Saturday, 28 February 2015

Don't be Fooled by the Abu Afak Killing Story

You may come across some Islamophobic website or an Islamophobe online or in person spouting something about a 100+ year old poet called Abu Afak who was 'killed' for criticising Prophet Muhammad.

Make sure you inject a dose of TRUTH to proceedings. Make it known that this 'story' is baseless (it has no isnad) and Muslims don't accept it.

If video does not play, see:

The Killing of Abu 'Afak: Where is The Isnâd?

According to Ibn Sa'd and Ibn Ishâq, Abu 'Afak was a 120 years old Jewish man who had abused the Prophet(P) verbally, so the latter launched a raid under the command of Salîm Ibn 'Umaîr to kill him. We do know that Ibn Ishâq lived in the 2nd half of the 2nd century after Hijra, as well as Al-Waqîdî from whom Ibn Sa'd (died 230 A.H.) copied the story of Abu 'Afak.

As explained above, the chain of reporters of the story from eye-witnesses of the event till Ibn Ishâq or Al-Waqîdî must be examined and verified. So, our legitimate question is: where is the isnâd (i.e., chain of reporters)?

Unfortunately, references of the Sîrah do not provide such information. Actually, we are told that this story has no isnâd at all; neither Ibn Ishâq (or his disciple Ibn Hîsham) nor Al-Waqîdî (or his disciple Ibn Sa'd) had provided such a thing! In this case, the story is rated by hadîth scholars as "...of no basis", indicating that it has reached the lowest degree of criticism regarding its isnâd. This is in fact a proper scientific position because we cannot accept such a problematic story without evidence.

In brief, we have no commitment to accept such a baseless story - according to scientific criteria of hadîth criticism - which strangely had appeared in the 2nd half of the 2nd century after Hijra. We are therefore obliged to reject the story of the killing of Abu 'Afak by Salîm Ibn 'Umaîr at the Prophet’s command.
Hesham Azmy


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