THE DEATH OF MUHAMMAD
Muhammad died in 632 A.D. He died as a result of being poisoned
following his attack upon and conquest of the Jewish settlement of
Khaibar. About 2 month before his
attack on Khaibar Muhammad failed in an attempt to go to Mecca. This failure resulted in the Treaty of
Hudaybiyya with the Meccans. He
returned humiliated in the eyes of the Meccans and in the minds of his people. To lift their defeated spirit, Muhammad told
his followers that the events at Hudaybiyya were really a victory. In fact, another convenient
"revelation" was given to Muhammad as proof that it really was a
victory (Sura 48:1). However, Allah was
not able to deliver the Meccan's goods as booty, so Muhammad told his followers
that they were going to attack and plunder the weaker Jewish settlement of
About 6 weeks later Muhammad led his
army and attacked the Jews while they were on their way to work on their date
palms. Khaibar was a settlement
defended by a number of forts spread apart from each other. One by one Muhammad's army took the
forts. Finally, the last few
surrendered to him. Muhammad had
several of the leaders of the Jewish settlement beheaded, one leader (Kinana)
was tortured to reveal where buried treasure was hidden. Then when Kinana was near death, Muhammad
commanded that he be beheaded. Many of
the women and children were enslaved.
Muhammad even took the most beautiful woman for himself and married her
Some of Khaibar's residents made a
deal with Muhammad. Instead of
enslaving them, which would leave the
rich orchards of Khaibar to go untended and unproductive, the Jews would give Muhammad and the Muslims 1/2 of
all of what they produced. Muhammad
accepted the deal, with the stipulation that they could be expelled at his
slightest whim. Years later, Umar
expelled the last remaining Jews from Khaibar.
Immediately following the conquest
of Khaibar, a Jewish woman prepared a dinner for Muhammad and some of his
men. Unknown to the Muslims was that
she had put a poison into the lamb (some say goat) that was served at
dinner. Muhammad ate some of the
poisoned lamb and died as a result three years later.
OF ISLAMIC SOURCES
A - THE POISONING OF MUHAMMAD
B - PREMONITIONS OF HIS DEATH
C - MUHAMMAD AND GABRIEL PRAY FOR HEALING
D - THE ADVENT OF MUHAMMAD'S DEATH
I will use quotes from 4 highly
respected Islamic writings:
1) "Sahih Bukhari”. This Hadith is considered to be the most
important Islamic book, after the Quran.
2) Ibn Ishaq's biography, the "Sirat
Rasul Allah", (THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET), translated by A. Guillaume as
"The Life of Muhammad", is the most authentic Sirat (biographical)
literature recognized in Islam.
3) Ibn Sa'd biography, the "Kitab
al-Tabaqat al-Kabir" (Book of the Major Classes), Volume 2. Of the three, Ibn Sa'd's Sirat contains the
most information relative to Muhammad's death.
I will not attempt to cover the spectrum of subjects Ibn Sa'd addresses
in his. However, I will cover and
present his relevant material.
4) Tabari's "History". Tabari is one of the most highly respected
authors in Islamic writings. His
"History" is 39 volumes.
5) “Sahih Muslim”. This collection of Hadith is considered to
be equal to, or slightly below Bukhari’s collection of Hadith.
NOTE: I have quoted quite a bit of material. Some of it is redundant, but I feel that
each quote I present provides an important detail concerning Muhammad's
poisoning and death. Please forgive the
tedious nature of the quotes; it is essential that I present the source
material as accurately as possible.
NOTE: My comments appear in [ ] type brackets. Frequently the authors themselves enclose comments in ( ) type brackets. I will copy them as they appear in the text.
NOTE: In some cases I will leave out the chain of
narrators because they are quite long, and not necessary for the context of the
Also, I will present quotes from the
sources in as much of a chronological
sequence as possible.
PART A -
THE POISONING OF MUHAMMAD
Bukhari's Hadith 3.786:
Anas bin Malik: A Jewess brought a
poisoned (cooked) sheep for the Prophet who ate from it. She was brought to the
Prophet and he was asked, "Shall we kill her?" He said,
"No." I continued to see the
effect of the poison on the palate of the mouth of Allah's Apostle.
