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Islamic tradition states that one of the individuals that Muhammad ordered to be murdered subsequent to his conquest of Mecca was Abdallah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh, the foster brother of Uthman ibn Affan:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:

Abdullah ibn AbuSarh used to write (the revelation) for the Apostle of Allah. Satan made him slip, and he joined the infidels. The Apostle of Allah commanded to kill him on the day of Conquest (of Mecca). Uthman ibn Affan sought protection for him. The Apostle of Allah gave him protection.

Grade: Hasan in chain (Al-Albani) (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4345


Narrated Sa’d ibn AbuWaqqas:

On the day of the conquest of Mecca, Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn AbuSarh hid himself with Uthman ibn Affan.

He brought him and made him stand before the Prophet, and said: Accept the allegiance of Abdullah, Apostle of Allah! He raised his head and looked at him three times, refusing him each time, but accepted his allegiance after the third time.

Then turning to his companions, he said: Was not there a wise man among you who would stand up to him when he saw that I had withheld my hand from accepting his allegiance, and kill him?

They said: We did not know what you had in your heart, Apostle of Allah! Why did you not give us a signal with your eye?

He said: It is not advisable for a Prophet to play deceptive tricks with the eyes.

Grade: Sahih (Al-Albani) (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4346

The following sources explain why Muhammad wanted Abi Sarh murdered:

(Who is guilty of more wrong than he who forgeth a lie against Allah, or saith: I am inspired…) [6:93]. This was revealed about the liar, Musaylimah al-Hanafi. This man was a soothsayer who composed rhymed speech and claimed prophethood. He claimed that he was inspired by Allah. (… and who saith: I will reveal the like of that which Allah hath revealed?) [6:93]. This verse was revealed about ‘Abd Allah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh. This man had declared his faith in Islam and so the Messenger of Allah called him one day to write something for him. When the verses regarding the believers were revealed (Verily, We created man from a product of wet earth…) [23:12-14], the Prophet dictated them to him. When he reached up to (and then produced it as another creation), ‘Abd Allah expressed his amazement at the precision of man’s creation by saying (So blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators!). The Messenger of Allah said: “This [‘Abd Allah’s last expression] is how it was revealed to me”. At that point, doubt crept into ‘Abd Allah. He said: “If Muhammad is truthful, then I was inspired just as he was; and if he is lying, I have uttered exactly what he did utter”. Hence Allah’s words (and who saith: I will reveal the like of that which Allah hath revealed). The man renounced Islam. This is also the opinion of Ibn ‘Abbas according to the report of al-Kalbi. ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Abdan informed us> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Nu’aym> Muhammad ibn Ya’qub al-Umawi> Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Jabbar> Yunus ibn Bukayr> Muhammad ibn Ishaq> Shurahbil ibn Sa’d who said: “This verse was revealed about ‘Abd Allah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh. The latter said: ‘I will reveal the like of that which Allah has revealed’, and renounced Islam. When the Messenger of Allah entered Mecca, this man fled to ‘Uthman [ibn ‘Affan] who was his milk brother. ‘Uthman hid him until the people of Mecca felt safe. He then took him to the Messenger of Allah and secured an amnesty for him”. (‘Alī ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi, Asbab al-Nuzul; bold emphasis mine)


It is reported that Uthman b. Affan used to write for him at times, while ‘All b. Abi Talib, Khalid b. Sa’id, Aban b. Sa’id,975 and al-‘Ala’ b. al-Hadrami976 also used to write at times. It is said that the first person to write for him was Ubayy b. Ka’b,977 and that when he was absent Zayd b. Thabit978 wrote for him. ‘Abdallah b. Sa’d b. Abi Sarh979 used to write for him. He apostatized from Islam and later returned to Islam on the day of the conquest of Mecca. Mu’awiyah b. Abi Sufyan and Hanzalah al-Usayyidi980 [also] wrote for him.981 (The History of al-Tabari: The Last Years of the Prophet, translated an annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany, NY 1990], Volume IX (9), pp. 147-148; bold emphasis mine)

