Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Did Muhammad commit genocide towards the tribe of the Banu Qurayza? Part II

Some more counter-apologetics

It is really important to stress again and again of how the Banu Qurayza refused to aide the Quraysh against the Muslims:

Were the Banu Qurayza really so treacherous?

Narrated 'Aisha: When Allah's Apostle returned on the day (of the battle) of Al-Khandaq (i.e. Trench), he put down his arms and took a bath. Then Gabriel, whose head was covered with dust, came to him saying, "You have put down your arms! By Allah, I have not put down my arms yet." Allah's Apostle said, "Where (to go now)?" Gabriel said, "This way," pointing towards the tribe of Bani Qurayza. So Allah's Apostle went out towards them. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52,
Number 68)

…when the Confederates came and camped outside Al-Madinah, Banu Qurayzah broke the covenant that existed between them and the Messenger of Allah. This happened by the agency of Huyay bin Akhtab An-Nadari, may Allah curse him, who entered their stronghold and would not leave their leader, Ka`b bin Asad, alone until he agreed to break the covenant. Among the things that he said to him was, "Woe to you! This is the opportunity for glory. The Quraysh and their company of men from various tribes, and the Ghatafan and their followers, have come to you, and they will stay here until they eliminate Muhammad and his companions." Ka`b said to him, "No, by Allah, this is the opportunity for humiliation. Woe to you, O Huyay, you are a bad omen. Leave us alone." But Huyay kept trying to persuade him until he agreed to his request. He laid down the condition that if the Confederates went away without doing anything, he [Huyay] would join them in their stronghold and would share their fate. When Banu Qurayzah broke their covenant and news of this reached the Messenger of Allah , he and the Muslims were very distressed by that. When Allah helped him by suppressing his enemy and driving them back disappointed and lost, having gained nothing, the Messenger of Allah returned to Al-Madinah in triumph and the people put down their weapons. While the Messenger of Allah was washing off the dust of battle in the house of Umm Salamah, Jibril came to him wearing a turban of brocade, riding on a mule on which was a cloth of silk brocade. He said, "Have you put down your weapons, O Messenger of Allah?" He said, "Yes." He said, "But the angels have not put down their weapons. I have just now come back from pursuing the people." Then he said: "Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, commands you to get up and go to Banu Qurayzah." According to another report, "What a fighter you are! Have you put down your weapons" He said, "Yes." He said, "But we have not put down our weapons yet, get up and go to these people." He said: "Where?" He said, "Banu Qurayzah, for Allah has commanded me to shake them." So the Messenger of Allah got up immediately, and commanded the people to march towards Banu Qurayzah, who were a few miles from Al-Madinah. This was after Salat Az-Zuhr (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 33:26-27;

If this Jewish tribe had really betrayed Muhammad and his cronies then why did the Muslims put down their weapons? Why didn’t Muhammad immediately confront the Banu Qurayza and settle the issue with them? Why did it take the prodding of "Gabriel" for Muhammad to turn his attention to the Banu Qurayza? And why did Muhammad have to ask his spirit guide where he should attack? Wasn’t it apparent that the spirit was obviously referring to Banu Qurayza in light of their alleged treachery? Finally, where do the so-called sound ahadith say that the reason why "Gabriel" commanded Muhammad to attack the Banu Qurayza was because of their betrayal?

Muslims ga go searching in their nine books of ahadith (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). You will not find any single ahadith
which indicates that Bani Quraytha either officially (or even unofficially) renounced the treaty, nor an hadith which indicates that Bani Quraytha violated the treaty in any way.

As a matter of fact, the only hadith you can find regarding Bani Quraytha's position was this one: [
Musnad Ahmad - 22823] which says that Bani Quraytha actually refused to assist the Pagan Arabs in any way in their assault against Mohammed… 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 ahadeeth which wasn't authentic, thus they couldn't find any ahadith to put in their books which talks about the treachery of Bani Quraytha.

What are the reasons of all this hate of Muhammad towards the Jews?
Let us take for granted Muslim apologists are correct and that the Banu Qurayza did intend to aide the pagans against the Muslims. Would that make them traitors and therefore deserving of extermination? Not at all.

