god but Allah, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my behalf except where it is justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah, and then he (the Holy Prophet) recited (this verse of the Holy Qur’an):” THOU ART NOT OVER THEM A WARDEN(lxxxviii (88), 22).” (Sahih Muslim Book 1, Hadith 32 http://sunnah.com/muslim/1/35 )

Notice the words:

“You’re only one who reminds. You are NOT a dictator over them”.

Ibn Kathir commenting on Surah 88:22 states that one cannot force someone to “faith” i.e., force someone to believe in Islam:

“‘You are not a Musaytir over them.’ Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others said, “You are not a dictator over them.” This means that you CANNOT create faith in their hearts. Ibn Zayd said, “You are NOT the one who can force them to have faith.’” (Tafsir Ibn Kathird (Abridged) – (Surat At-Taghabun to the end of the Qur’an) [Abridged by A group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri., Darussalam., Second Edition, 2003], volume 10, page 464 )

Similarly, this is also said by Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas:

“‘Thou art not’ O Muhammad ‘at all a warder over them’ you are NOT imposed on them such that you force them to accept faith.” (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas on Surah 88:22 online source, http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=88&tAyahNo=22&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )

Tafsir Anwarul Bayan – Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani states that the responsibility of the Prophet (p) was only to preach the Message and “not force people to believe (in Islam)”:

“…because of his overwhelming concern for his Ummah, the Holy Prophet used to become extremely grieved when people REFUSED TO ACCEPT ISLAM. Therefore, Allah said to him, ‘So give advice, for you are an advisor. You have not been appointed as a warder over them’ i.e., YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IS ONLY TO PREACH THE MESSAGE AND NOT FORCE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE. Whoever believed after the message reached him, shall be successful.“ (Illuminating Discourses On The Quran (“Tafsir Anwarul Bayan”) [Translation Edited by Mufti Afzal Hussain Elias. – Revised by Maulana Arshad Fakhri based on Ma’ariful Quran. – Darul Ishaat, Urdu Bazar, Karachi. First Edition, 2005] by Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani, volume 5, page 390)

Maarif ul Quran – Mufti Mohammad Shafi says that it is God who guides the “unbelievers”, and Muhammed (p) is only a “preacher”:

“In conclusion of the Chapter, the Messenger of Allah is comforted thus:
… ‘You are not a taskmaster set up over them, … 88:22’
THE HOLY PROPHET IS TOLD THAT HE IS ONLY A PREACHER, and as such he must keep on preaching. He should not worry beyond that. IT IS FOR ALLAH TO CALL THE UNBELIEVERS TO HIM to render account of their deeds and actions…” (Maarif ul Quran: Quran Translation and Commentary [Translated by Maulana Ahmed Khalil Aziz. Revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani] by Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi, volume 8, page 777)

Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an – Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi:

“325. (with either power or authority to force their will).” (Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an – Translation and Commentary Of The Holy Qur’an [Published By Darul Ishaat Urdu Bazaar Karachi: Pakistan. First edition, 1991] by Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi, volume 4, page 498)

The above evidence refutes the “sanctioning compulsion in religion” claim. We see that after declaring the command to fight the polytheistic Quraysh, the Prophet Muhammed recited verses affirming that his and the companions duty is only to deliver the message of Islam, which clearly shows that he was not forcing anyone to Islam.

6. The Quran Rejects Forced Conversion Claim

Furthermore, the Quran also affirms that forced conversion did not take place. It was not obligatory on this occasion for the polytheists to accept Islam in order to make peace with the Muslims. If they stopped their hostilities against the Muslims and sought refuge, then the Muslims were commanded to grant them protection and safe passage even if they did not accept Islam, as the following verse (Quran 9:6) testifies:

“And if anyone of the IDOLATERS SEEKETH THY PROTECTION (O Muhammad), THEN PROTECT HIM so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and AFTERWARD CONVEY HIM TO HIS PLACE OF SAFETY. That is because they are a folk who know not.” – Quran 9:6 (Pickthall Translation)

Some of the earliest exegesis have said that if the polytheists wanted to hear the message of Islam, the Muslims were obligated to convey the message to them. Even if they rejected Islam, they were allowed and should be send back to the area where they felt safe (Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645 – 722 AD) [3], Hud b. Muhakkam (9th Century) [4], Al-Tabari (838 – 923 AD) [5], Al-Wahidi (d. 1075 AD) [6], Al-Zamakhshari (1070 – 1143 AD) [7], Al-Razi (1149 – 1209 AD) [8], Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas (d. 1414 AD) [9], and Tafsir al-Jalalayn (15/16th Century) [10]). The Muslims were commanded by God to take them to a place of safety  where they felt safe. They were not harmed even when they rejected Islam. This verse (Q. 9:6) shows, the Muslims then were only fighting specific individuals from Quraysh as a result of the aggression and hostilities, not because of their beliefs.

7. Various Commentaries On The Hadith

The 13th-century scholar Taqi ad-Din Ahmed Ibn Taymiyyah (1263 – 1328 AD) comments on this Hadith report and says it speaks about those who wage war against the Muslims:

“It refers to FIGHTING THOSE WHO ARE WAGING WAR, whom Allah has permitted us to fight. It does not refer to those who have a covenant with us with whom Allah commands us to fulfill our covenant.” (Majmu al-Fatawa by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, volume 19, page 20)

Shaykh Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo presents Wamaidh al-Umari’s view and he states the fighting that is mentioned in the Hadith is in reference to some “form of wrong or evil” the other side have done:

“According to al-Umari, the goal of the fighting mentioned in this Hadith is not to bring about death to the other party as a type of punishment, as in the Hadith of ibn Masood which is Hadith #14 in this collection. Instead, IT IS FIGHTING FOR THE PURPOSE OF BRINGING TO END SOME FORM OF WRONG OR EVIL. KILLING IN THIS CASE IS AN INCIDENTAL OR UNAVOIDABLE POSSIBLE RESULT OF THE FIGHTING AND NOT A GOAL IN ITSELF. It is similar to the type of fighting that is mentioned in the verse,
‘If two parties of believers fight, make reconciliation between them. If one of them rebels against the other, then fight you [all] against the one who rebels until it complies with the command of Allah (al-Hujuraat 9). When one fights the rebel forces, one is not trying to kill the individual Muslims but to defeat them and make them surrender to what is right. Therefore, this Hadith cannot be used as evidence that the one who does not pray is to be killed as a form of punishment because it is concerned with a completely different topic.” (Fiqh al-Imaan ala Minhaj al-Salaf al-Saalih [Jordan Daar al-Nafaais, 1998], Al-Umari, Wamaidh, page 324) (Commentary On The Forty Hadith Of al-Nawawi [Introduction by Prof. Jaafar Sheikh Idris T., Al-Basheer Company for Publications & Translations., 1999] by Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo volume 1, page 424 – 425)

The late respected scholar Amin Ahsan Islahi (1904 – 1997) writes:

“Some tradition contain following words of the Prophet (sws):
I have been commanded to fight the people until they profess there is no God but Allah. (Bukhari, No: 385)
Apparent and literal meaning of the narrative, disregarding its true context, validates the Orientalists’ view that Islam was spread by the sword. It also entails that the war against unbelief that the Prophet (sws) started has to go on till the whole mankind embraces Islam and declares Allah to be the only deity. THIS IS PLAINLY WRONG. HISTORY FALSIFIES THIS INTERPRETATION. We know that the Prophet (sws) accepted Jizyah from the People of the Book as well as the Magians (al-majus). HE DID NOT FORCE THEM TO SAY THAT THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH. Similarly all such people who contracted treaties with Muslims, before their subjugation (mu‘ahid/ahl al-ṣulḥ), WERE ALLOWED TO FOLLOW THEIR RELIGION. THEY TOO WERE NOT FORCED TO CONVERT.” (Fundamentals of Ḥadith Interpretation An English Translation of Mabadi Tadabbur-e Ḥadith [Translated by Tariq Mahmood Hashmi – AL-MAWRID 51-K Model Town, Lahore – First Edition] by Amin Ahsan Islahi page 42 – 43)

Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali (1917 – 1996):

“… Throughout its suras we find fervent appeals to man to take heed, return to right guidance and to return to right guidance and turn to his Lord. The policy of the big stick only began after the STICKS OF THE ENEMIES HAD INFLICTED PAIN ON THE BACKS OF THE BELIEVERS AND BROKEN THEIR BONES. Allah Almighty revealed,

‘Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against because they have been wronged – truly Allah has the power to come to their support.’ (22:39)

The fact is that fighting was a policy of last resort when all other means had failed. The important thing is that those who are known for their relationship with Allah first of all call people to Allah in an excellent manner and offer opportunities for peace and truces, taking account of the errors to which human nature is prone, Then when they resort to fighting after that, they behave as men and they act in the most noble way. This is what Muhammad, peace be upon him, did, and what is shown clearly in his conduct. But when the first thing a short-sighted Muslim mentions about dealing with the enemies of Islam is the famous Hadith:

‘I was commanded to fight people until they say, There is no god but Allah,’

Then the man is one of those who move words from their proper place and treat the legacy of the Prophet with great stupidity. We explained in another book that this Hadith came at the time when Surat at-Tawba was revealed, about a year before the death of the Messenger, and after a fearsome STRUGGLE WITH THE PAGANS WHOM ISLAM GAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE WHILE THEY OFFERED ONLY DEATH. He lived with them for a time on a basis of,

‘To you your deen and to me my deen,’

BUT ALL HE EXPERIENCED FROM THEM WAS DECEIT AND ASSASSINATION. …
The beginning of SURAT AT-TAWBA GIVES COMPLETE PICTURE OF THAT INSOLENT TREACHEROUS PAGANISM, AND IT WAS IN THIS ATMOSPHERE THAT THIS HADITH WAS UTTERED: ‘I have been commanded to fight people until they say, ‘There is no god but Allah,’ It is not permitted for an ignorant person to take it out of context.” (The Sunna Of The Prophet – The People of Fiqh Versus the People of Hadith [Translation by Aisha Bewley, Editor Abdalhaq Bewley. – Sixth Edition – Dar Al Taqwa Ltd., 2009] by Muhammad al-Ghazali, page 104 – 105)

Professor Jonathan A.C. Brown, says that the Hadith was understood to mean that the conquered polytheists will agree to submit to the Muslim rule:

“Jihad was understood as the unceasing quest to ‘make God’s word supreme,’ as Hadiths described, through the ongoing expansion of the rule of God’s law on earth. THIS WAS NOT ENVISIONED IN ANY WAY AS A QUEST FOR FORCED CONVERSION, which never featured in the Islamic conquests. The Qur’anic edict of ‘no compulsion in religion’ governed the interpretation of Hadiths like the authenticitated report of the Prophet declaring, ‘I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God, establish prayer and pay the charity tithe.’ Read in light of the Qur’anic prohibition on coerced belief, this mission to extract confessions of belief WAS NOT INTERPRETED LITERALLY. Rather, it was understood as referring either only to Arabia’s pagans (not followers of monotheistic religions) or as a metaphor for the conquered non-Muslims agreeing to submit to Muslim rule.” (Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices Of Interpreting The Prophet’s Legacy [Oneworld Publications, 2014], by Jonathan A. C. Brown, page 102)

Abdul Hamid Siddiqi’s commentary on the Hadith report:

“This hadith has been made the target of criticism by the hostile critics of Islam. They wrongly assert that it is by sheer force that people are converted to Islam. But THERE IS NOT AN IOTA OF TRUTH IN IT. They do not look into the words used by the Holy Prophet. Here the verb قات is highly meaningful. A person who is conversant even with the rudiments of Arabic grammar knows fully well that it is from the bab مفا علم which implies that it is not a one-sided action but a participation of both sides. Thus according to the bab of the verb used, IT BECOMES CLEAR THAT THE HOLY PROPHET EXHORTED TO FIGHT AGAINST THOSE WHO HAD RAISED ARMS AGAINST THE MUSLIMS. THIS COMMAND IS NOT DIRECTED AGAINST EVERY NON-MUSLIM.” (Commentary Of: Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 30 – Abdul Hamid Siddiqi’s Commentary – [Dar Al Arabia, Chapter IX] – volume1, page 16-17 (footnote 54))

Professor Asma Afsaruddin provides Dr. Buti’s assessment in regards to this report, and he says that the Hadith speaks about someone who “opposes you” or “fight someone who attacks you”:

“The seemingly problematic Hadith related by Ibn Umar, ‘I have been commanded to fight people until they bear witness that there is no god but God…’ has led to grave misunderstanding of its meaning because most people do not take note of the fundamental distinction between the two verbs uqatil and aqtul and tend to confuse and/or conflate the two, continuous al-Buti. The first would mean ‘[that] I fight’ and the second would mean [that] I kill.’ If the second verb had occurred in the Hadith, then that would indeed have been contrary to the texts of numerous Qur’anic verses and hadiths that prohibit coercion in matters of religion. The actual verb uqatil as it occurs in the Hadith is not contrary to these texts because it broadly means, according to the third verbal form, ‘TO FIGHT SOMEONE WHO OPPOSES YOU,’ AND MORE NARROWLY MEANS ‘TO FIGHT SOMEONE WHO ATTACKS YOU FIRST WITH INTENT TO KILL.’ For it is the aggressor (al-badi) who is called qatil, and ‘the one who resists the aggressor’ is called muqatil.’ On the basis of the linguistic analysis, it is compellingly established that THE PURPOSE OF FIGHTING IN THIS HADITH IS DEFENDING ONESELF IN RESPONSE TO A PRIOR ACT OF AGGRESSION. The proper meaning of Hadith may then be rendered as follows:
I have been commanded to prevent any act of aggression [directed] at my summoning of the people to faith in the oneness of God, even if this prevention of aggression against this summoning is accomplished through fighting the aggressors, for that is a duty I have been commanded to [undertake] by God, and which must be carried out. …” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought by Asma Afsaruddin, page 250)

Shaykh Sami al-Majid, professor at al-Imam Islamic University, Riyadh, writes:

“… This is further emphasized a few verses later where Allah says: “Will you not fight people who broke their covenants and plotted to expel the Messenger and attacked you first?” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 13]
Ibn al-`Arabi, in his commentary on the Qur’ân, writes: “It is clear from this that the meaning of this verse is to kill the pagans who are WAGING WAR AGAINST YOU.” [Ahkam al-Qur’an: (2/456)]
Allah also say right after the verse under discussion: “How can there be a covenant before Allah and His Messenger with the pagans except those with whom you have made a treaty near the Sacred Mosque? As long as they stand true to you, stand true to them, for Allah does love the righteous.” [Surah al-Tawbah: 7]
Another misunderstood text is the hadith where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I have been commanded to fight the people until they bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that I am Allah’s Messenger. If they do so, then there blood and their wealth are inviolable except in the dispensation of justice, and their affair is with Allah.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]
There can be no qualms about this hadith’s authenticity, since it is recorded in both Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. However, THIS HADITH IS ALSO NOT TO BE TAKEN GENERALLY, out of context, and in complete disregard to all the other textual evidence.
The term “people” here is not referring to all humanity. Ibn Taymiyah says: “It refers to fighting THOSE WHO ARE WAGING WAR, whom Allah has permitted us to fight. It does not refer to those who have a covenant with us with whom Allah commands us to fulfill our covenant.” [Majmu` al-Fatawa (19/20)]
ISLAM COMMANDS THE MUSLIMS TO BE JUST WITH PEOPLE OF OTHER FAITHS, WHETHER THEY BE JEWS, CHRISTIANS, OR PAGANS. ISLAM CALLS US TO TREAT THEM KINDLY and try to win their hearts as long as they do not take up arms against us. Allah says: “Allah forbids you not with regard to those who neither fight against you for your faith nor drive you out of your homes from dealing kindly and justly with them, for Allah loves those who are just.” [Surah al-Mumtahanah: 9-10]
ALLAH COMMANDS MUSLIMS TO RESPECT THEIR NON-MUSLIM PARENTS AND TO ACCOMPANY THEM IN THIS WORLD IN A GOOD MANNER.
The Qur’an commands us to argue with them in the best manner. Allah says: “Argue with the People of the Scripture in the best manner except those among them who act oppressively. Say: We believe in the revelation that has come down to us and in that which came down to you. Our God and your God is one, and it is to Him we submit ourselves as Muslims.” [Sûrah al-`Ankabût: 46]
We are ordered to uphold our covenants with the non-Muslims and not betray them or transgress against them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) gave a stern warning to us against killing a non-Muslim with whom we are at peace. He said: “WHOEVER KILLS ONE WITH WHOM WE HAVE A COVENANT WILL NOT SMELL THE SCENT OF PARADISE.” [Sahîh Muslim]
The faith of a Muslim is not acceptable unless he believes in all of the Prophets who were sent before (peace be upon them all). Allah says: “O you who believe! Believe in Allah, His Messenger, the scripture that He revealed to His messenger and the scripture that he revealed before. Whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His books, His Messengers, and the Last Day has gone far astray.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 136]” (“Let there be no compulsion in religion” by Sheikh Sami al-Majid, professor at al-Imam Islamic University, Riyadh, online source, last accessed 22st December 2016, http://en.islamtoday.net/artshow-262-3441.htm )

Dr. Jamal Badawi:

“There is no single verse in the Qur’an properly interpreted in its context and historical circumstances that ever allowed the Muslim to fight non-Muslims simply because they are non-Muslims. The opposite is true; in Chapter 60, verse 8 and 9 in the Qur’an, it clearly says that non-Muslims who are not fighting against Muslims or oppressing them are ENTITLED TO KIND AND JUST TREATMENT. Also, in the Qur’an, Chapter 2, verse 256, it says: let there be no compulsion in religion.” It is in the light of these two verses and many others in the Qur’an that the Hadith referred to should be understood.
The word “people” in this hadith and in the Qur’an may mean a subset of people but not all of them. There are a lot of evidences of variant usage in the Qur’an and also in this hadith. This hadith in all likelihood REFERS TO THE PAGAN ARABS WHO PERSECUTED MUSLIMS, MURDERED THEM, AND BROKE THEIR TREATIES WITH THEM. As such, they deserved capital punishment, yet they are given the opportunity to repent in which case they are to be forgiven, and their property will be protected. This shows, like other instances in the Qur’an and in hadith, that the purpose of Islam is punitive, but rehabilitative. To interpret this hadith in a generalized way is to violate the text of the Qur’an and basic rules of interpretation.” (Towards a Better Muslim/Non-Muslim Relation: Does Islam Teach Violence? By Jamal Badawi – online source http://web.archive.org/web/20110401225017/http://livedialogue.islamonline.net/livedialogue/english/Browse.asp?hGuestID=GRdp6I )

