“Is this true?” he asked the messenger; “has Mahomet verily slain these men? By the Lord, if he has done this, then is the innermost part of the earth better than the surface thereof!”
He journeyed in haste to Mecca, and when he heard the dreadful news confirmed he did his utmost to stir up the Kureisch against the murderer. As soon as he returned he published verses lamenting the disgraceful victory purchased at such a price; moreover, he also addressed insulting love poems to the Muslim women, always with the intent of causing as much disaffection as possible. At last Mahomet waxed impatient and cried:
“Who will give me peace from this Ka’b al’ Ashraf?”
Mahomet Mosleima replied, “I, even I will slay him.”
The method of his accomplishment of this deed is instructive of the estimation in which individual life was then held. Mosleima secured the assistance of Ka’b’s treacherous brother—how, we are not told, but most probably by bribes. Together the two went to the poet’s house by moonlight, and begged his company on a discussion of much importance. His young wife would have prevented Ka’b, sensing treachery from the manner and time of the request, but he disregarded her prayers. In the gleam of moonbeams the three walked past the outskirts of the city in deepest converse, the subject of which was rebellion against the Prophet.
They came at length to the ravine Adjuz, a lonely place overhung with ghastly silence and pallid under the white light. Here they stopped, and soon his brother began to stroke the hair of Ka’b until he had lulled him into drowsiness. Then suddenly seizing the forelock he shouted:
“Let the enemy of God perish!”
Ka’b was pinioned, while four men of the Beni Aus slashed at him with their swords. But he was a brave man and strong, determined to sell his life dearly. The struggle became furious.
“When I saw that,” relates Mosleima through the mouth of tradition, “I remembered my dagger, and thrust it into his body with such violence that it penetrated the entire bulk. The enemy of God gave one cry and fell to the ground.”
Then they left him, and hastened to tell their master of the good news. Mahomet rejoiced, and was at no pains to conceal his satisfaction. Ka’b had made himself objectionable to the Prophet and dangerous to Islam; Ka’b was removed; it was well; Allah Akbar Islam.
Eastern nations have never been so careful of human life as Western, and especially as the Anglo-Saxon peoples. To Mahomet the security of his state came before all, and if a hundred poets had threatened to undermine his authority, he would have had them all slain with equal steadfastness. Men were bound to die, and those who disturbed the progress of affairs merely suffered more swiftly the universal lot. It is obvious that no modern Western standard can be set up for Mahomet; the deed must be interpreted by that inflexible will and determination to achieve