The Expedition of Sons of Qurayza

(5th Year of the Migration: 627)

According to the treaty between Sons of Qurayza Jews and the Prophet, Sons of Qurayza Jews were supposed to defend Madinah, which was besieged by the enemy, together with Muslims during the Battle of Khandaq.[1]However, they did not do so; besides, they collaborated with the polytheists during the most critical point of the battle by violating the articles of the treaty. They insulted the delegates that the Prophet had sent to investigate the claims and to make peace by saying, “Who is the Messenger of God? We have no agreement or treaty with Muhammad.” They even said bad words against the Prophet.[2]What is more, they attacked on Madinah and tried to kill the Muslim women and children. Thus, they worried and panicked Muslims more than the worry about the battle. It was a clear betrayal and gratitude against the Prophet, who had treated them favorably.  

As a result of the Battle of Khandaq, the enemy army that consisted of ten thousand people was defeated heavily and had to retreat. Sons of Qurayza, who had supported the polytheists during the battle also retreated and took shelter in their strong castle, which was two hours away from Madinah, with disappointment. 

They were aware of their treacherous act. Therefore, they were worried that the Messenger of God would walk against them.

The Order Brought by Gabriel

As a matter of fact, the Muslims had just returned to Madinah. Gabriel gave the Messenger of God the following order:

“O Muhammad! God orders you to walk against Sons of Qurayza.”[3]

The Messenger of God had just taken off his armor and weapons and cleaned them. He summoned Bilal at once and told him to make the following announcement:

“Those who hear and obey the order of God have to perform the afternoon prayer in the land of Sons of Qurayza.”[4]

The Muslims who heard this call came together at once.

The Prophet gave the standard to Hazrat Ali and sent him before the army. He appointed Abdullah b. Umm Mak­tum as his deputy in Madinah.[5]

The Islamic army consisted of three thousand people. There were thirty-six cavalrymen among them. The army set off in order to punish Sons of Qurayza Jews, who violated the treaty they had signed with the Messenger of God in the most critical point of the battle, who betrayed Muslims and collaborated with the enemy.   

Hazrat Ali Arrives at the Land of Sons of Qurayza

Hazrat Ali, who had set off before the army, approached the castle of Sons of Qurayza and put the standard near the castle. Meanwhile, he heard some nasty words from Jews. Sons of Qurayza cursed the Prophet and talked against him. Thus, they made it clear that they did not regret the betrayal they had committed.

Hazrat Ali gave the standard to another Companion and returned. He met the Prophet on the way. He did not want the Prophet to hear those words and to grieve.

He said, “O Messenger of God! Is it not better for you not to approach those evil men?”

The Messenger of God asked, “Why not?”

Hazrat Ali kept silent because he felt ashamed to report the words he had heard from Jews.

The Prophet said, “You probably heard some words that would depress me from them.” He said,  “Yes, O Messenger of God!”

Thereupon, the Prophet said,

“The Prophet Moses heard worse words and felt very depressed. Go! If those enemies of God see me, they will not be able to utter any of those bad words.”[6]

The Prophet Talks to Sons of Qurayza Jews

The Messenger of God approached the castle of Sons of Qurayza Jews with the mujahids; he mentioned all of the names of Jewish notables and said to them, “O the brothers of those who were affected by the wrath of God and were turned to monkeys! Did God make you despicable and send His punishment down to you? You uttered bad words about me. Is that right?His His”

The notables of Jews became as timid as a mouse. They denied having uttered those words by saying,

“O Aba’l-Qasim! You were not a person who did not know what he said. We swear by the Torah that was sent to Moses that we did not utter any bad words against you.”[7]

Sons of Qurayza are Besieged

Sons of Qurayza Jews committed crimes over crimes. Instead of welcoming the Prophet and the mujahids, they talked against them and uttered bad words. It showed that they would not surrender and that they would resist.  

Thereupon, the Prophet ordered the mujahids to shoot arrows at them first. The mujahids started to shoot arrows at them. Sons of Qurayza started to shoot arrows from the castle at the Muslims. Thus, Sons of Qurayza were besieged.