Bukhari's Hadith 4.394: Narrated Abu
Huraira: When Khaibar was conquered, a
roasted poisoned sheep was presented to the Prophet as a gift (by the Jews). The Prophet ordered, "Let all the Jews
who have been here, be assembled before me." The Jews were collected and the Prophet said (to them), "I
am going to ask you a question. Will
you tell the truth?" They said,
"Yes." The Prophet asked, "Who is your father?" They replied, "So-and-so." He said, "You have told a lie; your
father is so-and-so." They
said, "You are right." He
said, "Will you now tell me the truth, if I ask you about
something?" They replied,
"Yes, O Abu Al-Qasim; and if we should tell a lie, you can realize our lie
as you have done regarding our father."
On that he asked, "Who are the people of the (Hell)
Fire?" They said, "We shall
remain in the (Hell) Fire for a short period, and after that you will replace
us." The Prophet said, "You
may be cursed and humiliated in it! By
Allah, we shall never replace you in it."
Then he asked, "Will you now tell me the truth if I ask you a
question?" They said, "Yes, O
Abu Al-Qasim." He asked,
"Have you poisoned this sheep?"
They said, "Yes." He
asked, "What made you do so?"
They said, "We wanted to know if you were a liar in which case we
would get rid of you, and if you are a prophet then the poison would not harm
Sa'd page 249:
Verily a Jewish woman presented
poisoned (meat of) a she goat to the apostle of Allah. He took a piece form it, put it into his
mouth, chewed it and threw it away.
Then he said to the Companions:
"Halt! Verily, its leg
tells me that it is poisoned."
Then he sent for the Jewish woman and asked her; "What induced you to do what you have
done?" She replied, "I wanted
to know if you are true; in that case Allah will surely inform you, and if you
are a liar I shall relieve the people of you."
Sa'd page 249: [different narrator]
The apostle of Allah and his
companions ate from it. It (goat)
said: "I am poisoned." He [Muhammad] said to his Companions,
"Hold you hands! because it has
informed me that it is poisoned!"
They withdrew their hands, but Bishr Ibn al-Bara expired. The apostle of Allah sent for her (Jewess)
and asked her, "What induced you to do what you have done?" She replied, "I wanted to know if you
are a prophet, in that case it will not harm you and if you are a king, I shall
relieve the people of you. He gave
orders and she was put to death. [SEE
Sa'd page 250: [different narrator]
Verily a woman of the Jews of
Khaibar presented poisoned (meat of) goat to the apostle of Allah. The he recognized that it was poisoned, so
he sent for her and asked her, "What induced you to do what you have done?" She replied, "I thought if you are a
prophet, Allah will inform you, and if you are a pretender, I shall relieve
people of you. When the apostle of
Allah felt sick, he got himself "cupped". [SEE NOTE 2]
Sa'd pages 251, 252: [different
....When the apostle of Allah conquered
Khaibar and he had peace of mind, Zaynab Bint al-Harith the brother of Marhab,
who was the spouse of Sallam Ibn Mishkam, inquired,
"Which part of the goat is liked by Muhammad?"
They said, "The foreleg."
Then she slaughtered one from her goats and roasted it (the meat). Then she wanted a poison which could not
fail. .... The apostle of Allah took
the foreleg, a piece of which he put into his mouth. Bishr took another bone and put it into his mouth. When the apostle of Allah ate one morsel of
it Bishr ate his and other people also ate from it. Then the apostle of Allah said, "Hold back your hands!
because this foreleg; ...informed me that it is poisoned. Thereupon Bishr said, "By Him who has
made you great! I discovered it from
the morsel I took. Nothing prevented me
from emitting it out, but the idea that I did not like to make your food
unrelishing. When you had eaten what
was in your mouth I did not like to save my life after yours, and I also
thought you would not have eaten it if there was something wrong.
Bishr did not rise form his seat but
his color changed to that of "taylsan" (a green cloth)..........The
apostle of Allah sent for Zaynab and said to her, "What induced you to do
what you have done?" She replied,
"You have done to my people what you have done. You have killed my father, my uncle and my husband, so I said to
myself, "If you are a prophet, the foreleg will inform you; and others
have said, "If you are a king we will get rid of you.""......
The apostle of Allah lived after
this three years till in consequence of his pain he passed away. During his illness he used to say, "I
did not cease to find the effect of the (poisoned) morsel, I took at Khaibar
and I suffered several times (from its effect) but now I feel the hour has come
of the cutting of my jugular vein."
