CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE PROPHET'S DEATH
Muslims know very little of their prophet's history. Regarding the cause of Muhammad's death by poison, we find many of them are in denial. However, if Muslims accept Muhammad as a prophet, then why do they not believe what he himself testified about the cause of his death? Why do Muslims insist that Muhammad must have died of natural causes. They failed to realize that the problem with their conclusion is that it contradicts what Muhammad himself said about his own death as recorded in the Hadith. He clearly blamed the poisoned meat that he at Khaibar for the sickness that finally led to his death. If Muslims truly believe that Muhammad was a prophet, than they should accept his own explanation for his death. We will now look at the evidences.
The most highly respected writings in Islam are: (i) The Hadith of Al-Bukhari. It is considered the most important Islamic book, after the Qur'an. (ii) Sahih Muslim is the most authentic book of Hadith after Sahih Al-Bukhari. (iii) Ibn Sa'd's "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir" (Book of the Major Classes). Volume Two contains the most vital information regarding Muhammad's death. Quotes from these works will be used mainly in this article.
The Jews had every legitimate reason and were planning to kill Muhammad. They believed that a real prophet would be forewarned of their deed but an impostor would not be warned by God.
Writing about Muhammad's death, Al-Baidawi, the great expositor of the Qur'an, said:
When Khaybar was conquered, and the people felt secure, Zainab Bint al-Harith, Salam Ibn Mishkam's wife, went about asking which part of the lamb was Muhammad's favorite to eat. People told her, "It is the front leg, for it is the best part and the farthest from harm." So she took a lamb, slaughtered it, and cut it up. Then she took a deadly poison that kills instantly and poisoned the lamb, putting more poison in the leg and shoulder. When the sun set, Muhammad led the people in the evening prayer. When he finished he wanted to go, but she was sitting at his feet.
He asked her, and she said, "O Abu al-Qasim, here is a gift I have for you." Muhammad ordered some of his friends to take it from her, and it was put before him in the presence of his friends, among whom was Bishr Ibn al-Bara' Ibn Ma'rur. Muhammad said, "Come near and be seated." Muhammad took the leg and ate, too. When Muhammad had swallowed his bite, Bishr swallowed his, and the rest of the people ate of it.
Ibn Sa'd, page 251:
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."
There is nothing supernatural, as Muslims claim, about Muhammad's discovery that the piece of meat was poisoned. Consider the remarks by Bishr, "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." Thus, Bishr knew that the food was poisoned and wanted to spit it out but, instead, he swallowed it because he did not want to spoil Muhammad's enjoyment of the food by his doing so. Muhammad only discovered that the meat was poisoned after he ate the morsel.
Notice Bishr's observations: "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." If Muhammad really knew supernaturally that the food was poisoned then surely he would have done something to prevent his friend from eating it. And he himself would not have eaten it. Bishr, without a doubt ate and later died because Muhammad did not realize - until it was too late - that the meat was poisoned.
It was only after Muhammad ate from the lamb did the lamb "talk to him." This was nothing miraculous. Most adults know when they are eating something that is bad. So for Muhammad to say that the sheep "talked" to him, means nothing prophetic or supernatural. Even a child spits out food that tastes bad. As stated earlier, even the other Muslim (Bishr) knew it was bad before Muhammad revealed it was poisoned.
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 53, Number 394:
Narrated Abu Huraira: When Khaibar was conquered, a roasted poisoned sheep was presented to the Prophets 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.' … 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 you."
Even Bishr - believing Muhammad to be a true prophet - said: "I also thought you would not have eaten it if there was something wrong." The discovery of the truth about this man came a bit too late for Bishr. He paid with his life for following an imposter. This should serve as a warning to all Muslims who place their eternal life in the hands of this man.
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 713:
Narrated 'Aisha: 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 that poison."
Ibn Sa'd, page 252:
The apostle of Allah lived after these 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."
