Monday, November 3, 2008

Eviction of Jews from Arabia - 1

RK wrote:

Why not insult Muhammed?

Sahih Bokhari: Book 8, Number 367:

Narrated 'Abdul 'Aziz: Anas said, 'When Allah's Apostle invaded Khaibar, we offered the Fajr prayer there yearly in the morning) when it was still dark. The Prophet rode and Abu Talha rode too and I was riding behind Abu Talha. The Prophet passed through the lane of Khaibar quickly and my knee was touching the thigh of the Prophet. He uncovered his thigh and I saw the whiteness of the thigh of the Prophet. When he entered the town, he said, 'Allahu Akbar! Khaibar is ruined. Whenever we approach near a (hostile) nation (to fight) then evil will be the morning of those who have been warned.' He repeated this thrice. The people came out for their jobs and some of them said, 'Muhammad (has come).' (Some of our companions added, "With his army.") We conquered Khaibar, took the captives, and the booty was collected. Dihya came and said, 'O Allah's Prophet! Give me a slave girl from the captives.' The Prophet said, 'Go and take any slave girl.' He took Safiya bint Huyai. A man came to the Prophet and said, 'O Allah's Apostles! You gave Safiya bint Huyai to Dihya and she is the chief mistress of the tribes of Quraiza and An-Nadir and she befits none but you.' So the Prophet said, 'Bring him along with her.' So Dihya came with her and when the Prophet saw her, he said to Dihya, 'Take any slave girl other than her from the captives.' Anas added: The Prophet then manumitted her and married her." Thabit asked Anas, "O Abu Hamza! What did the Prophet pay her (as Mahr)?" He said, "Her self was her Mahr for he manumitted her and then married her." Anas added, "While on the way, Um Sulaim dressed her for marriage (ceremony) and at night she sent her as a bride to the Prophet . So the Prophet was a bridegroom and he said, 'Whoever has anything (food) should bring it.' He spread out a leather sheet (for the food) and some brought dates and others cooking butter. (I think he (Anas) mentioned As-SawTq). So they prepared a dish of Hais (a kind of meal). And that was Walrma (the marriage banquet) of Allah's Apostle."


Dear Mr RK,

The same Bukhari also says:

It is reported that a funeral of a Jew passed before the Prophet (peace be upon him). As a sign of respect, the Prophet stood up. The Prophet was asked "Why did you stand up for a Jewish funeral?" The Prophet replied, "Is it not a human soul?" (Al-Bukhari).

Safiya bint Huyai [May Allah be pleased with her]:

Safiyah Bin Hai (May Allah be pleased with her) {she was from the family of Moses/Aaron (Peace be upon them] and formerly a Jew. She was amongst the prisoners of Khyber. Her first husband was Kanana Bin Abul Haqeeq who was killed in Khyber war. She was freed by Mohammad from slavery and then got married with her. Once Hazrat Hafsa Bin Omer (WIFE OF MOHAMMAD) {RA} taunt her as a [you Jew] "yahoodi ki beti" and Safiyah complained to Mohammad {PBUH}. Mohammad {PBUH} said don’t worry and further said: why do you care as you are a daughter of Prophet Aaron {PBUH}, niece of Prophet Mosses {PBUH} and wife of Prophet Mohammad [PBUH], I wonder on what Hafsah is proud of?

[{Ref: JILA UL IFHAM FIS SALAT WASSALAM ALA KHAIRUL ANAM BY IMAM SHAMSUDDIN ABU ABDULLAH IBN QAYYAM AL-JOZIYA translated by Qazi Muhammad Suleman Salman Mansoorpuri, Fomrer Session Judge Patyala India}]

There are two views on the background of Eviction of Jews from Medinah.


Jews were not there in the Arabian Peninsula. Like any other immigrants, the Jews came to the Arabian Peninsula from somewhere else, most probably the Levant area. In their march into the peninsula, some of them stopped at one point in Khaybar and Fadak and preferred to stay there while others decided to continue journeying till they settled in the city of Yathrib, which came to be known afterwards as Madinah. Therefore, referring to Arabia and especially Madinah as their motherland is questionable.

From the very beginning, the Jews started to develop a kind of relation with their Arab neighbors that was not always peaceful. Of course, they knew the language and the second and third Jewish generations knew the language. But they were still classed as Jews and not as either Aws or Khazraj, the two main tribes that existed in Madinah at that time.

The three main concentrations of the Madinan Jews were known as three distinguished tribes: Banu An-Nadir, Banu Quraizhah and Banu Qaynuqa`. These three ghettos were unique in many ways, including avoiding mixed marriage with the Arabs.

In their dialogues with the Arabs, the Jews kept telling them that soon there would appear a prophet from among themselves and that he would lead them to humiliate the Arab idolaters. They kept on repeating this Jewish dream in front of their fellow residents until Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) appeared and came to Madinah. Thereupon, everything changed because they started to deny their dream and claimed that he was not the long-awaited prophet but just a pseudo-prophet, completing a package of falsifications woven by their Arab contemporaries.

