List of Killings Ordered or Supported by Muhammad

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The use of assassination to achieve political/religious goals has been important throughout the history of Arabia and Islamic expansion, and the very word "assassin"[1] has Arabic roots (حشّاشين).

This list contains the results and reasons for the targeted killings and assassinations ordered or supported by Prophet Muhammad, as well as the primary sources which mention these incidents.

List of Killings[edit]

The following list of killings is roughly in chronological order.


      Ordered by Muhammad       Supported but not ordered by Muhammad       Women and/or children       Apostates
      Reasons including writing or reciting poetry       Reasons including "causing offence"       Reasons including monetary gain       Reasons including preventing idolatry or rival prophets

Names in bold indicate that the only reason why the sources indicate Muhammad wanted them to be killed or threatened with death was because they had mocked, insulted, or cast doubt on him, or to extort economic gain, or to destroy idolatry or rival prophets. All others may have been killed for additional reasons such as posing or inciting a physical threat, or deserved punishment for murder or harming people, as indicated in the Reasons column.

No. Name Date Reason(s) for Ordering or Supporting Killing Result Notable Primary Sources
1 'Asma' bint Marwan January 624[2] Kill 'Asma' bint Marwan for opposing Muhammad with poetry and for provoking others to attack him[3][4][2]

Asma' bint Marwan assassinated[2][5]

  • Ibn Hisham & Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah[6]
  • Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir, Volume 2[3]
2 Abu 'Afak February 624[7] Kill the Jewish poet Abu Afak for opposing Muhammad through poetry[4][6][7][8], and according to ibn Sa'd, instigating the people against Muhammad[9]

Abu Afak assassinated[7][6][4]

  • Ibn Hisham & Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah[6]
  • Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir, Volume 2[9]
3 Al Nadr ibn al-Harith After Battle of Badr
March 624[10]
According to Mubarakpuri, Al Nadir was captured during the Battle of Badr. A Qur'an verse was revealed about Nadr bin Harith for mocking the Qur'an as "tales of the ancients". He was one of two prisoners who were executed and not allowed to be ransomed by their clans because he mocked and harassed Muhammad and wrote poems and stories criticizing him[10][11]. According to Waqidi, he also tortured companions of Muhammad[12]

Nadr bin Harith beheaded by Ali[10][11]

4 Uqba bin Abu Muayt After Battle of Badr
March 624[10]
Uqba bin Abu Muayt was captured in the Battle of Badr and was killed instead of being ransomed, because he threw dead animal entrails on Muhammad, and wrapped his garmet around Muhammad's neck while he was praying[10][11]

Uqba bin Abu Muayt beheaded by Asim ibn Thabbit or Ali[10][11]

5 Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf September 624[16][17][18] According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad ordered his followers to kill Ka'b because he "had gone to Mecca after Badr and "inveighed" against Muhammad and composed verses in which he bewailed the victims of Quraysh who had been killed at Badr. Shortly afterwards he returned to Medina and composed amatory verses of an insulting nature about the Muslim women".[19][20][21]. Ibn Kathir adds that he incited the people to fight Muhammad.

Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf assassinated[21]

6 Abu Rafi' ibn Abi Al-Huqaiq December 624[23] Kill Abu Rafi' ibn Abi Al-Huqaiq for mocking Muhammad with his poetry and for helping the troops of the Confederates by providing them with money and supplies[24][23]

Abu Rafi assassinated[24][23]

7 Khalid ibn Sufyan 625[28] Kill Khalid bin Sufyan, because there were reports he considered an attack on Medina and that he was inciting the people on Nakhla or Uranah to fight Muslims[28][29]

Khalid ibn Sufyan assassinated[28][29]

8 Abu 'Azzah 'Amr bin 'Abd Allah al-Jumahi March 625[33] Behead Abu 'Azzah 'Amr bin 'Abd Allah al-Jumahi because he was a prisoner of War captured during the Invasion of Hamra al-Asad, that Muhammad released once, but he took up arms against him again[34][35]

Abu 'Azzah beheaded by Ali[34][35]

