As promised, here is my reply to Zawadi’s justification of the murder and beheading of 600-900 Jewish men (which also included young boys) of the Banu Qurayza tribe.
Zawadi’s smoke and mirrors tactics
If one simply reads Zawadi’s “reply” s/he would be left with the rather misleading impression that the premise of the article which Zawadi is supposed to be responding to is that there is no evidence from any Islamic source for the assertion that the Banu Qurayza betrayed Muhammad.
However, it is clear to anyone who has actually read the article that the author was basing his case on the data which he gathered from the hadith collection. He wasn’t dealing with the sirah literature or addressing the views of the Muslim commentators. Note carefully the author’s statements:
I’ve searched the nine books of Hadeeth (Saheeh Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim, Sunan Al-Tarmithi, Sunan Al-Nasa’i, Sunan Abi Dawood, Sunan Ibn Majah, Musnad Ahmad, Muwatta’ Malik, and Sunan Al-Darimi). In my search I did not find any single Hadeeth which indicates that Bani Quraytha either officially (or even unofficially) renounced the treaty, nor did I find a Hadeeth which indicates that Bani Quraytha violated the treaty in any way.
History is written by the victors, thus the Muslims have throughout history claimed that the Bani Quraytha Jews were the traitors. Yet because the nine Hadeeth collectors (From Bukhari to Al-Darimi) were men who feared Allah, they couldn’t include in their books any Hadeeth which wasn’t authentic, thus they couldn’t find any Hadeeth to put in their books which talks about the treachery of Bani Quraytha.
Therefore, Zawadi’s “reply” is nothing more than a straw man and a smokescreen intended to divert attention away from this fact.
I suggest that the readers go through Zawadi’s “reply” to see how he utterly fails to provide a single hadith from the nine hadith collectors proving that the Banu Qurayza broke the treaty. As such, the premise of the article remains untouched and Zawadi’s smokescreens have done absolutely nothing to refute it.
However, since Zawadi thinks that the sirah literature actually supports his case we will now turn our attention to these very documents to show that Muhammad was the antagonist and perpetrator who actually created all these problems for the Jews who were living in peace before he arrived. Muhammad antagonized the Jews in the same way he had harassed the Meccans who, despite his repeated insults and threats against them, still went out of their way to appease him and make peace.
Muhammad and the Jews – Who antagonized and betrayed whom?
Much is made of the fact that according to the sirah literature Muhammad made a treaty or pact with the Jews promising them fair treatment provided that they remained true to the agreement and didn’t turn treacherous.
What is not often mentioned, however, is that Muhammad’s real intention in making this charter with the Jews was to entice them into believing in him and accepting his claims of being God’s prophet to them. Yet once Muhammad saw that the Jews weren’t buying what he had to sell, since they could clearly see that he was a false prophet, he then turned against them and started composing Quranic verses ridiculing and insulting them.
As one noted Christian scholar of Islam explains:
IV. The Jews
The JEWISH TRIBES located in the vicinity of Medina were on an entirely different footing. Mahomet, as I have already shown, had not only acknowledged the divine authority of their religion, but rested his own claims, in an important degree, upon the evidence of their Scriptures, and the testimony of their learned men. No object was nearer his heart than a combination with them. His feasts, his fasts, his ceremonies, were, up to this time, framed in close correspondence with Jewish custom. Jerusalem itself was his Kibla. Towards that holy spot, the Prophet, and all his followers, turned five times a day while they prostrated themselves in prayer. There was no sacrifice that Mahomet was not prepared to make, short of the abandonment of his claim to the prophetic office, in order to gain the Jews over to his cause.
Mahomet desirous of a combination with them
It was natural that Mahomet, holding these sentiments, should desire to enter into close union with the Jews. This he did in a formal manner shortly after reaching Medina; for he associated them in a treaty of mutual obligation, drawn up in writing, between the Refugees and the men of Medina, in which he confirmed the Jews in the practice of their religion, and in the secure possession of their property. The main provisions of this Contract, as given to us by Ibn Ishac, are the following…
Ill-will grows up between Mahomet and the Jews.
It is nowhere stated when this treaty was entered into; but we may naturally conclude that it was not long after the arrival of Mahomet at Medina. It is probable that, for a short time, the Jews remained on terms of cordiality with their new ally; but it soon became apparent to them that Judaism could not go hand in hand with Islam. The position of Mahomet was no longer negative: his religion was not a mere protest against error and superstition. It was daily becoming more positive and more exclusive in its terms. The Prophet rested his claims on the predictions of the Jewish Scriptures; yet he did not profess to be the Messiah; — the Messiah, he held, had already appeared in the person of Jesus, and had been rejected. He was himself another, and a greater Prophet, also foretold in their Book. The Jews, he said, knew this: they recognized in Mahomet the promised Prophet, “as they recognized their own sons;” yet, out of jealousy and spite, from wilful blindness, they rejected him, as they had rejected their own Messiah. This was the position which Mahomet held: how could they concede it without an entire abandonment of Judaism? It was impossible. Thus Judaism and Islam came rapidly into a state of direct antagonism. Those Jews who joined Mahomet virtually abnegated their ancestral faith, and went over to another. With few exceptions, however, the Jews remained steadfast, and fearlessly testified that their Scriptures contained no warrant for the assumptions of the Arabian Prophet: the Messiah that was to come, they said, should be of Jewish blood, and of the lineage of David. The disappointed hope of finding in Mahomet a supporter of their faith, naturally changed into bitter and hostile feeling. What availed his oft-repeated professions of respect for their ancient prophets, and allegiance to their Scriptures, when he now so openly contradicted their clearest testimony?
