As Muhammad grew in power, he began to use violence to obtain his desires. He ordered the murder of many people. He himself did not go out and commit the murders; he had men who were willing to do his killing for him.
This paper deals only with the people Muhammad ordered to be executed (murdered) after Mecca peacefully surrendered to him. During his lifetime, he had a number of people murdered, but in this paper we will examine the 10 people he ordered to be killed the day he took Mecca.
He had marched upon Mecca with an army of 10,000 soldiers. These men were tough, dedicated Muslims. The Meccan leaders did not think they could defeat Muhammad's army, so they surrendered to him. Muhammad did not destroy Mecca, or massacre it's inhabitants, but he remembered some of his personal enemies, and ordered their execution. As you will see, Muhammad hated some of these people only because they had mocked him years earlier.
I want to give you some background on the sources I am using. Primarily I am using three Muslim sources:
1) the "Hadiths" (Traditions) of Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Dawud,
2) the "Sirat Rasul Allah" originally written by Ibn Ishaq and later rescended by Ibn Hisham,
3) and the "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir" written by Ibn Sa'd.
4) "23 Years - A study of the prophetic career of Muhammad", by Ali Dashti. Dashti was a Shia Muslim scholar. He was murdered when he was about 85 years old by the Muslims who took over Iran. Although Dashti doesn't represent the Sunni branch of Islam, he addressed the issues I am addressing in this paper, and I've found his scholarship substantial, and well founded.
No doubt he had access to far more Islamic sources than I have. So, while Sunni Muslims may object to me quoting a Shia scholar, I find that his comments regarding the murders at Mecca to be in accordance with the info I've found in the Hadith, Sirat, and Tabaqat. In any case, his comments are only frosting on my cake; my points are not based on Dashti's work, his work is only an embellishment of my case.
All of the writers of these sources were Muslim, and all of the first 3 works are recoginzed by the Sunni branch of Islam. Of course none of these are recognized equal to the Qur'an. I would say that the order of authentic recognizition is 1) Hadiths, 2) Sirat, 3) Tabaqat.
The Hadith are the traditions, sayings, and actions of Muhammad. Both the Sirat and Tabaqat are biographies of Muhammad. Both biographies were written well before the Hadith. Both contain much material corroborated by the Hadith and Qur'an.
As I continue to quote these sources, at times I will interject my own notes, as a short explanation, to keep the context clear for you. My own notes will be bracketed by [ ] type brackets.
NOTE that frequently, in these sources, the original writers or translators used parenthesis. I will type their parenthesis as standard ( ) parenthesis brackets, just as they appear in their text.
NOTE ON THE SIRAT RASULALLAH:
The Sirat was translated into English by A. Guillaume. He was a recognized Islamic scholar. He wrote many books on Islam. He was the professor of Arabic at the University of London, a member of the Arab Academy of Damascus, and Royal Academy of Baghdad. A number of Arab Muslim scholars worked with him on his translation of the Sirat. Guillaume was a professional, he was not trying to discredit Muhammad in any way. He just wanted to produce the best translation possible. Further, I have a book written by Muslim apologists that quote from his translations of the Sirat.
NOTE ON THE TABAQAT:
The Tabaqat was translated into English by Moinul Haq, a Pakistani. His work was published by the Pakistan Historical Society. It is published in two volumes. The title means "Book of the Major Classes". It also is basically a biography of Muhammad.
MUHAMMAD AND MURDER IN MECCA
Muhammad ordered the execution of 10 people when he took Mecca. Here is the list of names found in Ibn Sa'd "Tabaqat".
The quote is from the Tabaqat, Vol 2, page 168.
"The apostle of Allah entered through Adhakhir, [into Mecca], and prohibited fighting. He ordered six men and four women to be killed, they were (1) Ikrimah Ibn Abi Jahl, (2) Habbar Ibn al-Aswad, (3) Abd Allah Ibn Sa'd Ibn Abi Sarh, (4) Miqyas Ibn Sababah al-Laythi, (5) al-Huwayrith Ibn Nuqaydh, (6) Abd Abbah Ibn Hilal Ibn Khatal al-Adrami, (7) Hind Bint Utbah, (8) Sarah, the mawlat (enfranchised girl) of Amr Ibn Hashim, (9) Fartana and (10) Qaribah.