  • Tabari, Volume 7, The foundation of the community[35]
9 Muawiyah bin Al Mugheerah March 625[33] Kill Muawiyah bin Al Mugheerah, because he was accused by Muhammad of being a spy. He went to Uthman (his cousin) for shelter, and Uthman arranged for his return to Mecca, but he stayed too long in Medina. After Muhammad heard he was still in Medina, he ordered his death[34][36]

Muawiyah bin Al Mugheerah captured and executed[34][37]

  • Ibn Hisham & Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah[37]
10 Al-Harith bin Suwayd al-Ansari March 625[33] Kill Al-Harith bin Suwayd[38] because according to some Islamic traditions, Allah revealed Qur'an 3:86-8, which indicated that those who reject Islam after accepting it should be punished.[39] Al-Harith bin Suwayd was a Muslim who fought in the Battle of Uhud and killed some Muslims, he then joined the Quraysh and left Islam. After being threatened with those verses, Al-Harith sent his brother to Muhammad to ask for his forgiveness.[37][40][41]

Conflicting reports

  1. Muhammad allowed his return but then decided to kill him. Al-Harith was beheaded by Uthman[37][40]
  2. Allah revealed Qur'an 3:89 and Al-Harith repented and "became a good Muslim"[41][39]
11 Abu Sufyan 627[42] Amr bin Umayyah al-Damri sent to assassinate Abu Sufyan (Quraysh leader)[43][43]

3 polytheists killed by Muslims[43]

  • Tabari, Volume 7, The foundation of the community[44]
12 Banu Qurayza tribe February–March 627[45]

Attack Banu Qurayza because according to Muslim tradition he had been ordered to do so by the angel Gabriel.[46][47][48][49][50][51] One of Muhammad's companions decided that "the men should be killed, the property divided, and the women and children taken as captives". Muhammad approved of the ruling, calling it similar to God's judgment,[49][50][52][53][54] after which all male members of the tribe who had reached puberty were beheaded[47][55]

Muslims: 2 killed[46]
Non-Muslims:

  1. 600-900 beheaded (Tabari, Ibn Hisham)
    [46][47][56]
  2. All Males and 1 woman beheaded
    (Hadith)[57][58]
13 Abdullah ibn Ubayy December 627[42]
(during Invasion of Banu Mustaliq[62] )
Kill Abdullah ibn Ubayy, to whom verse 63:8 refers, and who was accused by Muhammad of slandering his family by spreading false rumors about Aisha (his wife).[63] His son offered to behead him[64][65]

Muhammad calls off assassination and says to Umar "if I had had him (Abdullah bin Ubai) killed, a large number of dignitaries would have furiously hastened to fight for him"[66] Later he reveals a Quran verse forbidding Muslims from attending the funeral of disbelievers and "hypocrites"[67][68]

14 Al-Yusayr ibn Rizam February 628[42] Kill Al-Yusayr ibn Rizam because Muhammad heard that his group was preparing to attack him[69][70]

30 killed by Muslims[69][70]

  • Tirmidhi no. 3923[71]
  • Ibn Hisham & Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah[72]
15 Eight men from 'Ukil February 628[42] Kill 8 men who came to him and converted to Islam, but then apostatized, killed one Muslim and drove off with Muhammad's camels[73]

Muslims: 1 killed
Non-Muslims: 8 tortured to death[73][74]

16 Rifa’ah bin Qays 629[76][77] To kill Rifa’ah bin Qays, because Muhammad heard they were allegedly enticing the people of Qais to fight him[77]

1 beheaded,[78] 4 women captured by Muslims[79]

  • Ibn Hisham & Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah[78]
  • Tabari, Volume 8, History of Islam[79]
17 Abdullah bin Khatal During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80][81][82]
Kill Abdullah bin Khatal for killing a slave and fleeing, as well and for reciting poems insulting Muhammad[80][81][82]

2 Muslims execute him, after finding him hiding under the curtains of the Ka'aba[80][81][82]

18 Fartana During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80][85]
Kill Fartana (a slave girl of Abdullah ibn Khatal), because she used to sing satirical songs about Muhammad[80][82]

Fartana is killed[80][82][85]

19 Quraybah During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
Kill Quraybah (a slave girl of Abdullah ibn Khatal), because she used to sing satirical songs about Muhammad[80]

Quraybah converts to Islam and is pardoned[80][84]