This is an indisputable confession from Muhammad himself that the Jewish poison caused his premature death. He ate the poison and later died from it. The Jews 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 you." And they did get rid of him for good. They were convinced that a real prophet would have known what was going on. And Muhammad did not have the slightest clue until it was too late. Thus, according to their test, Muhammad turned out to be a false prophet.
Ibn Sa'd, page 294:
Umm Bishr 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 is double. What do the people say about it?" 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."
Muhammad confirms that the cause of the illness that is now leading to his death is the Jewish poison that he ate at Khaibar. He also stated that pleurisy is from Satan. He said that since pleurisy is from Satan, Allah would protect him from it. Just think, if Allah is powerful enough to protect Muhammad from Satan's pleurisy, why is Allah incapable of protecting his Apostle from the Jewish poison? Even at his death-bed, Muhammad speaks lies. In fact, pleurisy is a normal infection of the lung membrane. Many times prior to this incident, Muhammad claimed to have had "revelations" that warned him of impending 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 and certainly much too late to save the life of Bishr. Why did not Allah inspire him with a warning in time to prevent him and his companion from eating the poisoned meat? Allah was very intrusive in almost every aspect of Muhammad's life, yet he failed to intervene when it matters most. Allah failed when he had the best opportunity to prove to the Jews that Muhammad was a true prophet. As his illness wore on, Muhammad "cupped" himself. And as it grew worse, he began to pray for a cure and rubbed his "healing" hands upon himself.
Muhammad "Cupped" Himself
Ibn Sa'd, page 250:
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" (drew out blood from his body).
Incantation of the Qur'an
Sahih Muslim, Book 026, Number 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.
Ibn Sa'd, page 263:
Verily during his illness the prophet recited "al-Mu'awwadhatayn" (Surah 113 and 114), and blow his breath upon his body while rubbing his face. (This was done in an effort to be healed).
However, Muhammad was not cured from the sickness that led to his death. The incantation of Surah 113 and Surah 114 which supposedly cured him previously from the Jewish magic, failed to heal him now from the Jewish poison. Perhaps for Allah, poison is far more potent than magic.
"Gabriel" Prayed for His Healing
Ibn 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."
Ibn Sa'd, page 265:
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 from the smite of the evil eye.'"
Let us analyze the prayers of "Gabriel." "Gabriel" stated very positively that Allah "will heal" the Prophet. He said, "In the name of Allah Who will cure you and Who will heal you from every malady." Muhammad had every reason to believe, because it was this very same "Gabriel" who brought the messages of the Qur'an from Allah to him. Yet, the prayers of this spirit were not answered by Allah. So how could this spirit be so sure that Allah "will cure" Muhammad when he actually did not? Can this "Gabriel" be trusted? Can the Qur'an, which was transmitted through this same deceiving spirit, be trusted? If this spirit lied about the outcome of the sickness, could he not have also lied about the divine claim of the Qur'an? Are not these clues as to who this spirit really is?
Why did not Allah prevent "Gabriel" from delivering a false promise of hope to Muhammad? If Allah could permit "Gabriel" to make a false statement regarding a matter that concerns the life and death of his Prophet, could he not have also permitted other false messages to be transmitted to Muhammad? Can the other messages delivered by this "Gabriel" be trustworthy? According to Islamic theology, "Gabriel" is the "Holy Spirit" (Ruh Al-Qudus). Can the "Holy Spirit" be wrong about the outcome of Muhammad's illness?
Obviously, at this point in time of his sickness, Muhammad wanted to be healed. But as we can see, nothing worked. He initially prayed fervently to Allah for recovery, but as it progressively got worse, Muhammad realized that he was dying and he ceased praying for a cure.
Ibn 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 refuge?"
In another Hadith, Muhammad claimed that he opted for Paradise when Allah gave him a choice of either going to Paradise or living on earth. This is another lie by Muhammad. If he really wanted to give up living on earth, why did he go through all the trouble to heal himself? Why was this option given only at the very brink of his death when everything else failed? Did he not prayerfully recite "al-Mu'awwadhatayn" in a desperate effort to be healed? Would he have done so if he had opted for Paradise? In truth, his form of medicine, his prayer, Aisha's prayer, the prayer of "Gabriel" and even Allah could not prevent the effects of the Jewish poison. Knowing that his time was up, Muhammad made the best out of a failed situation. He died as a result of eating poison that he knew nothing about. The poisoned lamb "spoke" to him too late. So was the choice from Allah.