Volume 8, page 123, 124:
When the messenger of God rested
from his labor, Zaynab bt. al-Harith, the wife of Sallam b. Mishkam, served him
a roast sheep. She had asked what part
of the sheep the messenger of God liked best and was told that it was the
foreleg. So she loaded that part with
poison, and she poisoned the rest of the sheep too. Then she brought it. When
she set it before the messenger of God, he took the foreleg and chewed a bit of
it, but he did not swallow it. With him
was Bishr b. al-Bara b. Marur, who, like the messenger of God, took some of it;
Bishr, however, swallowed it, while the messenger of God spat it out saying,
"This bone informs me that it has been poisoned." He asked, "What led you to do
this?" She said: "How you have afflicted my people is
not hidden from you. So I said,
"If he is a prophet, he will be informed; but if he is a king, I shall be
rid of him"". The prophet
forgave her. Bishr died of the food he
Volume 8, page 124: [different
The messenger of God said during the
illness from which he died - the mother of Bishr had come in to visit him -
"Umm Bishr, at this very moment I feel my aorta being severed because of
the food I ate with your son at Khaybar."
[See NOTE 3]
There is disagreement over whether of not Muhammad had the women who
poisoned him put to death. In short, he had her put to death for the death of the
other Muslim - Bishr, who quickly died from the poisoning. See the reports by Ibn Sa'd, p. 250.
NOTE 2: Cupping is essentially drawing a small
amount of blood from your body.
Muhammad believed that bleeding oneself was "the best of
The note on quote A8 states that the expression, "it severed his aorta"
need not be taken literally; it is used metaphorically for extreme pain.
PART B -
PREMONITIONS OF HIS DEATH
Bukhari's Hadith 5.713:
Al-Khattab used to let Ibn Abbas sit beside him, so 'AbdurRahman bin 'Auf said
to 'Umar, "We have sons similar to him." 'Umar replied, "(I
respect him) because of his status that you know." 'Umar then asked Ibn 'Abbas about the
meaning of this Holy Verse:-- "When comes the help of Allah and the
conquest of Mecca . . ." (110.1)
replied, "That indicated the death of Allah's Apostle which Allah informed
him of." 'Umar said, "I do
not understand of it except what you understand."
'Aisha: The Prophet in his ailment in which he died, used to say, "O
still feel the pain caused by the food I ate at Khaibar, and at this
time, I feel
as if my aorta is being cut from that poison."
Sa'd page 244:
... and there has been no prophet
but he has lived half the life of the prophet preceding him. Jesus the son of Mary lived for one hundred
and twenty five years, and this is the sixty second year of my life. He (prophet) died half the year after this.
Sa'd page 239:
The appointed hour (of death) of the
apostle of Allah came near and he was ordered to recite repeatedly
"tasbih" (lit. glorification) and ask for His forgiveness.
Sa'd page 240:
When (the Surah) Allah's succor and
the triumph comes; was revealed he (prophet) said: (It signifies) call from Allah and departure from the world.
Volume 9 page 108:
When the prophet returned to Medina
after performing the Pilgrimage of Completion, he began to have a complaint of
illness. As travel was allowed (after
the pilgrimage), the news of the prophet's illness spread......Then in Muharram
the prophet complained of the pain from which he died.
PART C -
MUHAMMAD AND GABRIEL PRAY FOR HEALING
NOTE: It was already quoted from Ibn Sa'd above
(page 250 that Muhammad tried to get himself healed of the poisoning.
Sa'd page 263
Verily during his illness the
prophet recited "al-Mu'awwadhatayn" [Sura 113, and 114], and blow his
breath upon his body while rubbing his face.
[This was done in an effort to be healed].
Muslim volume 3, # 5440
Aisha reported that when Allah’s
Messenger fell ill, he recited over his body Mu’awwidhatan and blew over him
and when his sickness was aggravated I used to recite over him and rub him with
his hand with the hope that it was more blessed. Also ref. Hadith # 5441.
Sa'd page 265
The apostle of Allah fell ill and he
i.e. Gabriel, chanted on him, saying, "In the name of Allah I chant on to
ward off from you every thing that harms you and (to ward off you) against
every envier and from every evil eye and Allah will heal you."
Sa'd page 265 [Different narrator]
Aisha, the wife of the prophet used
to say, "When the apostle of Allah fell ill, Gabriel chanted on him
saying, "In the name of Allah Who will cure you and Who will heal you from
every malady (and will ward off) the evil of envier who envies and from smite
of the evil eye.""
