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The year following die battle of Badr. Ramadhan, A.H. II., to Shaban, A.H. III. - A.D. 624.
Ętat 66.

Battle of Badr followed by an early movement against the Jews

The triumph at Badr, and consequent consolidation of the power of Mahomet over his adherents at Medina, was followed by an almost immediate movement against the Jews, and other inhabitants who ventured to dispute his claims, and gainsay the authority of his pretended revelation1.

Assassination of Asthma, daughter of Marwan - Ramadhan A.H. II, January, 624

The first blood shed at Medina with the countenance of Mahomet was that of a woman. Asma, daughter of Marwan, belonged to the Bani Aws, and to a family which had not thrown off their ancestral faith. She made no secret of her dislike to Islam; and, being a poetess, composed some

1 At the risk of repetition, I must again draw attention to the importance of bearing in mind, at this stage of the history, that tradition in respect of these Jews is exclusively one-sided. They were all (with exception of the few gained over to Islam, and therefore lost as witnesses) either expatriated or exterminated. They are reproached in the severest terms in the Coran; every Moslem, therefore, believes it a merit and a privilege to cast abuse upon them. It would be vain to expect impartial evidence from such a source. Vol. i. p. lviii. Canon I. H.

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couplets, after the battle of Badr, on the folly or her fellow citizens in receiving and trusting one, who had slain the chief men amongst his own people. The verses spread from mouth to mouth (for such was one of the few means possessed by the Arabs of giving expression to public opinion 2), and at last reached the ears of the Mussulmans. They were offended, and Omeir, a blind man of the same tribe, vowed that he would kill the author. It was but a few days after the return of Mahomet from Badr, that this man, in the dead of night, crept into the apartment where, surrounded by her little ones, Asma lay asleep. Feeling stealthily with his hand, he removed her infant from her breast, and plunged his sword with such force into her bosom that it passed through her back. Next morning, being present in the Mosque at prayers, Mahomet, who seems to have been aware of the bloody design,3 said to Omeir, "Hast thou, slain the daughter of Marwan?" "Yes; he answered; "but tell me now is there any cause of apprehension for what I have done?" "None whatever," said Mahomet; "two

2 Couplets, if happily composed, on any topic of general interest, spread abroad like wild fire. They performed the part of the press in our days, by giving expression to public opinion, and on critical occasions, often played an important part in forming it. Mahomet greatly dreaded the satires of his enemies, and not unfrequently employed poets for a similar purpose on his own aide.

3 Hishami says that Mahomet, being vexed by Asma's verses, said publicly, "Who will rid me of this woman?" which speech, overheard by Omeir, led to the assassination.

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goats will not knock tlieir heads together for it."4 Then turning to the people assembled in the Mosque, he said, "If ye desire to see a man that hath assisted the Lord and his Prophet, look ye here!" "What!" Omar exclaimed, "the blind Omeir!" Nay," replied the Prophet, "call him not blind; rather call him Omeir the seeing."5

As the assassinator returned to his home in Upper Medina, he passed the sons of Asma burying their mother; they accused him of the murder, which without compunction he avowed, and added that if they dared to repeat things such as she had uttered, he would slay the whole family in the same manner. This fierce threat had the desired effect. Those of the Bani Khatma (the tribe to which the husband of Asma belonged) who had secretly espoused the cause of Mahomet, now openly professed their adherence, and the whole tribe succumbed before the determination and growing influence of the Prophet's followers.

And of Abu Afak

Many weeks did not elapse before another foul murder was committed by the express command of

4 Meaning that it was a matter of trifling import.

5 K. Wackidi, 103; Wackidi, 172; Hishami, 452. Asma belonged to the Bani Omeya ibn Zeid, and was married into the Bani Khatma, both branches of the Bani Aus Allah - a tribe one of the last of the Ausites to acknowledge Mahomet. See vol. ii. p. 219, note; and C. de. Perceval, v. iii. p.5.

I do not find any authority ftsr Weil's statement (p. 117, note 154) that her father was a Jew. If; as that note states, Omeir was a former husband of Asma, there was private enmity in the murder, which would make it all the more criminal.

