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  • Raya Shokatfard


Updated: Nov 2, 2020

By: Raya Shokatfard

First Breach of the Covenant:

The Tribe of Banu Qaynuqa’

Muslims continuously suppressed their anger and frustration at the conduct of the Jews against them and their Prophet until an incident that brought about the expulsion of this tribe from Madinah.

It is reported in an authentic narration that a Muslim woman went to the market of Banu Qaynuqa’ with her jewelry and sat down in the goldsmith’s shop. Shortly after, a group of Jews gathered around her, demanding that she uncover her face. She refused. Without her knowing, the goldsmith pinned her garment to her back. When she got up, she was exposed and the Jews were laughing at her. As the woman cried out, a Muslim man attacked the goldsmith and killed him. The Jews then attacked the Muslim and killed him.

This, and a series of other disgraceful behaviors by the tribe toward Muslims, sparked a war between the Muslims and Banu Qaynuqa’ in the second year of the Hijrah.

After surrounding their fortresses for 15 days, they surrendered. The Prophet offered them to leave Madinah with their women and children unharmed. They moved to Syria and perished there after some time. This could have been avoided had they respected the treaty.

Second Breach:

Banu Al-Nadeer Conspires with Quraysh and Plots to Kill the Prophet:

It was two months after the battle of Badr, the first battle between the Muslims and the Qurayshites which ended in Muslims’ victory, when other pagan Arab tribes were preparing to attack the Muslims again.

Meanwhile, the Jews of Banu Al-Nadeer tribe continued their disgraceful behaviors toward the Muslims. They tried to continuously assist the Quraish of Makkah (contrary to the agreement of the treaty) against the Muslims after the battle of Uhud. They also plotted to kill the Prophet when he had come to visit them to ask their assistance to raise blood money for a man’s family mistakenly killed by one of the Muslims. Angel Gabriel informed the Prophet about their plot and he was able to leave the tribe with his companion before they were able to carry on their evil plot.

After these series of events, the Prophet Muhammad gave them the ultimatum to evacuate Madinah within ten days, or face the consequences. They refused based on a promise of one of the hypocrites, named Abdullah ibn Ubay to help them with his hosts if they were attacked by the Muslims.

The Prophet laid siege around their fortresses and shed no blood. Expectedly, they received no help from their so called ally. God exposes their so called ally:

{Have you (O Muhammad) not seen the hypocrites who say to their friends among the people of the Scripture who disbelieve: ‘if you are expelled, we (too) indeed will go out with you, and we shall never obey anyone against you, and if you are attacked (in fight), we shall indeed help you.’ But Allah is witness that they verily are liars.} (Al-Hashr 59: 11)

God further exposes the deception of hypocrites to that of Satan:

{(Their allies deceived them) like Satan, when he says to man: ‘Disbelieve in Allah.’ But when (man) disbelieves in Allah, Satan says: ‘I am free of you.’} (Al-Hashr 59:16)

Finally when they were ready to surrender, they were likewise allowed to leave Madinah with their women folks, children and all that they could carry. They settled in Khaibar, which was in Arabian deserts not far from Madinah.

More Breach and Treachery by the Jews:

Battle of The Trench (also known as the Battle of the Confederates)

Ten thousand confederates began marching toward Madinah with a clear mission of exterminating the Muslims once and for all.

A year passed with the Prophet engaged in various wars and skirmishes. The war-Jews whose disloyalty made them taste all kinds of humiliation and disgrace, were not admonished. The tribe of Banu Al-Nadeer remained anxiously waiting for another chance to strike the Muslims by aiding their enemies.

So, they started a new conspiracy and were determined to deal a deadly blow to the Muslims by plotting with the Quraysh. Twenty of their chiefs went to Makkah, promising them all kinds of support and backing. This was welcomed by the Quraysh. They then sat out to meet other tribes instigating them against Muslims. They managed to tour many parts of Arabia to gather confederates against the Muslims in Madinah.

Ten thousand confederates began marching toward Madinah with a clear mission of exterminating the Muslims once and for all.

On the proposal of one of the honorable companions of the Prophet, Salman Al-Farisi, the Muslims began to dig a trench around Madinah to avert the enemy from entering. This was done with much hardship and effort by all able Muslim males, including the Prophet himself.