They are inveighed against as blind and stiff-necked
The few traitors to Judaism, whom Mahomet was able (by what inducements we shall see by and by) to gain over, were of the utmost service to his cause. They were constantly referred to as his “witnesses”. They bore evidence that the Prophet’s character answered to every mark predicted in their Books; and asserted that their brethren, actuated by jealousy, and mortified that the gift of prophecy should pass over from their nation to another people, had concealed the passages which were favourable to his claims. These were the only men whose eyes were open. Judicial blindness had seized the rest; a “thick covering” enveloped their hearts, and rendered them seared and callous. They followed in the footsteps of their forefathers. What but unbelief and rebellion might be looked for from the descendants of those who murmured against Moses, killed their Prophets, and rejected their Messiah?
The Jews a standing cause of annoyance to Mahomet
Such was the plausible reasoning by which Mahomet succeeded, so far as his own followers were concerned, in setting aside the adverse testimony of the Jews; yet they were a constant cause of trouble and anxiety. They annoyed him with questions, the point of which he found it often difficult to turn aside. The very people to whose corroboration he had spontaneously appealed over and over again in the Coran, proved a stubborn and standing witness against him. There existed, also, a strong sympathy between the clans of Medina and the Jewish tribes, which had severally stood by them in their troubles, and had repeatedly shed their blood in their defence. Sympathy in such a direction was dangerous to Mahomet. He resolved to rid him of this source of weakness and risk; and he was not long in finding pretexts which might enable him to gain his end.
Notices of them in the Coran
Meanwhile, his Revelation teemed with invectives against the Israelites. The tales of their forefathers’ disobedience, folly, idolatry, were reiterated at great length; and the conclusion insinuated that the descendants of so flagitious and incorrigible a race must be equally incorrigible and flagitious15.
These remarks explain Mahomet’s secession from the Jewish institutions
This outline, otherwise in some respects premature, is necessary as an introduction to the following chapter, in which we shall find Mahomet gradually receding from the customs and institutions of the Jews, even where he had formerly adopted them. (Muir, The Life of Mahomet: With Introductory Chapters on the Original Sources for the Biography of Mahomet, and on the Pre-Islamic History of Arabia, Volume III, Chapter Ninth: State of Parties at Medina.—First two Years after Mahomet’s Arrival. A.H. II. A.D. 623, pp. 31, 35-38; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Since Zawadi may object that this is simply a Christian spin on the facts we have decided to quote directly from the various sirah literature to prove the contrary.
According to Ibn Ishaq Muhammad wrote to the Jews of Khaybar that if they did not find him mentioned in the Scriptures which they possessed then they were not obligated to follow him.
The apostle wrote to the Jews of Khaybar according to what a freedman of the family of Zayd b. Thabit told me from ‘Ikrima or from Sa‘id b. Jubayr from Ibn ‘Abbas: ‘In the name of God the compassionate the merciful from Muhammad the apostle of God friend and brother of Moses WHO CONFIRMS WHAT MOSES BROUGHT. God says to you O scripture folk, and you will find it in your scripture “Muhammad is the apostle of God; and those with him are severe against the unbelievers, merciful among themselves. Thou seest them bowing, falling prostrate seeking bounty and acceptance from God. The mark of their prostrations is on their foreheads. That is their likeness in the Torah and in the Gospel like a seed which sends forth its shoot and strengthens it and it becomes thick and rises straight upon its stalk delighting the sowers that He may anger the unbelievers with them. God has promised those who believe and do well forgiveness and a great reward.” I adjure you by God, AND BY WHAT HE HAS SENT DOWN TO YOU, by the manna and quails He gave as food to your tribes before you, and by His drying up the sea for your fathers when He delivered them from Pharaoh and his works, that you tell me, DO YOU FIND IN WHAT HE SENT DOWN TO YOU that you should believe in Muhammad? IF YOU DO NOT FIND THAT IN YOUR SCRIPTURE THEN THERE IS NO COMPULSION UPON YOU. “The right path has become plainly distinguished from error” so I call you to God and His Prophet’ (313). (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], p. 256; capital emphasis ours)
The Jews expressly told Muhammad that he was not predicted in their Scriptures and that in reality he was nothing more than a false prophet. However, Muhammad wasn’t buying it and insisted that he was mentioned in their inspired Books but that they were concealing this fact due to their obstinate rebellion and disbelief:
According to what I heard from ‘Ikrima, freedman of Ibn ‘Abbas or from Sa‘id b. Jubayr from Ibn ‘Abbas, Jews used to hope that the apostle would be a help to them against Aus and Khazraj before his mission began; and when God sent him from among the Arabs they disbelieved in him and contradicted what they had formerly said about him. Mu‘adh b. Jabal and Bishr b. al-Bara’ b. Ma‘rur brother of B. Salama said to them: ‘O Jews, fear God and become Muslims, for you used to hope for Muhammad’s help against us when we were polytheists and to tell us that he would be sent and describe him to us.’ Salam b. Mishkam, one of the B. al-Nadir, said, ‘He has not brought us anything we recognize and he is not the one we spoke of to you.’ So God sent down about that saying of theirs: ‘And when a book comes to them from God CONFIRMING what they have, though beforehand they were asking for help against those who disbelieve, when there came to them what they knew, they disbelieved in it, so God’s curse rests on the unbelievers.’
Malik b. al-Sayf said when the apostle had been sent and they were reminded of the condition that had been imposed on them and what God had covenanted with them concerning him, ‘No covenant was ever made with us about Muhammad.’ So God sent down concerning him: ‘Is it not that whenever they make a covenant a party of them set it aside? Nay most of them do not believe.’