Only when Muhammad realized that death was imminent, he tried to spiritualize his suffering and his approaching death. Prior to that, he tried to get well. The fact that Allah allowed Muhammad to die from this illness shows that either Allah has no power over the Jewish poison or no misgivings about permitting his final messenger, the "Seal of the Prophets," to be harmed by the Jewish poison. The Hadiths explicitly state that it was the poisoning at Khaibar that led to his death. Had it not have been for the poison, Muhammad would have aged gradually and would have selected a leader to lead the Muslim community in unity. Islamic history shows that Muhammad was not prepared for his impending death and neither did Allah prepare him for it.
While Muhammad himself admitted that the effects of poison caused his fatal illness and eventual death, there is an interesting incident regarding the apostle Paul that is recorded in the Holy Bible. Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake, but Paul suffered no ill effects from the bite. This was because God had his protective hand on Paul to finish the work laid out for him.
Acts 28:1-6: "And when we had made it to safety, then we learned that the island was called Malta. And the foreign-speaking people showed us extraordinary human kindness, for they kindled a fire and received all of us helpfully because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. When the foreign-speaking people caught sight of the venomous creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another: "Surely this man is a murderer, and although he made it to safety from the sea, vindictive justice did not permit him to keep on living." However, he shook the venomous creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. But they were expecting he was going to swell up with inflammation or suddenly drop dead. After they waited for a long while and beheld nothing hurtful happen to him, they changed their mind and began saying he was a god."
Since Muhammad died so suddenly, there was confusion as to who would be the next leader of the Islamic state. To this day, part of that confusion remains. The Islamic world is divided into two main sects - Shia and Sunni - because of this issue. Shortly after his death, the Muslims started fighting and killing each other. Why did not Allah prepare Muhammad to appoint a clearly defined successor so as to ensure that his state remains unified? In spite of all the denial by Islamic apologists, death took Muhammad by surprise. And as a direct result of this, Islamic history shows that Umar, the second caliph of Islam was assassinated in 644 CE. The third caliph, Uthman was murdered in 656 CE. The fourth caliph, Ali b. Abi Talib was murdered in 66I CE. Within a short period of just seventeen years, three successive Caliphs were murdered at the hands of Muslims themselves - all because Muhammad was not prepared for his death until it was too late.
Unlike Allah, the true God informed and prepared Moses for his impending death. In fact, Jehovah appointed a leader by name to succeed Moses. He appointed Joshua.
Deuteronomy 31:14: And Jehovah said to Moses: "Look! The days have drawn near for you to die. Call Joshua, and station yourselves in the tent of meeting, that I may appoint him." So Moses and Joshua went and stationed themselves in the tent of meeting.
Deuteronomy 31:23: And he proceeded to commission Joshua the son of Nun and to say: "Be courageous and strong, for you will bring the sons of Israel into the land about which I have sworn to them, and I myself will be with you."
Deuteronomy 34:9: "And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hand upon him; and the children of Israel began to listen to him and they did just as Jehovah had commanded Moses."
And Jesus also knew of his approaching death:
Matthew 16:21: "From that time onward Jesus Christ began showing his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the older men and chief priest and scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised up."
Muslims scholars find it a taboo to speak on the subject regarding Muhammad's death by poison. The only time they are forced to discuss this topic in open is when the try to defend it against the onslaught by Christian apologists. One of the reasons Muslim scholars do not admit that their Prophet died as a result of poisoning at Khaibar is because of the Jewish woman's declaration to him that if he were a true prophet, he would have either refrained from eating the poisoned sheep or the poison would not have affected him. With the legitimacy of Islam at stake, Muslim scholars, in imitation of their god and their Prophet, choose to lie and deceive. It is too shameful for Muslims to admit that Allah's greatest Prophet died of poisoning - especially at the hands of a Jewish woman. And Muslims believe that the intelligence of a woman is half of that of a man.
