Truth About Prophet Ordering Death of Asma Bint Marwan

20. Refuting The Death of `Asma’ Bint Marwan
In Yathrib (Medina), Muhammad had a number of people killed. One of them was ‘Asma’ bint Marwan. Her crime was that she spoke out against Muhammad for having another man murdered named Abu Afak. In his displeasure towards her, Muhammad asked his followers to murder her as well. She was killed while she slept.
After Muhammad came to Yathrib he began to grow in power. However, a number of people, both Jew and Arab, opposed him. Muhammad began to silence his opposition by various means. One of these means was to have them murdered.
Muhammad did have a number of enemies and critics, some were dangerous, others were ordinary people who lived in the area and thought nil of Muhammad. They spoke their minds.
One by one, they were silenced. Through treaties, intrigue, or outright terror, Muhammad gained power in Medina. Eventually, he was master of the area. He knew his followers loved him, and would die for him. They were at his disposal; and at times, he chose to use them to accomplish his desires.

Bismillahirrahman nirrahim, Assalatu wa salam ala rasulihil kareem. Ammabad
In refutation of the above mentioned article, I would like to let the readers know about the sources of islam and how those sources have reached us.

Sources of islam are: Quran and Sahih Hadith (Authentic sayings of Prophet Muhammad(sallalahualaihi wasallam)) from which rulings are derived in every matter, followed by consensus of Sahaba, Tabien and later after exhausting all this if the question at hand has no answer then the Mujtahid (highest level of scholar) will do Qiyas (Analogy) for arriving at a ruling.

Having aquainted readers briefly with sources of Islamic law, I would like the readers to know how we received all of these sources. There is no doubt about the Quran being the last revealed book of Allah and Allah himself has taken responsibility of safeguarding it, along with its explaination, which is Ahadith of Rasool. Hence, Allah in his infinite wisdom choose Scholars (muhadditheen, mufassireen, qaris, fuqaha) in this ummah to safeguard his book and sayings of his chosen prophet Muhammad(sallalahualaihi wasallam) and its understanding.

Muslim scholars from the time of Salaf (First 3 generations of Muslims) till now have relied on Authentic Hadith and regarding Authentic Hadith it is the transmitted hadîth whose chain (isnad) is continuous through transmission of an accurate sane memorizer on authority of an accurate sane memorizer till its termination without being eccentric or flawed. [1]

As far as the Matn (text/matter of hadith) is concerned, the following principles of criticism of the Hadith are laid down:
(1) The Hadith should not be contrary to the text or the teaching of the Qur’an or the accepted basic principles of Islam.
(2) The Hadith should not be against the dictates of reason or laws of nature and common experience.
(3) The Hadith should not be contrary to the Traditions which have already been accepted by authorities as reliable and authentic by applying all principles.
(4) The Hadith which sings the praises and excellence of any tribe, place or persons should be generally rejected
(5) The Hadith that contains the dates and minute details of the future events should be rejected.
(6) The Hadith that contains some remarks of the Prophet which are not in keeping with the Islamic belief of Prophethood and the position of the Holy Prophet or such expressions as may not be suitable to him, should be rejected.[2]

With such stringent criteria scholars have safeguarded Ahadith, both its isnad and matn. Apart from that, Muhaddithin (Hadith scholars) recorded biographies of other scholars who appear in the chain of transmission of hadith to declare the hadith as authentic or not. Such type of stringent criteria and science of authentication was never followed by any one from any religion or civilization, even to this day.

The Western Orientalist Bernard Lewis notes that
From an early date Muslim scholars recognized the danger of false testimony and hence false doctrine, and developed an elaborate science for criticizing tradition. “Traditional science”, as it was called, differed in many respects from modern historical source criticism, and modern scholarship has always disagreed with evaluations of traditional scientists about the authenticity and accuracy of ancient narratives. But their careful scrutiny of the chains of transmission and their meticulous collection and preservation of variants in the transmitted narratives give to medieval Arabic historiography a professionalism and sophistication without precedent in antiquity and without parallel in the contemporary medieval West. By comparison, the historiography of Latin Christendom seems poor and meagre, and even the more advanced and complex historiography of Greek Christendom still falls short of the historical literature of Islam in volume, variety and analytical depth. [3]

