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The Bani Quraytha Jews
Traitors or Betrayed?
Their article is located at: http://www.answering-islam.org/Muhammad/Jews/BQurayza/treaty.html
When Mohammed first entered Yathrib (Al-Madina Al-Munawwarah), he was counting on the support of its people. One particular ethnic group he thought would give more authority to his prophethood were the Jews because they had the Torah and all the previous Prophets were Jewish.
The Jews were many in Yathrib and its suburbs. There were the Bani Al-Nadheer Jews, the Bani Qaynuqa' Jews, the Bani Quraytha Jews, and several more. The Jews were rich and successful in their businesses. A great asset to the young Islamic Nation.
At first, Mohammed was trying to befriend the Jews and get them on his side. He insisted that the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) worship the same God [Quran Surah 29:46]. He said that the same God sent down the Torah [Quran Surah 5:48]. He ordered the Muslims to fast Aashoora' or the Passover [Saheeh Bukhari - 2004]. Even the Qibla (the direction the Muslims face in prayer) was towards Jerusalem - the same direction the Jews faced in prayer [Saheeh Bukhari - 41].
But no matter how hard Mohammed tried to convince them that he is a prophet he just couldn't. Once he even barged into a Jewish Synagogue in Yathrib (Al-Madina Al-Munawwarah) and said that if only twelve Jews would believe in him then Allah would spare them his wrath [Musnad Ahmad - 23464].
When he realized that the Jews wouldn't believe in him, and that their unbelief would turn against him, because they have the Torah which has the criteria for any prophet, he realized that they should be eliminated. So at first he switched the Qibla (the direction the Muslims face in prayer) from Jerusalem to Mecca [Quran Surah 2:144 and Saheeh Bukhari - 41]. Then warned them; they either become Muslims and be safe, or sell their possessions and leave their land [Saheeh Muslim - 1765 & 1767 and Sunan Abi Dawood - 3003].
Mohammed marched towards the Jews in order to either exile them or make a treaty with them. The Bani Al-Nadheer Jews refused to make a treaty with Mohammed so they fought against him, lost, and subsequently were exiled. The Bani Quraytha Jews saw the fate of their Bani Al-Nadheer brethren so they had no choice but to make a peace treaty with him [Saheeh Muslim - 1766 and Sunan Abi Dawood - 3004].
Yet Mohammed was determined that all Jews should be either exiled or killed - he was set on their elimination. He cannot simply break the treaty with Bani Quraytha though because it would be bad for his image as a Prophet who's supposed to keep his promises and treaties. He strongly emphasized the importance of keeping treaties [Quran Surah 9:4 and Saheeh Bukhari - 33]. So his only way out was to make it appear as though Bani Quraytha were the ones who broke the treaty.
Ghazwat Al-Khandaq (The Battle of the Trench or Ditch) came. The Pagan Arab tribes retreated and Mohammed was ready for battle. Mohammed went to the Bani Quraytha Jews and eliminated them because it was claimed that they betrayed the Muslims and renounced the treaty, but did they?
The Battle of Al-Khandaq (Trench) and The Battle of Bani Quraytha
Quraysh and Ghatfan, encouraged by the exiled Bani Al-Nadheer Jews, wanted to eliminate Mohammed once and for all. They gathered up a great army and put Yathrib under siege [Saheeh Bukhari - 4103]. Mohammed , based on a suggestion by Salman Al-Farisi, dug a trench around Yathrib [Saheeh Bukhari - 2837], except for the Bani Quraytha side that is, because they had great fortresses and it would be practically impossible for the Pagan Arabs to get through their fortresses unless Bani Quraytha allowed it. Now since Mohammed and Bani Quraytha had a treaty, Mohammed had nothing to fear [Saheeh Muslim - 1766 and Sunan Abi Dawood - 3004]. Thus all was set.
