Issue 58 [@1:02:28]: Slide projected – The Life of Muhammad p367 – [with voice] The Apostle said … “Who will rid me of Ibnul Ashraf?” Muhammad bin Maslama, brother of the Bani Abdul-Ashal, said, “I will deal with him for you, O Apostle of God, I will kill him”. He said, “Do so if you can.” … He said, “O Apostle of God, we shall have to tell lies.” He answered, “Say what you like, for you are free in the matter.”
Rebuttal 58: Neither Quran nor Muhammad ever lied or sanctioned a lie. A question that naturally arises is the authenticity of the source of the above quotation, rather distortion or even fabrication to be more accurate. Why did the documentary not quote the actual hadith verbatim? Because there is none. Fact is that while trying to malign Muhammad, the documentary itself has resorted to plain lies. Ibn-e-Ishaq, probably the author of above book and its quotes is a known fabricator to the extent that his contemporary, Imam Malik is on the record to call him a liar.
[Kadhdhab and Dajjal min al-dajajila. Uyun al-athar, I, 16-7. In his valuable introduction Ibn Sayyid al-Nas provides a wide-ranging survey of the controversial views on Ibn Ishaq].
Same could be said about Ibn-e-Hisham, who tried to re-create Sirat that was lost after the death of Ibn-e-Ishaq. The invalidity of such sources is admitted even by Western authors, surprisingly Robert Spencer included:
“False ascription was rife among the 8th century scholars (versus Bukhari who lived in the 9th century) and that in any case Ibn Ishaq and contemporaries were drawing on oral traditions.” ( Cook, M: Muhammad, Oxford 1983. pg. 65)
Even the famous Polemist and anti-Islam author Robert Spencer admits in his book The Truth about Muhammad , that “However, Ibn Ishaq’s life of Muhammad is so unashamedly hagiographical that its accuracy is questionable.” (Spencer, Robert: The Truth about Muhammad, Regnery Publishers, 2006 pg. 25) Despite his negative opinion regarding Ibn IssHaaq, out of the 400 footnotes of Robert Spencer’s book, 120 footnotes refer to fabricated stories from Ibn Ishaq’s book. Because Robert Spencer hates Islam so much that he is willing to present these stories as if they are true, even though he knows that their source is unreliable.
[My Optimism about Europe – a blog on DanielPipes.org]
The closest that we can approximate the above slide is with the following hadiths:
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 270: Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah:
The Prophet said, “Who is ready to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has really hurt Allah and His Apostle?” Muhammad bin Maslama said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Do you like me to kill him?” He replied in the affirmative. So, Muhammad bin Maslama went to him (i.e. Ka’b) and said, “This person (i.e. the Prophet) has put us to task and asked us for charity.” Ka’b replied, “By Allah, you will get tired of him.” Muhammad said to him, “We have followed him, so we dislike to leave him till we see the end of his affair.” Muhammad bin Maslama went on talking to him in this way till he got the chance to kill him.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 271: Narrated Jabir:
The Prophet said, “Who is ready to kill Ka’b bin Ashraf (i.e. a Jew).” Muhammad bin Maslama replied, “Do you like me to kill him?” The Prophet replied in the affirmative. Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say what I like.” The Prophet replied, “I do (i.e. allow you).”
Before we take on the above hadith, the concept of phrase “Allah and His Apostle” which is also written as “Allah and His Messenger” has to be fully understood for what it stands for.
When there are commandments in Quran, they are usually juxtaposed next to “Allah and His Messenger”. For example:
4:11 Allah commands you concerning your children: for the male is the equal of the portion of two females; but if there are more than two females, two-thirds of what the deceased leaves is theirs; and if there is one, for her is the half. And as for his parents, for each of them is the sixth of what he leaves, if he has a child; but if he has no child and (only) his two parents inherit him, for his mother is the third; but if he has brothers, for his mother is the sixth, after (payment of) a bequest he may have bequeathed or a debt. Your parents and your children, you do not know which of them is the nearer to you in benefit. This is an ordinance from Allah. Surely Allah is ever Knowing, Wise.
4:12 And yours is half of what your wives leave if they have no child; but if they have a child, your share is a fourth of what they leave after (payment of) any bequest they may have bequeathed or a debt; and theirs is the fourth of what you leave if you have no child, but if you have a child, their share is the eighth of what you leave after (payment of) a bequest you may have bequeathed or a debt. And if a man or a woman, having no children, leaves property to be inherited and he (or she) has a brother or a sister, then for each of them is the sixth; but if they are more than that, they shall be sharers in the third after (payment of) a bequest that may have been bequeathed or a debt not injuring (others). This is an ordinance from Allah, and Allah is Knowing, Forbearing.
