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Fruits Of Plunder
Worm Hole -
Islam's Fruits Of Plunder
Among the deeds of the great founders of religions, such as Zoroaster, Confucius, Buddha,
Moses, and Christ, one can find nothing comparable with Muhammad's plundering of caravans,
ambushing of tribes, massacring of prisoners of wars, and enslaving of the women and
children. Nor did any of these religious leaders have as many wives as Muhammad. In these
and similar performances, Muhammad is unique and unparalleled.
*"Verily the chief among the Muslims (meaning
Muhammad) was foremost of them in his passion for women."
--Ibn 'Abbas, the Prophet's cousin*
Muhammad and His Many Wives
By Anwar Hekmat
The Muslim chronologists and exegetes who interpreted the Koranic verses in the first four
centuries after Muhammad's death frequently provide us with valuable information regarding
his treatment of women.
Regarding the total number of Muhammad's wives commentators differ in their estimates. The
lowest figure given is fourteen and the highest is twenty-one, but most of his biographers
agree on fourteen. In any case, his harem accommodated more than a dozen wives concurrently,
not including the young concubines.
As a polygamist in his late fifties, he enjoyed the companionship of teenaged girls, as well
as mature women. According to the Koran, they were all given to him by the will of Allah. We
know nothing of these women who shared the same man outside of their mutual life with
Allah's Prophet. After his death, commentators do not mention any of them except for Aisha,
his child-wife and his favorite, who survived in Islamic history to play a few minor roles.
The permission to marry so many women and live with them at the same time is granted to
Muhammad by Allah in the following verses of the Koran:
"O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their
wages (bride-price) and those whom thy right hand possesseth (slaves) of those whom Allah
had given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncles on the father's side and
the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncles on the
mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee,
and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her
in marriage, the privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of the) believers. We are aware
of that which we enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands
possess, that thou mayst be free from blame." (Koran 33: 50)
This passage makes it clear that Muhammad had special privileges; the choice was left
entirely up to him to take as many wives as he pleased. By granting a special permission to
his Prophet, Allah in effect abrogated his previous ordinance, which stipulates that a male
believer is not allowed to marry more than four wives concurrently.
But rather than assuming that a divine revelation could be self-contradictory, it is much
more obvious to conclude that Allah's words are simply Muhammad's thoughts in disguise. In
other words, the lawgiver made two different sets of laws, one for himself, which gave him
the particular privilege of marrying as many women as he pleased, and another set of laws
for his followers.
Moreover...no marriage contract is considered lawful in Islam, unless the amount of the
bride-wage is clearly stipulated in it. But, again for Muhammad, this law, the Koranic Law,
is not binding because he is allowed to take to his harem any woman who, in defiance of
Allah's command was willing to give herself free to him. This is indeed a special favor from
his Allah, to break his own rule only to please his messenger. Four women gave themselves to
Muhammad free of any price; he rejected one, but took the other three as wives.
One usually associates this kind of double standard with despots, not with prophets of God.
It is for this and many other similar reasons that most critics are doubtful about the
authenticity of the Koran as divine scripture. The only difference between Muhammad, who
claimed to be the helper of the poor and a human being like any other, and the Babylonian,
Assyrian, and Egyptian tyrants of the ancient Near East is that they never denied their
class privileges, so their rules and regulations were made accordingly. Muhammad, on the
contrary, pretended to be a prophet, a messenger from God, a savior of human souls, the
apostle of Allah who could guide his people to the right path of salvation. Nonetheless, the
laws he decreed for himself were in every way more privileged than those governing the
average man and woman.
The law which gave him absolute authority to marry any number of women his heart pleased was
revealed in his new headquarters in Medina, almost four years before his death. By then he
had more than half a dozen wives in his harem and was craving more. He had been about
fifty-two years old when he arrived in Medina, and there he remained until his death ten
During this last ten years of his life, he acted not only as the messenger of Allah, but
also as a political ruler, lawgiver, judge, and military commander. As an increasingly
influential and powerful man, he married at least a dozen women and some biographers
estimate above that figure. Most of his wives were young and in their late teens or early
twenties, and one of them was a mere child of nine.
It is reported that he married his first wife when he was twenty-five in Mecca, where he was
born. She was a widow by the name of Khadija and a wealthy, influential merchant, who
employed Muhammad as a business agent. The goods of her business, mostly spices and silks,
were imported from the east or from south Arabia and sent by a caravan to Syria and
Palestine, which in those days were under the domination of the Byzantine Empire.
Muslim chronologists hold that Khadija was forty years old, but it does not seem probable as
she apparently bore six children, which would be quite unusual for a woman over forty.
Among the great fortunes of Mecca was that of a widow, Khadija of the Qurayshite tribe of
Asad, who had been twice married to Makhumite bankers. With the help of her father,
Khowailid, and of several trustworthy men, her commercial business, of which she was her own
director, had become one of the most important firms in this Venice of the desert.
Why was none of his fourteen or so wives able to conceive by him? Except for Khadija, these
wives were young and in their early twenties or late teens. Even his young teenaged wife,
Aisha (the only virgin who married Muhammad), was unable to bring forth a child.
Was Muhammad afflicted by some sort of disease? Some of the non-Muslim biographers maintain
that he suffered from leprosy, "which marked (him) by the deformities and by the
disturbances of sensation." Was he affected by some venereal disease? Sexually transmitted
diseases were prevalent among the people in the major towns of Arabia at the time.
As it was, his marriage to the wealthy widow was a great relief to him. Most of the
chronologists held that his wife's fortune freed him from earning his subsistence:
The marriage with Khadija gave Muhammad that ease of circumstances which he needed, freedom
from the cares of daily life, the stay and comfort of deep mutual love, which for twenty
years never failed him.
His wife retained the management of her wealth in her own capable hands, so that his mind
was not burdened with the care of it. Whatever he needed was literally supplied.
Khadija died after twenty-five years of mutual life with Muhammad. She was said to have been
sixty-five years by then, although this is not certain.
Immediately after his first wife, Khadija, passed away, Muhammad married another widow named
Sauda. She was the former wife of one of the believers who had migrated to Abyssinia
(Ethiopia) with her husband on Muhammad's direct order. Her husband, after associating with
Christians in that country, and comparing his creed with that of Christianity, abandoned
Islam and became a Christian. After his conversion, Sauda left him in Abyssinia and returned
In accordance with Islamic jurisprudence, any Muslim man who changes his religion and thus
becomes an apostate is considered divorced from his wife, and she is no longer considered
legally bound to him. On her return to Mecca Muhammad took her as his wife and consummated
the marriage. This took place just a few days after the death of Khadija, to whom he had,
according to the Muslim apologists, always been faithful. AISHA
But Sauda was in his harem no more than a few months when he married the little daughter of
his close friend Abu Bakr, a rich merchant of Mecca who embraced Islam in the early days of
the call. The girl, named Aisha, was only six years old when the marriage contract was made.
Three years later, when Muhammad fled his home town and entered Medina, the little girl of
nine was delivered to his harem. The apostle of Allah, in his passion to possess her, was in
such a hurry that he did not even wait for nightfall; he asked the bride's mother to send
her to his bedchamber in the morning hours after the wedding ceremony.
The child-bride, who very soon became Muhammad's favorite wife, had this to say about her
The Messenger of God married me when I was six years old and the wedding was celebrated when
I was nine. We came to Medina and then I had the fever for a month. Then my hair, which had
fallen out because of my illness, began to grow thickly again. Umm Ruman (her mother) came
to find me while I was playing with my friends on a swing. She called me and I went to her,
not knowing what she wanted of me. She took me by the hand and stopped me on the threshold.