From the Sirat Rasul Allah (A. Guilaume’s translation “The Life of Muhammad”) pages 675, 676.
Note: My comments will be in [ ] type brackets. Notes by the Translators of the texts will be in { } brackets.
‘UMAYR B. ‘ADIYY’S JOURNEY TO KILL ‘ASMA’ D. MARWAN She was of B. Umayyya b. Zayd. When Abu ‘Afak had been killed she displayed disaffection. ‘Abdullah b. al-Harith b. Al-Fudayl from his father said that she was married to a man of B. Khatma called Yazid b. Zayd. 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,
One not of Murad or Madhhij. {1}
Do you expect good from him after the killing of your chiefs
Like a hungry man waiting for a cook’s broth?
Is there no man of pride who would attack him by surprise
And cut off the hopes of those who expect aught from him?
Hassan b. Thabit answered her:
Banu Wa’il and B. Waqif and Khatma
Are inferior to B. al-Khazrahj.
When she called for folly woe to her in her weeping,
For death is coming.
She stirred up a man of glorious origin,
Noble in his going out and in his coming in.
Before midnight he dyed her in her blood
And incurred no guilt thereby.
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. In the morning he came to the apostle and told him what he had done and he [Muhammad] said, “You have helped God and His apostle, O ‘Umayr!” When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, “Two goats won’t butt their heads about her”, so ‘Umayr went back to his people.

Now there was a great commotion among B. Khatma that day about the affair of bint [daughter of] Marwan. She had five sons, and when ‘Umayr went to them from the apostle he said, “I have killed bint Marwan, O sons of Khatma. Withstand me if you can; don’t keep me waiting.” That was the first day Islam became powerful among B. Khatma; before that those who were Muslims concealed the fact. The first of them to accept Islam was ‘Umayr b. ‘Adiy who was called the “Reader”, and ‘Abdullah b. Aus and Khuzayma b. Thabit. The day after Bint Marwan was killed the men of B. Khatma became Muslims because they saw the power of Islam.
{1} The note reads “Two tribes of Yamani origin.”
[END OF IBN HISHAM QUOTE] From Ibn Sa’d’s Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, translated by S. Moinul Haq, volume 2, pages 30-31.

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. ‘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 up to her back. Then he offered the morning prayers with the prophet at al-Medina. The apostle of Allah said to him: “Have you slain the daughter of Marwan?” He said: “Yes. Is there something more for me to do?” He [Muhammad] said: “No. Two goats will butt together about her. This was the word that was first heard from the apostle of Allah. The apostle of Allah called him ‘Umayr, “basir” (the seeing).
Social Drawback: One cannot say wrong is wrong. Muslim claims that no one raised the finger against their prophet. But they never tell that whoever raised the finger he is brutally murdered. You can escape by saying allaha is wrong but you cannot say that Mohammad is wrong. Mohammad has big place then allaha.

The author started with the heading: presentation of islamic sources: whereas i have already mentioned above regarding islamic sources. the sources provided by this infidel are historical references.
These historical references written by Muslim authors are not trustworthy references due to the fact that there is no regard for proper methodology of transmission in them. The early Muslim never held a high opinion of the biographies whose authors had simply copied masses of reports without check or criticism. One such scholar of hadîth, Hafiz Zayn-ûd-Dîn of Irâq, says about the biographies as follows:
The student should know that the biographies contain all kinds of reports, both true and false.
We believe that this should make us depend only upon reliable sources that have been properly authenticated by Muslim specialists in the Hadith sciences.

Now the Question Arised: is the story true or is it fabricated?
The infidel’s charge is that Prophet Muhammad(sallalahualaihi wasallam) had ordered the killing of Asma’ when she insulted him with her poetry. As it is usually the case where the history of Islam and the character of the Prophet Muhammad(sallalahualaihi wasallam) is concerned, it is left to the Muslims to throw some light on authenticity of the story in which this incident is reported by the sources and educate the masses in matters which they have no clue about.

The story of the killing of Asma’ bint Marwan is mentioned by Ibn Sa’d in Kitab At-Tabaqat Al-Kabir [10] and by the author of Kanz-ul-‘Ummal under number 44131 who attributes it to Ibn Sa’d, Ibn ‘Adiyy and Ibn ‘Asaker. What is interesting is that Ibn ‘Adiyy mentions it in his book Al-Kamel on the authority of Ja’far Ibn Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn As-Sabah on authority of Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Ash-Shami on authority of Muhammad Ibn Al-Hajjaj Al-Lakhmi on authority of Mujalid on authority of Ash-Shu’abi on authority of Ibn ‘Abbas, and added that

…this isnâd (chain of reporters) is not narrated on authority of Mujalid but by Muhammad Ibn Al-Hajjaj and they all (other reporters in the chain) accuse Muhammad Ibn Al-Hajjaj of forging it.[4]

It is also reported by Ibn al-Jawzi in Al-‘Ilal [5] and is listed among other flawed reports.

