Did Prophet Muhammed Pass Away Due to Poisoning?

Did Prophet Muhammed Pass Away Due to Poisoning?

Ornament on One of the Doors in Prophet Muhammed’s
Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia

Starting the Divine Protection Promised by Allah Exalted he to Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him in the Glorious Holy Quran:

“O Messenger! Convey everything revealed to you from your Lord. If you do not, then you have not delivered His message. Allah will ˹certainly˺ protect you from the people. Indeed, Allah does not guide the people who disbelieve.”  Quran (5:67)

According to the Holy Qur’an, God promised to protect the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him from the hands of his enemies. Many attempts were made on his life, ever since the time he received the first revelation. Proof of this is not only found in the Islamic scripture but also in historical literature.

Though he remained safe from all the plots to end his life, there are some who wish to cast doubt as to his demise. There are some who believe that Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him passed away due to poisoning.

Along with the opponents of Islam, there are even some Muslims who accept that Prophet Muhammed’s death with a DICRECTLY because of that assassination attempt by poisoning done by that Jewish woman which is INCORRECT.

“O Messenger! Convey everything revealed to you from your Lord. If you do not, then you have not delivered His message. Allah will ˹certainly˺ protect you from the people. Indeed, Allah does not guide the people who disbelieve.”  Quran (5:67)

But for different reasons; the ill-informed Muslims who believe that his death was due to DIRECT poisoning also consider his death to be martyrdom. Such view is wrong. Because Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him passed away many years after that incident.

Claiming that Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him passed away as a martyr is INCORRECT because Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him rank is much higher that any martyr.

Prophet Muhammed rank is higher than martyr as per the Glorious Holy Quran:

The following verse need to be understood as per the natural sequence of positions in the verse as the prophets, the people of truth, the martyrs, and the righteous.

Allah Exalted, He in the Glorious Quran says:

“And whoever obeys Allah, and the Messenger will be in the company of those blessed by Allah: the prophets, the people of truth, the martyrs, and the righteous—what honourable company!”

Quran (4:69)

Authentic Hadith=statement of the Prophet about his rank:

Abu Sa’id reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “I am the master of the children of Adam, and it is no boast. I will be the first for whom the earth is split on the Day of Resurrection, and it is no boast.

I will be the first to intercede and whose intercession will be accepted, and it is no boast. The banner of praise will be placed in my hand, and it is no boast.”

Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 4308

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَا سَيِّدُ وَلَدِ آدَمَ وَلَا فَخْرَ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ مَنْ تَنْشَقُّ الْأَرْضُ عَنْهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَلَا فَخْرَ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ شَافِعٍ وَأَوَّلُ مُشَفَّعٍ وَلَا فَخْرَ وَلِوَاءُ الْحَمْدِ بِيَدِي يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَلَا فَخْرَ

4308 سنن ابن ماجه كتاب الزهد باب ذكر الشفاعة

3496 المحدث الألباني خلاصة حكم المحدث صحيح في صحيح ابن ماجه

The critics of Islam, on the other hand, allege that he did not receive divine protection and eventually died from the effects of eating poisoned meat prepared by his enemy. If God didn’t protect him, they claim, he could not have been a prophet of God (God forbid!).

These allegations are largely due to the incorrect narratives of the events at the time of the poisoning, as well as the misunderstanding of the ahadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him related near the time of the Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him demise.

The Poisoning Incident:

The circumstances surrounding the poisoning incident have been outlined as following:

‘A Jewish woman (Zaynab bint Al-Harith (Arabic: زينب بنت الحارث‎, d. 628) was a Jewish woman who attempted to assassinate Muhammad in the aftermath of the battle of Khaybar.)

She asked the Prophet’s Companions may Allah be pleased with them to tell her about what part of an animal the Holy Prophet peace be upon him preferred to eat. She was told that he preferred the shoulder of lamb or goat. The woman slaughtered a goat and made cutlets on hot stones.

