Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

The Root of Terrorism a la Islamic style
Chapter 18

'A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it'--- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Terror Seventy-eight

The Destruction of the idol Yaghuth at Dhu al-Kaffyan by Tufayl ibn 'Amr al-Dawsi - January, 630

When Muhammad sent Urwah b. Masud and Ghaylan b. Salamah (see Terror 77, CH. 17) to Jurash to learn the techniques of warfare with the use of catapult and Testudo, he also despatched al-Tufayl ibn 'Amr al-Dawsi to destroy the idol of Yaghuth at Dhu al-Kaffyan. This idol was in the shape of a lion (or bull), signifying brute strength belonged to the people of Amr ibn Humamamh al-Dawasi (Tufayl's own people). Muhammad instructed Tufayl to gather his (Tufayl's) people in this demolition and, having finished this carnage, Tufayl was to join him (Muhamad) at Taif. With the assistance of four hundred (400) of his people, Tufayl destroyed the said idol by igniting its face and setting it on fire. Then Tufayl, along with the four hundred rioters marched ahead to join Muhammad at Taif. They also brought with them the catapult and the Testudo (delivered to Tufayl by Urwah at Taif).

Terror Seventy-nine

The Siege of Taif by Muhammad - January, 630CE

As written previously (Terror 77, CH. 17), the fugitives from Thaqif and B. Hawazin, and from other tribes, after fleeing the battle of Hunayn exiled in Taif. The city of Taif was famous for its luscious vineyard and was surrounded by many strong fortresses. Ali Dashti writes that Taif was a tourist resort for the Meccans and the B. Thaqif did not want to antagonise the Meccans by supporting Muhammad (Dashti, p.77). These fugitives took shelter in those fortified fortresses, shut their doors and made preparations for a war. The city was capable to withstand a siege for many months, as there was plentiful supply of water. The fugitives stocked up their sanctuary with enough provision to last them a year or so. Amongst the fugitive leaders was Malik from B. Hawazin, and Adiy, the son of famous philanthropist, Hatim of B.Tayii.

In the mean time, after the victory at Hunayn, Muhammad proceeded straight to Taif and on arriving there discovered that the Thaqif and the run-away B. Hawazin had already sheltered themselves inside those formidable fortresses. So Muhammad laid siege on them that lasted for fifteen (or twenty) days. While moving towards Taif, he left behind a trail of terror, blood and destruction. At first, he halted at Bahrat al-Rugha and built a mosque there and prayed there. Here, Muhammad ordered the killing of a Hudhayl man who had previously killed a B. Layth (Muslim) man. Then he introduced the regulation of a life for a life, or the rule on retaliation for homicide. In verse 2:178, Allah approved Muhammad's nature of justice.

Then he halted at Liyyah and ordered the destruction of the castle of Hawazin leader, Malik. As written before, Malik had already fled to Taif and put himself up in one of the fortresses of Thaqif. From Liyyah Muhammad went to Nakhb. On his way, he changed the name of some places, simply because he did not like their existing names. While at Nakhb, Muhammad ordered the destruction of the walled garden of a man because the man had refused to come out of his residence when he ordered him to do so.

Proceeding further, Muhammad halted at Taif and pitched his tent near to the main fortress where the Thaqif people had taken shelter. The people inhabiting the vicinity of the fort had to surrender to him. The Thaqif showered Muhammad's troop with arrows and killed a few of his companions. So Muhammad moved further away and put up his tent on a higher ground; built a mosque there and sheltered his two wives, Umm Salamah and Zaynab bt. Jahsh in two red tents. He continued with the siege on the Taif fortresses, prayed in the newly constructed mosque and stayed in the two tents of his two wives.

During this time, Tufayl ibn Amr al-Dawsi, along with four hundred (400) men joined Muhammad. Previously they were at Dhu al-Kaffayn destroying an idol (see Terror 78, CH. 17).They also brought the catapult and the Testudo at Taif. The Thaqif continued with their strike on the Muslims, mainly with arrows and flames from behind their fort, never coming out of it. The Muslims could not get through the wall of the fort.

