1,001 Sayings and Deeds of the Prophet
Booty and the Believers
At forty-something, the merchant Abū al-Qāsim Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allāh ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hāshim suffered what we might call a midlife crisis; a midlife crisis that may have been exacerbated by a severe sunstroke suffered while helping with renovations of the Ka’ba and from which he almost died. A hadith to that effect:
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah:
When the Ka'ba was rebuilt, the Prophet and Abbas went to carry stones. Abbas said to the Prophet "(Take off and) put your waist sheet over your neck so that the stones may not hurt you." (But as soon as he took off his waist sheet) he fell unconscious on the ground with both his eyes towards the sky. When he came to his senses, he said, "My waist sheet! My waist sheet!" Then he tied his waist sheet (round his waist).
It was after one of these life-threatening traumas that the man who would achieve immortal fame as the Prophet Muhammad received his first visit from the angel Gabriel in a cave overlooking Mecca, where he had gone to spend the night to pray and meditate. The celebrated angel informed him that he had been chosen as God’s Messenger to deliver the Almighty’s final message for mankind as to how He should be worshipped and how humanity must behave lest His Anger destroy them all.
It was all in a book God had authored which He called the Koran, the most accepted meaning being “to recite.” To memorize, recite and inform his kin of what the angel conveyed to him about the contents of that Book was what God expected His latest spokesperson to do, as the original and only copy of this Koran, Allah kept it near Him at all times in Paradise for safekeeping.
43:4 And, indeed, it is in the Mother of the Book, with Us, lofty and wise.
Muhammad’s kin was from a powerful tribe, the Quraysh, whose head inherited the leadership of the “tribal council” that had ruled Mecca from time immemorial. The tribal leaders, when Muhammad told them that he had been appointed God’s Messenger, saw his newfound prophethood as a scheme to rule over them, and would no longer have anything to do with him.
38:6 And the dignitaries among them went forth saying: “Go on and be steadfast regarding your gods. This is indeed a matter premeditated (Muhammad…. [wants] to subjugate us and rule us as his subjects, Moududi).
They even attempted to kill him by suffocating him with the stomach of a dead camel to avoid that happening.
Narrated Abdullah bin Mas'ud:
Once the Prophet was offering prayers at the Ka'ba. Abu Jahl was sitting with some of his companions. One of them said to the others, "Who amongst you will bring the abdominal contents (intestines, etc.) of a camel of Bani so and so and put it on the back of Muhammad, when he prostrates?"
The most unfortunate of them got up and brought it. He waited till the Prophet prostrated and then placed it on his back between his shoulders.
I was watching but could not do anything. I wish I had some people with me to hold out against them.
They started laughing and falling on one another.
Allah's Apostle was in prostration and he did not lift his head up till Fatima (Prophet's daughter) came and threw that (camel's abdominal contents) away from his back.
He raised his head and said thrice, "O Allah! Punish Quraish."
So it was hard for Abu Jahl and his companions when the Prophet invoked Allah against them as they had a conviction that the prayers and invocations were accepted in this city (Mecca).
The Prophet said, "O Allah! Punish Abu Jahl, 'Utba bin Rabi'a, Shaiba bin Rabi'a, Al-Walid bin 'Utba, Umaiya bin Khalaf, and 'Uqba bin Al Mu'it (and he mentioned the seventh whose name I cannot recall).
By Allah in Whose Hands my life is, I saw the dead bodies of those persons who were counted by Allah's Apostle in the Qalib (one of the wells) of Badr.
It is more likely that it is Muhammad’s unheralded eldest daughter, fourteen-year-old Rukaya, who freed her father, not her six-year-old sister Fatima.
Having failed to convince the rich and powerful of Mecca of his pre-eminence among men, God’s latest spokesperson turned to the poor of Mecca. His message was simple: listen to me and do as you are told, and when you die you will have, in the afterlife, what the rich and powerful have in the here-and-now (i.e., mansions, riches and women or facsimiles, i.e., houris). The rich, on the other hand, will be held to account, and the women you could not afford will be sent to Hell for not being more grateful to those who could.
The Prophet said, "I stood at the gate of Paradise and saw that the majority of the people who entered it were the poor, while the wealthy were stopped at the gate (for the accounts). But the companions of the Fire were ordered to be taken to the Fire. Then I stood at the gate of the Fire and saw that the majority of those who entered it were women."