Shaykh Muhammad Hashim Kabbani:

“The Imams argued from this that as long as the unbelievers are willing to live peacefully among the believers our divine obligation is to treat them peacefully, despite their denial of Islam. The succeeding verse affirms this: So long as they are true to you, stand you true to them. Verily! God loves those who fear God. (Qur’an 9:7) This verse instructs the Muslims to observe treaty obligations with meticulous care, and not to break them unless the other side breaks them first. On the basis of the clear arguments of the scholars of Qur’an and Hadith, the majority concluded that physical fighting is not a permanent condition against unbelievers, but is resorted to only when treaties are broken or aggression has been made against Muslim territory (dar al-Islam) by unbelievers. On the other hand, educating non-Muslims about Islam is a continuous Jihad, per the agreed-upon, multiply transmitted hadith: The Messenger of God said, ‘‘I have been ordered to fight the people until they declare that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is His Messenger, establish prayers, and pay Zakat….’’39 In his book al-Jihad fil-Islam, Dr. Sa‘id Ramadan al-Buti explains this hadith in detail based on the understanding of the majority of jurists, showing that linguistically the word ‘‘fight’’ here and in many other places does not refer to combat, rather to struggle, including in its scope da‘wa, preaching, exhortation, and establishment of the state apparatus whereby Islamic preaching is protected. IT DOES NOT MEAN FORCING ANYONE TO BECOME MUSLIM at the point of a sword, and numerous examples can be cited from the life history of the Prophet showing that he never forced conversion, nor did his successors.
Dr. Buti explains that the linguistic scholars of Hadith showed that the word uqatil used by the Prophet in fact means ‘‘fight’’ and not aqtul, ‘‘kill.’’ In Arabic, THIS WORD IS USED IN TERMS OF DEFENDING AGAINST AN ATTACKER OR AN OPPRESSOR; IT IS NOT USED TO MEAN ATTACK OR ASSAIL.
In light of this, Dr. Buti shows that this hadith connotes: I have been ordered by God to fulfill the task of calling people [peacefully] to believe that God is One and to defend any aggression against this divine task, even though this defense requires fighting aggressors or enemies.40
Dr. Buti explains that this hadith is reminiscent of a saying by the Prophet on the occasion of the Treaty of Hudaybiyya: where he told his mediator, Badil ibn Waraqa, ‘‘But if they do not accept this truce, by God in whose Hands my life is, I will fight with them, defending my Cause till I get killed.’’41
By these words, Badil ibn Waraqa was tasked with inviting the Quraysh to peace, and simultaneously, warning of the ongoing war which had already exhausted them. Dr. Buti remarks: The Prophet’s words ‘‘I will fight with them defending my Cause,’’ in this context certainly means that he, while inclining to peace with the enemy, would react to their combative aggression in the same way, if they had insisted on their aggression.42 Jihad in Islam 233 Note also that in the years after the Treaty was signed, it was the Quraysh who violated the treaty. Near the end of the seventh year after the migration to Medina, the Quraysh along with the allied Banu Bakr tribe attacked the Banu Khuza’a tribe, who were allies of the Muslims. The Banu Khuza’a appealed to the Prophet for help and protection. The Banu Khuza’a sent a delegation to the Prophet requesting his support. Despite the Meccan provocation and clear violation of the treaty, the Prophet avoided acting in haste to renew hostilities. Instead he sent a letter to the Quraysh demanding payment of blood money for those killed and the disbanding of their alliance with the Banu Bakr. Otherwise, the Prophet said, the treaty would be declared null and void. Quraysh then sent an envoy to Medina to announce that they considered the Treaty of Hudaybiyya null and void. However, they immediately regretted this step—and therefore, the leader of Quraysh Abu Sufyan himself traveled to Medina to renew the contract. Despite having been the greatest enemy of the Muslims, and despite the Quraysh already being in violation of the pact they had solemnly entered into, no hand was laid on this Qurayshi chief—someone who is infamous for his persecution and harm to Muslims in Mecca. He was even permitted to enter the Prophet’s mosque and announce his desire to reinstate the treaty. From this, one can argue that if a state of unbelief were sufficient pretext for war, then the Prophet would have been warranted in seizing Abu Sufyan and initiating hostilities against the Quraysh then and there. However, on the contrary, Abu Sufyan came and went from Medina freely and only after some time were the hostilities renewed based on the Meccans’ aggressive violation of the pact. (Voices of Islam – Voices Of The Spirit, by Shaykh Muhammad Hashim Kabbani, volume 2, page 232 – 234)

The late Egyptian Sunni scholar and Islamic theologian Mahmoud Muhammad Shaltut (1893 – 1963) writes:

“Some people who were bent on disparaging Islam did not go beyond the ostensible interpretation of “…fight the unbelievers that are near to you…’ and pretended that the Islamic religion ordered to fight the unbelievers in general, regardless of whether they had committed aggression or not, until they had been converted to Islam. They said that this rule was founded on this verse. However, the meaning of the word “unbelievers” in this and similar verse is: “THOSE HOSTILE POLYTHEISTS WHO FIGHT THE MOSLEMS, COMMIT AGGRESSION AGAINST THEM, EXPEL THEM FROM THEIR HOMES AND THEIR PROPERTY AND PRACTISE PERSECUTION FOR THE SAKE OF RELIGION”. The morals of those polytheists have been discussed in the opening verses of Surat al-Tawbah. The word “people” in the tradition: “I have been ordered to fight the people” should be understood in the same manner. For according to the Consensus [ijma], fighting must only cease at what is mentioned in this tradition…” (The Quran And Combat [MBDA – English Monograph Series — Book No. 18], Imam Mahmoud Muhammad Shaltut, page 87)

Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi:

“The main goal of fighting people, then, is not to make them testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. If the People of the Book are excluded from the above mentioned hadith, then does the hadith deal with all polytheists and idolaters? The answer is definitely “no”! In another authentic hadith, the Magians are included with the People of the Book, as the hadith states, “Treat them as you treat the People of the Book” (reported by Malik, Al-Bayhaqi, and others. It was deemed weak by Sheikh Al-Albani). Hence, the fact is that this hadith is pertinent to the Arab polytheists who were reluctant to respect Islam and its followers, SEEKING TO DESTROY THEM COMPLETELY, AND WHO ALSO FAILED TO RESPECT ANY CONCLUDED TREATY or given covenant. Those people were granted four months to reconsider their situation and rectify their stance. If they insisted upon obliterating Islam, then it would be necessary to fight them. …
Ibn Taymiyah dealt with this hadith in his thesis entitled, A Rule in Fighting Against the Disbelievers. He adopted another approach in his understanding and explanation of this hadith, which is entirely different from what is said by the majority of Muslim scholars. Hence, we have to state this view on account of its depth, clarity and significance. Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “The meaning of the Prophet’s saying “I have been ordered to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah. If they did so, then they would save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws, and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah” is just a mention of the objective during which fighting against them will be permissible. Hence, if those people carried out what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked them for, then fighting against them would be prohibited … Thus, this hadith does not mean that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was commanded to fight against all people only for this objective, as this meaning contradicts the religious texts and the consensus of Muslim scholars. Yet, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never committed such an act; rather, he (peace and blessings be upon him) USED TO MAKE PEACE WITH THOSE WHO WANTED TO MAKE PEACE WITH HIM. (Fiqh of Jihad (“Fiqh al-Jihad”), [Online pdf] volume 1, page 327-337)

Scholar Zaid Shakir:

“First of all, many of the classical exegetes explain that these verses do not apply to Jews and Christians. Their discussion of the verses in question center on relations with the polytheists, to the exclusion of the “People of the Book.” For example, Imam al-Qurtubi (d. 671AH [22]/ 1272 CE), renowned for his exposition on the legal implications of the Qur’anic text, states, concerning the verse in question, “… it is permissible to [understand] that the expression ‘polytheists’ does not deal with Jews and Christians (Ahl al-Kitab).” [23] This opinion is reinforced by the interpretation of a related prophetic tradition, “I’ve been ordered to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity but God. …” [24] Imam Nawawi mentions in his commentary on this tradition, “Al-Khattabi says, ‘It is well-known that what is intended here are the people of idolatry, not the people of the Book (Jews and Christians).’” [25] Among contemporary exegetes, Dr. Mustafa al-Bugha says, commenting on the term for people (nas), which occurs in this tradition, “They are the worshipers of idols and the polytheists.” [26] Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Ahmad, and most contemporary scholars are of the opinion that the polytheists who are to be indiscriminately fought were those living in the Arabian Peninsula. [27] As that area has been free from polytheism since the earliest days of Islam, according to their opinion, the order is now a dead letter.
Just as we can argue that the people who are to be fought against are not an unrestricted class, based on a classical understanding of the “Verse of the Sword,” there are also considerations governing when the restricted classes can be fought. In the verse preceding the “Verse of the Sword,” we read, … except those you have convened a treaty with from the polytheists; when they have not breeched any of its conditions, nor supported anyone in aggression against you, complete the terms of the treaty. [9:4]
Imam al-Qurtubi says concerning this verse, “Even if the terms of the covenant are for more than four months.”[28] This condition and others mentioned in the verses following the “Verse of the Sword,” lead Abu Bakr b. al-‘Arabi (d. 543AH/ 1148 CE), the great Maliki exegete and jurist, to conclude, “It is clear that the intended meaning of the verse is to kill those polytheists WHO ARE WAGING WAR AGAINST YOU.” [29] IN OTHER WORDS, FIGHTING THEM IS CONDITIONAL ON THEIR AGGRESSION AGAINST THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY. THIS POSITION, THE PERMISSIBILITY TO FIGHT IN ORDER TO REPULSE AGGRESSION, IS THE VIEW OF THE MAJORITY OF THE SUNNI MUSLIM LEGAL SCHOOLS as has been explained in great detail by Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti in his valuable discussion of the rationale for Jihad. [30] ” (Jihad is Not Perpetual Warfare, Imam Zaid Shakir, online source, last accessed 21st December 2016, http://www.newislamicdirections.com/nid/notes/jihad_is_not_perpetual_warfare#sthash.SkfRDRLn.dpuf )

With the above in perspective, the command of the Hadith was specific to one group only, those who caused bloodshed and showed open aggression against the Muslims and their non-Muslim allies, 1300 years ago.

Furthermore, it should be noted while this issue with the polytheist Quraysh was taking place, Quran 9:4 tells us that the Prophet (p) had treaties with other polytheists in Arabia who were faithful and did not engage in any hostility against the Muslims nor their allies. Here the Muslims are ordered to abide by this treaty:

Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him).” – Quran 9:4 (Pickthall Translation)

Quran 9:7 also repeats this treaty. Here, the Muslims are commanded to abide by the treaty so long as they are true to the Muslims:

“How can there be an agreement for the idolaters with Allah and with His Messenger; except those with whom you made an agreement at the Sacred Mosque? SO AS LONG AS THEY ARE TRUE TO YOU, BE TRUE TO THEM; SURELY ALLAH LOVES THOSE WHO ARE CAREFUL (OF THEIR DUTY).” – Quran 9:7

We see here the Prophet and his companions did abide by the treaty with other polytheists like the Banu Kinanah, Banu Damra, Banu Mudlaj and other tribes who were peaceful (Surah 9:4, 7) and weren’t touched as classical and contemporary exegesis have reported to us. This clearly shows that the Prophet (p) did not fight the Quraysh polytheists because of their beliefs. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15]

8. Conclusion

We see the historical context in which those words were uttered – the Muslims made a treaty with the Quraysh and the agreement was that no party would break the treaty, nor attack them or any of their own allies. Everyone agreed to the treaty’s order at the time. It didn’t take long before the Quraysh with Banu Bakr attacked, and murdered Muhammed’s non-Muslim ally at night. Soon after this, the Prophet and his companions led to conquering Makkah. The uttering of the statement was in the context of the Quraysh criminals who broke the treaty and murdered members of Muhammed’s ally and were given a choice of the following to choose:

1. Stop their hostilities, put their weapons down and live under the Muslim rule (government).
2. Embrace Islam.
3. Or Leave the land.

Final words, as we have seen, this hadith refers to some polytheistic Arabs who persecuted, murdered Muslims and their allies, and broke their treaties with them. As such, some deserved capital punishment, yet they are given the opportunity to repent in which case they are to be forgiven, and their property will be protected. This shows, the command of the Hadith was specific to one group only, those who caused bloodshed and showed open aggression against the Muslims and their non-Muslim allies, 1300 years ago. And history is a witness that no one was forced to accept Islam, since the very report and other early historical sources refute this claim. [16]

Don’t forget to follow Discover The Truth on Facebook and Twitter. PLEASE help spread the word by sharing our articles on your favourite social networks.

Related articles:

(1) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam

(2) – “Muhammed A Mercy: Analysing Dogs Killed In Madinah

(3) – “What Happened To The Captive Women In Awtas Incident?

(4) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?

(5) – “‘Those Who Wage War And Make Mischief’ – Quran 5:33

(6) – “Did Jews Get Expelled From Arabia?

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References:

[1]  Kathir mentions the exact battle this Hadith was uttered – Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Supervised by Abdul Malik Mujahid – First Edition, 2000], volume 4, page 377
[2] Ibn Juzayy mentions that the Hadith was first said in relation to Surah 9:5, which was revealed in connection with the conquest of Makkah. Tafsir Ibn Juzayy, last accesed 22st December 2006 http://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba1.html
[3] Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645 – 722 AD) on Surah 9:6:
“…this verse guarantees the safety of people in general (insan) who came to listen to the Prophet recite from the Qur’an until they had RETURNED TO THE PLACE OF REFUGE WHENCE THEY CAME.” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 88)
[4] The 9th Century scholar Hud b. Muhakkam on Surah 9:6:
“…the polytheists who requests safe conduct from Muslims in order to listen to the word of God is to be so granted and returned unharmed to his place of origin, whether he embraces Islam or not. This was the view of Mujahid, for example. Al-Kalbi is quoted as saying that the verse referred instead to a group of polytheists who wished to renew their pact with Muhammad asked them to profess Islam, offer prayers, and pay the zakat, they refused, and the Prophet LET THEM RETURN SAFELY TO THEIR HOMES. Ibn Muhakkam further notes that al-Hasan al-Basri had remarked thus on the status of this verse: ‘It is valid and unabrogated (muhkama) until the Day of Judgement.’” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 88)
[5] Al-Tabari (838 – 923 AD):
“…in this verse God counsels Muhammad, ‘If someone from among the polytheists (al-Mushrikun) – those whom I have commanded that you fight and slay after the passage of the sacred months – were to ask you, O Muhammad, for safe conduct in order to listen to the word of God, then grant this protection to him so that he may hear the word of God and you may recite it to him.’ Such an individual, according to the verse, is to be subsequently ESCORTED BACK TO HIS PLACE OF SAFETY EVEN IF HE REJECTS ISLAM AND FAILS TO BELIEVE AFTER THE PROPHET’S RECITATION OF THE QUR’AN BEFORE HIM. SCHOLARS IN THE PAST WHO HAVE AGREED WITH THIS GENERAL INTERPRETATION INCLUDE IBN ISHAQ, AL-SUDDI, AND MUJAHID…” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] By Asma Afsaruddin, page 89)
[6] Al-Wahidi (d. 1075 AD):
“…should someone from among the same group of polytheists request safe conduct and refuge among Muslims so that he may listen to the word of God and learn of its positive commandments and interdictions, he is to be so granted and ESCORTED BACK TO A PLACE OF SAFETY. This is so because they are an ignorant people, and SO SHOULD BE GIVEN PROTECTION and the opportunity to acquire knowledge and perhaps submit to Islam.” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 89)
[7] Al-Zamakhshari (1070 – 1143 AD):
“…if one of the polytheists, with whom no pact (mithaq) exists, were to request safe conduct from the Muslims in order to listen to the Qur’an, then he should be granted it so that he may reflect God’s words. AFTERWARD, HE IS TO BE ESCORTED BACK TO HIS HOME WHERE HE FEELS SAFE. This, al-Zamakhshari says, is established practice for all time. Al-hasan al-Basri had similarly maintained that this verse is ‘valid till the day of resurrection.’ …” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 89)
[8] Al-Razi (1149 – 1209 AD):
“on the authority of Ibn Abbas, who relates that a polytheist man asked Ali b. Abi talib, ‘if we wished to approach the Messenger after the end of this period (the four sacred months) in order to listen to the word of God or for some other reason, will we be killed?’ Ali replied in the negative and recited this verse, affirming the granting of safe conduct to him so that he may listen to the Qur’an. … al-Razi further comments that this verse indicates that imitation of precedent (al-taqlid) is not sufficient in religion, and that critical inquiry (al-nazar) and the seeking of proofs (al-istidlal) are indispensable requirements within religion.
If emulation of precedent were enough, he argues, then this verse would not have granted a respite to this unbeliever, and would have been merely given a choice between professing his belief [In Islam] or death. As this did not occur, IT CONFIRMS THAT MUSLIMS ARE REQUIRED TO OFFER SAFE CONDUCT TO SUCH PERSON and thereby assuage his fears and allow him the opportunity to deliberate upon the proofs of religion. How long such a respite should last is not known; perhaps it should be determined according to the prevalent custom (bi-l-urg), he says.” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] By Asma Afsaruddin, page 89 – 90)
[9] Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas (d. 1414 AD) states that Prophet Muhammed granted safe passage to any of the idolaters who asked for it. So that they may hear the Quran. If he does not believe (i.e., embrace Islam), then he is to be left alone and granted safe passage back to the land he come from:
(And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the word of Allah) so that he may hear your recitation of the words of Allah; (and AFTERWARD CONVEY HIM TO HIS PLACE OF SAFETY) TO THE PLACE HE IS GOING, IF HE REMAINS AN UNBELIEVER. (That) which I have mentioned (is because they are a folk who know not) Allah’s command and His divine Oneness. (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas on Surah 9:6 online source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=6&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )
[10] Tafsir al-Jalalayn also emphasizes that they were left alone if they didn’t believe in Islam, and were taken to their place of safety:
“And if any one of the idolaters (ahadun, ‘one’, is in the nominative because of the [following] verb [istajāraka, ‘seeks your protection’] that validates it) seeks your protection, requests security from you against being killed, then grant him protection, provide security for him, SO THAT HE MIGHT HEAR THE WORDS OF GOD — THE QUR’AN — AND AFTERWARD CONVEY HIM TO HIS PLACE OF SECURITY, THAT IS, THE DWELLING-PLACES OF HIS FOLK, IF HE DOES NOT BELIEVE, SO THAT HE MIGHT REFLECT UPON HIS SITUATION — that, which is mentioned, is because they are a people who do not know, the religion of God, and so they must [be made to] hear the Qur’ān in order to [come to] know [religion]. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:6 – online source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=6&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )
[11] Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas on Surah 9:4,
“(Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty) i.e. the Banu Kinanah after the year of al-Hudaybiyyah, (and who have since abated nothing of your right) who they did not break their treaties, i.e. those who had a nine month treaty (nor have supported anyone) of your enemies (against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term) i.e. nine months. (Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him)) by not breaking their treaties.” (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas on Surah 9:4, online source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=4&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )
[12] As-Sawi on 9:4,
:“[As-Sawi notes that the exception is made to the absolute statement in the first ayat. This is the Banu
“[As-Sawi notes that the exception is made to the absolute statement in the first ayat. This is the Banu Damra who still had nine months of their treaty remaining.]” (As-Sawi on Surah 9:4 – online source http://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba1.html )
[13] Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi:
“…commanded in the fourth verse of Surah Al-Taubah where Muslims were required to fulfil their treaty obligations to the tribes of Banu Damurah and Banu Mudlaj for the remaining nine months.” (Maarif ul Quran: Quran Translation and Commentary [Translation by Prof. Muhammad Hasan Askari & Prof. Muhammad Shamim Revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani] by Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi, volume 4, page 311)
[14] Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi’s commentary on 9:7,
“2 This declaration of the abrogation of the treaties with the mushriks was made in accordance with the law enjoined in VIII: 58 regarding the treacherous people, for it is treachery from the Islamic point of view to wage war against any people with whom a treaty of peace had been made, without openly declaring that the treaty had been terminated. That is why a proclamation of the abrogation of the treaties was necessitated against those clans who were always hatching plots against Islam in spice of the treaties of peace they had made. They would break the treaties and turn hostile on the first opportunity for treachery, and the same was true of all the mushrik clans WITH THE EXCEPTION OF BANI KANANAH, BANI DAMRAH AND ONE OR TWO OTHER CLANS. …
9 That is: Bani Kinanah and Bani Khuza`ah and Bani Damrah.” (Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an, on Surah 9, online source http://englishtafsir.com/Quran/9/index.html)
[15] Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi also mentions Kinana tribe and others who were true to the treaty:
“201. The reference is to Banu Dhamra and Banu Mudlaj, two classes of Kinana tribe, who, it was expected, would keep the pledge.” (Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an – Translation and Commentary Of The Holy Qur’an [Academy of Islamic Research And Publications, Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow – 226 007, (Indian)] by Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi volume 2, page 217)
[16] According to al-Shanqeeti the action is performed by bother sides. From the scholar’s writing he suggests to us that there was a war:
“However, as Ibn Daqeeq al-Eid pointed out, it seems very clear that this particular Hadith cannot be used as evidence that a person who intentionally does not pray is to be put to death. There is a difference between ‘fighting’, which implies opposing struggle between two parties, and ‘killing’ someone. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used the faa’il form of the word. THIS IMPLIES THAT THE ACTION BEING PERFORMED BY BOTH PARTIES INVOLVED. (Kauthar al-Maani al-Daraari fi Kashf Khabaaya Saheeh al-Bukhaari [Beirut: Muassasat al-Risaalah., 1995], by Al-Shanqeeti, Muhammad al-Khidr, volume 2, page 55)