Now the siege has started, Mohammed was running low on food and resources [Saheeh Bukhari - 4101 and Musnad Ahmad - 13808], his companions were terrified [Saheeh Bukhari - 4103 and Musnad Ahmad - 10613], and above all that it was rumored that Bani Quraytha were going to break the treaty between them and Mohammed and let the Pagan Arabs come through their side. But after a while, a sandstorm hit the armies of the Pagan Arabs, and since Bani Quraytha refused to let them in through their fortresses, the armies had no choice but to retreat [Musnad Ahmad - 22823].
Mohammed on the other hand was ready for battle, he had a full army equipped and eager to fight in the name of Allah. The rumors that Bani Quraytha wanted to betray him were his only excuse, that and an order sent from Allah via Jibreel (Gabriel). He went to them, put them under siege for 14 days. Finally they surrendered. So Mohammed killed all their men, enslaved their women and children [Saheeh Muslim - 1769]. Now there was one less Jewish tribe to worry about.
Traitors or Betrayed?
Now it all comes down to this; are the Bani Quraytha Jews traitors or were they betrayed?
First of all, how do we know if a treaty is broken? We cannot simply assume that a treaty is broken because of mere rumors [Quran Surah 49:12]. We can only assume that a treaty is broken if:-
1. The other side officially renounces the treaty
2. The other side does an action which is a direct violation of the treaty
Does any one of the former apply to the Bani Quraytha Jews?
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.
As a matter of fact, the only Hadeeth I found regarding Bani Quraytha's position was one Hadeeth [Musnad Ahmad - 22823] which says that Bani Quraytha actually refused to assist the Pagan Arabs in any way in their assault against Mohammed.
We saw how much Mohammed wanted to get the Jews on his side, but since he couldn't he had to eliminate them. We saw that the Bani Quraytha Jews actually refused to aid the Pagan Arabs or even let them in through their fortresses. Yet Mohammed was determined to eliminate all non-Muslims from Arabia. The Jews were innocent yet that didn't stop him, he marched to Bani Quraytha and ruthlessly slaughtered all their men, enslaved their women and children. He violated the treaty himself, and he was the one who always preached how treaties should be kept.
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.
It all comes down to this, does a true Prophet of God break his treaties?
The Christian critic/Missionary, tries to imply that the Holy Prophet (S) broke the treaty between Banu Quraiza, so let us now read, what really happened to Banu Quraiza:
" As already related the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), when he first settled at Medina, had patched up treaties with the Jews and guaranteed peace and full freedom of life, property and conscience. But when the Quraish wrote to them a threatening and inciting letter, they turned treacherous. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) tried to get the treaty renewed. The Banu Nadir refused and they were banished. The Banu Quraiza concluded a fresh treaty and they were granted peace. These facts have been narrated briefly in Sahih Muslim in the following words: " As reported by 'Abdullah Ibn 'Umar, the Jews of the Banu Nadir and the Quraiza fought with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) banished the Banu Nadir but allowed the Banu Quraiza to stay on and showed them favours.
When the Banu Nadir had been banished, their leading chiefs, Huyayy Ibn Akhtab, Abu Rafi and Sallam Ibn Abi Al-Huquaiq had migrated to Khaibar and got recognised as leading chiefs. The battle of the Trenches was but the results of their machinations. They travelled far and near agitating the tribes till the whole country rose up in arms and attacked Medina in alliance with the Quraish. The Jews of the Banu Quraiza had a mind to stick to the treaty, but Huyayy Ibn Akhtab won them over with his guiles, promising to re-establish himself at Medina in case the Quraish abandoned the attack; and this promise he fulfilled.
The Banu Quraiza openly took sides in the battle of the Trenches; and when repulsed, brought the greatest enemy of Islam, Huyayy Ibn Akhtab with them. Now there was no way out for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) but to settle accoutns with them once for all."
