Monday, March 28, 2016

Aswad'ansi: The Story of the Veiled Prophet.

al-Aswad al-Ansi Arabic meaning "The black man of Ans", originally named Abhala ibn Kaab al-Ansi as he originally belonged to the 'Ans tribe in Yemen (a branch of the Madh-haj clan). He claimed prophethood towards the end of the prophet Muhammad's lifetime, around 630 A.D. He was a very ugly man so he used to cover his face to hide his ugliness that is why he was nicknamed as Ansi, "the veiled prophet". He was wealthiest, wise and very intelligent and one of the prominent citizen of Yemen. 

When the Prophet, returned to Medina from the Farewell Pilgrimage in the tenth year after the Hijra, he fell ill, News of his illness spread rapidly throughout the Arabian peninsula. Sincere Muslims everywhere were greatly saddened by the news but for others it was a time to disclose hidden hopes and ambitions and reveal their real attitudes to Islam and the Prophet.

In al-Yamama, Musaylimah bin Sumama bin Habib renounced Islam. So too did Tulayhah al-Asadi in the land of the Asad. They claimed that they were prophets sent to their respective peoples just as Muhammad the son of Abdullah was sent to the Quraysh. Both Musaylimah and Aswad 'Ansi were known as soothsayer and sorcerer and, as with all men and women of this profession, claimed to have knowledge of the unknown Ghayb, and as Islam proscribed magic and sooth saying. Hence, when Islam began spreading throughout the Peninsula, their clientele sharply declined. May be it was the cause of their claiming prophet-hood.

What helped al-Aswad in deceiving the people and drawing them to him was his guile and cunning which knew no bounds. To his followers he alleged that an angel visited him, disclosed revelations to him and gave him intelligence of people and their affairs. What allowed him to appear to bear out these claims were the spies he employed and despatched everywhere, to bring him news of people and their circumstances, their secrets and their problems, their hopes and their fears.

Reports were brought back in secrecy to him and when he met anyone, especially those in need, he could give the impression that he had prior knowledge of their needs and problems. In this way he astonished people and confounded their thoughts. He acquired a large following and his mission spread like wildfire.

Aswad 'Ansi claimed to receive divine inspiration in the form of words and is recorded to have recited them to his people. Besides this, he had an ability to dazzle a crowd with tricks, according to traditional accounts he had a donkey whom he had trained to kneel before him, he would tell the donkey, in front of a large crowd "Kneel before your lord" and it would kneel, and then he would say to it "Bow before your lord" and it would bow. 

Aswad 'Ansi was powerful and influential and possessed a strange power of speech that mesmerized the hearts of his listeners and captivated the minds of the masses with his claims. With his wealth and power he managed to attract not just the masses but people of status as well. When he appeared before people he normally wore a mask in order to surround himself with an air of mystery, awe and reverence.

In the Yemen at that time, a section of the people who had much prestige and influence were the "Abna". They were the scions of Persian fathers who ruled Yemen as part of the Sasanian Empire. Their mothers were local Arabs. Fayruz al-Daylami was one of these Yemeni Abna.

At the time of the appearance of Islam, the most powerful of the Abna was Badhan who ruled Yemen on behalf of the Khosroes of Persia. When Badban became convinced of the truth of the Prophet Muhammad and the Divine nature of his mission he renounced his a llegiance to the Khosroes and accepted Islam. His people followed him in tiffs. The Prophet confirmed him in his dominion and he ruled the Yemen until his death shortly before the appearance of al-Aswad al-Ansi.

In the beginning, a few of his tribe the Banu Mudhhij, were attracted to him and the first to respond positively to his claims to prophethood. Gradually his myth and mischief spread all over Yemen. The uncivilized Bedouins had not been genuinely converted to Islam; they had adopted it because they admired a man who could challenge the two greatest empires of their time. As soon as he died his magic died too and they turned away from Islam.

Aswad 'Ansi succeeded in winning a considerable number of followers and within a short time, he became powerful enough to challenge Shahr who remained faithful to islam. Shahr was  a governor appointed by the Prophet's regime after the death of his father Badhan. 

The Tribes of Arabs
Soon Aswad mounted a raid on San'a and in that confrontation Shahr was defeated and killed, and Aswad captured power and crowned himself as the king of Yemen.  He also forcefully married Shahr's beautiful widow named Azad.

Feroz a Minister under Shahr became a Minister under Aswad 'Ansi although he remained a Muslim. Qais bin Abu Yaghus, commander-in-chief of the forces of Shahr, became the commander-in-chief of the forces of Aswad 'Ansi. 

