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May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of God be upon you beautiful people

"Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish." [Qur'an 17:81]

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Allegations concerning Muhammad's behaviour towards Abdullah ibn Sad ibn Abi Sarh

Anti-islamists allege that the following proves Abdullah's apostacy proves Islam is false and Muhammad was blood thirsty.

Anti-Islamic claim:

Abdullah ibn Abbas reports:

Abdullah ibn Abi Sarh was at one time secretary to the Messenger of God. Then Satan seized him and he joined the kuffar. When Mecca was conquered the Messenger of God ordered that he be killed. Later, however, Uthman sought refuge for him and the Messenger of Allah gave him refuge.

We find the commentary on this last incident in the narration of Sad ibn Abi Waqqas:

When Mecca was conquered, Abdullah ibn Sad ibn Abi Sarh took refuge with Uthman ibn Affan. Uthman took him and they presented themselves to the Prophet, requesting: O Messenger of God, accept the allegiance of Abdullah. The Prophet lifted his head, looked in his direction and remained silent. This happened three times and he (the Prophet) only looked in his direction. Finally after three times he accepted his allegiance. Then he turned towards his Companions and said: Was there no worthy man among you who, when he saw me withholding my hand from accepting his allegiance, would step forward and kill this person? The people replied: O Messenger of God, we did not know your wish. Why did you not signal with your eyes? To this the Prophet replied: It is unbecoming of a Prophet to glance in a stealthy manner

RESPONSE:

First, lets make it clear. Abdullah apostated from the Muslims, and went over the the enemy and thus his actions amounted to treason against the Muslim state whom he had betrayed.

He came back and when he was before the Prophet, it was only natural for him to doubt his sincerity and at first instance he was reluctant to accept his plea for forgiveness. But nonetheless despite such a great betrayal, the Prophet forgave him.

Note now what the anti-islamists fail to mention - Abdullah became a Muslim again. This is recorded in the following:

According to Abû Omar, "cAbdullâh Ibn Sâd Ibn Abî Sarh converted back to Islam during the conquest of Mecca and his Islam was fine, and later, his behavior was beyond reproach. He was among the wise and the noble from Quraysh, and was the knight of Banî 'Aamir Ibn Lu'ayy was respected among them. Later, 'Uthmân named him to govern Egypt in the year 25 H. He conquered Africa in the year 27 H and conquered Nuba in the year 31 H and he was the one who signed with the Nubites the armistice that is still valid today. He defeated the Romans in the battle of as-Sawaary in the year 34 H. When he returned from his advent, he was prevented from entering al-Fustât [the capital of Egypt], so he went to 'Asqalân where he lived until the murder of cUthmân(R). It was also said: he lived in Ramlah until he died away from the turmoil. And he prayed Allah saying: "O Allah make the prayer of subh the last of my deeds. So he performed wudu and prayed; he read Surat al-Fâtihah and al-'Aadiyât in the first rak'ah and read al-Fâtihah and another sûrah in the second rak'ah and made salâm on his right and died before he made salâm on the left side. All this report was conveyed by Yazîd Ibn Abî Habîb and others. He didn't pledge allegiance to cAlî nor to Mu'âwiyah (RR). His death was before the people agreed on Mu'âwiyah. It was also said that he died in Africa, but the correct is that he died in 'Asqalân in the year 36 H or 37 H and it was rather said 36 H.

In a nutshell, Abdullah embraced Islam after the Muslims had immigrated to Medina. He took the trouble to migrate to Medina where he became one of the scribes of the Prophet. For an unknown reason, he apostatized and went back to Mecca. He is supposed to have told the Meccans that he changed the Qur'ân according to his own will. This seems to be very predictable for someone in his situation seeking the favours of the Meccans whom he betrayed not a long time before. Then the above report states what is reported in Sîrat Rasulillah and in at-Tabaqât al-Kabîr as well: Abdullâh was among the bunch that had to be executed but he could benefit of Uthmân's intercession and he kept his life safe. Though the beginning of his Islam was unstable (he migrated then apostatized then converted back to Islam in a very short time), he became a good Muslim and was even made the commander of Muslim troops. A report conveyed by 'Ikrimah in the commentary of at-Tabarî about verse 6:93 says that

'Abdullah Ibn Sâd Ibn Abî Sarh converted back to Islam before the conquest of Mecca by the Prophet(P).

This means that he converted back to Islam willingly without the shadow of any pressure.

Did Abdullâh Ibn Sâd Ibn Abî Sarh contribute to the Qur'ân?

There is no factual proof for such a horrendous claim. The claim about Chapter 23 proved to be a fabrication because it was revealed before cAbdullâh Ibn Sâd Ibn Abî Sarh became a Muslim. If we take into account the most admitted opinion among the Qur'ânic scholars, the entirety of Chapter 6 is Meccan. Consequently, the verse 6:93 is not revealed in regard of Ibn Abî Sarh but rather in regard of Musaylamah and al-'Ansy and more generally in regard of anyone who claims prophethood falsely.

Moreover, if the scribes were allowed to contribute to the Qur'ân, how can the critic explain that among the 42 scribes there is only one (cAbdullâh Ibn Sâd Ibn Abî Sarh) who was bothered about it? Didn't the others feel uneasy about such a thing if it ever happened?

Of course, it is out of the question that the Prophet of God(P) allow such contribution because it is claimed many times in the Qur'ân that the Holy Book is dictated upon revelation and any contribution to it must be of divine inspiration.

Conclusions

After the above study, the claims that the Holy Qur'ân has been tainted by Ibn Abî Sarh do not hold water, nor do any of the other allegations. One thing is sure. We do not know a lot about the beginning of the faith of Ibn Abî Sarh. It was apparently unstable. However, later, he converted back to Islam and his faith was beyond reproach. The question raised about the change in the judgment concerning Ibn Abî Sarh denotes of real ignorance of the Islamic Law or a crooked intention of deception. If the goal behind that criticism was the quest of the Truth, then by God's will the above elaboration is likely to be enough for the author of the criticism to retract it.

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