(Source: Sirat Un Nabi by Allama Shibli Nu'Mani rendered into English by M. Tayyib Bakhsh Budayuni, p.119-120, Volume. II, Kazi Publications Lahore)
" 1. MYTH:
The Banu Qurayza are innocent victims who perished under the sword of Muhammad(P)
Not true at all. On the contrary, the Banu Qurayzah prior to the incident of their so-called "massacre" attempted to betray the Muslims by openly aligning themselves with the Confederate armies (consisting of the pagan Quraysh and their allies) during the beseiging of the city of Madinah, known in history as the "War of the Confederates" (al-Harb al-Adzhaab). This is a significant act of treason, because they had earlier pledged to uphold the Madinan Covenent with the Muslims, which stipulates cooperation and an alliance if the Muslims in Madinah were attacked by a foreign force. "
(Taken from http://www.bismikaallahuma.org/archives/2005/myths-facts-about-the-banu-qurayzah/ )
" Marching upon the Banu Qurayza
When the Allies were routed and turned their backs in flight from the Muslims, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, turned his attention to Banu Qurayza. They had betrayed their agreement with God’s Messenger and been allied with the Quraysh against the Muslims. They had also given asylum to the leaders of Banu Nadir, like Huyay ibn Akhtab, who had been expelled from Madina, and never refrained from conspiracies against the Muslim."
(Source: http://www.thewaytotruth.org/prophetmuhammad/trench.html )
" The Muslims had hardly finished the preparations when the formidable army of the confederates consisting of 24,000 trained warriors, one of the largest forces ever assembled in the history of Arabia, knocked at the gates of Medina with determination to crush Islam. The whole of Arabia was thirsting for Muslim blood. It was critical juncture that a huge number of hypocrites seceded from the Holy Prophet on one pretext or the other. Banu Qurayzah who had been his ally, also deserted to the hostile camp since Huyayy b. Akhtab the head of the Banu Nadir had promised them all kinds of concessions and rewards.
Muhammad (peace be upon him) deuputed Sa'd b. Mu'adh and Sa'd b. 'Ubadah to negotiate with them and persuade them to honour their agreements with the Prophet. All the attempts of these devoted sons of Islam were futile. It was an hour of distress for the Muslims. The Holy Qur'an has referred to this state of affairs in the following words:
When they came upon you from above you and from below you and when eyes turned aside and hearts reached the gullets and of Allah ye were imagining various things. There were the believers proven and shaken with a mighty shaking. And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is disease saying: Allah and His apostle have promised us naught but delusion.' And when a party of them said : O inhabitants of Yathribm there is no place for you, so return.' And a party of them asked leave of the Prophet saying : Veryily our houses lie open; whereas they lay not open; they only wished to flee. (xxxiii:10-13)"
(Source: The Life of Muhammad PBUH by Abdul Hameed Siddiqui, p.208 Islamic Publications LTD.)
So, we can conclude that the "other" side (the Banu Quraiza) renounced the treaty. And that the Muslims did not betray them, however, they were the ones who betrayed the Muslims.
And Allah SWT Knows Best!
An addition from me, Osama Abdallah:
My below responses will be divided into 3 main sections:
Jews' status in the Bible.
2- The Noble Quran is clear about the Jews. Some of them are Great people, and most of them are evil ones.
3- After the Jews' betrayal to the Prophet peace be upon him, it became necessary to punish them and cleanse them out of the Holy Lands.
1- The Jews' status in the Bible:
Now according to the Bible itself, most Jews are people of evil, lies and worst of all, betrayal. Let us look at what the Bible also says about them:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (From the KJV Bible, Matthew 23:37)"
"Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. (From the KJV Bible, Matthew 21:43)"
"You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? "From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you. They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, 'Yes, I knew of them.' You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ear has not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth. For my own name's sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off. (From the NIV Bible, Isaiah 48:6-9)"
"So I will disgrace the dignitaries of your temple, and I will consign Jacob to destruction and Israel to scorn. (From the NIV Bible, Isaiah 43:28)"
"But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment. (From the NIV Bible, Isaiah 50:11)"
Further more from www.answering-christianity.com/bible_quran_differences.htm:
The Bible gives ample evidence of their blasphemy to GOD Almighty. You can read in full details the following Biblical books:
Exodus 32 - They built their golden calf god using their jewelry.
Exodus 34 - The Jews are hard-headed people who don't listen.
Deuteronomy 31 - Moses is concerned about the Jews' future after his death because they are constantly rebellious against the Holy Words and Law of GOD Almighty.
