Tag Archives: Jews

Explanation Of “Do Not Say ‘Salaam’ To Jews…” Hadith

Kaleef K. Karim

I have always advised Muslims and others that when you use a Hadith or a Quranic verse, you should know the historical background as why it was said and when it was revealed. If you do not know the very basics of when and why a verse of the Quran was revealed or why the Prophet (p) said a statement, don’t try give an explanation and lead  innocent people astray. Without its historical background one will at times give an interpretation that may be alien to the way it was understood when it was uttered. For example, the following Hadith is often quoted and twisted by individuals who want to paint the Islamic faith negatively:

“Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: Do not greet the Jews and the Christians before they greet you and when you meet any one of them on the roads force him to go to the narrowest part of it.” (Sahih Muslim Book 26, Hadith 5389. Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/muslim/39/16 )


“Narrated Abu Hurairah: that the Messenger of Allah said: “Do not precede the Jews and the Christians with the Salam. And if one of you meets them in the path, then force them to its narrow portion.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 5, Book 40, Hadith 2700. Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam, https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/42/13 )

Just reading the above reports by itself may seem to give a reader an impression that the Prophet (p) discriminated against other religious groups. However, this is not the case when we consult historical sources on the same incident. This saying was uttered mainly against an enemy group who aimed to harm the Prophet (p) and the Muslims. There are two Hadith reports on this:

“It was narrated from Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman Al Juhani that the Messenger of Allah said: “I am riding to the Jews tomorrow. Do not initiate the greeting with them, and if they greet you, then say: Wa ‘alaikum (and also upon you)”. Sunan Ibn Majah volume 5, Book 33, Hadith 3699. Eng. Tran., Hasan Darussalam https://sunnah.com/ibnmajah/33/43 )

And here:

“Abu Basra al-Ghifari reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I will ride to the Jews tomorrow. Do not give them the greeting first. If they greet you, then say, ‘and on you.’” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad Book 44, Hadith 1102. Eng. Tran., Sahih Al-Albani, https://sunnah.com/adab/44/2 )

The part where it says, “I will ride to the Jews” or “I am riding to the Jews” indicates that the Prophet (p) was at war with this group of people in his time. There are two clear proofs from classical scholars that this statement was made in relation to war.

The 9th century Persian Islamic scholar Abu Isa Muḥammad ibn Isa as-Sulami ad-Darir al-Bughi at-Tirmidhi (824 – 892 CE) placed this Hadith in the category of “The Book on military expeditions” [1]:

(41)Chapter: What Has Been Related About Greeting The People Of The Book With Salam
Narrated Abu Hurairah:That the Messenger of Allah said: “Do not precede the Jews and the Christians with the Salam. And if one you meets one of them in the path, then force him to its narrow portion.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 3, Book 19, Hadith 1602 Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam, https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/21/65 

The 14/15th century Shafi’I scholar Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (1372 – 1449 CE) placed this Hadith in the category of “The Book On Jihad”:

“Bulugh al-Maram – The Book on Jihad
Abu Hurairah (RAA) narrated that The Messenger of Allah said: “Do not start by saluting the Jews and the Christians (when you meet them), and if you meet any of them on the road, force him to go to the narrowest part of the road.” (Bulugh al-Maram Book 11, Hadith 1350. Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/urn/2116100 )

It is quite clear that among classical scholars of Islam, they deemed this Hadith report to be in relation to war only.

Who exactly was this group that the Prophet (p) and his companions were at war with? This saying was uttered on the occasion of the Banu Qurayza incident. The Prophet and his people were marching to the Banu Qurayza tribe. This tribe just had violated the peace treaty and attacked the Muslim community. They had violated the treated and helped the Quraysh in war against the Muslims, in the battle of Khandaq: “Battle Of The Trench (al-Khandaq – al-Ahzab)“ https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/18/battle-of-the-trench-al-khandaq-al-ahzab/

For more information on Banu Quraizah incident, see the following article please: “Re-Examining Banu Qurayzah Incident” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/01/01/re-examining-banu-qurayzah-incident/

The medieval sunni scholar Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292 – 1350 CE) states that the Hadith was uttered in relation to when the Muslims “went out to Banu Quraizah” [2]:

“Regarding His Guidance In Giving Salutations Of Peace To The People Of The Scripture
It has been authentically reported from the Prophet that he said:
‘Do not anticipate them in offering salutations of peace; and if you meet them in the road, force them to the narrowest part of it.’
However, it has been said: That was in special circumstances, when HE WENT OUT TO BANU QURAIZAH and he said: ‘Do not anticipate them in offering salutations of peace.’ ” (Provisions for the Hereafter (Zaad Al-Ma’ad) by Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, page 211 – 212)

Contemporary Professor Said Fares Hassan comments on this particular Hadith and gives a plausible explanation(s) as why the Prophet uttered those words on that occasion:

“The Qur’an is the ultimate source, and the Sunnah runs in its orbit and does not depart from it. Therefore if the Qur’an states the principle of justice and righteousness in dealing with non-Muslims, then prophetic hadith such as ‘do not initiate peace greeting i.e., saying ‘peace be upon you,’ with the Jews and oblige them to take the side of the road’ should be reinterpreted in terms of the Qur’an and not otherwise. Such a statement should not be taken at its face value. The Sunnah has to be considered as an integral structure in its own right, however closely linked to the Qur’an as an elaboration of its values in a relative specific context. Based on the principle, the above hadith is applicable only in its specific context. It is reported that the Prophet instructed Muslims not to greet the Jews when he was heading to war against the Jewish community of BANU QURAYZAH for the breaching of their covenant with him. Muslims were advised not to greet them because if they exchange greetings, THIS WILL BE LIKE GIVING THE JEWS AN AMAN, THAT IS, CONCLUDING A PEACE TREATY, which is not desired in this specific situation. Against this specific incident, the Qur’an lays the general principle that ‘Allah does not forbid you to deal justly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes’ (Qur’an 60:8). If one adds to this some other prophetic Hadiths that support the Qur’anic principle, one can conclude the inapplicability of the statement preventing the greeting of non-Muslims.” (Fiqh al-Aqalliyat – History, Development, and Progress [Palgrave Macmillan, 2013], by Said Fares Hassan, page 104)

This explanation offered by Professor Said Fares Hassan has also been given by other classical scholars in the past. The highly respected scholar Ishaq bin Rahwaih (777 – 852 CE) comments in relation to the report under discussion. He writes:

“إذا كانت حاجة إليه فلك أن تبدأه بالسلام، ومعنى قول النبي (لا تبدؤوهم بالسلام)لما خاف أن يدعوا ذلك أمانا وكان قد غدا إلى يهود
“If there is a need for it, then initiate the greeting. As for the meaning of the words of the Prophet “Do not greet them”, he said this out of fear that this might signify to them that they are safe, while he already marched against the Jews (Banu Qurayzah).” (Masaa’il al-Imam Ahmad wa Ishaq bin Rahwaih, volume 1, page 87)

When the historical context of the Hadith is taken into account, we see that the Prophet (p) said this statement in the time of war. Hence, the Hadith reports under discussion has been understood from the earliest of days of Islam as a safeguard not to give false hope to the enemy. For example, since the Prophet (p) and his companions were going out to battle against a treacherous group of people, they did not want to greet them since that would amount to giving them security. Hence, that would be considered treachery on their part if they did. Thus, the companions at the time were prohibited from greeting them.

Furthermore, to better explain what scholar Ishaq bin Rahwaih (777 – 852 CE) is saying, we have to look Islamic teachings and see how strict Islam is when it comes to treachery:

“Aman may be given by Muslims to non-Muslims and by non-Muslims to Muslims. At the time of ‘Umar, the second Caliph, during a war, a Persian soldier took shelter at the top of a tree. A Muslims soldier told him in Persian cum Arabic ‘matrasi’ (don’t be afraid). His adversary thought that he was given a pledge and protection and came down. Sadly, he was killed by the Muslim soldier. The matter was reported to the Caliph, who warned the commander, saying ‘As God is my witness, if I hear anyone has done this I shall cut his neck.”’ (Badruddin Ayni, Umdah Al-Qari Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhari, (Cairo Al-Taba Muneeriya, n.d.), volume 15, page 94) (The Concept Of Treaty In Relation To War And Peace In Islam, [Fikr-O-Nazar Urdu Journal (July-Sept 2009)], by Dr. Muhammad Munir, volume 47, No. 1, page 43 – 65)

And according to Shaybani (749 -805 CE):

“‘Umar wrote to his commander in Iraq that if anyone gave pledge to any enemy soldier buy sing, inter alia, the Persian words ‘matrasi’, then these words are binding.’ (Shaybani, Siyar al-Kabir, volume 1, page 199) (The Concept Of Treaty In Relation To War And Peace In Islam, [Fikr-O-Nazar Urdu Journal (July-Sept 2009)], by Dr. Muhammad Munir, volume 47, No. 1, page 43 – 65)

Muwatta Malik (711 -795 CE):

“…DO NOT ACT TREACHEROUSLY. Do not mutilate and do not kill children.” (Muwatta Malik Book 21, Hadith 11 Eng. Tran.)


“Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war, do not embezzle the spoils; DO NOT COMMIT TREACHERY; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children.” (Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4294)


In light of the context, the Prophet Muhammed (p) was worried that he was going to give the enemy a false sense of security by imitating greetings. If one is responsible in any way for providing the enemy a false sense of security and then you fight him, Islam considers this to be an act of treachery. That is the justice of Islam. And so the Prophet was just trying to be extra cautious in regards to this situation with the Banu Qurayza.

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Related articles:

(1) – “‘Those Who Wage War And Make Mischief’ – Quran 5:33” (Ukil & Urayna) https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/18/those-who-wage-war-and-make-mischief-quran-533/

(2) – “Baseless Story Of Kinana Ibn Al-Rabi – Treasure?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2015/04/04/baseless-story-of-kinana-ibn-al-rabi-treasure/

(3) – “Hadith Without Context Is Meaningless: Abu Bakr’s ‘Apostasy’ Wars” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/10/17/hadith-without-context-is-meaningless-abu-bakrs-apostasy-wars/

(4) – “Revisiting Abu Bakr’s Conversation With Umar And The Delegation(s): Ridda Wars” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/10/22/revisiting-abu-bakrs-conversation-with-umar-and-the-delegations-ridda-wars/

(5) – “The Hadith ‘…Fight Until They Say There Is No god But Allah’ Explained” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/12/25/the-hadith-fight-until-they-say-there-is-no-god-but-allah-explained/

(6) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/25/early-expeditions-and-battles-of-islam/

(7) – “Muhammed A Mercy: Analysing Dogs Killed In Madinah” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/12/06/muhammed-a-mercy-analysing-dogs-killed-in-madinah/

(8) – “What Happened To The Captive Women In Awtas Incident?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/06/23/what-happened-to-the-captive-women-in-awtas-incident/

(9) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/05/27/most-misinterpreted-verses-of-the-quran/

(10) – “Did Jews Get Expelled From Arabia?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/01/10/did-jews-get-expelled-from-arabia/

(11) – “Ali Ibn Abi Talib Did Not Burn Apostates Alive – Historical Analysis” https://discover-the-truth.com/2017/03/11/ali-ibn-abi-talib-did-not-burn-apostates-alive-historical-analysis/

[1] Commenting on this, classical scholar Abu Eisa stated that those people were at war with they should not be honored:
[He said:] There are narrations on this topic from Ibn ‘Umar, Anas, and Abu Basrah Al-Ghifari the Companion of the Prophet.
[Abu ‘Eisa said:] This Hadith is Hasan Sahih. And regarding the meaning of this Hadith: “Do not precede the Jews and the Christians”: Some of the people of knowledge said that it only means that it is disliked because it would be honoring them, and the Muslims were ordered to humiliate them. For this reason, when one of them is met on the path, then the path is not yielded for him, because doing so would amount to honoring them.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 3, Book 19, Hadith 1602 Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam, https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/21/65 )
[2] 14th century scholar Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (1335 – 1393 CE) comments in regards to treachery:
“…if he makes a contract he is treacherous and does not fulfil the contract. He says:
Fullfill your contracts. Contracts will be asked about.’ Surat al-Isra:34)
And he says:
‘Be true to Allah’s contract when you have agreed to it, and do not break your oaths once they are confirmed and you have made Allah your guarantee’ – Surat an-Nahl: 91
And he says:
‘Those who sell Allah’s contract and their own oaths for a party price, such people will have no portion in the akhirah and on the Day of Rising Allah will not speak to them or look at them or purify them. They will have a painful punishment.’ – (Surah Al Imran:77)
There is in the two Sahih books from Ibn Umar that the Prophet said, ‘For every treacherous one there is a banner on the Day of Rising by which he will be recognised.’
And in a version, ‘The treacherous one will have set up for him a standard on the Day of Rising, and it will be said, ‘This is the treachery of so-and-son! Al-Bukhari (3188) and Muslim (1735)
They both also narrated it in a hadith of Anas in the same sense.
Muslim narrated a hadith of Abu Sa’id that the Prophet said, ‘Every treacherous one will have a standard at his buttocks on the Day of Rising.’ Muslim (1738)
TREACHERY IS HARAM IN EVERY CONTRACT between Muslims and another, EVEN IF THE PERSON WITH WHOM THE CONTRACT IS MADE IS A KAFIR. For this reason there is in the hadith of Abdullah ibn Amr from the Prophet ‘Whoever kills a person whom he has an agreement without a just cause will not smell the gragrance of the Garden, and its fragrance can be experienced at a distance of forty years travel.’ Al-Bukhari narrated it. (Al-Bukhari (3166, 6914).
Allah, exalted is He, commands in His Book that we fulfil idolaters contracts if they undertake to fulfil their contracts and do not fail in them.” (“Jami’al –Ulum Wal – Hikam”) – Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali [Translated by Abdassamad Clarke – Turath Publishing, 1428/2007], page 744 – 745)

Social Conditions Of Christians & Jews In Early Islam


The Quran and Prophetic sayings insists not to ‘harm’ and orders Muslims to strongly to treat non-Muslims kindly and with justice. In the Quran, Allah says:

“Allah does not forbid you, with regard to those who do not fight you on account of your religion nor drive you out of your homes, to treat them with goodness and to be just to them; truly, Allah loves those who are just. Indeed, Allah forbids you (only) with regard to those who fight you on account of religion and drive you out of your homes, and assist (others) in driving you out, that you turn to them (in friendship); and whoever turns to them (in friendship), they are wrongdoers. (Quran – Al-Mumtahanah, 60:8-9)

In a Hadith the Prophet Muhammed (p) said:

“If anyone wrong a man to whom a treaty has been granted, or burdens him above his strength, I am an advocate against him till the day of judgement.” [1]

The first rightly guided Caliph said,

“Do not kill any protected people, for if you do God will require the protection of them from you and will cast you on your faces in hell.” [2]

When Caliph Abu Bakr Siddique sent his soldiers to Syria, he said to have given the followings commandments:

“When you enter that country, kill neither old man, nor little child, nor woman. Do not pull down a pillar saint from his place. Do not injure the monks, for they have set themselves apart to worship God. Do not cut down a tree nor uproot a plant. Do not rip up any ox, cow, or sheep. If a province or people receive you, make an agreement with them and your promise. Let them be governed by their own laws and established customs, and take tribute from them as is agreed between you. Leave them in their religion and their land.” [3]

There are other Hadith, which speak about Umar Ibn al-Khattab, showing kindness to non-Muslims. On the way back from Syria he seen some men in the sun with oil over their heads, in order to attract flies. Umar, asked what is happening to these men, those in charge responded by saying that they are not paying the tax they agreed to pay. Hence, the punishment. The men in response said that they couldn’t pay because they didn’t have any money. They were too poor to pay.