Abu Saluba al-Fityuni said to the apostle: ‘O Muhammad, you have not brought us anything we recognize and God has not sent down to you any sign that we should follow you.’ So God sent concerning his words, ‘We have sent down to thee plain signs and only evildoers disbelieve in them.’ (P. 257; bold, capital and italic emphasis ours)
A number of them came in to the apostle and he said to them, ‘Surely you know that I am an apostle from God to you.’ They replied that they did not know it and would not bear witness to him. So God sent down concerning their words: ‘But God testifies concerning what He has sent down to thee. With His knowledge did He send it down and the angels bear witness. And God is sufficient as a witness.’ (Ibid., p. 265; bold emphasis ours)
Mahmud b. Sayhan and Nu’man b. Ada’ and Bahri and ‘Uzayr and Sallam came to him and said: ‘Is it true, Muhammad, that what you have brought is the truth from God? For our part we cannot see that it is arranged as the Torah is.’ He answered, ‘You know quite well that it is from God; you will find it written IN THE TORAH WHICH YOU HAVE. If men and jinn came together to produce its like they could not.’ Finhas and ‘Abdullah b. Suriya and Ibn Saluba and Kinana b. al-Raba‘ and Ashya‘ and Ka’b b. al-Asad and Shamwil and Jabal were there and they said: ‘Did neither men nor jinn tell you this, Muhammad?’ He said: ‘You know well that it is from God and that I am the apostle of God. You will find it written IN THE TORAH YOU HAVE.’ They said: ‘When God sends an apostle He does for him what he wishes, so bring down a book to us from heaven that we may read it and know what it is, otherwise we will produce one like the one you bring.’ So God sent down concerning their words: ‘Say, Though men and jinn should meet to produce the like of this Quran they would not produce its like though one helped the other.’
Huyayy, Ka’b, Abu Rafi‘, Ashya‘, and Shamwil said to ‘Abdullah b. Sallam when he became a Muslim, ‘There is no prophecy among the Arabs, but your master is a king.’ Then they went to the apostle and asked him about Dhu’l-Qarnayn and he told them what God had sent him about him from what he had already narrated to Quraysh. They were of those who ordered Quraysh to ask the apostle about him when they sent al-Nadr and ‘Uqba to them. (Ibid., pp. 269-270; bold, underline and capital emphasis ours)
Musa b. ‘Uqba stated, “The hypocrites took advantage of the mourning of the Muslims to further sadden them and divide them from the Messenger of God. The deceit of the Jews was evident and all Medina boiled with hypocrisy.”
The Jews said, “If he really were indeed a prophet, they would not have defeated him, and he would not have suffered such losses at their hand. But he’s just ambitious to establish a domain under his own absolute control.” (Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), Volume III, p. 2, p. 67; bold emphasis ours)
Muhammad simply refused to accept the fact that according to the inspired Scriptures of the Jews he was nothing more than a false prophet who stood condemned by the God of the Torah.
Once Muhammad saw that the Jews wouldn’t accept him he then resorted to threatening them with violence if they didn’t convert to his false religion:
VI: Expelling the Jews from the Arabian peninsula
‘Umar said that the Prophet said, “We will let you remain in that as long as Allah lets you remain there.”
2996. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, “While we were in the mosque, the Messenger of Allah came out and said, ‘Go to the Jews.’ We went out until we came to the house of al-Midras. He said, ‘Become Muslim AND YOU WILL BE SAFE. Know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Messenger. I want to expel you from this land. Whoever of you has some property should sell it. However, the earth belongs to Allah and His Messenger.’” (Bewley, Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 63. Chapters on the Jizya and Truces; capital and italic emphasis ours)
In fact, Muhammad’s threats to the Jews started the moment he entered Medina!
Imam Ahmad stated, “‘Abd al-Samad b. ‘Abd al-Warith related to us, quoting his father, who quoted ‘Abd al-‘Aziz b. Suhayb, who quoted Anas b. Malik, as follows: ‘The Messenger of God set out for Medina with Abu Bakr riding behind him on the same mount. Abu Bakr was an elderly man who was well known, whereas the Messenger of God, was youthful and not known …
“‘The Messenger of God and Abu Bakr then rode on, the ansar all around them fully armed.
“‘In Medina people were saying, “The Prophet of God has come!” And they raised their glances to him, repeating that the Prophet had come.
“‘He proceeded on and dismounted besides the house of Abu Ayyub.
“‘While he was talking to members of his household ‘Abd Allah b. Salam heard of him while working in a palm-grove belonging to his family. He quickly stopped what he was doing, she accompanying him, heard the Messenger of God then went back to his people.
“‘The Messenger of God asked, “Which of our people’s houses is closest?” Abu Ayyub replied, “Mine, O Messenger of God; this is my house, this my door.” He asked, “Then go and prepare a place for us to rest.” He went and did so, then returned and said, “O Messenger of God, I have prepared a place for your siesta. Do come, with God’s blessings.” They did so.
“‘Now that the Messenger of God had arrived, ‘Abd Allah b. Salam came to him and said, “I bear witness that you are really the Prophet of God, that you have brought the truth. The Jews know me as their leader and the son of their former leader, their most learned man and son of their former most learned man. Call them and ask.”
“‘When they came the Messenger of God addressed them, “O Jews, WOE UPON YOU! FEAR GOD! By the God other than whom there is none, you well know that I am truly the Messenger of God, and I bring you the truth. Accept Islam!”
“‘But three times, they replied, “WE DO NOT KNOW THIS.”’”
Al-Bukhari alone relates this thus, on the authority of a Muhammad not further identified and also from ‘Abd al-Samad. (Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), translated by professor Trevor Le Gassick, reviewed by Dr. Ahmed Fareed [Garnet Publishing Limited, 8 Southern Court, south Street Reading RG1 4QS, UK; The Center for Muslim Contribution to Civilization: First paperback edition, 2000], Volume II, pp. 181-182; bold and capital emphasis ours)
In the account of al-Bukhari, through ‘Abd al-‘Aziz b. Suhayb from Anas, “When the Prophet arrived, ‘Abd Allah b. Salam came to him and said, ‘I bear witness that you are the Messenger of God and that you bring the truth. The Jews recognize me as their leader and the son of their leader, their most learned man and the son of their most learned man. Summon them and ask them about me before they know that I have embraced Islam, because if they know I have done so they will say of me things that are untrue.’
