The Death of `Asma' Bint Marwan


In Yathrib (Medina), Muhammad had a number of people killed. One of them was `Asma' bint Marwan. Her crime was that she spoke out against Muhammad for having another man murdered named Abu Afak. In his displeasure towards her, Muhammad asked his followers to murder her as well. She was killed while she slept.


After Muhammad came to Yathrib he began to grow in power. However, a number of people, both Jew and Arab, opposed him. Muhammad began to silence his opposition by various means. One of these means was to have them murdered.

Muhammad did have a number of enemies and critics, some were dangerous, others were ordinary people who lived in the area and thought nil of Muhammad. They spoke their minds.

One by one, they were silenced. Through treaties, intrigue, or outright terror, Muhammad gained power in Medina. Eventually, he was master of the area. He knew his followers loved him, and would die for him. They were at his disposal; and at times, he chose to use them to accomplish his desires.


From the Sirat Rasul Allah (A. Guilaume's translation "The Life of Muhammad") pages 675, 676.

Note: My comments will be in [ ] type brackets. Notes by the Translators of the texts will be in { } brackets.

`UMAYR B. `ADIYY'S JOURNEY TO KILL `ASMA' D. MARWAN She was of B. Umayyya b. Zayd. When Abu `Afak had been killed she displayed disaffection. `Abdullah b. al-Harith b. Al-Fudayl from his father said that she was married to a man of B. Khatma called Yazid b. Zayd. Blaming Islam and its followers she said:

Hassan b. Thabit answered her:

When the apostle heard what she had said he said, "Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?" `Umayr b. `Adiy al-Khatmi who was with him heard him, and that very night he went to her house and killed her. In the morning he came to the apostle and told him what he had done and he [Muhammad] said, "You have helped God and His apostle, O `Umayr!" When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, "Two goats won't butt their heads about her", so `Umayr went back to his people.

Now there was a great commotion among B. Khatma that day about the affair of bint [daughter of] Marwan. She had five sons, and when `Umayr went to them from the apostle he said, "I have killed bint Marwan, O sons of Khatma. Withstand me if you can; don't keep me waiting." That was the first day Islam became powerful among B. Khatma; before that those who were Muslims concealed the fact. The first of them to accept Islam was `Umayr b. `Adiy who was called the "Reader", and `Abdullah b. Aus and Khuzayma b. Thabit. The day after Bint Marwan was killed the men of B. Khatma became Muslims because they saw the power of Islam.

{1} The note reads "Two tribes of Yamani origin."


From Ibn Sa`d's Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, translated by S. Moinul Haq, volume 2, pages 30-31.


Then (occurred) the sariyyah of `Umayr ibn `Adi Ibn Kharashah al-Khatmi against `Asma' Bint Marwan, of Banu Umayyah Ibn Zayd, when five nights had remained from the month of Ramadan, in the beginning of the nineteenth month from the hijrah of the apostle of Allah. `Asma' was the wife of Yazid Ibn Zayd Ibn Hisn al-Khatmi. She used to revile Islam, offend the prophet and instigate the (people) against him. She composed verses. Umayr Ibn Adi came to her in the night and entered her house. Her children were sleeping around her. There was one whom she was suckling. He searched her with his hand because he was blind, and separated the child from her. He thrust his sword in her chest till it pierced up to her back. Then he offered the morning prayers with the prophet at al-Medina. The apostle of Allah said to him: "Have you slain the daughter of Marwan?" He said: "Yes. Is there something more for me to do?" He [Muhammad] said: "No. Two goats will butt together about her. This was the word that was first heard from the apostle of Allah. The apostle of Allah called him `Umayr, "basir" (the seeing).



In "23 Years; A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad", by Ali Dashti, (Mazda Press, 1994), Dashti also references the murders of Abu `Afak and `Asma' b. Marwan. He wrote (page 100):

Abu Afak, a man of great age (reputedly 120 years) was killed because he lampooned Mohammad. The deed was done by Salem b. 'Omayr at the behest of the Prophet, who had asked, "Who will deal with this rascal for me?" The killing of such an old man moved a poetess, Asma b. Marwan, to compose disrespectful verses about the Prophet, and she too was assassinated.


Let's sum this up and put it in perspective.

Muhammad had Abu `Afak murdered. `Asma' b. Marwan spoke out against that evil deed. She encouraged her fellow tribesmen to take action against Muhammad. When Muhammad heard of what she had said, he had her killed also.

At first glance, this might seem justifiable. `Asma' was really calling for someone to kill Muhammad. It is understandable for Muhammad to be bothered by that.

But let's look deeper at the event and examine the context of `Asma's relationship to her tribe.

