by Silas




            When Muhammad conquered Mecca, he gave orders for the execution of 10 people.  Most of these were executed; others were spared for various reasons.  This article examines who was ordered to be executed, why the orders were given, and the final outcome for each person ordered to be murdered by Muhammad.




            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.


            Muhammad had marched upon Mecca with an army of at least 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.  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 Rasulallah" 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 Muslim 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 some 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 information I've found in the Hadith, Sirat, and Tabaqat.  In any case, my points are not based on Dashti's work, his comments are confirming my own research and conclusions.



            All of the writers of these sources were Muslim, and all of the first 3 works are recognized by the Sunni branch of Islam.  Of course none of these are recognized equal to the Quran.  I would say that the order of authentic recognition 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 Quran.


            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.







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.








The Tabaqat was translated into English by S. 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 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.







            "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 fulfill 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 signaling 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 Quran.  Later, he apostatized, left Islam, and went back to Mecca.  When Muhammad took Mecca he gave a general amnesty, except for a number of specific people he wanted killed.  Abdullah Sa'd is the first of this group mentioned.



            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 occasions, 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 Quran.  He was a Muslim, worked with Muhammad in writing down the Quran, 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.  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 vain and irrational.  Muhammad issues an edict 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 orders 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  (0 killed for 1 on the list).





            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 apostatized, 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 apostatized.  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 information from Ibn Sa'd's book on Khatal, Vol. 2, page 172 and on.  I will not type out the chain of narrators.


p172:   "The apostle of Allah entered Makkah in the year of victory and on his head there was a helmet.  Then he removed it.  Ma'n and Musa Ibn Dawud said in their version:  A person came to him and said, "O apostle of Allah! Ibn Khatal is holding fast the curtains of al-Kabah.  Thereupon the apostle of Allah said:  "Kill him."


p173:   "....kill him wherever you find him"



            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 Allah 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 apostatized from Islam executed.  Note that he apostatized while living in Medina, not Mecca.



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 forgiveness, 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-Juwayrith 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 [804] 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 accidentally killed his brother.  Muhammad allowed him to take his revenge.  Miqyas then killed the other Muslim who accidentally 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:


            "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."



            Here are two more, one was killed, one was forgiven.  I don't know what Ikrima did to deserve the death sentence in the first place.  Ibn Hisham later says on page 551 that "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."



            For a side note, there is a Hadith narrated by Ikrima, Bukhari vol. 9 #57


            "Narrated Ikrima:  "Some atheists were brought to Ali [Muhammad's son in law, the fourth Caliph] and he burnt them [to death].  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 messenger forbade it saying "Do not punish anybody with Allah's punishment (fire)."  I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah's messenger 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him''".



5 for 8.





            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.





            From Ibn Sa'd's list, #2 is probably the man mentioned in Bukhari vol. 5, #662.  Habbar Ibn al-Aswad Al-Ansi.  He was murdered in Yemen.



6 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 forgiveness and was forgiven.


6 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 vengeance, took revenge for the pain and humiliation some of these people caused him and had these people killed.



Rev A: 10-12-97

Articles by Silas
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