“The Messenger of God then sent for the Jews and when they came he asked them, ‘O Jews, WOE ON YOU! FEAR GOD! For, by God other than whom there is none, you certainly know that I am truly the Messenger of God, in truth, and that I bring you the truth. Therefore accept Islam!’ They replied, ‘WE DO NOT KNOW IT.’ Three times this was repeated. Then the Messenger of God asked, ‘Which of your men is ‘Abd Allah b. Salam?’
“They replied, ‘That is our leader, and the son of our leader, our most learned man and the son of our most learned man.’ He then asked, ‘What would you think if he accepted Islam?’ They replied, ‘God forbid! He would never accept Islam!’
“The Messenger of God then called out, ‘Ibn Salam, come on out to them!’
“When he did so he addressed them as follows, ‘O Jews, fear God! By God other than whom there is none, you do certainly know that he is the Messenger of God, and that he brings you the truth.’ They replied, ‘No, you are lying!’ Thereupon the Messenger of God sent them away.” (Ibid., pp. 194-195; bold and capital emphasis ours)
THE ATTACK ON AL-FURU‘ OF BUHRAN
Ibn Ishaq stated, “He [Muhammad] remained for almost all of Rabi‘ al-Awwal in Medina, but then mounted an expedition against Quraysh.”
Ibn Hisham stated, “He appointed Ibn Umm Maktum in command of Medina.”
Ibn Ishaq went on, “He continued on to Buhran, a mine in Hijaz over towards al-Furu‘.”
Al-Waqidi stated, “The Messenger of God was absent from Medina for only ten days.” But God knows best.
An Account of the Jews of Banu Qaynuqa‘ who dwelt in Medina.
Al-Waqidi claimed that this relates to a Saturday (during the first) half of Shawwal in 2 AH. But God knows best.
It is to them that reference is made in the words of the Almighty: “Like those shortly prior to them; they experienced the ugly consequences of what they did and they shall have painful punishment” (surat al-Hashr, LIX, v. 15).
Ibn Ishaq stated, “It was at the time of these raids made by the Messenger of God that the affair of the Banu Qaynuqa‘ arose.
“People say that the Messenger of God assembled them in the market and addressed them, saying: ‘O Jews, beware of God afflicting you as He did Quraysh. And so accept Islam. You well know that I am a prophet sent with a mission; you find that to be so in your Book and in God’s pact with you.’
“They responded, ‘Muhammad, do you think we are your people? Don’t delude yourself, just because you did battle with those who lacked knowledge of warfare, and so you could take advantage of them. If you fight against us, you’ll find us to be real men.’” (Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), Volume III, p. 2; comments within brackets and bold and underline emphasis ours)
Al-Tabari provides some additional details:
Abu Ja‘far (al-Tabari) says: The Messenger of God remained in Medina after his return from Badr. When he first came to Medina he had a compact with its Jews that they would not aid anyone against him and that if the enemy attacked there they would come to his aid. After the Messenger of God KILLED MANY POLYTHEISTS AT BADR, (the Jews) were envious and behaved badly towards him, saying, “Muhammad has not met anyone who is good at fighting. Had he met us, he would have had a battle which would be unlike a battle with anyone else.” They also infringed [sic] the contract in various ways.
According to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Muhammad b. Ishaq: What happened with regard to the Banu Qaynuqa‘ was that the Messenger of God assembled them in the Market of the Banu Qaynuqa‘ and said, “O Jews, beware lest God bring on you the like of the retribution which he brought on Quraysh. Accept Islam, for you know that I am a prophet sent by God. You will find this in your scriptures and in God’s covenant with you.” They replied, “Muhammad, do you think that we are like your people? Do not be deluded by the fact that you met a people with no knowledge of war and that you made good use of your opportunity. By God, if you fight us you will know that we are real men!”
According to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Muhammad b. Ishaq – ‘Asim, b. ‘Umar b. Qatadah: The Banu Qaynuqa were the first Jews to infringe [sic] the agreement between them and the Messenger of God; they took to arms between Badr and Uhud.
According to Al-Harith – Ibn Sa‘d – Muhammad b. ‘Umar – Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah – al-Zuhri: The campaign of the Messenger of God against the Banu Qaynuqa‘ was in Shawwal (which began March 27, 624) in the second year of the Hijrah.
According to al-Zuhri – ‘Urwah: Gabriel brought the following verse down to the Messenger of God: “And if thou fearest treachery from any folk, then throw back to them their treaty fairly.” When Gabriel had finished delivering this verse, the Messenger of God said, “I fear the Banu Qaynuqa‘.”
‘Urwah says: It was on the basis of this verse that the Messenger of God advanced upon them.
According to Al-Waqidi – Muhammad b. Salih – ‘Asim b. ‘Umar b. Qatadah: The Messenger of God besieged them for fifteen days and prevented any of them from getting out. They then surrendered at the discretion of the Messenger of God. They were fettered, and he wanted to kill them, but ‘Abd Allah b. Ubayy spoke to him on their behalf.
Resumption of the narrative of Ibn Ishaq – ‘Asim b. ‘Umar b. Qatadah.
The Messenger of God besieged them until they surrendered at his discretion. ‘Abd Allah b. Ubayy b. Salul rose up when God had put them in his power, and said, “Muhammad, treat my mawali well”; for they were the confederates of the Khazraj. The Prophet delayed his answer, so ‘Abd Allah repeated, “Muhammad, treat my mawali well.” The Prophet turned away from him, and he put his hand into (the Messenger’s) collar. The Messenger of God said, “Let me go!” – he was so angry that they could see shadows in his face (that is, his face coloured). Then he said, “Damn you, let me go!” He replied, “No, by God, I will not let you go until you treat my mawali well. Four hundred men without armour and three hundred men with coats of mail, who defended me from the Arab and the non-Arab alike, AND YOU WOULD MOW THEM DOWN IN A SINGLE MORNING? BY GOD, I DO NOT FEEL SAFE AND AM AFRAID OF WHAT THE FUTURE HAS IN STORE.” So the Messenger of God said, “They are yours.”
