Story of a Woman Who Tried to Poison Prophet Muhammad

Some food was gifted to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by a Jewish woman, wife of one of the leaders of Khaybar.

We can imagine the people of Khaybar have a different cuisine, and they have some exotic foods and some different ways of cooking it, and no doubt they would have decorated it and made it like a massive gift.

The woman asked around what meat does Prophet Muhammad like the most, and she was told that he loves the shoulder blade of a lamb.

So, she put poison in the whole lamb, but she concentrated this very potent poison in the shoulder.

The Effect of the Poison

As soon as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) put a bite in his mouth, he told his companions to stop eating. He said:

The shoulder of the lamb has told me that it has been poisoned. (Abu Dawud)

Everybody stopped eating, but unfortunately the companion Bishr ibn Al-Bara’ had already swallowed a little bit and it was too late for him. He fell severely ill.

As a result of this poison, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) felt pain and he felt the effects of it for the rest of his four years. So much so that on his deathbed, when he has a few days left, he mentioned to Aisha that:

Oh Aisha, I can still feel the effects of that poison from the Jewish woman of Khaybar.

Now, his death was written, but the poison was one of the causes that made his death more painful.

3 Questions

So, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) called the tribe that had gifted him this meat and he challenged them. He said:

If I ask you anything, you promise to tell me the truth?

 They said:

“Yes, we tell you the truth.”

 So, he said:

Who is your ancestor?

They mentioned a name, “so-and-so.”

Prophet Muhammad said:

You are lying; your ancestor is so-and-so.

They said:

“You have spoken the truth.”

Then he asked them again:

If I ask you a question, will you be honest with me?

They said:

“We will be honest with you.”

So, he asked:

Who is going to the fire of hell?

They said:

“We will go for a short period of time, but then Allah will save us; and you and your people will remain forever.”

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

Remain in the fire of hell and we will not remain after you.

So, he asked them a third question:

Did you poison the lamb?

They said:

“Yes we did.”

So he said:

Why would you do that?

They said:

Well, if you are a liar in your claim to be a Prophet, we would be free of you on your conquering; and if you are a Prophet then our mischievousness would not have harmed you.

Look at the arrogance here! They see that the Prophet Muhammad has been saved, but it doesn’t affect them.

Allah says in the Quran:

They recognize him clearly just like they recognize their own children. (Quran 2:146)

About Dr. Yasir Qadhi
Yasir Qadhi was born in Houston, Texas and completed his primary and secondary education in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He graduated with a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston, after which he was accepted as a student at the Islamic University of Madinah. After completing a diploma in Arabic, he graduated with a B.A. from the College of Hadith and Islamic Sciences. Thereafter, he completed a M.A. in Islamic Theology from the College of Dawah, after which he returned to America and completed his doctorate, in Religious Studies, from Yale University. Currently he is the Dean of al-Maghrib Institute, the Resident Scholar of the Memphis Islamic Center, and a professor at Rhodes College, in Memphis, TN.