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Shawwal, A.H. II. February, 624

Mahomet 6. A Jew, named Abu Afak, lived in the suburbs of Medina, with the Bani Amr. Though he had reached, it is said, the great age of twice three score years, he was active in his opposition to the new religion. He, too, composed some stinging verses which annoyed the Mussulmans; and the Prophet signified his wish for his assassination by saying to his followers, - "Who will rid me of this pestilent fellow?" A convert from amongst the Bani Amr watched his opportunity, and falling unawares upon the aged man, as he slept outside his house, despatched him with one blow of his sword. The death shriek of the Jew drew the neighbours to the spot; but though they vowed vengeance against the murderer, he escaped unrecognized7.

6 K. Wackidi, 103 and 274 ½; Wackidi, 174; Hishami, 452. The Secretary of Wackidi says distinctly,---" Now this was by command of the Prophet." Hishami states that Mahomet, when annoyed by Abu Afak's satires, used the expression in the text, which is equivalent to a command.

The assassination is said to have occurred in Shawwal (the month after the battle of Badr), but before the attack on the Bani Cainucaa - which would be February. Another account states that Salim, the murderer, waited till the hot weather, when the old man used to sleep outside his house, which would make it later in the season.

7 Hishami is apparently in error, when he says that Abu Afak began to display his enmity against Islam from the time that Mahomet put to death Harith, son of the poet Suweid ibn Samit (See vol. i. p. ccxxxiii. note.) Harith was executed because at the battle of Ohod he treacherously slew the murderer of his father, --- an event which did not happen till a year later. Wackidi, 287 ½. Hishami also makes the enmity of Asma to be caused by the assassination of Abu Afak, - while the most reliable accounts place her murder first.

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Alarm of the Jews

These lawless and perfidious acts alarmed all that party at Medina, which still regarded the strangers and their new faith with suspicion or dislike. Terror crept over the hearts of the Jews. There was good reason for it.

The Bani Cainucaa threatened by Muhammad

The Bani Cainucaa, who lived in a strongly built suburb, were the first of the Jewish tribes against which hostile measures were taken. The biographers assert that the Jews rebelled and broke their treaty. How the breach first occurred is not altogether certain. it is said that Mahomet went to their chief place of resort, shortly after his return from Badr; and, having assembled them together, summoned them to acknowledge him as their Prophet. - "By the Lord!" he said, "ye know full well that I am the Apostle of God. Believe, therefore, before that happen to you which has befallen the vanquished Coreish!" They refused, and defied him to do his worst8.

Quarrel between them and the men of Medina

An incident soon occurred which afforded the pretext for an attack. An Arab girl, married to a convert of Medina, went to the shop of a goldsmith in the market-place of the Cainucaa, where waiting for some ornaments, she sat down. A silly neighbour, unperceived, pinned the lower hem of her skirt behind to the upper dress. When she arose, the awkward exposure excited laughter, and she screamed with shame. A Mussulman, being apprised of the affront, slew

8 Wackidi (p. 178) distinctly makes this occurrence to precede the insult offered to the Arab girl.

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the offending Jew; the brethren of the Jew, in their turn, fell upon the Mussulman and despatched him. The family of the murdered Mussulman appealed to the converts of Medina, who espoused their cause. Mahomet made no attempt to compose the quarrel, nor any demand that the guilty should be singled out and brought to justice. Without farther communication with the Jews, he marshalled his followers, and placing the great white banner in the

They are beseiged. Middle of Shawwal, A.H. II, February, 624 A.D.

hands of Hamza, marched forth to attack the offending tribe. Their settlement was sufficiently fortified to resist the rude assault. It was therefore invested, and a strict blockade maintained. This happened within one month from the battle of Badr9.

They surrender at discretion, and are sent into exile

The Bani Cainucaa were besieged closely by Mahomet for fifteen days, when, despairing of the aid which they had looked for from their Khazraj allies, they surrendered at discretion10. As, one by one, they issued from the stronghold, their hands were

9 Wackidi, 177; Hishami, 256; S. Wackdid, 105. The story of the Arab girl and murder of the Mussulman, is entirely omitted by the Secretary of Wackidi; which is the more remarkable, as it is given by Wackidi himself in detail in the "Campaigns." The Secretary simply says, that after the victory of Badr, the Bani Cainucaa, out of jealousy and enmity, broke the treaty, whereupon was revealed v.61, Sura, viii. - If thou fearest treachery from any people, reject their treaty, &C. But that passage is generally held not to have been given forth till three years later, when the Bani Coreitza were attacked. Wackidi himself gives this latter tradition as an alternative one. Altogether, the case against the Bani Cainucaa is weak and unsatisfactory in the extreme.