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
The Prophet said: "I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful."
It was asked, "Do they disbelieve in Allah?" (or are they ungrateful to Allah?)
He replied, "They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them.
Allah promised the poor harems of houris, sexual beings designed to satisfy a man's most extravagant carnal desires allowed. Fabricated whores, who will be wedded to the believers to avoid illegal intercourse even in Paradise, may have been made necessary by the paucity of the real women Allah will admit into His hedonistic sanctuary in the sky.
Imran b. Husain reported that Allah's Messenger said: Amongst the inmates of Paradise the women would form a minority.
Sahih Muslim 36.6600
This pitch had limited success. We don’t know exactly when Muhammad hit upon the idea, or when God told him to modify the message and tell the poor and powerless who converted that they could have the property of the unbelievers legally if they were willing to fight and even kill them for it. It’s in the Koran, but also in the hadiths.
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah:
The Prophet said, "I have been given five things which were not given to any one else before me.
1. Allah made me victorious by awe, (by His frightening my enemies) for a distance of one month's journey.
2. The earth has been made for me (and for my followers) a place for praying and a thing to perform Tayammum (dry ablution i.e. washing oneself before prayer using sand or dust if no water available), therefore anyone of my followers can pray wherever the time of a prayer is due.
3. The booty has been made Halal (lawful) for me (and my followers) yet it was not lawful for anyone else before me.
4. I have been given the right of intercession (on the Day of Resurrection).
5. Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation only but I have been sent to all mankind."
In another hadith quoted in its entirety elsewhere, booty was made legal for the Muslims because of their weakness.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet added: “Then Allah saw our weakness and disability, so he made booty legal for us."
As a bonus, if a believer died trying to kill an unbeliever and abscond with his property, he was guaranteed immediate access to Paradise, no questions asked.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Allah guarantees to the person who carries out Jihad for His Cause and nothing compelled him to go out but the Jihad in His Cause, and belief in His Words, that He will either admit him into Paradise or return him with his reward or the booty he has earned to his residence from where he went out."
Muhammad even promised the natural-born and professional killers tempted by his new religion that their previous murders would be forgiven and Paradise would be theirs, again no questions asked, if they converted and died while murdering on Allah’s behalf.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Allah welcomes two men with a smile; one of whom kills the other and both of them enter Paradise. One fights in Allah's Cause and gets killed. Later on Allah forgives the 'killer who also get martyred (in Allah's Cause)."
The new message had the desired effect and would give rise to the holy warriors who murder, maim and die in Allah's Cause.
A hadith about some of those attracted by Muhammad's new religion, people whom he defended as more worthy than those they robbed (and killed).
Narrated Abu Bakra:
Al-Aqra bin Habis said to the Prophet "Nobody gave you the pledge of allegiance but the robbers of the pilgrims (i.e. those who used to rob the pilgrims) from the tribes of Aslam, Ghifar, Muzaina."
(Ibn Abi Ya'qub is in doubt whether Al-Aqra added. 'And Juhaina.')
The Prophet said, "Don't you think that the tribes of Aslam, Ghifar, Muzaina (and also perhaps) Juhaina are better than the tribes of Bani Tamim, Bani Amir, Asad, and Ghatafan?"
Somebody said, "They were unsuccessful and losers!"
The Prophet said, "Yes, by Him in Whose Hands my life is, they (i.e. the former) are better than they (i.e. the latter)."
Abu Huraira said, "(The Prophet said), '(The people of) Bani Aslam, Ghifar and some people of Muzaina (or some people of Juhaina or Muzaina) are better in Allah's Sight (or on the Day of Resurrection) than the tribes of Asad, Tamim, Hawazin and Ghatafan.'"
Muhammad was not the first to enlist criminals in Allah’s Cause; that would be Noah, who, unlike Muhammad, claimed not to have been aware that those who he welcomed on the Ark were of the “lowliest crowd” (i.e., criminals).
26:105 The people of Noah have denounced the Messengers as liars;
26:106 When their brother Noah said to them: “Do you not fear god?
26:107 “I am to you a faithful Messenger.
26:108 “So, fear Allah and obey me.
26:109 “I ask you no wages for this; my wage is with the Lord of the Worlds.
26:110 “So, fear Allah and obey me.”
26:111 They said: “Shall we believe in you, when the lowliest crowd has followed you?”
26:112 He said: “How could I know what they used to do?
26:113 “They will only be called to account by my Lord; if only you had any sense.
26:114 “And it is not for me to drive away the believers.
26:115 “I am only a manifest warner.”
The allocation of the booty was a straightforward, if sometimes gruesome affair. Muhammad would ask or ascertain who killed whom and was therefore entitled to the murdered man's property, which normally included his wife and children.
Narrated Abu Qatada:
We set out in the company of Allah's Apostle on the day (of the battle) of Hunain. When we faced the enemy, the Muslims retreated and I saw a pagan throwing himself over a Muslim. I turned around and came upon him from behind and hit him on the shoulder with the sword He (i.e. the pagan) came towards me and seized me so violently that I felt as if it were death itself, but death overtook him and he released me.
I followed Umar bin Al Khattab and asked (him), "What is wrong with the people (fleeing)?"
He replied, "This is the Will of Allah."
After the people returned, the Prophet sat and said, "Anyone who has killed an enemy and has a proof of that, will possess his spoils."
I got up and said, "Who will be a witness for me?" and then sat down.
The Prophet again said, "Anyone who has killed an enemy and has proof of that, will possess his spoils."
I (again) got up and said, "Who will be a witness for me?" and sat down.
Then the Prophet said the same for the third time.
I again got up, and Allah's Apostle said, "O Abu Qatada! What is your story?"
Then I narrated the whole story to him.
A man (got up and) said, "O Allah's Apostle! He is speaking the truth, and the spoils of the killed man are with me. So please compensate him on my behalf."
On that Abu Bakr As-Siddiq said, "No, by Allah, he (i.e. Allah's Apostle) will not agree to give you the spoils gained by one of Allah's Lions who fights on the behalf of Allah and His Apostle."
The Prophet said, "Abu Bakr has spoken the truth."
So, Allah's Apostle gave the spoils to me. I sold that armor (i.e. the spoils) and with its price I bought a garden at Bani Salima, and this was my first property which I gained after my conversion to Islam.
When it came to the booty, Muhammad knew no shame.
Narrated Abdur-Rahman bin Auf:
While I was standing in the row on the day (of the battle) of Badr, I looked to my right and my left and saw two young Ansari boys, and I wished I had been stronger than they. One of them called my attention saying, "O Uncle! Do you know Abu Jahl?"
I said, "Yes, What do you want from him, O my nephew?"
He said, "I have been informed that he abuses Allah's Apostle. By Him in Whose Hands my life is, if I should see him, then my body will not leave his body till either of us meet his fate."
I was astonished at that talk. Then the other boy called my attention saying the same as the other had said.
After a while I saw Abu Jahl walking amongst the people. I said (to the boys), "Look! This is the man you asked me about."
So, both of them attacked him with their swords and struck him to death and returned to Allah's Apostle to inform him of that.
Allah's Apostle asked, "Which of you has killed him?"
Each of them said, "I Have killed him."
Allah's Apostle asked, "Have you cleaned your swords?"
They said, "No."
He then looked at their swords and said, "No doubt, you both have killed him and the spoils of the deceased will be given to Muadh bin Amr bin Al-Jamuh."
The two boys were Muadh bin Afra and Muadh bin Amr bin Al-Jamuh.
That he came across Abu Jahl while he was on the point of death on the day of Badr.
Abu Jahl said, "You should not be proud that you have killed me nor I am ashamed of being killed by my own folk."
Muhammad, as God's spokesperson, was not only entitled to one-fifth of the booty obtained the hard way, but all the booty that was obtained without a fight, the Fai'.
The properties of Banu Nadir were among the booty that Allah gave to His Apostle such booty were not obtained by any expedition on the part of Muslims, neither with cavalry, nor with camelry (sic). So those properties were for Allah's Apostle only, and he used to provide thereof the yearly expenditure for his wives, and dedicate the rest of its revenues for purchasing arms and horses as war material to be used in Allah's Cause.
The exile and dispossession of the Jews of Medina, the first such bloodless victory, made Muhammad an extremely wealthy man. This caused some holy warriors to grumble, on more than one occasion, about the fairness of it all, prompting Allah to send the following revelation:
59:6 Whatever spoils Allah has bestowed on His Messenger from them, you did not send against them any horses or other mounts; but Allah confers on His Messengers authority over whoever he pleases. Allah has power over everything.
