Leaving Islam





Labid was another poet whom Muhammad admired a lot. We will now briefly review the contribution of this poet towards the authorship of the Qur’an.  

Labid was the son of Rabiah ibn Jafar al-Amiri. Dictionary of Islam (Hughes Dictionary of Islam, p.282) reports that Labid died at Kufah in Iraq at the age of 157. As told before, Labid was one of the 7 magnificent poets of Muallaqat. Islamic historians claim that Labid embraced Islam when he saw the first verse of Sura al-Bakara (Sura 2) posted up at Ka’ba; he withdrew his verses and embraced Islam. This claim, of course, cannot be true, as the first verse of Sura al-Bakara is simply: Alif. Lam. Mim--the cryptic message which even Muhammad claimed that only Allah knew their meaning. Labid’s verse was: “Know that everything is vanity but God.” Muhammad said the same to Labid—the truest poet.  

Even if one accepts the assertion that Labid became a Muslim after reading Muhammad’s verses then it is more palpable that it was indeed Labid who helped Muhammad to construct poetical verses that were, later, passed up as messages of Allah via Gabriel. Those verses which Labid wrote on behalf of Muhammad were mostly the verses dealing with piety, exhortation of good deeds, some narrations of Arab practices… etc.  

In Ahadith we find references of Labid. Here are some samples:  

Sahih Bukhari:

The most true words said by a poet was the words of Labid…5.58.181  

Volume 5, Book 58, Number 181:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "The most true words said by a poet was the words of Labid." He said, Verily, Everything except Allah is perishable and Umaiya bin As-Salt was about to be a Muslim (but he did not embrace Islam).

A true poetry testifies the indestructibility of Allah…8.76.496  

Volume 8, Book 76, Number 496:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "The truest poetic verse ever said by a poet, is: Indeed! Everything except Allah, is perishable."

This Hadis, of course refers to the poetry of Labid.  

Sahih Muslim

The true word in Arabic poetry is “Labid”. Apart from Allah everything is vain…28.5604  

Book 028, Number 5604:

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The truest word spoken by an Arab (pre-Islamic) in poetry is this verse of Labid:" Behold! apart from Allah everything is vain."

I think Muhammad, in the beginning, wanted to be a famous poet by simply mimicking the style, the vocabulary and the rhythm of the poets of his time. However, his illiteracy proved to be the major stumbling block, until he met Zayd ibn Amr and Labid—his mentors who would completely change his course.  

In the beginning, and before his marriage to Khadijah, Muhammad was probably more inclined to be a poet. He deeply admired the above three personalities, two of them were poets and the third (Zayd b. Amr) a humanist in to-day’s language. Nonetheless, after his marriage to Khadijah, and when he came in contact with several personalities related to her who were well-versed in religions other than paganism, Muhammad changed his mind. Now, he thought of introducing a new belief system. In fact, the Qur’an narrates that the Quraysh considered that Muhammad was trying to be a poet, but Allah scolded the Quraysh for their wrong assumption.  

Here are some sample verses on the ‘poetship’ of Muhammad:  

Some people thought that Muhammad was a poet...52:30  

052.030 Or do they say:- "A Poet! we await for him some calamity (hatched) by Time!"

People thought that Muhammad was a dreaming poet; they wanted him to show them some miracles like the old prophets did...21:5  

021.005 "Nay," they say, "(these are) medleys of dream! - Nay, He forged it! - Nay, He is (but) a poet! Let him then bring us a Sign like the ones that were sent to (Prophets) of old!"

Muhammad does not recite any poetry; the Qur’an is a clear message…36:69  

036.069 We have not instructed the (Prophet) in Poetry, nor is it meet for him: this is no less than a Message and a Qur'an making things clear:

Muhammad is not a poet possessed but he confirms the messages of apostles sent before him…37:36-37

037.036 And say: "What! shall we give up our gods for the sake of a Poet possessed?"
 037.037 Nay! he has come with the (very) Truth, and he confirms (the Message of) the messengers (before him).

The Qur’an is neither the words of a poet nor that of a soothsayer...69:41-42

069.041 It is not the word of a poet: little it is ye believe!
 069.042 Nor is it the word of a soothsayer: little admonition it is ye receive.