10 Some traditions note, as the condition of surrender, that their property was to be given up, but their wives and children spared;

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tied behind their backs, and preparations made for execution 11. But Abdallah ibn Obey, the Khazrajite, could not endure to see his faithful allies led thus away to be massacred in cold blood 12. Approaching Mahomet, he begged for mercy to be shown them; but Mahomet turned his face away. Abdallah persisted in his suit, and seizing the Prophet by the side, as he stood armed in his coat of mail, reiterated the petition. "Let me alone!" cried Mahomet; but Abdallah did not relax his hold. The marks of anger mantled in the Prophet's face, and again he exclaimed loudly, "Wretch, let me go!" "Nay!" said Abdallah, I will not let thee go, until thou hast compassion on my friends; 300 soldiers armed in mail, and 400 unequipped, -- they defended me on the fields of Hadaick and Boath from every foe. Wilt thou cut them down in one day, O Mahomet? As for me, I am one verily that feareth the vicissitudes of fortune." Abdallah was yet too strong for Mahomet

but if, as would appear, their own live. were not guaranteed, conditions of any kind would seem out of place.

11 The capital sentence that awaited them is distinctly stated by Tabari (p. 825) on the authority of Wackidi, and of Muhammad ibn Salih, derived through Omar ibn Cutada. The same also appears from Wackidi's "Campaigns," p.179, where it is stated that Mahomet, at the remonstrance of Abdallah, "released the prisoners from death."

12 See vol. i. p. ccxxxiv. They had expected him to interfere in their behalf with an armed force; but Abdallah probably found that his authority had been already too greatly sapped to enable him successfully to contend with Mahomet.

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with safety to neglect the appeal so urgently preferred. "Let them go!" He said sullenly; "God curse them, and God curse him also!" So Mahomet released them from death, and commanded that they should be sent into exile 13. They were conducted forth by Obada ibn Samit, one of the Khazrajite Leaders, as far as Dzobab; thence they proceeded to Wadi al Cora, and being assisted there by the Jewish inhabitants with carriage, reached Adzraat, a territory on the confines of Syria.

The spoil

The spoil consisted mainly of armour and goldsmiths' tools, for that was the chief occupation of the tribe; they possessed no agricultural property, nor any fields. Mahomet took his choice of the arms, -- three bows, three swords, and two coats of mail. The royal fifth was then set aside, and the remainder distributed amongst the army.

Effect of these extreme measures on the Jews and disaffected

The Jews might now see clearly the designs of Mahomet respecting them. It was no petty question of an affronted female. Blood had no doubt been shed in the quarrel; but it was shed equally on both

13 The scene between Abdallah and Mahomet is in all our authorities. Wackidi has also another tradition, that Aballah, having subsequently gone to Mahomet's house to intercede, for the Cainiucaa, and beg that they might be allowed to remain, was there maltreated by Oweim ibn Saida, who drove him against the wall, so that be retired with his face scarred; but the story looks like on invention - for every opportunity is eagerly taken of abusing Abdallah. The tale is not given in the other biographies. It is evident, that on this occasion at least, Abdallah had the better of Mahomet, who was afraid of him, and cowered before his peremptory and threatening attitude.

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sides. And had there not been a deadly enmity, and a predetermination to root out the Israelites, the difference might easily have been composed. Indeed, of such minor importance was the quarrel, that some biographers do not mention it at all, but justify the attack by a pretended revelation from heaven of treachery to be apprehended from the Bani Cainucaa. The violent proceedings of Mahomet widened also to some extent the breach between his followers and the disaffected citizens. Abdallah upbraided Obada (they were both principals in the confederacy with the Cainucaa,) for the part he had taken in abandoning their allies, and aiding in their exile: -- "What! art thou free from the oath with which we ratified their alliance? Hast thou forgotten how they stood by us, and shed for us their blood, on such and such a day ? "- and he began enumerating the engagements in which they had fought together. Obada cut him short with the decisive answer, -- "hearts have changed. Islam hath blotted all treaties out."14