Umar Ibn Khattab ordered those in charge the following,

“Let them go, do not annoy them.” [4]

In another place, Umar was passing along a house when saw an old, blind man begging. Umar touched the old man and asked him, whether he was a Christian or a Jew, the man said that he was Jewish. The old blind man further said that he begged in the day so he could provide himself the daily needs, for his food and pay the Jizya.

“To which of the people of the Book do you belong? I am a Jew, responded the blind man. Umar took him by the hand, led him to his own house, gave him something from it (i.e., food) and then sent him to the keeper of the treasure with this message, ‘See to this man and his like, for we have not done right if we devour their youth and neglect their old age. The religious tax is for the poor and needy. The poor are the Muslims; this man is one of the needy of the people of the Book (Christians and Jews). He freed the man from the obligation to pay the Jizyah.“ [5]

Similarly, in another place Umar Ibn Khattab, the Companion of Prophet Muhammed is said to have instructed his people the following in regards to Christians and Jews (those protected religions’),

“Make it easy for him who cannot pay the Jizyah (tribute); help him who is weak. Let them keep their names…” [6]

Umar Ibn Khattab’s last words, in his dying bed to his successors was the following:

“I charge the Caliph after me to be kind to the dhimmis (non-Muslims), to keep their covenant, to protect them, and not to burden them above their strength.” [7]

Besides presenting Muslim sources on the good, kind treatment given to the non-Muslims in Prophet Muhammed and his successors time, we also have non-Muslim sources attesting, supporting the view that non-Muslims were treated well.

Isho-yahbh the Bishop, who was a Christian patriarch in the years 647 to 657 A.D., states:

“The Arabs, to whom God gave the dominion over the World, behave to us as you know. They are not hostile to Christianity, but praise our religion, honour the priests and saints, and help the Churches and Monasteries.” [8]

The set agreement made by Bishop Isho-yahbh with the Muslims shows to have been quote good and favourable to the Christians. Part of the agreement stipulated was that they should be protected from their enemies, that they should not be forced to fight for the Government in charge, be allowed to their manners and Laws. [9]

The kind, and just treatment towards non-Muslims by Muhammad (p) and his successors is the true essence of Islam. Some in today’s world have rejected and gone against the commandments laid out in the Quran and Hadith. Thus they have gone astray.

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[1] Kitab al-Kharaj, by Abu Yusuf Yaqub page 71
[2] Kitab al-tabaqat al-Kabir, by Ibn Sa’d, volume 3, page 137
[3] The Caliphs And Their Non-Muslim Subjects: A Critical Study Of The Covenant Of Umar [Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press – London Bombay Calcutta Madras, 1930], by Arthur Stanley Tritton, page 137
[4] Kitab al-Kharaj, by Abu Yusuf Yaqub page 71
[5] Kitab al-Kharaj, by Abu Yusuf Yaqub page 71
[6] History, Ibn Asaakir, volume 1, page 178
[7] Kitab al-Kharaj, by Yahya Ibn Adam, page 54
[8] The Book of Governors: The Historia Monastica of Thomas, Bishop of Marga A.D.840. [Edited From Syriac manuscripts In The British Museum And Other Libraries by E. A. Wallis Budge, Litt. D., F. S. A., – London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., LTD. Paternoster House, Charing Cross Road. 1893], volume 2, page 126
[9] Ecclesiastical Chronicle, Bar Hebraeus, volume 3, page 118

– Quotes and references were extracted from the following book “The Caliphs And Their Non-Muslim Subjects: A Critical Study Of The Covenant Of Umar” [Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press – London Bombay Calcutta Madras, 1930], by Arthur Stanley Tritton, page 137 – 139

Jews Did Not Get Expelled From Arabia

Holy Ground: Jews And Christians Expelled From Arabia?

We wrote not long ago on the Hadith where it is presumed by some that Prophet Muhammad (p) and Umar Ibn al-Khattab wanted to ‘expel all Christians and Jews from Arabia’, as a result of their beliefs. In the article we showed that this was a wrong understanding of the Hadith. Where it mentioned ‘Arabia’, was actually understood by some of the earliest Muslims to be Hijaz region. Some of the early scholars pointed out that it was not even the whole of Hijaz, but rather the southern part only.

Arthur Stanley Tritton, D. Litt. who was a British historian and scholar of Islam – has unearthed many early evidences where even after Umar ordered the expulsion of some Jews from Hijaz, for breaking the treaty and fighting Muslims, there were still many Jewish and Christian tribes who resided in Arabia. Particularly in Yemen and other places in Arabia. Some of them even were allowed to work and live in Madinah and Makkah. Furthermore, the claim by some that all Jews and Christians were expelled from Arabia, is an “exaggeration”, says Scholar Arthur Stanley Tritton.

Scholar Arthur Stanley Tritton

The accepted version of history is that, in obedience to the tradition,

‘Two religions shall not remain in the land of the Arabs,’

Umar drove all Jews and Christians out of Arabia, because that was the land of Islam and Islam alone. This is an exaggeration. The dhimmis were never banished from Yemen, and Hamdani mentions a village with two hundred Jewish inhabitants in east Peninsula. (Geography Of Arabia, Hamdani, p. 152; and Kitab al-Umm, Shafe’I, vol. 4, p. 100)

Dhimmis were excluded from the Hedjaz, but even this was contrary to the practice of the Prophet, was opposed to the views of the some of the great lawyers, and was not carried out consistently.

During the Prophet’s lifetime, dhimmis lived in Medina, Mecca, Khaibar, Yemen, and Nejran, and a Christian, named Mawhib, is specially mentioned as living in Mecca. (Al-Tabaqat al-kabir, Ibn Sa’d, vol. 3, 1, p. 250)

Umar did not allow adult male captives – non-Muslims – to enter Medina, but he made an exception in favour of Abu Lulua, at the request of Mughira b. Sha’ba, as he was a skilled workman. (Kitab ul Aghani., vol. 11, p. 23)

The rule that Nabataeans trading with Medina paid only five per cent instead of ten probably implies that they visited the two. (As-Suli, Adab ul Kuttab (A.H. 1341), page 214; and Kitab al Umm, Shafe’i, volume 4, page 101)

Abu Zubaid, the Christian poet, certainly visited it, for Uthman drew him near to him and made him sit beside him. (Kitab al Umm, Shafe’i, vol. 4, page 125; and Khitat, Makrizi (A.H. 1270), vol. 2, page 121)

Hunain, the Christian singer of Hira, stayed in Medina. (Kitab ul Aghani, vol. 2, p. 122)

Abu l Hakam, a Christian, accompanied Yazid to Mecca, when he led the pilgrimage during the reign of his father, Mu’awia. (Tabakat ul Atibba, Ibn Abi Usaibi’a vol. 1, p. 116)

Abd ul Malik sent a Christian engineer to build dams in Mecca to ward off floods. (Baladhuri, Futuh ul Buldan, p. 54)

In 87 or 88 Walid sent eighty Greek and Coptic masons to rebuild the Prophet’s mosque; it is even said that he wrote to the emperor for them. (Baladhuri, Futuh ul Buldan p. 7; and Kitab ul A’lak Un Nafisa, Ibn Rusteh p. 69)

In the Papyri are frequent references to dhimmis labourers engaged in work on Mosques. [1]

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[1] The Caliphs And Their Non-Muslim Subjects: A Critical Study Of The Covenant Of Umar [Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press – London Bombay Calcutta Madras, 1930], page 175 – 176

Red area is the Hejaz region.

Red area is the Hejaz region.

Did Umar Ibn Khattab Expel Jews From Arabia?

Kaleef K. Karim & Aliyu Musa Misau

This article examines an incident that occurred at the time of Caliph Umar ibn Khattab (ra), concerning the expulsion of Jews from the Hejaz region.

“It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattib that he heard the Messenger of Allah say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.” (Sahih Muslim Book 19, Hadith 4366).

The above Hadith has often been misquoted by critics. If one were to read it at face value, one would think and believe this is what Muhammed (p) intended all along, that is for the non-Muslims to be exiled out of Arabia without reason. However when we examine why they were expelled, one would realise that it wasn’t because they were non-Muslim, rather it had more to do with the fact of the hostilities which they committed against the Muslim community and continued to do even after the Prophet’s (p) demise.

To begin with, what does Arabian Peninsula mean when the term was used 1400 years ago? Geographically speaking, the Arabian Peninsula is not what is thought to be by modern terminology. The Arabian Peninsula may mean Arabia as a whole (Middle-East) by today’s thinking, but originally the term was the surrounding areas of Makkah and Madinah – Hijaz. This has been stated my many medieval scholars, that the Hadith specifically speaks about the Hijaz region, Makkah and Madinah only.

The following sources state and understood that the Jews and the Christians are not allowed in the region of al-Hijaz surrounding Makkah and Madinah – not the whole middle-east:

Professor Jonathan A.C. Brown:

“… This was not accomplished until the reign of the second Caliph, Umar, who acted on the Prophet’s order and expelled the Jews of khaybar, north of Medina, from the Hejaz.
… “Bukhari notes that it was the area of the twin shrine cities of Mecca and Medina, extending south to the mountains of Yemen and east across the craggy ridges of the Hejaz to the central Arabian oases of Yamama (near present-day Riyadh). Hence Malik had concluded that Umar had not expelled the Jews of the Tayma oasis in the northern Hejaz because it was not considered part of the Peninsula of the Arabs. In later centuries Christian merchants would even accompany Hajj caravans from Syria down into the Hejaz until they were within three days travel of Medina. Furthermore, medieval ulama recognized that the Peninsula of the Arabs could not include Yemen, since Jewish communities flourished there since the beginning of Islam.” [1]


Kitab al-Maghazi – Al-Waqidi:

“When news about the Messenger of God’s conquest of Khaybar, Fadak, and Wadi al-Qura, reached the Jews of Tayma they made peace with the Messenger of God on the jizya, and their property was established in their hands. During the caliphate of Umar, he expelled the Jews of Khaybar and Fadak, but he did not expel the Jews of Tayma and Wadi al-Qura, because the latter were within the land of al-Sham. It was believed that land from below Wadi al-Qura to Medina was the Hijaz. And what was north of the Hijaz was part of al-Sham.” [2]

Thus shows, historically speaking, that the term Arabian Peninsula was exclusively applied to south of Hijaz, and was never applied to other areas of the Arabian Peninsula. A map of this (below) should shed more light where this expulsion was specific to:

map hijaz

The Hadith under discussion on Jews being expelled was specifically referring to the red area highlighted as being the Arabian peninsula, at the time of the Prophet (p). Some other sources go as far as to say it was only the south of Hijaz, the north (above Madina) was not included.

Looking at the map we see that Arabian Peninsula was pointed to the surrounding areas of Makkah and Madinah, not the whole Middle-East.

Having previously written about the Jews of Khaybar, Dr. Shawqi Abu Khalil pointed out that the Jews of Khaybar hired soldiers from the people of Ghatafan to fight against the Muslims. In return, they would give the Ghatafan tribe a certain percentage of their yearly harvest. [3]

When the Jews of Khaybar were surrounded by the Muslims for what they did, they surrendered and made a treaty with the Prophet (p). Prophet (p) told them that they could stay on the land of Khaybar as long as they gave half of harvest they produced and abided by that treaty. If they broke the treaty i.e., became hostile, show aggression, or hurt the Muslims, they would be expelled from the land, and this was exactly what they did at the time of the Caliphate of Umar – this we shall write about further in the article. This treaty is confirmed in the following early sources:

Kitab Futuh al-Buldan:

“Al-Husain ibn-al-aswad from Muhammad ibn-Ishak who said: – I once asked ibn-Shihab about Khaibar and he told me that he was informed that the Prophet captured it by force after a fight, and that it was included among the spoils which Allah assigned to his Prophet. The Prophet took its fifth and divided the land among the Moslems. Those of its people who surrendered did so on condition that they leave the land; but the Prophet asked them to enter into a treaty, which they did.” (Kitab Futuh al-Buldan, volume 1, page 43) [4]

In Kitab ul-Amwaal – Abu Ubayd Ibn al-Qasim tells us that Umar Ibn Khattab expelled the people Hijaz because they broke a treaty. The breach was from them, not the Muslims:

Abu Ubaydah said: ‘We see that he (Prophet) only said this as the breach (of the treaty) was from them and out of the issue that transpired after the treaty. This is clear in the letter that Umar wrote to them before his expulsion of them.” [5]

In the above two reports we see that there was a treaty between the Jews and the Muslims. If they had broken any of that treaty i.e., as stated earlier by being hostile, using aggression against the Muslim community, they would be expelled.