The Munafiqs Encourage Sons of Qurayza

The munafiqs who seemingly supported the Messenger of God and the Muslims, and who actually collaborated with the enemies of Islam secretly sent some news to Sons of Qurayza Jews during the siege and said to them,

“Do not surrender! Even if they say, ‘Leave Madinah’, do not leave! If you keep fighting by rejecting their offer, we promise to help you with our bodies and weapons.”

Naturally, this secret news encouraged Sons of Qurayza. They continued resisting. 

They Become Tired of the Siege and Ask for Peace

The Prophet did not end the siege despite everything. He encouraged Muslims to make jihad and put up with troubles through his talks.

When Sons of Qurayza Jews saw that the siege prolonged, they started to get bored and tired. When no help arrived from the munafiqs, they were demoralized. They got very scared. Thereupon, they wanted to negotiate. The Messenger of God accepted their wish to negotiate. 

They sent Nabbash b. Qays to talk to the Prophet.

Nabbash said, “O Muhammad! Do not shed our blood like Sons of Nadr when they surrendered. Take our goods and weapons. Let us leave with our wives and children. Let each family take as many goods as a camel can carry with them except weapons.”

The Prophet said, “No! I will not accept this offer!”

Thereupon, Nabbash made another offer: “Then, do not shed our blood. Let us take our wives and children, and go. We will leave all of our goods to you.”

The Prophet said, “No! You have nothing to do but to surrender without any conditions!”

Nabbash returned to his tribe in a very bad and hopeless state. He told them about the talk between him and the Prophet.

The Offers of Ka’b b. Asad

Ka’b b. Asad was one of the leaders of Sons of Qurayza Jews. He understood the situation clearly after all those incidents. He said,

“O Jews! You see that you are face to face with a disaster. I will present three offers. You can accept any of them.”

Sons of Qurayza Jews asked curiously, “What are they?”

Ka’b started to present his offers:

“My first offer: Let us obey this man and accept his prophethood!

By God, you all know that he is the prophet whose attributes are written in our book, which was sent by God. If you believe in him, your blood, goods, wives and children will be saved.

The only reason why you do not obey him, is the jealousy you feel and the fact that he is not from Sons of Israel. However, it is something that God knows.

Do you not remember what Ibn Hirash told you when he came over to you. Had he not said, ‘I left Damascus, where there are all kinds of food and drinks, and came here, where there is only water dates and barley’ When he was asked, ‘what do you mean?’, he said, ‘A prophet will emerge in Makkah. If I am alive then, I will obey him and help him. If he comes after I die, do not try to deceive him! Obey him and be his friends and helpers.’?”

Sons of Qurayza Jews said, “No! We will not obey anyone who is not from one of us. We are a group that has a book!”

When Ka’b saw that nobody accepted this offer, he made his second offer:

“Then, this is my second offer: Let us kill our children and wives so that there will be nothing that will prevent us. Then let us draw our swords and attack Muhammad and his Companions. Let us continue to fight him until God decides between us. If we die, there will be no generation after us; if we defeat them, we will marry again and bring up children.”

Sons of Qurayza Jews did not accept this offer, either.

Thereupon, Ka’b made his third offer:

“This is my third offer: Tonight is Sabt (Saturday night). Muhammad and his Companions are sure that we will not do anything against them tonight; they might be heedless. Then, let us go out and attack them. We can kill them suddenly!”

Sons of Qurayza Jews answered this offer as follows:

“How can we violate the prohibition of working on Sabt? How can we do something that nobody except those who were transformed to monkeys and pigs due to their disrespect to the day of Sabt did?”

After those talks, Ka’b’s last words were:

“None of you has ever had even one night with precautions and right views from the day he was born up to now!”[8]

Then, a disagreement and disorder started among them. On the other hand, woman and children started to cry. They could not put up with their crying. They regretted what they had done.