Then Muhammad decided to fight bitterly the Thaqif by using his new war machines, the catapult and Testudo. The Taif citizens were fully prepared for this type of attack. The newly arrived army used the catapult and attacked the wall of a fortress, creating a hole there. Then some Muslim soldiers were ported through this hole inside the new Testudo. When the Muslim soldiers came out of their Testudo, the Thaqif poured molten iron on them and showered them with arrows, killing some of them and wounding many. It is reported that Abu Bakr's son, Abd Allah, was gravely injured in this fight. He never recovered from his wound and eventually succumbed to his injury. The Muslims fled in alarm. Muhammad blocked the road that stopped the supply of food to the Thaqif. But the Thaqif were not alarmed. They had enough provisions to last for a very long siege. Then Muhammad ordered the famed vines of the Thaqif be cut and burned. He had already resorted to this type of slash and burn approach during the siege of B. Nadir, and recalled its supreme effectiveness. His new order was carried out with merciless vigour. The Thaqif people were terrified and they began communicating with Muhammad. On the pledge of safety by the Thaqif, Muhammad then sent Abu Sufyan b. Harb and al-Mughira b. Shuba to negotiate a deal with the besieged Thaqif. Abu Sufyan's daughter, Amina was married to the Thaqif man, Urwa b. Masud and had a son by him. Besides them, there were also a number of Quraysh and B. Kinanah women in the fort. Abu Sufyan wanted to evacuate these women and their children for, he was afraid that these women would become captives of the Muslim army. The Thaqif leader asked Muhammad to stop cutting down their valuable orchards; in exchange for that, Muhammad was free to take possession of them (i.e., the Quraysh and B. Kinanah women and children residing in their fortresses). Muhammad stopped the destruction of the orchards. Abu Sufyan asked the Quraysh women to leave the fort, but they refused to come out, preferring to remain with the Thaqif people. So Abu Sufyan's peace mission returned without any success. The siege by Muhammad continued. Soon, Muhammad enticed the Thaqif slaves with freedom if they deserted their Thaqif masters and embraced Islam. Most slaves did not respond to Muhammad's call; only a handful (numbering between 13 to 23) of them came out and embraced Islam. Muhammad set them free

During this time, a Muslim woman approached Muhammad and requested of him that if Allah granted victory to the Muslims he should give her the jewellery of two Thaqif women, for those two women had the most expensive jewellery among the Thaqif women. Such was the cupidity of Muslims engaged in Jihad!

After a siege of fifteen days or so, Muhammad grew impatient. His followers were eagerly waiting for the distribution of booty from the plunder of B. Hawazin that they had stored at Jirana. They started pestering a demurred Muhammad. He did not know what to do.

Then, suddenly, he had a bizarre dream and Abu Bakr interpreted that dream as a negative result from this lengthy siege. Muhammad agreed with Abu Bakr's interpretation of his dream, ordered to break up the Muslim camp and proceed towards Jirana. The truth was: an expert on warfare advised Muhammad that the beleaguered Thaqif could easily be confronted at a later date as they were like foxes in their holes. A shrewd Muhammad understood the implication of such wise advice and decided to end the siege, vowing to chastise the Thaqif after he had settled the booty issue. Some of his minions were grumbling that they might miss out the rich booty and pretty women of the Thaqif. Muhammad consoled them to have patience for a later victory. He was not in a hurry.

Twelve Muslims died in the siege of Taif, seven from the Quraysh, four from the Ansars and one from B. Layth.

From the account of this siege we learn quite a bit about the major motives of the Jihadists to join Muhammad. One such motive, obviously, was the greed for booty as was illustrated in the example of a Muslim woman cited above; another motive was women.

Here is an interesting anecdote:

Jihadist's only desire was women!

When the besieged Thaqif people saw the departure of Muhammad's Jihadists, they cried out in joy. Having heard their victory signal, the newly converted Muslim, Uyaynah b. Hisn expressed his solidarity with the Thaqif people by admitting that the Thaqif, indeed had the victory. Another Muslim soldier admonished him; but Uyaynah answered this Muslim Jihadist by claiming that he only came to this battle to enjoy Thaqif women. He said, "By God, I did not come to fight Thaqif with you, but I wished Muhammad to be victorious over al-Taif, so that I might obtain a slave-girl from Thaqif whom I might make pregnant so that she might bear me a son, for Thaqif are clever people." When Umar told Muhammad what Uyaynah had said, Muhammad said, "[This man exhibits] an acceptable foolishness."

In the next few passages we shall witness the insatiable greed of the Jihadits for booty.

