Ali Sina said:
There were three Jewish tribes living in and around Yathrib, the
Banu Qainuqa’, the Bani Nadir and the Banu Quraiza. As stated above,
they were the original inhabitants of this town. At first Muhammad
thought that because he had denounced polytheism and had embraced the
Biblical prophets, the Jews would eagerly flock to become his followers.
The earlier chapters of the Qur’an are full of stories about Moses and
Biblical tales. Originally Muhammad had adopted Jerusalem as the qibla
for his prayers, humbugging the Jews for their allegiance. Muslim scholar
W. N. Arafat writes, “It is also generally accepted that at first the Prophet
Muhammad hoped that the Jews of Yathrib, as followers of a divine
religion, would show understanding of the new monotheistic religion,
Islam.”70 However, to his dismay, the Jews, just like the Quraish, paid
little heed to his calling. After his hopes were dashed and his patience
vexed, he grew hostile towards them. Jews were in no hurry to abandon
their ancestral faith in order to embrace Muhammad’s new religion. Their
rejection enraged him and he sought revenge. The assassination of Abu
Afak and Asma only marked the beginning of his animosity towards the
Jews. Already emboldened by his plundering of the passing caravans,
Muhammad had his eyes on the wealth of the Jews in Yatrib and was
looking for an excuse to make his move, to get rid of them and to lay his
hands on their wealth. His anger against the Jews started showing in the
Qur’anic verses that he composed, where he accused them of being
ungrateful to Allâh, of killing their prophets and breaking their own laws.
He even went as far as to say that because the Jews had broken the law of
Sabbath, God transformed them into apes and swine.71 To this day many
Muslims are convinced that monkeys and pigs are descendants of the Jews.
Invasion of Banu Qainuqa’
The first group of the Jews to fall under the wrath of Muhammad
was the Banu Qainuqa.’ They lived in quarters within Yathrib named after
them. They made their living as artisans, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, making household instruments and weaponry. They were not, however, skilled in
the arts of soldiering and left that aspect to the Arabs, a mistake which
eventually proved fatal to their existence. The Banu Qainuqa’ was allied
with the Arab tribe of Khazraj and supported them in their conflicts with
their rival Arab tribe, the Aws.
The opportunity to invade these Jews arrived when a skirmish broke
out between a handful of Jews and Muslims. A member of Banu Qainuqa’
played a prank and pinned the skirt of a Muslim woman squatting in a
Jeweler’s shop in the B. Qainuqa’ marketplace to the ground. Upon
standing, her cloth tore and she was stripped naked. A Muslim man
passing by, already filled with the hatred of the Jews by his prophet,
jumped on the Jew and killed him. The relatives of the victim then killed
the Muslim in retaliation.
This was the opportunity Muhammad was looking for. Instead of
trying to calm the situation, he unjustly blamed the Jews, all of them, and
told them to submit to his religion or face war. The Jews answered his
threats with defiance and shut themselves up in their quarters. He laid
siege on them, shut off their water supply, and promised to kill them all.
In the Qur’an, verse 3:12, Muhammad reiterated his threat: “You
will be defeated and gathered together to hell and worst indeed is that
place to rest,” while bragging how he defeated the Quraish, earlier at Badr.
After a fortnight, the tribe tried to negotiate their surrender, but
Muhammad would not budge. He wanted to slay them. Abdullah ibn
Ubayy, the revered patriarch of the Khazraj, took hold of Muhammad’s
collar and told him that he would not allow his allies and friends to be
slain with no cause. Muhammad was aware of the respect that the Khazraj
had for their chief. He knew that they could rally around him and this
would mean his own defeat. He pushed away ibn Ubayy while his face
was blackened with rage and agreed not to massacre the Jews provided
they leave the city. This story is reported by Ibn Ishaq.