Sa'd page 322
Verily, whenever the apostle of
Allah fell ill, he asked for recovery, from Allah. But in the illness as a result of which he died, he did not pray
for recovery; he used to say, "O soul!
What has happened to thee that thou are seeking refuge in every place of
- THE ADVENT OF MUHAMMAD'S DEATH
quoting from Bukhari's Hadith 5.713:]
The Prophet in his ailment in which
he died, used to say, "O 'Aisha! I still feel the pain caused by the food
I ate at Khaibar, and at this time, I feel as if my aorta is being cut from
Hisham page 678:
While matters were thus the apostle
began to suffer from the illness by which God took him to what honor and
compassion He intended for him shortly before the end of Safar or in the
beginning of Rabi'ul-awwal. It began,
so I have been told, when he went to Baqi'u'l-Gharqad in the middle of the
night and prayed for the dead. Then he
returned to his family and in the morning his sufferings began.
Hisham page 679:
Then the apostle's illness worsened
and he suffered much pain. He said,
"Pour seven skins of water from different wells over me so that I may go
out to the men and instruct them."
We made him sit down in a tub belonging to Hafsa d. Umar and we poured
water over him until he cried, "Enough, enough!"
....then he [Muhammad] said,
"God has given one of his servants the choice between this world and that
which is with God and he has chosen the latter."
Hisham page 680:
Then some of his wives gathered to
him.... while his uncle Abbas was with him, and they agreed to force him to
take medicine. Abbas said, "Let me
force him," but they did it. When
he recovered he asked who had treated him thus. When they told him it was his uncle he said, "This is a
medicine which women have brought from that country," and he pointed in
the direction of Abyssinia [Ethiopia].
When he asked why they had done that his uncle said, "We were
afraid that you would get pleurisy;" he replied, "That is a disease
which God would not afflict me with.
Let no one stop in the house until they have been forced to take this
medicine, except my uncle."
Maymuna [one of Muhammad's wives] was forced to take it although she was
fasting because of the apostle's oath, as a punishment for what they had done
Sa'd page 294
Umm Bishr [the mother of the Muslim
man who also died eating poison], came to the prophet during his illness and
said, "O apostle of Allah! I never
saw fever like it in any one." The
prophet said to her, "Our trial is double and so our reward [in heaven],
is double. What do the people say about
it [his illness]?" She said,
"They say it is pleurisy."
Thereupon the apostle said, "Allah will not like to make His
apostle suffer from it (pleurisy) because it indicates the possession of Satan,
but (my disease is the result of) the morsel that I had taken along your
son. It has cut my jugular vein."
SEE NOTE 3
Hisham page 682:
....that he heard Aisha [one of
Muhammad's wives] say: "The
apostle died in my bosom during my turn: [the night Muhammad was to spend
sleeping with her] I had wronged none
in regard to him. It was due to my
ignorance and extreme youth that the apostle died in my arms."
Sa'd page 322:
When the last moment of the prophet
was near, he used to draw a sheet over his face; but when he felt uneasy, he
removed it from his face and said:
"Allah's damnation be on the Jews and the Christians who made the
graves of their prophets objects of worship."
NOTE 3: Pleurisy is an infection of a lung
membrane. It is painful. I don't know why Muhammad considered this
infection to be from Satan, but poisoning would not be from Satan.
OF THE SOURCES
Muhammad attacked Khaibar. He destroyed,
tortured, murdered, plundered, and enslaved many people (ref Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir,
volume 2, page 134, 136, 137). They were not preparing to attack him. A Jewish woman,
whose family had been wiped out by Muhammad, put poison into a lamb and fed it to
Muhammad and the other Muslims. Muhammad ingested some of the poisoned lamb and
began to feel it's effects. He died three years later as a result of the poisoning.
What needs to be investigated here
are the circumstances of Muhammad's death.
The Jews were planning to murder him.
The Jews believed that a real prophet would be forewarned of their deed
but an impostor wouldn't be warned by God.
The Muslims also believed this; the other Muslim who died said that he
didn't think Muhammad would eat of something that was poisoned (see quote in
The Jews were right, Muhammad did
eat of the poison, and did die from it.
They proved, according to their test, that Muhammad was not a
prophet. As they said (quote A2):
"We wanted to know if you were
a liar in which case we would get rid of you, and if you are a prophet then the
poison would not harm you."
These Jews were convinced that a
real prophet would know what was going on.