Let’s start with the antagonism agains the Meccans, and let’s go then to chek the situation of the Jews:

What Muslims completely ignore is the fact that the reason why the Meccans (and later the Jews) decided to fight the Muslims is because
Muhammad had derided and insulted them during his stay at Mecca, and then had his followers attack and rob their caravans after he had migrated to Medina.

According to ‘Ali b. Nasr b. …: ‘Urwah wrote to ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan as follows: You have written to me asking about Abu Sufyan and the circumstances of his expedition. Abu Sufyan b. Harb came from Syria at the head of nearly seventy horsemen from all the clans of Quraysh. They had been trading in Syria and they all came together with their money and their merchandise. The Messenger of God and his companions were informed about them. …Subsequently Abu Sufyan and the horsemen of Quraysh who were with him returned from Syria, following the coastal road. When the Messenger of God heard about them he called together his companions and told them of the wealth they had with them and the fewness of their numbers. The Muslims set out with no other object than Abu Sufyan and the horsemen with him. They did not think that these were anything but (easy) booty and did not suppose that there would be a great battle when they met them. It is concerning this that God revealed, "And ye longed that other than the armed one might be yours." When Abu Sufyan heard that the companions of the messenger of God were on their way to intercept him, he sent to Quraysh (saying), "Muhammad and his companions are going to intercept your caravan, so protect your merchandise …" (The History of Al-Tabari: The Foundation of the Community, trans. by M. V. McDonald, annot. by W. Montgomery Watt [State University of New York Press, Albany 1987], Volume VII, pp. 28-29)

The Meccans suspected that the reason Muhammad left for Medina was to regroup in order to come back to fight and subjugate them. It didn’t take long for Muhammad to confirm that their suspicions were correct:…

When the Quraysh saw that the apostle had a party and companions not of their tribe and outside their territory, and that his companions had migrated to join them, and knew that they had settled in a new home and had gained protectors, they feared that the apostle might join them, SINCE THEY KNEW THAT HE HAD DECIDED TO FIGHT THEM. So they assembled in their council chamber, the house of Qusayy b. Kilab where all their important business was conducted, to take counsel what they should do in regard to the apostle, FOR THEY WERE NOW IN FEAR OF HIM. (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, 10th impression 1995], p. 221)

The Jews

The JEWISH TRIBES located in the vicinity of Medina were on an entirely different footing. Muhammad had not only acknowledged the divine authority of their religion, but rested his own claims, in an important degree, upon the evidence of their Scriptures, and the testimony of their learned men.
No object was nearer his heart than a combination with them. His feasts, his fasts, his ceremonies, were, up to this time, framed in close correspondence with Jewish custom. Jerusalem itself was his Kibla. Towards that holy spot, the Prophet, and all his followers, turned five times a day while they prostrated themselves in prayer. There was no sacrifice that Mahomet was not prepared to make, short of the abandonment of his claim to the prophetic office, in order to gain the Jews over to his cause.

Muhammad at first sought to appease the Jews by following their customs and practices in order to win them over, a point which is tacitly admitted by the Muslim sources themselves. Yet
when he saw that his efforts were in vain and that they were not going to convert Muhammad turned against them and their traditions:

One of these is God’s
changing of the Muslims’ Qiblah (the direction faced in prayer) from Syria (that is, Jerusalem) to the Ka‘bah. This was in the second year of the Prophet’s residence in Medina, in Sha‘ban (which began January 28, 624). The early scholars disagree as to the date at which the Qiblah was changed in this year; the majority say that it was changed halfway through Sha‘ban, eighteen months after the arrival of the Messenger of God in Medina.

According to Yunus b. ‘Abd al-A‘la… The Prophet turned towards Jerusalem for sixteen months, and then it reached his ears that the Jews were saying, "By God, Muhammad and his companions did not know where their Qiblah was until we directed them." This displeased the Prophet and he raised his face toward Heaven, and God said, "We have seen the turning of your face to Heaven." (The History of Al-Tabari: The Foundation of the Community, trans. by M. V. McDonald, annot. by W. Montgomery Watt [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1987], Volume VII, pp. 24-25;)

Thus, Muhammad only
changed the qiblah when the Jews started mocking him! For more on this point please see
this article.

The Jews had legitimate disagreements with Muhammad’s prophetic assertions since he contradicted just about everything that the Hebrew prophets said regarding God, Messiah, salvation, ethics etc.