The companions witnessed some prophetic miracles during this process. Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah, one of the companions, seeing that the Prophet was starving, slaughtered a sheep, cooked some barley and offered it to the Prophet and some companions. But the Prophet gathered all the thousand people engaged in digging the trench and they all ate from it till they were all completely full and yet the shoulder of mutton and dough that was still being baked and not used. In one instant, the Prophet, after calling the name of Allah, was able to strike and shatter a huge boulder, which several men were unable to move, into pieces. Something unimaginable!

Another instance a man offered the Prophet a handful of dates. Many were hungry at the time. The prophet spread it on his cloak and it increased till it overflowed from the cloak. All ate from it and there were left over.

As the Muslims got ready to fight, their number was about three thousand. God revealed their reaction when they saw the confederates approaching:

{And when the believers saw ‘Al-Ahzab’ (the confederates), they said: ‘This is what Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad (Peace be upon him)] had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger had spoken the truth, and it only added to their Faith and to their submissiveness (to Allah).} (Al-Ahzab 33: 22)

The Confederates upon seeing the trench were totally dumfounded. This was not at all customary in the Arab land. Various attempts in breaking through were met with arrows and Muslim fighters. Ali ibn Abi-Talib was able to kill one of the leaders of the Quraysh and sat others to flee from him with his brave maneuvers.

In the meantime, the chief of Bani Al-Nadeer, Huyai, contacted Ka’b ibn Asad Al-Qurazi, the chief of the Banu Qurayza tribe, who were at the outskirt of Madinah, to help them in the war. Ka’ab resisted at the beginning, but was manipulated by Huyai with empty promises and agreed to help in exterminating Prophet Muhammad and his followers.

Their back was exposed to the attacks of Banu Qurayza, and a huge army in front, while their women and children unprotected standing in between. Seeing that most men were at the outskirts of Madinah, Banu Qurayza decided to bring war inside Madinah where mainly women, children and the elderly remained. Being notified of this, the Prophet realized that the treaty was abolished by this tribe. So he soon sent some men to defend the city.

The Muslims realized their critical position with the great danger they were facing. Their back was exposed to the attacks of Banu Qurayza, and a huge army in front, while their women and children unprotected standing in between.

In this regard, God says:

{And when the eyes grew wild and the hearts reached to the throats, and you were harboring doubts about Allah. There, the believers were tried and shaken with a mighty shaking.} ( Al-Ahzab 33:10- 11)

Not only were the Muslims shut in within the Trench on the defensive, the hypocrites also began to sow seeds of defeatism by asking the Prophet to allow them to go back to protect their homes.

The Prophet Muhammad began to meditate on the evil act of Banu Qurayza. The spirit of hopefulness prevailed over him and he rose to his feet saying:

“Allah is Great. Hearken you Muslims, to Allah’s good tidings of victory and support.”

The Prophet then devised new plans and sent more men to Madinah to protect the women and children. In the meantime, seed of mistrust grew between various factions of the enemy, namely between the Quraysh, the Jews and the tribe of Ghatafan, where upon they were unwilling to come to the aid of the other.

Meanwhile, the Prophet and the Muslims were supplicating their Lord for victory over their enemies and to protect their homes and their families. The Prophet (peace be upon him) invoked God’s wrath on the confederates supplicating:

“Oh, Allah! You are quick in account, You are the sender of the Book, we beseech You to defeat the confederates.” (Al-Bukhari)

God responded to the call of the Prophet and the Muslims.

Coupled with the mistrust and variance that found their way into the hearts of the disbelievers, forces of nature —wind, rain and cold wearied them, tents were blown down, cooking vessels and other equipage overthrown.

The enemies of God were thus defeated and each returned to their own tribe, humiliated and utterly at loss with the amazing victory that God gave the Muslims. This war which took place in the fifth year Hijri was more a war of nerves than a war of losses. The siege of Madinah lasted for over a month. This showed that any army no matter how strong and well equipped cannot defeat an army when God wills to protect it. It was God who gave victory to an army of 3,000 Muslims over that of the confederates of 10,000 –even when the Muslims where surrounded from within and without.

This was one of great examples of victory of Muslims among many others which ultimately cleared the way to conquer Makkah and declaring Islam as the religion of Arabian Peninsula which ultimately spread globally.

Invading Banu Qurayza:

Their treachery had nearly cost the Muslims their new State and would have put their religion and their persons at the risk of annihilation.

Upon the return of Prophet Muhammad to Madinah, Archangel Gabriel (peace be upon him), asked that he should unsheathe his sword and head for the habitation of the Banu Qurayza and fight them. Their treachery had nearly cost the Muslims their new State and would have put their religion and their persons at the risk of annihilation.