Here are some sample verses from the chapters above:
1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him."
7 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt.
8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'
9 "I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people.
8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. 9 "O Lord, if I have found favor in your eyes," he said, "then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance."
25 he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD :
26 "Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you.
27 For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the LORD while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die!
28 Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to testify against them.
29 For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall upon you because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD and provoke him to anger by what your hands have made."
12 Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, "We will not come!
13 Isn't it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert? And now you also want to lord it over us?
14 Moreover, you haven't brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you gouge out the eyes of these men? No, we will not come!"
10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the LORD appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites.
11 The LORD said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?
12 I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they."
22 not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times-
23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.
24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.
29 If these men die a natural death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the LORD has not sent me.
30 But if the LORD brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt."
31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart
Note: I believe this is where they were transformed into apes and swines according to the Noble Quran. The earth probably never opened up and swallowed them. Or may be it did after they were shown to everyone. Only Allah Almighty Knows about the exact timing.
2- The Noble Quran is clear about the Jews. Some of them are Great people, and most of them are evil ones:
What is the place of the Jews and Christians in Islam?
According to Islam, the righteous people from the Jews and Christians will have their Great Reward from Allah Almighty and will enter Paradise. Let us look at the following Noble Verses:
"And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], those who believe in God, in the revelation to you, and in the revelation to them, bowing in humility to God: They will not sell the Signs of God for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord, and God is swift in account. (The Noble Quran, 3:199)"
"Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous. (The Noble Quran, 3:113-114)"
"Those who believe (in the Quran), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (The Noble Quran, 2:62)"
"Nay,-whoever submits His whole self to God and is a doer of good,- He will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (The Noble Quran, 2:112)"
"Those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (The Noble Quran, 2:277)"
The Righteous and Beloved Jews in the Noble Quran:
"Of the people of Moses (i.e., the Jews) there is a section who guide and do justice in the light of truth. (The Noble Quran, 7:159)"
The above Noble Verses clearly speak about the righteous Jews and Christians who believe in Allah Almighty and do righteousness and will have their Great Reward and enter Paradise.
However, according to Allah Almighty, from among the people of the Book, most of the ones who will gain Paradise are Christians; few of them are Jews. Let us look at the following Noble Verses:
"Strongest among men in enmity to the believers [Muslims] wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, 'We are Christians': because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant. (The Noble Quran, 5:82)"
"The Jews say: 'God's hand is tied up.' Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the (blasphemy) they utter. Nay, both His hands are widely outstretched: He giveth and spendeth (of His bounty) as He pleaseth. But the revelation that cometh to thee from God increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. Amongst them we have placed enmity and hatred till the Day of Judgment. Every time they kindle the fire of war, God doth extinguish it; but they strive to do mischief on earth. And God loveth not those who do mischief. (The Noble Quran, 5:64)"
"But because of their breach of their covenant, We cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard; they change the words from their (right) places and forget a good part of the message that was sent them, nor wilt thou cease to find them- barring a few - ever bent on (new) deceits: but forgive them, and overlook (their misdeeds): for God loveth those who are kind. (The Noble Quran, 5:13)"
We must also know that according to Islam most of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) are perverted transgressors, deceiving, in some cases are hypocrites, and most of them are considered Truth rejecters! Let us look at the following Noble Verses:
"Ye [Muslims] are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in God. If only the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors. (The Noble Quran 3:110)"
"And they say: 'None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.' Those are their (vain) desires. Say: 'Produce your proof if ye are truthful.' (The Noble Quran, 2:111)"
"A section of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians during Prophet Muhammad's time] say: Believe in the morning what is revealed to the believers [Muslims], but reject it at the end of the day; perchance they may (themselves) turn back (from Islam). (The Noble Quran, 3:72)"
"Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion. Say: 'The Guidance of God,-that is the (only) Guidance.' Wert thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee, then wouldst thou find neither Protector nor helper against God. (The Noble Quran, 2:120)"
"They say: 'Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (To salvation).' Say thou: 'Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with God.' (The Noble Quran, 2:135)"
"They do blaspheme who say: 'Allah is Christ the son of Mary.' But said Christ: 'O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.' Whoever joins other gods with Allah - Allah will forbid him the Garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrongdoers be no one to help. (The Holy Quran, 5:72)"
3- After the Jews' betrayal to the Prophet peace be upon him, it became necessary to punish them and cleanse them out of the Holy Lands:
Let us never forget that the Jews fought against the most honourable person and the master of the Prophets and Messengers; our Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, until the very last moment of his life, despite the fact that they knew for certain that he was the seal of the Prophets which the Torah and the Bible had mentioned. They also knew for sure that Allaah would grant him victory over them and all other disbelievers; but despite all of this, they still fought, betrayed and deceived him. Moreover, they actually plotted to assassinate him sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and never lowered the banner of war against him.