Muhammad had even told the Jews that if they couldn’t find a prophecy about him in their Scriptures then they were not obligated to follow him. But when the Jews denied that he was mentioned in their inspired Books, Muhammad refused to accept this and took their rejection as a sign of their obstinate rebellion:

The apostle wrote to the Jews of Khaybar according to what a freedman of the family of Zayd b. Thabit told me …: ‘In the name of God the compassionate the merciful from Muhammad the apostle of God friend and brother of Moses WHO CONFIRMS WHAT MOSES BROUGHT. God says to you O scripture folk and you will find it in your scripture "Muhammad is the apostle of God; and those with him are severe against the unbelievers, merciful among themselves. Thou seest them bowing, falling prostrate seeking bounty and acceptance from God. The mark of their prostrations is on their foreheads. That is their likeness in the Torah and in the Gospel like a seed which sends forth its shoot and strengthens it and it becomes thick and rises straight upon its stalk delighting the sowers that He may anger the unbelievers with them. God has promised those who believe and do well forgiveness and a great reward." I adjure you by God, AND BY WHAT HE HAS SENT DOWN TO YOU, by the manna and quails He gave as food to your tribes before you, and by His drying up the sea for your fathers when He delivered them from Pharaoh and his works, that you tell me, DO YOU FIND IN WHAT HE SENT DOWN TO YOU that you should believe in Muhammad? IF YOU DO NOT FIND THAT IN YOUR SCRIPTURE THEN THERE IS NO COMPULSION UPON YOU. "The right path has become plainly distinguished from error" …(313). (Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, p. 256;)

According to what I heard from ‘Ikrima, freedman of Ibn ‘Abbas…. Salam b. Mishkam, one of the B. al-Nadir, said, ‘He has not brought us anything we recognize and he is not the one we spoke of to you.’ So God sent down about that saying of theirs: ‘And when a book comes to them from God CONFIRMING what they have, though beforehand they were asking for help against those who disbelieve, when there came to them what they knew, they disbelieved in it, so God’s curse rests on the unbelievers.’
Malik b. al-Sayf said when the apostle had been sent and they were reminded of the condition that had been imposed on them and what God had covenanted with them concerning him, ‘No covenant was ever made with us about Muhammad.’ So God sent down concerning him: ‘Is it not that whenever they make a covenant a party of them set it aside? Nay most of them do not believe.’

Abu Saluba al-Fityuni said to the apostle: ‘O Muhammad, you have not brought us anything we recognize and God has not sent down to you any sign that we should follow you.’ So God sent concerning his words, ‘we have sent down to thee plain signs and only evildoers disbelieve in them.’ (P. 257)

One more time:

A number of them came in to the apostle and he said to them, ‘Surely you know that I am an apostle from God to you.’ They replied that they did not know it and would not bear witness to him.’ (P. 265)

Mahmud b. Sayhan …came to him and said: ‘Is it true, Muhammad, that what you have brought is the truth from God? For our part we cannot see that it is arranged as the Torah is.’ He answered, ‘You know quite well that it is from God; you will find it written IN THE TORAH WHICH YOU HAVE. If men and jinn came together to produce its like they could not.’ Finhas and ‘Abdullah b. Suriya and Ibn Saluba and Kinana b. al-Raba‘ and Ashya‘ and Ka’b b. al-Asad and Shamwil and Jabal were there and they said: ‘Did neither men nor jinn tell you this, Muhammad?’ He said: ‘You know well that it is from God and that I am the apostle of God. You will find it written IN THE TORAH YOU HAVE.’ (324).

This is when Muhammad decided to threaten them by demanding the Jews to convert to Islam or suffer the consequences.

And to get an idea of
how Muhammad really felt about the Banu Qurayza notice what he said to them on the day of their slaughter:

When the apostle approached their forts he said: ‘You brothers of monkeys… has god disgraced you and brought his vengeance upon you?’ Banu Qurayza replied: ‘O Abul Qasim, you are not a barbarous person.’ (Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, p. 461)

How wrong they were since Muhammad was truly a barbaric tyrant as they were about to soon find out.