He dispatched Ali ibn Abi-Talib with three thousand infantry to encounter the enemy and laid siege to their forts.

Seeing this, the chief of Abnu Qurayza, Ka‘b ibn Asad, offered his tribe three options:

To embrace Islam, and consequently their life, wealth, women and children would be in full security, and reminded them that such behavior would not be incongruous with what they had read in their books about the veracity of Muhammad’s prophethood; to kill their children and women and then challenge the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers to the sword to either exterminate the Muslims or be exterminated, or as a third possibility to take Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his people by surprise on Saturday — a day mutually understood to witness no fighting.

He found his tribesmen uninterested in any of such alternatives. They thought they would be secure in their forts due to availability of plenty of food and resources. The Muslims laid siege around their forts. Despite self assurance, their heart was struck with fear when they heard ‘Ali swearing that he would never stop until he had either stormed their garrisons or been martyred like Hamza.

This tribe had no choice but to surrender and comply with the Messenger’s judgment. The Al-Aws tribe interceded with the Prophet asking him to be lenient with them. The Jewish tribe asked that Sa’d ibn Mu’adh, a former ally, be deputed to give verdict about them, and the Prophet agreed.

When Sa’d was informed that the Jews had agreed to accept his verdict about them, he wondered if his judgment would be acceptable to all the people present. The reply was positive.

He decided that all the able-bodied male persons belonging to the tribe should be killed, women and children taken prisoners and their wealth divided among the Muslim fighters. The Prophet (peace be upon him) accepted his judgment saying that “Sa‘d had adjudged by the Command of Allah.” (Al Haythami)

This punishment was due to their ugly treachery they had harbored against Islam.  This was the last Jewish tribe in Madinah who brought their own doom upon themselves.

Huyai, the chief criminal of war, the chief of Bani Al-Nadeer, was the one who enticed the chief of Bani Qurayza to join the confederates against the Muslims. He also joined Bani Qurayza when Quraysh and Ghatafan defected. He was brought to the Prophet and in audacious defiance, he declared obstinate enmity to the Prophet (peace be upon him) but admitted that God’s Will was to be fulfilled and added that he was resigned to his fate. He was beheaded.

Only one woman of the Jews was killed because she had killed a Muslim warrior by flinging a grinding stone upon him.

The battle of Khaybar which took place outside of Madinah basically was the last battle that dealt with the remaining Jews who had continuously plotted against the Prophet. They were likewise defeated. This marked the end of Jewish rebellion against Islam and Muslims. Before long, all Jews left the Arabian Peninsula and have not returned to this day, except with their continuous interference in Muslims’ affairs.

Such was the story of the Jews, their treaties with the Prophet Muhammad, their breaches and treacheries against Islam and their final outcome.

The Jews of Prophet Mohammad’s time made continuous attempts to assassinate him. Yet, he was patient with them and gave them chances.

It is important to note that Prophet Mohammad had one of the finest characters. He was patient, kind, forgiving and ready to reconcile in matters of dispute. He was ever ready to pardon a wrong doer if he wished forgiveness and reconciliation.

It would take a tremendous enmity, evil plots and attack on Muslims to make the Prophet to rise against any people and to further expel them.

Unless a person knows the entire story of events that took place nearly 1,400 years ago involving the Jews, one might easily fall prey to the deception of the uninformed or enemies of Islam and believe in the untruth.

Furthermore, one would easily notice that it has been a common practice in many western countries, especially USA to order assassination of any person who may be considered a threat to that country’s security. There will be no trial or proven crimes in most cases.

The Jews of Prophet Mohammad’s time made continuous attempts to assassinate him. Yet, he was patient with them and gave them chances to change and offered them protection after the treaty. At some point, he had to take the necessary steps to protect the security of the new state and teach a lesson to those who were sill downplaying his authority.

Hopefully this article has cleared any doubts, concerns or misjudgments about the integrity of the final Prophet who was sent as a light, mercy and guide to all mankind.

{And We have not sent you except as a Mercy to mankind.} (Al-Anbiya’ 21: 107)

Works Cited:

Al Ghazali, Muhammad. Fiqh-us-seerah: Understanding the life of Prophet Muhammad. Riyadh: International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations, 1999

Ibn Hisham. As-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1994

This research is based on the book Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum by Saifur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri


Published on Reading Islam on Wednesday, 20 July 2011

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