بسم الله الحد لله و صلاة و سلام على رسول الله و على آله و سلم
|The Four False Prophets: Musaylimah Al-Kaddhab|
|Al-Aswad Al-‘Ansi||Tulayhah al-Azdi||Sajjah bint al-Harith||Musaylimah al-Kaddhab|
This is the last installment in a series of articles on four of the early false prophets from the time of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم and Abu Bakr رضى الله عنه. In it, we will discuss their rise, opposition by the Muslims, and eventual defeat.
I hope this one will be the most interesting and intense…
Of the four false prophets during the time of Abu Bakr, the most dangerous of them all was Musaylimah bin Habib, aka Musaylimah “The Liar” from the tribe of Banu Hanifah. Musaylimah was described as low in stature, fair skinned and with a flat nose. He started off early in his life learning tricks of deception, illusions and even getting actual assistance of the Shayateen (not just silly stories you hear at social gatherings).
When the Prophet Ahmad صلى الله عليه و سلم sent a letter to his tribe, Musaylimah was one of the delegates to responded to his call and at least outwardly accepted Islam. But, when he returned to his people, he went back to his old ways and eventually claimed prophethood for himself. His claim obviously put him at odds with the Prophet Ahmad صلى الله عليه و سلم, so he sent decided to bargain to gain more power and influence.
He sent a letter to the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم saying:
The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم responded with the following letter:
Obviously Musaylimah did not like that response, and Islam’s rising power left Musaylimah jealous. When he would hear the Qur’an, he would try to produce his own competing “revelations”. Sometimes, he would literally copy the Qur’an and just change a few words. For example, Surah al-Kawthar says,
Indeed, We have given you Al-Kawthar [A river in Jannah]
So Pray and Sacrifice.
He would say:
Indeed, We have Given you the Keys [of Jannah]
So Pray and Rest
Other times, he had his own unique “revelations”, such as:
Croak as you Croak;
The Bottom of you is in Dirt;
And the top of you is in Water;
Years later, Abu Bakr called former followers of Musaylimah and asked them to recite some of the “revelation” Musaylimah would utter. After hearing it, Abu Bakr said “How can a mind ever believe such a thing?” This reminds us of Mirza Ghulam’s ungrammatical revelation such as “God is coming by his army, he is with you to kill enemy”, and “I can what I will do”. Mirza Ghulam also would take parts of the Qur’an, and alter a word or two such as when he claimed to be pregnant with ‘Esa عليه السلام and modified verses about Maryam عليها السلام to apply to himself.
Amongst Musaylimah’s lieutenants was Al-Rajjal ibn ‘Unfwa. Having spent a lot of time with the Prophet Ahmad صلى الله عليه و سلم and having memorized a lot of the Qur’an, the Prophet sent him to Musaylimah’s followers to convince them to come back to Islam. But when Al-Rajjal went to them, he defected and joined the army of Musaylimah. This was a great fitnah, because he had a lot of knowledge of Islam and was able to trick some Muslims.
Abu Bakr took the Caliphate when the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم died and sent ‘Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl with a small army to contain, but not attack, Musaylimah’s amassing forces. Instead, ‘Ikrimah attacked and was soundly defeated. Again, Abu Bakr sent Shahrabil bin Hasana for the same purpose, but Shahrabil’s army also engaged and was also defeated. This gave Musaylimah’s forces the reputation of being invincible – after all, they just defeated two Muslim armies!
So the third time Abu Bakr sent the Sword of Allah, Khalid bin Waleed. Khalid’s forces met Musaylimah’s in a battleground called al-Yamamah. The two generals of Musaylimah were Al-Rajjal and Al-Muhakkam.
When the battle began, Musaylimah’s forces attacked with a wave so fierce it broke the Muslims lines and sent them into full retreat, so much so that Khalid’s personal camp was overrun. In the chaos, the tribes were blaming each other for having broken the lines, so someone suggested to separate them by tribe and by Mujahir and al-Ansar. This created a type of shame upon the tribe or unit which broke formation.
