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Ancient Mediterranean Cultures => Israelities & the Kabbalah => Topic started by: Sarah on May 12, 2007, 05:17:19 am

Title: Abu 'Afak
Post by: Sarah on May 12, 2007, 05:17:19 am
Abu 'Afak (Arabic: ابو عفك, c. 7th century) was a Jewish poet who lived in the Hijaz region (today Saudi Arabia). Abu 'Afak did not convert to Islam and was vocal about his opposition to Muhammad. He became a significant political enemy of Muhammad and was allegedly assassinated.

Poetry was the usual medium of political discourse in the 7th century Arabia. As an elderly man, Abu 'Afak Arwan wrote a politically charged poem against Muhammad and his followers that is preserved in the Sira. Muhammad silenced him through assassination. The affair was first written by Ibn Ishaq in "Sirat Rasul Allah" (The Life of the Prophet of God), one of the oldest surviving biographies of Muhammad. The veracity of some of the stories collected in the Sira is questioned and some Muslims consider this story a fabrication

Title: Re: Abu 'Afak
Post by: Sarah on May 12, 2007, 05:18:59 am
Story by Ibn Ishaq

The following is an excerpt from Alfred Guillaume's translation of Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasul Allah", chapter "Salim B. Umayr's expedition to kill Abu Afak".

Abu Afak was one of the B. Amr b. Auf of the B. Ubayda clan. He showed his disaffection when the apostle killed al-Harith b. Suwayd b. Samit and said:

"Long have I lived but never have I seen
An assembly or collection of people
More faithful to their undertaking
And their allies when called upon
Than the sons of Qayla when they assembled,
Men who overthrew mountains and never submitted,
A rider who came to them split them in two (saying)
"Permitted", "Forbidden", of all sorts of things.
Had you believed in glory or kingship
You would have followed Tubba. [2]
The apostle said, "Who will deal with this rascal for me?" Whereupon Salim b. Umayr, brother of B. Amr b. Auf, one of the "weepers", went forth and killed him. Umama b. Muzayriya said concerning that:
You gave the lie to God's religion and the man Ahmad [the prophet]!
By him who was your father, evil is the son he produced!
A "hanif" [monotheist] gave you a thrust in the night saying
"Take that Abu Afak in spite of your age!"
Though I knew whether it was man or jinn
Who slew you in the dead of night (I would say naught)

Title: Re: Abu 'Afak
Post by: Sarah on May 12, 2007, 05:21:00 am
Story by Ibn Sa'd

Another description of this story comes from Kitab al Tabaqat al Kabir (The book of The Major Classes) by Ibn Sa'd:

"Then occurred the "sariyyah" [raid] of Salim Ibn Umayr al-Amri against Abu Afak, the Jew, in [the month of] Shawwal in the beginning of the twentieth month from the hijrah [immigration from Mecca to Medina in AD 622], of the Apostle of Allah. Abu Afak, was from Banu Amr Ibn Awf, and was an old man who had attained the age of one hundred and twenty years. He was a Jew, and used to instigate the people against the Apostle of Allah, and composed (satirical) verses [about Muhammad].
"Salim Ibn Umayr who was one of the great weepers and who had participated in Badr, said, "I take a vow that I shall either kill Abu Afak or die before him. He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came, and Abu Afak slept in an open place. Salim Ibn Umayr knew it, so he placed the sword on his liver and pressed it till it reached his bed. The enemy of Allah screamed and the people who were his followers, rushed to him, took him to his house and interred him."

Authenticity Concerns

Muslims have questioned the authenticity of this story. Based on the criteria of accepting a narration, this narration fails in not being able to provide a verifiable isnad (link). Hence, it is unknown who originally narrated this story, and therefore this story is not accepted as part of Islamic history, nor can be taken as a precedent.

Furthermore, this story does not appear in any Islamic literature until 150 years after the death of Muhammad.