According to Abu Ja‘far (al-Tabari) – Muhammad b. ‘Umar – Muhammad b. Salih – ‘Asim b. ‘Umar b. Qatadah. The Prophet said, “Let them go; may God curse them, and may he curse (‘Abd Allah b. Ubayy) with them. Then the Messenger gave orders to expel them and God gave their property AS BOOTY TO HIS MESSENGER AND THE MUSLIMS… (The History of al-Tabari –The Foundation of the Community, translated by M. V. McDonald and annotated by W. Montgomery Watt [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1987], Volume VII, pp. 85-87; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Notice how Allah justifies Muhammad’s attacks on the Jews on the basis of a mere suspicion! Amazingly, it took a so-called Muslim hypocrite named Abdallah b. Ubayy to rescue the Jews, one who showed more compassion for human life than a so-called prophet of God!
What makes this even more interesting is that Abdallah’s statements indicate that the Jews got along perfectly well with the Arab tribes of Medina such as the Khazraj. It wasn’t until Muhammad came along and caused problems that these Arab tribes ended up turning against their Jewish confederates.
More importantly, notice just how ridiculous al-Tabari’s claim is that the Banu Qaynuqa infringed on their agreement by taking up arms. Does anyone blame the Jews for wanting to arm themselves in order to protect their lives and wealth from Muhammad’s threat against them? Which Muslim would ever condemn their fellow believers for gathering weapons in order to arm themselves against a nation that threatens them with violence and slaughter if they refuse to convert or surrender? Would any Muslim condemn their Palestinian brothers for attacking and bombing Israeli settlements as a protest against the Jews “stealing” their land and making their lives “miserable”?
If not then why should the Banu Qaynuqa Jews be considered treacherous when they were simply doing what any of us would do when a tyrant comes threatening our lives and safety? Didn’t these Jews have every right to bear arms in order to protect themselves against Muhammad’s threat of slaughter for refusing to believe that he was a true prophet of God?
Besides, even the Quranic text which was “sent down” to justify the attack on the Jews doesn’t say that the Jews actually broke the covenant:
If you (O Muhammad) fear treachery from any people throw back (their covenant) to them (so as to be) on equal terms (that there will be no more covenant between you and them). Certainly Allah likes not the treacherous. S. 8:58 Hilali-Khan
The verse plainly says that Muhammad can break any treaty if he merely fears or suspects treachery from anyone. In other words, it was Muhammad who broke the agreement on the mere grounds of his suspecting and accusing the Jews of treachery! (1)
Thus, it turns out that Abdallah’s words were rather prophetic and that he was totally justified in feeling unsafe from Muhammad’s treachery and thirst for violence.
These particular references refute Zawadi’s assertion that Muhammad’s threats could have two possible meanings:
First, either it meant that the Jews needed to convert to Islam in order to be safe from Allah’s wrath on the Day of Judgment.
Secondly, it meant that they physically needed to be safe from the Muslims if they didn’t convert to Islam and the Prophet also wanted to have them exiled from their land.
Muhammad’s warning that the same fate that befell the Quraysh would also befall the Jews and his claim that he desired to expel them from their own lands indicates that Muhammad clearly intended to cause them physical harm.
The foregoing data also refutes Zawadi’s following claim:
The Prophet did not go utter these statements to the Jews while they had a peace treaty with each other!
Contrary to Zawadi’s assertion, the quotations which I just provided show that Muhammad had already started harassing and threatening the Jews from the very moment he first stepped foot in Medina. This proves that Muhammad’s real intention in making a treaty with them was to win them over to his religion. After he saw that they wouldn’t believe in him his true motives and feelings towards them then surfaced resulting in the extermination and/or expulsion of Jews from the Arabian Peninsula:
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
Umar expelled the Jews and the Christians from Hijaz. When Allah’s Apostle had conquered Khaibar, he wanted to expel the Jews from it as its land became the property of Allah, His Apostle, and the Muslims. Allah’s Apostle intended to expel the Jews but they requested him to let them stay there on the condition that they would do the labor and get half of the fruits. Allah’s Apostle told them, “We will let you stay on thus condition, as long as we wish.” So, they (i.e. Jews) kept on living there until ‘Umar forced them to go towards Taima’ and Ariha’. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 39, Number 531)
Chapter 20: EVACUATION OF THE JEWS FROM THE HIJAZ
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira who said: We were (sitting) in the mosque when the Messenger of Allah came to us and said: (Let us) go to the Jews. We went out with him until we came to them. The Messenger of Allah stood up and called out to them (saying): O ye assembly of Jews, accept Islam (and) you will be safe. They said: Abu’l-Qasim, you have communicated (God’s Message to us). The Messenger of Allah said: I want this (i.e. you should admit that God’s Message has been communicated to you), accept Islam and you would be safe. They said: Abu’l-Qasim, you have communicated (Allah’s Message). The Messenger of Allah said: I want this… – He said to them (the same words) the third time (and on getting the same reply) he added: You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I wish that I should expel you from this land. Those of you who have any property with them should sell it, otherwise they should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle (and they may have to go away leaving everything behind). (Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4363)
It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that the Jews of Banu Nadir and Banu Quraizi fought against the Messenger of Allah who expelled Banu Nadir, and allowed Quraiza to stay on, and granted favour to them until they too fought against him. Then he killed their men, and distributed their women, children and properties among the Muslims, except that some of them had joined the Messenger of Allah who granted them security. They embraced Islam. The Messenger of Allah turned out all the Jews of Medina, Banu Qainuqa’ (the tribe of ‘Abdullah b. Salim) and the Jews of Banu Haritha and every other Jew who was in Medina. (Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4364)
It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattab that he heard the Messenger of Allah say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim. (Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4366)
Thus, the Jews were thoroughly justified in turning against Muhammad and siding with his enemies seeing that he had started to harass them the moment he entered Medina and threatened to inflict on them the same harm and punishment that he had afflicted on the Quraysh.