In the tenth year after the Hijra, Muhammad made his Farewell Pilgrimage in Mecca. This was Muhammad's last pilgrimage. Soon after his return to Al-Medina, he fell ill. Finally in 632 C.E., Muhammad died in the room of his favorite wife Aisha as he rested on her lap. He was sixty-three years old. There are two verses in the Qur'an that refer to his death:
Surah 3:144: "Muhammad is no more than a Messenger: Many were the messengers that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will ye then turn back on your heels?" (Yusuf Ali)
Surah 7:188: Say: "I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah willeth. If I had knowledge of the unseen, I should have multiplied all good, and no evil should have touched me: I am but a warner." (Yusuf Ali)
Let us analyze the admission of Muhammad in Surah 7:188. It should be of interest for Muslims to know that in this single verse in Surah 7:188, Muhammad admitted the following:
(1) He has no power over any good or harm to himself. (2) He has no knowledge of the unseen. (3) And because of these limitations, evil (in this case, poison) touched him. (4) He was just a warner.
One can almost feel an admission of hopelessness by Muhammad in this verse. It is a dying man's confession! Muslims who ascribe power and miracles to Muhammad are, in fact, deceiving themselves.
The Holy Bible records the following event where the prophet Elisha saved certain prophets from the harmful effects of poisonous food:
2 Kings 4:38-41: "Elisha returned to Gilgal and there was a famine in that region. While the company of the prophets was meeting with him, he said to his servant, 'Put on the large pot and cook some stew for these men.' One of them went out into the fields to gather herbs and found a wild vine. He gathered some of its gourds and filled the fold of his cloak. When he returned, he cut them up into the pot of stew, though no one knew what they were. The stew was poured out for the men, but as hey began to eat it, they cried out, 'O man of God, there is death in the pot!' And they could not eat it. Elisha said, 'Get some flour.' He put it into the pot and said, 'Serve it to the people to eat.' And there was nothing harmful in the pot." (2 Kings 4:38-41 NIV)
Why could not Muhammad do the same for his friend (Bishr) if he was truly a prophet of God like the Old Testament prophets of God? Let us compare the death of Muhammad with that of two other great Messengers.
Muhammad's Death Compared to that of Moses
The Bible says in Deuteronomy 34:7:
"Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone."
And God himself buried Moses in Moab and no one knows where his grave is:
Deuteronomy 34:5-6: "So Moses the servant of Jehovah died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of Jehovah. And he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab in front of Beth-peor, and nobody has come to know his grave down to this day."
In contrast, Muhammad - Allah's greatest and final Prophet - died as a result of being poisoned by an anguished Jewish woman whose father, uncle and brother he had killed. He died a pre-matured death at the hands of a woman. A grave was dug in the very place he died and in it the Prophet of Islam was buried. Later a mosque was built over it and Muhammad's grave became a place of pilgrimage in Al-Medina.
Let us now compare Muhammad's death with that of Jesus.
Jesus Died and Rose from the Dead
Concerning the tomb of Jesus Christ, we read the words of the angel to two of Jesus' disciples who came to see the tomb:
Matthew 28:6: "He is not here, for he was raised up, as he said. Come, see the place where he was lying."
Read the full account in Luke Chapters 23 and 24, which speaks about the resurrection of Jesus from death and his ascension into heaven.
The Qur'an and the Hadiths also agree that Jesus was raised to heaven to be with God.
Surah 3:55: "When God said, O Jesus, verily I will cause thee to die, and I will take thee up unto me." (Sale)
Behold! God said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself…" (Yusuf Ali)
The Qur'an mentions three days in the life of Jesus Christ: (1) The day of his birth. (2) The day of his death. (3) The day of his resurrection. In Surah 19:33, the Qur'an records Jesus as saying:
"And peace on me on the day I was born, and on the day I die, and on the day I am raised to life." (Shakir)
Here is the great difference between Jesus Christ, who died and rose again - victorious over death and Muhammad who was poisoned and defeated by death.