Babu Qainuqa’ were the first of the Jews to break their agreement with the
apostle and to go to war, between Badr and Ohod, and the apostle besieged
them until they surrendered unconditionally. `Abdullah b. Ubayy b. Salul
went to him [Muhammad] when God had put them in his power and said, ‘O
Muhammad, deal kindly with my clients’ (now they were allies of Khazraj),
but the apostle put him off. He repeated the words, and the apostle turned
away from him, whereupon he thrust his hand into the collar of the apostle’s
robe; the apostle was so angry that his face became almost black. He said,
‘Confound you, let me go.’ He answered, ‘No, by God, I will not let you go
until you deal kindly with my clients. Four hundred men without mail and
three hundred mailed protected me from all mine enemies; would you cut
them down in one morning? By God, I am a man who fears that
circumstances may change.’ The apostle said, ‘You can have them.’ 72
The biographers also add that Muhammad had sullenly said “Let
them go. God curse them, and God curse him also! So Muhammad
pardoned their lives provided they were sent into exile.”73
He demanded that the Banu Qainuqa’ hand over all their materials,
wealth and war equipage, from which he set aside one fifth for himself and
distributed the rest among his men. The tribe was then banished. The
Muslim historians gloat saying that these refugees entered Azru‘a in Syria
where they stayed for a while and soon perished.74
Invasion of Banu adir
Next it was the turn of the Banu Nadir. This was another Jewish
tribe of Yathrib. After seeing what Muhammad did to the Banu Qainuqa’,
Ka’b Ibn Ashraf, the chief of the Banu Nadir, sought the protection of the
Quraish and as explained above, he was assassinated.
There was a retaliatory war (Ohud) between the Meccans and
Muslims in which the latter had lost. Muhammad needed to compensate
that loss and restore the faith of his followers that Allâh had not forsaken
them with more victories. Banu Nadir was an easy target.
The Pakistani Muslim historian and commentator of the Qur’an, and
ideologue of today’s Islamic revivalism, Maududi, narrates the story as
follows: “For some time after these punitive measures [the banishment of
the Qainuqa’ and serial assassinations of Jewish poets] the Jews remained
so terror stricken that they did not dare commit any further mischief. But
later when in Shawwal, A. H. 3, the Quraish in order to avenge themselves
for the defeat at Badr, marched against Medina with great preparations, and the Jews saw that only a thousand men had marched out with the Holy
Prophet (upon whom be Allâh’s peace) as against three thousand men of
the Quraish, and even they were deserted by 300 hypocrites who returned
to Madina, [The followers of Abdullah ibn Ubayy, Chief of the Khazraj]
they committed the first and open breach of the treaty by refusing to join
the Holy Prophet in the defence of the city although they were bound to
It is amazing that Muslims think that Jews were bound to help
Muhammad wage a religious war against the Meccans, despite the fact that
he had banished one of their tribes and had assassinated their chief and two
poets. The war between Muhammad and the Quraish had nothing to do
with the Jews, and by assassinating their people and banishing the Banu
Qainuqa’, Muhammad had already broken any agreement he may have had
with them. And yet, to justify his treacherous acts, Muslim apologists
blame the Jews for being at fault with their agreement.
Muhammad was now looking for an excuse to get rid of the Banu
Nadir. They owned the best cultivated lands of Yathrib and gardens with
date trees, and employed many Arabs. Accordingly, a few Muslims, who
thanks to Muhammad had become full-fledged bandits, killed two men
from Banu Kalb. As it happened, this tribe had signed a treaty with
Muhammad that his men would not rob or kill their people in exchange for
their support. The killers had mistaken the victims for members of another
tribe. Now, as tradition dictated, Muhammad was obliged to pay blood
money for this bloodshed. Despite all the wealth grabbed from the Banu
Qainuqa’, the Prophet went to the Banu Nadir and asked them that as part
of their original covenant, they must also help pay this blood money. This
was an outrageous demand, and Muhammad hoped that the Banu Nadir
would balk and that this would give him an excuse to do with them as he
did with the Banu Qainuqa’. The Banu Nadir, however, were too terrified
to deny this unjust demand. They agreed to pitch in and withdrew to
collect the money. Muhammad and his companions sat beneath a wall,
waiting. This was not what Muhammad had in mind. He had come making
the most unfair demand, hoping to get a negative reaction and act upon his
devious design. Now, he needed to plot a new strategy.
Suddenly he had a new “inspiration.” He stood up and without
saying anything to his companions left the place and went home. Later, when his companions joined him and enquired about it, he told them the
Angel Gabriel had informed him the Jews were plotting to drop a rock on
his head from atop the wall beneath which they were sitting. With this
excuse he started to prepare his attack on the Banu Nadir.
None of Muhammad’s companions saw anyone climbing the wall or
had any intimation about a plot against their lives. However, these men,
having benefited financially from following him and believing everything
he told them, had no reason or inclination to doubt what he was telling
Any rational person can see the absurdity of Muhammad’s story. If
the Banu Nadir really wanted and dared to kill him, they did not need to
climb on a wall to throw a stone. This accusation was clearly false.
Muhammad was accompanied by only a handful of his followers, Abu
Bakr, Omar, Ali and perhaps one or two more. It was easy to kill them all,
if that was what the Banu Nadir had in mind.
The Prophet who believed that God is khairul maakereen (the best of
the deceivers), (Q.3:54) was himself a cunning man. The story of Gabriel
informing him of the Jews’ plot against his life is as credible as the story
of his visits to hell and heaven. Nonetheless his easy-to-fleece followers
believed him and were so enraged by this fabrication that they rallied
around him to shed the blood of the innocent people.
Maududi finishes this narrative by saying: “Now there was no
question of showing them any further concession. The Holy Prophet at
once sent to them the ultimatum that the treachery they had meditated
against him had come to his knowledge; therefore, they were to leave
Medina within ten days; if anyone of them was found staying behind in
their quarters, he would be put to the sword.” Maududi demonstrates a
perfect example of Muslim “logic” when he simply tells the story of
Muhammad’s treachery as if it were the natural and normal way to behave.
Abdullah ibn Ubayy did his best to help the Banu Nadir, but by then
his influence was too weak and Muhammad’s men had become too blinded
by their zealotry. They did not allow bin Ubayy to enter Muhammad’s tent
as they struck him and cut his face open.
After a few days the Banu Nadir negotiated to leave behind all their
belongings for Muhammad and left town. Some of them went to Syria and
some went to Khaibar to be slain only a few years later when Muhammad
set his eyes on that prosperous and green Jewish fortress.
Even though Muhammad let these people go, his first thoughts were
to massacre them. The following extract from Sira makes this clear.
Concerning B. al-Nadir the Sura of Exile came down in which it is recorded how
God wreaked His vengeance on them and gave His apostle power over them and
how He dealt with them. God said: ‘He it is who turned out those who disbelieved
of the scripture people from their homes to the first exile…. ‘So consider this, you
who have understanding. Had not God prescribed deportation against them,’ which
was vengeance from God, ‘He would have punished them in this world,’ (Q. 59: 3)
i.e. with the sword, ‘and in the next world there would be the punishment of hell’ as
In this siege, Muhammad ordered the cutting and burning of the
trees belonging to the Banu Nadir. This kind of savagery was
unprecedented even amongst the primitive Arabs. All he had to do to
justify this crime was to make his Allah approve of what he had done.
That is easy when you have the God up your sleeve.
What you (O Muslims) cut down of the palm-trees (of the enemy), or you left them
standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allâh. (Q. 59: 5)
It is easy to fathom why in the scorching barren desert, people
considered cutting trees and poisoning wells to be capital crimes. Such
barbarities were against Arab morality and ethos. Muhammad was no
bond by any norm. Nothing could deter him from achieving his objectives.
He was ready to sacrifice anything and anyone that stood in his way. His
followers interpreted his ruthlessness as the sign of his resolve to fulfill the
A Muslim scholar, Al-Mubarkpouri, says: “The Messenger of Allâh
(Peace be upon him) seized their weapons, land, houses, and wealth.
Amongst the other booty he managed to capture, there were 50 armours, 50
helmets, and 340 swords. This booty was exclusively the Prophet’s
because no fighting was involved in capturing it. He divided the booty at
his own discretion among the early Emigrants and two poor Helpers, Abu
Dujana and Suhail bin Haneef. Anyway the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be
upon him) spent a portion of this wealth on his family to sustain their
living the year around. The rest was expended to provide the Muslim army
with equipment for further wars in the way of Allâh. Almost all the verses
of Sûra Al-Hashr (Chapter 59 – The Gathering) describe the banishment of
the Jews and reveal the disgraceful manners of the hypocrites. The verses
manifest the rules relevant to the booty. In this Chapter, Allâh, the All-
Mighty, praises the Emigrants and Helpers. This Chapter also shows the
legitimacy of cutting down and burning the enemy’s land and trees for
military purposes. Such acts cannot be regarded as phenomena of
corruption so long that they are in the way of Allâh.”77
Like Maududi, Mubarakpouri also reveals the disturbing lack of
conscience and situational ethics that characteriz the ummah. Muslims do
what their prophet did. They consider burning and looting properties of
non-Muslims legitimate acts of war, as they were practiced and sanctioned
by him. Based on the actions of Muhammad, it is fair to conclude that
Islamic violence is unfortunately not a deviation from true Islam.