Hasan b. Thabit  

Hasan b. Thabit was Muhammad’s own official poet. He wrote the Diwan, the anthology of ancient Arabian poetry. When Muhammad migrated to Medina he made Hasan b. Thabit his own poet. Nonetheless, Hasan b. Thabit had his idiosyncrasies. Even though he was the personal poet of Muhammad he had a deep dislike for the Muslims. On page xxviii of Sirat Rasul Allah, the translator, Professor Alfred Guillaume writes, “Hasan b. Thabit disliked the growing number of Muslims. He considered the vagrant Muslims as unmitigated nuisance. He did not house any of the Muhajirin, nor was a brother to one of them.”  

Most likely, Hasan b. Thabit was a hired poet (a kind of journalist) of Muhammad—paid to compose poetry as per Muhammad’s specifications. This can be confirmed from Ahadith. Here are some examples:  

From Sahih Bukhari:

Muhammad approved Hassan b. Thabit to recite poetry in a mosque…4.54.434  

Volume 4, Book 54, Number 434:

Narrated Sa'id bin Al-Musaiyab:

'Umar came to the Mosque while Hassan was reciting a poem. ('Umar disapproved of that). On that Hassan said, "I used to recite poetry in this very Mosque in the presence of one (i.e. the Prophet ) who was better than you." Then he turned towards Abu Huraira and said (to him), "I ask you by Allah, did you hear Allah's Apostle saying (to me), "Retort on my behalf. O Allah! Support him (i.e. Hassan) with the Holy Spirit?" Abu Huraira said, "Yes."

This Hadis, unmistakably shows that Hasan used to construct poems for Muhammad to be recited in the mosque. Can those poems not be some of the Suras of the Qur’an?  

Muhammad instructed Hassan, the poet to lampoon the pagans…4.54.435  

Volume 4, Book 54, Number 435:

Narrated Al Bara:

The Prophet said to Hassan, "Lampoon them (i.e. the pagans) and Gabriel is with you."

This Hadis demonstrates that Hasan b. Thabit used to compose poems as per Muhammad’s likes and dislikes—just the way the Qur’an is composed of Allah’s revelations via Gabriel.

Hassan b. Thabit lampooned the infidels excluding Muhammad…4.56.731

Volume 4, Book 56, Number 731:

Narrated 'Aisha:

Once Hassan bin Thabit asked the permission of the Prophet to lampoon (i.e. compose satirical poetry defaming) the infidels. The Prophet said, "What about the fact that I have common descent with them?" Hassan replied, "I shall take you out of them as a hair is taken out of dough."

Narrated 'Urwa: I started abusing Hassan in front of 'Aisha, whereupon she said. "Don't abuse him, for he used to defend the Prophet (with his poetry)."

Here are further evidence that Hasan b. Thabit was a paid scribe—a Qur’an composer of Muhammad

Muhammad asked his poet Hassan to abuse the B. Qurayzah Jews through his poetry...Sahih Bukhari: 5.59.449  

Volume 5, Book 59, Number 449:

Narrated Al-Bara:

The Prophet said to Hassan, "Abuse them (with your poems), and Gabriel is with you (i.e, supports you)." (Through another group of sub narrators) Al-Bara bin Azib said, "On the day of Quraiza's (besiege), Allah's Apostle said to Hassan bin Thabit, 'Abuse them (with your poems), and Gabriel is with you (i.e. supports you).' "

This Hadis demonstrates further that Muhammad commissioned Hasan b. Thabit to compose poems as per his stipulations.  

Sahih Muslim  

Abu Talha gave his valuable property to his relatives, viz. Hassan b. Thabit and Ubayy b. Ka’b…5.2186  

Book 005, Number 2186:

Anas reported that when this verse was revealed:" You will not attain righteousness till you give freely of what you love," Abu Talha said: I see that our Lord has demanded from us out of our property; so I make you a witness, Messenger of Allah. that I give my land known as Bairaha' for the sake of Allah. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Give that to your relatives. So he gave it to Hassan b. Thabit and Ubayy b. Ka'b.

That was how Muhammad rewarded Hasan b. Thabit for composing Qur’anic verses (via his poems, and helped by Gabriel) for Muhammad.  

