MUHAMMAD: THE ANTAGONIZING WAR-MONGER

In this post I am going to provide further evidence to rebut the oft-repeated Muslim claim that Muhammad did not wage offensive wars against unsuspecting victims who hadn’t even heard of Muslims, let alone threaten or oppress them. This post will also refute the assertion that jihad is merely defensive in nature.

According to the Islamic sources, Muhammad sent a threatening letter to a group of Arabic Christians from Najran declaring warfare against them if they didn’t convert to Islam or pay jizya. Unfortunately for these Christians, they gave in to Muhammad’s demands of giving him the right over all their possessions and annual payment of two thousand garments to retain their property:

Ibn Kathir reports on the authority of Yunus, a Christian who had accepted Islam, a long and interesting account of the Prophet’s encounter with the Christians of Najran. The Prophet, we are told, wrote to the Christians of Najran the following letter inviting them to Islam: “In the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, from Muhammad the Prophet and Messenger of God, to the Bishop of Najran and the people of Najran. Accept Islam. Whereas I convey to you the praises of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I invite you to turn to the worship of God from the worship of His servants. I invite you to accept God, rather than His servants, as your master. If you refuse my call, then it shall be the jizyah poll tax. If you refuse my call, I SHALL DECLARE WAR AGAINST YOU.” The bishop was very troubled by this letter. He thus sent for a man named Shurahbil b. Wada’ah for consultation. Shurahbil was a wise man who was always called upon in times of crisis. After showing him the letter, the bishop asked, “What is your advice, O Abu Maryam?” Shurahbil said, “You know well that God promised Abraham a prophet to come from the progeny of Ishmael. It may well be that this man is the promised prophet. I have no opinion on matters of prophethood. Had this been a worldly matter, I would have made every effort to give you the best advice.”

The bishop then sent for a man of Najran called ‘Abd Allah b. Shurahbil, known for his wisdom and prudent judgment. But he, too, had no advice to give. The bishop sent for yet another man of Najran called Jabbar b. Fayd, who also could offer no advice. The bishop finally ordered church bells to be sounded, fires to be kindled, and sackcloth to be displayed in monasteries. When the bells were sounded, all the inhabitants of the valley of Najran gathered together. In the valley there were seventy-three towns with 120,000 fighters. The bishop read the letter to them, and it was agreed that the three men be sent to Madina to bring back news of the Prophet.

When the men arrived in Madina, they took off their travel clothes and downed rich garments and adorned themselves with gold rings. They entered the mosque of the Prophet and greeted him, but he did not return their greeting. They waited in vain to speak to the Prophet, but he ignored them. In desperation, they went to ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan and ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Awf, who were their acquaintances. The Two Companions were sitting with a group of the Helpers and Immigrants. The three emissaries complained saying, “Your prophet wrote a letter, and we have come in answer to it. We greeted him, but he would not return our greeting. We tried in vain for a whole day to speak to him, but he would not speak to us. Do you think we should return to our people?” ‘Ali suggested that they remove their fine clothes and rings, put their travel clothes back on and return to the Prophet. This they did, and when again they greeted the Prophet, he returned their greeting and exclaimed, “By Him who sent with the truth, they came to me the first time, and [the devil] Iblis was with them.” They debated long with the Prophet, exchanging many questions. At last they asked, “What do you say concerning Jesus? We are Christians, and we shall return to our people; we would be glad to hear what you say concerning him, since you are a prophet.” The Prophet answered, “I have nothing to say as of today. Remain here until I tell you what my Lord tells me concerning Jesus.” Before the night was over, God sent down this and the previous two verses. The men, however, refused to assent to this view. Thus the Prophet came the next day to meet them for the trial of cursing, accompanied by Hasan and Husayn, with Fatimah following behind him…  Shurahbil addressed his two friends saying, “You know that the whole valley would not decide without my council. By God, I see here a grave matter. By God, if this man is a messenger sent by God, and were we the first among the Arabs to be an obstacle in his way, we would never be spared his anger and the anger of his people until they afflict us with a great devastation. We are their closest neighbors among the Arabs. If this man is a prophet, and were we to challenge him to the trial of cursing, not a hair or fingernail among us would be spared destruction.” His friends asked, “What do you propose then, O Abu Maryam?” “I propose that we let him judge among us,” he said, “for I see in him a man who would never err in his judgment.” They agreed, and Shurahbil met the Prophet and said to him, “I see a better course for us than the mubahalah. You may pass any judgment you wish over us this day and night until morning. Whatever you judge concerning us, that we shall accept.” The Prophet said, “Perhaps your people might reproach you for this.” Shurahbil said, “Ask my two companions.” They asserted, “No one among the people of valley [of Najran] would ever oppose Shurahbil’s opinion.” The Prophet thus agreed not to hold the mubahalah. Instead, he dictated the following agreement between him and the Christians of Najran: “In the name of God, the All-Merciful, the Compassionate. Whereas Muhammad has authority OVER ALL THE PROPERTIES of Najran, yet he shall relinquish this control in return for the remission of TWO THOUSAND GARMENTS EVERY YEAR, one thousand in Rajab, and one thousand in Safar.” (Mahmoud M. Ayoub, The Qur’an and Its Interpreters: The House of ‘Imran [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany, NY 1992], Volume 2, pp. 191-193; bold and capital emphasis mine)

