Saturday, May 18, 2013

Eating Your Heart Out

We all read the heart-rendering news:

A graphic video allegedly showing a Syrian rebel cutting open a pro-government fighter’s chest and biting into one of his internal organs sparked outrage Tuesday, reviving concerns about the makeup of opposition forces even as the United States warned that it is ready to bolster its support for them...a man identified as a rebel commander [Khaled al-Hamad, nicknamed Abu Sakkar, a commander of the Omar al-Farouq Brigade] bends over a body and cuts open the chest with a knife before standing to face the camera with an organ in each hand. “I swear to God, we will eat your hearts and your livers, you soldiers of Bashar the dog,” he declares, before lifting the flesh to his mouth and biting it, to shouts of “God is great!”

The act was condemned:

Human Rights Watch and the Syrian opposition National Coalition have condemned a gruesome video apparently showing a Syrian rebel fighter cutting out the heart of a regime soldier and eating it...“The Syrian Coalition strongly condemns this act - if it is revealed to be true. The Coalition stresses that such an act contradicts the morals of the Syrian people, as well as the values and principles of the Free Syrian Army.” Human Rights Watch said the man depicted in the video appeared to be from a rebel brigade in central Homs province that fired indiscriminately at Lebanese villages earlier this year.

Eating an organ?

Now, where did I hear about that previously?

I remembered a movie I saw years ago on an Arab TV station and looked for a scene that


During the Battle of Uhud, Mūsá ibn ‘Uqbah narrated that Wahshi gouged out the liver of Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and took it to Hind bint ‘Utbah and she spat it out...She is claimed to have been the one responsible for inciting Wahshy ibn Harb to murder Muhammad's uncle Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, who was claimed responsible for the death of her father and brother, and she offered Wahshi his freedom and her jewelry in return if he managed to murder Hamza and bring back his heart to her.

    Wahshi eventually did so by hiding behind a tree and striking Hamza with a spear which left him dead; Wahshi then split open Hamza's belly and took out his raw heart and brought it back to Hind as promised. Hind was claimed to have tasted the raw heart as a prominent sign of revenge, but was said to have not relished it and immediately spat it out.

    One of the earliest chronicles of Islamic history, Ibn Ishaq's Sirah Rasul Allah, a life of Muhammad, says that Hind accompanied the Meccan forces that went to besiege the Muslims in Medina. At the Battle of Uhud, Hind and her women sang and danced, urging on their warriors. The Muslims were forced to flee and, according to Ibn Ishaq, Hind and the others mutilated the Muslim corpses, making garlands of ears and noses.

    According to Ibn Ishaq, after the battle, Hind cut open the body of Muhammad's uncle Hamza, whom she believed responsible for the death of her relatives, cut out his heart, and gnawed on it. According to Ibn Ishaq, she couldn't swallow it and spat it out. Ibn ‘Abdu l-Barr states in his book "al-Istī‘āb" that she cooked Hamza's heart before eating it. This report has been widely copied by Muslim historians.

Another description:

At the end of the battle when the disbelievers won Muslims, Hind committed a very repugnant act. She began maiming the corpses of Muslims one by one. She was cutting ears and noses. She approached Hamzah ibn `Andil-Muttalib and split open his interior, she pulled out his liver and, out of rancor, she masticated it, but she spit it out as it tasted unpleasant to her...she prompted people of Mecca to kill her husband as he acted submissively to the prophet...[later] the prophet paid attention and said: is it you Hind bint `Utbah?! She replied: yes, it is me, Hind. forgive me! May Allah forgive you!...the prophet pardoned her and gave no word reflecting his depression, rather; he waived all his rights and simply accepted her Islam and went on paying homage to women as if not depressed at all!!...Hind acted very well after embracing Islam.  She began going out with the Muslim armies prompting them on fighting, exactly as she used to do with the disbeliever armies. In this connection, she was a factor of victory of Muslims over 200 thousands of Romans in the Battle of Yarmuk.  Hind bint `Utbah made many advantages to the Muslim nation by virtue of the wonderful attitude of the prophet Muhammad towards her.

Who was that lady?

Hind bint ‘Utbah was the wife of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb of Mecca and was the mother of Muawiyah I, the founder of the Umayyad dynasty, and of Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan, who was one of Muhammad's wives.  And, yes, she is infamous for her exultation at the defeat of the Muslims at the Battle of Uhud when she ate the liver of Muhammad's slain uncle Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib.


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