They knew in their hearts that he was a prophet and not a liar, yet they opted to be arrogant rather than surrender to the truth. They wondered why the long-awaited prophet came from the Arabs. In the Jews' opinion, they themselves were the most deserving of that honor, and as they saw it jumping in someone else's lap, they decided to destroy it.

Two of their rabbis were conversing when the Prophet reached Madinah and one of them said to the other, "Is that him?" i.e., is he the prophet? And the other answered, "Yes, it is him." The other continued, "Are you sure it is him?" and the answer came, "By God, I know him as much as I know my own son." "So what will you do with him?" And the final answer came, "I will bear enmity to him till my death." (Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakfuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum, Dar As-Salam, 1998, p. 145)

When the Prophet settled in Madinah, he wanted to create a cooperating human community and establish an exemplary civil society at a time when these poor Arabs could never imagine what a civil society could mean. So for the first time in history, he established the pact of Madinah or what I like to call the constitution of coexistence.

In this constitution, all signing parties — including Muslims, Jews, and other (pagan) Arabs — agreed that they would live in Madinah together as a society and would defend it in case of an attack and would never help any outsider against any of the other signing parts and would never betray the agreement.

Yet, at the first juncture, the Jews started disrupting the society when one of them, knowing he was backed by others, attacked a Muslim woman who went to buy something from a Jewish shop in the Jewish district of Banu Qaynuqa`. They simply created chaos and disruption in the society (Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakfuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum, Dar As-Salam, 1998. p. 191).

In order to stop the chaos and let society enjoy the peacefulness reached in the agreement, the Prophet gave them the option to leave Madinah or else people whose children were killed would start avenging them. The decision was they would leave, and that was really the best and easiest option. It needed no justification because their offense was very clear.

The relationship between the Jews of Banu An-Nadir and the Arabs was not much better. Banu An-Nadir conspired to kill the Prophet when he was going to talk with them. Imagine how you would feel, Mohsin, if you were visiting one of your friends and he was preparing to kill you at his house instead of offering you food and hosting you. Imagine if he met you with a conspiracy rather than with hospitality. The threat here was against the leader of the Muslim community and the head of the state; it was actually a conspiracy that reflected how much hatred they bore for the Prophet and how betraying they were.

Thereupon, they had to leave, not because of the Prophet but because of their own handiwork. The Qur'an tells us at the beginning of Surat Al-Hashr that the believers never imagined that the Jews would leave Madinah and were not even planning for that, but the Jews themselves brought that to themselves. And when the Prophet gave them the option, they chose to leave. Actually, that was the least punishment they could get.

Banu Quraizhah, on the other hand, remained in Madinah, but again they did not keep their word and breached the agreement. They helped a confederate army consisting of Quraish and other Arab idolaters who came to attack Madinah.

The Muslim army, which by the highest estimates was only one thousand-strong, was facing a ten thousand-strong army in full arms. The Muslims had to dig a trench in a desperate attempt to defend themselves, and all of a sudden, they discovered that their fellow citizens (the Jews), who were entrusted to defend from the back, were actually helping the enemy.

It was the mercy of Allah that the confederates left without fighting and He blew fear into their hearts, but the unforgivable offense of these betraying Jews was not to pass unnoticed. The kind Prophet went to them and asked them to choose someone who would issue a judgment in their case. Banu Quraizhah chose Sa`d ibn Mu`adh because they knew he was their friend and would be fair with them. Sa`d chose a verdict from their own holy scriptures, the Torah: that the men were to be killed and the women and children were to be enslaved.

Thereupon, many Companions of the Prophet, driven by mercy, told them that they could intercede and get them an amnesty from the Prophet. But Banu Quraizhah said,

"No, we will never violate the judgment of the Torah." Actually, this verdict given by Sa`d is purely from the Torah, and no similar punishment can be found in any Islamic source. Some of them chose to seek forgiveness and were exempted from killing, but many others chose to die to apply the Torah. If they had chosen the merciful Prophet, he would have forgiven them, but arrogance took them to their destiny.

Even the Jews who went to settle up north with their fellows in Khaybar, did not stop conspiring and stirring enmity against the emerging little Muslim community in Madinah. These actions reached such a degree that we can conclude that, like any criminal, they were a massive threat to the public security of the society and were to be dealt with accordingly.

As for the Prophet's treatment of the Jews in general, there are many examples that show his kindness to them. For example, a young Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet and he became sick, and so the Prophet went to visit him.

It is reported that a funeral of a Jew passed before the Prophet (peace be upon him). As a sign of respect, the Prophet stood up. The Prophet was asked "Why did you stand up for a Jewish funeral?" The Prophet replied, "Is it not a human soul?" (Al-Bukhari).

It is reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had a Jewish neighbor who used to throw garbage in his way, but when the Prophet heard one day that the neighbor was sick he went to visit him.

In order to show his nearness to the Jews, the Prophet married Safiyyah bint Huyay, daughter of the chief of the Jewish tribe of Banu An-Nadir. She was captured during the Battle of Khaybar. As an honorable gesture showing the magnanimity of Islam, the Prophet freed and married her.


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