The last part of this question regarding the expulsion of the Jews from Hijaz is, why were the Jews expelled from Hijaz? From a number of authentic early sources, we are told that the Jews mistreated, and or murdered, and had beaten Muslims. And this led to Caliph Umar expelling them from Hijaz.

In this report from Kitab Futuh al-Buldan it says that they mistreated Muslims:

During the caliphate of Umar ibn-al-Khattab, a pestilence spread among them and they mistreated the Moslems. Umar, thereupon, made them evacuate the land, divided what they had among the Moslems who already had a share in it.” (Kitab Futuh al-buldan, volume 1, page 42) [6]

In the following report (Sahih al-Bukhari), we are told that Ibn Umar went to do business in Khaybar – he was attacked and had his shoulder dislocated. The other sources mentioned also that Ibn Umar’s companions were beaten in Khaybar:

“Narrated Ibn `Umar: When the people of Khaibar dislocated `Abdullah bin `Umar’s hands and feet, `Umar got up delivering a sermon saying, “No doubt, Allah’s Messenger made a contract with the Jews concerning their properties, and said to them, ‘We allow you (to stand in your land) as long as Allah allows you.’ Now `Abdullah bin `Umar went to his land and was attacked at night, and his hands and feet were dislocated. …” (Sahih al-Bukhari, volume 3, Book 50, Hadith 890)

Sirat Rasul Allah – Ibn Ishaq:

Nafi client of Abdullah b. Umar told me from Abdullah b. Umar: With al-Zubayr and al-Miqdad b. al-Aswad I went out to our property in Khaybar to inspect it, and when we got there we separated to see to our individual affairs. In the night I was attacked as I was asleep on my bed and my arms were dislocated at the elbows. …
They reset my arms and then took me to Umar who said, ‘This is the work of the Jews.’ Then he got up and addressed those present saying that the apostle had arranged with the Jews of Khaybar that we could expel them if we wished; that they had attacked Abdullah b. Umar and dislocated his arms, as they had heard in addition to their attack on the Ansari previously, there was no doubt that they were the authors of these outrages because there was no other enemy on the spot. Therefore if anyone had property in Khaybar he should go to it, for he was on the point of expelling the Jews. And he did expel them.” [7]


Kitab Futuh al-Buldan:

“… The Prophet turned Khaibar over to the hands of its people on condition that they give him one-half of the produce. Thus they held it during the life of the Prophet, Abu-Bakr and the early part of the Caliphate of Umar. Then Abdullah ibn-Umar visited them for some purpose and they attacked him in the night. He [Umar], therefore, turned them out of Khaibar and divided it among those of the Moslems who were present [in its battle] giving a share to the Prophet’s wives.” (Kitab Futuh al-Buldan, volume 1, page 49) [8]

Kitab al-Kharaj – Yahya Ibn Adam:

“… The Prophet gave Khaybar to its inhabitants (for cultivation) against payment of half of the produce, and the palm trees – as we think – against payment of the fifth of the yield, and it remained in their possession during the lifetime of the Prophet, Abu Bakr and Umar. Then Abdullah ibn Umar came to them on some business, and they attacked him at night and wounded him.” [9]


Musnad Ibn Hanbal:

“It was narrated that Abdullah bin Umar said: az-zubair, al-Miqdad bin al-Aswad and I went out to our property in Khaibar to take care of it. When we got there, we dispersed, each man going to his property. I was attacked under cover of night when I was sleeping on my bed and my arms were dislocated at the elbows. … They treated my arms then they brought me to Umar who said: This is the work of some Jews. Then he stood and addressed the People and said, ‘O people, the Messenger of Allah made a deal with the Jews of Khaibar on the basis that we could expel them whenever we want. They have attacked Abdullah bin Umar and dislocated his arms, as you heard about their attack on the Ansari before him. We do not doubt that they are the ones who did it, as we no other enemy but them. Whoever has property in Khaibar, let him go there, for I am going to expel the Jews. Then he expelled them.” (Musnad Ibn hanbal, volume 1, page 76) [10]


In this report, from Kitab Futuh al-buldan, we are told that the Jews of Khaybar used to mistreat Muslims and broke the hands of Umar’s son by hurling him off a roof, trying to murder him:

“It was stated by Nafi that during the caliphate of Umar ibn-al-Khattab, the people of Khaibar mistreated the Moslems and deceived them and broke the hands of the son of Umar by hurling him from the roof of a house. Consequently, Umar divided the land among those of the people who had taken part in the battle of Khaibar.” (Kitab Futuh al-Buldan, volume 1, page 45) [11]

In this last report, Islamic scholar, Muhammad Saʻid Ramaḍan Buṭi, mentions besides hurting Ibn Umar that they also murdered an innocent Muslim and this subsequently led to Umar expelling them.

“As we saw in the account of the Battle of Khaybar, the Jews of Khaybar were allowed to remain in their homes and till their land, keeping one-half of its produce. This situation continued until the caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khatab. However, they killed one of the Helpers and attacked him with Abdullah ibn Umar, pulling his hands out of their sockets.
Speaking to the Muslims, Umar said, ‘The Messenger of God (pbuh) declared to the Jews that, although he was allowing them to remain in their land, we possessed the right to expel them should we choose to do so. Now, however, as you are aware, they have murdered one of the Helpers and assaulted Abdullah ibn Umar, wrenching his hands out of their sockets. They are only remaining enemy; hence, if anyone has possessions in Khaybar, let him claim them now, for I am bout to expel the Jews.” [12]

In some of the reports it is stated that Umar accused them of the crimes and hence they were exiled out of Hijaz. Such wordings should be taken with a grain of salt. Umar Ibn Khattab would never carry out such a big command unless he fully investigated that Jews of Khaybar were clearly the ones who carried out the crimes against Ibn Umar and other Muslims. Note: this wasn’t the first time they attacked and even killed Muslims, if one reads the above narrations carefully, one would realise that they committed various other crimes before Ibn Umar’s incident.

Umar Ibn Khattab was a man of truth and stood up to justice, even if it were against his own people (Muslims). We have a report where a non-Muslim was killed by a Muslim and after investigation, Umar executed the Muslim man for taking an innocent non-Muslim life:

“… As for a Muslim who kills a dhimmi, the ruling is that he should be executed in retaliation (qisas). This happened during Umar’s caliphate, when a Muslim killed a dhimmi in Syria, and was executed in retaliation.” [13]

There is another report cited by critics that Muhammed (p) all along wanted to expel Jews from Arabia:

“Two Deens (religions) shall not co-exist in the Arabian Peninsula’ … ” (Muwatta Malik Book 45, Hadith 18)

From the above it is deduced by critics and orientalists alike that Muhammad (p) wanted to exile Jews out of Arabia long before Umar became Caliph.

The narration is very odd to say the least. If such a ‘plain’ commandment was given, why didn’t the Prophet (p) himself execute such order when he was still alive?

Why did the first Caliph Abu Bakr Siddiq (ra) not carry out the commandment of the Prophet (p) if such a ruling was indeed given out?

Why didn’t the many Sahabas (Companions) who knew of this Prophetic saying inform the Caliph at the time of such an order being in place?

Why didn’t Umar ibn Khattab (ra) carry out the commandment of expelling the Jews from Hijaz, but only did so towards the end of his life?

The only probable explanation is that such commandment was only given of the Jews of Hijaz if they were to break the treaty that was between Muslims and them (Kitab amwaal, Abu Ubayd). And hence, would make more sense that the two religions will not exists because at the time, the Jews of Khaybar were very hostile to the Muslim community, as we have already read about them, that they committed all kinds of crimes against Muslims.


It is very important whenever we read religious scripture, not to rush to make judgement on it without thorough investigation of the historical circumstances why they were revealed to get a better understanding.

One who is not well learned in Islamic history could make all kinds of conclusions reading the two Hadith cited, and at times could have dire consequences when used by extremists from those who call themselves ‘Muslim’ and bigoted supremacist Christians and hate-filled Zionists and their likes. The former would use such Hadith to oppress minorities who have lived in Middle-East for centuries without problems. Whereas the latter would disseminate false information regarding these Hadith to layman who don’t have no knowledge on Islamic history and he or she would go around attacking innocent Muslims who have done nothing to deserve any of it.

From the above reports, we gather that “the Jews of Hijaz” were not expelled because of their faith. Rather, historical reports tell us they were hostile and committed many crimes against the Muslims. For those who claim that Jews were expelled because of Prophet Muhammed’s command on his death-bed, fail to demonstrate that his command of expelling the Jews from the Arabian Peninsula (specifically Hijaz) was on condition that they abided by the treaty set after the incident of Khaybar. If they failed abide by the pact then they would no longer have a right to live in the land (Kitab al-amwaal, Abu Ubayd).

Furthermore, we have to remember, the Muslim community had many external and internal enemies in Hijaz, where they wanted to put an end to the nascent Muslim community. So, Umar ibn Khattab couldn’t take any chances in giving the Jews of Khaybar more chances when they were external threat that could jeopardize lives of Muslims. Them being expelled from Hijaz was more to do with the fact that they broke the treaty, murdered, mistreated Muslims and attacked companions and Umar’s son. Hence, the only way for there to be peace in Madinah and Makkah, without lives being lost on both sides, Umar decided to carry out the Prophet’s command in expelling them since they broke the treaty and were threat to the Muslim community at the time, 1400 years ago.


[1] Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy [Copyright 2014] By Jonathan A. C. Brown, page 127
[2] The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab Al-Maghazi, [Translator Rizwi Faizer], page 350
[3] Dr. Shawqi Abi Khalil:
“The Jews of Khaibar contacted the people of the Ghatafan tribe, who were known to be mercenaries for hire. As a reward for fighting the Muslims, the Jews of Khaibar offered them a percentage of their yearly harvest, which consisted mainly of fruits and dates. They furthermore established alliances with the tribes of Fadak, Taima and Wadi Al-Qura; together, they were to launch a surprise attack on Al-Madinah. Having been informed of their plans, the Muslims who witnessed Al-Hudaibiyah travelled to Khaibar, in order to bring an end to the plotting of its inhabitants and their allies.”
Atlas of the Qur’an – Places. Nations. Landmarks. By Dr. Shawqi Abu Khalil, page 307 – 308
[4] Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, By al-Imam abu-l Abbas Ahmad Ibn-Jabir al-Baladhuri, (Translated by Philip Khuri Hitti, PH. D.), [New York – Columbia Univeristy, Longmans, Green & Co., Agents – London: P. S. King & Son, LTD. 1916], volume 1, page 43
[5] Kitab al-Amwaal, Abu Ubayd ibn al-Qasim, page 100
[6] Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, By al-Imam abu-l Abbas Ahmad Ibn-Jabir al-Baladhuri, (Translated by Philip Khuri Hitti, PH. D.), [New York – Columbia Univeristy, Longmans, Green & Co., Agents – London: P. S. King & Son, LTD. 1916], volume 1, page 42
[7] Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad Translated by A. Guillaume, Page 525
[8] Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, By al-Imam abu-l Abbas Ahmad Ibn-Jabir al-Baladhuri, (Translated by Philip Khuri Hitti, PH. D.), [New York – Columbia Univeristy, Longmans, Green & Co., Agents – London: P. S. King & Son, LTD. 1916], volume 1, page 49
[9] Taxation in Islam [‘Kitab al-Kharaj’] By Yahya b. Adam, (Translated: A. Ben Shemesh), page 39
[10] English Translation of Musnad Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal, volume 1, page 76
[11] Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, By al-Imam abu-l Abbas Ahmad Ibn-Jabir al-Baladhuri, (Translated by Philip Khuri Hitti, PH. D.), [New York – Columbia Univeristy, Longmans, Green & Co., Agents – London: P. S. King & Son, LTD. 1916], volume 1, page 45
[12] The Jurisprudence of the Prophetic Biography & A Brief History of the Rightly guided caliphate By Muḥammad Saʻid Ramaḍan Buti, page 529
[13] Umar Ibn Al-Khattab – His Life & Times [International Islamic Publishing House], By Dr. Muhammad as-Sallabi, volume 1, page 528

Detailed Historical Examination Of Banu Qurayzah’s Treachery

Kaleef K. Karim & Aliyu Musa Misau


1. Introduction
2. Jewish tribes Made a Pact with Muslims
3. Events that Occurred Before Quraiza Incident
4. Prophet Muhammed Thwarted Their Plans
5. Banu Qurayza Siding, Waging War and Supplying Enemies with Weapons
6. Banu Qurayza were Left to Face the Music Alone
7. Who were Killed?
8. Were Children Killed?
9. Were All the Banu Qurayza Men Killed?
10. How Many Men of the Quraiza were Killed?
11. Anti-Semitism Claim
12. Conclusion

1. Introduction

The aim of this article is to examine an episode in the life time of Prophet Muhammed (p), concerning the Banu Qurayza warrior-men being killed. In this piece, we will respond to claims orientalists and other critics have made regarding this incident of the Arab Jewish tribe, Banu Qurayza.

For many reasons, it is obvious that this episode of the Banu Qurayza incident has had a lot of attention from non-Muslim scholars and apologists. But, I find a lot of their conclusions about it has either been lacking substance in showing the true picture of the event or deliberately misconstrued this historical event in showing Prophet Muhammed (p) in a bad light for allowing Sa’d ibn Mu’adh (a former Jew) judge those that committed treachery.

