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1,001 Sayings and Deeds of the Prophet

Dead Poets

Allah said to “kill them wherever you find them”! Nowhere was this truer than for the poets who lampooned the Prophet or whom people thought better at writing rhythm and rhyme than His Messenger. In their murder the Prophet took a personal interest.

The first poet to be killed was al-Nadr. The Meccans had praised his verses as superior to those of the Prophet and this had enraged the perfect human being. When God’s Messenger spotted al-Nadr among the prisoners captured at Badr he had him beheaded on the spot.

Next to die was the poetess Asma bint Marwan. She was stabbed to death while sleeping with an infant suckling at her breast. Her murder was followed by that of the Jewish poet Abu Afak who was also killed while he slept.

He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came, and Abu Afak slept in an open place. Salim b. 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 him, took him to his house and interred him.

Ibn S’ad, a companion of the Prophet

After every murder the assassin would go to the Mosque to inform God’s Messenger and be praised for what they had done at his insistence. For example, the killer of Asma bint Marwan had just entered the building when the Prophet asked him “Have you slain the daughter of Marwan?”

This was the word that was first heard from the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him.

When Umayr replied that the job had been carried out with success, Muhammad said, “You have helped God and His apostle, O Umayr!”

When Umayr asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences, the apostle said, “Two goats won’t butt their heads about her.”

Muhammad then praised Umayr in front of all gathered for prayer for his act of murder, and Umayr went back to his people.

Ibn S’ad

The call for the murder of the poet Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf:

Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah:

Allah's Apostle said, "Who would kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf (Ka'b, a poet, who wrote poems lampooning of Allan's Messenger) as he has harmed Allah and His Apostle?"

Muhammad bin Maslama (got up and) said, "I will kill him."

So, Muhammad bin Maslama went to Ka'b and said, "I want a loan of one or two Wasqs of food grains."

Ka'b said, "Mortgage your women to me."

Muhammad bin Maslama said, "How can we mortgage our women, and you are the most handsome among the Arabs?"

He said, "Then mortgage your sons to me."

Muhammad said, "How can we mortgage our sons, as the people will abuse them for being mortgaged for one or two Wasqs of food grains? It is shameful for us. But we will mortgage our arms to you."

So, Muhammad bin Maslama promised him that he would come to him next time. They (Muhammad bin Maslama and his companions came to him as promised and murdered him. Then they went to the Prophet and told him about it.

Bukhari 45.687

The murder of the poet Abu Rafi:

Narrated Al-Bara bin Azib:

Allah's Apostle sent a group of Ansari men to kill Abu-Rafi. One of them set out and entered their (i.e. the enemies) fort. That man said, "I hid myself in a stable for their animals. They closed the fort gate. Later they lost a donkey of theirs, so they went out in its search. I, too, went out along with them, pretending to look for it. They found the donkey and entered their fort. And I, too, entered along with them.

They closed the gate of the fort at night, and kept its keys in a small window where I could see them. When those people slept, I took the keys and opened the gate of the fort and came upon Abu Rafi and said, 'O Abu Rafi.'

When he replied me, I proceeded towards the voice and hit him. He shouted and I came out to come back, pretending to be a helper.

I said, 'O Abu Rafi, changing the tone of my voice.'

He asked me, 'What do you want; woe to your mother?'

I asked him, 'What has happened to you?'

He said, 'I don't know who came to me and hit me.' Then I drove my sword into his belly and pushed it forcibly till it touched the bone. Then I came out, filled with puzzlement and went towards a ladder of theirs in order to get down but I fell down and sprained my foot.

I came to my companions and said, 'I will not leave till I hear the wailing of the women.'

So, I did not leave till I heard the women bewailing Abu Rafi, the merchant of Hijaz. Then I got up, feeling no ailment, (and we proceeded) till we came upon the Prophet and informed him."

Bukhari 52.264

The man who wanted to be known for his poetry would end up hating the genre and its practitioners.

Narrated Ibn Umar:

The Prophet said, "It is better for a man to fill the inside of his body with pus than to fill it with poetry."

Bukhari 73.175