Interestingly, even one of the very sources that Zawadi quotes indirectly provides a valid reason why the Jews wanted to turn against Muhammad:
During the process of fighting, Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh was shot by an arrow that pierced his artery. Perceiving his end approaching, he invoked Allâh saying: “Oh, Allâh, you know nothing is closer to my heart than striving in Your way against those people (disbelievers) who belied Your Messenger and banished him from his town. Oh, Allâh, I deeply believe that You have decreed that we should fight them, so if there is still more fighting to go with them, let me stay alive in order to strive more against them. If it has settled down, I beseech you to ignite it again so that I breathe my last in its context.”[Sahih Al-Bukhari 3/591] He concluded his supplication beseeching Allâh not to let him die until he had had full revenge on Banu Quraiza. In the midst of these difficult circumstances, plottery and intrigues were in fervent action against the Muslims. The chief criminal of Bani Nadir, Huyai, headed for the habitations of Banu Quraiza to incite their chief Ka‘b bin Asad Al-Qurazi, who had drawn a pact with the Messenger of Allâh to run to his aid in times of war. Ka‘b, in the beginning resisted all Huyai’s temptation, but Huyai was clever enough to manipulate him, speaking of Quraish and their notables in Al-Asyal, as well as Ghatfan and their chieftains entrenched in Uhud, all in one mind, determined to exterminate Muhammad and his followers. He, moreover, promised to stay in Ka‘b’s fort exposing himself to any potential danger in case Quraish and Ghatfan recanted. The wicked man went on in this manner until he later managed to win Ka‘b to his side and persuade him to break his covenant with the Muslims. [Ibn Hisham 3/337] Banu Quraiza then started to launch war operations against the Muslims especially the secluded garrisons that housed the women and children of the Muslims. On the authority of Ibn Ishaq, Safiyah, daughter of ‘Abdul Muttalib happened to be in a garrison with Hassan bin Thabit as well as some women and children. Safiyah said: “A Jew was spotted lurking around our site, which was vulnerable to any enemy attacks because there were no men to defend it. I informed Hassan that I was suspicious of that man’s presence near us. He might take us by surprise now that the Messenger of Allâh and the Muslims are too busy to come to our aid, why don’t you get down and kill him? Hassan answered that he would not do it, so I took a bar of wood, went down and struck the Jew to death. I returned and asked Hassan to loot him but again Hassan refused to do that.[ibid 2/228] This event had a far reaching effect and discouraged the Jews from conducting further attacks thinking that those sites were fortified and protected by Muslim fighters. They, however, went on providing the idolaters with supplies in token of their support against the Muslims. (Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (THE SEALED NECTAR), The Confederates Invasion; bold emphasis ours)
According to this reference the two leaders of Bani Nadir and Banu Qurayza decided to join the ranks of the Quraysh and their allies against the Muslims in order to exterminate Muhammad and his band of terrorists. Now why is this significant?
Recall that the reason why the Quraysh were even fighting Muslims is because Muhammad used to send out some of his bandits to attack and raid the Meccan caravans in order to rob them of their merchandise. During one of these expeditions the Meccans were ready for the Muslim attack and a battle took place between them which became known as the battle of Badr. The Quraysh knew that Muhammad would not leave them alone until he had conquered them and so decided to do something about it.
The Jews realizing that Muhammad was a false prophet and a tyrant who sought to impose his religion and will upon them saw this as a golden opportunity to get rid of him.
For more on the issue of Muhammad harassing and antagonizing the Meccans we recommend the following article and rebuttal:
But there is more to Zawadi’s problems. According to al-Bukhari, the Jew who went to see Muhammad when the latter had first arrived to Medina asked Muhammad specific questions to ascertain whether he was a true prophet or not.
When ‘Abdullah bin Salam heard the arrival of the Prophet at Medina, he came to him and said, “I am going to ask you about three things WHICH NOBODY KNOWS EXCEPT A PROPHET: What is the first portent of the Hour? What will be the first meal taken by the people of Paradise? Why does a child resemble its father, and why does it resemble ITS MATERNAL UNCLE?” Allah’s Apostle said, “Gabriel has just now told me of their answers.” ‘Abdullah said, “He (i.e. Gabriel), from amongst all the angels, is the enemy of the Jews.” Allah’s Apostle said, “The first portent of the Hour will be a fire that will bring together the people from the east to the west; the first meal of the people of Paradise will be Extra-lobe (caudate lobe) of fish-liver. As for the resemblance of the child to its parents: If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife and gets discharge first, the child will resemble the father, and if the woman gets discharge first, the child will resemble her.” On that ‘Abdullah bin Salam said, “I testify that you are the Apostle of Allah.” ‘Abdullah bin Salam further said, “O Allah’s Apostle! THE JEWS ARE LIARS, and if they should come to know about my conversion to Islam before you ask them (about me), they would tell a lie about me.” The Jews came to Allah’s Apostle and ‘Abdullah went inside the house. Allah’s Apostle asked (the Jews), “What kind of man is ‘Abdullah bin Salam amongst you?” They replied, “He is the most learned person amongst us, and the best amongst us, and the son of the best amongst us.” Allah’s Apostle said, “What do you think if he embraces Islam (will you do as he does)?” The Jews said, “May Allah save him from it.” Then ‘Abdullah bin Salam came out in front of them saying, “I testify that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah.” Thereupon they said, “He is the evilest among us, and the son of the evilest amongst us,” and continued talking badly of him. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 546)
Ibn Kathir narrates a similar version from al-Bayhaqi:
“… He [ibn Salam] went to the Prophet and said, ‘I shall ask you three things for which ONLY a prophet would know the answers. They are … And what causes a child to resemble his father or his mother?’
“He replied, ‘Gabriel told me of these previously… And if the male’s liquid precedes that of the female, he will resemble the child, while if the FEMALE’S LIQUID precedes that of the male, she will resemble the child.’
