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"Discover the Truth's" Game

The Murder of Abu Afak,
an Elderly Critic
of Muhammad


From Discover the Truth:

He being killed was not because he wrote annoying poetry on the Prophet – rather because he incited people to go to war against Muhammed
(March 15, 2015)

What the Apologists Want You to Believe

Abu Afak was an elderly Jewish man who was murdered on Muhammad's order - one of several poets stabbed to death in their own bed.  Since this doesn't speak well of their prophet, Discover the Truth proposes that Abu Afak was a threat that had to be eliminated because he "instigated people to go to war against Muhammad" - not because he wrote poetry that 'annoyed' him.

What They Offer as Proof

DTT cites a single passage, Ibn Sa'd's biography, which states that Abu Afak did indeed "instigate the people against the Apostle of Allah, and composed (satirical) verses [about Muhammad]" (although nothing about going to war).  Of course, it also says that Abu Afak was 120 years old.

Interestingly, DTT also refers to the opinion of two contemporary scholars who cast doubt that the episode even took place.  This calls into question DTT's confidence in their own source. 


What They Leave Out and Why They are Wrong

An earlier Sira provides a more detailed and believable account of Abu Afak's murder:
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 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".  (Ibn Ishaq 995)
This is clearly a more credible reading.  For example, it confirms that Abu Afak was elderly, but leaves out the embellishment about his age.

From this, we can see that Abu Afak was killed because he "showed disaffection" after Muhammad murdered a Jewish friend (ironically, another Jewish poet, Asma bint Marwan would later be murdered for protesting Abu Afak's murder). 

Abu Afak's writings lend insight into the fact that Muhammad's authority over his former hosts was being questioned.  There is no indication that this put his life in danger.  This is what "instigating the people" really means and why DTT left it out of their article.  As with other assassinations ordered by Muhammad, more detail means less justification.

Even DTT's rationale reeks of a double standard.  While Abu Afak's 'crime' was composing poems, Muhammad was telling his people to "kill any Jew who falls into your power" (al-Tabarai 7:97) - and he actually was having his detractors killed.  Why does this not count?

Had Muhammad been a real prophet of God, rather than an insecure pretender, he surely would have found more godly ways of dealing with dissent than having elderly critics hacked to death in their beds.

Further Reading

Discover the Truth Propaganda Index

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