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Balami - Tarikhnama - The death of Musaylima at the hand of the Ethiopian Slave Wahshi (cropped).jpg
The killing scene of Musaylimah at the hand of the Wahshi in Tarikhnama
Other namesMaslamah bin Habib
  • Thumamah ibn Kathir (father)

Musaylimah (Arabic: ‎) short for Musaylimah al-Kadhdh?b (Musaylimah the Arch-Liar) otherwise known as Maslamah bin ?ab?b (Arabic: ? ?‎) d.633, was one of a series of people (including his future wife) who claimed prophethood in 7th-century Arabia. He was from the Ban? ?an?fah tribe.[1][2] He is considered by current Muslims to be a false prophet (Arabic: al-Kadh?b).[3]


Musaylimah's name was Maslamah bin Habib (the name was scorned by Muslims to Musaylimah, which means Mini-Maslamah),[4] 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)[5] 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

His believers survived at least till the 17th century. At the Mughal ruler Akbar's council of religions, a discussion of Musaylimah religion also took place with the help of its priests. His teachings were almost lost but a neutral review of them does exist in Dabestan-e Mazaheb.[6] Arabic religious writers often portray Musaylimah negatively. But he gives a fascinating picture into 7th century Arabia where religious reformations were talking place and people were eager to accept new ideas, including that of Muhammad and his contemporary Musaylimah. He was heavily influenced by mainstream Christianity, of which his tribe men were followers. But he also seems to be influenced by Gnosticism, Zoroastrianism and Manicheanism. He received numerous revelations just like Muhammad.

Musaylimah prohibited pigs and wine. He taught three daily prayers to the God, facing whatever side. He criticized Muslims for selecting Kabaah or earlier Jerusalem as the direction of prayers, saying that God is not limited to any direction and that Muhammad never wanted to make it compulsory to face the Kabaah. He also asked for night fasting instead of Ramadan fasting during day, and didn't require circumcision. He considered men and women equal and allowed free marriages without the need of bridal money. He further declared polygamy as sinful. He also believed in transmigration of souls and reincarnation but finally all the souls would be judged by God on the Day of Judgement. He was also against including his or any Prophet's name in chantings to God. He said that mixing veneration to God with veneration to human beings is unfair and ungodly.

Musaylimah, who is alleged as having been a skilled magician by Muslim historians,[7] 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.[5] Musaylimah even referred to himself as Rahman,[3] 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

During the Wars of Apostasy 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.[9] 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).[10] 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.

See also


  1. ^ Fattah, Hala Mundhir; Caso, Frank (2009). A Brief History of Iraq. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 9780816057672.
  2. ^ Emerick, Yahiya (2002-04-01). Critical Lives: Muhammad. Penguin. ISBN 9781440650130.
  3. ^ a b Ibn Kath?r, Isml ibn ?Umar (2000), ?af? al-Ra?m?n Mub?rakf?r? (ed.), al-Mi?b al-mun?r f? tahdh?b tafs?r Ibn Kath?r, 1, Riyadh, Sa?udi Arabia: Darussalam, p. 68
  4. ^ " ? ?" (in Arabic). Elaph. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ a b The Life of the Prophet Muhammad: Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya By Ibn Kathir, Trevor Le Gassick, Muneer Fareed, pg. 69
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ The History of Al Tabari By ?abar?, Ismail K. Poonawala, pg. 107
  9. ^ E.J. Brill's first encyclopedia of Islam, 1913-1936 By M. Th. Houtsma, p665
  10. ^ 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.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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