2. Jewish tribes made a Pact with Muslims

The Muslims, fleeing persecution from Makkah, found Medina (Yathrib) a safe sanctuary to live in. Shortly after the persecuted Muslims arrived and welcomed in Medina, they made a pact with the Jewish tribe Banu Quraiza (and other tribes) that so it happens if an enemy were to attack Madinah, they would all protect each other and will not aid the enemy in any way. These facts are related to us in a number of early sources:

“… To the Jew who follows us belongs help and equality. He shall not be wronged nor shall his enemies be aided. The peace of the believers is invisible … The Jews shall contribute to the cost of war so long as they are fighting alongside the believers… The Jews must bear their expenses and the Muslims their expenses. Each must help the other against anyone who attacks the people of this document. They must seek mutual advice and consultation, and loyalty is a protection against treachery. A man is not liable for his ally’s misdeeds. The wronged must be helped. The Jews must pay with the believers so long as war lasts. Yathrib shall be a sanctuary for the people of this document. …. Quraysh and their helpers shall not be given protection. The contracting parties are bound to help one another against any attack on Yathrib. If they are called to make peace and maintain it they must do so; and if they make a similar demand on the Muslims it must be carried out except in the case of a holy war. Every one shall have his portion from the side to which he belongs; the Jews of al-Aws, their freedmen and themselves have the same standing with the people of this document in pure loyalty from the people of this document.” [1]



“The first treaty which the Messenger of God concluded with the Jews of Medina took place when he concluded a truce with the Nadir, Qurayza, and Qaynuqa in Medina, stipulating that they refrain from supporting the pagans and help the Muslims. …” [2]

The above evidences show that the Muslims and Banu Quraiza (and other tribes) in Madinah made a pact that no one will help an enemy against any of them. But, as we shall soon witness, this is exactly what the Banu Quraiza did against the Muslims!

3. Events that occurred Before Quraiza incident

The events that took place prior to the killing of the treacherous Banu Quraiza warrior-men, 1400 years ago.

With the help of the Jewish tribe, Banu Nadir, the polytheist Quraish leader Abu Sufyan had rounded up a force of 10.000 men to attack Madinah and kill the Muslims once for all. All Muhammed (p) could gather to fight back against Quraish was 3000 men; and they adopted a new way of defending the city of Madinah by digging a trench around where Muslims resided in Medina so that the enemy warriors couldn’t easily attack the Muslims inside the city. The idea of digging up a trench was suggested by a Persian Muslim convert Salman Al Farisi.

When the polytheists attacked Madina, the Muslims were under siege for two weeks.

Abu Sufyan’s army was thrown aback by the design made for the defence of the city i.e., the great trench made around Madina where the Muslims resided, without which they were open, weak to cavalry attack. The offensive enemy found themselves unprepared for such an unexpected defence when they arrived. On the other hand, while the Muslims were busy protecting the community from the deadly attack of the confederates, the Medinan Jewish tribe, Banu Qurayza were busy making negotiations with the polytheists of Makkah to turn against Muhammed (p). Authentic reports state that the polytheists and Quraiza were in negotiations:

Ibn Ishaq:

“The enemy of God Huyayy b. Akhtab al-Nadri went out to Ka’b b. Asad al-Qurazi who had made a treaty with the apostle. When Ka’b heard of Huyayy’s coming he shut the door of his fort in his face, and when he asked permission to enter he refused to see him, saying that he was a man of ill omen and that he himself was in treaty with Muhammad and did not intend to go back on his word because he had always found him loyal and faithful. Then Huyayy accused him of shutting him out because he was unwilling to let him eat his corn. This so enraged him that he opened his door. He said ‘Good heavens, Ka’b, I have brought you immortal fame and a great army. I have come with Quraysh with their leaders and chiefs which I have halted where the torrent-beds of Ruma meet; and Ghatafan with their leaders and chiefs which I have halted in Dhanab Naqma towards Uhud. They have made a firm agreement and promised me that they will not depart until we have made an end of Muhammad and his men.’ Ka’b said: ‘By God, you have brought me immortal shame and an empty cloud which has shed its water while it thunders and lightens with nothing in it. Woe to you Huyayy, leave me as I am, for I have always found him loyal and faithful.’ Huyayy kept on wheedling Ka’buntil at last he gave way in giving him a solemn promise that if Quraysh and Ghatafan returned without having killed Muhammad he would enter his fort with him and await his fate. Thus Ka’b broke his promise and cut loose from the bond that was between him and the apostle.” [3]



“The enemy of God, Huyayy b. Akhtab, went out and came to Ka’b b. Asad al-Qurazi, who was the possessor of the treaty and covenant of the Banu Qurayzah. Ka’b had made a truce with the Messenger of God for his people, making a contract and covenanting with him on it. When Ka’b heard Huyayy b. Akhtab, he shut his fortress in his face. Huyayy asked to be allowed in, but Ka’b refused to open to him. Huyayy called to him, ‘Ka’b, open to me!’ ‘Woe to you, Huyayy,’ answered Ka’b, ‘you are a man who brings bad luck! I have made a treaty with Muhammad and will not break the pact that exists between me and him. I have seen nothing but faithfulness and truth on his part.’ Huyayy said: ‘Woe to you! Open to me, and I will speak to you!’ ‘I will not do it,’ said Kab.
Huyayy said, ‘ By God, you have shut me out only on account of your gruel, lest I should eat any of it with you.’ This angered the man, so that he opened to him. Huyayy said: ‘Woe to you, Ka’b! I have brought you everlasting might and an overflowing sea. I have brought you Quraysh, with their leaders and chiefs, and have caused them to encamp where the stream beds meet at Rumah, and Ghatafan, with their leaders and Chiefs, and have caused them to encamp at Dhanab Naqama beside UHUD.
They have made a treaty and covenant with me not to withdraw until they root out Muhammed and THOSE WHO ARE WITH HIM.’ Ka’b b. Asad said to him: ‘By God, you have brought me everlasting humiliation – a cloud that has already sheds its water, that thunders and lightens but has nothing in it. Woe to you! Leave me to continue with Muhammad as I am now, for I have seen nothing from Muhammed except truth and faithfulness.’
But Huyayy kept wheedling Ka’b UNTIL HE YIELDED TO HIM, Huyayy having given him a promise and oath by God that ‘If Quraysh and Ghatafan retreat without having killed Muhammed, I will enter your fortresses with you, so that whatever happens to you shall happen to me.’ So Ka’b b. Asad broke his treaty and renounced the bond that had existed between him and the Messenger of God.” [4]

From the above reports, we see that Huyayy b. Akhtab al-Nadri visited Ka’b b. Asad al-Qurazi house on changing his mind to break his pact and that he should join the enemies of the Muslims in order to slaughter the Muslim community.

At first Ka’b b. Asad al-Qurazi was not convinced and tried avoiding what Huyayy b. Akhtab was saying but eventually, as the report informs us, Ka’b b. Asad gave in and sided with the enemies of Muhammed (p) to fight against the Muslims.

4. Prophet Muhammed (p) Thwarted Their Plans

Reading the above reports, we see that the Muslims were surrounded from all sides during the siege, Muhammed (p) had no choice left at this point but send Nu’aym Ibn Mas’ud, to divide his enemies from within:

Ibn Ishaq:

“Then Nu’aym b. Mas’ud b. Amir b. Unayf b. Tha’alaba b. Qunfud b. Hilal b. Kalawa b. Ashja b. Rayth b. Ghatafan came to the apostle saying that he had become a Muslim though his own people did not know of it, and let him give what orders he would. The Prophet said: ‘You are only one man among us, so go and awake distrust among the enemy to draw them off from us if you can, for there is deceit in war. Thereupon, Nu’aym went off to B. Quryaza, with whom he had been a boon companion in His heathen days, and reminded them of his affection for them and of the special tie between them. When they acknowledged that they did not suspect him he said: ‘Quraysh and Ghatafan are not like you; the land is your land, your property, your wives, and your children are in it; you cannot leave it and go somewhere else. Now Quraysh and Ghatafan have come to fight Muhammad and his companions and you have aided against him, but their land, their property, and their wives are not here, so they are not like you. If they see an opportunity they will make the most of it; but if things go badly they will go back to their own land and leave you to face the man in your country and you will not be able to do so if you are left alone. So do not fight along with these people until you take hostages from their chiefs who will remain in your hands as a security that they will fight Muhmmad with you until you make an end of him.’ The Jews said that this was excellent advice.

Then he went to Quraysh and said to Abu Sufyan b. Harb and his company: ‘You know my affection for you and that I have left Muhammad. Now I have heard something which I think it my duty to tell you of by way of warning, but regard it as confidential.’ When they said that they would, he continued, ‘Mark my words, the Jews have regretted their action in opposing Muhammad and have sent to tell him so, saying: ‘Would you like us to get hold of some chiefs of the two tribes of Quraysh and Ghatafan and hand them over to you so that you can cut their heads off? Then we can join you in exterminating the rest of them. He has sent word back to accept their offer; so if the Jews send to you to demand hostages, don’t send them a single man.’

Then he went to Ghatafan and said: ‘You are my stock and my family, the dearest of men to me, and I do not think that you can suspect me.’ They agreed that he was above suspicion, and so he told them the same story as he had told Quraysh. On the night of the Sabbath of Shawwal 5 A.H., it occurred by divine providence that Abu Sufyan and the chiefs of Ghatafan sent Ikrima b. Abu Jahl to B. Qurayza with some of their selected men saying that they had no permanent camp, that the horses and camels were dying; therefore they must make ready for battle and make an end of Muhammad once and for all. They replied that it was the Sabbath, a day on which ritually do no work, and it was well known what had happened to those of their people who had violated the Sabbath. They added: ‘Moreover we will not fight Muhammad along with you until you give us hostages whom we can hold as security until we make an end of Muhammad; for we fear that if the battle goes against you and you suffer heavily you will withdraw at once to you country and leave us alone with the man in our country, and we cannot face him alone.’

When the messengers returned with their reply, the Quraysh and Ghatafan said that what Nu’aym told them was thus the truth. Then they resolved: ‘Send to B. Qurayza that we will not give them a single man, and if they want to fight let them come out and fight.’ Having received this message from the Quraysh, B. Quryaza said: ‘What Nu’aym told you is the truth. The people are bent on fighting and if they get an opportunity they will take advantage of it; but if they do not they will withdraw to their own country and leave us to face this man alone here. So send word to them that we will not fight Muhammad with them until they give us hostages as a security.’ But the Quraysh and the Ghatafan refused to do so, and God sowed distrust between them and sent very strong cold wind against them in those winter nights which upset their cooking-pots and overthrew their tents.

Then Abu Sufyan said: ‘O Quraysh, we are not in a permanent camp; the horses and camels are dying; the B. Qurayza have broken their word to us and we have heard disquieting reports of them. You can see the violence of the wind which leaves us with neither cooking-pots, nor fire, nor tents to count on. Be off, for I am going! Then he went to his camel which was hobbled, mounted it, and beat it so that it got up on its legs… The Ghatafan heard of what the Quraysh expectedly did, that they broke up and returned to their own country.
In the following morning, the Prophet and the Muslims left the trench and returned to Medina, laying their arms aside. [5]


When the news of the treachery of B. Qurayza reached the Messenger of God and the Muslims, the Messenger of God sent out Sa’d b. Mu’adh b. al-Nu’man b. Imru al-Qays (one of the Banu Abd al-Ashhal who at that time was the chief of al-Aws), Sa’d b. Ubadah b. Dulaym (one of the Banu Sa’idah b. Kab b. al-Khazraj who at that time was the chief of al-Khazraj), and with them Abdullah b. Rawahah (a member of the Banu al-Harith b. al-Khazraji) and Khawwat b. Jubayr (a member of the Banu Amr b. Awf), and said:
‘Go and see whether what has reached us about these men is true or not. If it is true, speak to me in words that we can understand but that will be unintelligible to others, and do not break the strength of the people. But if these men remain loyal to the pact between us and them, announce it to the people.’
So they went out and came to the B. Qurayza. They found that they were actually guilty of worst of what had been reported about them! They slandered the Messenger of God and said, ‘There is no treaty between us and Muhammad and no covenant.’ Sa’d b. Ubadah reviled them and they reviled him – Sa’d was a man with sharp temper.
So Sa’d b. Mu’adh said to him, ‘Stop reviling them, for the disagreement between us and them is too serious for an exchange of taunts.’ The two Sa’d’s and the men with them went back to the Messenger of God, and having greeted him, said, ‘Adal and al-Qarah!’ [They meant that it was like the treachery of Adal and al-Qarah to the companions of the Messenger of God who were betrayed at al-Raji)’.(Khubayb b. Adi and his Companions..
The Messenger of God said: ‘God is the greatest! Rejoice, people of the Muslims!’” [6] [7]


In simple words, Nuyam was sent to disunite the enemies within so as to weaken them and wouldn’t have the chance of attacking the Muslim community all together at once. Hence, Prophet (p) succeeded in this.