Occasionally, the Sirat, and the Tabaqat use a different name for the same person. #3 in the list given above is such a case. The differences in the name is due to the amount of family lineage given for the man's name, and the English translation.
Let's start with #3 in the list. The Sirat corroborates the Tabaqat's list, a few at a time. And the Sirat gives much more detail concerning #3. You'll see that in the end, this man was almost executed, but he got lucky because Muhammad's men couldn't read Muhammad's mind! This case will give you a glimpse into how Muhammad's mind worked.
QUOTING FROM THE SIRAT, PAGE 550.
"The apostle had instructed his commanders when they entered Mecca only to fight those who resisted them, except a small number who were to be killed even if they were found beneath the curtains of the Kaba. Among them was Abdullah Sa'd, brother of the B. Amir Luayy. The reason he ordered him to be killed was that he had been a Muslim and used to write down revelation; then he apostatized and returned to Quraysh [Mecca] and fled to Uthman Affan whose foster brother he was. The latter hid him until he brought him to the apostle after the situation in Mecca was tranquil, and asked that he might be granted immunity. They allege that the apostle remained silent for a long time till finally he [Muhammad] said yes [granting Abdullah immunity from the execution order].
When Uthman had left he [Muhammad] said to his companions who were sitting around him, "I kept silent so that one of you might get up and strike off his head!" One of the Ansar said, "Then why didn't you give me a sign, O apostle of God?" He answered that a prophet does not kill by pointing."
Ibn Sa'd corroborates Ibn Ishaq and says on page 174:
"A person of al-Ansar had taken a vow to kill Ibn Abi Sarh [the already mentioned Abdullah] if he saw him. Uthman whose foster brother he (Ibn Abi Sarh) was, came and interceded for him with the prophet. The Ansari was waiting for the signal of the prophet to kill him. Uthman interceded and he [Muhammad] let him go. The apostle of Allah said to the Ansari, "Why did you not fulfil your vow?" He said, "O apostle of Allah! I had my hand on the hilt of the sword waiting for your signal to kill him. The prophet said signalling would have been a breach of faith. It does not behave the prophet to make signal.""
Okay lets examine this one. Abdullah Sa'd used to write down Muhammad's revelations, i.e., the Qur'an. Later, he apostatized, left Islam, and went back to Mecca. As Muhammad took Mecca, he gave a general amnesty, except for a number of people. Abdullah Sa'd is the first of this group mentioned. Muhammad ordered that Abdullah be killed.
Ali Dashti provides additional comments. I do not have all of the source references Dashti had, but this will give you more insight into the reason Muhammad ordered to have Abdullah killed.
From Ali Dashti's "23 Years, A study of the prophetic career of Muhammad", page 98.
"The last man named [in the list of people to be killed] had been one of the scribes employed at Medina to write down the 'revelations'. On a number of occassions, with Muhammad's consent, he changed the closing words of verses. For example, when Muhammad said "And God is mighty and wise", Abdullah Sarh suggested 'knowing and wise', and the prophet answered that there was no objection. Having observed a succession of changes of this type, Abdullah renounced Islam on the ground that the revelations, if from God, could not be changed at the prompting of a scribe such as himself. After his apostasy, he went to Mecca and joined the Qorayshites."
So you see the background behind the order to murder Abdullah. He was a threat to the credibility of the Qur'an. He was a Muslim, worked with Muhammad in writing down the Qur'an, and, from time to time he suggested some minor changes. Finally Abdullah realized that if this were truly from God, no changes would be made at the suggestion of a mere scribe. So, he realized Islam was false, and went back to Mecca. After Muhammad took Mecca, and issued the order to kill him, he hid out with Uthman who was one of Muhammad's closest companions. Later Abdullah pled for amnesty. Muhammad wanted one of his men to kill him on the spot, but they didn't know, because they couldn't read Muhammad's mind. So, finally Muhammad gave him amnesty.
Note here that Ibn Hisham notes [note #803] that Abdullah became a Muslim again, and obtained a political position in time. Surely you see that this was a case of "If you can't beat em, join em."
Muslims may say 'well, Muhammad ordered him to be killed, but Muhammad accepted his repentance and let him live.' That is besides the point. Muhammad really wanted him to die, it just didn't happen the way Muhammad wanted.