In this case Muhammad didn't know.
Only after Muhammad ate from the lamb did the lamb "talk to
him". I don't think that that was
anything miraculous in itself; even the other Muslim knew it was bad before
Muhammad ate from it. Most adults know
when they are eating something that is bad.
So for Muhammad to say the sheep "talked" to him is not
prophetic at all. Even a child spits
out bad tasting food.
Many times previously, Muhammad
claimed to have had "revelations" that warned him of danger. He even used one of these convenient
"revelations" as grounds to attack the Jewish settlement of Banu
Nadhir. Yet at Khaibar the revelation
came too late: too late to save his own
life, too late to save Bishr's life.
As his illness wore on, Muhammad
began to pray for healing – he even rubbed his “healing” hand upon
himself. Gabriel also got into the act
and prayed for his healing (see quotes
C2 & C3). Muhammad even got himself
"cupped" (the best of all medicines!), (quote A5). Obviously, at this point in time, Muhammad
wanted to be healed.
But it didn't help. As it progressively got worse, Muhammad
realized that he was dying, ceased praying for healing (quote C4), and claimed
that Allah had given him a choice to going to Paradise, or living on
earth. Muhammad said he then wanted to
go to Paradise. Knowing the game was
up, he made the best out of a failed situation.
Muhammad's earlier premonitions of
his deaths read more like the cosmic words of a mystic. Nothing definite is ever said about them
until after his approaching death.
Perhaps he had seen this type of death before and knew the outcome. It doesn't take a prophet or a "revelation"
to know that death is near.
My basic point is this: the Jews proved that Muhammad was not a real
prophet. He ingested the poison, so did
at least one of his followers. He
attempted to be healed, he tried his medicine, and his form of “laying on of hands”, his prayer, Aisha’s
prayer, and even Gabriel’s prayer, but in the end, he died from the poison.
1) If Muhammad were a real prophet of God,
why didn't he catch the poison before he ate it?
2) If you believe that it was God's will
for Muhammad to have eaten the poison, along with Bishr, why then did Muhammad
try to get well? Even Gabriel prayed for Muhammad to get better, but Allah didn't
answer that prayer either.
3) Why did Gabriel not know the will of
Allah? Why would Gabriel pray if Allah had decided death?
did Muhammad force the other Muslims to drink the medicine he was given? One
of them was one of his wives, and she was fasting. He forced her to break her
fast and drink the medicine as well. Doesn't this sound vindictive and petty?
5) Why, when just before his death, did
Muhammad have to utter a curse upon the Christians and the Jews? Wouldn't it
have been better for Muhammad to pray for guidance for them? This also
sounds like a jealous, bitter prayer to Allah. Muhammad prayed for and uttered
curses instead of asking Allah to guide people.
6) Why would pleurisy, which is a normal
infection of the lung membrane, be considered to be from Satan, but being
poisoned would not be from Satan?
Muhammad was not a real prophet, he
was a false prophet. He died as a
result of eating poison that he didn't know about. The poisoned lamb "spoke" to him too late. Only when he realized he was dying did
Muhammad "spiritualize" his suffering and coming death.
Prior to that he tried to get well.
Moses knew about his coming death
(Deut 34:1-5). Jesus also knew of His
future death (Mark 8:32, 32). Yet
Muhammad was in the dark until he himself realized he was going to die.
Paul the apostle was bitten by a
poisonous snake (Acts 28:1-6), but Paul suffered no ill effects from the
bite. God had his hand of protection on
Paul, to finish the work laid out for him.
Muhammad died so suddenly that there was confusion as to would be the
next ruler of the Islamic state. To
this day, part of that confusion remains. The Islamic world is divided in part
because of this issue (Shia vs. Sunni).
Wouldn't Allah, who abhors division within the Ummah have protected
Muhammad long enough to insure that his state remain unified, and a clearly
defined successor be named?
Jesus predicted false prophets would
come into the world and mislead many (Matthew 24:24). Muhammad was such a false prophet. Both Jesus and Moses knew God face to face, Muhammad only had a
spirit or angel he called "Gabriel" speaking to him. In the end, even this angel's prayers were
not answered by Allah. Could it be that
this "Gabriel" was preaching a false religion (Galatians 1:8) to
Muhammad? Could Gabriel have been a
deceptive demon or Satan himself?
Rev A 3-11-98, Rev B: 9/3/01, Rev C: 11/28/02
Articles by Silas
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