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"I’d rather die standing up
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Stephane Charbonnier
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Myths of Muhammad

The Myth:

Muhammad Never Killed the Elderly


"Our Prophet (peace be upon him) was a great man who always told his men to spare the aged and infirm."

The Truth:

Quran (1:1)
According to his biographers, Muhammad had his men butcher at least three elderly persons:  Umm Qirfa, Abu Afak and an unnamed man who refused to prostrate himself at the Kaaba.

After assuming military superiority in Arabia, Muhammad sent his adopted son, Zayd bin Haritha, on a raid against a tribe that wanted nothing to do with Islam.  They resisted the first attempt to force them into the Muslim fold, and so Muhammad sent Zayd back, where he was successful in killing the men and capturing the women as they were attempting to flee with their children:
“…and then we attacked from all sides and reached their watering-place where a battle was fought.  Some of the enemies were killed and some were taken prisoners.  I saw a group of persons that consisted of women and children [escaping in the distance].  I was afraid lest they should reach the mountain before me, so I shot an arrow between them and the mountain.  When they saw the arrow, they stopped.  So I brought them, driving them along” (Sahin Muslim 4345)
The captured women included Umm Qirfa:
She was a very old woman, wife of Malik. Her daughter [and another] were also taken. Zayd ordered Qays to kill Umm Qirfa and he killed her cruelly by putting a rope between her legs and to two camels and driving them until they rent her in two). (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 980)
The old woman’s daughter was brought back to Mecca along with the other prisoners, where she was awarded to her captor as a “prize.” This was before Muhammad noticed her:
I drove them along until I brought them to Abu Bakr who bestowed that girl upon me as a prize.  So we arrived in Medina.  I had not yet disrobed her when the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) met me in the street and said: “Give me that girl.” (Sahih Muslim 4345)
After having been “killed cruelly” the old woman was spared the sight of her daughter passed between lustful men, which included the prophet of Islam himself. 

The eminent scholar, Sir William Muir, notes:
We read of no disapprobation expressed by the Prophet at the inhumane treatment of Omm Kirfa, and are therefore warranted in holding him to be an accomplice in the ferocious act. (The Life of Mahomet)
Muhammad also ordered the death of an elderly man named Abu Afak. This occurred less than two years after he had arrived at Medina.  Abu Afak was said to be 120 years old.  His "crime" was to compose satirical poetry about Muhammad in protest of the many assassinations that the prophet of Islam had ordered.

For "showing disaffection," Abu Afak himself became Muhammad's next victim:
The apostle said, "Who will deal with this rascal for me?"  Whereupon [a follower] went forth and killed him. (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 995).
The official reason is that Abu Afak, "gave the lie to Allah's religion."  The assassin is said to have mocked his victim by thrusting the knife into the body while saying, "take that, Abu Afak, in spite of your age." (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 995)

Muhammad later killed a woman (and mother of five) for protesting the death of Afak.  That the self-proclaimed prophet of Allah had to murder those who spoke out about him, rather then countering their words with argument, speaks poorly as to the legitimacy of his claims.

Yet another elderly man was murdered following Muhammad’s order to kill any non-Muslim who remained in Mecca following his capture of the city in 630.  (The early part of the Qur'an's ninth chapter commands the slayings).  The man's death is recorded in Bukhari:
The Prophet recited Suratan-Najm (103) at Mecca and prostrated while reciting it and those who were with him did the same except an old man who took a handful of small stones or earth and lifted it to his forehead and said, "This is sufficient for me." Later on, I saw him killed as a non-believer.  (Bukhari 19:173)

Further Reading:

 

Myths of Muhammad Index

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