The affair of Al Sawick, a petty attack by Abu Sofian. Dzul Hijj, A.H. II, April, A.D. 624

After the expulsion of the Bani Cainucaa, Medina enjoyed a month of repose. It was then thrown into alarm by a petty inroad of the Coreish. Abu Sofian, smarting under the defeat at Badr, and still bound by mis oath of abstinence15, resolved, by way

14 K. Wackidi 103; Wackidi, 174; Hishami 247; Tabair, 324. Some place the siege of the Cainucaa after the affair of Sawick.

15 For the oath, see above p.127. In connection with this attack, Wackidi and his Secretary mention only the vow to abstain from

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of revenge, to beard his enemies at their very doors. Setting out with two hundred mounted followers 16, he took the eastern road skirting the table land of Najd, and arrived by night at the settlement of the Bani Nadhir, a Jewish tribe, who lived close to Medina. Refused admittance by their chief, Huwey, he repaired to Sallam (Abu Rafi), another leading man of the same tribe, who furnished him with intelligence regarding Medina, and hospitably entertained the party during the night. When the dawn was about to break, Abu Sofian moved stealthily forward, and fell upon the corn fields and palm gardens of Oreidh 17, a place two or three miles to the north-east of Medina. Some of these, with their farm-houses, he burned to the ground, and killed two of the cultivators. Then, holding his vow to be fulfilled, he hurried back to Mecca. Meanwhile, the alarm was raised in Medina, and Mahomet hastened, at the head of the citizens, in pursuit. To accelerate their flight, the Coreish cast away their wallets filled with meal 18, which were

oil. Hishami, on the authority of Ibn Ishac, says that he rowed he would use no water as an ablution for uncleanness. This has been urged as a proof that washing for ceremonial impurity was current amongst the heathen Arabs before Islam. If so, the practice may have been borrowed from the Jews; but the passage in Hishami carries no great weight.

16 Some other traditions say forty followers only.

17 See vol. i p. ccxxxiv.

18 Wackidi, 182. - meaning their road provisions generally ; - whence the name of this

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picked up by the pursuers. After an absence of five days, 3lahomet returtied from the fruitless diase. And shortly'after, he celebrated the first festival of the Bed at Zoha, which I have described above.

Expedition to Carcarat al Cadr, against the Bani Ghatafan and Suleim Moharram, A.H. III. May, A.D. 624.

During the summer and autumn, two or three expeditions of inferior interest were undertaken against the nomad tribes of Suleim and Ghatafan, who inhabited the plains of Najd, to the east of Medina. They were descended from a common stock with the Coreish 19, and were probably incited by them, or at least by the example of Abu Sofian, to project a plundering attack upon Medina, a task in itself congenial with their predatory habits. Timely intelligence reached Medina that they had begun to assemble at Carcarat al Cadr; Mahomet, anticipating their design, hastened to surprise them, at the head of 200 men. On reaching the spot he found it deserted; but a herd of five hundred camels, securely feeding, under charge of a single boy, fell into his hands, and were divided as spoil of war.

attack, Sawick. Burton derives Suweikah, a valley some twenty miles on the road towards Yenbo and Mecca, from this incident. But Abu Sofian would seem to have taken the eastern road also on his return, as Mahomet is said to have pursued him as far as Carcarat al Cadr, a station of the Bani Suleim, noticed in the next paragraph. Of Sawick, Burton writes, - "This is the old and modern Arabic name for a dish of green grain, toasted, pounded, mixed with dates or sugar, and eaten on journies when it is found difficult to cook." Vol. ii. 19.

19 See the table at p. ccxxiv. vol. i. The Bani Ghatafan were divided into many branches, some of which, as the Bani Murra and Fezara, continued long to alarm Mahomet with threatened attacks.

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The herd boy was made captive, but afterward re- leased on his professing belief in Mahomet 20.

Second expedition against the B. Ghatafan, to Dzu Amr. 1st Rabi, A.H. III. June A.D. 624

A month later, the Bani Ghatafan were reported to be collecting troops at Dzu Amr, in Najd. Having assembled a strong force of four hundred and fifty men, some of them mounted on horses, Mahomet again proceeded to disperse them. In three or four marches he reached Dzu Amr; but the enemy, having notice of his approach, had retired to the tops of the hills, and secured in the fastnesses their families and cattle. One of the enemy, whom he met on the road, and employed as a guide, was converted and spared as before. In effecting this demonstration Mahomet was absent eleven days 21.

and against the B. Suleim, to Bohran. 1st Jumad, A.H. III. August A.D. 624

In the autumn Mahomet led another attack, at the head of three hundred followers, against the Bani Suleim. Arrived at their rendezvous, he found that the force had broken up. So, after staying a few days at Bohran, he returned without meeting the enemy 22.

Zeid plunders a Coreishite caravan at al Carada. 2nd Jumad, A.H. III. September A.D. 624

The following month was marked by a more successful affair. The Coreish, finding the sea-shore closely watched by Mahomet, and the tribes on the road by Yenbo in league with him, dared not expose their merdiandize to the perils of that route.

20 K. Wackidi; 103 ½; Wackidi, 182; Tabari, 831; Hishami, 246.

21 Wackidi, 193, gives the stages thus - Al Mackka; the defile at Khubeit; Dzul Cassa; Dzu Amr.

22 Authorities as before.

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They were reduced to great straits. "If we sit still at home" they said, "we shall be eating up our capital; how can we live, unless we maintain uninterrupted our winter and our summer caravans? We are shut out from the coast; let us try the eastern road by Irac." Accordingly they equipped a caravan to traverse the table land of the central desert 23. It was headed by Safwan, and the Coreish sent much property with him for barter, chiefly in vessels and bars of silver. Furat, an Arab guide, promised to lead them by a way unknown to the followers of Mahomet; but intelligence of this rich venture, and of the road which it was to take, readied the Prophet through an Arab, who chanced to visit the Jewish tribes at Medina 23; and Zeid, the son of Harith, was immediately despatched in pursuit, with one hundred picked and well-mounted men. He came up with the caravan, and fell suddenly upon it. The leaders of the Coreish fled, the rest were overpowered, aud all the merchandize and silver were carried off, with one or two prisoners, by Zeid, to Medina. The

23 There is a great scarcity of water by this route; but the summer was now passed, and water could moreover be carried on camels between the distant wells.

24 He belonged to the Bani Ashja, a sub-tribe of the Ghatafan, who appear all to have been hostile to Mahomet. He visited the Bard Nadhir at Medina. Kinana, a chief of that tribe, set wine before him, and they drank in company with Suleit ibn Noman, a believer (for wine was not then forbidden); they became intoxicated, when the Arab divulged the secret, and it was immediately conveyed by Suleit to Mahomet. Wackidi, 197.

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booty was valued at one hundred thousand dirhems; so that, after appropriation of the Prophet's fifth, eight hundred dirhems fell to the lot of each soldier. Furat, the guide, was brought to Mahomet, who promised him liberty without ransom, if he would believe. He embraced Islam, and was set free 24.

Assassination, by Mahomet's command, of Kab, the son of Ashraf. 1st Rabi, A.H. III. July, A.D. 624

No further expedition was undertaken during this year; but I must hot omit to notice another of those foul and dastardly assassinations, which darken the pages of this history. Kab ibn Ashraf was the son of a Jewess of the Bani Nadhir, and with that tribe he appears to have identified himself. The victory of Badr deeply mortified him, in common with other ill-wishers of the Prophet. He made no attempt to conceal his discontent; and soon aft6r proceeded to Mecca, where, being a poet, he stirred up the Coreish to avenge their heroes buried in the well of Badr, by elegies lamenting their hard fate. On his return to Medina he is further accused of disquieting the Mussulmans, by the publication of amatory sonnets addressed to their women, - a curious and favourite mode of annoyance amongst the Arabs 25. Mahomet, apprehensive that the free expression of hostile feeling by persons of such influence as Kab, would sap his authority at Medina,

25 Both Wackidi and his Secretary say that he was "set free from the sentence of death," which apparently would otherwise have been executed oil him, but for what specini reason is hot apparent. Ibid. K. Wackidi 105; Hishami, 248; Tabari; 341.