After Hassan b. Thabit went blind he used to spend time at Aisha’s quarter. Aisha admired him as he used to write satirical rebuttal on behalf of Muhammad…31.6077  

Book 031, Number 6077:

Masruq reported: I visited 'A'isha when Hassin was sitting there and reciting verses from his compilation: She is chaste and prudent. There is no calumny against her and she rises up early in the morning without eating the meat of the un- mindful. 'A'isha said: But you are not so. Masruq said: I said to her: Why do you permit him to visit you, whereas Allah has said:" And as for him among them who took upon himself the main part thereof, he shall have a grievous punishment" (XXIV. ll)? Thereupon she said: What torment can be more severe than this that he has become blind? He used to write satire as a rebuttal on behalf of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him).

That was how Hasan b. Thabit saved Muhammad and his Qur’an!  

Here is another Hadis from Sahih Muslim that even claims that Hasan b. Thabit’s poems were helped by divine power (Ruh-ul-Quddus) and were similar to certain Qur’anic verses!  

Book 031, Number 6081:

'A'isha reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be uport him) said. Satirise against the (non-believing amongst the) Quraish, for (the satire) is more grievous to them than the hurt of an arrow. So he (the Holy Prophet) sent (someone) to Ibn Rawiha and asked him to satirise against them, and he composed a satire, but it did not appeal to him (to the Holy Prophet). He then sent (someone) to Ka'b b. Malik (to do the same, but what he composed did not appeal to the Holy Prophet). He then sent one to Hassan b. Thabit. As he got into his presence, Hassan said: Now you have called for this lion who strikes (the enemies) with his tail. He then brought out his tongue and began to move it and said: By Him Who has sent you with Truth, I shall tear them with my tongue as the leather is torn. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Don't be hasty; (let) Abu Bakr who has the best know- ledge of the lineage of the Quraish draw a distinction for you in regard to my lineage, as my lineage is thesame as theirs. Hassan then came to him (Abu Bakr) and after making inquiry (in regard to the lineage of the Holy Prophet) came back to him (the holy Prophet) and said: Allah's Messenger, he (Abu Bakr) has drawn a distinction in vour lineage (and that of the Quraish) By Him Who has sent you with Truth, I shall draw out from them (your name) as hair is drawn out from the flour. 'A'isha said: I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying to Hassin: Verily Ruh-ul- Qudus would continue to help you so long as you put up a defence on behalf of Allah and His Messenger. And she said: I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) saying: Hassan satirised against them and gave satisfaction to the (Muslims) and disquieted (the non-Muslims).

You satirised Muhammad, but I replied on his behalf,

And there is reward with Allah for this.

You satirised Muhammad. virtuous, righteous,

The Apostle of Allah, whose nature is truthfulness.

So verily my father and his father and my honour

Are a protection to the honour of Muhammad;

May I lose my dear daughter, if you don't see her,

Wiping away the dust from the two sides of Kada',

They pull at the rein, going upward;

On their shoulders are spears thirsting (for the blood of the enemy) ;

our steeds are sweating-our women wipe them with their mantles.

If you had not interfered with us, we would have performed the 'Umra,

And (then) there was the Victory, and the darkness cleared away.

Otherwise wait for the fighting on the day in which Allah will honour whom He pleases.

And Allah said: I have sent a servant who says the Truth in which there is no ambiguity;

And Allah said: I have prepared an army-they are the Ansar whose object is fighting (the enemy),

There reaches every day from Ma'add abuse, or fighting or satire;

Whoever satirises the Apostle from amongst you, or praises him and helps it is all the same,

And Gabriel, the Apostle of Allah is among us, and the Holy Spirit who has no match.

Muhammad rewarded this mercenary poet of him by awarding him a pretty, young damsel Sirin, who, along with Marriyah Kibtia, were presented to Muhammad by Muyaqis, the then governor of Alexandria . Muhammad kept Marriyah, the prettiest lass as his concubine and donated Sirin to Hasan b. Thabit to be used as his sex-slave. Ibn Ishaq (Ibn Ishaq, p.652) writes that Sirin and Marriyah were sisters.

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