Saturday, November 03, 2018

The Religion of Peace, TROP: "Myths of Muhammad: Muhammad Never Killed a Woman

The Myth:

Muhammad Never 
Killed a Woman

"Our Prophet (peace be upon him) always forbade the mistreatment of women."

The Truth:

Muhammad ordered the murder of several women in his time.  After he captured Mecca in 630, for example, he demanded that two female slaves be put to death along with their master, merely because they had mocked Muhammad in song (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 819, Abu Dawud 26842683, Sunan an-Nasa'i 4067). 

The brutal death of Umm Qirfa also refutes this myth.  So do the women who were killed in battle (Bukhari 52:257), when Muhammad’s men attacked a town or tribe – although his preference was that women be captured for sexual servitude rather than killed. 

One account not only speaks of the killing of a defenseless woman, but also refutes the broader misconception that Islam is against attacking others for reasons other than self-defense:

We went with the apostle on the raid of Dhatu’l-Riqa of Nakhl and a man killed the wife of one of the polytheists.  When the apostle was on his way back, her husband, who had been away, returned and heard the news of her death.  He swore that he would not rest until he had taken vengeance. (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 665)
Muhammad ordered a Jewish woman put to death for literally losing her mind while the male members of her family were being beheaded (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 691).  There were also several women that the prophet of Islam ordered killed for adultery.  One example:
He went to her in the morning and she made a confession. And Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) made pronouncement about her and she was stoned to death. (Sahih Muslim 4209)
There are other examples as well, but perhaps the story from Muhammad’s biography that best lays to rest the silly idea that he never approved of harming women is the assassination of Asma bint Marwan, a poet and mother of five.  For the crime of "displaying disaffection" at the Muslim murder of an elderly man (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 995), the "apostle" ordered her executed in the dead of night.

The brutal murder of this woman by an assassin - who had to remove a suckling infant before plunging the knife into her breast - is recounted here, as is Muhammad’s glee on hearing that his order had been successfully carried out.

Muslims who don’t deny the story outright (as some are prone to do) usually claim that Asma posed a threat to Muhammad, since she urged the Medinan community to put and end to the Muslim reign of terror before it was too late.  Such fervent believers never appear to question why a man claiming to be Allah’s mouthpiece would find it necessary to respond to a woman’s dissention with violence rather than logical argument, particularly if he had done nothing wrong to begin with.

It is also interesting to note that even when Muhammad forbade the killing of non-combatants in war, he took no action against the most brutal abusers from among his ranks.  In addition to the account of Umm Qirfa (noted above) there is the fate of an unknown woman "whom Khalid bin Walid had killed" in front of the other Muslims (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 856).  Although not approving of the woman's murder, Muhammad took no punitive measures against Khalid, who was left in charge and went on to lead the military conquest of Christian and Persian lands.  (This was not even the first time that Khalid bin Walid had slaughtered innocent people, including women - see Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 834-838 for a more graphic event). 

Finally, it is worth mentioning that sparing the lives of captured women (and children) had less to do with compassion and more to do with the fact that they were considered property.

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.