26 The following couplets by 'Cab, in praise or Omm al Fadhl

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made no secret of his animosity towards Kab. He prayed aloud, - "Oh Lord, deliver me from the son of Ashraf, in whatsoever way it seemeth good unto thee, because of his open sedition and his verses."26 But instead pf adopting an honourable and straight-forward course, he prompted his followers, as on previous occasions, to assassination, by saying to them, - "Who will ease me of the son of Ashraf? for be troubleth me." Mohammad, the son of Maslama, replied, - "Here am I ; - I will slay him." Mahomet, signifying his approval, desired him to take counsel with the chief of his tribe, Sad ibn Moadz. By the advice of Sad, the conspirator having chosen four other men from the Bani Aws as his accomplices, took them to Mahomet, and obtained his sanction to their plan of throwing the victim off

bint al Harith, are quoted by the biographers, in support of the accusation : -

Alas, my heart! wilt thou pass on? wilt thou not tarry to praise her? Wilt thou leave Omm al Fadhl deserted?
Of saffron colour is she: so full or charms, that if thou wert to squeeze her, there would be pressed forth Wine, Henna, and Katam.*
She is so slim that her figure, from ankle to shoulder, bends as she desires to stand upright, and cannot.
When we met she caused me to forget (my own wife) Omm Halim, although the cord that bindeth me to her is not to be broken.
Sprung of the Bani Aamir, my heart is mad with the love of her; and if she chose she could cure Kab of his sickness.
She is the Princess of women; and her father is the Prince of his tribe, the Entertainer of strangers, the Fulfiller of promises.
I never saw the Sun come forth by night, until one dark evening she appeared unto me in her splendour. Tabari, p.335.

* Meaning, apparently, the elements of beauty, or the colours red, yellow, and black,

27 K. Wackidi, 104; Wackidi 186.

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his guard by fair words and deceitful promises Aba Naila, the foster brother of Kab, was deputed to pave the way. He complained to Kab of the calamities and poverty which the advent of Mahomet had brought upon them, and begged that he would advance corn and dates for the sustenance of himself and a party like-minded with him. Kab, taken in the snare, demanded security; Aba Naila agreed that they should pledge their arms, and appointed a late hour of meeting at the house of Kab, when the bargain would be completed. Towards evening the band of conspirators assembled at the house of Mahomet. It was a bright moonlight night, and the Prophet accompanied them to the outskirts of the town. As they emerged from the low shrubs of the Moslem burying ground, he bade them God-speed; and, parting from them, called out, "Go! The blessing of God be with you, and assistance from on high!" Passing the valley of Oreidh, and several hamlets of Medina and of Jewish citizens, they arrived about two or three miles north-east of the city, at the house of Kab. He had retired to rest. Abu Naila called aloud for him to come down, and Kab started from his couch. His bride (for he had been lately married, and the biographers delight to record every circumstance which adds to the cruelty and heartlessness of the affair) caught him by the skirt, and warned him not to go. "It is but my brother, Abu Naila;" he said; and, as he pulled the garment from her, gaily added the verse, ----- "Shall a

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warrior be challenged and not respond?" Descending, he was not alarmed to find the party armed, as the weapons were to be left with him in pledge. They wandered along, conversing on the misfortunes of Medina, till they reached a waterfall 28, and upon its bank they proposed to pass some part of the moonlight night. Meanwhile, his foster-brother, having thrown his arm around Kab, was familiarly drawing his hand through his long locks, and praising the sweet scent, which Kab said was that of his bride. Suddenly the traitor seized his hair, and dragging him to the ground, shouted,- "Slay him! Slay the Enemy of God!" All drew their swords, and fell upon their victim. The wretched man clung to his foster-brother so closely that he was with difficulty put to death. As he received the fatal wound he uttered a fearful scream, which resounded far and near amongst the strongholds of the Jews; and lights were seen at the windows of the affrighted inhabitants. The assassins, fearful of pursuit, retired in haste, carrying in their arms one of their number who had received two deep sword cuts aimed at Kab. As they regained the burying ground, they uttered a loud Takbir 29, which Mahomet heard, and knew that their work had been successfully accomplished. At the gate of the Mosque he met them, saying,-" Welcome; for your countenances beam with the joy of victory. " And thine also, O

28 Sharj al ajuz; Wackidi. Tabari calls it Shab al ajuz.

29 "Alluhu Akbar: "Great is the Lord."