4:13. These are Allah’s limits. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger [i.e. Government and its Constitution], He will admit him to Gardens in which rivers flow, to abide in them. And this is the mighty achievement.
4:14. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger [i.e. Government and its Constitution] and goes beyond His limits, He will make him enter fire to abide in it, and for him is a humiliating punishment.
If would be foolish to consider reference to His Messenger as a selfish personal space or ego of Prophet Muhammad. The pairing of Allah and His Messenger simply implies the Divine Laws of Allah for mankind as implemented by His Messenger in the governance of the land and the peoples, that we saw in the government whose head was Muhammad with its capital in Medina. Since no one has “seen” the law issuer – Allah, then “His spokesperson,” the prophet of the time i.e. His Messenger is the one present amongst them to authenticate the law during his lifetime and as a recognized figure in history after his death. Simply put, for Muslims the commandments and guidelines in Quran are the constitution of the land and any reference to Allah and His Messenger implies the government bound by that constitution of Quran.
Now lets re-read the stated hadith:
The Prophet said, “Who is ready to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has really hurt Allah and His Apostle [i.e. government of Medina]?”…
It becomes obvious that the stated reason for hadith is that Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf had really hurt the Government of Medina, not by mere words but by actions as well.
In modern terms Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf was declared an enemy combatant. It is important for the readers to know Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf . He was the elected leader of all the Jewish tribes of Medina including Banu Qainqah, Banu Nadir also written as Nazir, Banu Quraiza and other Jewish factions amongst the Arab tribes. He was also a notable poet of his time. Soon after his arrival in Medina, Muhammad established a government, signed peace treaty between his government and all the local Jewish and non-Jewish tribes/factions of mutual peace/defense/arbitration with Muhammad being the chief arbitrator. History is on the record that in early second year of establishment of Muslim government in Medina, Makkans attacked Medina, were confronted at Badr and defeated by the numerically small solely Muslim troops. Despite the treaty, soon thereafter, Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf visited Makkah and instigated them to take revenge on Muslims by another attack on Medina. The second major attack did happen the following year resulting in battle of Uhad:
“The Bani Nadir made a treaty with the Holy Prophet to stand neutral between him and his enemies. When he was victorious at Badr, they said that he was the Prophet promised in the Torah, on account of the victory, but when the Muslims suffered a loss on the day of Uhud, they (i.e., the Bani Nadir) repudiated their vow and broke the agreement. [After Badr] Ka‘b, son of Ashraf, went to Makkah with forty horsemen and made an alliance with Abu Sufyan [– the chief of Makkah].” [Footnote of verse 59:2 – Muhammad Ali]
The treachery of Ka’b is obvious from the following sources:
“He went to the Quraish weeping over their killed (at Badr) and inciting them to fight with the Prophet.” (Zurqani, vol. ii, p. 10)
(The Prophet said): “He (Ka’b) has openly assumed enmity to us and speaks evil of us and he has gone over to the polytheists (who were at war with Muslims) and has made them gather against us for fighting” (Zurqani, vol. ii, p. 11)
“And according to Kalbi, he united in a league with the Quraish before the curtains of the Ka’bah, to fight against the Muslims.” (Zurqani, vol. ii, p. 11) [Muhammad the Prophet, Ch 13]
Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf is also known to have “plotted with a group of Jews to kill the prophet” – the head of state of the Muslim government of Medina [The Assassination of Ka’b B. Ashraf, Uri Rubin, Tel Aviv – link]. This plot is supported by Zurqani:
“And he prepared a feast, and conspired with some Jews that he would invite the Prophet and when he came they should fall on him all of a sudden.” (Zurqani, vol. ii, p. 12) [Muhammad the Prophet, Ch 13]
In Makkah, Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf lamented the defeat of Makkans and victory of Muslims of Medina, instigated and inflamed revenge in his poetry, some of which is sampled below:
Badr’s mill ground out the blood of its people.
At events like Badr you should weep and cry.
The best of the people were slain round their cisterns.
Don’t think its strange that princes were left lying
How many noble handsome men,
the refuge of the homeless were slain
Liberal when the stars gave no rain
Who bore other’s burdens, ruling and taking their due forth…
I was told that al-Harith ibn Hisham
Is doing well and gathering troops
To visit Yathrib [-Medina] with armies
For only the noble, handsome man protects the loftiest reputation.
Drive off that fool of yours [-Muhammad] that you may be safe
From talk that has no sense! [i.e. Islam]
Do you taunt me because I shed tears [on the loss of Makkans in Badr]
For people who loved me sincerely?