I cried out, "Oh! Oh!" until I was out of breath. She took me into a house in which were
some women of Medina, who said, "Happiness and blessings! Good fortune!" My mother gave me
into their keeping and they washed my head and made me beautiful. I was not frightened,
except in the morning, when the messenger of God came and they gave me to him.
According to this tradition, which is narrated by the wife and companion of Muhammad and
believed by all Muslim exegetes and jurisprudents to be authentic, this girl was merely nine
when she was sent to Muhammad's bedchamber, and she was horrified when she found out what
was going to happen. One can imagine the physical pain and psychological agonies of a
mine-year-old girl when this man in his fifties made sexual advances and deflowered her
Al-Bukhari, the famous compiler of the hadiths (traditional accounts of Muhammad's acts and
words, supposedly going back to eyewitnesses), affirms the above story:
Aisha narrated that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated
his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years.
>From the girl's own account and the reports of a number of Muslim commentators, it can be
[*]Child-marriage is lawful in Islam and the necessary contract can be drawn up between the
guardian and the would-be husband even when the girl is no more than five or six years old.
In this sense marriage is nothing but the sale of a minor girl...
[*]The consent of the girl is not a prerequisite for the marriage of a female child to a
grown man over fifty.
[*]Sexual intercourse of a fifty-year-old man with a mere girl is not something to be
ashamed of. On the contrary, the act of Muhammad in taking a child as his wife set a
precedent, which then became a tradition (sunna) in the Muslim lawbooks and jurisprudence.
[*]Despite the fact that the girl was frightened when Muhammad approached her sexually, the
Prophet went on to consummate the marriage regardless of the consequences. Whereas sexual
intercourse with a girl in her childhood is a punishable offense in most countries of the
world today, this deplorable custom still goes on in some Muslim nations. The girl was so
small that according to the reliable Islamic biographers, she took along her toys and
playthings to the Prophet's bedchamber. "The little girl was allowed to keep her toys and
her dolls and sometimes the Prophet would play games with her."
The age difference between Muhammad and Aisha was so great that the girl's father was
younger than the bridegroom. In fact, Muhammad was old enough to be her grandfather.
Apparently he was so taken with his new young wife that he bestowed a special nickname on
her father, Abu Bakr, which means "the father of the virgin" or "the father of the camel's
foal." (Muhammad's adversaries mockingly twisted the surname to Abu Fasil, i.e., "father of
the weaned young of a camel.") The result of Muhammad's lasting affection for the girl was
that her father became the heir apparent to Muhammad's legacy.He succeeded his son-in-law
after the latter's death as the first caliph of Islam.The word caliph, khalifa in
Arabic, means substitute or successor.
The Fruits of Plunder:
Wealth and Women
By now, though Muhammad had two women in his harem, he was not yet content. From his new
base in Medina he began a series of forays in which he ambushed passing caravans. In one
successful raid he gained possession of stolen commodities valued at more than one hundred
thousand dirhams (the unit of money in Arabia in those days). He took one-fifth of the booty
for himself, according to Allah's ordinance in the Koran, and divided the rest among his
followers: "... whatever ye take as spoils of war, lo! a fifth thereof is for Allah, and for
the messenger...." (Koran 8: 41)
As chief of this marauding band Muhammad suddenly found himself financially in a better
position. From the wealth of the plunder, he was able to acquire another wife. 'Umar, his
close friend and companion, had a proud widowed daughter, Hafsa, a charming but
temperamental eighteen-year-old woman. 'Umar was delighted to hear that Allah's apostle was
interested in her; therefore, the marriage contract was drawn up between the father and the
bridegroom, who once again was some years older than his father-in-law. The wedding was not
elaborate, but he spent three nights on a honeymoon with his new wife. In the fourth year
after his emigration to Medina, Muhammad found a poor excuse to raid a Jewish tribe in the
same town, known as the Banu Nadir. He besieged their quarters and let no water or food
reach them. Then he set their crops on fire and ordered their fruit trees to be cut down,
which was against all the prevailing customs of the Arabs at that time. When his followers
objected and reminded him that felling trees and burning crops in that part of the world,
where only a few inches of rain fall each year, is an unforgivable crime, he immediately
invented the following passage: "Whatsoever palm trees ye cut down or left standing on their
roots, it was by Allah's leave, in order that He might confound the evil-doers (the Jews)."