During the worst and most difficult times of times for the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, at the battle of the trench, while there were armies surrounding Madeenah, the Jews plotted to kill the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and his companions from within Madeenah. The companions, may Allah be pleased with them, were having a terrible experience during this battle, yet the Jews of Banu Quraydhah (who were one of the Jewish tribes of Madeenah), at this most critical of times, broke the pledge of non-aggression and mutual defence which they given to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.
The Jews intimidated the Muslims, which added to their sense of fear and danger of being in Madeenah. Their families were at great risk and had it not been for the mercy of Allaah, the Jews of Banu Quraydhah would have started another front in the war against the Muslims from within, just when the Muslims were at their most vulnerable.
Allaah rendered the Jews plans as futile as well as those of the confederate tribes who had surrounded Madeenah. He sent down His angels who cast terror into the hearts of the confederates and they withdrew, leaving the Jews of Banu Quraydhah alone with no support.
When the battle was over, the Muslim army and the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam went back to their homes. He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam then took off his armour and began to have a wash when the angel Jibreel, peace be upon him, came to him and said: “O Messenger of Allaah! You have taken off your armour, but I swear by Allaah that the angels have not yet put down their weapons, go to them” (and he pointed in the direction of Banu Quraydhah). Thereupon, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam instructed an envoy to command the Muslim army to go to attack Banu Quraydhah by proclaiming: “None of you should pray ‘Asr until they are within the territory of Banu Quraydhah.” After this, the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam set out with his army of believers who numbered close to three-thousand mujaahideen.
Banu Quraydhah were surrounded and blockaded for more than twenty nights until they offered to surrender on the condition that Sa’d Ibn Mu’aadh, may Allaah be pleased with him, would act as an arbiter in their case. They asked for this because he, may Allaah be pleased with him, was from the tribe of Aws who were their allies before Islaam and therefore they hoped that he would give a biased judgement in their favour. Also, they refused the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam as a judge because they where afraid of the consequences of his judgement.
So the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam sent for Sa’d, who was injured during the battle and therefore had to be carried. The judgement of Sa’d was that all their men should be beheaded, their properties be seized and distributed among the Muslims and that their women and offspring be held captive. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allaah exclaimed: “Allaahu Akbar! O Sa’d! You have judged by the command of Allaah.”
Indeed, this is the judgment of Allaah with regard to the Jews who are the people of betrayal, deception, evil and corruption; the people who exhibited these repugnant characteristics even with the most honourable of the creations of Allaah; His Prophets and Messengers.
THE BATTLE OF THE TRENCH
WHEN the Prophet (Pbuh) first arrived in Medina, the Jews whowere living there had welcomed him. The Prophet (Pbuh) had returned their greeting, as he wished to be on good terms with them. An agreement was also reached between the Muslims and the Jews, which gave the Jews the freedom to practice their religion andwhich also set out their rights and their duties. Among these duties was that in the case of war with Quraysh, the Jews would fight on the side of the Muslims.