 

refutation

What Is The Explanation Of Abraham Lying?

DTT: Hadith scholar and a Hafiz of Quran Muhammed Zakaria Iqbal states in the following piece that Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) did not tell a lie, commenting a hadith report. Even though some have translated the report as Ibrahim (p) telling a “lie”, he states that the word has not been represented or used in its true sense.


 

Shaykh Muhammed Zakaria Iqbal

1. The Hadith says: Sayyidina Ibrahim did not tell a lie except on three occasions. What does the Arabic word kaziba (lie) mean here? It is obvious that the word is not used in its true sense because it is impossible that the Holy Prophets commit any kind of sin. The Ulama agree that the Prophets are innocent.

In fact, the word is used here in relation to the listener and one who is addressed. The listener understands another meaning in what the speaker says although he does not mean that. This is called … (Tawriyyah) and it is an allusion, hint double entendre or a pun (play upon words).

The responsibility that Allah has placed on the Prophets regarding the conveying of the message leaves no possibility for telling lies even to a very small degree.

As far as affairs of the world are concerned, the authorities, both earlier and subsequent, hold possibility in either way of telling lies by the Prophets but the more correct view is that they are innocent and have never told lies.

Qadi Ayyad Maliki has said about this subject:

“The correct point is that as far as conveying or propagation is concerned (what is necessary to be conveyed to the people), it is even beyond imagination (that they would lie) though we may or may not believe in the possibility of their lying for the inferior… because the office of prophethood is much above such things. If we leave open the possibility of Prophets telling lies then it would question their sayings, trustworthiness and reliability.”

Anyway, the word kazaba here, does not mean he lied. Whatever Sayyidna Ibrahim said was a fact and true and his saying could be interpreted in two ways. The addressee took the nearest and common meaning while the Prophet had the rare meaning in mind. His speech was figurative for Sayyidina Ibrahim, the friend of Allah, was far above speaking lies.

2. The last sentence spoken by Sayyidina Abu Hurayrah in the Hadith is:

“‘That (Hajrah) was your mother, O Bani Ma’ as-Sama (O, children of the water sky).”

Imam Nawawi has said about the meaning of this phrase:

“Many scholars believe the Bani Ma’ as-Sama refers to Arabs because their descent is direct and pure.”

EXPLANATION

When Ibrahim emigrated from his homeland, Sayyidah Sarah was with him. Earlier, his people had plunged him into the fire but it had turned into a cool resort for him at the command of Allah. After that, he emigrated from there and kept setting camps at distant places and, obviously, he found no one to help him in strange lands. In such conditions, cruel oppressing people often have a wicked eye on immigrants and travellers and Sayyidina Ibrahim also encountered a tyrant intoxicated with power and authority. He learnt that Ibrahim was in his territory with a beautiful woman. In those days, these tyrants arrested the husband of a woman whom they liked to enjoy but if she was accompanied with a father or brother or she was unmarried, they did not bother her.

This is why Ibrahim said that she was his sister. However, in spite of that the tyrant had evil designs on her. Ibrahim sent her to the tyrant because as a Prophet he was confident that Allah would not let her suffer. The Prophets are the most sacred and pure natured of all people and Allah chooses pure women for them. While it is possible that a Prophet’s wife may be a disbeliever but she cannot be an immoral woman. Wives of Prophets are always pure and modest.

Prophet Ibrahim had full faith in Allah and knew that Sayyidah Sarah would not come to harm at the hands of the evil king. So, he sent her to the king but informed her that he had told him that she was his sister-and this saying was a play upon words, tawriyah.

Tawriyah is a speech that may be interpreted in two ways. The addressee understands in a way that is contrary to what the speaker intends. It is proper to do so especially if one does it to preserve oneself from a tyrant or from his mischief. Such a course of action is not the same as telling lies.

The Messenger of Allah referred to it as a lie because it seemed such to the listeners. So, Sayyidina Ibrahim said to Sayyidah Sarah that he had told him that she was his sister. He added, “The fact is that there is no one besides you and I on earth who is a believer. So, you are my sister in religion.” Allah has said:

“The believers are but brethren” – Al-Hujurat, 49:11

The Prophet has said that Ibrahim lied three times. The Qur’an has referred to it at two places.

In one verse, Ibrahim is supposed to have said,

“I am unwell…” – As-Saffat, 37:89

Here, Ibrahim had resorted to tawriyah to save himself from joining in a sinful activity when his people invited him to participate in their festival where idols were worshipped. He meant,

“I am upset and sad because of your idol-worship.”

That is the word … (saqeem) also means. The second time, when he was all alone and had the opportunity, he smashed all the idols and placed the axe in the neck of the biggest of them whom he had spared. Later, when he was asked by his people about, he said:

“Nay he has done it – this, the big one one of them…” – Al-Anbiya, 21:63

Obviously, this thing was contrary to fact but Sayyidina Ibrahim spoke on this manner to present the people with an argument. In fact, they too conceded that the idol could not speak and Ibrahim was not talking sense. He took up the argument with their words and said that it was a pity that in spite of knowing all that they continued to worship the idols who neither spoke nor heard, neither benefited anyone nor harmed him. In short, all these three speeches were contrary to facts but they were not lies. There is a maxim:

“The piety of the pies are the evil of the near ones.”

If a common man does anything against the recommended then he is not taken to task or blamed but the Prophet are slaves of Allah who are near to Him so if they do anything against a better course then they are cautioned and reprimanded. Accordingly we find in a Hadith that on the Day of Resurrection all the creatures will be worried and distressed because of the severity of the occasion. So, they will go to different Prophets imploring them to recommend to Allah that He ease the severity and commence the reckoning. But, all the Prophets will recall that they had gone against the better sometimes or other and will repent and seek forgiveness for that, and they will regret their inability to recommend. Sayyidina Ibrahim, too, will express helplessness in the matter and recall these three occasions which he will count as grave sins and seek forgiveness for that.

Returning to the episode, Sayyidina Ibrahim sent Sayyidah Sarah to the tyrant and himself stood up in prayer before Allah – a meeting with, and a petition to, his Lord. Allah accepted his supplication and helped Sayyidah Sarah although there was no visible means of help. She took had made supplications to Allah in her helpless situation, and He protected her and she maintained her chastity. Her supplication was,

“O Allah, if I am a believer in You and Your Messenger, and have preserved my chastity, then let not the disbeliever harm me.”

When she was there, he extended his hand towards her with evil designs. The secret, unseen powers of nature seized him and made him a cripple. Sayyidiah Sarah worried that if the cruel man died then she would be blamed for killing him and he too pleaded with her that he would cause her to harm if she beseeched Allah to restore him to health.

She prayed to Allah accordingly and he was cured, but he reverted to his devilish designs. Once again, unseen forces of nature seized him and he was seized more severely than before. Once again he implored Sayyidah Sarah to pray to Allah, and she did, and he was restored to health.

This cruel man then summoned his couriers and guards and complained that they had brought a devil to him (for he thought that only a devil has secret powers). He ordered them to take her away and deliver her safely to Ibrahim and he gave her Hajirah (Hagar) as a slave-girl. She is the very Sayyidah Hajirah (Hagar) who is the mother of Sayyidina Isma’il (Ishmael) for Sayyidah Sarah had gifted her to her husband, Ibrahim who married her. (we have spoken of this earlier.) Imam Muslim has transmitted a Hadith of the Messenger of Allah:

“you would soon conquer Egypt and that is the land of al-qirat (the Egyptian currency was so-called). So, when you conquer it, treat its inhabitants well for they had blood ties with you or have a relationship of marriage.” (Muslim 6174, reported by Abi Zarr.)

This means that the Prophet was among the descendants of Sayyidna Isma’il, the son of Sayyidah Hajirah (Hagar). She was of Egyptian. She was the mother of the Prophet and the Arabs and he spoke in this vein.

LESSONS AND MESSAGES

1. The most important thing this Hadith tells us is that the wives of Allah’s Prophets and Messengers are honourable and chaste and they are protected from evil. If any evil person should try to harm them or harbours evil designs against them, Allah will not only fail him in his mischief but also punish him. The wives of the Prophets and Messengers remain unharmed because these people are the most sacred and pure section of mankind. So, their wives too are pure and chaste in conformity with Divine law:

“Good women are for good men” – An-Nur, 24:26

We have seen how Sayyidah Sarah was protected by the unseen Hand of Allah. The sinning tyrant, on the other hand was punished.

2. We also learn from this Hadith that a believer must turn to Allah immediately when he is faced with trial. He must seek His help through prayer (As-Salah) as, indeed, Sayyidina Ibrahim and Sayyidah Sarah immediately stood up in prayer and made imploring supplications to Allah when they were seized with trial. As a result Allah helped them preserve their honour and chastity.

3. The story brings out a reality that in his practical life man is sometimes faced with a situation where he cannot do what he wishes to do. Rather, he has to submit to a great opposition and if he does not submit then he cannot protect himself or subdue the opposition. In such cases, rather than fight the opposition, he must place trust in the Powers of Allah and let matters be left to His will and it is not against Shari’ah to bow down to opposition for the moment. Sayyidina Ibrahim did not consider it reasonable to oppose the tyrant for he could not have, by himself, caused him any harm but he would have suffered himself. So, he put the affairs in the Hands of Allah. Lord of the worlds and made a heart-felt supplication to Him for He is the Most Superior Power Who prevents tyrants from being cruel and oppressive. And, He did, in fact, help them. [1]

Don’t forget to follow Discover The Truth on Facebook and Twitter. PLEASE help spread the word by sharing our articles on your favourite social networks.

Related articles:

(1) – “Response To ‘Taqiyya’ Deception – Lying

(2) – “‘Holy Bible’ Allows Lying – Deception?

(3) – “Question Of Prophets Committing A Sin?

Reference:

[1] Stories From The Hadith (Qassas al-Hadith) [English Translation Rafique Abdur Rahman, Darul – Ishaat, Urdu Bazar Karachi-1, Pakistan – First edition., 2000] by Muhammad Zakaria Iqbal
page 59 – 66

Was Tabuk Expedition Against The Byzantine’s Based On Hearsay? No!

Kaleef K. Karim

We have written over the years a number of articles in relation to the Tabuk expedition. A brief mention of this incident for some of our readers who may not be well acquainted with that part of history:

The Byzantine’s as we showed previously prepared their troops southwards heading towards Madinah, intending to attack/kill and overthrow the Muslim Government, 1400 years ago. As such, clear reports had reached the blessed Prophet Muhammed (p) that an army was coming intending to harm him and his community. With the news being confirmed as true, the Prophet Muhammed (p) and his companions (Sahaba) prepared to engage the enemy. The Tabuk expedition was one of the reasons why Surah 9:29 was revealed on this occasion: “Answering Jihad: ‘Fight Against Those Who Do Not Believe’ – Quran 9:29

Some missionaries have gone out of their way to discredit the evidences presented, and even make the Prophet Muhammed (p) and his companions seem evil for attempting to fight the hostile Byzantine army. As such, a number of fallacious claims have been made in regards to this. One such claim is that the reports reaching the Prophet (p) in relation to Byzantine’s was not actual true reports, but mere hearsay, as they claim. The following reports have been presented to back up their assertions:

Report 1:

“… In those days we were afraid of one of the kings of Ghassan tribe. WE HEARD that he intended to move and attack us, so fear filled our hearts because of that. (One day) my Ansari friend unexpectedly knocked at my door, and said, ‘Open Open!’ I said, ‘Has the king of Ghassan come?’ He said, ‘NO, BUT SOMETHING WORSE; ALLAH’S APOSTLE HAS ISOLATED HIMSELF FROM HIS WIVES.’ I said, ‘Let the nose of ‘Aisha and Hafsa be stuck to dust (i.e. humiliated)!’ Then I put on my clothes and went to Allah’s Apostle’s residence, and behold, he was staying in an upper room of his to which he ascended by a ladder, and a black slave of Allah’s Apostle was (sitting) on the first step. I said to him, ‘Say (to the Prophet ) ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab is here.’ Then the Prophet admitted me and I narrated the story to Allah’s Apostle. When I reached the story of Um Salama, Allah’s Apostle smiled while he was lying on a mat made of palm tree leaves with nothing between him and the mat. Underneath his head there was a leather pillow stuffed with palm fibres, and leaves of a saut tree were piled at his feet, and above his head hung a few water skins. On seeing the marks of the mat imprinted on his side, I wept. He said.’ ‘Why are you weeping?’ I replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! Caesar and Khosrau are leading the life (i.e. Luxurious life) while you, Allah’s Apostle though you are, is living in destitute”. The Prophet then replied. ‘Won’t you be satisfied that they enjoy this world and we the Hereafter?’ ” ” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Hadith 435 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=60&translator=1&start=0&number=435)

Report 2:

“… During that time all the rulers of the nearby lands had surrendered to Allah’s Apostle except the king of Ghassan in Sham, and we were afraid that he MIGHT attack us. ALL OF A SUDDEN THE ANSARI CAME AND SAID, ‘A GREAT EVENT HAS HAPPENED!’ I asked him, ‘What is it? Has the Ghassani (king) come?’ He said, ‘Greater than that! ALLAH’S APOSTLE HAS DIVORCED HIS WIVES! I went to them and found all of them weeping in their dwellings, and the Prophet had ascended to an upper room of his. At the door of the room there was a slave to whom I went and said, “Ask the permission for me to enter.” He admitted me and I entered to see the Prophet lying on a mat that had left its imprint on his side. Under his head there was a leather pillow stuffed with palm fires. Behold! There were some hides hanging there and some grass for tanning. Then I mentioned what I had said to Hafsa and Um Salama and what reply Um Salama had given me. Allah’s Apostle smiled and stayed there for twenty nine days and then came down.”” (Sahih al-Bukhari, volume 7, Book 72, Number 734http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=72&translator=1&start=0&number=734)

In the above two reports so far we see that the Muslims at the time were not bothered about this story on the Ghassans. They were more worried about what was happening in the Prophet Muhammed’s household. This should give readers enough proof that the Muslims did not take the story as being authentic at the time. Let’s continue with the reports used by critics:

Report 3:

