Muhammad and the Jews of Banu Qurayza


Critics of Islam often ask me, "why did Muhammad (peace be upon him) kill the innocent Jews of the tribe of Banu Qurayza?"

Muhammad-and-Jews

First, they were not innocent. After his arrival in Medina, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) signed a Joint Defense Pact of Medina with the Jewish tribes. In which, they agreed to fight together against any army that attacks Medina and not to assist the enemy against one another.  Soon after the Jewish power start fading away and the power of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Muslims kept increasing. This made the jews jealous of them and they secretly started inviting the enemy to attack the Muslims and promised the assistance.  They also made attempts to murder the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  Subsequently two these tribes, Banu Nadir and Banu Qaynuqa broke their treaties with the Muslims.  They eventually had to surrender, when the Muslims besieged them.  The Prophet showed mercy upon them and spared their lives.  These two tribes were exiled from Medina.

Only the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza was left behind in Medina.  When the pagans of Mecca with their confederates besieged Medina and the battle of the trench, Banu Qurayza broke their treaty with the Muslims and started preparations to attack the Muslims.  When the Prophet came to know about it he sent Saad bin Muadh (may Allah be pleased with him) to remind Banu Qurayza of their treaty.  Since Saad bin Muadh (may Allah be pleased with him) was the chief of Banu Qurayza's confederate, the Aws tribe. Saad bin Muadh (may Allah be pleased with him) tried to persuade the chief of Banu Qurayza not to break his treaty with the Muslims, but he wouldn't listen.  One night a strong wind forced the padgan army to flee. Allah sent the Archangel Gabriel to the Prophet, who told him to teach Banu Qurayza a lesson for their treachery during the war.  The Muslims besieged be tribe of Banu Qurayza.  After the siege of almost a month, Banu Qurayza surrendered only on the condition that Saad bin Muadh (may Allah be pleased with him) would be allowed to judge concerning them instead of the Prophet because they didn't trust the Prophet.  The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) accepted the condition and allowed Saad bin Muadh (may Allah be pleased with him) to judge concerning Banu Qurayza.

Second, the verdict against Banu Qurayza had been given by their own favorite, they had chosen themselves to judge concerning them. Banu Qurayza had chosen Saad bin Muadh (may Allah be pleased with him) because he was the chief of their confederate, the tribe of Aws and he had always protected them in the past. Saad bin Muadh (may Allah be pleased with him) agreed to be the judge only on the condition that his judgment would be the final verdict and no one would challenge it including the prophet.  Everyone including the prophet agreed to it. Saad bin Muadh (may Allah be pleased with him) judge them according to their own Holy law, the Torah. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) could not challenge it as he had already promised.

Banu Qurayza suffered that fate only due to their own treachery and utter stupidity that they did not trust the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to judge concerning them. The Prophet, of whom God says in His final revelation, “And We have no sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” (Al-Qur’an 21:107) Had they accepted him as the judge, Muhammad (peace be upon him) would definitely had shown mercy upon them, forgiven them and let them go alive as he had already forgiven and let go of the two previous Jewish tribes of Medina that had broken their treaties with him.

One may ask, why did Saad bin Muadh (may Allah be pleased with him) give such a harsh verdict, in fact the harshest in the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)? The reasons for his so hard a verdict have been put together by Martin Lings as such,
"Some of his clansmen went to him, and mounting him on an ass they brought him to the camp. "Do well by thy confederates," they said to him on the way, "for the Messenger of God hath set thee in judgement upon them for no other purpose than that thou mayst treat them with indulgence." But Sa'd was a man of justice; like 'Umar he had been against sparing the prisoners at Badr, and their opinion had been confirmed by the Revelation. Many men of Quraysh who had been ransomed on that occasion had come out against them at Uhud and again at the trench; and in this last campaign the strength of the invaders had been largely due to the hostile activities of the exiled Jews of Bani Nadir, If these had been put to death instead of being allowed to go into exile, the invading army might have been halved, and Bani Qurayzah would no doubt have remained faithful to their pact with the Prophet. The arguments offered by past experience were not in favour of leniency, to say the least. Moreover, Sa'd had himself been one of the envoys to Qurayzah at the moment of crisis and had seen the ugliness of their treachery when they had thought that the defeat of the Muslims was certain. It was true that if he gave a severe judgement most of the men and women of Aws would blame him, but that consideration would not have weighed much with Sa'd at any time and now it weighed not at all, for he was convinced that he was dying."
(MUHAMMAD his life based on the earliest sources - Martin Lings, page 231)
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Islam: The Religion of Peace?