In one observation of Muhammad, it is obvious that he was not always trusted to be fair in the disposition of the booty obtained through blood, sweat and slaughter.
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah:
While Allah's Apostle was distributing the booty at Al-Ja'rana, somebody said to him "Be just (in your distribution)."
The Prophet replied, "Verily I would be miserable if I did not act justly."
They did not understand that Islam was in its infancy and vulnerable; and some of the booty was needed to keep vacillating believers believing and recent converts confident in the profitability of their choice, if the new religion was to survive.
Narrated Amr bin Taghlib:
Allah's Apostle gave (gifts) to some people to the exclusion of some others. The latter seemed to be displeased by that.
The Prophet said, "I give to some people, lest they should deviate from True Faith or lose patience, while I refer other people to the goodness and contentment which Allah has put in their hearts, and Amr bin Taghlib is amongst them."
Amr bin Taghlib said, "The statement of Allah's Apostle is dearer to me than red camels."
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)."
Muhammad was hurt by the accusations, but soon enough nobody dared question his fairness in handing out the property of those killed by his followers; not only because this tested his patience, but because his war on the unbelievers was producing booty at an unprecedented rate.
On the day (of the battle) of Hunain, Allah's Apostle favored some people in the distribution of the booty (to the exclusion of others); he gave Al-Aqra' bin Habis one-hundred camels and he gave Uyaina the same amount, and also gave to some of the eminent Arabs, giving them preference in this regard. Then a person came and said, "By Allah, in this distribution justice has not been observed, nor has Allah's Pleasure been aimed at."
I said (to him), "By Allah, I will inform the Prophet (of what you have said)," I went and informed him, and he said, "If Allah and His Apostle did not act justly, who else would act justly. May Allah be merciful to Moses, for he was harmed with more than this, yet he kept patient."
A rider was entitled to two additional share of the booty because of his horse.
Narrated Ibn Umar:
On the day of Khaibar, Allah's Apostle divided (the war booty of Khaibar) with the ratio of two shares for the horse and one-share for the foot soldier.
(The sub-narrator, Nafi explained this, saying, "If a man had a horse, he was given three shares and if he had no horse, then he was given one share.")
Take more than your fair share of the booty at your risk and peril.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
We went out in the company of Allah's Apostle on the day of (the battle of) Khaibar, and we did not get any gold or silver as war booty, but we got property in the form of things and clothes. Then a man called Rifa'a bin Zaid, from the tribe of Bani Ad-Dubaib, presented a slave named Mid'am to Allah's Apostle.
Allah's Apostle headed towards the valley of Al-Qura, and when he was in the valley of Al-Qura an arrow was thrown by an unidentified person, struck and killed Mid'am who was making a she-camel of Allah's Apostle kneel down.
The people said, "Congratulations to him (the slave) for gaining Paradise."
Allah's Apostle said, "No! By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, for the sheet which he stole from the war booty before its distribution on the day of Khaibar, is now burning over him."
When the people heard that, a man brought one or two Shiraks (leather straps of shoes) to the Prophet. The Prophet said, "A Shirak of fire, or two Shiraks of fire."
The lure of the female booty at the battle of Uhud was responsible for one of the few Muslim defeats.
Narrated Al-Bara bin Azib:
The Prophet appointed Abdullah bin Jubair as the commander of the infantry men (archers) who were fifty on the day (of the battle) of Uhud. He instructed them, "Stick to your place, and don't leave it even if you see birds snatching us, till I send for you; and if you see that we have defeated the infidels and made them flee, even then you should not leave your place till I send for you."
Then the infidels were defeated. By Allah, I saw the women fleeing lifting up their clothes revealing their leg-bangles and their legs. So, the companions of Abdullah bin Jubair said, "The booty! O people, the booty! Your companions have become victorious, what are you waiting for now?"
Abdullah bin Jubair said, "Have you forgotten what Allah's Apostle said to you?"
They replied, "By Allah! We will go to the people (i.e. the enemy) and collect our share from the war booty."
But when they went to them, they were forced to turn back defeated.