Then she mixed with them a deadly poison, especially in pieces cut from the shoulder, believing the Holy Prophet peace be upon him would prefer them. The Holy Prophet peace be upon him was returning to his tent, having led the evening prayers in congregation.

He saw this woman waiting for him near his tent and asked, ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’

‘She said, ‘Yes, Abul-Qasim=one of Prophet Muhammed nicknames, you can accept a present from me.’ The Holy Prophet peace be upon him asked a Companion to take whatever the woman had brought. When the Holy Prophet peace be upon him sat down to eat his meal, this present of roasted meat was also laid before him.

The Holy Prophet peace be upon him took a morsel. A Companion Bashir bin Bara may Allah be pleased with him bin Ma‘rur also took a morsel.

It had been narrated as shown below that despite Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him, forgive her for her attempt to assassinate him which led for her to accept Islam later.

But she was sentenced to death roughly more than one year later for the killing of the companion Bishr ibn al-Bara’ ibn Ma’rur who died because of her.

Note:

It is Prohibited to curse this Jewish woman (Zaynab bint Al-Harith (Arabic: زينب بنت الحارث‎, d. 628) simply because she accepted Islam and died a Muslim

Narration: Zadul-Ma’ad 2/139,140; Fathul-Bari 7/497; Ibn Hisham 2/337, 338

The other Companions present at the meal stretched their hands to eat the meat. But the Holy Prophet peace be upon him stopped them saying, ‘My hand has informed me that the meat has been poisoned’.

It goes further:

‘The Holy Prophet peace be upon him then sent for the woman and asked her if she had poisoned the meat. The woman asked the Holy Prophet peace be upon him how he ever got to know about it.

The Shoulder of the Goat notify The Prophet it had been poison Miracle:

The Prophet peace be upon him was holding a piece of the goat in his hand, and said, ‘My hand told me this,’ The woman then realised that the Holy Prophet peace be upon him had discovered the truth. The woman admitted what she had done.

The Mercy of Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him when FORGAVE the Jewish woman who plotted to assassinate him:

The Holy Prophet peace be upon him asked, ‘What made you commit such a heinous act?’ She replied, ‘My people were at war with you and my relations were killed in this battle, I decided to poison you, believing that if you were an impostor, you would die and we should be safe, but if you were a Prophet, God would save you.’

It had been narrated as shown below that despite Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him, forgive her for her attempt to assassinate him which led for her to accept Islam later.

But she was sentenced to death roughly more than one year later for the killing of the companion Bishr ibn al-Bara’ ibn Ma’rur who died because of her.

Note:

It is Prohibited to curse this Jewish woman (Zaynab bint Al-Harith (Arabic: زينب بنت الحارث‎, d. 628) simply because she accepted Islam and died a Muslim

Narration: Zadul-Ma’ad 2/139,140; Fathul-Bari 7/497; Ibn Hisham 2/337, 338

Hearing this explanation, the Holy Prophet peace be upon him FORGAVE the woman. Otherwise, she would surely have been given the death penalty. This incident shows that the Holy Prophet peace be upon him was ever ready to forgive those who attacked him and his followers.

And punished only when punishment was necessary, when it was feared the guilty one would continue to cause mischief and strife.’ [2]

A companion of the Holy Prophet peace be upon him. Bishr ibn al-Bara’ ibn Ma’rur may Allah be pleased with him was also present at the meal. He partook of a morsel of the poisoned meat and immediately began to show signs of distress.

He spent the remainder of his life in extreme anguish. He died one year after this incident as a result of the poison. It is clear from the above narration that the Holy Prophet peace be upon him became aware that the meat was poisoned BEFORE consuming an amount that may have led to a severe reaction or death.

Understanding the Hadith and the nature of the allegation:

Some critics and ill-informed Muslims, however, claim that the effect of the poison was enough to have had a lasting effect which resulted in Prophet Muhammed DIRECT death four years after the incident took place.