Murdering, plundering, raping and assassinating are Islamic practices.
Nothing is off limits when it comes to promoting the religion of Allâh.
Ironically, the Sura Al-Hashr ends by exhorting believers to be
“pious,” which makes it clear that piety for Muslims has an entirely
different meaning. Muslim apologists say that the morality of today
should not be applied to Muhammad who lived 1400 years ago. The irony
is that they uphold that morality as standard and try to impose it on all
mankind and for all times.
One Muslim wrote to me, “This whole narrative has been
problematic for many people because of their notions of what is morally
correct and what is morally wrong. The origin of this sickness [sic] rests
squarely on the Christian mentality of ‘turn the other cheek,’ and the
‘redemptive suffering of Christ,’ both of which have been sicknesses in the
minds of Europe for centuries on end.”
I don’t believe that morality and ethics are sicknesses. They stem
from human consciousness and their compass is the Golden Rule. We
know the difference between right and wrong when we consider the way
we would like to be treated.
In the 7th century, the Banu Qaynuqa were living in two fortresses in the south-western part of the city of Yathrib, now Medina, having settled there at an unknown date. Although the Banu Qaynuqa bore mostly Arabic names, they were both ethnically and religiously Jewish. They owned no land, earned their living through commerce and craftsmanship, including goldsmithery. The marketplace of Yathrib was located in the area of the town where the Qaynuqa lived. The Banu Qaynuqa were allied with the local Arab tribe of Khazraj and supported them in their conflicts with the rival Arab tribe of Aws.
In May 622, Muhammad arrived at Yatrib now called Medina with a group of his followers, who were given shelter by members of all indigenous tribes of the city who came to be known as the Ansar. He proceeded to set about the establishment of a pact, known as the Constitution of Medina, between the Muslims, the Ansar, and the various Jewish tribes of Yathrab to regulate the matters of governance of the city, as well as the extent and nature of inter-community relations. Conditions of the pact, according to traditional Muslim sources, included boycotting the Quraysh, abstinence from “extending any support to them”, assistance of one another if attacked by a third party, as well as “defending Medina, in case of a foreign attack”
The nature of this document as recorded by Ibn Ishaq and transmitted by Ibn Hisham is the subject of dispute among modern historians many of whom maintain that this “treaty” is possibly a collage of agreements, oral rather than written, of different dates, and that it is not clear when they were made or with whom.
As for Banu Qurayza and Banu Nadir, this has been explained:
Also, the Muslim scholars have explained in deep that Banu Qurayza have made pact with Muslims back then and because they have broken the pact, they deserves to be punished. Because, breaking pacts is not acceptable.
Obviously those who make the claim that Allah is Best of Deceivers have not studied properly Islam just like myself did. As a matter of fact, the Muslim scholars have explained Quran 3:54 that it talks about life of Prophet Jesus Christ(peace be upon him) and I also have made a historical background and explained according to my ability the meaning of Quran 3:54.