Assalam Alekum! Peace be upon you all! This post is a reply to an email that was sent to us asking if Islam really was the religion of peace. You can also send us your question from our contact page.

Islam & Peace

He wrote:
"Why do Islamic enthusiasts continuously preach that the Islamic faith is a religion of peace, when in fact it's the complete opposite. All across the Arab world where Islam reigns supreme we see time and again that there is no shortage of violence, misogyny, homophobia, and rape. Surely if Islam was a civilized religion of peace then in theory wouldn't an Islamic state be the most peaceful entity in the world? Then why is it that Islamic states seem to be the only place in the world where someone can be stoned to death for being raped? If Islam is the religion of peace why is it that the Imams of Islamic states advocate violence towards other religions, especially against Christians, and extremely against Jews, or even other third party eastern religions such as the Bahá'í Faith, who's ideology and teachings sound a lot more peaceful and tolerant than the Islamic law that persecutes them? So I ask you again, where do any of you get off saying that your religion is peaceful?"

Our Reply:

Islam means Peace

We claim that because we can logically and conclusively prove that it is a religion of peace. Even the word "Islam" itself comes from the Arabic root words "Selm", which means "to submit" and "Salam", which means "peace". So in short, Islam means "peace acquired by submitting your will to God." The very misconception that Non-Muslims and even many Muslims have is that, Islam reigns supreme in the Muslims countries around the World right now. Let me make it very clear that there is not a single country in the World at this time, which is 100% Islamic. As far as the Muslim majority countries around the World are concerned only some of them follow some aspects of Islam. For instance, Saudi Arabia follows the Islamic Criminal Law, but there are several other things in Saudi Arabia that are un-Islamic  Malaysia follows the Islamic Economic System, but there are many other things in Malaysia that are un-Islamic. So in short, there is not a single country in the World right now, which is 100% Islamic.

Media Propaganda Against Islam

There is violence in many parts of the World including the Muslims countries as well, but these conflicts are due to a variety of different reasons. But the thing is that when Catholics do it, the media says "the Irish Republican Army did it." When other Christians do it, the media says "the Lord's Resistance Army did it." When Hindus do it, the media says "United Liberation Front of Assam did it." Other Hindus do it, the media says "Liberation Tamil Tigers Elam did it" and so on. But when some so-called Muslims go against the teachings of Islam and does something bad, the media starts blaming Islam for their un-Islamic actions and instead of referring to them by regional names as they do in the other cases mentioned above, the media refers to them as Muslims and followers of the Islamic faith. We know that no religion in the World teaches its followers to kill innocent human beings. That is why, we can not blame Christianity for the actions of IRA and Lord's Resistance Army. Nor can we blame Hinduism for the actions of ULFA and LTTE. In the same way, we can not blame Islam for the actions of some so-called Muslims, who are not really following the teachings of Islam. So don't fall for everything the media tells you, but rather do some research yourself as well.

Different Labels for the Same Person For the Same Actions

There are also other times, when people are given the wrong label. For instance, when George Washington and his men fought for the freedom of the United States of America, the British government called him a terrorist. When Bhagat Singh and his comrades fought for the freedom of India, the British government called them terrorists. When Nelson Mandela formed the armed wing of his party, the White Apartheid government of South Africa called him a terrorist and jailed and later he was a given the Noble Prize for peace for the same actions that he was jailed for. So think before you give anybody such a label.