(Koran 59: 5)
The Jews of the besieged tribe sent someone to negotiate peace, but Muhammad would not
accept unless they left all their property behind and moved out. Each family or household
was permitted to take along only a camel-load of their necessities excluding silver or gold
wares. After they were forcibly banished from Medina, the Muslims, on direct order of
Muhammad, took over the homes, farms, orchards, and gardens of the ill-fated people, plus
their goats, sheep, camels, mules, and whatever was left in their homes.
This may be the first time in history that a man claiming to be a prophet, saint, and
teacher of ethics was also a lawless marauder.
As a result of such a quick and easy victory, Muhammad was no longer willing to divide the
rich booty among his followers; he therefore revealed the following verse: "That which Allah
gave as spoil unto His messenger from the people of the townships, it is for Allah and his
messenger and for the next of kin." (Koran 59: 7) By this simple device of revelation he was
able to deny all of his followers the benefit of the foray and keep as much booty for
himself and his relatives as he wished.
The rich fortune of the Jewish people of Banu Nadir provided Muhammad with enough means to
contemplate expanding his harem once more. In less than six months after this episode, he
married two women from his clan, the Quraysh tribe of Mecca, both of them younger than
thirty years old. His harem now included five young women. In the fifth year after the
Hegira, Muhammad decided to destroy the remaining Jewish population of the town (known as
the Banu Qurayza) and take over their property. He therefore surrounded their quarters and
began a siege that continued for some time until the elderly people of the tribe finally
decided to surrender in order to save their lives from his dreadful vengeance. Muhammad,
however, did not want them to go unpunished. He therefore demanded that they be judged by an
arbitrator, a man whom he knew, deep in his heart, was not very amiable to the Jews. The man
who was nominated by Muhammad to act as an arbitrator was Sa'd ibn Mu'az, who happened to be
suffering from a wound inflicted by the enemy's arrow in a previous battle and was really on
the verge of dying. Aware of the enmity between the man and the ill-fated tribe of the Banu
Qurayza, Muhammad could easily guess what the sentence of the dying man would be, especially
since Sa'd ibn Mu'az was led to believe by some Muslims that his fatal wound was the result
of the Jews, who had been secretly in touch with the enemy.
Muhammad ordered the dying man to be carried over in a stretcher from his house to a
meeting in which the representatives of the besieged tribe were present. The arbitrator,
Sa'd, gave his verdict as follows:
[*]All the adult males of the defeated Jewish tribe must be slain.
[*]Their women and children must be sold as slaves to the highest bidder.
[*]All their property (camels, goats, horses, farms, orchards, household furniture, etc.)
must be divided among the Muslims.
After Muhammad heard this barbaric verdict, he cried out in jubilant words: "You have judged
according to the very sentence of Allah above the seven skies."
According to the above statement, which has been affirmed by the early biographers and
chronologists, Muhammad's Allah is seemingly as cruel and ferocious as his Prophet. "The
women and children, torn from their protectors, were placed under the charge of renegade
The arbitrator did not live long enough to see the outcome of his judgment; he died that
very day. Muhammad ordered his men to dig deep trenches in the marketplace of the town, to
be used as "common graves" for the slain Jews. The captured Jews, with their hands tied
behind their backs, were led to the edge of the trench in groups of ten.They were forced to
kneel down and, with unprecedented savagery, were beheaded one by one while their kinfolk
watched in horror and wailed in agony.
The dreadful show continued the whole day in the presence of Allah's apostle, who seemed to
be delighted. His close male relatives,' Ali, Zubayr, and others, acted as executioners in
this barbaric pageantry. The butchery started in the morning and continued until the evening
The number of murdered men, according to various accounts, was between six hundred fifty and
nine hundred; most Islamic sources agree on seven hundred and fifty. Among the captured was
a young smiling woman who had thrown a stone from the roof of her home onto the Muslim
soldiers. Muhammad ordered his followers to bring the woman to the trench and decapitate
her, which they did. The chivalry of the pre-Islamic Arabs was lost forever after the advent
After the trenches were filled with the heads and bodies of the victims, he instructed his
men to fill them. The ditches were quickly smoothed over the remains and the carnage was
thus trampled underfoot by the steps of the devotees. The captive women and children were
paraded before Allah's apostle, who with the vainglory of a victorious bedouin chieftain,
reviewed them with contempt. To him they were merely the booty of war.
There was a charming young girl among them by the name of Rayhana, who had lost her husband
and all of her male relatives in the massacre. As soon as Muhammad's eyes caught sight of
the wretched Jewess in the long line of women and children, an irresistible passion to
possess her came over him. He signaled his soldiers to bring her as his share of the booty.
"As they passed before the conqueror, his eyes marked the lovely Raihana, and he destined
her for himself."
The girl is reported to have been around nineteen and as she refused to embrace Islam, she
was sent to his harem as a concubine: the honeymoon started the very night of the massacre
and lasted three days.
The women and children were distributed among the male believers and some were sold in the
slave market. The property of the ill-fated people consisted of camels, goats, sheep, armor,
clothes, and household furniture. The massacre of the Banu Qurayza tribe proved that Allah's
apostle was a bandit, a vengeful political leader, a merciless executioner, and a slave
merchant. It also cast a long shadow over Islam. If this new religion was dedicated to
advancing the cause of one god, as its founder claimed, against the idolatry and polytheism
of the desert Arabs, why did Muhammad so relentlessly persecute first Judaism and later on
Christianity and Zoroastrianism, all of which were monotheistic religions? With his increase
in power, the real character of Allah's messenger began to manifest itself. One suspects
that his underlying motive was power, not religion. As the leader of a gang of robbers, he
sent his followers on numerous expeditions to raid caravans, ambush the different tribes of
the desert, slay innocent people, seize their property, and enslave their women and
children. The booty in these forays was enough motive for the greedy desert Arabs to join
In order to become a shareholder in the spoils bestowed by Allah, one needed only to affirm
that Allah is the only deity and Muhammad is his messenger. By this simple formula the
robber chief of Medina was able to gather more men around him and keep his little force in
high spirits by giving them more share of the booty. He promised them both paradise after
death and wealth and women in this world. With these incentives the desert Arabs who
followed him had nothing to lose.
Gradually, as he got more powerful in his new headquarters of Medina, the peace-loving
preacher of Mecca disappeared and in his stead the party leader and authoritarian ruler of
Medina came to light. His former themes of mercy and compassion are replaced with the
unyielding decrees of the tyrant. Among the deeds of the great founders of religions, such
as Zoroaster, Confucius, Buddha, Moses, and Christ, one can find nothing comparable with
Muhammad's plundering of caravans, ambushing of tribes, massacring of prisoners of wars, and
enslaving of the women and children. Nor did any of these religious leaders have as many
wives as Muhammad. In these and similar performances, Muhammad is unique and unparalleled.
No man of God was changed so much in so few years and in such a barbaric way.
Written by Anwar Hekmat
Material here is excerpted from "Women and the Koran: The Status of Women in Islam.
Contributors" by Anwar Hekmat, published by Prometheus Books, 1997 and used here to conform
with the Fair Use Doctrine for educational, research and discussion purposes in an effort to
inform and advance the awareness and understanding
per * Title 17 U.S.C.
Section 107, Copyright Law.
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