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Ahlam
What can we learn about
Islam from this woman?




"Discover the Truth's" Game

The Murder of
Asma bint Marwan


From Discover the Truth:

It is a fake story, forged in order to degrade and vilify the Prophet of Islam as a barbaric man.
(April 4, 2015)

What the Apologists Want You to Believe

The story of Asma bint Marwan is of acute embarrassment to apologists.  According to the various tellings, Muhammad ordered the assassination of a woman who wrote poetry criticizing his killing of another poet, Abu Afak.  That poet had been murdered for expressing anger over the murder of a friend by Muhammad.

According to Ibn Ishaq:
She used to revile Islam, offend the prophet and instigate the (people) against him. She composed verses. Umayr Ibn Adi came to her in the night and entered her house. Her children were sleeping around her. There was one whom she was suckling. He searched her with his hand because he was blind, and separated the child from her. He thrust his sword in her chest till it pierced up to her back. Then he offered the morning prayers with the prophet at al-Medina. The apostle of Allah said to him: "Have you slain the daughter of Marwan?" He said: "Yes. Is there something more for me to do?" He [Muhammad] said: "No. Two goats will butt together about her (Ibn Sa'ds Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir)
DTT poses that "the sources used by critics are laughable," and that the story never happened.

What They Offer as Proof

Since there is no mention of Asma bint Marwan in Islamic texts apart from her murder by one of Muhammad's followers, DTT makes a circumstantial case that it did not happen by claiming that:

- The episode does not appear in a sahih Hadith collection

- There is a weak chain of narrators

- Muhammad forbade putting women to death

- Two hadith have Aisa saying that Muhammad "never took revenge for his own self"

- Muhammad "pardoned all of the Quraish"

- The account poses that she was killed by a blind man, which seems implausible


What They Leave Out and Why They are Wrong

Let's take these in order:

It's true that the episode does not appear in a sahih Hadith collection.  Neither do a lot of things that most people agree did happen.  For example, Discover the Truth makes much of the raid by Kuzr b. Kabir al-Fihri and claims that it proves the Quraish were stealing from Muslims.  Yet this episode is contained only in sources that DTT now claim are "laughable" when the topic is Asma bint Marwan.

Neither is a weak chain of narrators positive proof that an incident did not occur.  Although DTT does not mention it, there are actually two independent chains of narration, which greatly enhances the authenticity of the episode.  Had the incident been flattering to Muhammad, there is no doubt that DTT would be touting it as true, as they do other stories appearing only in Ibn Sa'd's account.  In this case, the account also appears in Ibn Ishaq, which bolsters credibility.

Muhammad did forbid killing women in battle - however he also had them executed.  The sahih Hadith relates in many places that he had women bludgeoned for adultery.  He also approved of women strangled and stabbed to death for nothing other than mocking him, which is no different than what happened to Asma bint Marwan.

Aisha did say that Muhammad never took revenge for his own sake, but only for Allah's.  This distinction was no doubt lost on the many victims of vengeance left in Muhammad's wake.  The Quran says: "Lo! those who malign Allah and His messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter, and has prepared for them the doom of the disdained... "Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter." (33:57-61)

The claim that Muhammad "pardoned all the Quraish" is ridiculous and calls into question the credibility of DTT's editorial.  The real fate of those who opposed Muhammad was grim.  By the time he marched into Mecca, most of the leadership had been killed - some as they lay defenseless (Umaiya, Uqba).  True he did "forgive" those who would agree to convert to Islam.  He also had others slain, even at the kabaa.

Finally, there is the matter of Asma bint Marwan having been stabbed by a "blind man".  In truth, it says that the man was blind at the time he was in the house.  It may be speaking of a physical disability or the affects of entering a dark house (this was before the age of glass windows).  Even if it were the former, there is a sahih hadith verse in which another "slanderer" of Muhammad is stabbed to death by a blind person (after which, Muhammad said that the victim's "blood is permissible").  So this is hardly outside the realm of possibility.

In fact, these details - that a "blind" man was the assassin, and had to feel his way past a suckling infant with his hand - add greatly to the credibility of the account.  Why would a fabricator invent a blind assassin if doing so undermines the feasibility?  Along with names and an exact date ("the beginning of the 19th month from the hijra"), these circumstances would be hailed as confirmation of authenticity had apologists not disagreed with the contents of the story.

So, each of the arguments Discover the Truth makes fall apart elsewhere.  According to the sahih Hadith collection, Muhammad did order women executed and did take revenge.  He even had people, like Ka'b bin Ashraf, executed for writing about him.  The story of Asma bint Marwan is entirely in character for his life after he attained power.

Further Reading

Discover the Truth Propaganda Index

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