Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Heart's Witness Against Muhammad: The Murder of Abu 'Afak

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.
November 2nd, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

"Who will deal with this rascal for me?"  These were Muhammad's words regarding Abu 'Afak, a political and religious enemy that Muhammad wanted murdered, the desire for which his henchmen quickly satisfied. The case of Abu 'Afak is an example of Muhammad's intolerance, his inability to countenance any serious opposition, and his resort to murder for political and religious purposes.

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - "Who will deal with this rascal for me?"  These were Muhammad's words regarding Abu 'Afak.  In this article, we shall assess Muhammad's role in the murder of his political and religious enemy, the Jewish poet Abu 'Afak.  The event is evidence of Muhammad's political and religious intolerance, and is evidence further of Muhammad's willingness to dispense with his personal, political, or religious foes (Muhammad did not distinguish between them) through assassination, setting the stage for intolerance and murder as virtues for his followers. 

If Muhammad, the perfect man and example for all Muslims, can violate the Fifth Commandment with impunity if political or religious reasons warrant it, then his followers believe they can as well.

What one may perhaps excuse in a political leader, particularly one subject to tyrannical proclivities, is not something one would excuse in the perfect man, the supposed al-insan al-kamil.  It is a recipe for moral mayhem to suggest that the killing of political or religious enemies (so long as you are Muslim and they are not) is prescribed (and not proscribed) by law of Allah.

Abu 'Afak was an old Jewish man, reputed to be 120 years old, a member of the Banu Ubayda tribe.  He was a poet, and refused to convert to Islam or acknowledge Muhammad as a legitimate prophet.  Abu 'Afak was upset with Muhammad's role in killing a man named al-Harith bin Suwayd bin Samit, and so he had the temerity to lampoon Muhammad through his poetry. 

The event, and Muhammad's response to it, is related in the Sirat Rasul Allah, the preeminent traditional biography of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq. The text is given below (I have put symbols on certain words and defined or explained them below for the benefit of the reader):

"Abu 'Afak was one of the B. 'Amr b. 'Auf of the B. Ubayda clan. He showed his disaffection when the apostle killed al-Harith b. Suwayd b. Samit and said:

'Long have I lived but never have I seen
An assembly or collection of people
More faithful to their undertaking
And their allies when called upon
Than the sons of Qayla* when they assembled,
Men who overthrew mountains and never submitted,
A rider who came to them split them in two (saying)
"Permitted," "Forbidden," of all sorts of things.**
Had you believed in glory or kingship
You would have followed Tubba'.'*

The apostle said, 'Who will deal with this rascal for me?'  Whereupon Salim b. 'Umayr, brother of B. 'Amr b. 'Auf, one of the 'weepers', went forth and killed him. Umama b. Muzayriya said concerning that:

'You gave the lie to God's religion and the man Ahmad [variant of Muhammad]!
By him who was your father, evil is the son he produced!
A hanif * gave you a thrust in the night saying
"Take that Abu 'Afak in spite of your age!"
Though I knew whether it was man or jinn
Who slew you in the dead of night (I would say naught).'"

The story is also found in the Kitab al Tabaqat al Kabir: (II:31):

"Then occurred the sariyyah [raid] of Salim Ibn Umayr al-Amri against Abu Afak, the Jew, in [the month of] Shawwal in the beginning of the twentieth month from the hijrah [immigration from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD], of the Apostle of Allah. 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, and composed (satirical) verses [about Muhammad].

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."

What sort of man is this Muhammad?

The story of Muhammad and Abu 'Afak is redolent of King Henry II and the murder of St. Thomas Becket when the latter refused to assent to the Constitutions of Clarendon and the King's efforts to gain control over the Church.  "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" is what the King is supposed to have said in an unguarded moment.  To which careless statement the King's loyal knights Reginald FitzUrse, Hugh de Morville, William de Tracy, and Richard le Breton, thinking the King had authorized his enemy's murder, set out to rid King Henry II of his erstwhile-friend-become pest.

Henry II repented of his indirect role in encouraging the murder of Thomas Becket, and suffered, as part of his penance, to be whipped by the monks of Canterbury by order of the Pope.  Muhammad suffered no such remorse, and suffered no such penance for his role in encouraging the killing of Abu 'Afak.  Muhammad had, after all, no superior.  He was the judge of his own cause.

Under the natural law, a King can do wrong, but he can also do right.  There is a law above the King to which he, like all men, is answerable.  Under Islam, however, Muhammad can do no wrong and can only do right.  There is no law above Muhammad.  So when Muhammad kills or encourages the killing of his political or religious enemies, it becomes the rule, it becomes canonical. 

Muhammad's behavior is normative even when it violates the natural moral law, which is to say even when it violates the law of God.  And this is because, in Islam, Allahu wa rasuluhu 'a'lam, Allah and his messenger know best, the natural law notwithstanding.


Notes:
*Qayla was the putative ancestress of the tribes known as the Banu Aus (or Banu Aws) and the Banu Kharaj (or Banu al-Khazraj), the two great Arab tribes of the town of Medina.
**A gibe at the language of the Qur'an.
* i.e., "You resisted Tubba' who, after all, was a king in fact and a man of great reputation, so why believe in Muhammad's claims?"  Tubba' refers to the Kings of Yemen. See Islamic Encyclopedia, s.v. "Tubba'"
* The word in Arabic means a monotheistic believer or righteous person.



(This article is adapted from the book written by the author entitled, The Heart's Witness Against Muhammad: Why the Natural Law Proves Muhammad False.)

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)