Musaylimah

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Musaylimah (Arabic: مسيلمة‎‎) or Musaylimah bin Ḥabīb (Arabic: مسيلمة بن حبيب‎‎) was one of a series of people (including his future wife) who claimed prophethood in 7th century Arabia, after meeting Muhammad. He is considered by Muslims to be a false prophet, and is always referred to as "the Liar" (Arabic: الكذّاب‎‎ al-Kazzāb).[1]

Biography[edit]

Musaylimah's name was Musaylimah bin Habib, which indicates that he was the son of Habib, of the tribe Banu Hanifa, one of the largest tribes of Arabia that inhabited the region of Najd. The Banu Hanifa were a Christian branch of Banu Bakr and led an independent existence prior to Islam.

Among the first records of him is in late 9th Hijri, the Year of Delegations, when he accompanied a delegation of his tribe to Medina. The delegation included two other prominent Muslims. They would later help Musaylimah rise to power and save their tribe from destruction. These men were Nahar Ar-Rajjal bin Unfuwa (or Rahhal)[2] and Muja'a bin Marara. In Medina, the deputation stayed with the daughter of al-Harith, a woman of the Ansar from the Banu Najjar.

When the delegation arrived at Medinah the camels were tied in a traveler's camp, and Musaylimah remained there to look after them while the other delegates went in.

They had talks with Muhammad. The delegation before their departure embraced Islam and renounced Christianity without compunction. As was his custom, Muhammad presented gifts to the delegates, and when they had received their gifts one said, "We left one of our comrades in the camp to look after our mounts."

Muhammad 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." On their return they converted the tribe of Banu Hanifa to Islam. They built a mosque at Yamamah and started regular prayers.

Proclaiming prophethood and teachings[edit]

His teachings were almost lost but a neutral review of them does exist in Dabestan-e Mazaheb.[3] He prohibited pigs and wine, taught three daily prayers to the God, facing whatever side, Ramadan fasting at night, and no circumcision.

Musaylimah, who is reported as having been a skilled magician,[4] dazzled the crowd with miracles. 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 was divinely gifted.

Musaylimah shared verses purporting them to have been revelations from God and told the crowd that Muhammad had shared power with him.[2] Musaylimah even referred to himself as Rahman,[1] which suggests that he may have attributed some divinity to himself. Thereafter, some of the people accepted him as a prophet alongside Muhammad. Gradually the influence and authority of Musaylimah increased with the people of his tribe. He also took to addressing gatherings as a messenger of Allah just like Muhammad, and would compose verses and offer them, as Qur'anic revelations. Most of his verses extolled the superiority of his tribe, the Bani Hanifa, over the Quraysh.

Musaylimah also proposed to share power over Arabia with Muhammad. Then one day, in late 10 Hijri, he wrote to Muhammad:

Muhammad, however, replied back:

Marriage to Sajah and death[edit]

During the apostasy movement which emerged following the death of Muhammad, Sajah bint al-Harith ibn Suaeed declared that she was a prophetess after learning that Musaylimah and Tulayha had declared prophethood.[6] 4,000 people gathered around her to march on Medina. Others joined her against Medina. However, her planned attack on Medina was called off after she learned that the army of Khalid ibn al-Walid had defeated Tulayha al-Asadi (another self-proclaimed prophet).[7] Thereafter, she sought cooperation with Musaylimah to oppose the threat of Khalid. A mutual understanding was initially reached with Musaylimah. Later, the two married and she accepted his self-declared prophethood. Khalid then crushed the remaining rebellious elements around Sajah, and then moved on to crush Musaylimah. Musaylimah fought and was killed in the Battle of Yamama by Wahshi ibn Harb, the same man who had killed Muhammad's uncle, Hamza, in the battle of Uhud before his conversion to Islam. After Musaylimah was killed, Sajah converted to Islam.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ibn Kathīr, Ismāʻīl ibn ʻUmar (2000), Ṣafī al-Raḥmān Mubārakfūrī, ed., al-Miṣbāḥ al-munīr fī tahdhīb tafsīr Ibn Kathīr, 1, Riyadh, Saʻudi Arabia: Darussalam, p. 68 
  2. ^ a b The Life of the Prophet Muhammad: Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya By Ibn Kathir, Trevor Le Gassick, Muneer Fareed, pg. 69
  3. ^ The DABISTÁN, or SCHOOL OF MANNERS
  4. ^ The Life of the Prophet Muhammad [May Peace and the Blessings of Allah Be Upon Him] : Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya By Ibn Kathir, Trevor Le Gassick, Muneer Fareed, pg. 67
  5. ^ The History of Al Tabari By Ṭabarī, Ismail K. Poonawala, pg. 107
  6. ^ E.J. Brill's first encyclopedia of Islam, 1913-1936 By M. Th. Houtsma, p665
  7. ^ The Life of the Prophet Muhammad: Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya By Ibn Kathir, Trevor Le Gassick, Muneer Fareed, pg. 36.

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWood, James, ed. (1907). "article name needed". The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.