Despite this agreement, however, some of the Jewish tribes, who resented the Prophet's presence in Medina, soon began to cause trouble amongst the Muslims. They tried to set the Muslim Emigrants from Mecca and the Ansar against each other. The troublemakers were given many warnings but they continued to be a nuisance. In the end, the Muslims had no choice but to drive them from Medina. A new agreement was offered those Jews who remained but the trouble did not end there. One of the Jewish tribes, the Bani Nadir plotted to murder the Prophet (Pbuh) but their plan was discovered and they, too, were exiled from the city. Knowing that they could not defeat the Muslims themselves, some of the leaders of the exiled Jews secretly went to Mecca to enlist the help of Quraysh. Knowing what the Meccans would like to hear, they pretended to believe in the same things. They said that they thought that the old Arab tradition was better than the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) and that they believed that the Quraysh religion of worshipping many idols was better than the Prophet's with only one God. Then the Jews told them that if all the Arab tribes attacked Medina, the Jews inside the city would help to defeat the Prophet (Pbuh) and Islam once and for all.
The leaders of Quraysh were pleased to hear all this and seizing on what seemed to them a very good opportunity, agreed to the plan and began to gather together a formidable army. In the meantime in Medina, only one Jewish tribe, the Bani Quraydhah, refused to betray the Muslims.
Eventually the Muslims learned of the preparations being made for war in Mecca and of the plotting of the Jews within Medina itself. The betrayal of the Muslims by the Jews did not surprise the Prophet (Pbuh), who said of them: 'The hearts of the Jews have become closed to the truth. They have forgotten what Muses taught them long ago that there is only one God.'
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
The likeness of those who are entrusted with the
Law of Moses, yet apply it not, is as the likeness of the ass carrying books.
Evil is the likeness of the people who deny the revelations of Allah. And Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.
The Muslims wondered how they could defend Medina. They heard that Abu Sufyan was coming to attack them with an enormous army which included many other Arab tribes, as well as Quraysh. What were theyto do with only a single week to prepare? The Prophet (Pbuh) and his men knew that it would be impossible for them to fight off all these tribes! The only thing they could do was to stay inside the city and try to defend it as best they could.
Now among the people of Medina was a Persian named Salman, who had to live in the city some time before the Prophet's arrival there. As a convert to Christianity he had traveled to Medina after Christian sages had told him that a Prophet would be born in Arabia. On arriving in Medina he was, however, sold into slavery by the merchants with whom he had traveled. Later he became a Muslim, gained his freedom and became a member of the Prophet's household.
When the people gathered to discuss a plan of action against the approaching enemy, Salman was present and it was he who suggested that they should dig a trench around the city. The Prophet (Pbuh) thought this a good idea, so the Muslims set to work, although it was in the middle of winter. They worked day and night, digging the trench as quickly as possible. The Prophet (Pbuh) himself carried rocks and when the men were tired he gave them the will to carry on. Someone later recalled how beautiful he looked, dressed in a red cloak with dust upon his breast and his dark hair nearly reaching his shoulders.
There was little food at this time and the men were often hungry as they worked. On one occasion, however, a little girl gave some dates to the Prophet (Pbuh), which he spread out on a cloth. The men were then called to eat and the dates kept increasing in number until everyone had been fed. Even after everyone had eaten their fill, the dates continued to increase so that there were more than the cloth could hold.
Similarly, there is the story of the lamb, that has come down to us from one who was there: 'We worked with the Apostle at the trench. I had a half-grown lamb and I thought it would be a good thing to cook it for Allah's Messenger. I told my wife to grind barley and make some bread for us. I killed the lamb and we roasted it for the Prophet (Pbuh). When night fell and he was about to leave the trench, I told him we had prepared bread and meat and invited him to our home. I wanted him to come on his own, but when I said this he sent someone to call all the men to come along. Everyone arrived and the food was served. He blessed it and invoked the Name of Allah over it. Then he ate and so did all of the others. As soon as one lot were satisfied, another group came until all the diggers had eaten enough, but still there was food to spare.