As for the assasination of Abu Afak, let’s see. It is reported in Ibn Sa’d’s – Tabaqat al-Kabir the following:
Then (occurred) the Sariyyah of Salim Ibn Umayr al-Amri against Abu Afak, the Jew, in Shawaal in the beginning of the twentieth month from the hijrah of the Apostle. Abu Afak was from Banu Amr Ibn Awf… He was a Jew, and used to instigate the people against the Apostle of Allah. …” (Ibn Sa’d – Tabaqat al-kabir, volume 2, page 31)
Another early source has the above account too. Ibn Sayyid al-Nas (1272 – 1334)
“Then occurred the mission of Saalim ibn ‘Umayr Al-‘Amri against Abu ‘Afak, the Jew, in the month of Shawwaal in the beginning of the twentieth month after the Hijrah (migration) of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Abu ‘Afak, was from Banu ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf. He was Jewish, and he used to instigate the people against the Messenger of Allah, and compose (satirical) poetry about him. Saalim ibn ‘Umayr, who was one of the great weepers and who had participated in the Battle of Badr, said, ‘I vow that I shall either kill Abu ‘Afak or die trying to kill him.’ He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came and Abu ‘Afak slept in the yard. Saalim ibn ‘Umayr learned of this, so he went to him, placed the sword on his liver and pressed it till it reached his bed. The enemy of Allah screamed and some of his followers rushed to him, took him inside his house, and interred him.”[Uyoon Al-Athar fi Funoon Al-Maghaazi wa Ash-Shamaa’il wa As-Siyar, by Ibn Sayyid al-Nas]
Tarikh al-Khamis – Husayn Ibn Muhammad Diyarbakri (d. 1559 CE)
“فكان (أبو عفك) اليهودي يحرض على رسول الله”
“The Yahud (Abu Afak) used to instigate (war) against the Messenger of Allah.” (Tarikh al-Khamis, by Husayn Ibn Muhammad Diyarbakri, volume 1, page 408)
In al-Sirah al-Halabiya – Ali Burhan al-Din al-Halabi (1460 – 1549) gets into a bit more detail in regards to Abu Afak, after mentioning his age, it states that that Abu Afak used to instigate the people (“al-nas” in war) against the Messenger of Allah. Hence, it goes further that he was killed by one of the companions:
“وكان يحرض الناس على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم
“He (Abu Afak) incited the people (al-nas) against the Messenger of Allah.” (al-Sirah al-Halabiya, by Ali Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, volume 3, page 147)
Abu Afak inciting the people in war against the Prophet is mentioned too by the classical scholar Ibn Kathir (1301 – 1373 CE), in his Bidaya Wa Nihaya:
أبي عفك اليهودي من بني عمرو بن عوف وكان شيخا كبيرا قد بلغ مائة وعشرين سنة وكان يحرض على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم
“Abu Afak… instigated (war) against the Messenger of Allah.” (Bidaya Wa Nihaya, by Ibn Kathir, volume 5, page 202. Arabic Edition)
The Maliki scholar Imam Muhammad az-Zarqani (1645 – 1710 CE) states that Abu Afak was inciting the people to kill the Prophet (p):
“وكان يحرض يحث ويحمل الناس “على” قتال “النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم”
“He (Abu Afak) was spurring the movement of provoking and stimulating the people so as to kill the Messenger of Allah.” (Sharh al-Zurqani`alal Mawahib-al laduniyah lil Qastallani by Imam Muhammad az-Zarqani, volume 2, page 347, online source, http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-26568/page-860 )
In the above sources it says that Abu Afak was killed because he instigated people to go to war with Prophet Muhammed (p). Hence, one of the companions of the Prophet killed him. He being killed was not because he wrote annoying poetry on the Prophet – rather because he incited people to go to war against Muhammed (p). Furthermore, we have to be cautious with this story, it was said from scholars that the story on Abu Afak as a whole is forgery and as such it never occurred.