“… Umar added, AT THAT TIME A TALK WAS CIRCULATING AMONG US THAT (THE TRIBE OF) GHASSAN WERE PREPARING THEIR HORSES TO INVADE US. My Ansari companion, on the day of his turn, went (to the town) and returned to us at night and knocked at my door violently and asked if I was there. I became horrified and came out to him. He said, ‘TODAY A GREAT THING HAS HAPPENED.’ I asked, ‘WHAT IS IT? Have (the people of) Ghassan come?’ He said, ‘No, BUT (WHAT HAS HAPENED) IS GREATER AND MORE HORRIFYING THAN THAT: ALLAH’S APOSTLE; HAS DIVORCED HIS WIVES. ‘Umar added, “The Prophet kept away from his wives and I said “Hafsa is a ruined loser.’ I had already thought that most probably this (divorce) would happen in the near future. So I dressed myself and offered the morning prayer with the Prophet and then the PROPHET; ENTERED AN UPPER ROOM AND STAYED THERE IN SECLUSION. I entered upon Hafsa and saw her weeping. I asked, ‘What makes you weep? Did I not warn you about that? Did the Prophet divorce you all?’ She said, ‘I do not know. There he is retired alone in the upper room.’ I came out and sat near the pulpit and saw a group of people sitting around it and some of them were weeping. … When I was leaving, behold! … The stalks left marks on his side and he was leaning on a leather pillow stuffed with date-palm fires. I greeted him and while still standing I said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Have you divorced your wives?’ He looked at me and said, ‘NO.’ I said, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ … The Prophet smiled for a second time. When I saw him smiling, I sat down. Then I looked around his house, and by Allah, I could not see anything of importance in his house except three hides, so I said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Invoke Allah to make your followers rich, for the Persians and the Romans (Byzantine’s) have been made prosperous and they have been given (the pleasures of the world), although they do not worship Allah.’ Thereupon the Prophet sat up as he was reclining. and said, ‘Are you of such an opinion, O the son of Al-Khattab? These are the people who have received the rewards for their good deeds in this world.’ I said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Ask Allah to forgive me.’ THEN THE PROPHET KEPT AWAY FROM HIS WIVES FOR TWENTY-NINE DAYS BECAUSE OF THE STORY WHICH HAFSA HAD DISCLOSED TO ‘AISHA. The Prophet had said, ‘I WILL NOT ENTER UPON THEM (MY WIVES) FOR ONE MONTH,’ because of his anger towards them, when Allah had admonished him. SO, WHEN TWENTY NINE DAYS HAD PASSED, THE PROPHET FIRST ENTERED UPON ‘AISHA. ‘Aisha said to him, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! You had sworn that you would not enter upon us for one month, but now only twenty-nine days have passed, for I have been counting them one by one.’ The Prophet said, ‘The (present) month is of twenty nine days.’ ‘Aisha added, ‘Then Allah revealed the Verses of the option. (2) And out of all his-wives he asked me first, and I chose him.’ Then he gave option to his other wives and they said what ‘Aisha had said . ” (1) The Prophet, ‘ had decided to abstain from eating a certain kind of food because of a certain event, so Allah blamed him for doing so. Some of his wives were the cause of him taking that decision, THEREFORE HE DESERTED THEM FOR ONE MONTH. See Quran: (66.4) ” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 119http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=62&translator=1&start=0&number=119)

Report 4:

“… In those days IT WAS RUMORED that Ghassan, (a tribe living in Sham) was getting prepared their horses to invade us. My companion went (to the Prophet on the day of his turn, went and returned to us at night and knocked at my door violently, asking whether I was sleeping. I was scared (by the hard knocking) and came out to him. HE SAID THAT A GREAT THING HAD HAPPENED. I ASKED HIM: WHAT IS IT? Have Ghassan come? He replied that IT WAS WORSE AND MORE SERIOUS THAN THAT, AND ADDED THAT ALLAH’S APOSTLE HAD DIVORCED ALL HIS WIVES. … Have Allah’s Apostle divorced you all?’ She (Hafsah) replied, ‘I don’t know. He is there in the upper room.’ I then went out and came to the pulpit and found a group of people around it and some of them were weeping. Then I sat with them for some time, but could not endure the situation. … I entered upon the Prophet and saw him lying on a mat without wedding on it, and the mat had left its mark on the body of the Prophet, and he was leaning on a leather pillow stuffed with palm fires. I greeted him and while still standing, I said: “Have you divorced your wives?’ He raised his eyes to me and replied in the negative. And then while still standing, I said chatting: “Will you heed what I say, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! … I said (Umar Ibn al-Khattab) (to Allah’s Apostle) “Invoke Allah to make your followers prosperous for THE PERSIANS AND THE BYZANTINES HAVE BEEN MADE PROSPEROUS AND GIVEN WORLDLY LUXURIES, though they do not worship Allah?’ The Prophet was leaning then (and on hearing my speech he sat straight) and said, ‘O IBN AL-KHATTTAB! DO YOU HAVE ANY DOUBT (THAT THE HEREAFTER IS BETTER THAN THIS WORLD)? THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN GIVEN REWARDS OF THEIR GOOD DEEDS IN THIS WORLD ONLY.’ I asked the Prophet . ‘Please ask Allah’s forgiveness for me. The Prophet did not go to his wives because of the secret which Hafsa had disclosed to ‘Aisha, and HE (MUHAMMED) SAID THAT HE WOULD NOT GO TO HIS WIVES FOR ONE MONTH as he was angry with them when Allah admonished him (for his oath that he would not approach Maria). WHEN TWENTY-NINE DAYS HAD PASSED, THE PROPHET WENT TO AISHA first of all. She said to him, ‘You took an oath that you would not come to us for one month, and today only twenty-nine days have passed, as I have been counting them day by day.’ The Prophet said, ‘The month is also of twenty-nine days.’ That month consisted of twenty-nine days. …” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 648 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=43&translator=1&start=0&number=648)

The critics have thus deduced from the above reports that these narrations are telling us that the Muslims fought against the Byzantine’s based on unconfirmed stories.

What the critic(s) leave out deliberately, is that even though these reports may be a “rumor”, the Muslims did not retaliate, nor got their troops ready to attack them. These very reports show that even though they may have been worried and anxious of hearing of the impending army of the Byzantine’s, they did not prepare themselves to deal with them since it was only a story circulating at the time. Furthermore, if they found these “rumors” to be true (even though they are) in this instance, why didn’t the companions prepared themselves to engage the enemy? Why didn’t they ask the Prophet to get ready and set out against them? Why did they find the Prophet Muhammed (p) having some home issues more important than the enemies attacking and aiming to kill them? As I mentioned, at this stage the story that was circulating was not confirmed by the Muslims, hence, they Byzantines were left alone.

I may add further, report 3 and 4 tell us that the Prophet (p) abstained from his wives for 29 days, showing that the Muslims did not engage the enemy straight away, but rather after it was confirmed. If the reports were said to be true, the Prophet (p) would have not abstained one month, and caring for home issues over harm to the whole community. Thus the reports were not taken seriously at the time.

As we have briefly seen here readers the reports that were mentioned in regards to this incident of Tabuk, does not in  any away nullify the overwhelming evidence presented in the previous article, that the Byzantine’s did indeed march southwards intending to attack and kill Muslims, 1400 years.

If the Muslims at the time accepted this story, you would think that they would take immediate military action against the threat, in this incident it was not the case. So in short, the story was not verified yet, it was only after that they took drastic action to confront the enemy head one.

Although the above Hadith reports are authentic collections of Islam, the following report which is narrated by Al-Waqidi is heavily criticised, to the point that many classical scholars have called him a “liar”, as we will show shortly. For now let’s read the al-Waqidi story presented by critics:

“They said: The Saqita–they were Nabateans– arrived in Medina with flour [Page 990] and oil in Jahiliyya and after Islam arrived. Indeed there was news of al-Sham with the Muslims every day. Many of those who came to them were from Nabatea. A group arrived which mentioned that the Byzantines had gathered many groups in al-Sham, and that Heraclius had provisioned his companions for a year. The Lakhmids, Judham, Ghassan and Amila had gathered to him. They marched and their leaders led them to al-Balqa’ where they camped. Heraclius stayed behind in Hims. THAT WAS NOT A FACT, but rather something that was said to them that they repeated. There was not an enemy more fearful to the Muslims than them. That was because of what they saw of them, when they used to arrive as merchants, of preparedness, and numbers, and sheep. …
“He said: Heraclius had sent a man from the Ghassan to observe the Prophet, his ways, his characteristics, the redness of his eyes, and the seal of prophecy between his shoulders. He asked if he (the Prophet) accepts sadaqa, and he learned something of the situation of the Prophet. [Page 1019] Then he returned to Heraclius and he mentioned that to him. He invited the people to believe in the Messenger of God, but they refused, until he feared they would go against his authority. He stayed where he was, AND DID NOT MOVE OR GO FORWARD. News that had reached the Prophet, about Heraclius sending his companions and getting close to the South of al-Sham, WAS FALSE. HE DID NOT DESIRE THAT, NOR DID HE INTEND IT. The Messenger of God consulted about proceeding. Umar b. al-Khattab said, ‘If you are commanded to march, march!’ The Messenger of God said, ‘If I was commanded about it I would not consult you!’ He said, ‘O Messenger of God, the Byzantines have many groups, but there is not one of Muslims. You are close to them as you see, and your closeness FRIGHTENS THEM. So return this year until you come to a decision, or God establishes for you in that affair.’” (The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, edited by Rizwi Faizer, translated by Rizwi Faizer, Amal Ismail and Abdul Kader Tayob [Routledge Studies in Classical Islam, First edition 2011], page 485 and 499)

From the above report of al-Waqidi and the previous ones we analysed, critics have thus concluded that that the Byzantine’s (Romans) had no intention of attacking and killing Muslims.

This story by al-Waqidi is very problematic and it is in conflict with the many authentic reports that has reached us. We will show evidence of the many authentic reports after we have analysed Al-Waqidi as a reporter first:

Shaykh Saalih Al-Munajjid:

“Albani (may God have mercy on him) said: “This chain of narration is FABRICATED. This is either from one of two people. Muhammad bin Umar – and he is AL-WAQIDI – IS ACCUSED OF FABRICATION, as Ibn Hajar said in his book at-Taqrib: ‘He is abandoned, despite the depth of his knowledge.’ The verdicts of the scholars regarding him have preceded more than once.

The other person is Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Abi Musa – and he is Ibn Abi Yahya – and his real name is: Sam’an Al-Aslami the freed man of Abu Ishaq al-Madani. He is ABANDONED (REJECTED) AS WELL JUST LIKE AL-WAQIDI or even worse. Ibn Hajar also said about him: ‘abandoned,’ and narrated in at-Taqrib the critical statements of the scholars regarding him, and they almost constitute absolute consensus on his dishonesty. From those statements is that of al-Harbi: ‘THE SCHOLARS OF PROPHETIC TRADITION LOATHE HIS NARRATIONS; AL-WAQIDI NARRATED ON HIS AUTHORITY THAT WHICH RESEMBLES FABRICATION, THOUGH AL-WAQIDI MADE THINGS WORSE.’

And al-Harbi’s statement regarding the chain itself: ‘Ibn Abi Musa – and I believe he is in actuality Ibn Abi Yahya, but his NAME WAS CHANGED INTENTIONALLY BY AL-WAQIDI AS HE HAS DONE WITH OTHERS …’” (Silsila al-Ahadith ad-Dai’fa wal-Maudu’a, volume 10, page 451)” (The Narration of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) Contemplation of Suicide is Inauthentic in Terms of Its Transmission and Textual Content, by Sheikh Saalih Al-Munajjid, online source)

 

The following quotes on al-Waqidi were taken from the following site.

Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780 – 855 AD):

HE (AL-WAQIDI) IS A LIAR, makes alternations in the traditions”. (al-Dhahabi, Mizan, volume 3, page 110)

al-Nasa’i (829 – 915 AD):

THE LIARS KNOWN FOR FABRICATING THE HADITH OF THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH are four. They are: Arba’ah b. Abi Yahya in Madinah, AL-WAQIDI in Baghdad, Muqatil b. Sulayman in Khurasan and Muhammad bin Sa’id in Syria.” (Ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, volume 9 page 366 No.604, [Hyderabad, 1326 A.H.cf. Yusuf ‘Abbas Hashmi, Zaynab bint Jahash, ‘Islamic Culture’ vol.XLI, No.1, Hyderabad (India), 1967])

al-Bukhari (810 – 870 AD):

AL-WAQIDI has been abandoned in Hadith. HE FABRICATES HADITH.” (al-Dhahabi, Mizan, volume 3 page 110)

Ishaq ibn Rahwiyah (777 – 852 AD):

“According to my view, he (al-Waqidi) is one of those who FABRICATE HADITH.” (Ibn Abi Hatim, volume 4 pt.1. page 21)

Abu Dawud (817 – 889 AD):

“I do not write his Hadith and I do not report (Hadith) on his authority. I have no doubt that HE (AL-WAQIDI) USED TO MAKE UP HADITH. (Ibn Hajr, Tahdhib, volume 9, page 366, No.604 cf. Hashmi)

Ali ibn Madyani (d. 241 A.H.):

He (al-Waqidi) fabricates Hadith.” (al-Dhahabi, Mizan, page 110)

As we have read, al-Waqidi is not someone who is reliable enough to accept information from. Even if we were to accept al-Waqidi as a reliable reporter, we have another problem, which is, this story goes against many authentic reports which has reached us, thus, this story claiming that the Prophet (p) marched out against Byzantine’s on hearsay is untrue.

Now we move on to the more important stuff i.e., showing the true authentic narrations on this particular incident. Before the Muslims moved out to engage the enemy we are told in these reports that the Muslims will be facing a big army ahead of them:

“I never remained behind Allah’s Messenger from any expedition which he undertook except the Battle of Tabuk and that of the Battle of Badr. … And this is my story of remaining back from Allah’s Messenger on the occasion of the Battle of TABUK. Never did I possess means enough and (my circumstances) more favourable than at the occasion of this expedition. And, by Allah, I had never before this expedition simultaneously in my possession two rides. Allah’s Messenger set out for this expedition in extremely hot season; the journey was long and the land (which he and his army had to cover) was waterless and HE HAD TO CONFRONT A LARGE ARMY, so he informed the Muslims about the actual situation (they had to face), so that they should adequately equip themselves for this expedition, and he also told them the destination where he intended to go. …” (Sahih Muslim Book 37, Hadith 6670)

And Riyad as-Salihin:

“…narrating the story of his remaining behind instead of joining Messenger of Allah when he left for the BATTLE OF TABUK. Ka’b said: “I accompanied Messenger of Allah in every expedition which he undertook excepting the battle of Tabuk and the battle of Badr. … And this is the account of my staying behind from the battle of TABUK. I never had better means and more favourable circumstances than at the time of this expedition. And by Allah, I had never before possessed two riding-camels as I did during the time of this expedition. Whenever Messenger of Allah decided to go on a campaign, he would not disclose his real destination till the last moment (of departure). But on this expedition, he set out in extremely hot weather; the journey was long and the terrain was waterless desert; and HE HAD TO FACE A STRONG ARMY, so he informed the Muslims about the actual position so that they should make full preparation for the campaign.” (Riyad as-Salihin Book 1, Hadith 21 (Eng. Tran.))

In relation to Tabuk, Ibn Sa’d (784 – 845 AD), in his book Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir states that (a report) it had reached Prophet Muhammed that the Byzantine (Romans) had “concentrated large forces”, and Heraclius had sent some his military to ‘Balqa’. This is was when the Muhammed (p) “summoned” his people to engage the enemy:

“They (narrators) saud: It (report) reached the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, that the ROMANS HAD CONCENTRATED LARGE FORCES IN SYRIA had, that Heraclius had disbursed one year’s salary to his soldiers, and that tribes of Lakhm, Judham, ‘Amilah and Ghassan had joined hands with him. THEY SENT HAD SENT THEIR VANGUARDS TO AL-BALQA. THE MESSENGER Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, SUMMONED THE PEOPLE TO MARCH. He set out and informed them about the place which he intended, so that they could make necessary preparations. He sent (messengers) to Makkah and to the tribes of Arabia (asking them) to send help. This took place in the days of intense heat.” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, (Eng. Trans.) volume 2, page 203 – 204)

Here is also the 9th Century historian Ahmad Ibn Yaḥya al-Baladhuri (D. 892 AD), he also reports to us in his book, ‘Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan’, in clear-cut words that the Prophet (p) learned that the Byzantine army “had assembled against him”:

“Tabuk make terms. When in the year 9 AH the Prophet marched to TABUK in Syria for the invasion of those of the Greeks, Amilah, Lakhm, Judham and others WHOM HE LEARNT HAD ASSEMBLED AGAINST HIM, he met no resistance. So he spent a few days in Tabuk, whose inhabitants made terms with him agreeing to pay poll-tax.” (Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, by Ahmad Ibn Yahya al-Baladhuri (Eng. Tran.) volume 1, page 92)

Furthermore, we have also the famous Masjid al-Dirar incident in which it is reported to us the Byzantine with Abu Amir (a Christian monk) just before the expedition of Tabuk were themselves preparing to attack and kill Muslims. Abu Amir and the Byzantine leader’s main goal was to assassinate Prophet Muhammed (p) while he was praying in a mosque. All this happened just before Tabuk expiedtion. Here are some of these reports which are reported by the Mufassirun.