And:

The hafiz Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi stated that he was informed by Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Hafiz and Abu Sa’id Muhammad b. Musa ibn al-Facjl, both of whom said, “Abu al-‘Abbas Muhammad b. Ya’qub related to us, quoting Ahmad b. ‘Abd al-Jabbar, quoting Yunus b. Bukayr, from Salama b. ‘Abd Yasu’, from his father, from his grandfather. Yunus, who had been a Christian and had accepted Islam, said that the Messenger of God wrote to Najran before the (surat) Ta Sin of Sulayman (Soloman) had been revealed to him, ‘In the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, from Muhammad, the Prophet, the Messenger of God, to the bishop of Najran. Are you peaceable? I praise to you the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To proceed: I summon you to the worship of God, away from worshipping servants of God. If you should refuse, then you will have to pay the jizya. If you refuse, I am warning you OF WARFARE, Peace.’ (Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), translated by professor Trevor Le Gassick, reviewed by Dr. Muneer Fareed [Garnet Publishing Limited, 8 Southern Court, south Street Reading RG1 4QS, UK; The Center for Muslim Contribution to Civilization, first paperback edition, 2000], Volume IV, p. 71; bold and capital emphasis mine)

The Muslim sources testify that the reason why Muhammad threatened to kill them and to invoke the curse of his god upon was because of their beliefs, not because they had attacked or harmed him and his followers in anyway:

The reason for the call to Mubahalah and the revelation of the Ayat from the beginning of this Surah until here, is that a delegation from the Christians of Najran (in Yemen) came to Al-Madinah to argue about `Isa, claiming that he was divine and the son of Allah. Allah sent down the beginning of this Surah until here, to refute their claims, as Imam Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar and other scholars stated.

Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar said in his famous Sirah, “The delegation of Christians from Najran came to the Messenger of Allah. The delegation consisted of sixty horsemen, including fourteen of their chiefs who make decisions. These men were Al-`Aqib, also known as `Abdul-Masih, As-Sayyid, also known as Al-Ayham, Abu Harithah bin `Alqamah, of the family of﴾ Bakr bin Wa`il and Uways bin Al-Harith. They also included, Zayd, Qays, Yazid, Nabih, Khuwaylid, `Amr, Khalid, `Abdullah and Yuhannas. Three of these men were chiefs of this delegation, Al-`Aqib, their leader and to whom they referred for advice and decision; As-Sayyid, their scholar and leader in journeys and social gatherings; and Abu Harithah bin `Alqamah, their patriarch, priest and religious leader. Abu Harithah was an Arab man from the family of Bakr bin Wa`il, but when he embraced Christianity, the Romans and their kings honored him and built churches for him (or in his honor). They also supported him financially and gave him servants, because they knew how firm his faith in their religion was.” Abu Harithah knew the description of the Messenger of Allah from what he read in earlier divine Books. However, his otherwise ignorance led him to insist on remaining a Christian, because he was honored and had a high position with the Christians. Ibn Ishaq said, “Muhammad bin Ja`far bin Az-Zubayr said that, `The (Najran) delegation came to the Messenger of Allah in Al-Madinah, entered his Masjid wearing robes and garments, after the Prophet had prayed the `Asr prayer. They accompanied a caravan of camels led by Bani Al-Harith bin Ka`b. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah who saw them said that they never saw a delegation like them after that… Then Abu Harithah bin `Alqamah and Al-`Aqib `Abdul-Masih or As-Sayyid Al-Ayham spoke to the Messenger of Allah, and they were Christians like the king (Roman King). However, they disagreed about `Isa; some of them said, `He is Allah,’ while some said, `He is the son of Allah,’ and some others said, `He is one of a trinity.’ Allah is far from what they attribute to Him.”

Indeed, these are the creeds of the Christians. They claim that `Isa is God, since he brought the dead back to life, healed blindness, leprosy and various illnesses, told about matters of the future, created the shape of birds and blew life into them, bringing them to life. However, all these miracles occurred by Allah’s leave, so that `Isa would be a sign from Allah for people.

They also claim that `Isa is the son of Allah, since he did not have a father and he spoke when he was in the cradle, a miracle which had not occurred by any among the Children of Adam before him, so they claim. They also claim that `Isa is one of a trinity, because Allah would say, `We did, command, create and demand.’ They said, `If Allah were one, he would have said, `I did, command, create and decide.’ This is why they claim that `Isa and Allah are one (Trinity). Allah is far from what they attribute to Him, and we should mention that the Qur’an refuted all these false Christian claims.