So according to its isnâd, the report is forged – because one of its reporters is notorious for fabricating hadîth. Hence, such a story is rejected and is better off being put into the trash can.

Now lets compare the matn of that story with authentic sayings of prophet Muhammad(sallalahualaihi wasallam):

Prophetic Attitude Toward Women and Old Men in War

In brief, the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad(sallalahualaihi wasallam) prohibits the killing of women in war.

Narrated Anas bin Malik: A Jewish woman brought a poisoned (cooked) sheep for the Prophet who ate from it. She was brought to the Prophet and he was asked, “Shall we kill her?” He said, “No.” I continued to see the effect of the poison on the palate of the mouth of God’s Apostle.[6]

The Prophet(sallalahualaihi wasallam) refused to kill a woman who did intentionally try to poison him, but the infidels by using a fabricated story, wants us to believe that he ordered the killing of a woman who only abused him verbally. (note: in Islam a women can only be put to death if she commited murder as crime, for murder is (both for men and women) death punishment in islam),

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: Messenger of God (peace be upon him) saw the corpse of a woman who had been slain in one of the raids, and he disapproved of it and forbade the killing of women and children. [7]

Due to this prohibition, scholars of Abu Hanîfah’s madhâb (school of thought) have stated that apostate women are not to be killed because the Prophet(sallalahualaihi wasallam) forbade the killing of women, and since the prohibition is general it includes apostate women. [8]

Even after the Prophet’s demise, his Sunnah remain preserved by the Muslims:

Abu Bakr advised Yazid: “I advise you ten things: Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camel except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the booty, and do not be cowardly.” [9]

But critics may have an objection: if these stories are false, then why they are mentioned in Islamic references in the first place? In response, we have earlier shown the position of learned Muslim scholars toward these references in the biographies, whose authors used to relate hundreds of reports without checking them or relying on serious criticism. These particular stories even proved their unscientific methodology because they are reported without isnad at all. This is extremely irregular of any respectable scholar. Ibn Jarir At-Tabari (224-310 A.H.) in his encyclopedic book of history Tarikh Al-Umam wa Al-Mulid not give mention of these stories at all despite the fact that he had mentioned far less significant reports in his work.
Hence, based on the empirical evidence, we can therefore conclude that the so-called “killing” of Abu ‘Afak and Asma’ bint Marwan respectively are inherently false and had never happened. This certainly throws the spanner into the works of the missionary’s conclusions, which is based upon nothing but hatred, paranoia and xenophobia towards the elect Apostle of God, Muhammad (Salallahu alaihi wasallam).
And Allah knows best.
[1] Ibn Kathîr, Al-Ba’ith Al-Hadîth (Maktabat-us-Sunnah, Cairo, Egypt), p. 28
[2] ‘Abdûr Rahmân I. Doi, Introduction to the Hadith (A.S. Nordeen, 2001), p. 15
[3] Bernard Lewis, Islam In History (Open Court Publishing, 1993), pp.104-105
[4] Ibn ‘Adiyy, Al-Kamel, Vol. 6, p. 145
[5] Ibn al-Jawzi, Al-‘Ilal, Vol. 1, p. 279
[6] Sahih al-Bukhârî, Vol. 3, Bk. 47, No. 786
[7] Ibid., Vol. 4, Bk. 52, No. 257 & 258. Also see Muwatta Malik, Book 21, Section 3, Number 9
[8] Al-Hasafky, Sharh Ad-Durr-el-Mukhtar, Volume 1, p. 483
[9] Mutta Malik, Book 21, Section 3, Number 10
[10] Ibn Sa’d, Kitab At-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, Vol. 1, pp. 27-28
[Note: I thank Hesham Azmy, and team for their wonderful work on answering this baseless allegation, the reason this article has been re written is to preserve it from ever being lost] Assalamualaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barkatahu (May Peace, Blessings & Mercy of Allah Be Upon You)

Article by Brother Dr Mohammed Amer

The Article is in reply to series of allegations made by author in his book which can be accessed here:

What Prophet Mohammed Did His Whole Life?