First of all, her tribe was not under Muhammad's rule. Perhaps they had a treaty with Muhammad, perhaps not. At this time, the writer of this paper does not know if a treaty existed between Muhammad and the Banu Khatma. Either way, this woman was free to speak her mind. If a treaty existed, and she was out of line, Muhammad could have complained to her tribe's leaders, and they could have commanded her to be silent.

What's more noteworthy about this event is that after she was murdered, Muhammad said "Two goats won't butt their head about her", meaning no one will care about her death. (Well except her children and her family).

Also note, that there were already people from her tribe who had become Muslims. Certainly these people were not going to listen to her.

The point is this: if no one really cared about her being murdered, then no one really cared about what she had to say. Her people also knew about Muhammad having Abu `Afak murdered, and they didn't care about that either. Even in that light, no one would take her serious enough to listen to her urgings to murder Muhammad, who was the leader of a powerful group of people. None of her people were willing to put their lives on the line for her words.

The bottom line is this: `Asma' b. Marwan was not a legitimate threat to Muhammad.

Let's explore a similar example. Throughout the Mideast, there are Muslims who call America the Great Satan. These Muslims have called for the violent destruction of America. Frequently great crowds have gathered to chant "death to America, death to Reagan, or Bush, or ???". Now, if America, or Reagan, or Bush, etc. were to use Muhammad's standards, they would engage in killing quite a few Arabs. But we know that the chanting of a crowd of hot-heads does not justify the use of violence against them. There are better ways of dealing with critics and criticisms. Frequently, in the passion of youth, people do and say things they don't intend to act out, or are not able to carry out.

So why then did Muhammad really request Asma's murder?

Try multiple choice:

Muhammad believed that she constituted a legitimate threat to himself, so he ordered her murdered,

Muhammad was bothered by her words, and wanted her silenced

God told Muhammad to have this woman murdered

Obviously, the only real choice is b). She didn't scare him, she was not the leader of her tribe, and she had little or no influence. She was little more than a nuisance to him. If God told Muhammad to go and kill her, Muhammad would have claimed to have a revelation like "Oh Muslims, Allah says to go and kill `Asma' b. Marwan". And it would have happened immediately. If that was the case then Muslims would have attacked her in force in the daylight.

No, the only conclusion is that this lady troubled Muhammand and he wanted her silenced.


What alarms me the most about Islam is its disposition to violence and use of violence as a standard of God's will.

`Umayr is a perfect example of this. Here is a Muslim man, a friend of Muhammad's, acting upon Muhammad's request and going into a woman's home under the cover of night. He comes upon the woman, sleeping in her bed with her child, and murders her by plunging a sword through her body.

Afterwards, Muhammad tells the man that he has "helped God and his apostle". If Allah were really threatened by this woman, I think He could have killed her Himself, don't you? Does God need men to sneak around in the night and murder sleeping women?

Further, what kind of religion is Islam really? Soon after `Umayr murdered `Asma', he went to her family and mocked them! He was laughing in their faces that he had murdered their mother and that they were powerless to do anything about it! Here is the quote again:

I also have to criticize the non-Muslim Arabs in Muhammad's time. They did lack a sense of the value of human life. Here one of their own woman was murdered, and instead of being appalled, they began to convert to Islam because they "saw the power of Islam".

Finally, similar to observation #1, look at the power of Islam. Here is the quote:

So then, the power of Islam is to go about and murder sleeping women in the night, and get away with it?

Does "might make right" ring true in Islam? Is it "he who has the biggest sword is from Allah?

The only people I know who respect that kind of power are criminals, Mafia type people who also go in the night and murder people while they sleep.


What kind of a man was Muhammad? Did he really need to ask his men to murder a mother of five, a woman who was no legitimate threat to him?

Why couldn't Muhammad murder her himself? Why is it that every time Muhammad wanted someone killed, he always got someone else to do his killing?

Look at this dark side of Islam. This is the Islam Muhammad practiced. When the founder of a religion has to have powerless women murdered in the night for opposing him, how can that religion be described?

Where are "women's rights", or "human rights" now in Islam? If Muhammad denied freedom of speech to others, how does that reflect upon Islam and what we see occurring in the Islamic world today? Why is it that the more fundamentalist Muslim nations become, the more oppressive they are toward all basic human rights?

Is this Muhammad a man that you could really trust?


We know that there are good and bad in all religions, but this case is different. This event reflects upon the man who started Islam: Islam is built upon Muhammad's words and deeds. We see here that Muhammad had a woman brutally murdered. She was killed because she spoke out against him, and became more of a nuisance, not a legitimate threat. Further, Muhammad had no legal right to kill her. He took the situation into his own hands and had her murdered. Muhammad felt that this murder was helping God; he felt no guilt, or sense of repentance.

Jesus condemned those who murdered unrepentedly ... "Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood" Revelation 22:15. Muhammad falls into that category. How then, can this man Muhammad be a real prophet of God?

Muhammad and his enemies
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