“‘Abd Allah bin Salam exclaimed, ‘I testify that there is not god but God and that you are the Messenger of God; O Messenger of God, the Jews are a people of liars. If they learn about my accepting Islam before you ask them about me, they will lie to you.’” (The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), Volume II, p. 195; comments within brackets as well as bold, capital and italic emphasis ours)
These reports pose serious problems not only for the credibility of Muhammad but also for the testimony of ibn Salam. They contain both a major scientific blunder and a serious logical fallacy since there is a problem in ibn Salam’s reasoning.
First, if the Jews are liars then what does this make ibn Salam? Isn’t he Jewish? Isn’t he therefore a liar as well? What reason is there to exempt him from this judgment? There is no evidence that Jews are liars anymore than other people. There are liars among them, and there are honest people among them which even the Quran recognizes:
Among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is he who, if entrusted with a Cantar (a great amount of wealth, etc.), will readily pay it back; and among them there is he who, if entrusted with a single silver coin, will not repay it unless you constantly stand demanding, because they say: “There is no blame on us to betray and take the properties of the illiterates (Arabs).” But they tell a lie against Allah while they know it. S. 3:75 Hilali-Khan
Not all of them are alike; a party of the people of the Scripture stand for the right, they recite the Verses of Allah during the hours of the night, prostrating themselves in prayer. They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin Al-Ma’ruf (Islamic Monotheism, and following Prophet Muhammad) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and opposing Prophet Muhammad); and they hasten in (all) good works; and they are among the righteous. S. 3:113-114 Hilali-Khan
And there are, certainly, among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), those who believe in Allah and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before Allah. They do not sell the Verses of Allah for a little price, for them is a reward with their Lord. Surely, Allah is Swift in account. S. 3:199 Hilali-Khan
Ibn Salam is simply slandering his own people and apparently trying to kiss up to Muhammad. He was smart and had recognized that the future of power in the region lay with Muhammad, so he wanted to align himself with him. And he also knew that the Jews who were faithful to their Scriptures had no other option but to reject Muhammad, and thus get into trouble. Ibn Salam wanted to be among the victors and was designing his defection.
Second, here is the serious logical problem with ibn Salam’s claims: if only a prophet would know the answers to the three questions which ibn Salam posed to Muhammad then how did he know the answers? How did ibn Salam know that Muhammad answered correctly? Doesn’t this prove that ibn Salam must have also been a prophet? Again, notice the logic behind this:
- Nobody knows the answers to ibn Salam’s three questions except a prophet.
- Ibn Salam knew the answers to these questions.
- Therefore, ibn Salam must have been a prophet!
Either that, or Ibn Salam was not interested in a genuine test, merely in a pretext to switch sides. Or, the third alternative is that Ibn Salam was so blind that he did not see the logical problem with this alleged test, and thus he is not somebody we would trust to be able to distinguish a false prophet from a true one.
More importantly, Muhammad’s answer regarding why a child looks like his maternal uncle, i.e. his mother’s brother, was grossly mistaken. Notice the question and Muhammad’s reply:
“Why does a child resemble its father, and why does it resemble ITS MATERNAL UNCLE?” Allah’s Apostle said, “Gabriel has just now told me of their answers … As for the resemblance of the child to its parents: If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife and gets discharge first, the child will resemble the father, and if the woman gets discharge first, the child will resemble her.”
According to Muhammad Gabriel informed him that the child will look either like his father or maternal uncle depending on whoever discharges their liquid first, i.e. if the man happens to climax before the woman then the offspring will look like him but if the woman does so then the child will physically resemble her side of the family.
However, neither a man’s discharge or liquid nor a woman’s has anything to do with a child physically resembling his father’s side or his mother’s. This is simply a blatant scientific error which Muhammad attributed to Gabriel, which in turn means that Allah is the source of Muhammad’s gross scientific blunder and mistaken notion of genetics.
So the Jews were right, ibn Salam was indeed a liar!
This suggests that ibn Salam was simply duping Muhammad into believing his lies which the latter fell for hook, line and sinker! This in turn proves that Muhammad was a false prophet and that the real Gabriel never spoke to him.
Or, it shows that Muhammad simply parroted the mistaken scientific understanding and folklore of that time. In other words, Muhammad promoted the same ignorant and mistaken views concerning science and other issues which his contemporaries believed and yet he tried to pass this knowledge off as revelations from God. In so doing Muhammad made God the author of these myths and scientific blunders.
Thus, both Muhammad and ibn Salam were simply parroting the superstitions and fables of their people, and yet today, knowing the scientific truth, Muhammad’s mistaken answer is devastating to his credibility as a prophet.
Before I conclude I would like to address a final comment made by Zawadi. I had quoted the following narrative:
When Allah’s Apostle returned on the day (of the battle) of Al-Khandaq (i.e. Trench), he put down his arms and took a bath. Then Gabriel whose head was covered with dust, came to him saying, “You have put down your arms! By Allah, I have not put down my arms yet.” Allah’s Apostle said, “Where (to go now)?“”Gabriel said, “This way,” pointing towards the tribe of Bani Quraiza. So Allah’s Apostle went out towards them. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 68)
And asked if the Banu Qurayza were really a threat then why did Muhammad and his warriors lay down their arms? Why didn’t they immediately address the threat in order to make sure that their lives were not in jeopardy? Here is Zawadi’s reply:
The Muslims were absolutely exhausted from the one month siege. They were starving, thirsty and tired. There were even reports that the Prophet would tie a rock to his belly during the siege due to hunger because of the lack of food (this was because the Muslims had to build a trench around a key part of city and were surrounded and there was a shortage of supplies coming into the city). Furthermore, they knew that the Jews were not an immediate threat when their allies ran away. Is it really such a big surprise for us to see that the Muslims wanted to relax a little bit before proceeding on to the next battle? Shamoun, really needs to start working his brain a little better, for he is asking very stupid questions.
