Monday, November 3, 2008

Eviction of Jews from Arabia - 3

Jews in Iran

RK wrote:

Why not insult Muhammed?

Sahih Bokhari: Book 8, Number 367:

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.


Dear Mr RK,

2 More opinions/views on the eviction of Jews from

Medinah are as under:

Some of the important facts that need to be kept in mind while passing any judgments about the killing of the Banu Qurayzah are as follows [1]

1- After the Prophet’s migration to Medinah, the Banu Qurayzah, with the other Jewish tribes of the locality, became a party to the Medinah declaration, according to which, these Jewish tribes and the Muslim state of Medinah were to act as alliances against any foreign attacks. According to this declaration, the Jews were allowed complete religious freedom and were granted protection of life and wealth as long as they honored the declaration;

2- Previously, the Banu Qurayzah were given a lesser status than the other Jewish tribe – the Banu Nadheer – which is evident from the fact that the blood money that they were granted, if any of their tribesman was killed by Banu Nadheer was half that of what was granted to Banu Nadheer. The Prophet (pbuh) corrected this injustice and granted the Banu Qurayzah the same political status as that of Banu Nadheer. (Abu Dawood, Kitaab al-Diyyaat, Baab al-Nafs bi al-Nafs, Hadith No. 3896)

3- The Jewish tribes did not honor their part of the Medinah declaration and on the instigation of the Qureish broke the agreement. At this the Banu Nadheer were sent into exile; while the Banu Qurayzah asked forgiveness and requested a renewal of the agreement, to which the Prophet (pbuh) agreed and allowed them another chance (Muslim, Kitaab al-Jihaad wa al-Siyar, Baab Ijlaa al-Yahood min al-Hijaaz, Hadith No. 3312)

4- Even after all this, the Banu Qurayzah joined the alliance that was gathered by the Qureish against the Muslims.

It was in this background that immediately after the confrontation with the confederates (Ahzaab), the Prophet (pbuh) decided to take the Banu Qurayzah to task. Even then, had the Banu Qurayzah sought forgiveness for their betrayal, the Prophet (pbuh) may have given them respite, as he did so in the past. Nevertheless, the Banu Qurayzah had decided to fight the Muslims. This was evident from the fact that when Ali (ra) reached their fort, they openly abused the Prophet (pbuh)[2].

The Muslims kept the forts of Banu Qurayzah under siege for about one month. Ultimately, the Banu Qurayzah requested the arbitration of Sa`d Ibn Mu`aaz (ra) – one of the leaders of the tribe of Aws – a traditional ally of the Banu Qurayzah[3] and promised that they would accept whatever Sa`d ibn Mu`aaz decides for them. Later on, Sa`d decided that all those among the Banu Qurayzah, who could fight be killed, while all their women and children be taken as slaves and all their wealth and property be confiscated and distributed among the Muslims. Subsequently, the sentence pronounced by Sa`d was implemented by the Muslims.

It should be clear from the facts given above that in the light of their behavior preceding the judgment the Banu Qurayzah deserved a very strict punishment. Furthermore, it is also clear that the punishment was not decided by the Prophet (pbuh), but was actually decided by a person, who was appointed as arbitrator, by the Banu Qurayzah, themselves.

However, one may still be of the opinion that the Prophet (pbuh) should have softened the punishment, even if it was pronounced by an arbitrator, who was appointed by the Banu Qurayzah themselves. On the contrary, the Prophet (pbuh) not only upheld and implemented the decision pronounced by the arbitrator, but also commended it as: ‘in accordance with God’s law’.

To fully understand why the Prophet (pbuh) did not soften or alter the sentence pronounced by Sa`d ibn Mu`aaz, we should keep in mind that Banu Qurayzah were actually Jews, who were subject to the laws of the Torah.

Deuteronomy 20: 10 – 14 says:

When you draw near to a town to fight against it, offer it terms of peace. If it accepts your terms of peace and surrenders to you, then all the people in it shall serve you at forced labor. If it does not submit to you peacefully, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it; and when the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword. You may, however, take as your booty the women, the children, livestock, and everything else in the town, all its spoil. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the LORD your God has given you.

It was in accordance with this law that Moses (pbuh) ordered the killing of all the men of Midian and taking all their women and children as captives.

Numbers 31: 7 – 11 read as:

They did battle against Midian, as the LORD had commanded Moses, and killed every male… The Israelites took the women of Midian and their little ones captive; and they took all their cattle, their flocks, and all their goods as booty. All their towns where they had settled, and all their encampments, they burned, but they took all the spoil and all the booty, both people and animals.

Obviously, on reciprocal basis, the Israelites themselves were subject to the same divine law. Thus, Sa`d Ibn Mu`aaz pronounced his judgment according to this law, upon which, the Prophet (pbuh) declared that his decision was 'in accordance with God's law'. Furthermore, because of this particular nature and basis of the judgment, the Prophet (pbuh) neither had the right nor the authority to alter it.

Because Sa`d ibn Mu`aaz’s decision was in accordance with the directives of the Torah, which the Jews accepted to be divine and were, therefore, subject to, the Prophet (pbuh) did not alter the decision. It was, in fact, because of this background of the judgment that when Hayee ibn Akhtab – one of the Jewish leaders – was brought to the place where he was to be killed, he looked at the Prophet (pbuh) and said:

By God, I have no regrets in opposing you, but the fact is that whoever tries to deceive God is Himself, ultimately, deceived.[4]

Then he turned toward his people and said:

People, there is no harm in the implementation of God’s laws. This was a directive of God, it was decided, it is a punishment, which God had prescribed for the Israelites. [4]

Thus, the Banu Qurayzah were, in fact, slaughtered by the sword of the Torah – the book, which they, themselves, held to be divine.


