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The Religion of Peace

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What can we learn about
Islam from this woman?




"Discover the Truth's" Game

Did Muhammad Forgive a Woman for Poisoning Him?


From Discover the Truth:

There is another story in which a woman poisoned a cooked sheep which Prophet was supposed to eat. Mohammad (p) found out it was poisoned. In short, the Prophet forgave her what she had done and let her go
(March 25, 2015)

What the Apologists Want You to Believe

The story of the Jewish woman from Khaybar, who deliberately put poison into a meal eaten by Muhammad, is cited in the sahih hadith.  It is heavily referenced by apologists because it may be the only time in which Muhammad is said to have "forgiven" someone who did not convert to Islam to save their neck.

What They Offer as Proof

Despite there being many sahih verses to choose from, Discover the Truth quotes a verse from Abu Dawud 4495 graded as daif (weak).   Can you guess why?


What They Leave Out and Why They are Wrong

Scratching the surface shows what a poor example of "forgiveness" this episode really is.  That it is cited so heavily indicates the paucity of available material portraying Muhammad as a man of character.
 
First, DTT doesn't tell us why a woman would want to kill Muhmmad.  They just say that she was Jewish and leave it at that.  The full account from the Sira and hadith tell us that this occurred right after the sudden and violent assault on a farming community, where her own family had been killed (Ibn Kathir v.3 p.284-287, Sahih Bukhari 71:669, Abu Dawud 4494)

With the motive firmly established, the next question is whether or not the woman was punished.  Most accounts simply say that she was not killed.  The bar is set a bit low here.  The woman, after all, had not taken a life and was simply trying to avenge the murder of her family.

However, there is one hadith verse from Abu Dawud which is graded sahih (authentic) in which the woman is killed on Muhammad's order:
So a Jewess presented him at Khaybar with a roasted sheep which she had poisoned. The Messenger of Allah ate of it and the people also ate. He then said: Take away your hands (from the food), for it has informed me that it is poisoned. Bishr ibn al-Bara' ibn Ma'rur al-Ansari died. So he (the Prophet) sent for the Jewess (and said to her): What motivated you to do the work you have done? She said: If you were a prophet, it would not harm you; but if you were a king, I should rid the people of you. The Messenger of Allah then ordered regarding her and she was killed. (Abu Dawud 4497)
In fairness, there are also other sahih hadith in which the woman is not killed (at least not immediately).  However, there are none saying that she was forgiven.  This is why DTT surreptitiously slips in the daif (weak) verse.

Even if she was not killed, it does not mean that she wasn't punished in some other way - or that she didn't have to convert.  One account says that "She then accepted Islam and the Messenger of God left her alone" (Ibn Kathir v.3 p.285).  This is implied by the others as well, in which the woman seems to acknowledge Muhammad as "a prophet." As evidenced in many other places, Muhammad only forgave those who converted to his cult-like religion (ie. pledging their life to him).

Assuming that she was not killed, the real reason seems to be that she was wily enough to turn Muhammad's claim about himself back onto him.  If he had been killed, then he would not have been a prophet; if he were a prophet, then he could not be killed... so the logic goes.  This put Muhammad in a difficult position in which he had to save face by not killing her.

Further Reading

Discover the Truth Propaganda Index

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