Muhammad: The Compassionate, the Merciful Prophet!
20 Nov, 2005
The Prophet of Islam was a most compassionate and most merciful human being without any doubt. And this is the most fundamental belief of 95% devout innocent Muslims of the world. The assertion by Qur'an confirms it even further: "Wammaa arsalnaaka illaa rahmatal lil- aalameen!(21:107)." [O Muhammad We sent you not, but as a mercy for all creature.] Allah asserted in clear words - He created Prophet Muhammad as the mercy for not only just Muslims, but for all the creatures of the earth. Prophet of Islam was the true example of a perfect (having all the best qualities) human being and Qur'an ordered all human being to follow this prophet 'in Toto' without any failure. As Muslims we are required to accept and adhere to all of the teachings of Prophet (sas). Allah told us in the Qur'an-(8:24): "O you who believe ! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and As His Messenger (obeying him) when he calls you to that which will give you life." Therefore, pious Muslims should follow Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in every aspect of earthly life. Well, these are only some instructions from Almighty Allah that I have mentioned in this essay. But one could find many more Qur'anic verses and Hadiths, which will instruct all most the same order again and again. Let us examine if the Prophet of Islam was really a mercy for all creatures by some historical evidences below:
Readers have been fortunate to get a rare chance of reading a written debate (posted in series in NFB) between an Iranian Mullah Ayatollah Montazeri and Dr. Ali Sina an Iranian progressive intellectual. The debate discussion was focused on some historical true stories directly related to our compassionate and merciful Prophet of Islam. These important stories were generated and recorded about some 7th century happenings during the early propagation of Religion Islam. These happenings disclosed so much human cruelties that it is unfathomable to understand to many including myself. After I read this debate completely, I could not sleep several nights, and still today I awake up with bad dream and after that I could not sleep. Because, those cruel episodes vividly described by trenchant logic of the writer still hunts me after all these years. After I experienced this scenario, I thought I should share this with some of my friends in North America. So, I e-mailed this debate to my friends, all of them who read it had the same feelings like me. One senior retired professor in Canada wrote me: "this debate broke my heart, I could not sleep for several nights, and it has surely shattered my dream which I was harboring in my heart for the last sixty some years. As a human being -I have become completely naked. Especially, I could not understand why and what for Prophet of Islam had to slaughter (beheading) some 900 hundreds of surrendered unarmed human beings in the war of Banu Qurayza. I can not imagine what was the actual scenery of that cruel episode? And I will never understand how the Prophet named this religion as -religion of peace?"
Dear readers, I have the same question -how is Islam called a religion of PEACE??? Please help me out to understand the very philosophy of killing unarmed/surrendered fellow human beings? Could any defender of Islam tell me exactly how it was justified for the compassionate Prophet to slaughter these 900 human beings called Jews -only because they refused to accept his brand of religion?
Let Us Compare Similar War Situation:
this scenario of 1971 war of independence for Bangladesh.
About 90,000 (Ninety Thousand) Pakistani soldiers were surrendered
unconditionally to the joint force of Mukti
Bahini and Indian Army. These Pak soldiers committed enormous
atrocities, killed about 3 millions of unarmed Bangalees, raped
approximately an astounding 300,000 thousands Bangalee women, destroyed
and burned billion dollars worth of properties of Bangladeshi citizens.
What would happen if the Merciful force of Mukti
Bahini did follow the foot prints of our merciful prophet?
What would be the scenario if the joint force did slaughter
all 90,000 Pakistani soldiers, enslaved their women and children,
distributed wives and daughters of those Pakistani soldiers among
the valiant Bangalee freedom fighters as the captives to share their
(Muktis) beds, and distributed all of their wealth among those valiant,
and Indian Army as a booty???
What would be the reaction of the civilized world to these
heinous and barbaric actions of the joint force of Bangladesh???
Well, my dear readers -it was exactly what was done in the
war of Banu Qurayza by our compassionate Prophet, and of course,
everything was done as per the wish of most merciful Allah.
Horrendous Episodes in Medina:
(a) Allow me to take the readers to the Medina to observe a horrific scene happened in the 7th century period. Dear readers, please close your eyes and imagine this! Islamic heroes (energized by the dreams of Islamic heaven) were taking one after another all those 900 (Nine hundred) unconditionally surrendered Jews of Banu Qurayza tying theirs both hands with their necks and were beheading those Jews near the trench dug in the Bazar of Medina? History also tells us that our compassionate Prophet of Islam himself participated in digging trench to bury those beheaded Jews and he himself beheaded at least two of the leading Jews. What was the scenario prevailed among those unfortunate wives and children of surrendered Jews? How those women and children probably felt about this episode? How did they cope with this horrendous episode? What was their crime, or should I say, how serious was their crimes compared to the crimes committed by Pakistani soldiers? Those Jews did not accept prophet Muhammad's new religion, and that's it. May be they insulted, or even harmed prophet by their conspiracy or they may have broken any peace treaty. Were these crimes anyway justified their summary execution by beheading??? How merciful and compassionate action was this? Can anybody please tell me how in the world the religion Islam was named as religion of peace?
(b) Think about this again. Think about that young Jewish widow Safiyya one more time please! This young and beautiful 17 year old newly wed Jewish young lady was among those captured women and children at the war of Kaybar. She was the daughter of the leader of Bani Nadir Huyay Ibne Aqtab. Her father was executed by the Prophet, and she just lost her brother, husband and all other male relatives in that war. She was soaked with profound grief by this great tragedy and was weeping with endless tears. But so what? Because of her paragon beauty -she was already selected as the booty (spoils) for the compassionate Prophet. The Prophet has had sex with this young Safiyya on their way back to Medina on the same night in the tent. Of course, according to some Sahi Hadiths, prophet asked for sex the same day but she did not allow because of her menstruation period and on the second day prophet has had married her and consummated her on the way back to medina. Whatever is true, it was for sure that Prophet asked for sex with Safiyya in a period when that poor Safiyya was in terrible grief by loosing her father, brother, husband and relatives and before the blood of her relatives was even dry. By what yardstick can we measure the mercifulness and compassionateness of our Prophet? Could any Islamist tell me why our prophet had to set this terrible example?
Banu Qurayza's Massacre supported by Merciful Allah:
Allah of Islam emphatically encouraged Muslims to kill and to take women and properties of the prisoners as booty (Ganimatter Maal). He (Allah) made Ganimater Maal Halal for Muslim warriors. One can find all those tempting verses of Sura Anf'al (8:1,41,69) from Allah (?) inviting Muslims to enjoy booty sanctioned for them.
8:69 -"But (now) enjoy what ye took in war (booty), lawful and good; but fear God..." (Allah encouraging Muslims to accept booty spoils of war "Maal-E-Ganimat")
8:67 -"It is not fitting for an Apostle that he should have prisoners of war until He thoroughly subdued the land...." (Allah insisting Prophet to kill all the prisoners, and should not keep any prisoners alive)
8:17 - It is not ye who Slew them; it is God; when thou threwest a handful of dust, it was not Thy act, but God's....."
Sura-47:4 -"when you meet the unbelievers, strike off their heads; then when you have made wide Slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives"
Readers, please note -Allah of Islam was taking all the blames of killings Himself, yet encouraging to kill those prisoners of war. Why did Allah the Almighty could not either correct, or kill those disobedient people by his Angel of Death???
Well, many can have doubts about the authenticity of the happenings in the war of Banu Quryza as we have learned from the debate of Dr. Ali Sina and Ayatollah Montazeri. To verify the truth of the matter -I have checked some Sahi Hadiths translated by Maulana Mustafizur Rahman (which is the selected Hadiths book in Madrassha Curriculum in Bangladesh). There are plenty of Sahi Hadiths about all those scenarios of Banu Qurayza war, but I will cite only two related Hadiths here:
Sahi Buchari Hadiths #143, page-700 : Sulaiman Ibne Harb...Aannas Ibne Malek (ra) narrated, "in the war of Khaiber after the inhabitants of Banu Qurayza was surrendered, Allah's apostle killed all the able/adult men, and he (prophet) took all women and children as captives (Ghani mateer maal).. Among the captives Safiyya Bint Huyy Akhtab was taken by Allah's Apostle as booty whom He married after freeing her and her freedom was her Mahr."
Sahi Buchari Hadiths (#149, page-704): Ahmed Ibne Saleh...Annas Ibne Malek narrated, "....when we told Apostle of Allah about the paragon beauty of Safiya Bint Huyay (who was newly wed and the husband was killed in the battle), then Allah's Apostle sanctioned her for himself..."
Above two Hadiths clearly and undoubtedly have confirmed at least two things: (1) Prophet killed all those surrendered unarmed Jews in cold blood (Thanda Mathai), (2) Prophet was attracted by Safiyya's alluring beauty and he had sex with her (I don't care after marriage or before marriage).
More proofs According to "Sirat A, Rasul" (page 464):
"Then they surrendered, and the apostle confined them in Medina in the quarter of al-Harith, a woman of B. al-Najjar. Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches. This went on until the apostle made an end of them. Among them was the enemy of Allah Huyayy b. Akhtab and Ka`b b. Asad their chief, and they were brought with their hands bound to their neck by a rope.
There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900. Apparently Muhammad himself worked on the digging of the trench into which the massacred Jews were to be thrown. But he did not only take part in those preparations, the formulation of the text states that HE sent for them and STRUCK OFF their heads. This sounds like he personally struck off at least the heads of those two mentioned men and may be of more. We need to recognize that Muhammad got rid of a large group that was challenging his sole authority and power over Medina, and which was in particular refusing to believe him to a true prophet from God. The elimination of the challenge to his spiritual authority might well have been Muhammad's main motivation. However, Muhammad also had had huge spoils (Maal-E-Ganimat) from this "final solution".
Prophet Muhammad positive reaction to Judgement (Sirat page-464):
The judgment over the Banu Quraiza was given by famous Jew hating soldier of Islam named, Sa`d bin. Mu`adh who was seriously wounded in that war and was dying. This Jew hating fellow gave his judgement: "Then I give the judgment that the men should be killed, the property divided, and the women and children be taken captives.
Compassionate Prophet Muhammad answers in endorsement of this: "You have given the judgement of Allah above the seven heavens...".
Readers should not compare these killings (of 900 unarmed men) with any other killings in the war. I mean nobody should consider this as a war casualty. These Jews of Banu Qurayza were not killed at the war. Thousands of people could be killed in the battle by theirs direct involvement. But in this case, those prisoners were unarmed and surrendered unconditionally. These surrendered Jews were brought to the market of Medina by tying their hands and were unarmed. They were then slaughtered in cold blood with a vested purpose and interest. Prophet of "Peace" could have easily let them go away (exiled) from that land. As a holy prophet (?) he could sanction clemency to let them leave Arabia for some other destination. But he did not consider this an alternative. Therefore, how can we judge his character? Would you label this man as "Shanti'r Protik" (Epitome of Peace), which is what we are led to believe by not only half-educated Mullahs in Islamic world but by Islamic Intellectuals who are now living in obscure part of America and those who are busily offering Khutba in the Jumma prayer in various Mosques in urban area of America.
Some questions to ponder:
As we have read at the beginning of this article - Allah has asserted that the Prophet has been sent as the mercy for all creatures and Allah also asked emphatically to follow every footstep of Prophet (Quran-8:24), should not all human being of this planet earth follow him in toto? How about the assertion of our Islamists by saying, "Islam is the code of life?" If this world starts to follow the footprints of the Prophet of Allah and do the job exactly like Prophet did in Banu Qurayza, how good will it look? What are the minimum standards of UN Chartered for POW? How could this be compared with the code of principle that was set by the most compassionate prophet of Allah? What is the difference between Prophet Muhammad and Hitler, Genghis Khan or any other warlords? Is that why, Muslims are required to write/utter the phrase "peace be upon him" every time they write or utter Prophet's name?
Syed Kamran Mirza is the author of Roots of Terrorism in Islam. He has also contributed in Beyond Jihad — Critical Voices from Inside Islam and Leaving Islam — Apostates Speaks Out. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.