As long I live I shall weep and remember
The merits of people whose glory is Mecca’s houses.
Poets of Arabia were not like the huddly-cuddly poets of West today. Poetry was embedded in its psyche and culture, both for its sensuality and rage. Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf was one of the propagandist poets, whom Maxime Rodison in her book – Muhammad – describes as “journalists of the time” and Joel Carmichael in his book – The Shaping of Arabs, A Study in Ethnic Identify – writes: “A tribal poet amongst Bedouin” was “no more a verifier, but kindler of the battle,” his poems were “thought of as the real beginnings of a real warfare.” [Muhammad and the Jews, a Re-Examination by Barakat Ahmad, 52]
The poets and poetry in Arabia had such a powerful influence to initiate and direct public debate, opinion and policies that even Quran cannot avoid mentioning them:
21:5. Indeed, say they: Confused dreams! Rather, he has forged it! Rather, he is a poet! so let him bring us a sign such as the former (prophets) were sent (with).
26:221. Shall I inform you upon whom the devils descend?
26:222. They descend upon every lying, sinful one —
26:223. they give ear, and most of them are liars.
26:224. And the poets — the deviators follow them.
26:225. Do you not see that they wander in every valley,
26:226. and that they say that which they do not do?
26:69. And We have not taught him poetry, nor is it befitting for him. This is nothing but a Reminder and a plain Quran,
26:70. to warn him who would have life, and (that) the word may prove true against the disbelievers.
37:35. They indeed were arrogant, when it was said to them: There is no god but Allah;
37:36. and said: Shall we give up our gods for a mad poet?
52:29. So remind for, by the grace of your Lord, you are no soothsayer, nor madman.
52:30. Or say they: A poet — we wait for him the evil accidents of time.
69:38 But no! I swear by what you see,
69:39. and what you do not see!
69:40. Surely, it is the word of an honoured Messenger,
69:41. and it is not the word of a poet. Little do you believe!
69:42. Nor the word of a soothsayer. Little are you mindful!
69:43. It is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds.
Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf not only broke the treaty with Muslims of neutrality if not mutual defense (note – not of offense) of Medina by non-participation of his nor his tribes that he represented, in battle of Badr against the attack of Makkans on Medina. Instead, while there was an existing state of war between Medina and Makkah after Badr, he instigated another attack on Medina, not by mere words but by published poetic material that was just not send by a proxy but by his own mouth and him being present in the midst of the enemy of Medina when he traveled to Makkah, where he made personal contact with Makkan leadership under Abu Sufyan and symbolically tugging at the curtains of Holy Kaaba in his laments. With this role of Ka’b in mind, the reader must take a brief pause and draw parallels of the above times with those of ours.
For the sake of argument, replace Badr with 9/11 [New York] and 7/11 [London] in Kab’s poetry and then allude those poetic verses to a community leader who is also a journalist poet living in the West, who takes a trip to the lands of Al-Qaeda and instigates the anti-West forces for another attack on the Western targets, both in his writing and public speeches, and makes counsel with their leadership. His poems openly ridicule and instigate murder of a Western president. What will be the response of the producers of this documentary or the government of that country? If nothing else, that person will at least end up in Guantanamo and water boarded till eternity or imprisoned for life if not hanged or targeted with a Hellfire missile from a drone strike.
Whether the rest of the above hadith – 4:52:270 – is accurate and what are its factual details, it cannot be ascertained from its content as there are many he-said/she-said in it. This is especially true of early Islamic history which is admitted by Watt in his book – Muhammad in Medina – p. 180 where he writes that there is “a scarcity of information about the internal politics of Medina.” No where in the stated hadith does the Prophet instructs the method of fight with Ka’b. Ka’b had to be fought, either singularly or with whole of his tribe for above stated reasons. It was almost as if he was taken out in equivalent terms by a navy seal operation where no one else was caught in the cross fire or collateral damage. At least in the said hadith, the rest of the Banu Nadir (aka Nazir) is spared the unnecessary anguish for treachery of one. In the next hadith – 4:52:271 – “Then allow me to say what I like.” The Prophet replied, “I do (i.e. allow you)”, nowhere is an intent to lie or sanctioning of a lie.
The fundamental rules of treason and treachery against the sitting government and its head have not changed even until modern times, else the whole purpose of people paying taxes and rights of citizenship are nullified by act of a few. It is an all too common a joke in Emergency Rooms where psychotic or maniac patients are interviewed more by FBI than their psychiatrists once they threaten the president in their delusional conversation, no matter how lightly or unrealistically.
Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf is factually a sampler of a mind set that we find in Banu Nadir, the tribe he belonged to. While Ka’b was instigator of Battle of Uhad fought on March 19, 625, his tribe subsequently was the main instigator of the next battle, the Battle of the Trench aka The Battle of Confederates, fought on March 31, 627:
Early in 627, the Jews of Banu Nadir met with the Arab Quraysh of Makkah. Huyayy ibn Akhtab, along with other leaders from Khaybar, traveled to swear allegiance with Safwan at Makkah.
The bulk of the Confederate armies were gathered by the pagan Quraysh of Makkah, led by Abu Sufyan, who fielded 4,000 foot soldiers, 300 horsemen, and 1,000-1,500 men on camels.
The Banu Nadir began rousing the nomads of Najd. The Nadir enlisted the Banu Ghatafan by paying them half of their harvest. This contingent, the second largest, added a strength of about 2,000 men and 300 horsemen led by Unaina bin Hasan Fazari. The Bani Assad also agreed to join, led by Tuleha Asadi. From the Banu Sulaym, the Nadir secured 700 men, though this force would likely have been much larger had not some of its leaders been sympathetic towards Islam. The Bani Amir, who had a pact with Muhammad, refused to join. [Wikipedia]
This treacherous behavior of Banu Nadir (-Nazir) resulted ultimately in their banishment which is mentioned in Quran under the Chapter 59:
Al-Hashr – The Banishment: This chapter deals with the banishment of a Jewish tribe, called Bani Nadir, from Madinah. They had made a treaty with the Holy Prophet to remain neutral between him and his enemies from Makkah, but later broke this treaty and made an alliance with them. The chapter deals with their banishment and shows that the hypocrites, after giving them promises of help, failed to fulfil them…[Introduction section – Muhammad Ali, ed Zahid Aziz]
As to how far Ka’b went in his personal attacks against Muslim women as well can be deduced by the following verses that he composed thus insulting Lubaba – Umm al-Fadl bint al-Harith. Of note is that Lubaba is the second woman to embrace Islam after her friend Khadija (Prophet’s wife), and twenty years before her husband Abbas (Prophet’s uncle) became a Muslim. It is she who came to the defense of Abu-Rafi, Abbas’s freed Muslim slave, who was overjoyed by news of victory of Badr and was hence being tortured by Abu-Lahab (Prophet’s uncle and brother of Abbas). She split open Abu-Lahab’s scalp with a strike, who died a week later of unrelated causes. [Wikipedia] Ka’b wrote:
Are you off without stopping in the valley
and leaving Umm Fadl in Mecca?
Out would come what she bought from the pedlar,
her bottles, henna and hair-dye.
What lies between elbow and ankle is in motion
when she tries to stand up and does not.
Like Umm Hakim when she was with us,
the bond between us strong and unbreakable.
She is the one Amirite [-her tribe] who bewitches my heart,
and if she wished, she could cure my sickness.
The glory of women and of a people is their father,
a people held in honour, true to their oath.
Never did I see the sun rise at night till I saw her
display herself to us in the darkness of the night!
[Muhammad and the Jews, a Re-Examination by Barakat Ahmad, p. 54]
However, as to the freedom of speech and its tolerance, the following is what is expected of the citizens in a government of “Allah and His Messenger”:
25:63. Those alone are the true servants of the Most Gracious (God) who walk upon the earth in all humility, (but in a dignified manner), and when the ignorant address them, they (do not wrangle but) observe a peaceful attitude.[Nooruddin]
Note, the above verse nullifies slander as a cause of action against Ka’b. It was Ka’b scheming, plotting, instigating and inflaming the battle of Uhad that was the legal basis of action against him. Alas! Al Araby has one set of morals for himself and his West, and another for Muhammad, a hallmark symptom of bigotry that this documentary reeks of and its experts suffer from.
Note: [text enclosed in square brackets above is not part of the original quoted sources]
My Optimism about Europe – a blog on DanielPipes.org
Translation of Sahih Bukhari – Muhsin Khan
The Assasination of Ka’b B. Al-Ashraf – by Uri Rubin, Tel Aviv
Muhammad the Prophet – Ch 13, False Allegation of Atrocities by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) – Muhammad Ali.
Battle of the Trench – Wikipedia
Lubaba bint al-Harith – Wikipedia
Muhammad and the Jews: A Re-Examination – Barakat Ahmad
Unless indicated otherwise, all verses and corresponding footnotes above are from the translation and commentary of Holy Quran – Muhammad Ali, edited by Dr. Zahid Aziz.
Holy Quran – Nooruddin