20 Huwayrith ibn Nafidh During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
When Muhammad's daughters were fleeing Medina, he stabbed their camels, causing injuries. He was a poet who "disgraced and abused" Islam[80][82][88]

Huwayrith ibn Nafidh killed[82][88] by Ali[80]

  • Ibn Hisham & Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah[83]
21 Miqyas ibn Subabah During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
Miqyas killed a Muslim who accidentally killed his brother, and escaped to Mecca and became an apostate by embracing polytheism[80][82][83][88]

Miqyas killed[80][82][88]

  • Ibn Hisham & Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah[83]
22 Sara During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
Ibn Ishaq says Muhammad ordered Sara be killed because she "had insulted him in Mecca"[83][80]

Conflicting reports:

  1. Ibn Ishaq reports that she embraced Islam but was killed later, during the time of Umar[83]
  2. Tabari reports she was killed[89]
  • Ibn Hisham & Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah[83]
  • Tabari, Volume 8, History of Islam[89]
23 Harith ibn Hisham During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
Kill Harith ibn Hisham, reason unknown[80][83], though he was among those who fought against the Muslims in the battle of Uhud[90]>

According to Ibn Sa'd, Zubayr ibn Abi Umayyah and Harith ibn Hisham both sought refuge in a Muslim relatives house, the relative pleaded with Muhammad for mercy, so he pardoned them on the condition they embrace Islam[80][91]

  • Ibn Hisham & Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah[83]
  • Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir, Volume 2[91]
24 Zubayr ibn Abi Umayyah During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
Kill Zubayr ibn Abi Umayyah, reason unknown[80][83]

See above result[80][83]

  • Ibn Hisham & Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah[83]
25 al-Aswad al-Ansi During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
Muhammad sent a messenger to Yemen instructing that al-Aswad al-Ansi (not to be confused with Habbar al-Aswad) should be killed because he was a "false prophet"[92] and a "liar"[93]

al-Aswad al-Ansi was killed the day before Muhammad's own death[92][93]

26 Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
Kill Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl, bcause he was hostile to Muhammad like his father Abu Jahl[80][83]

Conflicting reports

  1. Ibn Ishaq says, his wife "became a Muslim and asked for immunity for him and the apostle gave it"[83]
  2. Tabari says he was "eliminated"[94]
  • Ibn Hisham & Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah[83]
  • Tabari, Volume 8, History of Islam[94]
27 Wahshi ibn Harb During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
Kill Wahshi ibn Harb, for killing Muhammad's uncle during the Battle of Uhud[80]

Wahshi ibn Harb pardoned by Muhammad after he asks for forgiveness and offers to convert to Islam[80][95]

  • Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir, Volume 2[95]
28 Ka'b ibn Zuhayr ibn Abi Sulama After Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
Assassinate Ka'b ibn Zuhayr ibn Abi Sulama for writing satirical poems about Muhammad[80][96][97]. One of his poems recorded by Ibn Ishaq includes the line, "I was told that the Messenger of Allah threatened me (with death), but with the Messenger of Allah I have hope of finding pardon"[98].

Ibn Ishaq wrote that when one of the Ansar asked permission to behead Ka'b, "the apostle told him to let him alone because he had come repentant breaking from his past", so he was pardoned[98][97]

  • Ibn Hisham & Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah[98]
29 Al-Harith bin al-Talatil During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
For mocking Muhammad through poetry[80]

Al-Harith bin al-Talatil is killed by Ali[80][99]

  • Ibn Kathir's Sira al-Nabawiyya[99]
30 Abdullah ibn Ziba'ra During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
Kill Abdullah ibn Ziba'ra, for writing insulting poems about Muhammad[80]

Abdullah ibn Ziba'ra repents and converts to Islam, so Muhammad pardoned him[80]

  • Al-Waqidi's Kitab al-Maghazi[100]
  • Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir[95]
31 Hubayrah During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
Kill Hubayrah (cousin of al Ziba'ra), for mocking Muhammad through poetry[80]

Tabari Volume 39 states, Hubayrah "ran away when Mecca was conquered, and died in Najran as an infidel"[80]