The division of spoils of B. Hawazin

After aborting the siege of Taif, Muhammad trudged straight to Jirana where all the booty of Hunayn battle was gathered (see Terror 77, CH. 17). This was one of the largest booty that the Jihadists ever had. As noted previously, the spoil consisted of six thousand (6,000) captives of women and children, twenty-four thousand (24,000) camels, forty thousand (40,000) sheep and four thousand (4,000) ounces of silver. The Muslims were extremely impatient to take hold of their respective share of the loot, and Muhammad had to abandon Taif so-soon to please them.

When Muhammad arrived at Jirana, the deputation of Hawazin came to meet him about the release of their women and children. First, they had to embrace Islam before they could even start a negotiation with Muhammad. One of them, B. Sa'd b. Bakr appealed on the ground of blood relations. They could have either their women and children or the goods, not both-Muhammad stipulated. The B. Hawazin wanted their family back, instead of their cattle and other properties. It is reported that B. Sa'd b. Bakr belonged to the clan who had nursed (by Halima) Muhammad when he was an infant. He pointed out that some of the captives were Muhammad's kin by suckling. During this distribution of captives, Muhammad met with his milk sister, Shyama, whose story had already been told before (see Terror 77, CH. 17).

This passionate plea, on the ground of kinship melted slightly Muhammad's heart. He contended that he would release his share (i.e., one-fifth, or one thousand and two women and children) of the captives and would also request other Muslims to release their captives too. It was a voluntary offer; some Muslims readily agreed on this but many refused. When Muhammad found out that there was a sense of deprivation on this voluntary surrender of their prized possessions, he set an exchange rate that whoever freed a captive would receive six camels. In this way, most of the women and children captives were finally released. Here is a Hadith from Sahih Bukhari on the release of the captives of B. Hawazin:

Volume 3, Book 46, Number 716:

Narrated Marwan and Al-Miswar bin Makhrama:

When the delegates of the tribe of Hawazin came to the Prophet and they requested him to return their properties and captives. The Prophet stood up and said to them, "I have other people with me in this matter (as you see) and the most beloved statement to me is the true one; you may choose either the properties or the prisoners as I have delayed their distribution." The Prophet had waited for them for more than ten days since his arrival from Ta'if. So, when it became evident to them that the Prophet was not going to return them except one of the two, they said, "We choose our prisoners." The Prophet got up amongst the people and glorified and praised Allah as He deserved and said, "Then after, these brethren of yours have come to us with repentance, and I see it logical to return them the captives. So, whoever amongst you likes to do that as a favor, then he can do it, and whoever of you likes to stick to his share till we recompense him from the very first war booty which Allah will give us, then he can do so (i.e. give up the present captives)." The people unanimously said, "We do that (return the captives) willingly." The Prophet said, "We do not know which of you has agreed to it and which have not, so go back and let your leaders forward us your decision." So, all the people then went back and discussed the matter with their leaders who returned and informed the Prophet that all the people had willingly given their consent to return the captives. This is what has reached us about the captives of Hawazin. Narrated Anas that 'Abbas said to the Prophet, "I paid for my ransom and Aqil's ransom."

From his share of captive women, Muhammad gave his son-in-law Ali a slave-girl, Raytah bt.Hilal to enjoy her at his will. He also presented, Uthman b. Affan, another of his sons-in-law, another slave-girl, Zaynab bt. Hayyan; bestowed Umar b. Khattab with a freed girl. Umar gave that girl to his son Abd Allah. Abd Allah sent this girl to his maternal aunt to get her ready so that he could enjoy her after he had circumambulated the Ka'ba! Most of Muhammad's other elite companions received slave-girls. It is reported that Abd Allah released her sex-slave when he heard that Muhammad had advised the Muslims to release their captives.

Uayanah b. Hisn received an old widow as a captive, hoping to raise good ransom for her. When he heard Muhammad's call to release the captive women, he was very disappointed and refused to release her in exchange for six camels. One of his comrades then told him 'to let her go for her mouth was neither cold nor were her breasts swelling, she could not conceive, her milk was not rich and her husband would not care.' Being saddened with such an 'expired' woman, Uayanan b. Hisn released her in exchange for six camels.

Then Uayanah met his friend al-Aqra and complained to him about his chagrin over Muhammad's call. His friend replied, "By God, you did not take her as virgin in her prime nor even full-figured in her middle age!"

