The Killing of Abu Afak and Asma Bint Marwan
Were the Killings really unjust?
By Sami Zaatari
Sam Shamoun of Answering-Islam has written an article concerning the killings of Abu Afak and Asma, Shamoun deems these killings as being wrong and of proof that the prophet Muhammad cannot be a true prophet. Shamoun asserts that they were killed for the following reason:
Muhammad didn't like people to mock or satirize him and had several persons killed for it. Two of the individuals who were murdered at the orders of Muhammad were a 120-year-old Jewish man named Abu Afak, and a Jewish poetess named Asma bint Marwan.
So according to Sam Shamoun both these people were killed for mocking the prophet.
However so is that true? Were both these people killed because of a simple mockery they made? Well let us find out, this rebuttal will be quite different than the many others I have written, what I will do in this rebuttal is to simply re-post some of the sources Shamoun quoted in his paper, and as we shall see the very same sources Shamoun quotes actually reveal that these 2 persons were killed for something other than mockery. I shall bold and underline the parts Shamoun did not, and these points I shall bold and underline shall reveal the real reasons as to why these 2 persons where killed. We now re-produce the sources Shamoun quoted:
SARIYYAH OF ?UMAYR IBN ?ADI
Then (occurred) the sariyyah of Umayr ibn ?Adi Ibn Kharashah al-Khatmi against ?Asma Bint Marwan, of Banu Umayyah Ibn Zayd, when five nights had remained from the month of Ramadan, in the beginning of the nineteenth month from the hijrah of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him. ?Asma was the wife of Yazid Ibn Zayd Ibn Hisn al-Khatmi. She used to revile Islam, offend the Prophet and instigate the (people) against him. She composed verses. ?Umayr Ibn ?Adi came to her in the night and entered her house. Her children were sleeping around her. There was one whom she was suckling. He searched her with his hand because he was blind, and separated the child from her. He thrust his sword in her chest till it pierced upto her back. Then he offered the morning prayers with the Prophet, may Allah bless him, at al-Madinah. The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, said to him: Have you slain the daughter of Marwan? He said: Yes. Is there something more for me to do? He said: No. Two goats will butt together about her. This was the word that was first heard from the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him. The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, called ?Umayr, basir (the seeing).
SARIYYAH OF SALIM IBN ?UMAYR
Then occurred the sariyyah of Salim Ibn ?Umayr al-?Amri against Abu ?Afak, the Jew, in Shawwal in the beginning of the twentieth month from the hijrah of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him. Abu Afak, was from Banu ?Amr Ibn ?Awf, and was an old man who had attained the age of one hundred and twenty years. He was a Jew, and used to instigate the people against the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, and composed (satirical) verses. Salim Ibn ?Umayr who was one of the great weepers and who had participated in Badr, said: I take a vow that I shall either kill Abu ?Afak or die before him. He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came, and Abu ?Afak slept in an open place. Salim Ibn ?Umayr knew it, so he placed the sword on his liver and pressed it till it reached his bed. The enemy of Allah screamed and the people, who were his followers rushed to him, took him to his house and interred him.
Muslims Kill Abu ?Afk and Asma
Before the victory of Badr the Muslims used to fear the Madinese non-Muslims, for they were still too weak to return any aggression inflicted upon them. But when they returned victorious from Badr, Salim ibn ?Umayr took upon himself the job of getting rid of Abu ?Afk, a tribesman of Banu ?Amr ibn ?Awf. The latter was a poet who composed verses disparaging Muhammad and the Muslims and inciting his own tribe to rise against them. Even after Badr, Abu ?Afk still composed and disseminated abusive verse. Salim attacked Abu ?Afk in his sleep in his own yard and killed him. Likewise, ?Asma', daughter of Marwan, of the tribe of Banu Umayyah ibn Zayd, used to insult Islam and the Prophet by encouraging bad feeling against the Muslims. The Battle of Badr did not make her reconsider. One day, ?Umayr ibn ?Awf attacked her during the night while she was surrounded by her children, one of whom she was nursing. ?Umayr was weak of sight and had to grope for her. After removing the child from his victim, he killed her; he then proceeded to the Prophet and informed him of what he had done. When her relatives returned from the funeral, they asked him whether he had killed her. "Indeed so," said ?Umayr, "You may fight me if you wish. By Him Who dominates my soul, if you should deny that she composed her abusive poetry, I would fight you until either you or I fall." It was this courage of ?Umayr that caused the Banu Khutmah, the tribe of ?Asma's husband, to turn to Islam. Having converted to Islam but fearing persecution at the hand of their fellow tribesmen, some of them had hidden their conversion. Henceforth, they no longer did so. (Muhammad Husayn Haykal, The Life of Muhammad, tran. Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi [American Trust Publications, USA 1976; Malaysian edition by Islamic Book Trust], p. 243; source)
So as you can see the sources make it very clear that these 2 not only mocked the prophet and insulted him, they also INSTGATED their people to attack and harm the Muslims! Hence these people were not mere poets writing mocking poems, they were inciting violence and hatred against the Muslims! They were inciting their people to rise up to fight and kill the Muslim population, and this made them direct enemy combatants because they were inciting violence against the Muslims. Therefore as we can see, there is nothing wrong in what was done against them, they brought it on themselves, you don't have to hold a sword to be an enemy or an enemy combatant, inciting violence and instigating violence is just as bad and is the exact same thing. Even in today's world men who preach ?hate' and incite violence will be arrested and imprisoned.
So therefore there was nothing wrong in what was done, and the sources show that these 2 were not killed for simple mockery and insulting comments. However what is amusing is that Christians have no problems with the pagans and the Jews who incited murder against Muslims, they think it is okay, and they also have no problems with the fact that Jews and pagans killed many Muslims, the Christian has no problem with this and you will never hear a single of them saying it was wrong. So therefore this reveals something further, it reveals that our opponents have no problems when Muslims get killed or threatened with murder, and that says it all doesn't it?
And Allah Knows Best!