  • Tabari, Volume 39, Biographies of the Prophet's companions and their successors[101]
  • Al-Waqidi's Kitab al-Maghazi[100]
32 Hind bint Utbah During/after Conquest of Mecca
(Jan 630)[80]
Kill Hind bint Utbah (wife of Abu Sufyan) for cutting out the heart of Muhammad's uncle Hamza after he died, during the Battle of Uhud[80]

Tabari said, Hind "swore allegiance and became a Muslim.",[102] she was pardoned by Muhammad[80]

33 Amr ibn Jihash (convert to Islam)[103] During the Invasion of Banu Nadir[103]
(Aug 625)[104]
According to Ibn Kathir and Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad said to Yamin bim Umayr, about Amr ibn Jash "Have you seen the way your cousin has treated me and what he proposed to do?"[105][103] Muhammad accused him of trying to assassinate him[106]

Amr ibn Jihash is assassinated after a Muslim offers a reward for his killing[103]

  • Ibn Hisham & Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah[105]
34 King or Prince of Dumatul Jandal October 630[107] Attack the chief of Duma for Jizyah and booty[108][109]

1 killed, 2 taken captive. The Chief of Duma was released unharmed.[110]

35 Umaiya bin Khalaf Abi Safwan Unknown Kill Umaiya bin Khalaf, Muhammad's reason is unknown.[112] But Bilal wanted to kill him for torturing him[113]

Umaiya bin Khalaf killed by Bilal[112][113]

36 Blind man's wife/concubine Unknown Killed by a Muslim on his own initiative because the woman insulted Muhammad. When Muhammad learned what had happened he said no retaliation is payable for her blood.[114][115]

Blind Muslim kills his wife/concubine[114][115]

37 Ibn Sunayna Unknown Muhammad reportedly ordered his followers to "kill any Jew that falls into your power", Muhayissa heard this and went out to kill Ibn Sunayna (a Jew)[116][117]

Ibn Sunayna killed by Muhayissa[116][117]

38 Abdallah ibn Sa'd ibn Abi Sarh During/after Conquest of Mecca[80]

(Jan 630)[

Kill Abdallah ibn Sa‘ad, because he became and apostate (left Islam) and fled to Mecca. He also claimed that he was the one who wrote certain verses of the Qur'an and started to mock Muhammad, which made him angry[119]

On the day of the Conquest of Mecca, Abdallah ibn Sa'd ibn Abi Sarh accepted Islam again[120]. A misunderstanding leads to his pardoning. He was brought in front of Muhammad and offered his loyalty, Muhammad upheld his hand to indicate that his followers should kill him, but the Muslims thought he pardoned him.[119] He said "Was not there a wise man among you who would stand up to him when he saw that I had withheld my hand from accepting his allegiance, and kill him?"[121]

39 Ibn an-Nawwahah Unknown Ibn Kathir and Sunan Abu Dawud record that Muhammad once said about Ibn an-Nawwahah "I would have cut off your head, if it was not that emissaries are not killed" because he claimed Musaylimah was a Prophet, so Abdullah ibn Masud killed Ibn an-Nawwahah when he was no longer an emissary[122][123]

Abdullah ibn Masud beheads Ibn an-Nawwahah[122][123]

40 Nameless spy Unknown Kill a man Muhammad suspected of being a spy[125][126]

Salama bin Al-Akwa chases and kills the suspected spy[125][126]

41 Man from Aslam tribe Unknown Kill a man from the Aslam tribe for Adultery[127][128]

Man from Aslam tribe stoned to death[127][128]

42 Kinana ibn al-Rabi ibn Abu al-Huqayq July 628[129] Torture Kinana ibn al-Rabi to find location of allegedly hidden treasure of Banu Nadir[130][131]

Kinana ibn al-Rabi ibn Abu al-Huqayq beheaded after being tortured with fire[130][131]

43 Bahilah and Banu Khath'am tribes 632 Muhammad sends Jarir ibn-'Abdullah to destroy the Ka'aba of Yemen, Dhu-l-Khalasah, which was the subject of idolatry. Jarir reports back to Muhammad of the destruction and killings, which Muhammad approves.

100 men of the Bahilah, and 200 of banu-Khath'am were killed in order to destroy the idol of Dur l-Khalasa[133]



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Main Sources[edit]

References[edit]

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