If my questions are stupid it is only because Zawadi is incapable of understanding my points and has a hard time actually comprehending what he reads. In the first place if the Muslims were really that exhausted then why did “Gabriel” come on the very day the battle of Uhud had ended? Didn’t he realize that the Muslim jihadists were in no physical condition to fight and were in desperate need of rest?
Moreover, why did Muhammad bother to ask “Gabriel” where he was going? Didn’t he know that the obvious answer was to the Banu Qurayza since they were an immediate danger to the safety of the Muslims?
Doesn’t Muhammad’s question actually prove that these Jews posed no impending threat to him and that he simply needed some justification to exterminate them? And what better excuse to murder 600-900 Jews then to claim that this was a direct order from Allah which he had to carry out on the Banu Qurayza for supposedly betraying him?
In light of the foregoing, does anyone blame the Jews for wanting to fight Muhammad and get rid of him? Would Zawadi condemn any Muslim group today who decided to take a stand against a dictator that was threatening their lives for refusing to except his claim of being a prophet of Allah? Of course he wouldn’t. Then why does he condemn the Jews for taking a stand against Muhammad’s tyranny when they could clearly see from their Scriptures that he wasn’t a prophet?
Why should Zawadi object to the Jews desiring to get rid of Muhammad when the very Torah which his own prophet appealed to and confirmed commands the Israelites to shun and/or kill any false prophet who arises in their midst?
“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” Deuteronomy 13:1-5
“And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:19-22
Moreover, isn’t it rather evident that the only reason why Muhammad even made a treaty with the Jews is because he thought he could win them over to his cause and religion? Doesn’t this explain why when he saw that they had no interest in embracing him as a prophet he became violent and turned against them?
To those who by the grace of the Triune God have been given eyes to see and ears to hear it is pretty clear what Muhammad’s true intentions were.
Thus, our examination of the sirah literature shows that Muhammad threatened and harassed the Jews of Medina much like he did to the pagans in Mecca. Therefore, Muhammad was the actual perpetrator and cause of all these problems which led to violent crimes and unnecessary bloodshed. Zawadi needs to simply face reality and come to terms with these facts.
Lord Jesus willing, I will be addressing some of the other smokescreens Zawadi raised in his feeble attempt to justify Muhammad’s crimes against humanity in due time.
(1) This again simply provides another example of Muhammad’s gross inconsistency. It highlights that Muhammad applied a different standard for himself than the one he imposed on others.
For example, Muhammad entered into a ten year peace agreement with the Meccans, known as the treaty of al-Hudaybiyyah, where he fully submitted to all their stipulations. One of the conditions which Muhammad agreed to was that in the case that any man or woman defected to the Muslim camp Muhammad was obligated to return them back to the Meccans. However, Muhammad broke his agreement by refusing to send some women who had come to him back with their guardians and claimed that Allah had ordered him to break that part of the treaty! Ibn Kathir explains:
After Al-Hudaybiyyah, Emigrant Muslim Women may not be returned to the Disbelievers
In Surat Al-Fath, we related the story of the treaty at Al-Hudaybiyyah that was conducted between the Messenger of Allah and the disbelievers of Quraysh. In that treaty, there were these words, “Everyman (in another narration, EVERY PERSON) who reverts from our side to your side, should be returned to us, even if he is a follower of your religion.” This was said by `Urwah, Ad-Dahhak, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd, Az-Zuhri, Muqatil bin Hayyan and As-Suddi.
So according to this narration, this Ayah specifies and explains the Sunnah. And this is the best case of understanding. Yet according to another view of some of the Salaf, it abrogates it.
Allah the Exalted and Most High ordered His faithful servants to test the faith of women who emigrate to them. When they are sure that they are faithful, they should not send them back to the disbelievers, for the disbelievers are not allowed for them and they are not allowed for the disbelievers. In the biography of `Abdullah bin Abi Ahmad bin Jahsh in Al-Musnad Al-Kabir, we also mentioned that `Abdullah bin Abi Ahmad said, “Umm Kulthum bint `Uqbah bin Abi Mu`ayt emigrated and her brothers, `Umarah and Al-Walid, went after her. They came to Allah’s Messenger and talked to him about Umm Kulthum and asked that she be returned to them. ALLAH ABOLISHED THE PART OF THE TREATY BETWEEN THE PROPHET AND THE IDOLATORS ABOUT THE WOMEN PARTICULARLY. So He forbade returning Muslim women to the idolators and revealed the Ayah about testing them” …
<Likewise do not keep disbelieving women,>
Then `Umar bin Al-Khattab divorced two of his wives, who were idolatresses, and one of them got married to Mu`awiyah bin Abi Sufyan, while the other got married to Safwan bin Umayyah.
Ibn Thawr narrated that Ma`mar said that Az-Zuhri said, “This Ayah was revealed to Allah’s Messenger while he was in the area of Al-Hudaybiyyah, after making peace. He agreed that WHOEVER COMES from the Quraysh to his side, WILL BE RETURNED TO MAKKAH. When some women came, this Ayah was revealed. Allah commanded that the dowery that was paid to these women be returned to their husbands. Allah also ordered that if some Muslim women revert to the side of the idolators, the idolators should return their dowery to their Muslim husbands … (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 60:10: *; *; capital and underline emphasis ours)
Ibn Ishaq added in his account: Umm Kulthum bt. ‘Uqbah b. Abi Mu‘ayt emigrated to the Messenger of God during that period. Her brothers, ‘Umarah and al-Walid b. ‘Uqbah, went to the Messenger of God to ask him to return her to them ACCORDING TO THE TREATY BETWEEN HIM AND QURAYSH AT AL-HUDAYBIYAH, BUT HE DID NOT DO SO: GOD HAD REJECTED IT. (The History of al-Tabari – The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1997], Volume VIII, p. 92; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
Thus, it was perfectly alright for Muhammad to break treaties and to deal treacherously with his opponents as long as they didn’t do the same to him!
For more on Muhammad violating his agreement with the Meccans we recommend the following articles and rebuttals: