[Excerpts, with occasional modest edits, from The Real Muḥammad: In the Eyes of Ibn Isḥāq, copyright 2013, TEI Publishing House. All quotations from the Sīrat Rasūl Allāh (“Life of the Messenger of Allāh”) are from the translation by Alfred Guillaume (Oxford University Press), copyright 1955. These stories are faithfully passed along from the most ancient, extant and authoritative biography of Muḥammad. All Muslims are called to imitate Muḥammad in their daily lives, and Muslim scholars know that Ibn Isḥāq is the best source for the historical Muḥammad, despite concern for various hon-historical material. The question is this: Can Muḥammad satisfy the Muslim thirst for freedom? How many people, of their own volition, would follow Muḥammad if they were free to choose otherwise? The same question is freely received by Muslims who would question Christians who follow Jesus as the Son of God]

Muḥammad Orders the Killing of Sallām Ibn Abū’l-Ḥuqayq

John C. Rankin

Following the battle of the Trench, “the matter of Sallām b. Abū’l-Ḥuqayq known as Abū Rāfi‘[,] came up in connexion with those who had collected the mixed tribes together against the apostle. Now Aus had killed Ka‘b b. al-Ashraf before Uḥud because of his enmity towards the apostle and because he instigated men against him, so Khazraj asked and obtained the apostle’s permission to kill Sallām who was in Khaybar.” There is a fierce competition between these two tribes of the Anṣār, the Aus and Khazraj, for superiority over the other in Islāmic conquest.

Five men entered Khaybar at night, gaining access to his house under false pretense, his wife shrieks, and [the record being in the first person] “we ran at him with our swords as he was on his bed … When we had smitten him with our swords[,] ‘Abdullah b. Unays bore down with his sword into his belly until it went right through him, as he was saying Qatnī, qatnī, i.e. It’s enough … [they later hear the words] By the God of the Jews he is dead! Never have I heard sweeter words than those.” Then the five men argue in Muḥammad’s presence for who receives the credit for the actual assassination, and ‘Abdullah b. Unays prevails.

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