Muhammad then offered Malik, the leader of the Hawazin, who was hiding at Taif to come out of his recluse and pledged that if he embraced Islam then he (Muhammad) would return his family and possessions. When this news of conditional amnesty reached Malik, he decided to leave Taif stealthily; he came to Jirana where Muhammad was stationed, embraced Islam and reclaimed his family. After embracing Islam, he aided Muhammad in fighting the Thaqif people.

Apparently, the Muslims were not quite happy with Muhammad's generous gesture towards his erstwhile foes. They were apprehensive that if this 'kindness' by Muhammad continued unabated they might miss out in their fair share of the prisoners and the booty. They felt a sense of deprivation from the huge booty that they had collected after a vigorous fight. So, while Muhammad was riding away after releasing the captives of Hunayn, the Muslims ran after him saying, "O Messenger of God, divide our booty of camels and small cattle among us." They were so persistent and forceful that they pushed Muhammad's back against a tree and took out his mantle. The Jihadists were simply enraged that the booty might elude them. A desperate Muhammad cried out, " Give me back my mantle, men, for by God if you had as many sheep as the trees of Tihama, I would distribute them among you; you have not found me niggardly or cowardly or false." To appease this unruly bunch of booty-hungry Jihadists, he even promised them to return his personal one-fifth share (khums) of the booty. Only then did the Jihadists release a grossly distressed Muhammad.

Muhammad gave special gifts as a bribe to those newly converted Muslims whose hearts were to be won and who were eminent among the Quraysh. To support his action he claimed that the Quraysh were not strong in Islam, so he had to bribe them to buy their heart. Here is a Hadith from Sahih Bukhari on this action of bribery of Muhammad:

Volume 4, Book 53, Number 374:

Narrated Anas:

The Prophet said, "I give to Quraish people in order to let them adhere to Islam, for they are near to their life of Ignorance (i.e. they have newly embraced Islam and it is still not strong in their hearts."

Allah quickly approved this form of bribery in verse 9:60. Even some Quraysh who were still pagan received something.

He gave one hundred (100) camels to those elite converts like, Abu Sufyan b. Harb, his two sons Muawiyah and Yazid, Safwan b. Uumayyah, Suhayl b. Amr, Uyayanah b. Hisn etc. When Abu Sufyan grumbled and asked for more he gave him and each of his sons forty (40) ounces of gold (in today's money it is around US$ 16,000). Safwan b. Umayyah wanted more, so Muhammad gave him another two hundred (200) camels, i.e., all together, he received three hundred (300) camels. They became to be known as "Men of Hundreds." Not only that Muhammad 'bribed' those new converts with money and goods, but he also elevated some of them to important positions. Thus Abu Sufyan's son Yazid was made the governor of Tayma and his other son Muawiya was appointed the secretary of Muhammad. Those new converts below in rank of the elite received less than one hundred camels, some of them received only fifty camels. Some new Muslims were not pleased with this type of 'bribery discrimination' and they reproached Muhammad.

To placate the 'tongues' of these new converts, Muhammad gave them more camels until they were satisfied and stopped criticising him.

When a devoted Jihadist, Juayl b. Suraqah complained about Muhammad's unfairness in the distribution of B. Hawazin booty, Muhammad replied, "By Him in whose hand is my soul, Juayl b. Suraqah is better than an entire world full of men like Uyayanah b. Hisn and al-Aqra b. Habis, but I have treated them generously so that they may embrace Islam, and I have entrusted Ju'ayl b. Suraqah to his Islam."

All the booty of Hunayn were distributed among the Quraysh and the Bedouin tribes. The Ansars received nothing. They were very unhappy and this mood of their discontent reached Muhammad. The Ansars were apprehensive that Muhammad was now with his own people (Quraysh). Muhammad gathered the Ansars and told them that the others had booty but they had him as their own; that was better than booty. Then Muhammad shed tears for them and promised that he was one of the Ansars and. The Ansars expressed their satisfaction with Muhammad's explanation for 'booty discrimination.' See Sahih Muslim, book 4, Hadith number 2303 for further details.

After this meeting with the Ansars, Muhammad left Jirana and went to perform an Umra, and ordered that that the rest of the spoils be kept back in Majanna, another safe location. After returning from Umra, he left for Medina, leaving Muadh b. Jabal at Mecca in charge of teaching Islam to the new Muslims and Attab b. Asid, a new convert, as the Governor of Mecca with an allowance of one Dirham a day. The rest of the loot followed him to Medina. Muhammad arrived in Medina in April, 630.