5. Banu Qurayza Siding, Waging War and Supplying Enemies with Weapons

Besides the foregoing evidences for the Banu Qurayza siding with the enemy, there are further evidences that the Banu Qurayza were also arming the enemy of the Muslims with weapons and supplies. Conclusively, there are evidences in other historical reports that the Banu Qurayza actively fought against the Muslims:

Commentary on Quran 8:55 – 58 from Tabari;

“Those of them with whom thou hast made compact, then they break their compact every time’: ‘You, Muhammed, took from them their bonds (muwathiqahum) and compacts (uhudahum) that they would not fight you nor aid anyone who fights you, like Qurayza and (people) like them, who had compacts (ahd) and treaties (aqd)’; then they break’ … : they fight you (harabuka) and aid (zaharu) against you.’ (Al-Tabari, Tafsir, [ed. Shakir] volume 14, page 21 – 22) [8]

Muqatil ibn Sulayman al-Balkhi – Muqatil Tafsir:

‘The Jews violated the compact between them and the Prophet and aided the unbelievers of Mecca by providing them with weapons with which to fight the Prophet and his Companions. (Tafsir Muqatil, volume 1, 147a) [9]

Tafsir Baghawi on 8:56

[This verse refers] to the Jews of Qurayza who broke the treaty between themselves and the Messenger of God by furnishing the heathen with weapons in order to help them in fighting the Prophet. But afterwards they said: ‘We forgot, and we did wrong.’ Therefore the Prophet concluded a second treaty with them, until they broke it by inciting the unbelievers against the Messenger of God on yawm al-Ahzab. Ka’b b. al-Ashraf went to Mecca and established an alliance, directed against the Prophet, between them.”(Tafsir Baghawi, volume 2, page 257) [10]


Besides the above, we also have historical Hadith shedding more light on Banu Qurayzah’s treachery:

Sahih al-Bukhari:

“Narrated Ibn `Umar: Bani An-Nadir and Bani Quraiza fought (against the Prophet violating their peace treaty), so the Prophet exiled Bani An-Nadir and allowed Bani Quraiza to remain at their places (in Medina) taking nothing from them till THEY FOUGHT AGAINST THE PROPHET AGAIN. He then killed their men and distributed their women, children and property among the Muslims, BUT SOME OF THEM CAME TO THE PROPHET AND HE GRANTED THEM SAFETY, and they embraced Islam. He exiled all the Jews from Medina. They were the Jews of Bani Qainuqa’, the tribe of `Abdullah bin Salam and the Jews of Bani Haritha and all the other Jews of Medina.” (Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Hadith 362).

Sunan Abi Dawud:

“Ibn ‘Umar said ‘The Jews Al Nadir and Quraizah fought with the Apostle of Allah, so the Apostle of Allah expelled Banu Al Nadir and allowed the Quraizah to stay and favored them. The Quraizah thereafter fought (with the Prophet)‘. So he killed their men and divided their women, property and children among Muslims except some of them who associated with the Apostle of Allah. He gave them protection and later on they embraced Islam. The Apostle of Allah expelled all the Jews of Madeenah in toto, Banu Qainuqa, they were the people of ‘Abd Allah bin Salam, the Jews of Banu Harith and any of Jews who resided in Madeenah.” (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 19, Hadith 2999)

Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq:

“Abd al-Razzaq on the authority of Musa b. Uqba: The Nadir and Qurayza fought the Prophet; the Prophet expelled the Nadir and agreed that Qurayza should stay. Later QURAYZA FOUGHT THE PROPHET. They were defeated, the men were executed, the women, children and property were divided among the Muslims. SOME OF THE JEWS RECEIVED THE AMAN (SAFETY) OF THE PROPHET and converted to Islam.” (Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq, volume 6, pages 54 – 55) [11]

Musnad ibn Hanbal:

“The Jews of Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayza attacked the Messenger of God. So the Messenger of God in turn expelled the Banu Nadir, but warranted the security of the B. Qurayza and made an agreement with them. [This lasted] until the Qurayza took to military action after that.” (Musnad Ibn Hanbal, volume 9, page 181) [12]

The following Hadith also shows that the Prophet (p) was on guard and warning his people that the Banu Qurayza tribe may attack, slaughter Muslims:

“Carry your weapons with you for I fear the tribe of Quraiza (may harm you).” (Sahih Muslim Book 26, Hadith 5557)


These above historical traditions show that the Banu Qurayza more than once supported the Quraysh enemy in attacking the Muslims in Madinah, financially, militarily, and giving them supplies of weapons against the Muslims. It thus shows that the Banu Qurayza weren’t innocent as orientalists and other critics make them out to be.

6. Banu Quraiza were left to face the music alone

What Nu’aym Ibn Mas’ud did was indeed a victory and now the Banu Qurayza were left by themselves to face the music. Coming back from Khandaq after which the Meccan polytheists Makkans retreated, the Prophet (p) didn’t even put his armour and sword down when Angel Gabriel commanded him to march against the Banu Quraiza for what they had done:

Sahih Muslim:

“Narrated by A’isha : … When he returned from the Ditch and laid down his arms and took a bath, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and he was removing dust from his hair (as if he had just returned from the battle). The latter said: You have laid down arms. By God, we haven’t (yet) laid them down. So march against them. The Messenger of Allah asked: Where? He pointed to Banu Quraiza. So the Messenger of Allah fought against them. They surrendered at the command of the Messenger of Allah, but he referred the decision about them to Sa’d who said: I decide about them that those of them who can fight be killed, their women and children taken prisoners and their properties distributed (among the Muslims).” (Sahih Muslim: Book 19, Hadith 4370)

As he heard these words from Angel Gabriel, the Prophet (p) aroused his Companions (Sahaba) to march upon the Banu Qurayza tribe. They arrived and found the Banu Quraiza in their fortresses. The Prophet (p) would have forgiven them had they asked, but they preferred to resist fighting him and hurl abuse at him at the same time [Ibn Ishaq]:

“The prophet ordered it to be announced that none should perform the afternoon prayer until after he reached B. Qurayza. The apostle sent Ali forward with his banner and the men hastened to it. Ali advanced until he came near the forts he heard insulting language used of the apostle.” [13]

Instead of begging for forgiveness for what they did do against the Muslims, here we the Banu Qurayzah insulting the Prophet (p) at the same time still wanted to fight ready from their fort.

The Prophet (p) besieged them for over 3 weeks at the end they surrendered in terms that they should be left to be judged by a former Jew, by the name of Sa’d bin Mu’adh to judge them on their treachery. Hence Sa’d brought out the Torah to judge them, and he decreed by the Law of Torah (Deuteronomy) that warrior-men who participated in this be killed and the rest be enslaved or freed:

“When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. (Bible – Deuteronomy 20:10-14)

I find it amusing for the double standards and hypocrisy of the detractors, they attack Prophet Muhammed (p) for the judgement passed onto the Jewish tribe Banu Qurayza, from their own Book. If Christians and Jews and others find this Jewish ruling from their own book abhorrent then they should tear away such verses apart from the Bible. The blame should be on the Bible for making such rulings for those who commit treachery and wage war.

Lastly, critics always fail to tell is the judgement was not passed by Prophet Muhammed himself but by a former Jew, Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh, who was CHOSEN by the Banu Qurayza to judge their treachery according to their scriptures.

7. Who Were Killed?

According to historical evidences only the warrior-men were killed. Those who actively participated in the treachery and were siding in fighting against the Muslims were killed. Historical reports state the following:

Kitab Futuh al-Buldan:

The Prophet besieged banu Kuraizah for few days in Dhu-l-qa’dah, and a few days in Dhu-l-Hijjah, of the year 5 After Hejira, the whole period being fifteen days. These Banu Quraizah were among those who had assisted in the fight against the Prophet in the battle of al-Khandaq (the moat) also called battle of al-Ahzab [the confederates]. Finally they surrendered and he installed Sa’d ibn Mu’adh al-Ausi as their ruler. The latter decreed that every ADULT BE EXECUTED, that women and children be carried as captives and that all that they possessed be divided among the Moslems. …” (Kitab Futuh al-Buldan, volume 1, page 40) [14]


Sahih al-Bukhari:

The people of (Banu) Quraiza agreed to accept the verdict of Sa`d bin Mu`adh. So the Prophet sent for Sa`d, and the latter came (riding) a donkey and when he approached the Mosque, the Prophet said to the Ansar, “Get up for your chief or for the best among you.” Then the Prophet said (to Sa`d).” These (i.e. Banu Quraiza) have agreed to accept your verdict.” Sa`d said, “KILL THEIR WARRIORS and take their offspring as captives, “On that the Prophet said, “You have judged according to Allah’s Judgment,” or said, “according to the King’s judgement.”(Sahih al-Bukhari volume 5, Book 59, Hadith 447)


Sahih Muslim:

“It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that the Jews of Banu Nadir and Banu Quraiza fought against the Messenger of Allah who expelled Banu Nadir, and allowed Quraiza to stay on, and granted favour to them until they too fought against him THEN HE KILLED THEIR MEN, and distributed their women, children and properties among the Muslims, except that some of them had joined the Messenger of Allah who granted them security. They embraced Islam. The Messenger of Allah turned out all the Jews of Medina. Banu Qainuqa’ (the tribe of ‘Abdullah b. Salim) and the Jews of Banu Haritha and every other Jew who was in Medina.”(Sahih Muslim Book 19 Hadith 4364)


Ibn Ishaq:

The Apostle had ordered that every adult (who participated in treachery) of theirs should be killed. Shu’ba b. al-Hajjaj told me from Abdu’l-Malik b. Umayr from Atiya al-Qurzai: The Apostle had ordered that every adult of B. Qurayza should be killed. I was a lad and they found that I was not an adult and so they let me go.[15]


Kitab al-Maghazi – al-Waqidi:

… Ibrahim b. Ja’far related to me from his father, who said: When the Banu Qurayza were killed, Husayl b. Nuwayra al-Ashjari arrived at Khaybar- he had gone for two days. The Jews of the Banu Nadir- Sallam b. Mishkam, Kinana b. Rabi b. Abi l-Huqayq and the Jews of khaybar were sitting in council to consider the news of the Qurayza. It had reached them that the Messenger of God had besieged the Qurayza, and they dreaded what it was. They said, ‘What brought you’? He said, ‘Evil. The QURAYZA WARRIORS were executed by the sword,’… ” [16]


Abu Dawud:

Ibn ‘Umar said “The Jews Al Nadir and Quraizah fought with the Apostle of Allaah, so the Apostle of Allaah expelled Banu Al Nadir and allowed the Quraizah to stay and favored them. The Quraizah thereafter fought (with the Prophet).” So HE KILLED THEIR MEN and divided their women, property and children among Muslims except some of them who associated with the Apostle of Allaah. He gave them protection and later on they embraced Islam. The Apostle of Allaah expelled all the Jews of Madeenah in Toto, Banu Qainuqa, they were the people of ‘Abd Allaah bin Salam, the Jews of Banu Harith and any of Jews who resided in Madeenah.” (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 19, Hadith 2999)


Reading the above reports, one thing stands out clear, only men, “warriors” (adults), who participated in war against the Muslims were killed.

8. Were Children Killed?

A myth that has been circulating among orientalists and other critics of Islam is that children of Banu Qurayza were executed along with the men, a claim which I shall respond too and debunk, God willing.

The reports used for the allegations are the following:

Sunan an-Nasa’i:

It was narrated that Kathir bin As-Sa’ib said: “The sons of Quraizah told me that they were presented to the Messenger of Allah on the Day of Quraizah, and whoever (among them) had reached puberty, or had grown pubic hair, was killed, and whoever had not reached puberty and had not grown pubic hair was left (alive).” (Sunan an-Nasa’i Volume 4, Book 27, Hadith 3459).

Sunan an-Nasa’i:

“It was narrated that ‘Atiyyah said: ‘I was among the prisoners of Quraizah; we were examined, and whoever had grown (pubic) hair was killed, and whoever had not grown hair, he was allowed to live and was not killed.” (Sunan an-Nasa’I volume 5, Book 46, Hadith 4984).

Jami at-Tirmidhi:

“Narrated ‘Atiyyah Al-Qurazi: “We were presented to the Messenger of Allah on the day of (the battle of) Quraizah. Whoever had pubic hair was killed and whoever did not was left to his way. I was of those who did not have pubic hair so I was left to my way.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi, volume 3, Book 19, Hadith 1584)

Reading the above reports, some critics claim that kids were among those killed of the Banu Qurayza.

However, what critics fail to mention, or deliberately leave out, is that “pubic hair” was not the only factor used in this incident. We have a report from early Islamic scholar Al-Shaybani (Born: 749 Ad, died 805) telling us that revelation was sent down to Prophet Muhammed (p) instructing him that puberty was the limit of their penal responsibility as fighting warriors those who willingly participated in this:

Al-Shaybani’s opinion is different: he points out that there are differences in the age of puberty between various peoples (for instance between Turks and Indians). But in the case of Banu Qurayza the Prophet disclosed to Sa’d b. Mu’adh (on the basis of a revelation) that their age of puberty WAS THE LIMIT OF THEIR PENAL RESPONSIBILITY AS FIGHTING PERSON” (Al-Shaybani, op. cit., volume 2, page 591) [17]

Some may ask, what is penal responsibility?

Penal responsibility, or criminal responsibility, refers to a person’s ability to understand when the crime was committed. A person is responsible and could go to jail having fully known at the time of the crime what they did, and that they understood the implications.

So besides the prerequisite for pubic hair, the treacherous Banu Qurayza were also checked out for having possessed the requisite state of mind when they committed the treachery.

Hence, those who understood clearly and were aware that what they did were the only ones who were killed. Those who didn’t understand the crime because they don’t know what was right or wrong (even though having pubic hair), were not touched.

To recap, the historical reports already mentioned all quite clearly state that people who were killed for actively been involved in this treachery were:




In fact one of those who witnessed everything explicitly states in a report in Ibn Ishaq that only adults who actively engaged in this treachery were killed;

“Shu’ba b. al-Hajjaj told me from Abdu’l-Malik b. Umayr from Atiya al-Qurzai: The Apostle had ordered that every adult of B. Qurayza should be killed. I was a lad and they found that I was not an adult and so they let me go” [18]


So for critics to claim that children were killed is a lie which has no historical basis. Furthermore, there are countless Hadiths where Prophet Muhammed (p) categorically and unequivocally forbade the killing of children:

Sahih al-Bukhari:

“Narrated Ibn `Umar: During some of the Ghazawat of Allah’s Messenger a woman was found killed, so Allah’s Messenger forbade the killing of women and children.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 4, Book 52, Hadith 258)

Sunan Abi Dawud:

“It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet saw a woman who had been killed on the road, and he forbade killing women and children.” (Sunan Abi Dawud, volume 4, Book 24, Hadith 2841).

