The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 14: False Lords and Ladies

 Part II: The Campaign of the Apostasy


Page: 3

Musailima the Liar was the most formidable of the enemies of Islam who rose to threaten the existence of the new state. He was the son of Habib, of the Bani Hanifa, which was one of the largest tribes of Arabia and inhabited the region of Yamamah.

Musailima first mounted the stage of history in late 9th Hijri, the Year of Delegations' when he accompanied a delegation of the Bani Hanifa to Madinah. The delegation included two other prominent men who were to exercise a profound influence on Musailima and his tribe-one in aiding Musailima's rise to power and the other in saving the tribe from destruction. These men were, respectively, Nahar Ar-Rajjal bin Unfuwa 1 and Muja'a bin Marara.

The delegation arrived at Madinah. The camels were tied in a traveller's camp, and Musailima remained there to look after them while the other delegates went in. They had talks with the Prophet, submitted to him and embraced Islam. As was his custom, the Prophet presented gifts to the delegates, and when they had received their gifts one of them dropped a hint: "We left one of our comrades in the camp to look after our mounts." The Prophet gave them gifts for him also, and added, "He is not the least among you that he should stay behind to guard the property of his comrades." 2 These words were to be used by Musailima later to his own advantage.

On their return, this delegation passed on the message of Islam and established the new faith among the Bani Hanifa. The whole tribe was converted. They built a mosque at Yamamah and started regular prayers.

Thus some months passed. Then Musailima resiled from his faith and proclaimed his own prophethood. He gathered the people and, referring to Muhammad, addressed them: "I have been given a share with him in this matter. Did he not say to our delegates that I was not the least among them? This could only mean that he knew that I had a share with him in this matter." 3 (The matter was the prophethood.)

He then dazzled the crowd with his marvellous tricks. He was a superb conjuror and could do what no one had done before. He could put an egg in a bottle; he could cut off the feathers of a bird and then stick them on so the bird would fly again; and he used this skill to persuade the people that he really was divinely gifted. He took to addressing gatherings as an apostle of Allah, and would compose verses and offer them, as Quranic revelations. Most of his verses extolled the superiority of his tribe, the Bani Hanifa, over the Quraish. Some, however, were utterly ridiculous, like the following,

Allah has blessed my wisdom.
It is as strong as the gust that blows
From between the belly and the intestines!

And the people marvelled at his wisdom and flocked to him. Strangely enough they did not doubt or dispute the divine mission of Muhammad. They accepted Muhammad as the apostle of Allah. But they also accepted Musailima as co-prophet-which is all that Musailima claimed.

Gradually the influence and authority of Musailima increased. Then one day, in late 10 Hijri, he wrote to Prophet Muhammad:

"From Musailima, Messenger of Allah, to Muhammad, Messenger of Allah. Salutations to you. I have been given a share with you in this matter. Half the earth belongs to us and half to the Quraish. But the Quraish are a people who transgress."

1. Some early historians have given this man's name as Rahhal.
2. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, pp. 576-7.
3. Ibid
4. Ibid