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Prophet," they exclaimed, as they threw before him the ghastly head of their victim. Then Mahomet praised God for what had been done, and comforted the wounded man 30.

Reflections on the story of Kab's assassination

I have been thus minute in transcribing the record of the murder of Kab, because it faithfully illustrates the ruthless fanaticism into which Mahomet was fast drifting. It was a spirit too congenial with the passions of the Arabs not to be immediately caught up by his followers. The strong religious impulse, under which they always acted, untempered as it was by the divine graces and heaven-born morality of the Christian faith, hurried them into excesses of barbarous treachery, and justified that treachery by the interests of Islam and the direct approval of the Deity. I am far from asserting that every detail in the foregoing narrative, either of instigation by Mahomet, or of deception by the assassins, is beyond suspicion. The actors in such scenes were not slow to magnify and embellish their own services at the expense of truth 31. There may also have been the desire to justify an act of perfidy, at which even the loose morality of the day was startled, by casting the burden of it on the infallible Prophet. But, after allowing

30 A sort of miracle is here described: Mahomet spat upon the wounds, and the pain departed. Wackidi, 190.

31 See Canon, II. B. Vol. i. p. ix., and III. c. p. lxzxi. The feeling may be illustrated by a widely differing case-that of the judgment executed by Phineas, - "and that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore." Psalm, cvi. 81.

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all due weight to both of these considerations, enough remains to prove, in this case, the worst features of assassination, and the fact that they were directly countenanced, or rather prompted, by Mahomet himself 32.

Murder of Ibn Sanina, a Jew

On the morning after the murder of Kab, Mahomet gave a general permission to his followers to slay any Jews whom they might chance to meet 33.

32 There can be little doubt that the less sturdy and unscrupulous faith of some lukewarm Moslems was at times scandalized by crimes like this; though it is not in the nature of one-sided tradition to preserve the record of what they said. The present is one of the few occasions on which the murmurs of the aggrieved parties have come to light. When Merwan was Governor of Medina, he one day asked Benjamin, a convert from the Bani Nadhir (Kab's tribe) in what manner Kab met his death. "By guile and perfidy," said Benjamin. Now Muhammad son of Maslama, by this time a very aged man, was sitting by: he exclaimed, - "What, O Merwan! could the Prophet of the Lord, thinkest thou, be guilty of perfidy? By the Lord! we did not kill him but by command of the Prophet. I swear that no roof, save that of the Mosque, shall cover thee and me at once." Then, turning to Benjamin, he swore that if he had had a sword in his hand, he would have cut off his head. The unfortunate Benjamin could not thenceforward quit his house without first sending a messenger to see that Muhammad was out of the way. His enemy caught him one day at a funeral in the Backi al Gharcad, and seizing a bundle of date branches from a woman passing by, broke them every one over the face and back of Benjamin. Thus were murmurers against the infallibility of the Prophet silenced in the early days of Islam. Wackidi, 192.

33 So, distinctly, in Wackidi, 191; K. Wackidi, 104 ; and Hashimi, 201. So far as I can make out, the murder of Ibn Sanina was the direct consequence of this order. But the order itself is a strange one, and must, one would suppose, have been accompanied by some conditions or reservations, not here apparent.

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Accordingly, Muheiasa, a Moslem, having encountered Ibn Sanina, a Jewish merchant, slew him. The occurrence is alluded to by the biographers rather for the purpose of explaining the sudden conversion of the assassinator's brother, Huweisa, than to record the murder of a petty Jewish trader. When Huweisa upbraided Muheiasa for killing his confederate

causes the conversion of the murderer's brother.

the Jew, and appropriating his wealth, - "By the Lord!" replied Muheiasa, "if he that commanded me to kill him had commanded to kill thee also, I would have done it." "What!" Huweisa cried; "wouldst thou have slain thine own brother at Mahomet's bidding ?" " Even so," answered the fanatic. "Strange indeed!" Huweisa responded. "Hath the new religion reached to this pitch! Verily, it is a wonderful Faith." And Huweisa was converted from that very hour 34. The progress of Islam begins

It was surely not expedient for the Prophet's cause at this time that the streets of Medina should have flowed with blood, by the strict execution of this command. Yet such is the distinct tenor of the best traditions.

