In answering-islam (an anti-Islam site), it is claimed the prophet of Islam, Muhammad died because of poison given to him 3 years ago by a Jewish woman.

Immediately following the conquest of Khaibar, a Jewish woman prepared a dinner for Muhammad and some of his men. Unknown to the Muslims was that she had put a poison into the lamb (some say goat) that was served at dinner. Muhammad ate some of the poisoned lamb and died as a result three years later.

Is it possible someone can die because of poison given to them 3 year or even 1 year before his death?

  • 2
    Another theoretically possible explanation for delayed effect of poisoning is bioaccumulation of fat soluble poison, released during a sudden period of weight loss. As far as I understand, however, this is usually caused by continuous exposure, where the concentration in the bloodstream is never strong enough to have any direct effects. In the case of an administered poison, this would mean several small doses over a prolonged period, each too small in itself to have any noticeable effects, and absorbed into the body before the next dose is administered.
    – user5359
    Nov 25, 2011 at 9:18
  • It has become clear from the OP's responses that the question is unclear and isn't really getting at what the OP wants to have explained.
    – MetaEd
    Nov 28, 2011 at 16:03
  • 1
    Sir Radio Active material is not a poison. I am talking about poisen. And even if i consider radio active as poisen, there is not quote example reference that it has killed someone years later.
    – TheTechGuy
    Nov 28, 2011 at 16:14
  • 2
    Some radioactive materials are poisonous, and have been used to deliberately poison. I provided a reference to the claim that a radioactive material killed someone years later: please follow the link I provided, and read: "According to the IAEA in 1960 a person ingested 74 MBq of radium (assumed to be 226Ra) and this person died four years later." That statement is footnoted to an IAEA document available online. If you mean to limit the question to deliberate, onset-delayed poisonings using substances available to anyone, kindly edit your question to be clear.
    – MetaEd
    Nov 28, 2011 at 16:26
  • 2
    Lets discuss it here chat.stackoverflow.com/rooms/5407/poisen-death
    – TheTechGuy
    Nov 28, 2011 at 17:04

2 Answers 2


Yes, a person can die because of poison given them several years earlier. In cases I am aware of, this is due to the poison remaining in, and reacting with, the body.

For example, death from ingesting a single dose of a radioactive material can take many years. I am not aware of any evidence that the danger of ingesting a radioactive material, such as natural oxides of uranium, was known at the time of Muhammad.

Lead poisoning would have been understood, but lead would have had to remain in the person to cause a delayed death. To illustrate, a woman who unwittingly ate a lead pellet which lodged in her colon declined in health over a period of ten years, but when the pellet was dislodged and expelled in a bout of diarrhea, the decline was halted, and she did not die of lead poisoning.

Normally, slow poisoning involves not the administration of a single dose but the regular administration of small doses which have a cumulative effect.

  • 1
    Let me explain more. You take the poisen, but you survive, the poisen has no effect. 3 years later the poisen become activted and kills you all of sudden. I realized slow death is one option and that makes sense. But I am really talking about delayed response.
    – TheTechGuy
    Nov 25, 2011 at 7:55
  • 3
    @Believer: That's a time-delayed action. I suggest you post this as a separate question because I think MetaEd answered your question here very well before you introduced this. Nov 25, 2011 at 8:11
  • 1
    @MetaEd, I would say radio active is probably out of question. Also the prophet was ill for a total of 14 days, getting worser gradually, with last 3 days most severe. During this time he also needed help to get seated in the chair, more at sunniforum.com/forum/…. You think this would be consistent with a poisen taken 3 years ago?
    – TheTechGuy
    Nov 25, 2011 at 22:42
  • 4
    If your real question is whether ingestion of a poison can be followed by years of delay before onset of symptoms, suggest you edit the question. There is no clue in your question that you're looking for that specific situation.
    – MetaEd
    Nov 26, 2011 at 19:33
  • 2
    If your real question is about a deliberate poison by a layperson, then I suggest you edit your question. This is not at all clear. Also, you have posed a false dichotomy between poison only and radioactive material in your comment.
    – MetaEd
    Nov 28, 2011 at 16:01

Yes: Asbestos Poisoning. A single fibre can get lodged in your lungs, and not cause problems until years later.

Asbestos poisoning has a median latency of 44.6 years


  • 1
    Poisoning by inhalation of dust is not contemplated in the question. Are there documented cases of asbestos poisoning by ingestion and did they involve a long period of time?
    – MetaEd
    Nov 26, 2011 at 19:26
  • 1
    @MετάEd that's not how I interpret the OP. Neither the question nor the clarification (Is it possible someone can die because of poison given to them 3 year or even 1 year before his death?) excludes inhalation. Feb 20, 2013 at 3:16
  • 6
    @EvanCarroll You may be right, technically speaking. However the OP has been very quick to reject anything other than ingestion of a poison. I think the basic problem is that the question is unclear and does not accurately reflect what the OP wants to find out (or wants confirmed).
    – MetaEd
    Feb 20, 2013 at 3:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .