3

Muhammad engaged in a number of battles in his lifetime; see Wikipedia for a list. If it were anyone else, it stands to reason that he could have been killed in any of these. Of course, Muhammad had an essential task to accomplish, conveying the Qur'an, and being killed would have left it incomplete. So perhaps Allah would not have allowed this to happen.

Question: Could Muhammad have been killed in battle?

I'm seeking scholarly opinion on this matter, i.e., what's generally agreed upon, and not simply some Internet theory. So please back up any answers.

What I know so far:

  • Qur'an 2:61 says "...that was because they [repeatedly] disbelieved in the signs of Allah and killed the prophets without right...". So it seems it is possible to kill prophets without Allah's intervention.

  • Muhammad did eventually die. As I understand, he was eventually killed by being poisoned:

    A Jewess brought a poisoned (cooked) sheep for the Prophet who ate from it. She was brought to the Prophet and he was asked, "Shall we kill her?" He said, "No." I continued to see the effect of the poison on the palate of the mouth of Allah's Messenger. -- Narrated Anas bin Malik (sunnah.com)

Googling the title of this question yields a bunch of unflattering and unhelpful webpages. Actually, I'm not sure where to look in answering this question.

(And apologies for asking about this unpleasant topic.)

6

Yes, the Prophet could have gotten killed in battle.

In the Holy Qur'an 3:144, it says

ﻭَﻣَﺎ ﻣُﺤَﻤَّﺪٌ ﺇِﻻَّ ﺭَﺳُﻮﻝٌ ﻗَﺪْ ﺧَﻠَﺖْ ﻣِﻦ ﻗَﺒْﻠِﻪِ ٱﻟﺮُّﺳُﻞُ ۚ ﺃَﻓَﺈﻦ ﻣَّﺎﺕَ ﺃَﻭْ ﻗُﺘِﻞَ ٱﻧﻘَﻠَﺒْﺘُﻢْ ﻋَﻠَﻰٰٓ ﺃَﻋْﻘَٰﺒِﻜُﻢْ ۚ ﻭَﻣَﻦ ﻳَﻨﻘَﻠِﺐْ ﻋَﻠَﻰٰ ﻋَﻘِﺒَﻴْﻪِ ﻓَﻠَﻦ ﻳَﻀُﺮَّ ٱﻟﻠَّﻪَ ﺷَﻴْـًٔﺎ ۗ ﻭَﺳَﻴَﺠْﺰِﻯ ٱﻟﻠَّﻪُ ٱﻟﺸَّٰﻜِﺮِﻳﻦ

From the Sahih International translation:

Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful.

Al Baihaqi mentioned in "The Proofs of Prophethood" that in the battle of Uhud, when ibn Qamee'a claimed to have killed the Prophet, a muhajir (unnamed) saw a bleeding ansari (unnamed) and asked him if the Prophet was killed. The ansari replied, "If Muhammad was killed, he will have already informed us of his [full] message, so fight to defend your religion."

قال ابن أبي نجيح عن أبيه، أن رجلا من المهاجرين مر على رجل من الأنصار وهو يتشحط في دمه، فقال له: يا فلان أشعرت أن محمدا صلى الله عليه وسلم قد قتل؟ فقال الأنصاري: إن كان محمد [ صلى الله عليه وسلم ] قد قتل فقد بلغ، فقاتلوا عن دينكم

The hadith was narrated on the authority of ibn Abi Najeeh through his father. Al Baihaqi commented that the Prophet is like other prophets before his time that also died or were killed, so both are possible for the Prophet.

As to why he was not killed, the verse right after explains

ﻭَﻣَﺎ ﻛَﺎﻥَ ﻟِﻨَﻔْﺲٍ ﺃَﻥ ﺗَﻤُﻮﺕَ ﺇِﻻَّ ﺑِﺈِﺫْﻥِ ٱﻟﻠَّﻪِ ﻛِﺘَٰﺒًﺎ ﻣُّﺆَﺟَّﻼً ۗ ﻭَﻣَﻦ ﻳُﺮِﺩْ ﺛَﻮَاﺏَ ٱﻟﺪُّﻧْﻴَﺎ ﻧُﺆْﺗِﻪِۦ ﻣِﻨْﻬَﺎ ﻭَﻣَﻦ ﻳُﺮِﺩْ ﺛَﻮَاﺏَ ٱﻻْءَﺧِﺮَﺓِ ﻧُﺆْﺗِﻪِۦ ﻣِﻨْﻬَﺎ ۚ ﻭَﺳَﻨَﺠْﺰِﻯ ٱﻟﺸَّٰﻜِﺮِﻳﻦ

The translation from Sahih International

And it is not [possible] for one to die except by permission of Allah at a decree determined. And whoever desires the reward of this world - We will give him thereof; and whoever desires the reward of the Hereafter - We will give him thereof. And we will reward the grateful.

The verse tells us that death is destined and decreed by Allah: time, place, and method. This applies to all humans, whether prophets, messengers, or otherwise.

1

Muhammad(PBUH) was an ordinary man, a human just like the rest of us. Biologically, anatomically not any different. He himself said "I can't do anything without the support of Allah(SWT)".

So yes, he could have been easily killed in a battle. During the Battle of Uhud, there was even a rumour that the Prophet is killed.

When he died from poison, he could have died in a battle too, but since Allah(SWT) did not wanted that, it didn't happen. HE has given humans(Prophet's enemies during the battle in this case) free will, but HIS will comes first.

sorry for a long answer ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

  • Salam and welcome to Islam SE. Please consider taking our tour, checking our help center and reading How to Answer to learn more about this site! – Sassir Oct 6 '16 at 5:21
  • Prophet was ordinary man with an extraordinary heart. As per musnad ahmed, Allah looked at the hearts of all humans and found his heart best – Abu AbdulQayyum May 24 '17 at 4:14

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