Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Religion of Peace, TROP: "Myths of Muhammad: Muhammad Never Took Revenge"

The Myth:

Muhammad Never
 Took Revenge

"Our Prophet (peace be upon him) never avenged anyone for his own sake."

The Truth:

For a man who "never" took revenge, there certainly are a curious number of bodies piled up around the prophet of Islam:
...“Ka’ab bin Al Ashraf used to satire the Prophet and incited the infidels of the Quraish against him... They used to hurt the Prophet and his Companions... When Ka’ab bin Al Ashraf refused to desist from hurting the Prophet the Prophet ordered Sa’d bin Mu’adh to send a band to kill him... When they killed him, the Jews and the polytheist were frightened... (Abu Dawud 3000)
Abu Afak was one of the B. Amr b. Auf of the B. Ubayda clan. He showed his disaffection when the apostle killed al-Harith b. Suwayd b. Samit... The apostle said, "Who will deal with this rascal for me?" Whereupon Salim b. Umayr, brother of B. Amr b. Auf, one of the "weepers", went forth and killed him. (Ibn Ishaq 995)
She [Asma bint Marwan] was of B. Umayyya b. Zayd. When Abu Afak had been killed she displayed disaffection... Blaming Islam and its followers she said: "I despise B. Malik and al-Nabit and Auf and B. al-Khazraj. You obey a stranger who is none of yours... Do you expect good from him after the killing of your chiefs?"...
When the apostle heard what she had said he said, "Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?" Umayr b. Adiy al-Khatmi who was with him heard him, and that very night he went to her house and killed her. (Ibn Ishaq 996)
These were three poets murdered on Muhammad's order for having criticized him (usually for having murdered someone else).  These examples seem to argue against the two or three hadith in which someone says that Muhammad "never took revenge."

On closer inspection, the hadith verses exonerating Muhammad read more like editorial opinion than journalistic fact.  Even so, there is a gaping loophole:
The Messenger of Allah never took revenge on his own behalf for anything unless something Allah had forbidden has been transgressed, in which event he took revenge for it for Allah’s sake. (Abu Dawud 4767
So, Muhammad actually did take revenge, when it was "for Allah's sake!"  Lets see how this works in practice by looking at the life and death of Uqba, a member of the Quraish tribe in Mecca.

Uqba was said to have mocked Muhammad by throwing camel entrails onto his back when he was praying.  Pay attention to Muhammad's response:
While Allah's Messenger was praying beside the Ka`ba, there were some Quraish people sitting in a gathering. One of them said, 'Don't you see this (who does deeds just to show off)? Who amongst you can go and bring the dung, blood and the Abdominal contents (intestines, etc.) of the slaughtered camels of the family of so and so and then wait till he prostrates and put that in between his shoulders?' The most unfortunate amongst them (`Uqba bin Abi Mu'ait) went (and brought them) and when Allah's Messenger prostrated, he put them between his shoulders. The Prophet remained in prostration and they laughed so much so that they fell on each other...
When Allah's Messenger completed his prayer, he said, 'O Allah! Take revenge on Quraish.' He said so thrice and added, 'O Allah! take revenge on...`Uqba bin Abi Mu'ait... (Sahih Bukhari 9:499)
Here, Muhammad is the victim of a humiliating practical joke at a time when he does not have the power to retaliate (as he later does when he has poets murdered).  Instead, he calls down "Allah's revenge."  So, what form does Allah's revenge eventually take?  A lightening bolt?  An unfortunate accident, perhaps?  

None of the above.  

Here is what eventually happened to Uqba:
The polytheist captives were with the Messenger of God [Muhammad]...  Among the captives were 'Uqba b. Abi Mu'ayt... When the Messenger of God ordered him to be killed, 'Uqba said, "Who will look after my children, Muhammad?" 'Hellfire," Muhammad replied. (Tabari v7 p.66, Abu Dawud 2686)
As shown, Uqba is brought to Muhammad as a defenseless captive, whereupon the thin-skinned prophet of Islam orders his execution.

Surely Allah works in mysterious ways!

"Taking revenge for Allah's sake" is a bit nebulous.  Is Allah not capable of taking his own revenge?  What's up with that?

To complicate matters, Allah always speaks through Muhammad (nothing suspicious there) and even links Muhammad's honor to his own:
The Quran says: "Lo! those who malign Allah and His messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter, and has prepared for them the doom of the disdained... "Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter." (33:57-61)
Thus, Muhammad says that he has special status from Allah and that anyone who maligns him is to be seized and slaughtered.  Clearly the notion that he "never took revenge for his own sake" is a disingenuous word game.

Further Reading:

Myths of Muhammad Index

Myths of Muhammad

Muslims often complain of "misconceptions" about their religion, yet few seem to know all that much about the true history of Islam and its founder, Muhammad.  As a result, the biggest misconceptions about Islam are often those propagated by Muslims themselves.

Here, we refute the contemporary mythology of Muhammad by referring to the earliest and most reliable Muslim historians, who based their writings on those who actually knew their revered prophet. 

The historical compilations of Ibn Ishaq (compiled by Ibn Hisham), al-Tabari, Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are greatly respected in the Muslim academic community as a priceless source of biographical information and the details of Islam's origin and rise to power.  These writings also provide the context for the Quran. 

The Hadith (traditions), Sira (biography of Muhammad) and the Quran provide the true Islamic counterpart to the Christian Bible and Jewish Torah.  The Quran is simply the purported words of Allah arranged in no particular order.  It makes little sense outside of the context provided by the other two sources.

Articles posted here will occasionally be revised, and new ones will be added.  Readers not familiar with the life of Muhammad may want to approach these myths through our brief article on the history of his life: The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth.  It has been updated to include most of the links found below, and it will help place these debunked myths into historical context - as it was written from the Muslim point of view.

... (TROP) is a pluralistic, non-partisan site concerned with Islam's political and religious teachings according to its own texts. The purpose is to counter whitewashing and explain the threat that Islam truly poses to human dignity and freedom, as well as the violence and dysfunction that ensues as a direct consequence of this religion's supremacist ideology.