With the foregoing in perspective
does anyone really blame the Jews, or the pagans for that matter, for wanting to get rid of such an evil tyrant? What would the Muslim response be to such a dictator who invades their lands and expects them to accept all his conditions, such as embracing him as a prophet after Muhammad, even though this means that Muslims must reject what the Qur’an says concerning the finality of prophethood, and threatens to kill and/or expel them if they don’t acquiesce to all of his demands?

Why, then, should the Jewish tribes of Yathrib be considered traitors for trying to protect themselves from Muhammad’s tyranny when all they wanted was to be left alone and not to be forced to believe in a false prophet who clearly contradicted their inspired Scriptures?

The judgement of Sa’d bin Muadh and the inconsistency of Muslim Apologists

According to so-called sound ahadith a Muslim named Sa’d bin Muadh was appointed to determine the fate of the Banu Qurayza. He decided that the men should all be killed and the women and children taken captive. The reports all say that Muhammad raised Sa’d’s decision since on the grounds that this was God’s own ruling, that
Sa’d judged according to God’s own judgment:

Narrated Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri: When the tribe of Bani Qurayza was ready to accept Sad's judgment, Allah's Apostle sent for Sad who was near to him. …." Then Sad came and sat beside Allah's Apostle who said to him. "These people are ready to accept your judgment." Sad said, "I give the judgment that their warriors should be killed and their children and women should be taken as prisoners." The Prophet then remarked, "O Sad! You have judged amongst them with (or similar to) the judgment of the King Allah." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52,
Number 280)

Another Islamic source says that Sa’d judged according to the directives of the Torah, specifically Deuteronomy 20:
The Banu Qurayza committed high treason by breaking their oath of alliance with the Muslims and turning against them in time of war. When the battle against them was over, the Prophet, upon him peace, searched for an arbiter known and accepted to both sides who would rule concerning their penalty. The arbiter chosen was Sa`d ibn Mu`adh, who had been mortally wounded and died shortly afterwards. Sa`d said: "I will judge them according to the Law of Musa." He was of the tribe of Aws, who were the allies of the Jewish Banu Qurayza, the men who were executed. They assented to whatever verdict he would give as a leader from Aws.

Ibn Kathir in al-Bidaya mentions that the number of the men executed after the 25-day siege were 400, and that another version says 700. Someone said that the decision was probably taken by Sa`d ibn Mu`adh
in light of Deuteronomy 20:12-14
(Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad, Banu Qurayza Mosaic Penalty;

This raises several questions.

1) Why are Muhammad and his companions accepting the judgment of Deuteronomy 20 as righteous and just when on other occasions Muslim attack such OT injunctions as being cruel and harsh, claiming that these Biblical verses are vile and wicked for supposedly condoning the mass genocide of peoples?
2) The Islamic sources say that Muhammad didn’t only have the warriors or those responsible killed, such as the leaders of Banu Qurayza, but even young men who had reached puberty were massacred despite the fact that they didn't have anything to do with the decisions of their leaders/elders.

The Messenger of God had commanded that all of them who had reached puberty should be killed. (
The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1997], Volume VIII, p. 38)

Why were these innocent boys therefore killed?

3) To top it off the Islamic reports further claim that the way Muslims determined whether the children had become young, mature men is by having them expose their genitalia to see if they had pubic hairs! Source:
Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38,
Number 4390)

This basically means that
many of those who were brutally murdered were very young, perhaps as young as eleven or twelve. Again, why do Muslim apologists have no problem with Muhammad’s orders to behead innocent young boys when they didn't conspire to "betray" the Muslims? Why should such actions now be acceptable when on other occasions Muslim attack the OT commandment to wipe out men, women, children, and infants?

Muslims cannot have their cake and eat it too. If the OT is wrong for commanding the mass extermination of tribes then Muhammad was equally wrong for beheading young boys who had done nothing wrong. After all, don’t
Muslims always harping on how Islam denies original sin and corporate solidarity (
*)? Why, then, should these innocent young men suffer because of the decision of a few leaders?

For those interested in reading the justice behind these OT commands we recommend the following articles and rebuttals (
1, 2).

And to see what Islam truly teaches concerning original sin, corporate solidarity, federal headship etc., we suggesting consulting these discussions and responses (
1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

We come to the conclusion of our response. Glory to Lord Jesus.

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