[1] This response is primarily based on Shibli Naumani’s “Seerat al-Nabiy”.

[2] Tareekh al-Tabari

The Prophet (pbuh) sent Ali Ibn Abi Talib (ra) with his flag to the Banu Qurayzah and people started moving toward them. When Ali (ra) came close to their forts, he heard them say despicable things about the Prophet (pbuh).

[3] According to Ibn Katheer’s Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihaayah, the Banu Qurayzah were misguided by some of their allies that if the Prophet (pbuh) were to decide their fate, he would kill them all.

[4] Life of the Prophet [Seeratul Alnabwiya by Ibn-e-Hisham Volume 4 Page 201]

[Courtesy: Mr. Moiz Amjad]


The the book of Mr. William Muir (an orientalist is often quoted to malign Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)(The Life of Mahomet by Mr. William Muir]. He also quoted Hadith [Traditions of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)] from Bukhari and Mulsim but without quoting the context and background.


For each incidence in history there is a context and here is one regarding the above mentioned incidence. In the city of Medinah, where Prophet Muhammad founded the Islamic State, there were three Jewish tribes.

As Sir Muir writes (p. 183):

"One of the objects nearest his (Muhammad's) heart was a federal union with the Jews...He associated them with himself by a treaty of mutual obligation drawn up in writing, which bound the followers (Muslims) on one hand, and the Jews on the other hand, and confirmed the later among other things in the practice of their religion and the secure possession of their property".

Thus the readers will appreciate Prophet's tolerance towards other and his undertaking to build a peace treaty with the Jews and respecting their religion and property.

The peace treaty is worded thus: (pp. 183-4)

"whosoever is rebellious or seeketh to spread enmity and sedition, the hand of every man shall be against him, even if he be a son. No unbeliever shall grant protection to the people of Mecca (who were at war with the Muslims), either in person or property, nor interpose between the believers and them. The Jews shall contribute with the Muslims, while at war with a common enemy. The Jewish clans in alliance with the several tribes of Medina are one people with the Believers...if attacked each shall come to the assistance of the other. None shall join the men of Mecca or their allies".

It is very important to remember that this peace treaty was fully accepted by the Jews (p. 184).

Now when the Meccan (pagan) enemies of Islam came forth with a force to attack Medinah, and annihilate Islam, the Banu Quraiza, the Jewish tribe in Medinah who agreed to abide by the peace treaty with the Muslims joined the enemies ranks and thus openly the treacherously broke the peace treaty.

Mr. William Muir testifies to this fact. (p. 308):

"Meanwhile, Abu Sufyan (chief of Meccan pagans) succeeded in detaching the Beni Koraiza, now the only remaining Jewish tribe, from their allegiance to Mohammad...It was agreed that the Beni Koreiza would assist Koreish (the meccan pagans)".

The Prophet sent two of his deputies to reconcile with the Jews and remind them about the peace alliance. The Jews responded: "There is no bond or compact between us and him" (p. 309).

Thus they had committed breach of the treaty right at the most critical moment of the war, joined hands with the invaders and endangered the entire population of Madinah.

Thus after winning the battle against the Meccan pagans, the Prophet moved toward the Bani Quraiza tribe to justly reprove them (as per the treaty) for breaking the sacred agreed upon alliance. By his mercy, the Prophet asked the Jewish tribe as to who should be the judge to grant them the appropriate castigation. The Jews agreed that one of their own men, Sa'd ibn Mu'adh (a Jewish convert to Islam) to be their judge.

Thus Sa'd (and NOT the Prophet) questioned the Jewish tribe, (p. 317): "will ye, then bind yourselves by the covenant of God that whatsoever I shall decide, ye shall accept?" There was a murmur of assent. "Then" Proceeded Sa'd, "my judgement is that the men shall be put to death...". Then the judgement was likewise implemented.

Now with this context to the incident one can clearly conclude that the Islamic state had a relationship of full tolerance and a comprehensive peace treaty with the Jews which all sides agreed to abide by. This treaty was broken by the Jews, who fought alongside the enemies of Islam, and were thus punished according to the judgement made by a man of their own liking and choice, whose judgement they promised to abide by.

Sir William Muir, concludes by praising the Prophet for his immense contribution to the world,

"We may freely concede that it (Islam) banished forever many of the darker elements of superstition for ages shrouding the (Arabian) Peninsula. Idolatry vanished before the battle-cry of Islam; the doctrine of the Unity and infinite Perfections of God, and a special all-pervading Providence, became a living principle in the hearts and lives of the followers of Mohammad, even as in his own...Nor are social virtues wanting. Brotherly love inculcated towards all within the circle of the faith; infanticide proscribed; orphans to be protected, and slaves (servants) treated with considerations; intoxicating drinks prohibited, so that Mohammadanism (Islam) may boast of a degree of temperance unknown to any other creed". (The Life of Mahomet, p. 521).



Bokhari said...

How can one comment on historical events occurring centuries ago which cannot be verified to day. Even on the face of it the treatment meted out to the vanquished and the prisnors of war in those times was horrible. The Jews were killed with the sword of Moses and not very long afterwords Yazid enacted the carnage at Karbala claiming that he had only used the sword of his 'Haana' against Hussain whom he had got declared by so called Ullema as out of the ford of Islam.

But what about Mongols of whose progeny you claim to belong. I belong to a traditionally Sunni Sayed family but unluckily I got married with a true mongol wife. We have been reading in history about the treatment the Mangols meted out to the vanquished and the war prisoners but the feats of Halaku khan become pale against what she has done to me. She has done worse with me than what the Halaku Khan had done with Baghdad. Please advise me how to deal with Mongol women.

Bokhari said...

Correction of a horrible typo error in my previous post:

In the 9th line from above, please read 'Naana' (maternal grandfather),instead of the word 'Haana'.