Ali ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi (d. 1075 AD), states the following:

“… The Banu ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf built a mosque at Quba’ and sent for the Messenger of Allah, to come to them. He went there and prayed in that mosque. Their brothers from the Banu Ghunm ibn ‘Awf envied them resentfully and said: ‘Let us built a mosque and send for the Messenger of Allah, to pray in it as he prayed in the mosque of our brothers, and let Abu ‘Amir al-Rahib (the monk) also pray in it when he comes back from Syria‘. This Abu ‘Amir had embraced Christianity and became a monk in the pre-Islamic period. But when the Messenger of Allah, moved to Medina, Abu ‘Amir rejected the religion of Islam and showed enmity toward it. The Prophet, called him then Abu ‘Amir al-Fasiq (the corrupt)… ABU AMIR LEFT FOR SYRIA AND THEN SENT A LETTER TO THE HYPOCRITES in which he wrote: ‘PREPARE YOURSELVES AND MAKE READY WHATEVER YOU CAN OF FORCE AND WEAPONS. Built a Mosque for me, for I AM GOING TO THE CAESAR TO REQUEST HIM TO SEND WITH ME BYZANTINE SOLDIERS SO THAT I DRIVE OUT MUHAMMAD AND HIS COMPANIONS‘. And so, they built for him a mosque by the Quba’ mosque. Those who built this mosque were 12 men … When they finished building this mosque, they went to the Messenger of Allah, and said: ‘We have built a mosque for the sick and the needy and also for use in rainy and wintry nights, and we would like you to come and pray in it’.” (Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi, last accessed 22nd November 2016: http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=86&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=107&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )

Ibn Kathir (1301-1373 AD), also mentions that Abu Amir got the backing of Heraclius to launch an attack on the Muslim community:

“Masjid Ad-Dirar and Masjid At-Taqwa
The reason behind revealing these honorable Ayat is that before the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, there was a man from Al-Khazraj called “Abu `Amir Ar-Rahib (the Monk).” This man embraced Christianity before Islam and read the Scriptures. During the time of Jahiliyyah, Abu Amir was known for being a worshipper and being a notable person among Al-Khazraj. When the Messenger of Allah arrived at Al-Madinah after the Hijrah, the Muslims gathered around him and the word of Islam was triumphant on the day of Badr, causing Abu `Amir, the cursed one, to choke on his own saliva and announce his enmity to Islam. He fled from Al-Madinah to the idolators of Quraysh in Makkah to support them in the WAR AGAINST THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH. The Quraysh united their forces and the bedouins who joined them for the battle of Uhud, during which Allah tested the Muslims, but the good end is always for the pious and righteous people. The rebellious Abu Amir dug many holes in the ground between the two camps, into one of which the Messenger fell, injuring his face and breaking one of his right lower teeth. He also sustained a head injury. Before the fighting started, Abu Amir approached his people among the Ansar and tried to convince them to support and agree with him. When they recognized him, they said, “May Allah never burden an eye by seeing you, O Fasiq one, O enemy of Allah!” They cursed him and he went back declaring, “By Allah! Evil has touched my people after I left.” The Messenger of Allah called Abu Amir to Allah and recited the Qur’an to him before his flight to Makkah, but he refused to embrace Islam and REBELLED. The Messenger invoked Allah that Abu Amir die as an outcast in an alien land, and his invocation came true. After the battle of Uhud was finished, ABU AMIR realized that the Messenger’s call was still rising and gaining momentum, so HE WENT TO HERACLIUS, THE EMPEROR OF ROME, ASKING FOR HIS AID AGAINST THE PROPHET. HERACLIUS GAVE HIM PROMISES AND ABU AMIR REMAINED WITH HIM. He also wrote to several of his people in Al-Madinah, who embraced hypocrisy, promising and insinuating to them THAT HE WILL LEAD AN ARMY TO FIGHT THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH TO DEFEAT HIM AND HIS CALL. He ordered them to establish a stronghold where he could send his emissaries and to serve as an outpost when he joins them later on. These hypocrites built a Masjid next to the Masjid in Quba’, and they finished building it BEFORE the Messenger went to TABUK. They went to the Messenger inviting him to pray in their Masjid so that it would be a proof that the Messenger approved of their Masjid.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, last accessed 22nd November 2016: http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1590&Itemid=64 )

Tafsir al-Jalalayn:

“And, among them, those who have chosen a mosque — these were twelve men from among the hypocrites — by way of HARM, to cause distress for those of the mosque of Quba’, and disbelief, since they built it on the orders of the monk ABU ‘AMIR, as a sanctuary for him, so that whoever comes from his side may stay there: HE HAD GONE TO THE BYZANTINE EMPEROR (QAYSAR) TO BRING TROOPS TO FIGHT AGAINST THE PROPHET (s), and to cause division among the believers, who pray in the mosque of Quba’, by having some of these pray in their [the hypocrites’] mosque, and as an outpost, an observation post, for those who waged war against God and His Messenger before, that is, before it was built — meaning the above-mentioned Abu ‘Amir … They had asked the Prophet (s) to perform prayers in it, and so the following was revealed…” (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, last accessed 22nd November 2016: http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=107&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2)

Respectable readers should also be aware that these incidents (above) were not the first time the Byzantine leader had engaged in war against the Muslims. When the Prophet Muhammed (p) sent one of his messenger’s with a letter to the King of Busra, he was intercepted by Shurabbil Ibn Amr al-Ghassani and his men, they executed Muhammed’s messenger on the spot, and those who were with him. These ruthless men executed Muhammed’s men without even reading what was contained in the letter. This incident was one of the reasons which led to the battle of Mut’ah (Mutah): “The Battle Of Mu’tah (Mutah)

Therefore, when some of these critic(s) claim that the Hiraclius and his men did not muster troops against the Muslims, this cannot be not true when we have concrete evidence on this incident that the Byzantine’s all along was planning to attack the Muslims, as the overwhelming evidence has shown.

In conclusion,

We have established to our respectable readers that the claim made in regards to the Tabuk expedition being undertaken as a result of hearsay and rumors is not true:

(1) – The few authentic reports wherein the Muslims heard stories that the Byzantines will attack them, an impending army was on its way, they did not in turn get ready to retaliate:

(2) – The reason for the Muslims not taking the opportunity to attack the Byzantine was as a result of them first wanting to confirm the stories before taking any steps forward.

(3) – The Muslims did not find these stories to be 100% confirmed at the time, hence they were left to deal with some of the issues in the Prophet’s house.

(4) – As shown in the authentic reports, the companions (Sahaba) were being more worried in relation to some of the issues of the Prophet’s personal life, here it shows that they did not take the stories on the Byzantine as truthful at the time, for if they did take the story as being genuine at the time they would have set out immediately to engage the Byzantine’s (romans). But they did not, this shows that the Muslims were waiting for official confirmation before taking any steps forward.

(5) – Al-waqidi is described as being a “liar” and a rejected individual, especially when his story is clearly in conflict with the many authentic reports.

(6) The authentic reports and tafsirs shown tell us the true and authentic version of this incident of Tabuk. The Byzantine’s (Romans) did indeed march southwards intending to attack, kill and overthrow the Muslim government. When the Byzantine’s received news that the Prophet (p) and his people came to engage them, this was when Byzantine soldiers fled away and abandoned their devilish plans.

The Muslims were not the ones who antagonised nor were they the aggressors, as the true historical sources have told us, the Byzantines were the warmongers who intended to harm the Prophet and his people. No alternative was left at the table for Prophet Muhammed (p) but to take action to save his community from harm.

If God wills, we should write few more articles on this incident soon.

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byzantine-tabuk

The Story That Prophet Muhammed Attempted Suicide Is a Fabrication

This article was originally published on the following site: discover-the-truth.com

Dr. Muhammad Mohar Ali (Professor Of The History of Islam)

The report ends with the statement that there was a pause in the coming of wahy after the first instalment delivered at Hira. This was only natural; for the first incident must have stirred the Prophet to his very depth and clearly he needed a breathing time to recover from the first shock. At the same time he must have naturally become eager to have a second glimpse of the entity who had communicated the text at Hira and thus be reassured of the reality of what he had experienced. As is natural in such a situation, when a person comes across some unusual sight or has an unexpected experience at any particular spot, he feels tempted to visit it again in the expectation that he might have a similar experience there again.

It is therefore not at all surprising that the sources speak of his having sometimes frequented the mount Hira and the neighbouring hills, undoubtedly in the hope of getting a second glimpse of the angel. And indeed he did have a second glimpse of the angel not long after the first encounter at Hira. This second experience on his part is thus reported by Al-Zuhri as follows:

He says: “’Abu Salamah ibn Abd al-Rahman has informed me that Jabir ibn Abd Allah al-Ansari related, speaking about the pause in the coming of wahy, that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, said: ‘While I was walking I heard a voice in the sky. I raised my eyes and lo! There was the angel who had come to me at Hira sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. I was frightened at that and returned (to my family) and said to them: ‘Cover me’. Then Allah sent down on me: ‘O wrapped up in the mantle, rise and warn’ up to ‘and the abomination, shun it.’1 (Surah 74. Ayahs 1-5). After that wahy continued combining regularly and uninterruptedly.” 2 (Bukhari, no. 4. The report is repeated in the chapter on Tafsir (no. 4954).

In one of the place where Bukhari repeats the report about the coming of the first wahy at mount Hira, i.e., in his chapter on ‘Interpretation of dreams’ (Ta’bir), he has an addition to the report of A’ishah (r.a.) noticed above. At this place he also gives two chains of narrators subsequent to Al-Zuhri, namely, (a) Yahya Ibn Bukayr <– Al-Layth <– Uqayl <– Al-Zuhri and (b) Abd Allah ibn Muhammad <– Abd al-Razzaq <– Ma’mar <– Al-Zuhri. The addition runs as follows:

“And then there was a pause in the coming of wahy for such a period that the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be on him, as we have come to know (…) became so sad that he went on a number of times (…) to throw himself down from the hill-tops.
Thus whenever he went up on to the top of a hill to throw himself down, Jibril appeared before him and said: ‘O Muhammad, you are truly Allah’s Messenger.’ At this the Prophet’s mind would be set at rest and he would be reassured; but when again the pause prolonged he similarly went and as he reached the top of a hill Jibril appeared before him and spoke to him similarly.” 1 (Bukhari, no. 6982.)

This story of extreme frustration on the Prophet’s part on account of the pause in the coming of wahy and, in consequence, of his alleged suicide attempts, is not at all worthy of credence. As Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani points out, the story is only an addition and surmise on Al-Zuhri’s part and no statement of the Prophet himself, nor of A’ishah (r.a.), nor even of Urwah ibn al-Zubayr. 2 (Fath al-Bari, XII, 376.). [1]

This addition has been so mixed up with the text that it APPEARS to be part of the original narration.

That it is Al-Zuhri’s ADDITION is very clear from his qualifying clause,

“as we have come to know”,

With which he introduces this section. Had it been the Prophet’s or A’ishah’s (r.a.) statement, there would have been no need to add this expression, for the chain of narrators had already been given at the beginning of the narration.

The second technical defect in the story has been pointed out by Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani. He states that it is a shadh (… strange or odd) report in that it has come down only once through a chain of narrators subsequent to Al-Zuhri among whom there is Ma’mar, and that in all other forms in which the matter is reported, even though Ma’mar is mentioned as one of the narrators, this addition DOES NOT OCCUR. Nor is this addition found anywhere else with an uninterrupted chain of narrators worthy to be cited as evidence. 3 ( Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani, Difa an al-Hadith al-Nabawiyyah wa al-Sirah, Damascus (1388 H.), p. 40-42).

Apart from these technical considerations, the Prophet’s character and personality do not admit of such a conduct on his part. The story is all the more unworthy of credence because it speaks not of one such alleged suicide attempt but of several such attempts; as if the assurance given by Jibril for the second time (i.e., after the first appearance at the cave of Hira) would not have satisfied the Prophet! The story might have originated, as one scholar points out, in someone’s seeing the Prophet frequenting the hills, as he naturally did during the pause in the coming of wahy, and then supposing on the basis of that sight that the Prophet was  about to throw himself down from the top of the hill. 1 (Muhammad Muhammad Abu Shahbah, Al-Sirat al-Nabawiyyah Fi Daw al-Qur’an wa al-Sunnah, I, Damascus, 1409 / 1988, p. 266.)

And once such a surmise was circulated it easily found its place in subsequent reports with further mixing up of the facts and circumstances.

The surmise of the Prophet’s suicide attempts is thus totally GROUNDLESS; but it is a fact that he had a second glimpse of the angel shortly after his receipt of wahy at mount Hira. This fact is stated clearly in the Qur’an as follows:

(a) “And he had indeed seen him (Jibril) in clear horizon.” (81:23) 3(See Ibn Kathir, Tasfir, VIII, 361 – 362.)

(b) “He was taught by the one might in power, endued with wisdom; he appeared in a stately form, while he was in the highest part of the horizon. Then he approached and came closer; and was at a distance of but two bowlengths or even nearer…” (53:5-9) 4 (See ibid, VII, 419-422)

Before proceeding further with the story it would be worthwhile to take into account some other reports concerning the receipt of the first divine communication by the Prophet, especially those given by Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Sa’d (i.e. of Al-Waqidi) and Al-Tabari.

Speaking on the subject Ibn Ishaq first reproduces part of A’ishah’s (r.a.) report as given in Bukhari and as quoted above, saying that at first the Prophet used to see good dreams in sleep which appeared like morning day-light; then seclusion became dear to him so that nothing was dearer to him that to be alone. 5 (Ibn Hisham, I, 234.) At this point Ibn Ishaq leaves the report and inserts another report which he says his informants received from “men of learning”. It mentions some unusual incidents like the trees and stones saluting the Prophet-to-be, etc. 1 (ibid, 234-235.)

Then Ibn Ishaq resumes the story of the coming of wahy on the basis of another report which he got from Wahb-ibn Kaysan (d. 127 H.) who, it is said, heard Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr asking Ubayd ibn Umayr ibn Qatadah al-Lythi 2 (He was a tabi’I. see Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, VII 71 (no. 148); Taqrib al-Tahdhib, I, 544, no. 1516) (d. 68. H.) on the subject whereupon he (Ubayd) stated as follows:

“The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, used to retire (…) at Hira every year for a month, as was the wont of the Quraysh to engage themselves in tahannuth for such a period during the Days of Jahiliyyah…
So the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be on him, use to retire there for that month every year, feeding the poor who repaired to him. When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be on him, finished that month-long retirement, the first thing he did before going home, was to go to the Ka’ba and circumambulate it seven times, or as many times as Allah wished him to do. Then he would return to him home. This practice he continued to follow till the month in which Allah willed t honour him, of the year in which He called him to prophethood, and that was the month of Ramadan.
So the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be on him, went out to Hira, as he used to do, and his family was with him, till the night arrived in which Allah honoured him with His message and blessed His servants (mankind) thereby. There came to him Jibril, may Allah’s peace be on him, by Allah’s command.
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be on him, said: Jibril came to me, while I was asleep, with a silken casket in which there was a writing, and said to me: ‘Read.’
(The Prophet said) I replied: ‘I do not read’. (The Prophet said) Thereupon he pressed me so hard that I thought I would die. Then he released me and said: ‘Read’. (The Prophet said) I replied: ‘I do not read.’ (The Prophet said) Thereupon he pressed me so had that I thought I would die. Then he released me and said: ‘Read’. (The Prophet said) I said:
‘What shall I read?’ (The Prophet said) Thereupon he pressed me so hard that I thought I would die. Then he released me and said: Read’. (The Prophet said) I said: ‘What shall I read?’ I did not say so except to avoid his doing the same to me as he had done. Then he said: ‘Read in the name of thy Lord Who Created; created man from ‘alaq. Read, and your Lord is the Most Gracious; Who taught by means of the pen; taught man what he knew not.’ The Prophet said: ‘So I read it.’ Then it ended and he left me and I woke up from my sleep; and it was as if a writ was written on my heart. (The Prophet said) Thereafter I came out (of the cave) till I was in the middle of the hill when I heard a voice from the sky saying: ‘O Muhamad, you are the Messenger of Allah, and I am Jibril.
(The Prophet said) I raised my head looking towards the sky and lo! There was Jibril clearly in the shape of a man with his two feet spread in the horizon saying: ‘O Muhammad, you are Allah’s Messenger, and I am Jibril. (The Prophet said) Thereupon I stood looking at him, and I moved neither forward nor backward. I started turning my face from him in the horizon, but in whatever direction of the horizon I looked I saw him in the same position. I remained standing without moving forward or backward till Khadijah sent her men in search of me. They reached Upper Makka and returned to her while I was still standing in that place of mine. Then he (Jibril) left me.’
‘I left the place, returning to my family till I came to Khadijah and sat touching her thigh and leaning towards her. She said: ‘O Abu al-Qasim, where had you been? By Allah I sent my people in search of you till they reached Upper Makka and then returned to me. Then I narrated to her what I had seen. Thereupon she said: ‘Rest assured, O Son of my uncle. By Him in Whose hand is Khadijah’s life, I hope you will become the Prophet of these people.’
‘Then she stood up, put her dress on, and went out to Waraqah ibn Nawfal ibn Asad ibn Abd al-Uzza ibn Qussay. He was her uncle’s son, and had become a Christian, read the Book (Gospels) and had heard from the scholars of the Torah and the Injil. She informed him of what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, had related to her regarding what he had seen and heard. Thereupon Waraqah ibn Nawfal said: ‘Holy, Holy. By Him in Whose hands is the life of Waraqah, if you have spoken the truth, O Khadijah, then indeed the Great Namus (Jibril) who came to Musa, has come to him (the Prophet); verily he is the Prophet of these people. So tell him to rest assured.’ Then Khadijah returned to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be on him, and told him what Waraqah ibn Nawfal had said. Then when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be on him, ended his retired states (…) and left the place, he did what he used to do, beginning with the Ka’ba and circumambulating it.
There Warqah ibn Nawfal, who was also circumambulating it, met him (the Prophet) and said: ‘O my brother’s son, tell me what you have seen and heard.’ So the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be on him, informed him of everything.
Thereupon Waraqah said to him: ‘ By Him in Whose hands is my life, you are indeed the Prophet of these people, and the Great Namus, who came to Musa, has come to you. You will not be believed, you will be put to trouble and you will be driven out and fought with. If I live till that day I will surely help the cause of Allah as He knows.’ Then Waraqah leaned his head towards him (the Prophet) and kissed the middle of his head. Then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be on him, went to his house.’” (Ibn Hisham, volume 1, page 234-237.)

It is obvious that this report differs in many respects from that of A’ishah (r.a.) given in Bukhari and noted earlier. The differences consist in omissions of, additions to and modification of the facts mentioned by the latter. As regards omissions, this report given by Ibn Ishaq does not mention any initial period of good or true dreams preceding the Prophet’s engaging himself in tahannuth at the cave of Hira. Secondly, there is also no indication of panic or bewilderment on the Prophet’s part in consequence of his encounters and experiences with Jibril. Lastly, there is no mention in this report of any pause in the coming of wahy after the receipt of the first instalment at the cave of Hira.

As regards additions, the first noticeable thing is that this report says that the Prophet’s sojourn in the cave of Hira was in accordance with the tradition of Quraysh’s doing similar tahannuth every year during the month of Ramadan. It further says that the Prophet also did so every year. Secondly, it says that while the Prophet was coming down from the cave and was still in the middle of the hill the angel Jibril appeared again in the sky, called the Prophet by his name and assured him that he was indeed Allah’s Messenger. Thirdly, it says that on his return from the hill the first thing the Prophet did was going to the Ka’ba and circumambulating it. Lastly, it says that in addition to hadijah’s meeting Waraqah, the latter met the Prophet at the Ka’ba compound and expressed similar views about him as were earlier expressed to Khadijah (r.a.).

More remarkable, however, are the modifications that appear in this report in the facts stated in A’ishah’s (r.a.) report. In the first place, it is stated that the Prophet took his family with him when he went to Hira for tahannuth. Secondly and more importantly, it is said that the angel Jibril came and delivered the text to the Prophet while he was asleep in the cave of Hira. It is further stated that the angel pressed him four times, instead of the three in the other report; and that twice the Prophet said that he did not know reading and twice he asked what she should read. Thirdly, this report makes Khadijah (r.a.) go alone to Waraqah to seek opinion about her husband, leaving him behind.