I have to comment here. Muhammad's reasoning is really stupid. Muhammad issues an edit to have a man executed, but fails to have it carried out because he doesn't want to make a signal with his hand??? Why didn't Muhammad kill him himself? If this man had committed such a crime as to cost him his life, why didn't Muhammad see that his death sentence be carried out?
This shows that Muhammad ordereds were made willy-nilly. This man committed no major crime. Muhammad just wanted this man killed for personal reasons. People lived or died depending on Muhammad's frame of mind.
So far, we have examined one execution order. Muhammad ordered that Abdullah be executed, but Abdullah got lucky because Muhammad's men were not mind readers.
0 for 1.
Now lets go on with the Sirat, picking up where I left off on page 550.
"Another [to be killed] was Abdullah Khatal of B. Taym b. Ghalib. He had become a Muslim and the apostle sent him to collect the poor tax in company with one of the Ansar. He had with him a freed slave who served him. (He was Muslim). When they halted he ordered the latter to kill a goat for him and prepare some food, and went to sleep. When he woke up the man had done nothing, so he attacked and killed him and apostatized. He had two singing-girls Fartana and her friend who used to sing satirical songs about the apostle, so he ordered that they should be killed with him."
Let's stop here and examine this paragraph. Muhammad ordered that a man who apostasized, and his two slave girls, be killed. Khatal was ordered to be killed not because he killed his male slave, a Muslim, but because he apostasized. Islamic law does not allow a Muslim man to be put to death for killing a slave. Muhammad also ordered two slave girls to be killed for singing satirical songs about him. Remember, they sung these songs about Muhammad years earlier. Now it was Muhammad's payback time. Look, these slave girls were not threats to Islam, or to the new Islamic state. They were only slave girls. They were ordered to be executed only because they sang a silly song about Muhammad. More on them in a few paragraphs.
Note here that Khatal is #6 in Ibn Sa'd's list.
Now I will give you the info from Ibn Sa'd's book on Khatal, Vol 2, page 172 and on. I will not type out the chain of narrators.
Now then on to Bukhari's Hadith about Khatal, volume 5 #582.
"Narrated Anas bin Malik: "On the day of the Conquest, the prophet entered Mecca, wearing a helmet on his head. When he took it off, a man came and said, "Ibn Khatal is clinging to the curtain of the Kaba." The prophet said "Kill him."
Khatal was not as fortunate as Abdullah. Ibn Sa'd says on page 174:
"Verily the apostle of Alah ordered (his followers) on the day of the Victory to kill Ibn Abi Sarh, Fartana Ibn al-Zibr'ra and Ibn Khatal. Abu Barzah came and saw him (Ibn Khatal) holding fast the curtains of al-Kabah. He (Abu Barzah) ripped open his belly.
Okay, now we have a man who only apostasized from Islam executed.
1 for 2.
Now I will jump ahead to page 551 of the Sirat to finish the story of the slave girls.
"As for Ibn Khatal's two singing girls, one was killed and the other ran away until the apostle, asked for immunity, gave it to her."
So, one girl was murdered, one ran away. When Muhammad eased up, she plead for forgivenss, and he gave her immunity.
So, one of the slave girls escapes, the other is executed. Later, the living slave girl begs forgiveness, and is forgiven. Again, this shows that Muhammad's death sentences were willy-nilly. They mocked him, they paid (one with her life). Later, as Muhammad felt more secure, he forgave the remaining slave girl.
2 for 4.
On page 551 of the Sirat:
"Another was al-Huwayrith Nuqaydh Wahb Qusayy, one of those who used to insult him in Mecca. ... Al-Huwayrith was killed by Ali. [Ali was Muhammad's son in law.]
What do you see here? This guy was murdered because he insulted Muhammad! Ibn Hisham notes  that Huwayrith goaded a camel that two of Muhammad's children were riding on. So, years later, he paid with his life.
3 for 5.
Continuing on page 551 of the Sirat:
"Another [ordered to be killed] was Miqyas Hubaba because he had killed an Ansari who had killed his brother accidentally, and returned to Quraysh as a polytheist."
There is a reference to this on page 492:
"Miqyas Subaba came from Mecca as a Muslim, so he professed, saying, "I come to you as a Muslim seeking the bloodwit for my brother who was killed in error." The apostle ordered that he should have the bloodwit for his brother Hisham and he stopped a short while with the apostle. Then he attacked his brother's slayer and killed him and went off to Mecca an apostate."