At the battle of Hunayn, Muhammad successfully rallied his booty-obsessed troops and turned the tide.
Narrated Abu Ishaq:
Somebody asked Al-Bar-a bin Azib, "Did you flee deserting Allah's Apostle during the battle of Hunain?"
Al-Bara replied, "But Allah's Apostle did not flee. The people of the Tribe of Hawazin were good archers. When we met them, we attacked them, and they fled.
When the Muslims started collecting the war booty, the pagans faced us with arrows, but Allah's Apostle did not flee. No doubt, I saw him on his white mule and Abu Sufyan was holding its reins and the Prophet was saying, 'I am the Prophet in truth: I am the son of Abdul Muttalib.'"
Kill an alleged spy and you get his belonging without impacting on your regular share of the war booty.
Narrated Salama bin Al-Akwa:
An infidel spy came to the Prophet while he was on a journey. The spy sat with the companions of the Prophet and started talking and then went away.
The Prophet said (to his companions), “Chase and kill him.” So, I killed him. The Prophet then gave him the belongings of the killed spy (in addition to his share of the war booty).
A generous Muhammad gave a share of the booty to his son-in-law who had not participated in the battle of Badr, not willing to leave his ill wife’s side.
Narrated Ibn Umar:
Uthman did not join the Badr battle because he was married to one of the daughters of Allah's Apostle and she was ill. So, the Prophet said to him. "You will get a reward and a share (from the war booty) similar to the reward and the share of one who has taken part in the Badr battle."
Foodstuff obtained as war booty, for obvious reason, was often consumed on the spot.
Narrated Ibn Umar:
In our holy battles, we used to get honey and grapes, as war booty which we would eat and would not store.
Booty was not exempt from the obligatory twenty percent charitable donation levy, the Zakat, with the Khumus being the Zakat on booty earmarked for Allah's Cause (i.e., His war on unbelievers). However, until Muhammad's tax collector showed up to collect God's share of the female booty, you could still have sex with it, and deservedly so.
The Prophet sent Ali to Khalid to bring the Khumus (of the booty) and I hated Ali, and Ali had taken a bath (after a sexual act with a slave-girl from the Khumus).
I said to Khalid, "Don't you see this (i.e. Ali)?"
When we reached the Prophet I mentioned that to him.
He said, "O Buraida! Do you hate Ali?"
I said, "Yes."
He said, "Do you hate him, for he deserves more than that from the Khumus."
Until God’s Messenger made his views known, some holy warriors were also unsure about whether coitus interruptus was halal. They consulted with the Prophet who made his and what has to assume God's views on a believer withdrawing his member from his captive's vagina prior to ejaculation.
Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa'id al Khadri (Allah be pleased with him): 0 Abu Sa'id, did you hear Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) mentioning al-'azl?
He said: Yes, and added: We went out with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi'l- Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing 'azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception).
But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah's Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him?
So we asked Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.
Imam Muslim 8:3371
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: that while he was sitting with Allah's Apostle he said, "O Allah's Apostle! We get female captives as our share of booty, and we are interested in their prices, what is your opinion about coitus interruptus?"
The Prophet said, "Do you really do that? It is better for you not to do it. No soul that which Allah has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence."
As reported by the BBC, the Prophet's views on coitus interruptus and by extension contraception have encouraged "more conservative Islamic leaders have [to] openly campaign against the use of condoms or other birth control methods, thus making population planning in many countries ineffective."
While a majority of Islamic Schools of Law allow contraceptives within a marriage setting, all are against men having a vasectomy or women a tubal ligation for this would be interfering with Allah's right to schedule a pregnancy at some point in the future.
Dead pagans down the well and booty for the victors. What a God!
Narrated Ibn Shihab:
These were the battles of Allah's Apostle (which he fought), and while mentioning (the Badr battle) he said, "While the corpses of the pagans were being thrown into the well, Allah's Apostle said (to them), 'Have you found what your Lord promised true?'"
Abdullah said, "Some of the Prophet's companions said, 'O Allah's Apostle! You are addressing dead people.'
Allah's Apostle replied, 'You do not hear what I am saying, better than they.'
The total number of Muslim fighters from Quraish who fought in the battle of Badr and were given their share of the booty, were 81 men."
Az-Zubair said, "When their shares were distributed, their number was 101 men. But Allah knows it better."