Islam Prohibits the Killing of Innocent Human Beings

As far as Islam is concerned, Islam only allows fighting in self defense and against tyranny and oppression. Islam is against the killing of any innocent human beings. As Allah says in the Qur'an Chapter 5 Verse 32, "If anybody kills any human beings, lest it be for murder or spreading corruption in the land, it is as though he killed the whole humanity and if anybody saves any human being, it is as though he saved the whole humanity." Which means that if anybody kills any innocent human being, whether Muslim or Non-Muslim, it is as though he killed the whole humanity. And if anybody saves any human being, whether it be Muslim or Non-Muslim, it is as though he saved the whole humanity. This is the most peaceful verse found in any religious scripture on the face of the Earth. You claimed that the Bahai faith was more peaceful than Islam, I challenge you to show me any verse from the Bahai religious scriptures or any other religious scriptures on the face of the Earth, which is more peaceful than this verse.

Misogyny & Islam

For those who don't know, Misogyny means hate of women. Right now Islam is the fastest growing religion in the World and two thirds of those Non-Muslims, who accept Islam are women. If there was anything in Islam that promoted misogyny  then so many women would not have accepted Islam. So this very fact proves that there is no misogyny in Islam, but rather Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are the biggest benefactors of women in the human history. Islam gave women their due rights fourteen centuries ago, including the right to cast their votes (through the system of "Baaiyah"). While the earliest that any western country allowed women to vote was in the 20th century in USA.

Homophobia & Islam

Homophobia means "fear of homosexuality". So is Islam afraid of homosexuality? No! Islam is against homosexuality because of the disastrous effect it has on family life. So Islam is against homosexuality, not afraid of homosexuality or homophobic. In the 50's Homosexuality was considered a psychological disorder and including in the list of psychological disorders. But after the homos took to the streets, homosexuality was struck off the list of psychological disorders and Homophobia was included in the list of disorders.

Rape & Islam

As I already mentioned that Saudi Arabia, though not 100% Islamic, follows the Islamic Criminal Law. In the Islamic Criminal Law, if someone rapes a woman, he is given death penalty. In Saudi Arabia hardly one or two rape cases take place in a whole year. Do you know how many rape cases take place in the western countries? According to the US Department of Defense report page 23, about two personnel across the security services were sexually harassed in every single hour in 2011 and a woman was raped in every 28 seconds in the year 2005 in USA. So the number of rape cases that take place in a whole year in Saudi Arabia is equal to the number of people sexually harassed every hour across the US security services and the number of women raped per minute in USA. From these stats it is quite evident where rape cases take place. I don't know whether the reports of women being punished for being raped are true or not because majority of the times such things are reported by blogs or websites, but if you check the policy statement of those blogs and websites, they clearly state that the information there can not and should not be trusted as it is user submitted. So beware of such false information submitted on certain blogs and websites by users. As far as the Islamic ruling is concerned a rape victim is not punished for being raped. In fact, it is the rapist who is given death penalty.

The Correct Way to Know About Islam

You should not look at what Muslims or the Muslim countries do to know about Islam. For instance, if you give a Mercedes car to a bad driver and he bangs the car that does not mean that the car has a problem. It is the driver, who does not know how to drive it. So if you really want to know about the car, you should look at the specifications of that car. In the same way if you want to know about Islam, you should look at the Qur'an and the authentic Hadith (sayings and traditions of Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]). And if you want to see the car in action, then you should put a good driver behind the stirring wheel. In the same way if you want to see Islam in action, you should look at the lifestyle of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who is the apt representation of Islam.

Islam on Non-Muslims

If you look at the Qur'an, you would find that it instructs Muslims to just and kind to those Non-Muslims, who do not fight them. Allah says in the Qur'an Sura Al-Mumtahana Chapter 60 Verse 8 and 9, "Allah forbids you not with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just. Allah only forbids you with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith and drive you out of your homes and support (others) in driving you out from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances) that do wrong." Islam even makes it compulsory on the Islamic state to protect the Non-Muslims and the Non-Muslim places of worship in the Islamic state.

We can not blame Christianity for what Hitler did, though he was a Christian and even though he was supported by the Roman Catholic Church. Because what Hitler did is against the teachings of Christianity. In the same way, we can not and should not blame Islam for the deviant actions of some deviant and so-called Muslims. Islam is a religion of peace and at the same time, it is against tyranny and oppression.
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