Asad and Tha’laba from Sons of Sa’ya Embrace Islam

Meanwhile, Tha’laba and Asad b. Sa’ya, two brothers, stood up and gave Sons of Qurayza some advice: “O Sons of Qurayza! By God, you know very well that Muhammad is the Messenger of God. Both our scholars and the scholars of Sons of Nadr told us about his attributes. One of them is Ibn Hayyiban, whom we all love. When he was about to die, he told us about the attributes of that prophet. ”

Sons of Qurayza Jews said, “No! He is not the prophet that will come.” They denied the truth deliberately.

However, the two brothers did not give up their views. They repeated their views recklessly.

They said, “By God! He has the attributes of the prophet to come! Fear God and believe in Him.”[9]

Sons of Qurayza Jews had become the captives of their jealousy. They did not want to approve the prophethood of our Prophet.

Thereupon, Tha’laba and Asad, the two brothers, and Asad b. Ubayd, their cousin, left the castle and embraced Islam.[10]

Ibn Hayyiban was a Jew from Damascus. He was a scholar. Two years before the emergence of Islam, he was a guest of Sons of Nadr Jews. After living there for a while, he became very ill. When he realized that he was going to die, he said, “O Jews! Do you know why I came here?”

They said, “You know it better.”

Thereupon, Ibn Hayyiban told them why he had come.

“I came here to see the prophet whose time of emergence has approached and who will migrate here. I hope he will emerge soon and I will obey him. O Jews! You must obey him before everybody else.”[11]

Ibn Hayyiban, who gave the glad tidings of the emergence of the Prophet in his death bed, died before he attained what he had expected.[12]

Appointing an Arbitrator

After the siege that lasted for twenty-five nights, Sons of Qurayza Jews accepted to surrender realizing that they had nothing else to do. They asked the Prophet to appoint an arbitrator to decide about them. The Messenger of God said, “Choose anyone from my Companions as an arbitrator.”

Sons of Qurayza Jews said, “We will accept what Sa’d b. Muadh will decide.”

The Prophet said, “All right! Accept what Sa’d b. Muadh will decide.”[13]

Hazrat Sa’d b. Muadh, who had been wounded during the Battle of Khandaq, was in a tent in Masjid an-Nabawi for his treatment. The Muslims of Aws fetched him to the presence of the Messenger of God.

The Prophet said, “O Sa’d! They accepted to agree with the decision you will make. Now, tell me about your decision regarding them.”

Sa’d said, “O Messenger of God! I know very well that God ordered you what to do to them. Do what God ordered you to do.”

The Prophet said, “Yes, you are right, but tell me about your decision regarding them.”

Sa’d said, “O Messenger of God! I fear that I cannot make a decision that will be in accordance with the judgment of God.”

The Prophet insisted: “Make your decision about them.”[14]

Sons of Qurayza Jews were the allies of the Aws tribe in the past. Therefore, Sa’d wanted to obtain a promise from them. He asked the Aws tribe,

“Do you promise me by the name of God that you will accept the decision I will make about Sons of Qurayza?”

They said, “Yes, we do.”

Sa’d had to ask the Prophet about the issue since he was the arbitrator. Meanwhile, the Prophet was sitting somewhere together with some Companions. Due to his respect toward the Prophet, Sa’d felt ashamed to mention his name and to ask him directly. He turned his face to another direction and asked, “Does that person sitting there promise me by the name of God that he will accept the decision I will make?”

The Messenger of God said, “Yes...”

Upon the order of Sa’d, Sons of Qurayza Jews came out of their castles, left their weapons and surrendered.

Judgment

Sa’d b. Muadh expressed his judgment as follows:

“I decided that the males who reached the age of puberty would be killed, that their goods would be distributed among Muslims and their women and children would be held as captives.”

The Prophet congratulated Sa’d on making this decision and said, “You have made a decision that is in accordance with what God ordered over the seven skies.”[15]

Indeed, the judgment Sa’d b. Muadh made about Sons of Qurayza Jews was in accordance with the judgment of the Shariah of Hazrat Moses. This judgment is stated in the Old Testament as follows:

“When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.”[16]

Sons of Qurayza Jews had to agree with the punishment they were given in accordance with the judgment in the Torah.