The order was not an unlikely one to have issued at a time when Mahomet was irritated against the Jews by their treachery; and Hishami has a tradition that it was promulgated when Mahomet directed the massacre of all the males of the Coreitza, which would have been the more likely version, if the other tradition had not been so strong and positive. Its words are

34 Wackidi, 191; Tabari, 339; Hishami, 251. The story does not occur in the Secretary's biography.

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now to stand out in unenviable contrast with that of early Christianity. Converts were gained to the Faith of Jesus by witnessing the constancy with which its confessors suffered martyrdom; they were gained to Islam by the spectacle of the readiness with which its adherents inflicted death. In the one case conversion often imperilled the believer's life; in the other, it was the only means of saving it.

New treaty entered into with the Jews

The Jews were now in extreme alarm. None ventured abroad. Every family lived in the fear of a night attack; every individual dreaded the fate of Kab and Ibn Sanina. A deputation of their principal men waited upon Mahomet, and complained that he had treacherously cut off their chief, without fault or apparent cause. "Had Kab conducted himself;" replied Mahomet, "as ye have done, he would not have been cut off. But he offended me by his seditious speeches and his evil poetry. And if any one amongst you," he added, "doeth the same, verily the sword shall again be unsheathed." At the same time he invited them to enter into a fresh compact with him, such as he might deem sufficient for the interests of Islam. They agreed, and a new treaty was written out and deposited with Ali. Nevertheless, adds Wackidi, the Jews thenceforward lived, as well they might, in depression and alarm 35.

35Wackidi; 191; K. Wackidi 94 ½.

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Mahomet marries Haphsa. Shaban, A.H. III. November, A.D. 624

The winter months of the year 624 closed without any incident of political importance. But during this period, the Prophet took to himself a third wife, Haphsa, the daughter of Omar. She was the widow of Khoneis, an early convert, who had died six or seven months previously 36. By marrying this widow, Mahomet not only gratified the passion for fresh espousals, which was becoming a characteristic feature of his advancing years, but bound closer his friendship with her father Omar. Abu Bakr and Omar were now connected equally with the Prophet, and though their daughters had close access to his ear. There was much rivalry between Ayesha and Haphsa; but the youth, vivacity, and beauty of the former maintained the supremacy.

36 See vol. ii. p.109. 1 may here notice what appears an error in Ibn Coteiba (Gottingen, 1850). In loco Haphsa, Khoneis is said to have been Mahomet's ambassador to the Persian Court, instead of his father Abdallah.

Of Haphsa, the ordinary story is that Omar first offered his widowed daughter in marriage to Abu Bakr, and then to Othman; and that Mahomet hearing of it said,-" Othman shall wed one better than Haphsa" (i.e. Omm Kolthum, the Prophet's daughter); "and Haphsa shall marry one better than Othman" (meaning himself) But this is hardly borne out by dates. The previous husband of Haphsa died twenty-fire months after Mahomet's flight from Mecca (Wackidi, 227 ½), that is in Rabi 1st, A.H. III or July-August, 624 A.D, the very month in which Othman married Omm Kolthum. Even if we were to calculate the twenty-five months from Moharram (the nominal date of the Hegira), it would make the death of Khoneis to occur in May- June; and even with the indecent haste of Mussulman remarriages, this leaves insufficient time for the intervening inciddents. See C. de Perceval, iii. p.89.

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Birth or Mahomet's grandsons - Hasan and Hosein.

The marriages contracted by Mahomet at Medina were all unfruitful. But meanwhile his family was built up in the female line of Khadija's progeny. At the close of the second year of his sojourn at Medina, Fatima, the Prophet's youngest daughter, was espoused by Ali. Within the next twelve months, she gave birth to Hasan, the first grandson born to Mahomet, and in the following year to Hosein, his brother 37.

37 Hasan was born in the middle of Ramadhan, A.H. IV. or January, 625 A.D. Hosein was born about eleven months after. Tabari p.399.

The Life of Mahomet, Volume III [Table of Contents]

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