Now from San'a he raided other regions nearby through his swift and startling strikes. Thus a vast region from Hadramawt to at-Taif and from al-Ahsa to Aden came under his influence.

When news of al-Aswad's apostasy and his activities throughout the Yemen reached the Prophet, peace be on him, he despatched a no. about ten Muslims with letters to some devoted Muslims of Yemen those were trusted. He urged them to confront the blind fitnah with faith and resolve, and he ordered them to get rid of al-Aswad by any means.

The Prophet's envoys to Yemen, Khalid b. Sa'id and 'Amr b. Hazm, had to recede into the background for a while when they were expelled by Al-Aswad’s forces who expelled them from Najran. But all who received the Prophet's missives set about to carry out his orders implicitly. In the forefront of these was Fayruz ad-Daylami and those of the Abna who were with him. A conspiracy spearheaded by Fayruz, Qais and Azad, shahr's ex wife as she bitterly hated Aswad 'Ansi. 

Aswad 'Ansi was a man of suspicious nature. He felt that in order to strengthen his position he must overthrow Feroz and Qais. But before he could do something, he was assassinated.

The assassination team led by Fayruz entered the fortress in the night with the help of shahr's wife Azad and killed Aswad 'Ansi while he was asleep. 

"Fayruz and those of the Abna who were with Fayruz never for one moment had any doubt about the religion of God. No belief in the enemy of God entered the heart of any one of them. In fact they waited for opportunities to get hold of al-Aswad and eliminate him by any means.

When they received the letters of the prophet, They felt strengthened in their mutual resolve and each one determined to do what he could. Because of his considerable success, pride and vanity took hold of al-Aswad al-Ansi. He bragged to the commander of his army, Qays ibn Abd Yaghuth, saying how powerful he was. His attitude and relationship towards his commander changed so much so that Qays felt that he was not safe from his violence and oppression.

Fayruz cousin, Dadhawayh, and he went to Qays and informed him of what the Prophet, had told them and they invited him to "make lunch" out of the man al-Aswad before he could "make supper" out of him. He was receptive to their proposal and regarded them as a Godsend. He disclosed to them some of the secrets of al-Aswad.

The three of them vowed to confront the apostate from within his castle while their other brothers would confront him from without. They were all of the view that their cousin Azad, whom al-Aswad had taken to himself after the killing of her husband, should join them. They went to al-Aswad's castle and met her. Fayruz said to her: 'O cousin, you know what harm and evil this man has visited upon you and us. He has killed your husband and dishonored the women of your people. He has massacred their husbands and wrested political authority from their hands. 

Fayruz show the letter to her and said, "This is a letter from the Messenger of God to us in particular and to the people of Yemen in general in which he asks us to put an end to this fitnah. Would you help us in this matter?" 
'How can I help you? she asked. 
'On his expulsion...' Fayruz said. 
'Rather on his assassination,' she suggested. 
'By God, I had nothing else in mind,' Fayruz said, 'but I was afraid to suggest this to you.' 

'By Him Who has sent Muhammad with the Truth as a bringer of good tidings and as a warner, I have not doubted in my religion for a moment. God has not created a man more detestable to me than the devil al-Aswad. By God, from the time I saw him, I have only known him to be a corrupt and sinful person who does not promote any truth and does not stop from committing any abominable deed.' -she said. 
"How can we go about eliminating him?' Fayruz asked.

'He is well-guarded and protected. There is not a place in his castle which is not surrounded by guards. There is one broken down and abandoned room though which opens out into open land. In the evening during the first third of the night, go there. You will find inside weapons and a light. You will find me waiting for you...' she said.

'But getting through to a room in a castle such as this is no easy task. Someone might pass and alert the guards and that will be the end of us' Fayruz said. 
'You are not far from the truth. But I have a suggestion.' -she said.
'What is it?' Fayruz asked.
She said, 'Send a man tomorrow whom you trust as one of the workers. I shall tell him to make an opening in the room from the inside so that it should be easy to enter.'
'That's a brilliant suggestion you have,' Fayruz said.

Fayruz then left her and told the two others what they had decided and they gave their blessings to the plan. They left straightaway to get themselves prepared. They informed a select group of believers who were assisting them to prepare themselves and gave them the password (to signal the time they could storm the castle). The time was to be dawn of the following day.