Jami at-Tirmidhi:

That a woman was found killed in one of the expeditions of the Messenger of Allah, so the Messenger of Allah rebuked that, and he prohibited killing women and children. (Jami` at-Tirmidhi Volume 3, Book 19, Hadith 1569)

Sunan Abi Dawud:

“Narrated Anas ibn Malik: The Prophet said: Go in Allah’s name, trusting in Allah, and adhering to the religion of Allah’s Apostle. Do not kill a decrepit old man, or a young infant, or a child, or a woman; do not be dishonest about booty, but collect your spoils, do right and act well, for Allah loves those who do well.” (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 14, Hadith 2608).

Muwatta Malik:

“Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. …” (Muwatta Malik Book 21, Hadith 10).

Sunan al-Bayhaqi:

“The Messenger of God forbade those whom he sent to Ibn Abi l-Huqayq to kill women and children.(Sunan al-Bayhaqi, volume 9, page 78) [19]


9. Were all the Banu Qurayza Men Killed?

Another myth propagated by critics is that not a single man of the Qurayza was left alive. Thus they call it “genocide”. This claim again when we scratch the surface of it will be seen as nothing but lie based on distortion of historical facts.

The most authoritative book in Islam is the Quran. The Quran indicates that some of them lived and some were killed:

“And He brought down those who supported them among the People of the Scripture from their fortresses and cast terror into their hearts [so that] a party you killed, and you took captive a party” – Qur’an 33:26.

The Book of Hadiths also report to us some were killed and some were left alive:

Sahih Bukhari:

“Narrated Ibn `Umar: Bani An-Nadir and Bani Quraiza fought (against the Prophet violating their peace treaty), so the Prophet exiled Bani An-Nadir and allowed Bani Quraiza to remain at their places (in Medina) taking nothing from them till they fought against the Prophet again. He then killed their men and distributed their women, children and property among the Muslims, BUT SOME OF THEM CAME TO THE PROPHET AND HE GRANTED THEM SAFETY, and they embraced Islam. He exiled all the Jews from Medina. They were the Jews of Bani Qainuqa’, the tribe of `Abdullah bin Salam and the Jews of Bani Haritha and all the other Jews of Medina.” (Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Hadith 362)

Al-Musannaf abd al-Razzaq:

“Abd al-Razaq on the authority of Musa b. Uqba: The Nadir and Qurayza fought the Prophet; the Prophet expelled the Nadir and agreed that Qurayza should stay. Later Qurayza fought the Prophet. They were defeated, the men were executed, the women, children and property were divided among the Muslims. SOME OF THE JEWS RECEIVED THE AMAN (SAFETY) OF THE PROPHET and converted to Islam. (Al-Musannaf abd al-Razzaq, volume 6, page 54) [20]


Kitab Futuh al-Buldan:

“… The Prophet pressed siege against banu Quraizah until they surrendered to Sa’d ibn Mu’adh who decreed that their men be executed, their children be taken as captives and their possessions be divided. Accordingly, A CERTAIN NUMBER OF MEN WERE PUT TO DEATH ON THAT DAY.” (Kitab Futuh al-Buldan, volume 1, page 41) [21]


Sunan Abi Dawud:

Ibn ‘Umar said “The Jews Al Nadir and Quraizah fought with the Apostle of God, so the Apostle of God expelled Banu Al Nadir and allowed the Quraizah to stay and favored them. The Quraizah thereafter fought (with the Prophet).” So he killed their men and divided their women, property and children among Muslims EXCEPT SOME OF THEM WHO ASSOCIATED WITH THE APOSTLE OF GOD. HE GAVE THEM PROTECTION AND LATER ON THEY EMBRACED ISLAM. The Apostle of God expelled all the Jews of Madinah, Banu Qainuqa, they were the people of ‘Abd Allaah bin Salam, the Jews of Banu Harith and any of Jews who resided in Madeenah.” (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 19, Hadith 2999)

I would like to emphasize here those that did receive pardon, later converted to Islam freely. Forced conversion is forbidden (Haram) in Islam. They were most probably pardoned because they weren’t involved in the treachery. In fact, the last Hadith (above) in Sunan Abi Dawud quoted, clearly states they were freed and “later” embraced Islam.

We also have definitive proof from a number of early historical sources, specifically mentioning names of Banu Qurayzah men who were left alive because they didn’t participate in this treachery in waging war against the Muslims:


“…Tha’labah b. Sa’yah, Usayd b. Sa’yah, and Asad b. Ubayd – a group of men from the Banu Hadl, not from the Banu Qurayzah or al-Nadir [their genealogy was superior to that], but cousins of the men in question – became Muslims the night that Qurayzah submitted to the judgment of the Messenger of God. During that night, Amr b. Su’da al-Qurazi went out and passed by the guards of the Messenger of God – Muhammad b. Maslamah al-Ansari was in charge of them that night. When the latter saw Amr, he said, ‘Who said it?’ Amr b. Su’da,’ he replied. Amr had refused to go along with the Banu Qurayzah in their treachery toward the Messenger of God. ‘Never’, he had said, ‘Will I act treacherously toward Muhammad.’ Having recognized him, Muhammad b. Maslamah said, ‘O Noble’ – and he let him pass. Amr went his way and spent that night in the mosque of the Messenger of God in Medina. Then he went away, and no one knows to this day into which of God’s lands he went. His story was mentioned to the Messenger of God who said, “He was a man whom God rescued for his loyalty.” According to Ibn Ishaq: Some men allege that he was bound with an old frayed rope along with the Banu Qurayzah who were bound when they submitted to the judgement of the Messenger of God. In the morning his rope was cast aside, and no one knew where he had gone. …” [22]


Ibn Ishaq:

“Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri told me that Thabit b. Qays b. al-Shammas had gone to al-Zabir b. Bata al-Qurazi who was Abu Abdu-l-Rahman. Al-Zabir had spared Thabit during the pagan era. One of al-Zabir’s sons told me that he had spared him on the day of Bu’ath, having captured him and cut off his forelock and then let him go. Thabit came to him (he was then an old man) and asked him if he knew him, to which he answered, ‘Would a man like me not recognize a man like you?’ He said: ‘I want to repay for your service to me. ‘He said, ‘The noble repays the noble.’
Thabit went to the Apostle and told him that al-Zabir had spared his life and he wanted to repay him for it, and the Apostle said that his life would be spared. When he returned and told him that the Apostle had spared his life he said, ‘What does an old man without family and without children want with life?’ Thabit went again to the Apostle, who promised to give him his wife and children. When he told him he said, ‘How can a household in the Hijaz live without property?’ Thabit secured the Apostle’s promise that his property would be restored and came and told him so, and he said, ‘O Thabit, what has become of him whose face was like a Chinese mirror in which the virgins of the tribe could see themselves, Ka’b b. Asad?’ ‘Killed,’ he said.

‘And what of the prince of the Desert and the sown, Huyayy b. Akhtab?’ ‘Kiled.’ And what of our vanguard when we attacked and our rearguard when we fled (T. returned to the charge), Azzal b. Samaw’al?’ ‘Killed.’ ‘And what of the two assemblies?’ meaning b. Ka’b b. Qurayza and B. Amr b. Qurayza. ‘killed’. He said, ‘Then I ask of you, Thabit by my claim on you that you join me with my people, for life holds no joy now that they are dead, and I cannot bear to wait another moment to meet my loved ones.’ So Thabit went up to him and struck off his head.

Thabit b. Qays said concerning that, mentioning al-Zabir b. Bata:
My obligation is ended; I was noble and persistent when others swerved from steadfastness. Zabir had a greater claim than any man on me And when his wrists were bound with cords I went to the Apostle that I might free him. To Apostle was a very sea of generosity to us.” [23]


Kitab Al-Maghazi – Al-Waqidi:

… al-Zabir b. bata had done a favour for Thabot b. Qays on the day of Bu’ath. Thabit came to al-Zabir and said, ‘O Abu Abd al-Rahman, do you know me?’ He replied, ‘Do you think one like me will not know the likes of you.’ Thabir said, ‘You have done me a good deed and I want to repay you.’ Zabir replied, ‘Indeed the noble reward the noble. I am in the greatest need of your help today.’ Thabit came to the Messenger of God and said, ‘O messenger of God, Zabir helped me when my hopes were cut off on the day of Bu’ath. I mentioned this good deed to you, for I desire to help him, so give him to me.’ The Messenger of God said, ‘He is for you.’ Then Tabit came to Zabir and said, ‘ Indeed the Messenger of God has given you to me.’ Al-Zabir said, ‘I am an old man. I have no family or son or wealth in Yathrib. What will I do with my life?’ So Thabit came to the Messenger of God and said, ‘O Messenger of God, give me his son.’ So he gave him his son. Then he said, ‘O Messenger of God, give me his property and his family.’ So the Messenger of God gave Thabit Zabir’s property, son and family.
Thabit returned to al-Zabir and said, ‘Indeed the Messenger of God has given me your son and your property and your family.’ Zabir said, ‘O Thabit, you have rewarded me and repaid your debt, but, what has happened to him whose face is like a Chinese mirror, in which virgins of the neighbourhood could see themselves, Ka’b b. Asad?’ He said, ‘He is killed.’ Al-Zabir said, ‘What happened to the master of the cities and the desert, the lord of the two neighbourhoods who carries them in war and deeds them at home, Huyayy b. Akhtab?’ He said, ‘He is killed.’

Al-Zabir said, ‘What happened to the leader of the vanguard of the Jews at war when they charge, and their protector at the back when they retreat, Ghazzal b. Samaw’al?’ He said, ‘He is killed.’

Al-zabir said, ‘O Thabit? What good is life after those? Must I return to the home they were living in to stay after them? I do not desire that. Indeed I ask you in return for my debt to send me forward and kill me with the killing of the nobility of the Banu Qurayza. Take my sword for surely it is sharp, and strike me with it, and finish it off. Raise your hand away from the food and bring it closer to the head, lower from the brain. Indeed it is best that the body remain with the neck. O Thabit, I am impatient to find my loved ones.’

‘O Thabir, send me forward and kill me.’ Thabit said, ‘I will not kill you.’ Al-Zabir said, ‘I do not care who kills me! But, O Thabit, see to my wife and my son for they anxious about death. Ask your friend to releasethem and return their property. I will go towards Al-Zubayr b. al-Awwam.’ He reproached al-Zubayr and al-Zubayr struck off his head.
Thabit asked the Messenger of God about his wife and his property and his son. The Messenger of God returned all of that to his son. He set his wife free, and he returned their property of dates and camels and clothes, but not the weapons, to them. They stayed with the family of Thabit b. Qays b. Shammas. [24]


Although Zabir Thabit was forgiven for taking part in this, he none the less, sadly wanted to be killed since his other friends were killed because of the treachery they were involved in. Notice, the Muslims didn’t want to kill him but he insisted on it.

Moreover, the above reports show that his family actively participated in this treachery and wanted to wage war against the Muslims. Notice the words that were used that they got everything back except “their weapons”. Showing that some of the family members were also liable for death penalty hadn’t it been for one of the Companions of the Prophet (p) intervening on their behalf by being forgiven them. The Prophet in his noble, merciful character let all the family go and they got everything back; they walked away free including Zabir’s grown son.

Islamic scholars also mention a number of Banu Quraiza men’s names who were left alive for their faithfulness in not getting involved in this treachery.

Imam Shafi’i , a prominent second-century scholar, says:

“…not all of them took part in aiding against the Prophet and his Companions, but all of them remained in their stronghold and did not abandon the treacherous people from among them, EXCEPT A SMALL PARTY (NAFAR) AND THIS (ACTION) SAVED THEIR LIVES AND KEPT THEIR POSSESSIONS IN THEIR HANDS“. [25]


Shaykh Muhammed Al-Ghazali says:

“The siege continued for twenty-five days during which the Muslims allowed the Jews who had refused to betray the Prophet during the Battle of the Ditch TO LEAVE AND GO WHEREVER THEY WISHED AS A REWARD FOR THEIR FAITHFULNESS. [26]


Islamic scholar, Syed Maududi:

From among the prisoners of the Banu Quraizah, the Holy Prophet forgave Zabir bin Bata and ‘Amr bin Sa’d (or Ibn Su’da), the former because he had given refuge to Hadrat Thabit bin Qais Ansari in the Battle of Bu’ath, in the pre-Islamic days of ignorance; therefore, he handed him over to Hadrat Thabit that he may repay him for his favor. And he forgave ‘Amr bin Sa`d because it was he who was exhorting his tribe not to be treacherous when the Bani Quraizah were committing breach of the trust with the Holy Prophet. [27]


Dr. Resis Haylamaz:

“The judgement passed by Sa’d ibn Muadh did not include all of the Banu Qurayza; among the Banu Qurayza that day there were youths such as atiyyatu-l-Qurazi and Rifa’a ibn Shamwal Amr ibn Su’da, ibn Sa’ya’s sons Salaba and Usayd and their cousin Asad ibn Ubayd. THESE MEN OF CONSCIENCE WERE FORGIVEN. Zabir ibn Bata had cone a great favour for Thabot ibn Qays ibn Shammas during the times of Buath wars. …” [28]


10. How Many Men of the Quraiza were Killed?

Ibn Ishaq:

“Then they surrendered, and the Apostle confined them in Medina, in the house of d. al-Harith, a women of banu al-Najjar. Then the Apostle of God went out to the market of Medina and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads…”[29]


Number of those executed is uncertain: According to few sources, the number given for the men killed, for the treachery they committed are, 400, 500, and Ibn Ishaq puts it as high 600 – 900 men were executed. These numbers are not given in the Quran, and Hadith which are the most authoritative in Islam. The numbers are only reported in some sources which some scholars have doubt on.