Upon the order of the Prophet, the hands of all of the males that reached the age of puberty were tied. Their goods were gathered in a place. The tied males, their goods and sheep were taken to Madinah. The booty was put in a house. The sheep were left to graze. Then, one-fifth of the booty was left to the Treasure. The remaining booty was shared among the mujahids.

As a necessity of the judgment, the males were killed. A woman called Nubata, who had martyred a Companion by throwing a stone at him from the castle during the siege, was also killed.

Meanwhile, a few Jews were forgiven. They had done some favors for Muslims beforehand. The Companions that they had helped asked the Messenger of God to forgive them and he forgave them.

Thus, the neighborhoods around Madinah were cleared of harmful elements. The Messenger of God and Muslims lived in peace and tranquility, without any wars for a long time after this incident. 

SOME OTHER IMPORTANT INCIDENTS DURING THE 5TH YEAR OF THE MIGRATION

Muzaynas Embrace Islam

A delegate of ten people from the tribe of Muzayna, who were living near Madinah, came to Madinah and embraced Islam in the presence of the Messenger of God. 

The leader of the delegates was Huzai b. Abdi Nuhm.

After becoming a Muslim and paying allegiance to the Prophet, Huzai returned to his homeland and asked his tribe to embrace Islam. Muzaynas said, “We will obey what you say” and embraced Islam; they sent a group of delegates to Madinah.  

In the 5th year of The Migration, in the month of Rajab, about four hundred people from the Mudar clan of Muzaynas came to Madinah to become Muslims. The Messenger of God regarded them as muhajirs though they lived in their own land and said, “You are muhajirs no matter where you live. You deserved the honor of being a muhajir. Go back to your land.”

Upon the order of the Prophet, Muzaynas returned to their homeland.[17]

Salman al-Farisi is Freed from Slavery

Salman al-Farisi was a slave of a Jew.

Once, the Messenger of God called him and said to him, “O Salman! Bargain with your master and agree on a price to be freed from slavery.”

When Salman talked to his master, his master said, “I will free you if you plant three hundred date saplings and give me forty uqiyyas (1600 dirhams) of gold.”

Thereupon, Salman went to the presence of the Messenger of God and told him what his master had said.

The Prophet said to his Companions, “Help your brother.”

Upon this order, the Companions collected three hundred date saplings among themselves.

When the date saplings were collected, the Prophet said, “O Sal­man! Go and dig holes for these saplings! When you finish digging holes, come and tell me. I will plant them.”

When Salman dug the holes with the help of the Companions, he informed the Prophet about it.

The Messenger of God planted all of the saplings himself except one. All of the saplings yielded dates that year except the one that he did not plant. The Prophet removed it and planted it again; later, it yielded dates, too.

Thus, Salman paid his debt regarding the date saplings to his master, who was one of Sons of Qurayza Jews.[18]

Salman had paid his debt regarding the date saplings; now he had to pay his debt regarding gold.

Salman narrates how he paid his debt of gold as follows:

“The Messenger of God (pbuh) brought a lump of gold as big as a chicken egg. He summoned me and gave it to me saying, ‘O Salman! Take this and pay your debt with it.’

I said, ‘O Messenger of God! I cannot pay my debt with this small lump of gold’

He held the lump of gold and spread his spit on it and said, ‘Take this! God will pay your debt with it.’

Thereupon, I took pieces from it, weighed them and gave them to my master. After I gave him forty uqiyyas(1600 dirhams) of gold, the lump of gold that was as big as a chicken egg still had the same weight. It remained to me.”[19]

Sa’d b. Muadh from Ansar Dies

Sa’d b. Muadh was one of the most virtuous people of Ansar.

He had become a Muslim when Mus’ab b. Umayr came to Madinah upon the order of the Messenger of God in order to teach the Quran. When Sons of Ashhal heard that he became a Muslim, all of them, male and female, embraced Islam that day.

This valiant and self-sacrificing Companion had been wounded by an arrow during the Battle of Khandaq and a vein of his arm had been cut. His wound was serious and painful. 

When this valiant Companion was wounded, the Messenger of God allocated a place for him in the tent of Rufayda, an Ansar woman who was looking after the wounded soldiers for the sake of God. 