Muhammad Died and Remains Dead
Muhammad was buried in Medina and his grave in Al-Medina became a shrine for pious Muslim pilgrims to visit each year. (Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 208).
All Muslims agree that the body of Muhammad is buried in Arabia. His death by sickness and poison serves no significance or spiritual purpose whatsoever for Muslims to benefit from. It only serves to show the impotence of Allah and Muhammad against the deadly vengeance of a distraught Jewish woman. In contrast, both the Bible and the Qur'an testified that Jesus was raised up to be with God in heaven. He was not left in the grave.
Unlike Jesus Christ, who gave his life to take away the sins of the world, Muhammad died as a result of his sins on June 8, 632 C.E. While the tomb of Jesus is empty, the tomb of Muhammad is occupied with his remains. Before his death, due to bitter anger, frustration and jealousy, Muhammad resorted to cursing. He uttered curses upon the Christians and the Jews
Their Dying Words
Jesus spoke the following words while dying on the torture stake after being betrayed and sentenced to die for no legitimate reason:
Luke 23:34: "Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing."
Muhammad spoke the following words while dying:
"May Allah curse the Jews and Christians."
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 8, Number 427:
Narrated 'Aisha and 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas: When the last moment of the life of Allah's Apostle came he started putting his 'Khamisa' on his face and when he felt hot and short of breath he took it off his face and said, "May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of their Prophets."
Ibn 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."
Here are their dying words. Words that mark the end of their lives. Jesus Christ asks God to forgive his executioners, while Muhammad uttered bitter curses against those who rejected his assertion of prophethood. Thus, we can see that not only during their living moments but even during their final hours, Jesus and Muhammad differed in their spirit. Jesus Christ, the beloved Son of God, prayed to his Father to forgive his enemies. Muhammad, on the other hand, even in his dying breath, uttered curses. Please recall Muhammad's reason for cursing the Jews and the Christians. He said, "for they built the places of worship at the graves of their Prophets." We will now address this accusation of Muhammad. We will look at the facts recorded in the Bible.
As stated in Deuteronomy 34:5-6, Jehovah wisely buried Moses in an undisclosed place. And in the case of Jesus, Jehovah completely removed his body. He did this to prevent, in both instances, the very thing that Muhammad was accusing the Jews and Christians of committing. Both the concealment of Moses' body and the removal of Jesus' body prevented the worshippers of Jehovah from being enticed to make pilgrimages or pay homage to such sites. It protected them from creature-worship. In contrast, what did the Muslims do with Muhammad's tomb after his death? Muslims built a mosque on his tomb. His grave became a place for Muslim pilgrims to visit in Medina annually. The Prophet's tomb at Medina is, after Mecca, the site most venerated by Muslims. It is visited with reverence in the hearts of the faithful. Ironically, these Muslim fell into the very class of people, upon whom Muhammad beseeched Allah's curse. Unlike Jehovah, Allah did not have the wisdom or the insight to prevent creature-worship among his worshippers.
The 12th century work by Qadi Iyad is highly accepted throughout the Muslim world. Al-Qadi Iyad ibn Musa al-Yahsubi (1083 C.E.-1149 C.E.) wrote in his book Al-Shifa':
"Visiting his grave is part of the Sunna and is both excellent and desirable. Ibn `Umar said that the Prophet said, 'My shafa'at (intercession on the Day of Qiyamah) is Waajib (incumbent upon me to intercede) for the one who visits my grave.'"
The Qur'an records the certainty of death of Muhammad and his followers:
Surah 39:30: "Lo! thou wilt die, and lo! they will die." (Pickthall)
Contrast the above statement with the assurance that Jesus Christ gave to his true followers:
John 14:19: "Because I live, you will live also."
The difference between Jesus and Muhammad is as the difference between life and death. And this gives us a compelling reason to reject Islam.
John 17:3: "This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ."