Killer angels

Sirat p. 303
After this incident, it is comforting to have something religious: One of the reasons quoted for the victory at Badr was the participation of killing angels: Abu Usayd Malik, who was present at Badr, told after he lost his sight: “If I were in Badr today and had my sight, I could show you the glen from which the angels emerged. I have not the slightest doubt on the point.” Abu Daud al-Mazini, who was at Badr, told: “I was pursuing a polytheist at Badr to smite him, when his head fell off before I could get at him with my sword, and I knew that someone else had killed him.” Abdullah b. Abbas told: “The sign of the angels at Badr was white turbans flowing behind them, at Hunayn they were red turbans.” Ibn Abbas told me: “The angels did not fight in any battle but Badr. In the other battles they were there as reinforcements, but they did not fight.”

Death of Abu Jahl

Sirat p. 304
Muawwidh b. Afra passed Abu Jahl as he lay there helpless and smote him until he left him at his last gasp. Then Abdullah b. Masud passed by Abu Jahl when Muhammad had ordered that he was to be searched for among the slain. IAbdullah b. Masud said that he found him at his last gasp and put his foot on his neck and said to him: “Has Allah put you to shame, you enemy of Allah?” He replied: “How has He shamed me? Am I anything more remarkable than a man you have killed? Tell me how the battle went.” He told him that it went in favor of Allah and his messenger. Abu Jahl is a leader of the Quraysh. Getting him down is significant. He said to me: “You have climbed high, little shepherd.” Then I cut off his head and brought it to Muhammad saying: “This is the head of the enemy of Allah, Abu Jahl.” He said: “By Allah than Whom there is no other, is it?” “Yes,” I said, and I threw his head before Muhammad, and he gave thanks to Allah. This is so clear it doesn’t need additional comment.

Quotas for paradise

Sirat p. 305
When Muhammad said: “70,000 of my people shall enter Paradise like the full moon.”, Ukkasha asked if he could be one of them, and the messenger prayed that he might be one. One of the Ansar got up and asked the he too might be one of them, and he replied: “Ukkasha has forestalled you and the prayer is cold.” While this is religious, it is also strange. The Ansar (later Muslims from Medina) seem to have second priority for entering Paradise. And only 70,000? While that must have seen an immense number in thinly-polulated Arabia, it is not much on a larger scale. Fortunately, more ahadith are available to check this, so let’s take a segway: Bukhari:V8B76N550: “I heard Allah’s messenger saying, ‘From my followers there will be a crowd of 70,000 in number who will enter Paradise whose faces will glitter as the moon.’” Apparently the same story retold in Bukhari. Should be solid. Bukhari V4B54N410: “Verily! 70,000 of my followers will enter Paradise altogether; so that the first and the last amongst them will enter at the same time.” The number 70,000 seems firm. Compared to the number of Muslim martyrs during the centuries, this is not much. Quite a few may have been quite disappointed after their death in battle. Bukhari:V8B76N537: “The Prophet said, ‘Allah will say, “Adam!” “I am obedient to Your orders.” Allah will say, “Bring out the people of the Fire.” “How many are the people of the Fire?” Allah will say, “Out of every thousand take out nine-hundred and ninety-nine persons.” At that time children will become hoary-headed and every pregnant female will drop her load. You will see the people as if they were drunk. Allah’s punishment will be very severe.’ That is not good news. Of 1000 people, 999 are predestined to go to Hell. The Muslims didn’t like it either: That news distressed the companions of the Prophet too much, and they said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Who amongst us will be that lucky one out of the one-thousand who will be saved from the Fire?’ He said, ‘Have the good news that one-thousand will be from Gog and Magog, and the one (to be saved will be) from you.’ While the Muslims are granted priority entry to Paradise, the limit of 70,000 apparently stands. I’ll leave that puzzle for others to solve.