Ibn Ishaq continued, “When these Ayat came to the Messenger from Allah, thus judging between him and the People of the Book, Allah also commanded the Prophet to call them to the Mubahalah if they still refused the truth. The Prophet called them to the Mubahalah. They said, `O Abu Al-Qasim! Let us think about this matter and get back to you with our decision to what we want to do.’ They left the Prophet and conferred with Al-`Aqib, to whom they referred to for advice. They said to him, `O `Abdul-Masih! What is your advice’ He said, `By Allah, O Christian fellows! You know that Muhammad is a Messenger and that he brought you the final word regarding your fellow (`Isa). You also know that no Prophet conducted Mubahalah with any people, and the old persons among them remained safe and the young people grew up. Indeed, it will be the end of you if you do it. If you have already decided that you will remain in your religion and your creed regarding your fellow (`Isa), then conduct a treaty with the man (Muhammad) and go back to your land.’ They came to the Prophet and said, `O Abu Al-Qasim! We decided that we cannot do Mubahalah with you and that you remain on your religion, while we remain on our religion. However, send with us a man from your Companions whom you are pleased with to judge between us regarding our monetary disputes, for you are acceptable to us in this regard.’” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/3/59; bold emphasis mine)

And:

It is narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas that he said: A group of Najran including As-Sayyid and Al-‘Aqib came to The Messenger of Allah. They said: “What is the matter with you that you make mention of our companion?” He replied: “Who is it?” They said: “Jesus: you claim he is the slave of Allah”.

He said: “Yes”. They asked him: “Have you seen or been informed about the like of Jesus?” They then left him and Gabriel came to him and said: “Tell them, if they come to you, that {Verily, the example of Jesus in the sight of Allah is like that of Adam} [Ibn Abu Hatim].

It is narrated on the authority of Maslamah Ibn ‘Abd Yashu’ from his father, from his grandfather that The Messenger of Allah sent to the people of Najran before Surat An-Naml was revealed to him: “In the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. From Muhammad, the Prophet…” They sent him Sharhabil Ibn Wada’ah Al-Hamdani, ‘Abdullah Ibn Sharhabil Al-Asbani and Jabbar Al-Harithi. They came to him and exchanged questions with him. They asked him: “What do you say about Jesus?” He replied: “I have nothing to say about him this day. So, wait till I tell you”. When it was the morning of the coming day, Allah revealed those Qur’anic Verses. [Al-Bayhaqi in Ad-Dala’il]

It is narrated on the authority of Al-Azraq Ibn Qays that he said: The bishop of Najran along with Al-‘Aqib came to the Messenger of Allah, to propose them to embrace Islam. They said: “We are Muslims before you (have been sent as a Prophet)”. He said: “You have told a lie. Three things have prevented you from embracing Islam: your claim that Allah Almighty has taken a son [Exalted be Allah far above what they ascribe to Him]; your eating the flesh of swine and your prostration to the idol”. 

They said: “Who is the Father of Jesus?” The Messenger of Allah gave no reply till Allah Almighty revealed those Qur’anic Verses.

He invited them to invoke Allah’s curse upon the liar of them but they rejected and accepted to give the Jizyah and then returned home. [Ibn Sa’d in At-Tabaqat] (Jalal Al-Din Al-Suyuti, Reasons and Occasions of Revelation of the Holy Qur’an (Lubab An-Nuqul Fi Asbab An-Nuzul), translated by Dr. Muhammad Mahdi Al-Sharif [Dar Al-Kotob Al-Ilmiyah, Beirut 2015], pp. 74-75)

The foregoing proves that jihad isn’t merely defensive war, but offensive onslaught upon anyone who does not believe the way Muslims do. Contrary to the assertions of Muhammad polemicists, Muhammad used jihad as a means of humiliating Jews, Christians and others solely because of their beliefs, and to enrich himself and his followers by taking over their properties and lands.

FURTHER READING

Shabir Ally Proves Muhammad was a Terrorist! Pt. 1

Shabir Ally Proves Muhammad was a Terrorist! Pt. 1b

Shabir Ally Proves Muhammad was a Terrorist! Pt. 2

The Byzantine Christians: Antagonists or Antagonized? Pt. 1

The Byzantine Christians: Antagonists or Antagonized? Pt. 2

Fighting All People Until They Do What?

Muhammad and the Meccans: Who Antagonized Whom?

“Kill those who Associate Partners (Mushrikun) Wherever You Find Them!”

Muhammad the Antagonist Still!

Reexamining Muhammad’s Treachery Against The Banu Qurayza

4 thoughts on “MUHAMMAD: THE ANTAGONIZING WAR-MONGER

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s