This doubt itself is well evidenced. When we read Ibn Ishaq he tells that after the banu Quraiza surrendered to be judged, they were sent to the house (dar) of Bint al-harith, a women belonging to the Banu al-Najjar tribe.

If the number of 600 – 900 is true, then each of the warrior men would on average, have two kids plus wife, times the 900 by 3, we would have over 2000 people confined in one house. This is impossible given the fact that no such prison existed in Madinah, to house that many people. In fact it was not even a prison, it was just a house.

Furthermore, if we were to go with this, Madinah must have had one of the most advanced, well-organized prison’s ever. Given that over 2000 people had to be tied up, how big was Haritha’s house? Were the prisoners routinely fed, taken to toilet whenever needed? Given that none of the fully grown warriors (900) didn’t run away I doubt (as other scholars have) that such was the number of soldiers killed.

Thus the most appropriate thing regarding the number of the treacherous Banu Quraiza men executed is to ignore the contradictory and doubtful sources that mention the numbers. If these sources can’t agree with one another besides being doubtful to begin with, how can we be confident that such were the actual number of the men executed? Given the fact that Quran and Hadith are silent on the number and most importantly tell us that only some were killed and some were spared, we can confidently say that the varying numbers from 400 to 900 is nothing but conjecture.

Islamic scholar Barakat Ahmad lists a number of great examples where the Quraysh made major issues regarding smaller matters and if such a “massacre” ever occurred why isn’t it mentioned in any historical record from Jews, Christians or any reliable Muslim record?

The incident of the B. Qurayzah occurred before the armistice of Hudaybiyah and the peace with Khaybar were achieved. It is impossible that the pagans and the Munafiqun (hypocrites) would have remained muted. When Jahsh violated the sacred month and shed blood therein, when the palms of the B. al-Nadir were burnt, when the Apostle married the divorced wife of his adopted son, the people criticised and the Qur’an defended the Apostle. It is improbable that the Apostle’s critics would have paid less attention to the lives of the Banu Qurayzah than to the palms of the B. al-Nadir. That the news of this ‘massacre’ did not reach Syria, which included Jerusalem and Adhra’at, with which the Medina Jews had contacts, and the Exilarchate in Iraq, which exercised religious authority over them is highly unlikely. [30]


11. Anti-Semitism claim

Another widely false idea held by critics, believed and circulated by bigots, is that the Banu Qurayza were killed because of the inherent hatred Muslims and the religion Islam have towards Jews as a race.

However, as we have already read the sources in history, these are baseless lies. The historical reports tell us that some of the Banu Quraiza men were killed because they actively committed the crime of treason, waged war and supplied the enemies of the Muslims with weapons and supplies, while they had a pact with the Muslims that they would not do any of this. And, the Banu Qurayza were Arab Jews. So it is inconceivable for Arabs to hate other Jews just for their race.

Muslims and the Arab Jews have been living in peace and harmony for centuries, from the time of the Prophet Muhammed to this. In fact we have authentic historical reports where the Prophet (p) even after the Banu Quraiza incident showed love, mercy, and kindness to Jews.

If the Prophet (p) really hated Jews as some critics claim, then why did he free those who didn’t partake in the treachery? The evidences shown in this article quite clearly show us that the Prophet (p) only killed some Banu Qurayza warrior-men because they broke the pact, waged war, and supplied enemies with weapons against the Muslims.

We have a number of incidents after the Banu Qurayza episode in which the Prophet (p) and his companions showed utmost respect to Jews.

11.1 – Islamic faith has never taught its followers to be anti-semitic. The Arab-Israeli conflict is a political conflict which started in the 1948, Muslims, Christians and Jews have lived in that area for centuries.

11.2 – The Quran tells us that Kosher food prepared by Jews is allowed for Muslims (Qur’an 5:5).

11.3 – Islam accepts and respects all Jewish Prophets: Moses, Solomon, David, Abraham etc.

11.4 – When the Prophet was asked by one his Companions why he stood up for Jewish funeral procession, he remarked that we are all equal in death. Respect was given to a funeral of a Jew at time of Mohammed (p):

Sahih Muslim:

…while Qais b. Sa’d and Sahl b. Hunaif were both in Qadislyya a bier passed by them and they both stood up. They were told that it was the bier of one of the people of the land (non-Muslim). They said that a bier passed before the Prophet and he stood up. He was told that he (the dead man) was a Jew. Upon this he remarked: Was he not a human being or did he not have a soul?  (Sahih Muslim  Book 4, Hadith 2098)


Sunan Abi Dawud:

Narrated Jabir: We were with the Prophet when a funeral passed hi and he stood up for it. When we went to carry it, we found that it was a funeral of a Jew. We, therefore said: Messenger of Allah, this is the funeral of a Jew. He said: Death is fearful event, so when you see a funeral, stand up. (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 20, Hadith 3168)


Sunan an-Nasai:

Jabir said: “The Prophet and his Companions stood up for the funeral of a Jew until it disappeared.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i Vol. 3, Book 21, Hadith 1930)


Sahih al-Bukhari:

A funeral procession passed in front of us and the Prophet stood up and we too stood up. We said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! This is the funeral procession of a Jew.” He said, “Whenever you see a funeral procession, you should stand up.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, volume 2, Book 23, Hadith 398)


Sahih al-Bukhari:

Sahl bin Hunaif and Qais bin Sa`d were sitting in the city of Al-Qadisiya. A funeral procession passed in front of them and they stood up. They were told that funeral procession was of one of the inhabitants of the land i.e. of a non-believer, under the protection of Muslims. They said, “A funeral procession passed in front of the Prophet and he stood up. When he was told that it was the coffin of a Jew, he said, “Is it not a living being (soul)?” (Sahih al-Bukhari, volume 2, Book 23, Hadith 399)


11.5 – The Prophet had a Jewish wife called Saffiya. Once, one the Prophet’s wives, Hafsah, called her, ‘daughter of a Jew”. Upon this, the Prophet (p) cautioned her to “Fear God”. He was not happy with her to call her such, and reprimanded her to think about what she says because she would be held liable for hurting her.

Jami at-Tirmidhi:

Narrated Anas: said: “It reached Safiyyah that Hafsah said: ‘The daughter of a Jew’ so she wept. Then the Prophet entered upon her while she was crying, so he said: ‘What makes you cry?’ She said: ‘Hafsah said to me that I am the daughter of a Jew.’ So the Prophet said: ‘And you are the daughter of a Prophet, and your uncle is a Prophet, and you are married to a Prophet, so what is she boasting to you about?’ Then he said: ‘Fear Allah, O Hafsah.’” (Jami at-Tirmidhi Vol. 1, Book 46, Hadith 3894)


11.6 – The Qur’an tells us that Muslim men are allowed to marry Jewish women (Qur’an 5:5). Thus if the religion and its founder were as the misguided critics claim then this would never have been allowed. But on the contrary, we see this endorsed by God and His Messenger in order to bring love and mercy and blood ties among Muslims and Jews.

11.7 – Once the Prophet (p) didn’t have enough food in his house, so he went to a Jew who had food and mortgaged his armour for the food.

Narrated `Aisha: The Prophet purchased food grains from a Jew on credit and mortgaged his iron armor to him. (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 3, Book 34, Hadith 282)


11.8 – The Prophet greeted Jews and Muslims together and insisted that Muslim should greet everyone:

Narrated Usamah bin Zaid: that the Prophet passed by a gathering in which the Muslims and the Jews were mixed, so he gave the Salam to them. (Jami at-Tirmidhi  volume 5, Book 40, Hadith 2702)


Adab Al-Mufrad:

Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Return the greeting to whomever it is, Jew, Christian, or Magian. That is because Allah says, ‘When you are greeted with a greeting, greet with one better than it or return it.’ (4: 86)” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad Book 44, Hadith 1107)


Riyad as-Salihin:

The Prophet passed by a mixed company of people which included Muslims, polytheists and Jews, and he gave them the greeting (i.e., saying As- Salamu ‘Alaikum). (Riyad as-Salihin Book 6, Hadith 868)


11.9 – A companion of the Prophet (p), Jabir owned some money to a Jew. When he couldn’t pay back, he asked the Jew if he could pay the amount he owned the following year, the Jew refused and wanted his money straight away. The Prophet hearing this went over to the Jew and asked him to wait patiently till next year when he could pay. But the he refused even when the Prophet (p) insisted. Thus there seemed to be compromise, so the Prophet (p) told Jabir to start working for the Jew by plucking dates so that he could pay back his money in time. Jabir agreed and started working hard until he paid back the Jewish man in full.

Sahih Bukhari:

“Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah: There was a Jew in Medina who used to lend me money up to the season of plucking dates. (Jabir had a piece of land which was on the way to Ruma). That year the land was not promising, so the payment of the debt was delayed one year. The Jew came to me at the time of plucking, but gathered nothing from my land. I asked him to give me one year respite, but he refused. This news reached the Prophet whereupon he said to his companions, “Let us go and ask the Jew for respite for Jabir.” All of them came to me in my garden, and the Prophet started speaking to the Jew, but he Jew said, “O Abu Qasim! I will not grant him respite.” When the Prophet saw the Jew’s attitude, he stood up and walked all around the garden and came again and talked to the Jew, but the Jew refused his request. I got up and brought some ripe fresh dates and put it in front of the Prophet. He ate and then said to me, “Where is your hut, O Jabir?” I informed him, and he said, “Spread out a bed for me in it.” I spread out a bed, and he entered and slept. When he woke up, I brought some dates to him again and he ate of it and then got up and talked to the Jew again, but the Jew again refused his request. Then the Prophet got up for the second time amidst the palm trees loaded with fresh dates, and said, “O Jabir! Pluck dates to repay your debt.” The Jew remained with me while I was plucking the dates, till I paid him all his right, yet there remained extra quantity of dates. So I went out and proceeded till I reached the Prophet and informed him of the good news, whereupon he said, “I testify that I am Allah’s Messenger.”
(Sahih al-Bukhari volume 7, Book 65, Hadith 354)


Sunan an-Nasa’i:

“My father owed some dates to a Jew. He was killed on the Day of Uhud and he left behind two gardens. The dates owed to the Jew would take up everything in the two gardens. The Prophet said: ‘Can you take half this year and half next year?’ But the Jew refused. The Prophet said: ‘When the time to pick the dates comes, call me.’ So I called him and he came, accompanied by Abu Bakr. The dates were picked and weighed from the lowest part of the palm trees, and the Messenger of Allah was praying for blessing, until we paid off everything that we owed him from the smaller of the two gardens, as calculated by ‘Ammar. Then I brought them some fresh dates and water and they ate and drank, then he said: ‘This is part of the blessing concerning which you will be questioned.’” (Sunan an-Nasa’i, volume 4, Book 30, Hadith 3669)


Sahih Bukhari:

Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah: When my father died he owed a Jew thirty Awsuq (of dates). I requested him to give me respite for repaying but he refused. I requested Allah’s Messenger to intercede with the Jew. Allah’s Messenger went to the Jew and asked him to accept the fruits of my trees in place of the debt but the Jew refused. Allah’s Apostle entered the garden of the date-palms, wandering among the trees and ordered me (saying), “Pluck (the fruits) and give him his due.” So, I plucked the fruits for him after the departure of Allah’s Apostle and gave his thirty Awsuq, and still had seventeen Awsuq extra for myself. Jabir said: I went to Allah’s Messenger to inform of what had happened, but found him praying the `Asr prayer. After the prayer I told him about the extra fruits which remained. Allah’s Messenger told me to inform (`Umar) Ibn Al-Khattab about it. When I went to `Umar and told him about it, `Umar said, “When Allah’s Messenger walked in your garden, I was sure that Allah would definitely bless it.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, volume 3, Book 41, Hadith 581)


What is remarkable about this story is that the Prophet (p) then in Medina had the power and the authority force the Jew to be paid back in any time he wished. But that was not his character, never was. He respected the Jewish man and recognized his due right and thus told his companion to work for him to pay back his debt in the shortest time possible. This also shows that Muslims at the time freely interacted with the Jews and conferred them their due rights. They never treated others (non-Muslims) unjustly. This is the noble character of our beloved Prophet Muhammed (p) and those with him.

11.10 – Some Jews at the time of the Prophet (p) used to be very disrespectful in Madinah, so whenever they used to see the Muhammed (p) they used to greet him with, “As-Samu-Alaikum.” (i.e. death be upon you). Aisha the wife of the Prophet (p), hearing this, got angry and responded by saying to them: Death and the curse of God be upon you! The Prophet (p) demanded her to be calm and then told her that God loves the one who is kind and lenient in all matters:

Sahih Bukhari:

“Narrated `Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) A group of Jews entered upon the Prophet and said, “As-Samu-Alaikum.” (i.e. death be upon you). I understood it and said, “Wa-Alaikum As-Samu wal-la’n. (death and the curse of Allah be Upon you).” Allah’s Messenger said “Be calm, O `Aisha! Allah loves that one should be kind and lenient in all matters.” I said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Haven’t you heard what they (the Jews) have said?” Allah’s Messenger said “I have already told them: Upon you”(Sahih Bukhari, volume 8, book 53, Hadith 83).

11.11 – Another remarkable example is of Abdullah bin Amr who had slaughtered a sheep for his family and he asked whether he would give some of that meat to their neighbour who was a Jew. The Companion, Abdullah bn Amr, was thus following the Prophet Muhammed (p) in treating their neighbours kindly and politely and to share with them when there was enough food in their houses.

Jami at-Tirmidhi:

“Abdullah bin Amr had a sheep slaughtered for his family, so when he came he said: ‘Have you given some to our neighbour, the Jew? Have you given some to our neighbor, the Jew? I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: ‘Jibril continued to advise me about (treating) the neighbors so (kindly and politely), that I thought he would order me (from Allah) to make them heirs.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi, volume 4, Book 1, Hadith 1943).


