Muhammad And Kinana B. Al-Rabi

When Muhammad started out on his mission, he proclaimed that he was only a "Warner" for the people. As Sura 88:21 says:

Therefore give warning, your duty is only to give warning:
you are not their keeper.
At this time in Muhammad's mission his followers were few and weak in strength. They were disliked, and Muhammad was mocked and persecuted. He proclaimed that Allah had told him that he was only a Warner to the people.

However, years later, Muhammad and his following had grown in strength. He led a strong, dedicated army. Muhammad had a degree of power. Now the rules of his game had changed. When he was weak he only implored the Meccans to turn from paganism and worship only Allah. Now, having a degree of military strength, he was bearing the sword of Islam.

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The oldest still available biography of Muhammad is called the "Sirat Rasulallah", or "Life of the Prophet of Allah". This book was written by Ibn Ishaq, and later rescinded by Ibn Hisham. It was written a century before any of the major works of Hadith. It is considered the most authentic biography of Muhammad.

On page 515, the Sirat tells of an event in Muhammad's later years. This event occurred about three years before Muhammad's death, due to poisoning. This specific narrative tells of Muhammad's conquest of Khaibar. Khaibar was a large Jewish settlement. The Jews there were merchants, craftsmen, and farmers. Khaibar was known to have some of the best date palms in the region. The Jews there were well to do because they had earned it.

Muhammad had just been rejected by the Meccans from performing a pilgrimage. He also signed a humiliating treaty with the Meccans, a treaty that a number of his followers didn't like. To placate them, Muhammad marched on Khaibar, with the intent to plunder the Jews.
 

Kinana b. al-Rabi`, who had the custody of the treasure of B. al-Nadir, was brought to the apostle who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came (T. was brought) to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, "Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?" he said "Yes". The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr b. `Al-Awwam, "Torture him until you extract what he has," so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.[1]
What do we see here? What kind of a man is the prophet of Islam? Examine what Muhammad said "Torture him until you extract what he has". This is the prophet of Islam in action when he eventually had the power of the sword.

Can we really say with good conscience that Muhammad is to be followed as the model for mankind? Was this torture necessary and good? Is this how a true prophet of God would act?

If God wanted to show Muhammad the treasure and if the Muslims were supposed to have it, why did he not show it to him through Gabriel? Maybe there was no treasure and the Jews were not as rich as Muhammad thought or Kinana really didn't know where it was? Is torture legitimate for the purpose of enriching yourself with the wealth of others?

These are some questions that need to be answered when we evaluate Muhammad's life to determine whether he was a true prophet.
 
 

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Muslims complain about what the Serbs have done to the Muslims in Bosnia, and I agree with the Muslims. But, if anyone were to study the history of Muhammad, they would see that Muhammad also did some brutal things to people. Today's Muslims feel they have the right to complain about Bosnia, and they are right. But would they likewise condemn the actions of Muhammad in dealing with Kinana?
 
 

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Note:
1. Ibn Hisham, "Sirat Rasulallah", as translated by A. Guillaume under the title "The Life of Muhammad", page 515. "T." refers to the reading according to al-Tabari.

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