On March 24, 627 A.D., Abu Sufyan arrived with more than ten thousand men. The Muslims numbered only three thousand. Quraysh and their allies surrounded Medina but between the two armies was the long, wide trench. The Prophet (pbuh) and his men stayed behind this trench for nearly a month defending the city against their more powerful enemy. Many times warriors tried to cross the trench and enter the city, but each time they were pushed back by the Muslims. The Muslims were afraid that if any did manage to cross over, the Jews inside Medina would join forces with them and the Muslims would be beaten. The Jewish tribe of Bani Quraydhah, who had stood by the agreement with the Muslims, were pressed by a Jewish emissary from the enemy without, to break their promise. Eventually they agreed to do so and when the news of this reached the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions they were greatly troubled. Sa'd ibn Mu'adh, the leader of the tribe of Aws, was sent by the Prophet (pbuh) with two other men to find out if this were true. When they arrived in the part of Medina where the Jews lived, they found were even worse than they had previously thought. Sa'd ibn Mu'adh, whose tribe was closely allied with the Bani Quraydhah, tried to persuade their leader not to break the treaty with the Muslims, but he refused to listen. This meant that the Muslims could not relax their guard for one moment, for they were now threatened not only by the enemy beyond the trench, but by the Bani Qurayzah, within the walls of the city.
Things became more difficult for the Muslims day by day. It was extremely cold and food began to run out. To make matters worse, the Bani Qurayzah began openly and actively to join forces with the other Jews and cut off all supplies to the Muslims, including food. The enemies of Islam then planned how to capture Medina.
The situation looked desperate and the Prophet (pbuh) prayed to Allah to help the Muslims defeat their enemies. That very night a sandstorm blew up which buried the tents of Quraysh. The storm continued for three days and three nights making it impossible for the enemy to light a fire to cook a meal or warm themselves by.
On one of these dark nights the Prophet (pbuh) asked one of his men, Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, to go on a dangerous mission. The Prophet (pbuh) told him to make his way across the trench to the enemy camp where he should find out what they were doing.
With much difficulty Hudhayfah crossed the trench and made his way to a circle of Quraysh warriors talking in the darkness. He sat near them, but as there was no fire, no one noticed him. He then heard Abu Sufyan's voice: 'Let us go hom!' he said. 'We have had enough. The horses and camels are dying, the tents keep blowing away, most of the equipment has been lost, and we can not cook our food. There is no reason to stay!' Shortly after hearing this Hudhayfah made his way quickly and quietly back across the trench and the next morning the Muslims rejoiced to find that what he had overheard had come true-Quraysh and their allies had gone away! The siege of Medina had ended in a great victory for Islam.
But this was not to be the end of the difficulties, for the Archangel Gabriel came to the Prophet (pbuh) and told him that he should punish the Bani Qurayzah for betraying him and the Muslims. On hearing this, the Prophet (pbuh) ordered the Muslims to march against the Bani Qurayzah as they hid in their fortress. The Muslims besieged them for twenty-five days until they finally gave in. On surrendering, they asked the Prophet (pbuh) to let someone judge their case, and he agreed. He also allowed them to choose who would give the ruling.
The man chosen to judge the Bani Qurayzah was Sa'd ibn Mu'adh, leader of the Aws, a tribe which had always protected Bani Qurayzah in the past. Sa'd ibn Mu'adh who had himself been wounded in the battle, decided that the Jews should be tried by their own Holy Law, according to which anyone who broke a treaty would be put to death. As a result all the men of the Bani Qurayzah were executed and the women and children made captive.
If the Jews had succeeded in their pact, Islam would have been destroyed. Instead from that day on, Medina became a city where only Muslims lived. Very soon after peace had been restored to Medina, Sa'd ibn Mu'adh died of his wounds. It was said that the Archangel Gabriel came in the middle of that night and said to the Prophet (pbuh) 'O Muhammad, who is this dead man? When he arrived, the doors of heaven opened and the Throne of Allah shook.' The Prophet (pbuh) got up as soon as he heard this, but found that Sa'd was already dead. Although he had been a heavy man, the men who carried his body to the grave found it quite light. They were told that the angels were helping them. When he was buried, the Prophet (pbuh) said three times 'Subhan Allah!' (Glory be to Allah!), and 'Allahu Akbar!' (Allah is Most Great!). When asked why he did this, he replied, 'The grave was tight for this good man, until Allah eased it for him.' This is one of the rewards that Allah gives to martyrs and good Muslims.
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