The Boys who Killed Abu Jahl (Hadith No. 2766)
Volume 4, Book 53, Number 369 :
Narrated by ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf (radiallaahu `anhu)
While I was standing in the row on the day (of the battle) of Badr, I looked to my right and my left and saw two young Ansari boys, and I wished I had been stronger than they. One of them called my attention saying, “O Uncle! Do you know Abu Jahl?” I said, “Yes, What do you want from him, O my nephew?” He said, “I have been informed that he abuses Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam). By Him in Whose Hands my life is, if I should see him, then my body will not leave his body till either of us meet his fate.” I was astonished at that talk. Then the other boy called my attention saying the same as the other had said. After a while I saw Abu Jahl walking amongst the people. I said (to the boys), “Look! This is the man you asked me about.” So, both of them attacked him with their swords and struck him to death and returned to Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) to inform him of that. Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) asked, “Which of you has killed him?” Each of them said, “I have killed him.” Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) asked, “Have you cleaned your swords?” They said, “No.” He then looked at their swords and said, “No doubt, you both have killed him and the spoils of the deceased will be given to Muadh bin Amr bin Al-Jamuh.” The two boys were Muadh bin ‘Afra and Muadh bin Amr bin Al-Jamuh (radiallaahu `anhumaa).
Why did the Prophet give spoils to only one of the boys when he said, “no doubt, you both have killed him”? Commentators say that the one who got the spoils was the actual killer as his sword proved it (more blood) while the other was appreciated for his efforts and help.
Assassination of Ka`b Ibn Ashraf (Ahadith 2667 – 2668)
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 270 :
Narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Who is ready to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has really hurt Allah and His Apostle?” Muhammad bin Maslama (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Do you like me to kill him?” He replied in the affirmative. So, Muhammad bin Maslama (radiallaahu `anhu) went to him (i.e. Ka’b) and said, “This person (i.e. the Prophet) has put us to task and asked us for charity.” Ka’b replied, “By Allah, you will get tired of him.” Muhammad (radiallaahu `anhu) said to him, “We have followed him, so we dislike to leave him till we see the end of his affair.” Muhammad bin Maslama (radiallaahu `anhu) went on talking to him in this way till he got the chance to kill him.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 271 :
Narrated by Jabir (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Who is ready to kill Ka’b bin Ashraf (i.e. a Jew).” Muhammad bin Maslama (radiallaahu `anhu) replied, “Do you like me to kill him?” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) replied in the affirmative. Muhammad bin Maslama (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “Then allow me to say what I like.” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) replied, “I do (i.e. allow you).”
Safi-ur-Rahmna Mubarakpuri writes in The Sealed Nectar:
Ka‘b bin Al-Ashraf was the most resentful Jew at Islam and the Muslims, the keenest on inflicting harm on the Messenger of Allâh and the most zealous advocate of waging war against him. He belonged to Tai’ tribe but his mother to Banu Nadeer. He was a wealthy man known for his handsomeness, and a poet living in luxury in his fort south east of Madinah at the rear of Banu Nadeer’s habitations.
On hearing the news of Badr, he got terribly exasperated and swore that he would prefer death to life if the news was true. When this was confirmed he wrote poems satirizing Muhammad , eulogizing Quraish and enticing them against the Prophet . He then rode to Makkah where he started to trigger the fire of war, and kindle rancour against the Muslims in Madinah. When Abu Sufyan asked him which religion he was more inclined to, the religion of the Makkans or that of Muhammad and his companions, he replied that the pagans were better guided. With respect to this situation, Allâh revealed His Words:
“Have you not seen those who were given a portion of the Scripture? They believe in Jibt and Taghût, and say to the disbelievers that they are better guided as regards the way than the believers (Muslims).” [4:51]
He then returned to Madinah to start a fresh campaign of slanderous propaganda that took the form of obscene songs and amatory sonnets with a view to defaming the Muslim women.
At this stage, the situation became unbearable and could no longer be put up with. The Prophet gathered his men and said: “Who will kill Ka‘b bin Al-Ashraf? He had maligned Allâh, and His Messenger.” Thereupon, Muhammad bin Maslamah, ‘Abbad bin Bishr, Al-Harith bin Aws, Abu ‘Abs bin Hibr and Salkan bin Salamah, Ka‘b’s foster brother, volunteered to do the job.
Muhammad bin Maslamah said: “O Messenger of Allâh, do you wish that I should kill him?” He said: “Yes.” He said: “Permit me to talk (to him in the way I deem fit).” He said: “Talk (as you like).” So, Muhammad bin Maslamah came to Ka‘b and talked to him, saying: “This man (i.e. the Prophet ) has made up his mind to collect charity (from us) and this has put us to a great hardship.” When he heard this, Ka‘b said: “By Allâh you will be put to more trouble by him.” Muhammad bin Maslamah answered: “No doubt, now we have become his followers and we do not like to forsake him until we see what turn his affairs will take. I want that you should give me a loan.” He said: “What will you mortgage?” Muhammad answered: “What do you want?” The immoral and heartless Jew demanded women and children as articles of security against the debt. Muhammad said: “Should we pledge our women whereas you are the most handsome of the Arabs; and the son of one of us may be abused by saying that he was pledged for two wasq (measurement unit of weight) of dates but we can pledge you (our) weapons.” Ka‘b agreed. Salkan bin Salamah, Abu Na’ilah, at another time, went to see Ka‘b for the same purpose and there were more or less the same subjects, only that Abu Na’ilah would bring him some companions. The plan was successful and provided for the presence of both men and weapons. On Rabi‘ Al-Awwal 14th, at night, the year 3 A.H. the people said good bye to the Prophet and set out in the Name of Allâh to implement the carefully drawn plan. The Prophet stayed back praying for them and supplicating Allâh to render them success. The men went and called upon him at night. He came down although his wife warned him not to meet them alleging that: “I hear a voice which sounds like the voice of murder.” He said: “It is only Muhammad bin Maslamah and my foster brother Abu Na’ilah. When a gentleman is called at night even if he be pierced with a spear, he should respond to the call.” Abu Na’ilah said to his companions: “As he comes down, I will extend my hand towards his head to smell and when I hold him fast, you should do your job.” So when he came down, they talked together for about an hour. They then invited him to go out and spend a nice time in the moonlight. On the way out, Abu Na’ilah remarked: “I smell the nicest perfume from you.” Ka‘b said: “Yes, I have with me a mistress who is the most scented of the women of Arabia.” Abu Na’ilah again said: “Allow me to smell (the scent on your head)”. He said: “Yes, you may smell.” So he caught it and smelt. Then he said: “Allow me to do so(once again).” He then held his head fast and said to his companions: “Do your job.” And they killed him. The group of men came back after fulfilling their mission. One of them Al-Harith bin Aws was wounded by mistake with the swords of his men, and was bleeding badly. When they reached Baqee‘ Al-Gharqad, they shouted, “Allâh is Great”. The Prophet heard them and realized that they had killed the enemy of Allâh. As they saw him, he said: “Cheerful faces are yours.” In reply, they said: “And yours O Messenger of Allâh.” They handed the head of the tyrant over to him. He entertained Allâh’s praise for their success. He then applied his saliva to Al-Harith’s wound and it healed on the spot.
When the Jews learned about the death of their tyrant, Ka‘b bin Al-Ashraf, they were scared and even their stonelike hearts were in the grip of inexpressible panic. They realized that the Messenger of Allâh would thenceforth never hesitate to use force when good words and admonition failed. They remained silent and resigned, and faked adherence to covenants.
Now the Prophet was free to collect his thoughts and give himself up to resolving foreign affairs, and facing dangers that could be carried with hostile wind blowing again from Makkah.
Watch this video for a detailed analysis of this incident by Yasir Qadhi:
Assassination of Abu Rafi` (Ahadith 2660 – 2661)
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 264 :
Narrated by Al-Bara bin Azib (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) 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 pf Hijaz. Then I got up, feeling no ailment, (and we proceeded) till we came upon the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and informed him.”
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 265 :
Narrated by Al-Bara bin Azib (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) sent a group of the Ansar to Abu Rafi. Abdullah bin Atik entered his house at night and killed him while he was sleeping.
See similar narrations (list of) here.
The Expedition of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Atik (Arabic: عبد الله بن عتيك) also known as the Assassination of Abu Rafi’ ibn Abi Al-Huqaiq (Arabic: أبو رافع بن أبي الحُقَيْق), took place in December, 624AD.
Sallam ibn Abu al-Huqayq (Abu Rafi) was a Jew, who aided and abetted the Pagan enemies of the Muslims by provisioning and financing them, and denigrating Muhammad with his poetry (hija’). When the Muslims had settled their affair with Banu Quraiza’s betrayal of the Muslims in Medina; the Al-Khazraj tribe, a rival of Al-Aws, asked for Muhammad’s permission to kill him in order to merit a virtue equal to that of Al-Aws who had killed Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf.
According to the Sealed Nectar, a group of 5 men from the Banu Khazraj tribe with ‘Abdullah bin ‘Ateeq at their head, headed for Khaybar where ‘Abu Rafi‘’s fort was situated. When they approached the fortress, ‘Abdullah advised his men to stay a little behind, then went ahead disguised in his cloak, as if he had been relieving himself. When the people of the fort went in, the gate-keeper called him to enter thinking he was one of them. ‘Abdullah went in and lurked inside. He then began to unbolt the doors leading to Salam’s room. There it was absolutely dark but he managed to put him to the sword, and then leave in safety. On his way back, his leg broke so he wrapped it up in a band, and hid in a secret place until morning when someone stood on the wall and announced the death of Salam bin Abi Al-Huqaiq officially. On hearing this news he left and went to see Muhammad, who listened to the whole story, and then asked ‘Abdullah to stretch his leg, which he wiped and the fracture healed on the spot according to Muslim scholar “Saifur Rahman al Mubarakpuri”. In another version, all five of the group participated in killing that enemy of Islam. This incident took place in Dhul Qa‘dah or Dhul Hijjah in the year five Hijri.
Hassan b. Thabit mentioning the killing of Ka`b bin Ashraf and Sallam (Abu Rafi) said:
God, what a fine band you met,
O Ibnu’l-Huqayq and Ibnu’l-Ashraf!
They went to you with sharp swords,
Brisk as lions in a tangled thicket,
Until they came on you in your dwelling
And made you drink death with their swift-slaying swords,
Despising every risk of hurt.
Apostasy and Punishment by Fire (Ahadith 2655 – 2656)
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 259 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) sent us on a mission (i.e. am army-unit) and said, “If you find so-and-so and so-and-so, burn both of them with fire.” When we intended to depart, Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “I have ordered you to burn so-and-so and so-and-so, and it is none but Allah Who punishes with fire, so, if you find them, kill them.”
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 260 :
Narrated by Ikrima
Ali (radiallaahu `anhu) burnt some people and this news reached Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu), who said, “Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Don’t punish (anybody) with Allah’s Punishment.’ No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’ “
It is impermissible to punish by fire in Islam, as clear from the above ahadith. When it comes to apostates, execution is the prescribed punishment but there are some guidelines that must be followed. For example, the apostate is not to be murdered in cold blood, he deserves to be given a chance to repent. What follows is some basic information about apostasy and what it constitutes of. Read on for clarity.
The ruling of execution because of a word that somebody utters is what the Muslim scholars call al-riddah (apostasy). What is apostasy and what constitutes apostasy? What is the ruling on the apostate (al-murtadd)?
1 – Riddah (apostasy) refers to when a Muslim becomes a disbeliever by saying a clear statement to that effect, or by uttering words which imply that (i.e., which imply kufr or disbelief), or he does something that implies that (i.e., an action which implies kufr or disbelief).
2 – What constitutes apostasy
The matters which constitute apostasy are divided into four categories:
(a) Apostasy in beliefs, such as associating others with Allaah, denying Him, or denying an attribute which is proven to be one of His attributes, or by affirming that Allaah has a son. Whoever believes that is an apostate and a disbeliever.
(b) Apostasy in words, such as insulting Allaah or the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
(c) Apostasy in actions, such as throwing the Qur’an into a filthy place, because doing that shows disrespect towards the words of Allaah, so it is a sign that one does not believe. Other such actions include prostrating to an idol or to the sun or moon.
(d) Apostasy by omission, such as not doing any of the rituals of Islam, or turning away from following it altogether.
3 – What is the ruling on the apostate?
If a Muslim apostatizes and meets the conditions of apostasy – i.e., he is of sound mind, an adult and does that of his own free will – then his blood may be shed with impunity. He is to be executed by the Muslim ruler or by his deputy – such as the qaadi or judge, and he is not to not be washed (after death, in preparation for burial), the funeral prayer is not to be offered for him and he is not to be buried with the Muslims.
The evidence that the apostate is to be executed is the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Whoever changes his religion, execute him.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2794). What is meant by religion here is Islam (i.e., whoever changes from Islam to another religion).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It is not permissible to shed the blood of a Muslim who bears witness that there is no god except Allaah and that I am His Messenger, except in one of three cases: a soul for a soul (i.e., in the case of murder); a married man who commits adultery; and one who leaves his religion and splits form the jamaa’ah (main group of Muslims).” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6878; Muslim, 1676)
See al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 22/180.
To read more on some of the rulings on apostasy and apostates, click here.
Killing Women in Battle: Exception to the Rule (Ahadith 2652 – 2654)
Hadith no. 2651 (below) is a repeat. Read it here.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 255 :
Narrated by Abu Burda’s father
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Three persons will get their reward twice. (One is) a person who has a slave girl and he educates her properly and teaches her good manners properly (without violence) and then manumits and marries her. Such a person will get a double reward. (Another is) a believer from the people of the scriptures who has been a true believer and then he believes in the Prophet (Muhammad). Such a person will get a double reward. (The third is) a slave who observes Allah’s Rights and Obligations and is sincere to his master.”
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 256 :
Narrated by As-Sab bin Jaththama (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa or Waddan, and was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) replied, “They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans).” I also heard the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) saying, “The institution of Hima is invalid except for Allah and His Apostle.”
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 257 :
Narrated by ‘Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
During some of the Ghazawat of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) a woman was found killed. Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) disapproved the killing of women and children.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 258 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)
During some of the Ghazawat of Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) a woman was found killed, so Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) forbade the killing of women and children.
Number 256 and the two narrations below it seem to be contradicting each other, but that’s not the case. The latter two describe the rule, and Number 256 is the exception.
Those who are not generally engaged in fighting – like women, children, the elderly, the handicapped, and others who do not participate in the fighting – are not to be killed. The only exception to this is where such people participate directly in the fighting or are so intermixed with the fighters that it is impossible to separate them from those who are fighting.
The hadîth in question actually shows us that the general rule is not to kill non-combatants, even when they are present on the battlefield. The only exception is when the non-combatants are so mixed in with the fighters that it is impossible to fight against the combatants without the possibility of some non-combatants inadvertently being killed. This is only out of dire necessity.
Ibn Hajar writes in his commentary on this hadîth in Fath al-Bârî (6/146):
His statement “They are of them” means that they are construed as such under those circumstances. It does not mean that it is permissible to deliberately target them.
It is a matter of agreement among scholars that a person’s unbelief is not reason for that person to be killed. There is considerable evidence for this. Aside from the Prophet’s prohibition of killing non-combatants, we have where Allah says: “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 256]