The pit

Sirat p. 307
When Muhammad ordered that the dead should be thrown into a pit, they were all thrown in except Umayya b. Khalaf, whose body had swelled within his armour so that he filled it, and when they went to move him, his body disintegrated; so they left it where it was and heaped earth and stones upon it. The stench in the desert heat must have been unbelievable. As they threw them into the pit, Muhammad stood and said: “Oh people of the pit, have you found that what Allah threatened is true? For I have found that what my Lord promised me is true.” His companions asked: “Are you speaking to dead people?” He replied that they knew that what their Lord had promised them was true. Aisha said: People say that he said: “They hear what I say to them,” but what he said was: “They know.” What Muhammad intends to achieve by this is hard to imagine. Aisha weighs in with some hair-splitting about the ability of the dead to hear. Peculiar. Muhammads companions heard him saying in the middle of the night: “Oh people of the pit: Oh Utba, Oh Shayba, Oh Umayya Oh Abu Jahl,” enumerating all who had been thrown into the pit, “Have you found that what Allah promised you is true? I have found that what my Lord promised me is true.” The Muslims said: “Are you calling to dead bodies?” He answered: “You cannot hear what I say better than they, but they cannot answer me.” The people who died at Badr were of the clan and kindred of Muhammad. No wonder he knows every single person in the pit by name. Even now, when their decomposing bodies are thrown in the pit, Muhammad demeans them. A Bukhari hadith confirms the hellish scene and the invocation of evil: Bukhari:V5B59N297 “The Prophet faced the Ka’aba and invoked evil on the Quraysh people specifically cursing: Shaiba, Utba, Walid and Abu Jahl. I bear witness, by Allah, that I saw them all dead, putrefied by the sun, as Badr was a very hot day.” Back in Tabari, we find the motivation for the battle made crystal clear: Muhammad said that day: “Oh people of the pit you were an evil kinsfolk to your prophet. You called me a liar when others believed me; you cast me out when others took me in; you fought against me when others fought on my side.” Then he added: “Have you found that what your Lord promised is true?” Underlining that those killed were his kindred, Muhammad explains the motivation behind this: They did not recognize him as a prophet. Furthermore, this stands as quite a warning to others who might doubt his credentials. Muhammad certainly was a different kind of person than those he considered his predecessors, Jesus and the Jewish prophets. When Muhammad gave the order for them to be thrown into the pit, Utba was dragged to it. I have been told that Muhammad looked at the face of his son Abu Hudhayfa, and lo he was sad and his colour had changed. He said: “I fear that you feel deeply the fate of your father” or words to that effect. “No,” he said, “I have no misgivings about my father and his death, but I used to know my father as a wise, cultured and virtuous man, and so I hoped that he would be guided to Islam. When I saw what had befallen him and that he had died in unbelief after my hopes for him, it saddened me.” Muhammad blessed him and spoke kindly to him. Again we see how Islam supercedes family bonds (except, as we saw, in the case of Muhammad himself). The father of Abu Hudhayfa is among the slain, and described as ‘wise, cultured and virtuous’. Wisely, he tells Muhammad that being guided to Islam is the most important. Muhammad likes that.

Quranic comments on Badr

Sirat p. 307
The Quran came down about certain men who were killed at Badr: Quran 4:97: Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves (as they stayed among the disbelievers even though emigration was obligatory for them), they (angels) say (to them): “In what (condition) were you?” They reply: “We were weak and oppressed on the earth.” They (angels) say: “Was not the earth of Allâh spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?” Such men will find their abode in Hell – what an evil destination! They were: al-Harith; Abu Qays b. al-Fakih; Abu Qays b. al-Walid; Ali b. Umayya; and al-As b. Munabbih. These had been Muslims while Muhammad was in Mecca. When he mirated to Medina, their fathers and families in Mecca shut them up and seduced them and they let themselves be seduced. Then they joined their people in the expedtion to Badr and were all killed. That’s pretty clear. When Muhammad was driven out of Mecca, he requested all early Muslims to follow him. Some stayed behind, abolishing the belief that Muhammad was the messenger of Allah, and rejoined the ways of their families. Having gone with their families to Badr to fight Muhammad, they got the destiny they deserved and are now burning in Hell.

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