It should be noted that the ultimate authority of this report is Ubayd ibn Umayr ibn Qatadah who is a tabi’I and who does not mention the source of his information. The report is thus technically mursal, that is going back only to the second generation after the Prophet. It is a recognized principle of interpretation that if a mursal report differs from one that goes back with reliable and uninterrupted isnad to the Prophet (mawsul, marfu), the latter prevails over the former.

Hence that part of Ubayd ibn Umayr’s report produced by Ibn Ishaq which is at variance with the report given in Bukhari must yield place to the latter. In any case the statement that the Prophet received the revelation at the cave of Hira while he was asleep, that is in a state of dreaming, it is unacceptable in view of the clear statement in A’ishah’s (r.a.) report in the Prophet’s wakefulness and full consciousness.

Some commentators have of course attempted to reconcile the two statements by saying that the text of the revelation was first received in dream and then again in wakefulness. This explanation, though somewhat in line with the fact of a period of good dreams preceding the coming of revelation at Hira, ignores the fact that Ubayd ibn Umayr makes this dream happen at the cave of Hira itself.

In fact the report under consideration appears to have mixed up the fact of the initial period of good dreams with the second stage of solitary prayer and contemplation (tahannuth) and the receipt of the first text of revelation at Hira in the state of the Prophet’s wakefulness and full consciousness. This mixing up is all the more obvious from another aspect of the report which makes the Prophet see Jibril in the sky immediately after having come out of the cave after his alleged dream and while still in the middle of the mountain, and not after a pause in the coming of wahy as narrated in some other reports.

Also, it does not appear to be correct that the Quraysh used to engage themselves in tahannuth each year for the month of Ramadan and that the Prophet betook himself to the cave of Hira in imitation of that custom.

Again, the statement that he took his family there is inconsistent with the concept of seclusion and solitary prayer which was the sole objective of tahannuth. It is also inconsistent with the other statement that Khadijah (r.a.) sent her men in search of the Prophet as he stood in the middle of the mountain gazing at Jibril in the sky. The account gives the impression that while the Prophet was staying in the cave, his family was staying at another spot at the mountain, a situation which is warranted neither by the extent and shape of the mountain nor by the purpose, if at all, of dragging them out to the bleak mountains. Even then it is quite unlikely that Khadijah, if she had at all gone to the mountain, would have been unaware of the Prophet’s whereabouts. Clearly there is here a mixing up of an incident which took place on another occasion, most probably when the Prophet used to go to the mountain during the pause in the coming of wahy.

Despite these anomalies and confusions in the report, it corroborates in general the solid core of facts given in A’ishah’s (r.a.) report, namely, (a) that the Prophet received the first text of the revelation at Hira from the angel Jibril; (b) that at a subsequent stage the Prophet saw the angel appearing in the sky, introducing himself as Jibril and assuring Muhammad that he was indeed God’s Messenger; and (c) that Waraqah ibn Nawfal, when he heard the account of the incident at Hira, expressed his view that it was the very angel (Namus) who used to come to Musa with God’s revelation and that Muhammad had received such a commission from God.

III. THE REPORTS GIVEN BY AL-WAQIDI

The next account in point of time is that of Al-Waqidi (Muhammad ibn Umar, 120-207 H.) coming through his scribe Muhammad ibn Sa’d (168-239 H.).

(1) Al-Waqidi first quotes the initial part of A’ishah’s (r.a.) report as given in Bukhari but through a different isnad, namely, through Ma’mar ibn Rashid and Muhammad ibn Abd Allah. In effect, however, this part of the report is the same as that in Bukhari, saying that the Prophet first used to see good (or true) dreams for sometime, after which seclusion became dear to him so that nothing was dearer to him than that, that he next retired to the cave of Hira for engaging himself in tahannuth consecutively for several days and coming back to his family from time to time to take provisions for that sort of stay on the mountain, till “the truth” came to him. 1 (Ibn Sa’d, I, 194)

(2) At this point Al-Waqidi introduces another report which he recived through Ibrahim ibn Isma’il, from Da’ud ibn al-Husayn, from Ikrima, from Ibn Abbas. It is said that Ibn Abbas stated that when the Prophet was in that state (i.e., presumably, after the receipt of ‘the truth’ …) at Ajyad he saw an angel sitting cross-legged in the sky at the horizon, calling him (the Prophet) by name and introducing himself as Jibril. At this sight the Prophet was terrified and started looking in other directions of the sky, but to whatever direction he turned his eyes he saw the angel. Hence the Prophet hurried back home, went to Khadijah (r.a.) and expressed his fear that he might turn a soothsayer though he detested it the most. She comforted him by mentioning the qualities of his head and heart. Then she went to Waraqah and related to him the story.
The latter said that it was the Great Namus who had appeared to her husband and that it indicated the beginning of prophethood, adding that he should not therefore think anything but good for himself. 1 (ibid, 194-195.)

(3) Al-Waqidi next produces two other reports, one after another, received through different chains of narrators and both saying that the Prophet sometimes saw light and heard sounds and expressed his fears to his wife saying that he would probably turn a soothsayer. Khadijah (r.a.) would comfort him by mentioning his noble qualities. One of these reports says that the Prophhet also expressed his fears that he might even go mad and that at this Khadijah (r.a.) went to Waraqah who opined that it was the Namus who had appeared to her husband, that he would be a Prophet and that Waraqah would help him if he lived till that time. 2 (ibid, 195)

(4) Next Al-Waqidi reproduces three different reports form three different sources. Two of these reports say that the first thing which was revealed to the Prophet was the five initial ayahs of surat al-alaq. Al-Waqidi notes that this happened on “the day of Hira’”. 3 (ibid, 196) The third report was received from Da’ud ibn al-Husayn who had it from Ghatfan ibn Tarif who, in his turn, had it from Ibn Abbas. It says that after the revelation which came at Hira the Prophet did not see Jibril for “several days”. Hence he became sad and started frequenting the Thabir and Hira mountains in order to throw himself from them. Once while he was thus going to one of those mountains he heard a voice from the sky and as he turned his eyes upwards he saw Jibril sitting cross-legged on a chair and calling him and saying “Muhammad, you are truly Allah’s Messenger, and I am Jibril.” The Prophet then left the place, his mind set at rest. Thereafter wahy came regularly and without interruption. 4 (ibid.)

Now, the authorities rating of Al-Waqidi’s CREDIBILITY IS VERY LOW; but apart from that question, the points illustrated by the reports produced by him may be tabulated as follows. In the first place, it is stated that there was an initial period of “true” dreams which was followed by the Prophet’s love for solitary retirement. Second, it is stated that the Prophet used to retire at the cave of Hira where he remained consecutively for several days before returning to his family to take provisions for the purpose. There is no mention in these reports that such tahannuth on the Prophet’s part was in imitation of the custom of the Quraysh; nor is there any suggestion that the Prophet’s family went with him to the hills. Third, it is clearly stated that it was at the cave of Hira that the first revelation was received and that it consisted of the first five ayahs of surat al-Alaq. The details of how the angel appeared and delivered the text are not mentioned. At the same time there is no indication whatsoever that the incident took place while the Prophet was asleep (i.e., in dream). Forth, as regards the seeing of angel Jibril in the horizon one of Al-Waqidi’s reports says that this happened at Ajyad, while another of his reports says that this happened when the Prophet frequented the Thabir and Hira mountains in consequence of the angel’s not appearing to him for “several days” after the first revelation. This information corroborates the fact of a pause in the coming of wahy. Fifth, as regards the alleged intention on the Prophet’s part to throw himself from the mountain tops, it appears unmistakably that it is only a guess one the narrator’s part, in this instance on the part of either Ibn Abbas or some other narrator subsequent to him. Sixth, as regards the consultation with Waraqah one of Al-Waqidi’s reports makes the even happen after the seeing of the angel reportedly at Ajyad; while the other reports makes it happen after the Prophet had sometimes seen light and heard sounds, etc. Excepting these two last mentioned points (fifth and sixth), thus, the facts presented by Al-Waqidi are in accord with those given in A’ishah’s (r.a.) report and recorded in Bukhari.

IV. AL-TABARI’S ACCOUNT

Writing more than a hundred years after Al-Waqidi, Al-Tabari (224 – 310 H.) reproduces Ibn Ishaq’s report, as mentioned above, with minor alternations in wording and slight omisions and additions in the text, but otherwise mentioning him by name and keeping as close to his text as possible. 1

Before reproducing his version of Ibn Ishaq’s report, however, Al-Tabari puts in another report of the event which he says he received from Ahmad ibn Uthman (Abu Jawra) who had it from Wahb ibn Jarir, who, from his father (i.e. Jarir), the latter from Al-Nu’man ibn Rashid, he from Al-Zuhri, from Urwah, from A’ishah (r.a.). This report is distinguished from that given in Ibn Ishaq by the fact that whereas the latter’s report goes back, as noted above, only to Ubayd ibn Umayr and is as such mursal, Al-Tabari’s report goes back to A’ishah (r.a.) through Al-Zuhri and Urwah. The salient features of this report are as follows:

(a) In the first part of the report the facts are exactly the same as they are related in the report in Bukhari, namely, the initial period of “true” or “good” dreams, followed by the Prophet’s love for seclusion, his solitary prayer and stay at the cave of Hira consecutively for a number of days, his returning to his family from time to time to take provisions for a similar stay, till the “truth” came to him. From this point the report differs from that in Bukhari and runs as follows:

The Prophet is said to have related:

(b) “ So he [the angel] came to me and said: ‘O Muhammad, you are the Messenger of Allah.’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be on him, said: ‘At this I fell on my knees, though I was standing. Then I returned (to my family), my heart throbbing. Then I went to Khadijah and said to her: ‘Cover me, cover me.’ (I remained so) till my panic went away. Then he [the angel] came to me and said: ‘O Muhammad, You are Allah’s Messenger.’ The Prophet said: ‘At this I thought of throwing myself from the top of a mountain, and when I intended doing so he appeared before me and said: ‘’O Muhammad, I am Jibril, and you are Allah’s Messenger.’ Then he said: ‘Read in the name of your Lord Who created.’ So I read. Then I came to Khadijah and said: ‘I am afraid about my life. She said…”

(c) From this point the account is again the same as in Bukhari, i.e., Khadijah’s words of consolation to the Prophet, their going to Waraqah, the latter’s opinion that the angel Jibril (Namus) had come with God’s revelation, that the Prophet’s people would turn against him, etc., ending with Waraqah’s remarks that if he lived till that day he would render all possible help to the Prophet.

This report, though it traces its origin to A’ishah (r.a.) through Al-Zuhri and Urwah, differs from that in Bukhari in the following essential respects:

(1) It says that the first thing the angel told the Prophet in the cave was that he was Allah’s Messenger.

(2) That after the Prophet had come home from the cave the angel appeared again and told him that he was Allah’s Messenger.

(3) That after this second appearance of the angel and also after the Prophet had been told for the second time that he was Allah’s Messenger, he contemplated throwing himself from a hill-top.

(4) That when he was about to so throw himself from a hill-top the angel appeared for the third time, introduced himself as Jibril, assured the Prophet that he was Allah’s Messenger and delivered to him the first ayah of surat al-Alaq.

(5) There is no mention of the Prophet’s first expressing his inability to read.

(6) There is also no mention about the pause in the coming of wahy.

Now, it is obvious that neither A’ishah (r.a.) nor, for that matter, Al-Zuhri, could have given two essentially different accounts of the same event. If the facts stated here were true but were somehow omitted or skipped over by them the narrators subsequent to them should have mentioned the sources of their information. But nothing of the sort is indicated here or elsewhere. Even with regard to the ALLEGED suicide attempt which finds mention in Bukhari as Al-Zuhri’s surmise, it is given here in a quite different form. Thus while Al-Zuhri would have it that the Prophet ALLEGEDLY intended to throw himself from a hill-top because of the pause in the coming of wahy and only desisted from doing so when the angel Jibril reappeared and assured him that he was Allah’s Messenger; the present report, on the other hand, not only does not make any mention of the pause in the coming of wahy but also would have us believe that the Prophet mediated suicide because the angel Jibril appeared for the second time and also assured the Prophet for the second time that he was Allah’s Messenger. Apart from the utter unreasonableness of the statement, it is obvious that Al-Zuhri himself could not have given such divergent and diametrically opposite accounts about the cause and sequence of the event.

It is thus clear that the narrators subsequent to Al-Zuhri or at least some of them through whom the account reached Al-Tabari mixed up not only Al-Zuhri’s own statement but also the original report with other matters. In fact authoritative opinions are not quite at one about some of these narrators. For instance Nu’man ibn Rashid, who is stated to have received the report from Al-Zuhri, is regarded by a number of competent authorities as “very weak”, “confused”, profuse in making mistakes and even BASELESS surmises. It is even stated that he made reprehensible and worthless reports and should therefore be AVOIDED. 1 (Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, X, Hyderabad, 1277 H., p. 152, no. 819.). [2]

Similarly Jarir (Ibn Hazim Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Shuja al-Azdi), who is stated to have received the report from Al-Nu’man ibn Rashid, is considered to be profuse in errors, mixing up his surmises with the reports he transmitted, changing the sequence of events and even making reprehensible reports. 1 (ibid, II, 77-72. No. 111.)

Also his son Wahb, who received the report under reference from him, used to commit mistakes. He is even stated to have attributed his reports to persons from whom he had not received them. Thus he transmitted about four thousand reports (from Shu’ba”, but those were really reports of Abd al-Rahman al-Rassaki. 2 (ibid., II XI, 161-162, No. 273.)

Obviously, reports coming through such narrators need to be taken with CAUTION and cannot be, according to the accepted rules if interpretation, given precedence over those on the same subject emanating from narrators of unimpeachable veracity.

It is not necessary to follow the accounts found in works later than Al-Tabar’s; for they do not really add anything new or authentic to the story. On the whole the most authentic account of the coming of the first revelation to the Prophet is that given by A’ishah (r.a.) and contained in Bukhari. This report and the other reports noticed above, excluding the points on which they disagree, bring out the following facts:

(i) That on the eve of his call the Prophet experienced an initial period of “good” dreams which appeared to him like the morning day-light.

(ii) That after this he began to love seclusion and spent a period of time in solitary prayer and contemplation at the cave on top of Mount Hira.

(iii) That it was at the cave of Hira that the angel Jibril appeared to him and delivered to him the first text of the revelation.

(iv) That shortly after this first encounter at the cave of Hira the Prophet saw Jabril again in the sky, addressing him by name disclosing his own identity and confirming that he (the Prophet) was Allah’s Messenger.

(v) That what the Prophet received was something extraneous to him. It was a distinct text received from an external source, and not the result of his own contemplation and thinking. The experience at Hira was also no psychological phenomenon for him.

(vi) That the immediate reaction of the Prophet to the receipt of Divine communication was that of a person who never expected such a development, that initially he was not quite sure of his new status and that it was only after the reassurance given by the angel Jibril (under Divine direction) and after consultation with Waraqah ibn Nawfal that his (the Prophet’s) mind was set at rest;

(vii) That therefore previous to his receipt of the Divine communication the Prophet did not plan and design to play the role of a Prophet; and

(viii) That there was a short pause in the coming of revelation after the receipt of the first text at Hira. This was in the nature of a breathing time enabling the Prophet to recover from the first shock of the extraordinary experience.

This full article was taken from the book, “Sirat Al-Nabi And The Orientalists, With special reference to the writings of William Muir, D. S. Margoliouth And W. Montgomery Watt. From the background to the beginning of the Prophet’s Mission, [King Fahd Complex For the printing of the Holy Quran, Madinah, First Edition, 1417 AH / 1997 CE] by Muhammad Mohar Ali (Professor Of The History of Islam, centre for the service of Sunnah And Sirah, Islamic University, Madinah), Vol. I A (volume 1 A), page 373 – 386”

References:

[1] Ibn Hajar’s words on this:
ibn-hajar
[2] Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, X, Hyderabad, 1277 H., p. 152, no. 819. Part of the criticism are as follows:
ibn-hajar-1

 

Debunking The Lie That Muhammed Contemplated Suicide

This article was originally published on the following site: discover-the-truth.com

DTT: The following article was taken with permission from Br. Bassam’s website, Call-to-monotheism.com. I would like thank him for giving us the opportunity to share this important information on our site. Readers please be aware that a second article on this matter will be published in the coming days, God willing.

The Narration of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) Contemplation of Suicide is Inauthentic in Terms of Its Transmission and Textual Content

 

By

Sheikh Saalih Al-Munajjid

Translated by:

Abu Nadm al-Zahiri

Translation Revised by:

Bassam Zawadi

Question:

During my research online, I found a comment stating that in the historical collection of Bukhari, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have attempted suicide, but I didn’t find the specific report in the collection, which was necessary in order to dismantle this doubt. If you would be so kind, I would like to know the specific report in Bukhari’s collection along with a detailed explanation. Thanks so much.

Answer:

Praise the Lord.

First of all:

The narration about which our brother is asking about is present in Bukhari’s collection as narration number 6581 in the chapter of “Interpretation of Dreams” under the section heading “Commencement of the Divine Revelation to Allah’s Messenger (saws) was in the form of good dreams” The exact wording is:

“Az-Zuhri said: ‘Urwah informed me on the authority of A’isha (may God be pleased with her) that she said:. the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while and the Prophet (peace be upon him) became so sad as we have heard that he intended several times to throw himself from the tops of high mountains and every time he went up the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear before him and say, “O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah’s Messenger () in truth” whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would return home. And whenever the period of the coming of the inspiration used to become long, he would do as before, but when he used to reach the top of a mountain, Gabriel would appear before him and say to him what he had said before.”

Second of all:

This addition is not from the speech of A’isha, rather it is the statement of Az-Zuhri. He was from the second generation of Muslims and did not witness any of these incidents, nor did he remark that any of the companions of the Prophet informed him of this. He clarifies this in the very narration itself with his statement:

“in what has reached us.”

