More on Muhammad and Poison:

Examining Abdullah Smith’s War on Islam
As Well as His Continuous Intellectual Suicide Mission

Sam Shamoun & Jochen Katz

Abdullah Kareem Smith is not content with merely attacking the Christian faith and the Holy Bible, but also enjoys discrediting the official texts of his own (false) religion. Smith wrote a "rebuttal" (*) to undermine the allegedly authentic, sound reports that quote Muhammad as admitting that the illness that eventually led to his death was the result of poisoned food that he had eaten four years earlier.

Smith asserts that:

Christian missionaries forge their own interpretations to divert Believers away from Islam, the solution to mankind’s problems. The Holy Quran is absolutely free of rubbish and obscene material. The Prophets of God are respected in the highest level; Christians do not discredit their prophethood for corruption and sin, yet they discredit the Prophet Muhammad for "eating poison". Yet the biographies of Muhammad are clear that he lived for many years after consuming the poison. The Prophet displayed tremendous energy after eating the poison, showing that the poison had no effect on him. The Prophet detected the poison whereas the companions failed to detect it.

The Prophet lived for four years after the poison!

Smith conveniently brushes aside the fact that these same biographies are just as clear that Muhammad’s illness was caused by the poison which he had ingested years earlier:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

A Jewess brought a poisoned (cooked) sheep for the Prophet who ate from it. She was brought to the Prophet and he was asked, "Shall we kill her?" He said, "No." I continued to see the effect of the poison on the palate of the mouth of Allah's Apostle. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 786)

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

'Umar bin Al-Khattab used to let Ibn Abbas sit beside him, so 'AbdurRahman bin 'Auf said to 'Umar, "We have sons similar to him." 'Umar replied, "(I respect him) because of his status that you know." 'Umar then asked Ibn 'Abbas about the meaning of this Holy Verse:-- "When comes the help of Allah and the conquest of Mecca..." (110.1)

Ibn 'Abbas replied, "That indicated the death of Allah's Apostle which Allah informed him of." 'Umar said, "I do not understand of it except what you understand." Narrated 'Aisha: The Prophet in his ailment in which he died, used to say, "O 'Aisha! I still feel the pain caused by the food I ate at Khaibar, and at this time, I feel as if my aorta is being cut from that poison." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 713)

Anas reported that a Jewess came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) with poisoned mutton and he took of that what had been brought to him (Allah's Messenger). (When the effect of this poison were felt by him) he called for her and asked her about that, whereupon she said: I had determined to kill you. Thereupon he said: Allah will never give you the power to do it. He (the narrator) said that they (the Companion's of the Holy Prophet) said: Should we not kill her? Thereupon he said: No. He (Anas) said: I felt (the affects of this poison) on the uvula of Allah's Messenger. (Sahih Muslim, Book 026, Number 5430)

Narrated AbuSalamah:

Muhammad ibn Amr said on the authority of AbuSalamah, and he did not mention the name of AbuHurayrah: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) used to accept presents but not alms (sadaqah).

This version adds: So a Jewess presented him at Khaybar with a roasted sheep which she had poisoned. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) ate of it and the people also ate.

He then said: Take away your hands (from the food), for it has informed me that it is poisoned. Bishr ibn al-Bara' ibn Ma'rur al-Ansari died.

So he (the Prophet) sent for the Jewess (and said to her): What motivated you to do the work you have done?

She said: If you were a prophet, it would not harm you; but if you were a king, I should rid the people of you. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) then ordered regarding her and she was killed. He then said about the pain of which he died: I continued to feel pain from the morsel which I had eaten at Khaybar. This is the time when it has cut off my aorta. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 39, Number 4498)

With the foregoing in mind we proceed to ask Smith some questions:

Smith then cited the following:

Once the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was given food mixed with poison to eat. He who ate it first expired, but the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) lived for four years even after taking that food. That food told the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam): There is poison in me.

In his haste to refute what his own Islamic sources proclaim, Smith overlooked one important fact: Muhammad, who supposedly heard the food tell him it was poisoned, was utterly incapable of preventing his friend from eating and dying because of it! If Muhammad really knew that the food was poisoned then surely he would have done something to prevent his friend from eating it.

After all, the Holy Bible records the following event where the prophet Elisha saved certain prophets from the harmful effects of poisonous food:

"Elisha returned to Gilgal and there was a famine in that region. While the company of the prophets was meeting with him, he said to his servant, 'Put on the large pot and cook some stew for these men.' One of them went out into the fields to gather herbs and found a wild vine. He gathered some of its gourds and filled the fold of his cloak. When he returned, he cut them up into the pot of stew, though no one knew what they were. The stew was poured out for the men, but as they began to eat it, they cried out, 'O man of God, there is death in the pot!' And they could not eat it. Elisha said, 'Get some flour.' He put it into the pot and said, 'Serve it to the people to eat.' And there was nothing harmful in the pot." 2 Kings 4:38-41 NIV

Why couldn't Muhammad have done the same for his friend if he was truly a prophet like the OT prophets?

Moreover, specific narrations actually provide evidence that Muhammad only realized that his food was poisoned after seeing what had happened to his companion:

… When the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, conquered Khaybar and he had peace of mind, Zaynab Bint al-Harith, the brother of Marhab, who was the spouse of Sallam Ibn Mishkam, inquired: Which part of the goat is liked by Muhammad? They said: The foreleg. Then she slaughtered one from her goats and roasted it (the meat).  Then she wanted a poison which could not fail… The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, took the foreleg, a piece of which he put into his mouth. Bishr Ibn al-Barra took another bone and put it into his mouth. When the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, ate one morsel of it Bishr ate his and other people also ate from it. Then the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, said: Hold back your hands! because this foreleg… informed me that it is poisoned. Thereupon Bishr said: By Him who has made you great! I discovered it from the morsel I took. Nothing prevented me from emitting it out, but the idea that I did not like to make your food unrelishing. When you had eaten what was in your mouth I did not like to save my life after yours, and I also thought you would not have eaten it if there was something wrong.