This guy evidently became a Muslim and wanted revenge on the man who had accidentlay killed his brother. Muhammad allowed him to take his revenge. Miqyas then killed the other Muslim who accidently killed his brother. He then left Islam as an apostate and returned to Mecca. Since the penalty for leaving Islam is death, Muhammad had him killed.
4 for 6.
Continuing on page 551 of the Sirat we read about Sara and Ikrima:
"And Sara, freed slave of one of the Abdul-Muttalib [a tribe], and Ikrima Abu Jahl. Sara had insulted him [Muhammad] in Mecca. As for Ikrima, he fled to the Yaman. His wife Umm Hakim Harith Hisham became a Muslim and asked for immunity for him and the apostle gave it. She went to the Yaman in search of him and brought him to the apostle and he accepted Islam." ...
"As for Ibn Khatal's two singing-girls, one was killed and the other ran away until the apostle, asked for immunity, gave it her. Similarly Sara, who lived until in the time of `Umar a mounted soldier trod her down in the valley of Mecca and killed her. Al-Huwayrith was killed by `Ali."
She was seemingly given immunity at the time, after Muhammad was more secure, but she is later killed nevertheless. The text gives too little detail. Was her death just an accident? Usually people don't die from accidentally being hit by the hoof of a horse or camel. This looks intentional, run over and then finished off, probably by the sword. She is killed and al-Huwayrith is killed. The construction of the two sentences in sequence is parallel and it gives the impression to be in consequence of Muhammad's earlier command.
Al-Tabari's text ("The History of Tabari", volume 8, SUNY, translated by Michael Fishbein, p. 179) states about this incident:
"She lived until someone in the time of Umar b. al-Khattab caused his horse to trample her at Abtah and killed her.
This confirms that this death was not an accident. It is again not stated why she was killed, but it is likely that her earlier songs against Muhammad are part of the ultimate reason for it.
5 (4) for 8.
For a side note, there is a hadith narrated by 'Ikrima, Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57:
Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to 'Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn 'Abbas who said, "If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah's Apostle forbade it, saying, 'Do not punish anybody with Allah's punishment (fire).' I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'"
How do you feel about freedom of religion? Should people be killed just because they want to leave Islam? Muhammad said they should be killed. And the saying is related by the person who himself got spared.
From Ibn Sa'd's list, #2 is probably the man mentioned in Bukhari, Vol. 5, Book 59, #662 and Volume 4, Book 56, #817. Habbar Ibn al-Aswad b. Ka`b al-`Ansi. He was murdered in Yemen.
In Sirat Rasul Allah, page 648, the section heading is: "... and Al-Aswad Al-`Ansi" and in the text he is called: al-Aswad b. Ka`b al-`Ansi. This makes the connection of "al-`Ansi" in the Hadith with al-Aswad in Ibn Sa`d likely.
6 (5) for 9.
Number 7 on Ibn Sa'd's list was Hind bint Utbah. She was Abu Sufyan's wife. Dashti notes that Muhammad had earlier ordered Sufyan to be killed. Sufyan was a big leader in Mecca. He fought against Muhammad in battle. Just before Muhammad took Mecca, Sufyan went out to Muhammad and was coerced into accepting Islam, or be killed. Sufyan accepted Islam. Afterwards, Hind bint Utbah accepted Islam and was spared. Hind had previously desecrated dead Muslim bodies after the battle of Uhud. She even cut the liver out of one dead Muslim and took a bite of it, and spit it out. She also mocked Muhammad and the other defeated Muslims as they left the field.
She asked forgivness and was forgiven.
6 (5) for 10.
We see that some of these people were murdered simply because they had rejected Muhammad and mocked him. Other's were ordered to be executed because they had thought for themselves and left Islam. Most of these people never lifted a weapon against Muhammad. Years later, Muhammad in his bitter vengence, took revenge for the pain and humilation some of these people caused him and had these people killed.
That's it for Ibn Sa'd's list of people Muhammad wanted killed when he took Mecca. But there are a number of people who were murdered at Muhammad's command BEFORE Muhammad took Mecca. I will address those people in another paper.
Muhammad and his enemies
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