A short while after he made the decision about Sons of Qurayza, his wound recurred again and he died when he was thirty-seven years old in the 5th year of the Migration as a martyr.

The Messenger of God and Muslims were very distressed by the death of Sa’d. The Prophet said, “Due to the death of Sa’d b. Muadh, the High Throne shook; seventy thousand angels joined his funeral.” The Prophet himself led his janazah prayer.[20]

Mughira b. Shu’ba Becomes a Muslim

Mughira b. Shu’ba was one of the four masterminds of Arabs. He was very skilled at settling great problems. He was a majestic and hefty man.  

He became a Muslim in the same years as the Battle of Khandaq took place and came to Madinah as a muhajir.

Earthquake and Lunar Eclipse in Madinah

In the 5th year of the Migration, an earthquake happened in Madinah. 

Thereupon, the Messenger of God said, “Your Lord probably wants you to transform into a state that He likes. Then, ask for his consent.”[21]

This statement of the Messenger of God shows that there is a relationship between the earth and the acts of those living on the earth and that the earth moves and quakes based on the revelation and order of God.

In the 5th year of the Migration, in the month of Jumada al-Akhir, there was a lunar eclipse.

The Messenger of God led the prayer of khusuf (lunar eclipse) until the eclipse ended.[22]

It is sunnah to perform kusuf and khusuf (solar and lunar eclipse) prayers. The ruku (bowing down) and sajdahs (prostrations) are carried out in the same way as supererogatory prayers. Adhan and iqamah are not called out for those prayers.  

However, for the khusuf prayer, the muezzin calls out “as-Salatu Jamiatun [Gather for the prayer]”.

The Messenger of God stated the following in a sermon:

“The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death or birth of someone from the people but they are two signs that show the power and majesty of God. When you see them, stand up and pray!”[23]

The people in the Era of Jahiliyya had the following superstition: “The sun and the moon eclipse for a notable person in the world.”

With his holy words quoted above, the Prophet changed this wrong belief of the people of Jahiliyya and stated that the solar and lunar eclipses were times of prayer. He stated that people should be busy with worshipping God at those times not with useless things.

It should not be forgotten that the reason and result of worshipping and prayer originate from the order and consent of God; its benefit occurs in the hereafter. If a person prays and worships with the intention of a worldly benefit, that prayer will become invalid. Therefore, when the sun or the moon eclipse, one should not pray so that the eclipse will end. On the contrary, the times of solar and lunar eclipses should be regarded as times of kusuf and khusuf prayers; one should perform prayers in order to attain the consent and pleasure of God.[24]

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[1]Ibn Hisham, Sirah, Vol. 2, p. 147-148.

[2]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 233; Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, Vol. 2, p. 74; Muslim, Sahih, Vol. 3, p. 1389.

[3]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 244.

[4]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 244-245; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 74.

[5]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 74.

[6]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 245; Ibn Kathir, Sirah, Vol. 3, p. 228; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 77.

[7]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 245.

[8]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 246-247.

[9]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 228; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, Vol. 1, p. 33.

[10]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 227-228.

[11]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 228.

[12]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 228.

[13]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 351; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 422.

[14]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 424-425.

[15]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 251; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 426; Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 3, p. 56.

[16]the Torah, Deuteronomy, 20, 10-15.

[17]Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, Vol. 1, p. 291-292.

[18]Ibn Hisham, Sirah, Vol. 1, p. 234-235; Isfahani, Dalailu’n-Nubuwwa, p. 218-219; Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, Mektûbat, p. 135-136.

[19]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 1, p. 235; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 1, p. 185; Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa, Vol. 1, p. 277-278.

[20]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 263; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 1, p. 433.

[21]Ibn Athir, Usdu’l-Ghaba, Vol. 1, p. 22.

[22]Halabi, Insanu’l-Uyun, Vol. 2, p. 628.

[23]Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 2, p. 23-24; Muslim, Sahih, Vol. 3, p. 28-36.

[24]Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, Emirdağ Lâhikası, Vol. 1, p. 31-33.

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