Ibn Hajar (may God have mercy on him) said:

“Thus, the one who made the statement ‘in what has reached us’ was Az-Zuhri, and the meaning of his statement is: in this sentence is that which has reached us regarding the Prophet (peace be upon him) in regards to this story. It is merely an addition from what has reached Az-Zuhri and is not actually connected back to the original narration, as Al-Kirmani said: this is what is apparent.”(Fath al-Bari, volume 12, page 359)

Abu Shama al-Maqdisi (may God have mercy on him) said:

“This is the statement of Az-Zuhri or someone else other than A’isha – God knows best – due to the phrase: ‘in what has reached us,’ and Aisha did not say anything from what was mentioned in the hadith.” (Sharh al-Hadith al-Muqtafa fi Mab’ath an-Nabi al-Mustafa, page 177)

Third of all:

Additions of Az-Zuhri from that which reached him are not accepted because their chain of narration is disconnected to begin with, thus they are considered to be “hanging” narrations in both the terminological and practical sense. The mere presence of hanging narrations like this in the collection of Bukhari doesn’t mean that Bukhari considered them to be authentic, or that it would be accurate to say that Bukhari narrated them, because that which Bukhari is said to have narrated authentically is only in regards to that which he narrated with a complete chain from beginning to end.

Sheikh Albani (may God have mercy on him) said:

“To ascribe this narration as being one of Bukhari’s is a manifest error, because one who ascribes such a thing imagines that this story of jumping off the mountain is authentic according to the conditions of Bukhari himself. This is not the case, and the proof is that Bukhari narrated this event himself at the end of A’isha’s statement in the chapter of “How the Revelation Began”.[Albani goes on to quote the full narration].

“This narration along with Az-Zuhri’s addition has been recorded by Ahmad (volume 6, pages 232-233), Abu Nu’aym (ad-Dala`il, pages 68-69), and Al-Baihaqi in his ad-Dala`il, volume 1, pages 393-395), via Abdur Razzaq on the authority of Ma’mar. It has also been narrated via this route by Muslim (volume 1, page 98), but he did not narrate the expression; rather, he only referred to the expression narrated by Yunus on the authority of Ibn Shihab without Az-Zuhri’s addition. Muslim and Ahmad (volume 6, page 223) both narrated it this way via Aqil bin Khalid on the authority of Ibn Shihab without Az-Zuhri’s addition. Bukhari also narrated it this way in the beginning of his collection via Aqil.

“Thus I [Albani] say: we may conclude, from the above, that the addition to the narration contains two defects:

The first: only Ma’mar narrated it this way, while Yunus and Aqil did not; thus it is rendered an oddity (shaadha).

The second: its chain of narration is disconnected at two consecutive levels (mursala mu’adalla). The phrase “in what has reached us” is the addition of Az-Zuhri, as is clear from the expression, as Ibn Hajar declared in his al-Fath.

So I [Albani] say: this is something which the Dr. [meaning: Dr. Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti, author of the book which Albani is criticizing] has either forgotten or failed to realize, as he seems to think that every letter of Bukhari’s collection must be authentic according to his own conditions. Perhaps he has failed to differentiate between that which has a complete chain of narration and that which has an incomplete chain, just as he failed to differentiate between the authentic narration which contains additions and the inauthentic narration which contains some authentic information. An example of this is the narration of A’isha, which contains at the end of it this inauthentic addition. So know that this addition is not present in any of the narrations with complete authentic chains, which are accepted as proof as I clarified in my book Silsila al-Ahadith ad-Da’ifa, number 4858, and as I pointed out in my commentary on my summarized version of Bukhari’s collection.” (Difa’ ‘an al-Hadith an-Nabawi, pages 40-41)

Fourth of all:

Other chains of narration are available wherein we find the story about the Prophet (peace be upon him) attempting suicide after the revelation ceased for the first time. All of these chains are rejected and are either falling into the categories of inauthentic or fabricated.

From them:

1) The chain of Ibn Mardawayh:

Ibn Hajar (may God have mercy on him) said:

“there is to be found in the book at-Tafsir of Ibn Mardawayh, via Muhammad bin Kathir on the authority of Ma’mar, the narration without the phrase “in what has reached us”, but with the rest of the statement “led him to the cliffs of a mountain.” and so forth. Thus, it was rendered as an insertion into the narration of Az-Zuhri on the authority of ‘Urwa on the authority of A’isha, and the first version is the reliable one.” (Fath al-Bari, volume 12, pages 359-360)

The meaning of Ibn Hajar’s statement “and the first version is the reliable one” refers to the narration of Az-Zuhri which includes the phrase “in what has reached us” and this phrase is not authentically linked to the chain of narration.

Albani (may God have mercy on him) commented in regard to Ibn Hajar’s judgment:

“he is supported by two points. The first is that Muhammad bin Kathir is a weak narrator – due to his defective memory – and he is also known as as-San’ani al-Masisi. Ibn Hajar said he is honest, but very error-prone, and he is not the same person as Muhammad bin Kathir al-Abdi al-Basri, who is a strong narrator. The second is that this narration contradicts the narration of Abdur Razzaq who narrated from Ma’mar,which distinguished the beginning of the whole quote from the end, and clearly signified the end of it as an addition by Az-Zuhri. All this points to the error of Muhammad bin Kathir as-San’ani for including this addition and it’s weakness has been established.” (Silsila al-Ahadith ad-Da’ifa wal-Maudu’a, volume 10, page 453)

2) The chain of Ibn Sa’d:

Muhammad bin Sa’d said: Muhammad bin Umar informed us that Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Abi Musa narrated from Dawud bin al-Hussain from Abu Ghatafan bin Tarif from Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) would spend days without seeing Gabriel and was befallen by a great sadness when the revelation would descend upon him at the cave of Hira. So great was his sadness that he would go to Thubair, or sometimes Hira, wanting to throw himself from them. So he (peace be upon him) would take himself to the top and would hear a voice from the sky at which point the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) would freeze where he was upon hearing the voice, and would then raise his head. Lo and behold, Gabriel was on a chair between the sky and the earth closing in around him and said “O Muhammad, you truly are the Messenger of God and I am Gabriel.” Ibn Abbas said: So the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) would leave. God would open his eyes and cause his soul to become firm and the revelations would again continue and satiate his desire. (at-Tabaqat al-Kubra, volume 1, page. 196)

Albani (may God have mercy on him) said:

“This chain of narration is FABRICATED. This is either from one of two people. Muhammad bin Umar – and he is al-Waqidi – is accused of fabrication, as Ibn Hajar said in his book at-Taqrib: ‘He is abandoned, despite the depth of his knowledge.’ The verdicts of the scholars regarding him have preceded more than once.

The other person is Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Abi Musa – and he is Ibn Abi Yahya – and his real name is: Sam’an Al-Aslami the freed man of Abu Ishaq al-Madani. He is abandoned as well just like al-Waqidi or even worse. Ibn Hajar also said about him: ‘abandoned,’ and narrated in at-Taqrib the critical statements of the scholars regarding him, and they almost constitute absolute consensus on his dishonesty. From those statements is that of al-Harbi: ‘The scholars of prophetic tradition loathe his narrations; al-Waqidi narrated on his authority that which resembles fabrication, though al-Waqidi made things worse.’

And al-Harbi’s statement regarding the chain itself: ‘Ibn Abi Musa – and I believe he is in actuality Ibn Abi Yahya, but his name was changed intentionally by al-Waqidi as he has done with others – was stated by Abd al-Ghani bin Sa’id al-Masri to be Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Abi ‘Ata who was criticized by Ibn Juraij. He is also Abd al-Wahhab who was criticized by Marwan bin Mu’awiya and he is Abu adh-Dhi`b who was criticized by Ibn Juraij.’” (Silsila al-Ahadith ad-Dai’fa wal-Maudu’a, volume 10, page 451)

3) The chain of at-Tabari:

Ibn Jarir at-Tabari said: Ibn Humaid said that Salama narrated on the authority of Muhammad bin Ishaq from Wahb bin Kaisan freedman of the people of az-Zubair who heard from Abd Allah bin az-Zubair who said to ‘Ubaid bin ‘Umair bin Qatada al-Laithi who said: O ‘Ubaid, what was the beginning of the prophetic revelation to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) like back when Gabriel (peace be upon him) came to him? So ‘Ubaid said – and Abd Allah bin az-Zubair said that he and those with him were present – that the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) would take off to the cave of Hira for a month every year. Gabriel came to him by the order of God and the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said: “he came to me, while I was sleeping, with a sort of silk wrapping with a book inside it and said: Read. I asked what I should read, so he seized me until I thought I would face death, and then released me and said: Read. I asked what I should read, and I only said that so he wouldn’t grab a hold of me again. He said: {Read in the name of your Lord Who created} up to {He taught man that which he did not know}.” The Prophet said: “So I recited it,” and then said: “Then it ended and he left me in my sleep and it was as though he had written that book in my heart.” He then said: “There was nothing from all of God’s creation more hated to me than a poet or a madman; I couldn’t even look at such people. He said: I said: indeed this is the furthest person – meaning himself! – from a poet or a madman, as the Quraish never said that about me, to intentionally go to the high barren mountain to throw myself from it in order to kill myself and gain some sort of peace.” He said: “So I went out wanting to do exactly that until I was halfway to the mountain when I heard a voice from the sky saying: O Muhammad, truly you are the Messenger of God and I am Gabriel.” He said: “I lifted my head to the sky and lo and behold, Gabriel was there in the image of a man with his feet resting at the horizon saying: O Muhammad, you are the Messenger of God and I am Gabriel.” (Tarikh at-Tabari, volume 1, pages 532-533)

The text of this narration is rejected in light of its contradiction of the authentic versions, for in this version there is a meeting of the Prophet (peace be upon him) with Gabriel in a dream rather than being awake! Also, therein is the statement “what should I read!” Both of these are false. The meeting between the two messengers wasn’t during sleep, and that which he (peace be upon him) said was “I can’t read,” cancelling the ability to read at all, yet this rejected narration holds that he was literate.

As for the chain of narration, then Albani (may God have mercy on him) said:

“However in this chain there is nothing to be happy about, especially with its contradiction to that which has preceded from the strong narrators. There are several defects. The first is Irsaal, as ‘Ubaid bin ‘Umair was not from the first generation of Muslims, rather he was from the older members of the second generation having been born during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The second: Salama – and he is Ibn al-Fadl al-Abrash – was said by Ibn Hajar to be an honest man, but very error prone. I [Albani] say: In addition to that, he is contradicted by Ziyad bin Abd Allah al-Bakkaa`i who narrated the book “as-Sira” on the authority of Ibn Ishaq,. Also, via this same route narrated Ibn Hisham, and Ibn Hajar said regarding him: he is an honest man as affirmed in al-Maghazi. Ibn Hisham recorded this narration in as-Sira (volume 1, pages 252-253) from him from Ibn Ishaq without the addition, which I placed between the two brackets [], and between them is the rejected story about considering suicide.

It is possible that al-Abrash alone included it in opposition to al-Bakkaa`i and it is thus rejected from another angle due to this opposition, as the narration is recorded without this addition by Ibn Ishaq, as the previous statement of Ibn Hajar indicates.

And it is also possible that Ibn Hisham himself left it out of the book due to the narration’s false meaning and due to its contradicting the notion of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) infallibility. Ibn Hisham did imply this in the introduction of his book, as he said in volume one, page four: ‘.leaving out some of what Ibn Ishaq recorded in this book from that which is not authentically reported about the Messenger of God (peace be upon him).and things which indicate the narration’s weakness.’

And this is all said in regards to the possibility of the narration’s being free from the following third defect: Ibn Humaid – and is name is Muhammad ar-Razi – is a very weak narrator. A group of scholars have declared him to be a liar, from them Abu Zur’ah ar-Razi.

In short: the narration is inauthentic both in terms of the soundness of its chain and the accuracy of the text. The heart of the believer is not comfortable with the claims of these weak narrators in regards to that which is attributed to the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) as far as considering killing himself by jumping off a mountain. And the Prophet is the one who said – in that which actually is authentically linked to him – that “whoever throws himself from a mountain and kills himself will be in the fires of Hell throwing himself within it forever and ever.” This is agreed upon by the two collections of Bukhari and Muslim and in at-Targhib (volume 3, pages 205). This lack of comfort in accepting these claims is especially strong in light of the fact that these weak narrators contradicted the trustworthy scholars whose narrations are accepted and who also transmitted this report.” (Silsila al-Ahadith ad-Da’ifa wal-Maudu’a volume 10, pages 455-457)

Fifthly:

The weakness of the chains of narration in which it is claimed that the Prophet (peace be upon him) attempted suicide has been confirmed; even the falsehood and fabrication of these chains, in fact. It is not hidden that the text is also false and rejected and that is from several angles:

1) The period in which the revelation ceased was in order to allow for the subsiding of the fear, which our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) endured from the first time the revelation came to him. It was also for the sake of preparing for what would come after it. How could he possibly have faced such a cessation while contemplating suicide? Ibn Tulun as-Salihi (may God have mercy on him) said:

“The wisdom in the cessation of revelation – and God knows best – was so that what he (peace be upon him) experienced in terms of fear could subside, and so a desire for that revelation to return could develop.” (Subul al-Huda war-Rashad fi Sira Khair al-‘Ibad volume 2, page 272)

2) The Prophet (peace be upon him) never doubted his own status as a prophet for one minute, as Almighty God made his heart firm via the revelation and the fear he felt the first time he experienced revelation merely indicates his humanity and the intensity of the revelation. After that (i.e. the first revelation) he (peace be upon him) would sometimes suffer during particular forms of revelation.

Conclusion:

The narration regarding the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) contemplation of suicide due to the delay of further revelations after the first one is inauthentic and the addition in the collection of Bukhari does not meet his own conditions and thus cannot be attributed to his own personal reports. Indeed, Bukhari himself affirmed this addition as being the statement of none other than Az-Zuhri, as it is an inauthentic addition with a disconnected chain of transmission. We explained here that the report has numerous other narrations and all of them confirm the weakness of the story, both in terms of its chain and its textual accuracy. (Original Arabic Source – http://islamqa.info/ar/ref/152611)

Note: Any quotation that is capitalised in bold is from us (discover-the-truth.com).

myth1

Muhammed And Aisha’s Thawb, Lihaaf, Mirt In The Bible: Addendum

This article was originally published on the following site: discover-the-truth.com

Content:

1. Introduction
2. Thawb in Hadith
3. Thawb (blanket) In The Bible
4. Lihaaf (Blanket) In The Bible
5. Conclusion

1. Introduction

In this final segment on whether Thaub means a blanket or actual clothes in relation to the Hadith we discussed in previous articles (links can be seen below), we are going to cite further additional authentic reports from our sources and the Bible, which would give readers clear idea that Thawb a lihaaf, here means a piece of blanket, sheet or a piece of large cloth one covers himself/herself with.

Check the following articles we have already written about in relation to Thawb, Lihaaf, and Mirt:

(1) – “Aisha’s Thawb: Was It A Blanket Or Dress? [Part 1]

(2) – “Aisha’s Thawb: Missionary Deception Unveiled [Part 2]

(3) – “Aisha’s Lihaaf (Blanket), Cross Dressing Lie

(4) – “Aisha’s Mirt (مرط), Cross Dressing Fabrication

2. Thawb in Hadith

Before quoting the Bible, we will show two important Hadith reports where we are told that thawb means a large piece of cloth that one is covered with. The Janazah, when a person has died and who was Muslim, they are traditionally to be washed and wrapped around in a large square piece of cloth before burial:

“2284. It was narrated from Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah was shrouded in TWO PIECES OF WHITE CLOTH (ثَوْبِ) and a read cloak. [Hasan] (English Translation Of Musnad Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (Abu Abdullah Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal Ash-Shaibani) [Ahadeeth Edited, Researched and Refernced by Darussalam, Translated by Nasiruddin Al-Khattab, Edited by Huda Al-Khattab, Dar-us-salam, 2012], volume 2, page 393)

Here is a screenshot for the above quote:

janaza-1

Another report on Thawb:

“2600. Shu’bah said: I heard Abu Bishr narrate that he heard Sa’eed bin Jubair say that he heard Ibn Abbas narrate that a man came to the Prophet when he was in ihram, and he fell from his mount, and immediately died. The Messenger of Allah instructed that he be washed with water and lotus leaves, and shrouded in TWO PIECES OF CLOTH (ثَوْبِ). And he said: ‘Do not apply perfume to him, and leave his head uncovered – Shu’bah said: Then after that he told me that he said: Leave his head or his face uncovered – for he will be raised on the Day of Resurrection with his hair stuck together [with a sticky substance, as was the custom of pilgrims at that time].” [Isnad is Saheeh] (English Translation Of Musnad Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (Abu Abdullah Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal Ash-Shaibani) [Ahadeeth Edited, Researched and Refernced by Darussalam, Translated by Nasiruddin Al-Khattab, Edited by Huda Al-Khattab, Dar-us-salam, 2012], volume 2, page 524)

Here is a screenshot for the above quote:

janaza-2

These two reports where it shows that thawb in the context of the Prophet and Aisha meant a large piece of cloth.