Responding to the allegation:

‘Some enemies of Islam allege that the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him passed away due to this poison. This has also been discussed in certain books of history and biographies of the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him

Certain historians are willing to accept the narrative that the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him passed away due to this poison, as they wish to declare the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him as a martyr, which as we stated above in this article that his rank is much higher than martyrdom.

It is written that irrespective of what is said in any book of history or biography of the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him or any Hadith=statement, that the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him demise was NOT due to poisoning, as above-mentioned.

If someone asserts that Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him death’s due to the poison, then either they are ignorant of all the narrations, or they are mistaken.

It should be remembered that the incident of the poisoning took place during the Battle of Khaybar, which occurred at the end of 6 AH (627CE) or the beginning of 7 AH (628CE) and the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him remained alive for approximately four more years.

He lived a healthy life just as he did before the incident and even went for battles. There was not even the slightest change in his routine with respect to his worship or other daily activities. To pass away after approximately four years, owing to a fever and a migraine, no rational individual would assert that his death was due to the effects of poisoning.

In fact, there is a hadith [saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him recorded in Bukhari as well as some other books of Hadith=statement and owing to not understanding the translation correctly, people have inferred from it that the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him demise was due to the effects of poisoning, whereas this is INCORRECT.

The hadith=statement mentioned in Bukhari is as follows:

Lady Aisha may Allah be pleased with her narrates that during his last days, the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him would say, ‘O Aisha! I have always felt the effects of what I ate at Khaybar. Even today, I feel as if my insides have been greatly affected due to the poison.’ [3]

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 4428 In-book reference : Book 64, Hadith 450 USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol. 5, Book 59, Hadith 713

From this hadith=statement, some Muslims – exegetes and scholars of hadith – have inferred that the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him passed away due to the effects of the poison. Some of them then explain that owing to this, the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him can be deemed as a martyr, whereas this narration does not support this viewpoint.

In this narration, the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him simply expressed a sense of pain he felt. Everyone is aware that an injury or [specific] pain can revert at times owing to certain factors. If one analyses the details regarding the narrations about the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him eating poisoned meat at the time of Khaybar, it is also written that the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him put the poisoned meat in his mouth but did not swallow it.

Even if he did swallow it, the fact that he lived a healthy life is proof that his death was not a result of the poison. Indeed, the poison would have had a severe effect on the stomach or intestines, and this is a natural consequence of it. Likewise, since the morsel was placed in his mouth, it would have affected the uvula and owing to this he may have occasionally felt pain whilst eating.

All the details regarding this incident can be found in the ahadith [sayings of the Holy Prophet peace be upon him. It is also written that the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him knew that the meat had been poisoned and he stopped his Companions may Allah be pleased with them from eating it.

When the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him called the woman responsible for it and asked her, she said she added poison to see that if the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him was a true prophet of God, he would be saved. Otherwise, they would be rid of him.

The Jews even admit to the fact that the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him survived. The poison that was used was fatal, yet the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him) survived. In fact, according to some narrations, this woman then accepted Islam.

Nevertheless, the Jewish themselves admit that the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him survived and consider this to be a miracle. Therefore, it is utterly false to assert that the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him passed away due to the effects of the poison.

It is evident that four years after the event, high fever and headache cannot be considered the fatal side effects of that same poison. Such a strong reaction cannot take place after the lapse of four years. He would surely have suffered major complications to his health in the interim, but history bears witness that he lived a healthy and active life.

He remained under the protection of His Creator from birth to death and did not succumb to enemy attack. As for martyrdom, one who lives and dies resigned to the Will of God, as did the Holy Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him, his death by that definition, is most certainly that of a martyr.

Allah knows Best

The Miracle of the Poisoned Sheep that Prophet Muhammed ate.

Refutting the lie that Muhammad died because he was poisoned

Reconciling between the verse “Allah will protect you from the people” and the death of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).

Was Prophet Muhammed Demon Possessed and Suicidal?

Prophet Muhammed and the General agonies of death

Reference:

[1] The Holy Qur’an 5:68

[2] Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitabul Maghazi, Bab Marad an-NabisawaWafatihi, Hadith 5073