Bishr did not rise from his seat but his color changed to that of taylsan (a green cloth)… The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, sent for Zaynab and said to her: What induced you to do what you have done? She replied: You have done to my people what you have done. You have killed my father, my uncle and my husband, so I said to myself: If you are a prophet, the foreleg will inform you; and others have said: If you are a king we will get rid of you…

The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, lived after this three years till in consequence of his pain he passed away. During his illness he used to say: I did not cease to find the effect of the (poisoned) morsel, I took at Khaybar and I suffered several times (from its effect) but now I feel the hour has come of the cutting of my jugular vein, which is a vein in the back… (Ibn Sa'ad's Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. (Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi - 110 002 India], Volume II, pp. 251-252; bold and italic emphasis ours)

Observe that Bishr clearly realized that something was wrong with the meat and wanted to spit it out, but he instead swallowed because he did not want Muhammad’s enjoyment of the food be lessened by his doing so. Bishr clearly ate and died because Muhammad did NOT realize at first that this meat was bad or poisoned. Bishr only ate, because Muhammad had eaten first, though probably only a little.

Second, if Bishr was able to realize that the meat was poisoned then there is no reason to think that Muhammad did not realize this simply from the taste (and maybe already seeing the fast effect on his companion) that the food was poisoned. There is no need to look for a prophetic insight. If Muhammad had had that insight BEFORE touching the meat, that would have been more impressive. After having tasted it and probably even seeing its effect on Bishr, and maybe feeling some of it himself, the explanation for this insight is entirely natural.

Thus, one can make the inference from the foregoing that it wasn’t the food that informed Muhammad (which is nothing more than a fable that Muslims fabricated in order to portray Muhammad as a miracle-working prophet) but the statements of his dying friend which made him aware of the poison; but even then it was too late since he had already taken a bite of the food and, according to his own reported words, eventually succumbed to the effects of that very poison some four years later!

In light of this we have some additional questions to ask Smith:

Smith refers to reports of Muhammad having the strength to fast which he assumes he could not have if he were suffering from poison. There are two problems with Smith’s reasoning:

He asked that Al-Hasan and Al-Husain be brought to him. He kissed them and recommended that they be looked after. He asked to see his wives. They were brought to him. He preached them and told them to remember All‚h. Pain grew so much severe that the trace of poison he had at Khaibar came to light. It was so sore that he said to ‘Aishah: "I still feel the painful effect of that food I tasted at Khaibar. I feel as if death is approaching." [ibid 2/637] He ordered the people to perform the prayers and be attentive to slaves. He repeated it several times. [ibid 2/637] (Safiur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (THE SEALED NECTAR) Biography of the Noble Prophet [pbuh], "The Last Day Alive"; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

The following hadith provides further substantiation:

Narrated Umm Salamah
Umm Salamah said: Allah's Messenger, you necessarily develop trouble every year because of the eating of the poisoned (meat) of sheep. He said: Nothing befalls me but that which was destined for me while Adam was still a lump of clay.
Transmitted by Ibn Majah. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 43, taken from the ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Smith also appeals to narrations which mention Allah healing Muhammad:

According to Aisha, the Prophet used to heal himself using the Quran:

Whenever Allah's Apostle became ill, he used to recite the Muawidhatan and blow his breath over himself (after their recitation) and rubbed his hands over his body. So when he was afflicted with his fatal illness. I started reciting the Muawidhatan and blowing my breath over him as he used to blow and made the hand of the Prophet pass over his body. (Narrated by Aisha, Sahih Bukhari, [2]

There are past instances where the Holy Prophet became sick, and was healed by God, so obviously the poison did not to affect him.

What Smith forgot to mention is that this particular hadith is referring to the specific illness which resulted in Muhammad’s death:

Narrated Aisha:

Whenever Allah's Apostle became ill, he used to recite the Muawidhatan and blow his breath over himself (after their recitation) and rubbed his hands over his body. So when he was afflicted with his FATAL illness, I started reciting the Muawidhatan and blowing my breath over him as he used to blow and made the hand of the Prophet pass over his body. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 723)

Another narration states:

'A'isha reported that when any of the members of the household fell ill Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) used to blow over him by reciting Mu'awwidhatan, and when he suffered from illness of which he died I used to blow over him and rubbed his body with his hand for his hand had greater healing power than my hand. (Sahih Muslim, Book 026, Number 5439)

The foregoing shows that the incantation of the Quran failed Muhammad since Allah didn’t heal him of the sickness which caused his death. Thus, Smith’s assertion that there were instances where Allah healed Muhammad is a non sequitur since the above narrations demonstrate that Allah didn’t always cure him.

Moreover, if Allah allowed Muhammad to die from this illness then he obviously would have no problems permitting his "messenger" to be harmed by poison, especially when the hadiths themselves expressly state that this is what led to Muhammad’s death.

To conclude, Smith has failed to provide any substantial argument to refute the rather explicit and clear statements of Muhammad that he died of the poison which a Jewess gave him to expose him as a false prophet.


Rebuttals to Answering-Christianity
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page