3. Thawb (blanket) In The Bible

Furthermore, the Arabic Bible testifies that thaub (ثَوْبِ) in the verses of Exodus 22:26-27 means a large piece of sheet or blanket. In Exodus 22:26-27 the Israelites are commanded if they borrow a blanket (thawb) from their neighbour they have to give it back the next morning (Van Dyke Arabic Bible Translation):

“26ان ارتهنت ثوب صاحبك فالى غروب الشمس ترده له.
27لانه وحده غطاؤه. هو ثوبه لجلده. في ماذا ينام. فيكون اذا صرخ اليّ اني اسمع. لاني رؤوف” (Van Dyke Arabic Bible) Exodus 22- 26-27 http://etabetapi.com/cmp/arvd/asv/Exod/22)

The Biblical exegesis state that the thawb that is borrowed here is a large piece of blanket:

Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible:

“If thou at all take thy neighbor’s garment to pledge …” The garment in view here is THAT LARGE, SUBSTANTIAL BLANKET, or pancho, used not only as the principal covering in daytime, but also as the only bedclothes the man had. The taking of a garment like that in pledge was forbidden. The fact of the lender’s having to return it every night would have meant, in effect, that the borrower could keep it! Many of the Jews of a later day sorely abused the rights of the poor. “Ye oppress the poor … ye crush the needy … they have sold the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes!” (Amos 2:6,4:1). The principle here applied to any absolutely necessary possession, such as the mill, or either of its stones (Deuteronomy 24:6). (Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible, online source http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/exodus-22.html)

Adam Clarke Commentary:

“Verse 26
If thou – take thy neighbor’s raiment to pledge – It seems strange that any pledge should be taken which must be so speedily restored; but it is very likely that the pledge was restored by night only, and that he who pledged it brought it back to his creditor next morning. The opinion of the rabbins is, that whatever a man needed for the support of life, he had the use of it when absolutely necessary, though it was pledged. Thus he had the use of his working tools by day, but he brought them to his creditor in the evening. His hyke, which serves an Arab as a plaid does a Highlander, (See Clarke’s note on Exodus 12:34;), was probably the raiment here referred to: IT IS A SORT OF COARSE BLANKET, ABOUT SIX YARDS LONG, AND FIVE OR SIX FEET BROAD, WHICH AN ARAB ALWAYS CARRIES WITH HIM, AND ON WHICH HE SLEEPS AT NIGHT, IT BEING HIS ONLY SUBSTITUTE FOR A BED. As the fashions in the east scarcely ever change, it is very likely that the raiment of the Israelites was precisely the same with that of the modern Arabs, who live in the very same desert in which the Hebrews were when this law was given. How necessary it was to restore the hyke to a poor man before the going down of the sun, that he might have something to repose on, will appear evident from the above considerations. At the same time, the returning it daily to the creditor was a continual acknowledgment of the debt, and served instead of a written acknowledgment or bond; as we may rest assured that writing, if practiced at all before the giving of the law, was not common: but it is most likely that it did not exist.” (The Holy Bible, Containing The Old And New Testaments. Marginal Readings and Parallel Texts: With A Commentary And Critical Notes,[The Old Testament, New-York: Published by T, Mason & G. Lane, James Collord, Printer, 1837] by Adam Clarke, LL.D., F.S.A., &c., volume 1, page 415 )

The Pulpit Commentaries:

“Exodus 22:27
Wherein shall he sleep? The outer garment worn by the ancient Hebrews was like that of the modern Bedouins—a sort of LARGE WOOLLEN… BLANKET, in which they enveloped the greater part of their persons. It serves the Bedouins, to the present time, as robe by day, and as COVERLET by night. When he crieth unto me. Compare verse 23. If the law is broken, and the man cry unto the Lord, he will hear, and avenge him.” (The Pulpit Commentaries, online source http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/exodus-22.html)

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament:

“Verses 25-27
If a man should lend to one of the poor of his own people, he was not to oppress him by demanding interest; and if he gave his upper garment as a pledge, he was to give it him back towards sunset, because it was his only covering; as the poorer classes in the East use the upper garment, consisting of a LARGE SQUARE PIECE OF CLOTH, to sleep in. “It is his clothing for his skin:” i.e., it serves for a covering to his body. “Wherein shall he lie?” i.e., in what SHALL BE WRAP HIMSELF TO SLEEP? (cf. Deuteronomy 24:6, Deuteronomy 24:10-13). …”(Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, online source http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/exodus-22.html)

John Dummelow’s Commentary on the Bible:

“26. While the taking of interest is forbidden, the taking of a pledge for repayment of a loan is sanctioned, and frequent reference is made in Scripture to the practice: see e.g. Amos 2:8; Job 22:6; Job 24:9; Deuteronomy 24:6. The outer garment of the Israelite (the simlah) is a kind of cloak or PLAID ABOUT 4 FT. SQUARE, which may be used as a COVERLET BY NIGHT. In the case of a poor man this might be the only thing he could give as a pledge, in which case he is to be allowed the use of it each night: cp. Deuteronomy 24:12-13, and for a similar humane precept, Deuteronomy 24:6 of that chapter.” (John Dummelow’s Commentary on the Bible, online source http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/exodus-22.html)

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers:

“Verse 26-27
(26, 27) Thy neighbour’s raiment.—The simlah, or salmah, here translated “raiment,” was the large flowing outer raiment, elsewhere called beged, which was commonly of woollen, and corresponded to the abba of the modern Arabs. It was a WARM WRAPPER, and has sometimes been compared to a Scotch plaid. The poor Israelite did not much want it by day; but needed it as a BLANKET BY NIGHT—a practice known to many modern tribes of Arabs. The present passage forbids the retention of this garment as a pledge during the night, and seems to imply a continuous practice of pledging the simlah by day, and being allowed to Enjoy the use of it, nevertheless, as a nocturnal covering.” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, online source http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/exodus-22.html)

Rabbinical commentary Sefer HaChinukh 587:1

“To return the surety to the owners at the time that he needs it: That we were commanded to return the surety to its Israelite owners at the time that it will be needed by him; meaning to say that if the surety is something that a person needs during the day – for example, the tool for his work – he should return it to him during the day, and the borrower brings it back to him during the night, and if it is a vessel that he needs during the night – for example, BEDDING OR A BLANKET – he should return it to him during the night, and the borrower brings it back to the creditor during the day. And the language of Mekhilta, Mishpatim 186 is “‘You must return it to him before the sun sets’ (Exodus 22:25) (Sefer HaChinukh 587:1, online source http://www.sefaria.org/Exodus.22.25?lang=en&with=Sefer%20HaChinukh&lang2=en)

NUMBERS 4:6-13

Numbers 4:6-13 a large piece of cloth is used to cover up bread, and other material objects:

“6and shall put thereon a covering of sealskin, and shall spread over it a CLOTH all of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof.
6ويجعلون عليه غطاء من جلد تخس ويبسطون من فوق ثوبا كله اسمانجوني ويضعون عصيّه.
7And upon the table of showbread they shall spread a CLOTH of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls and the cups wherewith to pour out; and the continual bread shall be thereon:
7وعلى مائدة الوجوه يبسطون ثوب اسمانجون ويضعون عليه الصحاف والصحون والاقداح وكاسات السكيب. ويكون الخبز الدائم عليه.
8and they shall spread upon them a CLOTH of scarlet, and cover the same with a covering of sealskin, and shall put in the staves thereof.
8ويبسطون عليها ثوب قرمز ويغطونه بغطاء من جلد تخس ويضعون عصّيه.
9And they shall take a CLOTH of blue, and cover the candlestick of the light, and its lamps, and its snuffers, and its snuffdishes, and all the oil vessels thereof, wherewith they minister unto it:
9وياخذون ثوب اسمانجون ويغطون منارة الضوء وسرجها وملاقطها ومنافضها وجميع آنية زيتها التي يخدمونها بها.
10and they shall put it and all the vessels thereof within a covering of sealskin, and shall put it upon the frame.
10ويجعلونها وجميع آنيتها في غطاء من جلد تخس ويجعلونه على العتلة.
11And upon the golden altar they shall spread a CLOTH of blue, and cover it with a covering of sealskin, and shall put in the staves thereof:
11وعلى مذبح الذهب يبسطون ثوب اسمانجون ويغطونه بغطاء من جلد تخس ويضعون عصيه.
12and they shall take all the vessels of ministry, wherewith they minister in the sanctuary, and put them in a CLOTH of blue, and cover them with a covering of sealskin, and shall put them on the frame.
12ويأخذون جميع امتعة الخدمة التي يخدمون بها في القدس ويجعلونها في ثوب اسمانجون ويغطونها بغطاء من جلد تخس ويجعلونها على العتلة.
13And they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple CLOTH thereon:
13ويرفعون رماد المذبح ويبسطون عليه ثوب ارجوان
14and they shall put upon it all the vessels thereof, wherewith they minister about it, the firepans, the flesh-hooks, and the shovels, and the basins, all the vessels of the altar; and they shall spread upon it a covering of sealskin, and put in the staves thereof.
14ويجعلون عليه جميع امتعته التي يخدمون عليه بها المجامر والمناشل والرفوش والمناضح كل امتعة المذبح ويبسطون عليه غطاء من جلد تخس ويضعون عصيه.“ (الكتاب المقدس (Van Dyke Arabic Bible Translation) ASV, Numbers 4:6:14, online source http://etabetapi.com/cmp/arvd/uknt/Num/4)

The commentaries for the above verse all agree that the thing that covers all these items is unsewn cloth, for example, a piece of sheet:

Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible:

“The Ark. This was to be covered by the veil that screened off the Holy of Holies. This was to be covered with the skin covering, and over that there was to be placed a CLOTH OF BLUE, a color that would be exposed during the march, making the ark easily identified.
The Table. This was to include all the articles usually used in connection with it, and the whole was to be COVERED WITH A CLOTH of scarlet, with a skin covering over all.
The Candlestick. This was to include snuff dishes, etc., with all vessels pertaining to it, the whole to be COVERED WITH A CLOTH OF BLUE, with a skin covering over all.
The Golden Altar. A CLOTH OF BLUE WAS TO BE SPREAD OVER this with a sealskin over all.
The Great Bronze (Copper) Altar. The ashes were to be removed and all of the shovels, vessels, flesh-hooks, etc., connected with service at the altar were to be placed around it, the whole to be covered with a purple cloth, with a skin covering over all.
“And put in the staves thereof …” (Numbers 4:6,8,11,14). This recurring instruction shows that preparatory to WRAPPING and covering the sacred articles with the colored cloths and skin coverings, the staves were to be first removed. This is a variation of the instruction pertaining to the times when the various articles were properly installed to fulfill their normal function. During those times, the staves were “not to be taken out” (Exodus 25:15ff). Critical scholars are really hard pressed for something to criticize when they make a “contradiction” out of this variation, as did both Gray and Noth.[7] THE VERY COMMANDMENT TO WRAP (OR COVER) EACH ARTICLE WITH CLOTH, the staves being conspicuously omitted in each commandment, inherently carries with it the instruction that the staves were to be first removed. The commandment to put them in, repeated four times, proves this. There is no contradiction here, the various instructions applying to different situations. In their normal placement, the staves were to be left in, when made ready for travel, they were removed (necessarily) for the wrapping, and replaced for the purpose of their transportation.” (Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible, online source https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/numbers-4.html)

How do you cover a bread? Do you put clothes on it or wrap it in a cloth, the latter is true. Geneva Study Bible:

“V. 7.
(d) Meaning, to COVER THE BREAD. (Geneva Study Bible, online source https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/numbers-4.html)

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible:

“…the use of which; see Gill on Exodus 25:29; these seem to be put not immediately upon the table, but upon the BLUE CLOTH SPREAD OVER THE TABLE: and the continual bread shall be thereon: the shewbread is called “continual”, because it was always on the table; for while the one was removing by a set of priests, which had stood a week, new loaves were placed by another set of priests: this bread seems at this time to be placed also upon the table, SPREAD WITH THE BLUE CLOTH; and from hence it appears, that the Israelites had the shewbread in the wilderness; for the making of which they might be supplied with corn from the neighbouring countries, though they themselves needed not any, being daily fed with manna. … and COVER IT with a covering of badgers’ skins; after the CLOTH OF BLUE WAS SPREAD UPON IT … and put them in a cloth of blue, and cover them with a covering of badgers’ skins; ALL WRAPPED UP in one bundle. (John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible, online source https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/numbers-4.html)

L. M. Grant’s Commentary on the Bible:

“The priests then spread a BLUE CLOTH OVER THE TABLE OF SHOW-BREAD and put on it the dishes, pans, bowls and pitchers. The showbread itself should also remain on it (v.7). A scarlet CLOTH WAS PUT OVER THIS, then also a covering of badger skins, and the poles inserted (v.8). The table speaks of Christ as the Sustainer of communion, and the blue cloth reminds us that communion with Him now is on a heavenly level, while the badger skins tell us that communion is not attractive to the outside world, though still strong and endurable. …” (L. M. Grant’s Commentary on the Bible, online source https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/numbers-4.html)

Some have claimed that the bread and other items being covered with a square cloth actually means that they were wearing clothes. This is the desperation of some missionaries to peddle the lie that Muhammed wore a dress, when history is a witness that thawb in the Hadith used is speaking of a bed sheet or a large cloth, as the above commentaries for Numbers 4 have also shown. Think of it like this, imagine you were lying on the floor going to sleep few thousand years ago where there are no beds, but one slept on the floor, you have a cloth (sheet) spread covering you, would that mean that one is wearing clothes or is he/she covering themselves? Of course the latter is true.

In the parable of Mark 2:21, Jesus states how could a man put a piece of cloth on an old garment. We cannot determine how big this piece of cloth is, but the cloth he mentions here is a piece of sheet. Here is Mark 2:21 (Van Dyke Arabic Bible):

“21ليس احد يخيط رقعة من قطعة جديدة على ثوب عتيق وإلا فالملء الجديد ياخذ من العتيق فيصير الخرق اردأ.” (Van Dyke Arabic Bible) Mark 2:21, http://etabetapi.com/cmp/arvd/arvd/Mark/2))

Different Bible translations for Mark 2:21,

King James 2000 Bible
“No man also sews a PIECE OF NEW CLOTH on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up tears away from the old, and the tear is made worse.” – Mark 2: 21

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“No man places a NEW STRIP OF CLOTH and sews it on an old garment lest the fullness of that new cloth takes from the old, and it rips more.” – Mark 2: 21

American King James Version
“No man also sews a PIECE OF NEW CLOTH on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up takes away from the old, and the rent is made worse.” – Mark 2: 21

Douay-Rheims Bible
“No man seweth a PIECE OF RAW CLOTH to an old garment: otherwise the new piecing taketh away from the old, and there is made a greater rent.” – Mark 2: 21

Darby Bible Translation
“No one sews a patch of NEW CLOTH on an old garment: otherwise its new filling-up takes from the old [stuff], and there is a worse rent.” – Mark 2: 21

Webster’s Bible Translation
“No man also seweth a PIECE OF NEW CLOTH on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up, taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.” – Mark 2: 21

It is quite clear from the Bible that Thawb means a piece of cloth or a large sheet. Now we have on to the Arabic word Lihaf (Lihaaf).

4. Lihaaf (Blanket) In The Bible

Judges 4:18 where the word lihaaf (لِحَافِ) is and here the commentaries all agree that it is in reference to a blanket,

Arabic Bible Smith And Van Dyke,
“١٨ فخرجت ياعيل لاستقبال سيسرا وقالت لهُ مِلْ يا سيدي مِل اليَّ. لا تخف. فمال اليها الى الخيمة وغطتهُ باللحاف.
١٩ فقال لها اسقيني قليل ماءٍ لاني قد عطشت. ففتحت وطب اللبن واسقتهُ ثم غطتهُ.” (Arabic Bible Smith And Van Dyke on Judges 4:18, online source, https://bible.faithlife.com/books/ar-vandyke/Jdg4.18)

Screenshot for the above quote:

lihaf1

Different Bible Translations on Judges 4:18 that lihaaf (لِحَافِ) means a “blanket”,

Common English Bible (CEB)
“18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come in, sir, come in here. Don’t be afraid.” So he went with her into the tent, and she hid him under a BLANKET.” – Judges 4:18

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
“18 Ya‘el went out to meet Sisra and said to him, “Come in, my lord; stay here with me; and don’t be afraid.” So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a BLANKET.” – Judges 4:18

Contemporary English Version (CEV)
“18 She came out to greet him and said, “Come in, sir! Please come on in. Don’t be afraid.”
After they had gone inside, Sisera lay down, and Jael covered him with a BLANKET.” – Judges 4:18

Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
“18 Jael saw him coming, so she went out to meet him and said, “Sir, come into my tent. Come in. Don’t be afraid.” So Sisera went into Jael’s tent, and she covered him with a BLANKET.” – Judges 4:18

Lexham English Bible (LEB)
“18 And Jael came out to meet Sisera, and she said to him, “Turn aside, my lord; turn aside to me and do not be afraid.” So he turned aside into her tent, and she covered him with a BLANKET.” – Judges 4:18

Living Bible (TLB)
“18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come into my tent, sir. You will be safe here in our protection. Don’t be afraid.” So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a BLANKET.” – Judges 4:18

The Message (MSG)
“17-18 Meanwhile Sisera, running for his life, headed for the tent of Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite. Jabin king of Hazor and Heber the Kenite were on good terms with one another. Jael stepped out to meet Sisera and said, “Come in, sir. Stay here with me. Don’t be afraid.” So he went with her into her tent. She covered him with a BLANKET.” – Judges 4:18

New English Translation (NET Bible)
“18 Jael came out to welcome Sisera. She said to him, “Stop and rest, my lord. Stop and rest with me. Don’t be afraid.” So Sisera stopped to rest in her tent, and she put a BLANKET over him.” – Judges 4:18

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)
“18 Jael went out to meet Sisera. “Come in, sir,” she said. “Come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent. Then she covered him with a BLANKET.” – Judges 4:18

New International Version (NIV)
“18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a BLANKET.” – Judges 4:18

New International Version – UK (NIVUK)
“18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, ‘Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.’ So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a BLANKET.” – Judges 4:18

New King James Version (NKJV)
“18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; do not fear.” And when he had turned aside with her into the tent, she covered him with a BLANKET.” – Judges 4:18

New Living Translation (NLT)
“18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come into my tent, sir. Come in. Don’t be afraid.” So he went into her tent, and she COVERED HIM WITH A BLANKET.” – Judges 4:18

Tree of Life Version (TLV)
“18 So Yael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me! Don’t be afraid!” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she COVERED HIM WITH A BLANKET.” – Judges 4:18

Darby Translation (DARBY)
“18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And he turned in to her, into the tent, and she COVERED HIM WITH THE QUILT.” – Judges 4:18

Jubilee Bible 2000 (JUB)
“18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she COVERED HIM WITH A THICK COVERLET.” – Judges 4:18

Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)
“18 and Jael goeth out to meet Sisera, and saith unto him, `Turn aside, my lord, turn aside unto me, fear not;’ and he turneth aside unto her, into the tent, and she COVERETH HIM WITH A COVERLET.” – Judges 4:18

Notice all the above translations have translated the Arabic word lihaaf to mean a blanket in this context. Here we get a clear-cut verse from the Bible where the text tells us that “lihaaf” (لِحَافِ) here means a blanket. And thus, the Hadith which are mistranslated to mean clothes by some missionaries have no historical basis when the Bible itself debunks this.

Just so our readers are acquainted what lihaaf looks like, copy this Arabic word lihaaf in brackets (لِحَافِ) into google search engine. I will make it easier, just click on the following link it will direct you straight to Google images where it will show you that lihaaf (لِحَافِ) is a piece of blanket.

5. Conclusion

As the context of the passages from the Bible shows, thawb means a large piece of cloth or sheet and “lihaaf” means a blanket one covers himself at night. With the above said, this article strengthen and bolsters our case that Prophet Muhammed (p) was using Aisha’s blanket in regards to the Hadith mistranslated by some missionaries.