  1. He is supposed to have arbitrarily altered the revelation, or to have boasted of doing so after his apostasy from Islam; hence the Prophet, after the conquest of Mecca, wanted to execute him, but ‘Uthmin succeeded in obtaining pardon for him. Balidhuri, Ansab, 1, 531-32; E12, s.v. ‘Abdallah b. Sad. (Ibid., p. 148; bold emphasis mine)


It is narrated on the authority of ‘Ikrimah that Allah’s saying (what means): (And who can be more unjust than he who invents a lie against Allah, or says: “a revelation has come to me” whereas no revelation has come to him…} was revealed in connection with Musaylamah (Al-Kadhdhab). As for His saying (what means): {and who says: “I will reveal the like of what Allah has revealed}, was revealed in connection with ‘Abdallah Ibn Sa’d Ibn Abu Sarh: he used to write the divine revelation to The Messenger of Allah.

When he renegaded from Islam and went to the Quraysh people, he told that whenever the Prophet dictated to him: {Exalted in Might, Full of Wisdom}, he would change it for {Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful}, and claim that The Messenger of Allah would approve. [Ibn Jarir]

The same is narrated on the authority of As-Suddi, with the following addition: he used to say: “If Muhammad is being divinely revealed, then, I also have been divinely revealed; and if Allah sends down (this Qur’an), I also have sent down the same as Allah has sent down. Muhammad says: {All-Hearing, All-Knowing}, and I say: “All-Knowing, All-Wise”. [Ibn Jarir] (Jalal Al-Din Al-Suyuti, Reasons and Occasions of Revelation of the Holy Qur’an (Lubab An-Nuqul Fi Asbab An-Nuzul), translated by Dr. Muhammad Mahdi Al-Sharif [Dar Al-Kotob Al-Ilmiyah, Beirut 2015], p. 161)


  1. Explaining why Surah al-An’am 6:93 was revealed, al-Suyuti said that Abdallah b. Sa’d b. Abi Sarh was writing the revelation for the Prophet. The Prophet said “azizun hakim,” yet the man wrote “ghafurun rahim.” Hearing this, the Prophet said: “It’s one and the same.” This resulted in the man rejecting Islam and rejoining his pagan Quraish tribe(Asbab al-Nuzul by al-Suyuti).

Abdallah b. Sa’d said: “I used to manipulate Muhammad any way I wanted. He said ‘azizun hakim,’ and I said ‘alimun hakim.’ Muhammad then said: ‘Yes, both are right; write whatever you want.’” Abdallah b. Sa’d said: “If it was revealed to Muhammad, it was revealed to me too. If Allah speaks in the Quran, I have revealed just as Allah did.”

One day, Abdallah b. Sa’d was writing Sura al-Mu’minun 23:12, 13 for Muhammad: “Truly, We created man from a product of wet earth and then placed him as a drop [of seed] in a safe lodging.” Hearing this, Abdallah b. Sa’d was impressed and exclaimed: “tabaraka’l-lahu” (that is, “so blessed be Allah, the best of all creators”). Muhammad replied: “Record it, because that is the way it was revealed.” This filled Abdallah with doubt, which caused him to say: “If Muhammad were true, I have said what he said” (see al-Qurtubi’s commentary on Sura al-An’am 6:93). (The True Guidance (Part Four): An Introduction to Quranic Studies [Light of Life, P. O. Box 13, Villach, Austria, First English Edition: 1994], pp. 106-107; bold emphasis mine)

Abi Sarh’s reasoning was sound. How could he manipulate or influence Muhammad to change the wording of the Quranic text by replacing it with the uninspired statements of Abi Sarh when the Quran is supposed to be the uncreated speech of Allah?

This either means that Abi Sarh was also a messenger of Allah who received revelations like Muhammad, or the Quran is nothing more than a fraud which a demonized madman tried to pass off as the revealed words of the true God of Abraham. Either view doesn’t bode too well the Muslim claims for Muhammad.

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