From the Jirana booty, every Jihadist got four camels and forty sheep. Every horseman got an additional share for his horse. A horseman received twelve (12) camels and one hundred and twenty (120) sheep. Convert these animals to equivalent US$ and you will surely comprehend why Jihad was such a great attraction to all those clodhoppers of Muhammad.

After Muhammad returned to Medina he appointed several tax collectors to collect Jizya taxes, by force, if necessary from those tribes who refused to accept Islam.

Terror Eighty

The Raid on B. Tamim by Uyana b. Hisn - July, 630CE

When the forced Jizya on the infidels became extremely oppressive, many tribes rebelled against Muhammad. B. Tamim, refused to pay Jizya and enticed other tribes to follow suit when the Muslim tax collector approached them. So Muhammad sent Uyana b. Hisn, at the behest of fifty horsemen to punish B. Tamim and to exact the Jizya from them. Uyana attacked B. Tamim while they were grazing their cattle in the desert. Most of B. Tamim fled in terror. Uyana took the booty of camels and flocks, captured eleven men, twenty-one women, and thirty children and brought the booty to Medina. Muhammad incarcerated the captured men, women and children. Soon, after learning about their incarceration, B.Tamim sent a ten man delegation to Muhammad to negotiate their release. These Bedouins came to Medina and called out curtly for Muhammad while the latter was resting in his apartment. Allah was displeased with this roughness towards His messenger and quickly sent down verses 49:4 admonishing this unruly bunch of Arab Bedouins and forbade raising of voice volume above that of messenger of Allah. An annoyed Muhammad talked briefly with them and then he went to perform his prayer. Allah also released verse 49:6 warning Muhammad to verify facts before acting on it. Then Muhammad entered into a prolong negotiation with the B. Tamim delegation. A poetry competition was held to judge whose religion was better---Islam or paganism. Of course, Islam won the competition; the B. Tamim converted to Islam and Muhammad released their men, women and children. When they converted to Islam, Muhammad praised them and Bibi Aisha released a slave that belonged to B. Tamim. Here is a Hadith on B. Tamim from Sahih Bukhari:

Volume 3, Book 46, Number 719:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

I have loved the people of the tribe of Bani Tamim ever since I heard, three things, Allah's Apostle said about them. I heard him saying, These people (of the tribe of Bani Tamim) would stand firm against Ad-Dajjal." When the Sadaqat (gifts of charity) from that tribe came, Allah's Apostle said, "These are the Sadaqat (i.e. charitable gifts) of our folk." 'Aisha had a slave-girl from that tribe, and the Prophet said to 'Aisha, "Manumit her as she is a descendant of Ishmael (the Prophet)."

Terror Eighty-one

Terrorising B. al-Mustaliq for Jizya - July, 630CE

As per the Islamic rule on subjugated people, a tax collector went to collect Jizya tax from the B. al-Mustaliq people. This tribe surrounded the tax collector. Apprehending violence, the tax collectors fled to Medina. Muhammad threatened them with terror and revenge. The frightened B. Mustaliq then received the tax collector with courtesy and paid the Jizya due on them.

Terror Eighty-two

Surprise Raid on B. Khatham at Talabah by Qutbah ibn Amir ibn Hadidah - August, 630CE

During this period Muhammad sent Qutbah ibn Amir at the head of twenty men to conduct a surprise raid on B. Khatamah, inhabiting Tabalah near Turbah, apparently for no good reason other than pure pillage. The Muslims killed a man who pretended to be dumb. Then they attacked the infidels while they were asleep. The Muslims slaughtered whomever they could and took a great number of camels, goats and women as booty.

Continued in Chapter 19 >>>

(Introduction - 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20)

Abul Kasem is an Bengali ex-Muslim and academic. He has contributed in Leaving Islam - Apostates Speak Out and Beyond Jihad - Critical Voices from Inside and Why We Left Islam.. He has also written extensively on Islam in various websites and is the author of five e-Books: A Complete Guide to Allah, Root of Terrorism ala Islamic Style, Sex and Sexuality in Islam, Who Authored the Quran? and Women in Islam. Mr. Kasem leaves in Sydney, Australia. He can be contacted at