When night fell and the appointed time came, Fayruz went with his two companions to the opening in the room and uncovered it. They entered the room and put on the lamp. They found the weapons and proceeded to the apartment of God's enemy. There was their cousin Azad standing at her door. She pointed out where he was and they entered. 

al-Aswad was asleep and snoring. But when Fayruz proceeded towards his bed, then find al- Aswad's eyes are open and he spontaneously told him, "Fayruz, I know what you are going to do!"- suddenly a horror creeped through Fayruz body. Terrified, he immediately jumped on him, al-Aswad fell from his bed causes broke his neck. Fayruz left him in that condition and rushed to the door but was stopped by his partner, who then moved with his knife towards Aswad. He was still alive convulsing on the floor. He [Fayruz's partner] then plunged his sharp knife in his neck. Aswad bellowed like a bull being slaughtered. When the guards heard that sound, they ran quickly to his room and found Azad standing on the door. They asked: 'What is this ?'
She said to them, 'You have nothing to worry. He is receiving revelation, now leave.', and they left. 

The assassination team stayed in the castle until the break of dawn. Then Fayruz went to the roof of the castle with Aswad's cutting head and shouted: God is Gracious. God is Merciful. I testify that Muhammad is His Rasool and I also testify that al-Aswad is an imposter. [''Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!' Ashhadu anna Muhammadur Rasulullah! 'Wa ashhadu anna al Aswad al-Ansi kadhdhab!]

That was the signal and Muslims then converged on the castle from every direction. The guards took fright when they heard the shouting and were confronted by the Muslims shouting Allahu Akbar.

People gathered in front of the castle and looking towards its roof to know what happened.  Then Fayruz throw Aswad's cutting head in their midst.

The mission completed successfully and they sent a letter to Medina at the same day addressing prophet Muhammad giving him the news of the death of al-Aswad, the imposter. But when the messengers reached Medina they found that the Prophet, had passed away that very night. 

The Prophet had predicted in Medina, a day and a half before his own demise that al-'Ansi had been killed. And actually the news of his assassination reached Medina while the Companions were preparing his funeral rights.

Years later, the Khalifa Umar ibn al-Khattab wrote to Fayruz ad-Daylami, saying: "I have heard that you are busy eating white bread and honey (ie. no doubt that he was leading an easy life). When this my letter reaches you, come to me with the blessings of God so that you may campaign in the path of God."

Fayruz did as he was commanded. He went to Medina and sought an audience with Umar. When he started towards Omar a young boy of Quraysh from the crowd pushed him. Fayruz angered and hit him on the nose.
The boy then complained to Omar who asked: "Who was that?"
At that time Fayruz entering tnto the room. and the boy indicating him, said,  "He is at the door," 
Then Omar asked: "What is this, O Fayruz?"

"O Amir al-Muminin," said Fayruz. "You wrote to me, not to him. You gave me permission to enter, not him. But he wanted to enter resisting me. And then I did what you have been told."
"Al-Qisas," pronounced Omar, "Fayruz, So you have to receive the same blow from this youth in retaliation". 
"Must it be?" asked Fayruz. 
"It must be," insisted Omar.

Fayruz then got down on his knees and the youth stood up to exact his retaliation. Omar said to him then: "Wait a moment, o young man, I want to tell you something about this man first. In a evening, I heard, prophet saying: 'This is the night, al-Aswad al-Ansi the Imposter has been killed. Fayruz ad-Daylami, the righteous servant has killed him' 
Omar then said the young: "Now, you can take retribution, hit him."
"I forgive him," the young said at once, "at the very moment, I heard the Prophet from you." 
"Do you think," said Fayruz to Omar, "that my escape from what I have done is a confession to him and that his forgiveness is not given under duress?" 
"Yes," replied Omar.
Fayruz then declared: "I testily to you that my sword, my horse and thirty thousand dinar that saved in my house is a gift to him."
"Your forgiveness has paid off, O my brother and you have become rich," said Omar to the young.

The End.
Not Yet Revised.

# A man Questioned, "The Prophet who is the Mercy to mankind, order to kill Ansi because he declared Prophethood? Killing a man without trial- is it legal?

@ I said, "Killing a man without trial- is not legal in Islam, surely it is a crime, but not for Prophets, who knows better Gods Laws. And for the case of Muhammad, how do you questioned his works and deeds when he was certified by the Magian, Buddhist, Jewish and Christian Scriptures! And when Bible certified of his righteousness and of his judgment!