It is related that Abu Afak of Bani Amr had enraged the Moslems by fomenting enmity and sedition against their Government, when one Haris was executed for his murdering treacherously his fellow-comrade in the battle of Ohad during the time they were fighting together side by side. A convert from amongst the Bani Amr vowed to slay Abu Afak, and falling unawares upon him killed him with a cruel blow of his word. From Ibn Ishak we learn that Mohammad had said with reference to Abu Afak, ‘Who would rid me of this pestilent fellow?’ The biographers do not give their authorities whence they derived their information of the words attributed to Mohammad which he is said to have uttered with relation to Abu Afak before his followers; while at the same time it is no fair justice to form a hasty opinion of the fact without a critical examination and well-balancing of evidences of men like Ibn Ishak and others who have forgotten to tell us the original sources of their own assertion. Besides, the words quoted above are not equivalent to a peremptory order, and even granting this last condition, we are not justified in constructing them to mean assassination. Sir W. Muir writes that, ‘the secretary of Wackidi says distinctly-‘Now this was by command of the Prophet.’ (Vol. III, p. 133, f.n.). But it is a very easy thing for the secretary or other biographers to give an ample play to their fancies, or to fabricate commands, which the Prophet had never given out, on a very slender basis, or on no reasonable basis at all. The tendency of the biographers is always to exonerate the companions of the Prophet at the expense of truth, and to justify their deeds by casting the whole blame upon him.” (A Critical Exposition of the Popular Jihad (Original 1885) by Cherag Ali Page 64 – 65)
Maulana Muhammad Ali:
The next incident related… is that… to the alleged assassination of Abu Afak, ‘an aged Jewish proselyte, whose offence was similar to that of Asma.’ We have no hesitation in calling this story as baseless a fabrication as that relating to the murder of Asma. Our reason for doing this is that the interdiction against the murder of women also included two other classes, viz., children and old men. It is true that the saying of the Prophet in the Bukhari mentions only women and children, and not aged persons, but there is a hadith in Abu Dawud (ch. Du’a al-Mushrikin) reported by Anas, son of Malik, according to which the Holy Prophet said: ‘Do not kill an aged person, nor a child, nor a minor, nor a woman.’ That the Prophet expressly forbade the killing of old men appears also from the directions given by Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, to Yazid, son of Abu Sufyan, when he sent him in command of an army to Syria. In the directions given to him the following relates to our subject: ‘Do not kill children, nor women, nor old men.’ (Fath al-Qadir, vol V, p.202.) It is clear that Abu Bakr could give such directions only on the authority of the Holy Prophet. Hence there was an interdiction against the killing of old men as there was against the killing of women. And it is impossible, we repeat, that the Holy Prophet should have given such clear injunctions and then himself ordered the killing of ‘an aged Jewish proselyte,’ as Abu Afak is said to have been, and for no offence but that he composed some annoying verses.
ONLY COMBATANTS COULD BE KILLED
In fact, as the Hidayah has put it clearly, a person’s life, unless he is a murdered, cannot be taken on any ground other than that he is a combatant: ‘And they should not kill a woman, nor a child, nor an aged person, nor one who does not take part in a war, nor a blind man, because what makes it lawful to take a man’s life, according to us, is his being a Combatant, and this is not true in their cases’ (Ch. Kaifiyyat al-Qital). In fact, this conclusion, which is the basic principal of the Hanifite law, is based on the express words of the Holy Prophet himself. As Abu Dawud reports on the authority of Rabah, son of Rabi: ‘We were with the Prophet in a certain battle, and he saw the people gather together in one place. So he sent a man to make an inquiry as to why the people had gathered together. The messenger came back and said, ‘there is a woman killed.’ The Holy prophet said, ‘she was not fighting.’ The reporter says that Khalid was leading at the time. So the Prophet sent a man to Khalid and asked him to tell Khalid that he should not kill a woman nor a hireling’. (Ch. Qatl al-Nisa). By remarking that ‘she was not fighting’, the Holy Prophet made it plain that even in battle only such persons could be killed as actually took part in fighting, and along with women he expected hirelings, because they were only hired for other work and did not take part in actual fighting. It is on this basis that the Hanifite law excepts, along with women, children and old men, all such persons as cannot take part in fighting. And the conclusion is inevitable that according to the Holy Prophet’s own injunctions the killing of a person was not lawful unless he took part in fighting, and any report to the effect that a person was killed though he was not a combatant is either untrue or defective, even if it is met with in a reliable collection of traditions. And as for biographies, they cannot be trusted at all in such matters, and the case of Ibn Sunainah’s murder must be rejected as untrue. The statement that this murder was due to the Prophet giving a general order for the slaughter of the Jews is sufficient to discredit this report, for not only would such an order be against the clear injunctions of the Qur’an, but also because if such an order were given it would not have resulted in the murder of a single Jew. (Muhammad The Prophet: By Maulana Muhammad Ali, page 201)
As for Asma, please see:
- Story of Asma Bin Marwan true or false? Part 1
- Story of Asma Bin Marwan true or false? Part 2
- Story of Asma Bin Marwan true or false? Part 3