Afterwards the Muslim lines held, but so did Musaylimah’s army. The attacks came in powerful waves and pushes, with heavy causalities on both sides.
During moments of calm, speakers would deliver emotional speeches to raise their morale. Others would recite Surah al-Anfal. ‘Abbad bin Bishr stood in front of everyone and broke the sheath of his sword, committing himself to the battle. Zayd bin Al-Khattab, Brother of ‘Umar, told his troops, “Just grit your teeth and attack!” They did so and succeeded in killing Al-Rajjal.
At one point a battalion formed consisting exclusively of the Hufaz of the Qur’an – no one else. They said the Qur’an was in their hearts, so the responsibility upon them was greater. Imagine, an elite battalion of only the Hufaz! They delivered a fierce assault against Musaylimah’s forces, but many of them were killed (which later led to Abu Bakr compiling the Qur’an for the first time).
‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abu Bakr was an excellent archer. While Al-Muhakkam was giving a speech to his army, ‘Abd al-Rahman caught him in his sights. He shot an arrow that hit Al-Muhakkam in his throat during his speech.
Musaylimah’s forces rallied around Musaylimah, protecting him from all sides. Historians describe this formation as a storm with Musaylimah as the eye. With so many dying on both sides, Khalid realized that the only way to end the battle would be to go after Musaylimah himself. So he, along with his Fursaan (Knights), made a direct charge, breaking the enemy lines and went straight after the eye of the storm!
Musaylimah saw the advancing knights and ordered a tactical retreat. The 10,000 remaining soldiers (1/4th of the original army) retreated into a nearby garden and locked the gates.
The Muslims circled the Garden, but could not get in. Then came Al-Bara’a ibn Malik…who is Al-Bara’a ibn Malik?
Before the battle, Abu Bakr sent a letter saying, “In your army is Al-Bara’a ibn Malik. Do not appoint him to any position of leadership, because he will perish anyone around him.” Too much bravado!
Al-Bara’a went to the walls and said “Throw me in the garden!” He was hoisted atop a shield and thrown. In the first throw, he saw Musaylimah’s army and hesitated. In the second throw, he went over the wall and fell in like a bird from the sky directly into the enemy. Fighting back the people around him, he was able to open the gates and let his fellow soldiers in, but not before receiving 80 injuries all over his body (not every cut or slash was fatal).
The Muslims spilled into this enclosed garden and with Musaylimah’s army unable to retreat, they fought to the end. The garden became known as Hadiqat al-Mawt (The garden of death).
Wahshi, the man who killed Hamza in the battle of Uhud, wanted to make up for that by killing Musaylimah. He said, “Just as I have killed the most beloved servant of Allah [Hamza], I am going to compensate for that by killing the enemy of Allah [Musaylimah].” With Musaylimah in his sights, he honed onto his target and launched his missle. At the same moment the spear hit him, Abu Dujanah (who, btw, is awesome. Can I say that?) struck Musaylimah. Whether Wahshi’s or Abu Dujanah’s, no one knows whose blow was the fatal one.
The death of Musaylimah meant the end of the battle. The Muslims were victorious at Al-Yamama, but not without heavy losses. 300 Sahaba were martyred. Ibn Katheer estimated 450 of the Hufaz were killed. Hundreds more were killed, and perhaps thousands injured.
After the battle, Khalid took a prisoner to find Musaylimah amongst the dead. He saw him and said, “This is the one who did to you what he did?” (ie, took you away from Islam through his false prophethood). The prisoner affirmed. Khalid said, “The way he looks does not reflect his evil.”
And with that, the last of the false prophets of Arabia was exterminated. Arabia became a launchpad for the rapid expansion of Islam over Persia, Rome and the rest is history…
May Allah save us from the corruption of following a false prophet, and keep us upon the Islam of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, the Sahaba, and those who followed them, and save us from joining fringe movements and false prophets. Ameen.