Bible says- And when he [Ahmad] will come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

--Of sin, because they [Jews] believe not on me [Jesus];
--Of righteousness, because he [Ahmad] aroused the neglectful world from its heedlessness and gave it the knowledge of the criterion between truth and falsehood [Quran or Furqan];
--Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the "Spirit of Truth", is come, "he will guide you into all truth": for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. "He shall glorify me": for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. -[See, John, 16:9-14] Now we will see why the Prophet ordered to kill al-Aswad bin Ka'b al-Ansi.

al-Aswad became Muslim and then claimed prophethood which was a crime against humanity. It can be explained as-

Accepting Islam or not is ones choice. But after accepting no one permitted to renounce Islam as it is the religion of God, a religion of Truth ie. renouncing Islam is equal to blaming and rejecting truth and at the same time adopt falsehood on God and His Apostle. This act will turning men from truth thus makes them looser in the hereafter. And when they will find themselves looser, they blamed Muslims for their misery. So, a Muslim never let anyone blaming or rejecting TRUTH after accepting it, as it considered an act of preventing men from following God’s path that causes mass people serious loosered in the hereafter, thus such act surely a grievous crime and deserves severe punishment.  

Quran says- "And if they break their oaths after their agreement and revile your religion, then fight the leaders of disbelief -surely their oaths are nothing -so that they may desist". -(Qur'an 9:12)

And a Hadith says- "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims."- [Bukhari , Volume 9, Book 83, No-17,-Narrated by'Abdullah].

Besides this, Aswad persecuted many Muslims. He was a warmonger. In a report we find that he was liable for the death of prophets daughter Zaynab. [Abul As captured at the battle of Badr. He was released with the condition that he send his wife Zaynab to Medina. As keep his word and when Zaynab leaving Mecca riding a camel, some people attacked her and she fell from the camel when someone speared the camel. That causes her bleeding as she was pregnant. However, she reached Medina and died after some days. Historian and biographer reported this incident as- 

It was reported that Habbar used to relate [the following story]: "When the Prophet came out and preached [the belief in] Allah I was among those who showed hatred toward him, opposed him, and harmed him." 

Tabari further states-"[When] the Prophets ..daughter Zaynab on her way to Medina, some people from the Quraysh obstructed her way, and Habbar was among them. He poked her and wounded her back with a lance, and she lost the baby she was carrying; she was then brought back to the dwellings of the Banu Abd Manaf."

Zaynab died later in Medina and Habbar b. al-Aswad declared criminal and the Prophet allowed his blood to be shed with impunity. -[The History of al-Tabari– Biographies of the Prophet’s Companions and Their Successors: al-Tabari’s Supplement to His History, volume 39, page 70]

Wahiduddin Khan:
Habbar ibn al-Aswad, who had been responsible for great persecution of the Muslims. When the Prophet’s daughter Zaynab, wife of Abu’l ‘As, was on her way from Makkah to Madinah, he stabbed her camel’s side with a spear. The camel went into a frenzy and Zaynab fell down. She was with child at the time. Not only did she suffer a miscarriage, but the effects of the mishap remained with her for the rest of her life. Orders were given for him to be killed, but he came to the Prophet and pleaded for mercy. ‘Prophet of God,’ he said, ‘forgive my ignorance. Let me become a Muslim.’ The Prophet forgave him. - [Muhammad: A Prophet for All Humanity By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan page 331]


When the Messenger of God entered Makkah victoriously in the year 8 AH/629 CE, he had instructed his leading men not to kill anyone but those who had fought against the Muslims, as he wanted Makkah to be conquered peacefully. However, he did order a group of individuals, whom he named specifically, to be put to death even if they were seeking refuge under the covering of the Ka’bah. The group included six men and four women, namely: Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl, Habbar ibn al-Aswad, Abd Allah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh, Miqyas ibn Subabah al-Laythi, al-Huwayrith ibn Nuqaydh, Abd Allah ibn Hilal ibn Khatal al-Adrami, Hind Bint Utbah, Sarah, the servant of Amr ibn Hisham, and Abd llah ibn Khatal’s two song-stressed, Fartana and Quraybah, who was also known as Arnab. The reason for this was that these individuals had incited the polytheists to go to war against the Muslims and prevent them from following in God’s path. -[Apostasy in Islam: A Historical and Scriptural Analysis By Taha Jabir Alalwani, page 50.]

Source: al-Qur'an
al-NadÄ«m, The Fihrist.
Sahih Bukhari , Volume 9, Book 83 , No-17.
The History of al-Tabari  – Biographies of the Prophet’s Companions and Their Successors: al-Tabari’s Supplement to His History, volume 39, page 70
Muhammad: A Prophet for All Humanity By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan page 331
Apostasy in Islam: A Historical and Scriptural Analysis By Taha Jabir Alalwani, page 50
Encyclopaedia of Islam, By Mufti M. Mukarram Ahmed, Muzaffar Husain Syed, pg.91-92, 241
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

No comments:

Post a Comment