Prophets Life and
Mission as a Messenger
Mission as a Messenger
Was Prophet Muhammad ﷺ unique in his claim of prophethood?
During Prophet Muhammad's time there were other claimants to Prophethood and in Islamic history we Muslims call them kazzaab (liars) or false prophets. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had even prophesied that there would appear thirty false prophets from his ummah (nation) and two of them appeared during his own lifetime i.e. Al Ansi Al Aswad and Musaylima. The end result of their false claims proved for all that Prophet Muhammad’s claim was unique. Before their false declarations, these individuals had actually accepted Islam but during the Prophet’s last days and especially after his death, abandoned Islam gathered their supporters and rebelled against the Islamic authority. After their revolt they declared themselves to be prophets but eventually failed the test of prophethood and were either killed by the Muslim army or repented and re-entered Islam. What is important to note is that they recited poetry which was evident to those around them that it could not match the Quran and in many cases they even borrowed from the Quran and mixed their own verses to make them sound more heavenly. Some of them sounded outright nonsensical such as in the case of Musaylimah Al Kazzaab (The Liar) who recited some verses to impress Amr ibn Al Aas (r.a), who was an idol worshiper at that time but failed to impress. Imam ibn Kathir records this incident in his famous tafsir:
Musaylimah after hearing Surah Asr of the Quran said "Indeed something similar has also been revealed to me.'' Amr asked him, "What is it'' He replied, "O Wabr (a small, furry mammal; hyrax), O Wabr! You are only two ears and a chest, and the rest of you is digging and burrowing.'' Then he said, "What do you think, O Amr'' So Amr said to him, "By Allah! Verily, you know that I know you are lying.'' Imam Ibn Kathir said “Wabr is a small animal that resembles a cat, and the largest thing on it is its ears and its torso, while the rest of it is ugly. Musaylimah intended by the composition of these nonsensical verses to produce something which would oppose the Qur'an. Yet, it was not even convincing to the idol worshipper of that time.” Please note that all these false claimants were part of the apostasy movement , when various tribes in the outskirts of Arabian Peninsula gathered around these pretenders for the sake of gaining power and land, as became evident from their rebellion. The following are a few well known who declared themselves as prophets:
Thalayhah ibn Khuwaylid Al-Asadi
After accepting Islam he declared himself to be a prophet during the final days of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Thalayhah and his tribe abandoned Islam and then rebelled against the authority in Madinah, capital of the Islamic state. The Prophet’s successor Abu Bakr (r.a) sent an army against this imposter. Thalayhah declared that the death of the Prophet ﷺ was a sign corroborative of his own prophethood. Many other tribes acknowledged Thalayhah as the prophet, and the argument that weighed with them was that while Muhammad ﷺ was dead, Thalayhah was alive, and a living prophet was to be preferred to the prophet who was dead. When the Muslim army met the army of this imposter, he pretended to be receiving revelation and withdrew while his army under the command of a man named Uyaynah initiated the fight with Muslims. While waiting for Thalayhah’s so called revelation, Uyaynah realizing that this man was faking decided to withdraw from battle. Thalayhah escaped with his wife to Syria and when Syria was conquered by the Muslims he repented and was allowed to re-enter Islam. After his repentance he fought in the battles of Qadisiyya and Nahvand as a Muslim against Persian Sassanid Empire.
Al Aswad Al Ansi
This liar arose in Yemen after the death of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ . He was called the ‘veiled prophet’ because it is said he veiled his face from people due to ugliness. He revolted and killed Shahr, a Persian Muslim appointed by Madinah to rule Yemen. After his declaration of so called prophet hood through deceit many Arabs in Yemen supported his cause against a Persian ruler, an outsider, due to which he was successful in overthrowing the latter’s rule. Those who remained faithful to Islam rallied behind Feroz, another Persian Muslim and a minister of Shahr. Soon this liar was poisoned by those who were faithful to Islam and his followers were defeated by the Muslims in a battle. Feroz then replaced him as a ruler of Yemen.
Sajjah bint Al Haarith Al Taghlibiyyah & Musaylimah Al Kazzab (The Liar)
Sajjah was a female claimant to prophet hood, belonged to the Christian tribe of Banu Taghlib of Iraq who gathered supporters around her to rebel against the state of Madinah. She joined hands with another Arab tribal leader named Malik bin Nuwera and revolted against the authority in Madinah. They received some successes but for some reason they did not get along with each other and Sajjah decided to move to Yamamah (Southern Saudi Arabia) and join Musaylimah. After their meeting they both inspired each other to the point where he agreed to her being prophetess and she agreed to him being a prophet and both married. Later Sajjah realized that she had accepted her defeat by joining Musaylima which made him strong. After her realization she left and went back to her tribe in Iraq. When Muslims conquered Iraq she repented and returned to Islam. As for Musaylimah he gathered a large army and fought the considerably small Muslim army at the battle of Yamama where he was defeated and killed. He belonged to the tribe of Banu Hanifa. The people of Banu Hanifa accepted Islam during Prophets lifetime but apostatized due to Musaylima’s deceit. After Musaylima they repented and reentered Islam. Abu Bakr (r.a) forgave those who repented.
One very important thing to note is that these false contemporaries strengthened the claim of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. This can be noticed from the fact that the tribes that gathered around these false claimants were latest converts with very weak faith and conviction in Islam. When the Prophet ﷺ was close to passing away and after his death they somehow became sure that Islam was going to be over and subsequently fell for the deceit of such individuals coupled with their own desire to gain power. This caused them to be tested, as a result many failed and others who continued to hold on to Islam became stronger in their conviction as events unfolded. Many of those who failed to realize their error held on to their disbelief and died with it while others who faltered, repented after realizing their errors and then became stronger in their Islamic faith. From a wider perspective these liars and their eventual end actually assisted in clearing the minds of those who had been deceived in to thinking that there was not much of a difference between them and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Additionally, and historically speaking, these events clarify any doubts usually spread by unfriendly, modern critics of Islam, that Prophet Muhammad succeeded in that environment only because there was no contemporary claimants to prophethood.
 Chapter 103 of the Quran.
 Kathir, Imam Ibn. 2003. Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 10. Riyadh: Darussalam.
 A movement comprising of various tribes who accepted Islam then rejected after Prophet’s death. Also known as ridda wars which were series of military campaigns launched against the rebellious tribes of the peninsula by Prophet’s successor Abu Bakr (r.a).
 Masud-ul-Hasan, Professor. 1982. "Khalifa Abu Bakr - Apostacy Campaign Against Musailma." Alim - The world's most useful Islamic software. Accessed 03 05, 2019. http://www.alim.org/library/biography/khalifa/content/KAB/10/1.