Sunan Abi Dawud:

Abdullah ibn Amr slaughtered a sheep and said: Have you presented a gift from it to my neighbour, the Jew, for I heard the Messenger of Allah say: Gabriel kept on commending the neighbour to me so that I thought he would make an heir? (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 42, Hadith 5133)


Here again, we witnessed the noble character of our beloved Prophet Muhammed (p). He cared for everyone, be they those who have a religion or not – he treated all the same.

11.12 – The Prophet visited a sick Jew in bed:

Chapter: Visiting A Sick Dhimmi
Narrated Anas: A young Jew became ill. The Prophet went to visit him. He sat down by his head and said to him: Accept Islam. He looked at his father who was beside him near his head, and he said: Obey Abu al-Qasim. So he accepted Islam, and the Prophet stood up saying: Praise be to Allah Who has saved him through me from Hell. (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 20, Hadith 3089)


11.13 – A Jew gave free food because he heard about the noble, merciful character of Prophet Muhammed (p). This shows had the Prophet (p) been hostile to Jews, this Jew wouldn’t have given him something for free.

Sunan Abi Dawud:

Sahl bin Sa’d said: `Ali bin Abi Talib entered upon Fatimah while Hasan and Husain were crying. He asked: Why are they crying? She replied: Due to hunger. ‘Ali went out and found a dinar in the market. He then came to Fatima and told her about it. She said: Go to such and such a Jew and get some flour for us. He came to the Jew and purchased flour with it. He said : Are you the son-in-law of him who believes that he is the Messenger of Allah. He said : Yes. The Jew said : Have your dinar with you and you will get the flour. Ali then went out and came to Fatima. He told her about the matter. She then said: Go to such and such a butcher and get some meat for us for a dirham. Ali went out and pawned the dinar for a dirham with him and got the meat, and brought it (to her). She then kneaded the flour, put the utensil on fire and baked the bread. She sent for her father : (i.e. the Prophet (SWAS). He came to them. She said to him : Messenger of Allah, I tell you all the matter. If you think it is lawful for us, we shall eat it and you will eat with us. She said: The matter is such and such. He said: eat in the name of Allah. So they ate it. While they were (eating) at their place, a boy cried adguring in the name of Allah and Islam: He was searching the dinar. The Messenger of Allah (SWAS) commanded and he was called in. He asked him. The boy replied, I lost it somewhere in the market. The Prophet (SWAS) said : `Ali, go to the butcher and tell him that the Messenger of Allah (SWAS) has asked you : send the dinar to me and one dirham of yours will be due on me. The butcher returned it and the Messenger of Allah (SWAS) handed it to him (the boy). (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 9, Hadith 1712)


From the above we may judge that the Prophet (p) always had kind feelings towards every human being. He loved and respected everyone. Hatred is something he never had, it was against his nature. And those who accuse him of anti-Semitism are nothing but bigots propelled by their inherent hatred towards Muhammad (p) to say anything bad against him with a view to tarnishing his noble character.

12. Conclusion:

The evidences presented on Banu Qurayza’s treacherous warrior-men’s fate shows that we can get the clear picture that they were not innocent as some would like us to believe. Only the warrior-men who committed treachery and participated in combat against the Muslims were executed. Hadn’t Sa’d ibn Mu’adh dealt with the treacherous among them, they would have gone and come back with other enemies to kill the Muslims once again. Just as Banu Nadir did when the Prophet (p) let them go – they came back and plotted to kill the Muslims in Madinah. We have to look at the fact, hadn’t the Prophet (p) executed the traitors’, punished the treacherous warrior-men of Qurayza, they would have come back and slaughtered Muslim men, women and children. We have to remember, the Banu Qurayza already were forgiven once before for siding with enemies and when the Prophet forgave them, they hatched up further plots to kill Muslims.

The evidences shown proves that the Banu Qurayza broke the pact they had, they sided with enemy against the Muslims. They attacked Muslims, waged war against the Muslims. They armed Quraysh (and other enemies) with weapons and provisions against the Muslims. The Banu Qurayza waging-war against Muslims part is mentioned in many authentic Hadiths, sadly the sources do not give us any more details where this battle took place. However, given these facts, we can safely state that, what those treacherous Banu Qurayza warrior-men got was justice of the highest order demanded for them to be their fate.


[1] Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad [Translated by A. Guillaume], page 232-233
[2] Dhimmis and Others”, (“Jews and Christians and the World of Classical Islam”,) [Israel Oriental Studies], by Michael Lecker, volume 17, page 31
[3] Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad [Translated by A. Guillaume], page 453
[4] History of al-Tabari, The Victory of Islam. Muhammad at Medina, [Translator Professor W. Montgomery Watt], volume 8, Page 14 – 15
[5] Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad [Translated by A. Guillaume], pages 458 – 460).
[6] The History of al-Tabari – The Victory of Islam: Muhammad at Medina [Michael Fishbein – Translator], Volume 8, page 15
[7] Understanding who Adal and al-Qarah were, footonote 84 gives an explanation. “For the story of how a group of men from the clans of Adal and al-Qarah came to Muhammed in Medina in A. H. 4 and asked for me to instruct them in Islam and how, after Muhammed had sent six men back with them (including Khubayb b. Adi), they betrayed the six to the pro-Meccan Lihyan subtribe of Hudhayl (which had a vendetta against the Muslims) at the watering place of al-Raji…
At the same time Prophet Muhammed (p) sent out Nu’aym Ibn Mas’ud on a mission to the Banu Qurayza (he was old friend of them) to persuade them that they shouldn’t side with polytheists of Makkah until they promised for them that if the battle ceased or the allies withdrew they would have faced Mohammed all alone.”
The History of al-Tabari – The Victory of Islam: Muhammad at Medina [Michael Fishbein – Translator], volume 8, page 16, footnote 84
[8] The Massacre of the Banu Quraiza. A re-examination of a tradition – [Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam (Magnes Press, Hebrew University of Jerusalem – 1986)] by, Professor Meir J. Kister, 8, page 81
[9] The Massacre of the Banu Quraiza. A re-examination of a tradition – [Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam (Magnes Press, Hebrew University of Jerusalem – 1986)] by, Professor Meir J. Kister, 8, page 95
[10] The Biography of Muhammad: The Issue of the Sources [Copyright 2000] By Marco Scholler, volume 32, page 31
[11] Al-Musannaf abd al-Razzaq’s Isaad as recorded, Abd al-Razzaq – Ibn Jurayj – Musa b. Uqba – Nafi – Ibn Umar, volume 6, pages 54-55, number 9988). The Massacre of the Banu Quraiza. A re-examination of a tradition – [Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam (Magnes Press, Hebrew University of Jerusalem – 1986)] by, Professor Meir J. Kister, volume 8, page s 82 -83
[12] This report is also mentioned in the following hadith books, Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq, volume 6, page 54; Musnad Ibn Hanbal, volume 9, page 181; and Bayhaqi, Dala’il, volume 3, page 183; “The Biography of Muhammad: The Issue of the Sources”, [Copyright 2000], by Marco Scholler, volume 32, page 32
[13] Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad [Translated by A. Guillaume], page 461
[14] Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, By al-Imam abu-l Abbas Ahmad Ibn-Jabir al-Baladhuri, (Translated by Philip Khuri Hitti, PH. D.), [New York – Columbia Univeristy, Longmans, Green & Co., Agents – London: P. S. King & Son, LTD. 1916], volume 1, page 40
[15] Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad [Translated by A. Guillaume], page 465 – 466
[16] The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab Al-Maghazi [ Translator: Rizwi Faizer], page 260
[17] The Massacre of the Banu Quraiza. A re-examination of a tradition – [Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam (Magnes Press, Hebrew University of Jerusalem – 1986)] by, Professor Meir J. Kister, volume 8, page 73
[18] Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad [Translated by A. Guillaume], page 465 – 466
[19] (Shafi’I, Umm, al-hukm fi qital al mushrikun wa-mas’alat mal a;-harbi, volume 4, page 239; Sunan al-Bayhaqi, volume 9, page 78). The Massacre of the Banu Quraiza. A re-examination of a tradition – [Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam (Magnes Press, Hebrew University of Jerusalem – 1986)] by, Professor Meir J. Kister, 8, page 67
[20] The Insaad for Al-Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq’s Hadith as recorded: Abd al-Razzaq – Ibn Jurayj – Musa b. Uqba – Nafi – Ibn Umar.
The Massacre of the Banu Quraiza. A re-examination of a tradition – [Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam (Magnes Press, Hebrew University of Jerusalem – 1986)] by, Professor Meir J. Kister, 8, page 82 – 83
[21] Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, By al-Imam abu-l Abbas Ahmad Ibn-Jabir al-Baladhuri, (Translated by Philip Khuri Hitti, PH. D.), [New York – Columbia Univeristy, Longmans, Green & Co., Agents – London: P. S. King & Son, LTD. 1916], volume 1, page 41
[22] The History of al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam: Muhammad at Medina, [Translator: Michael Fishbein], volume 8, page 32 – 33
[23] Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad [Translated by A. Guillaume], page 465 – 466
[24] The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab Al-Maghazi, page 254 – 255
[25] Al-Shafi’i. al-Umm, n.p. 1321; repr. Kitab al-Sha’b, 1968, volume 4, page 107. The Massacre of the Banu Quraiza. A re-examination of a tradition – [Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam (Magnes Press, Hebrew University of Jerusalem – 1986)] by, Professor Meir J. Kister, 8, page 67
[26] Fiqh-Us-Seerah – Understanding The Life Of Prophet Muhammad,[International Islamic Federation of student organizations – IIFSO: – Revised second edition, copyright CE 1999/AH 1420] by Muhammad Al-Ghazali, page 346
[27] The Meanings of the Holy Quran Syed Maududi: chapter 47. Last accessed 31st December 2015, Time 21:01 pm,http://www.englishtafsir.com/Quran/47/index.html#sdfootnote8sym)
[28] The Prophet Muhammad, The Sultans of Hearts, by Resit Haylamaz volume 2, page 133
[29] Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad [Translated by A. Guillaume], page 464
[30] Muhammad and the Jews: A Re-examination, [New Delhi: Vikas, 1979], by Barakat Ahmad, page 93 – 94

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بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Kaleef K. Karim

The answer is no! This verse (Q. 9:29) is by far the most problematic I have come across when reading the Quran. I say it’s ‘problematic’ because this verse is the only one that I know of which does not give context. When looking at any other verses in the Quran, reading the verses before and after have always happened to give an explanation. However, this passage (Q. 9:29) does not. Let’s read it below:

Quran 9:29 Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.

Islamophobes happen to always come across this verse, and show it to people who know little about Islam. They give the impression that Islam sanctions the killing of Jews and Christians at all times. It is important to always get info from the most authentic sources i.e., by reading and collecting information from Muslims, rather than Islamophobes, since their job is to bash Islam and Muslims. For example, would someone go to a Nazi to learn about Judaism – or would you do so to a better source such as a Jew who practices their religion on a daily basis? The answer would be obvious, is that you would learn from a Jewish person about Judaism. Upon commenting on this particular verse, one of the staunchest critics of Islam, Reverend E.M. Wherry, writes:

Vers. 29-128 refer to the events connected with the expedition to Tabuq, which occurred in Rajab of A.H. 9. They were not, however, all enunciated at one time, but partly before the expedition, partly on the march, and partly after the return. Vers. 29-35 may be referred to the time of arrival at Tabuq, when the Christian prince, John of Aylah, tendered his submission to Muhammad, paying tribute (Jazya). [1]

When reading this passage in its historical context, it is clear that it was sent down by God to Prophet Muhammad (p) to fight against the Byzantine (Roman) empire, who mobilised troops in order to attack the Muslims. In one of our authentic early Islamic sources, ‘Sahih Muslim’, it says:

He (Hadrat ‘Umar further) said: I had a companion from the Ansar and, we used to remain in the company of the Messenger (ﷺ) turn by turn. He remained there for a day while I remained there on the other day, and he brought me the news about the revelation and other (matter), and I brought him (the news) like this. And we discussed that the Ghassanids were shoeing the horses in order to attack us. Id y companion once attended (the Apostle). And then came to me at night and knocked at my door and called me, and I came out to him, and he said: A matter of great importance has happened. I said: What is that? Have the Ghassanids come? He said: No, but even more serious and more significant than that: the Prophet (ﷺ) has divorced his wives. [2]

From the above narration, there is clear evidence that the Muslims were informed of an impending invasion by the Ghassanids, who were part of the Byzantine Empire. Additionally, Ibn Sa’d in his book Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir writes:

“They (narrators) saud: It (report) reached the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, that the Romans had concentrated large forces in Syria, that Heraclius had disbursed one year’s salary to his soldiers, and that tribes of Lakhm, Judham, ‘Amilah and Ghassan had joined hands with him. They had sent their vanguards to al-Balqa. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, summoned the people to march. He set out and informed them about the place which he intended, so that they could make necessary preparations. He sent (messengers) to Makkah and to the tribes of Arabia (asking them) to send help. This took place in the days of intense heat.” [3]

Again, we see clear evidence that it was the Byzantine (Roman) empire who started this war. What does one expect the Messenger Muhammad (p) to do? Sit back and do nothing while Muslim lives were going to get slaughtered? Of course, he had done the right thing, assembling the Muslim community to go out and fight against these aggressors. In another early Islamic source, Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, written by the eminent 9th Century Imam, Aḥmad Ibn Yaḥyā al-Balādhurī, the author says:

“Tabuk make terms. When in the year 9 AH the Prophet marched to Tabuk in Syria for the invasion of those of the Greeks, Amilah, Lakhm, Judham and others whom he learnt had assembled against him, he met no resistance. So he spent a few days in Tabuk, whose inhabitants made terms with him agreeing to pay poll-tax.” [4]

So far, as we have read early Islamic sources, when one reads the passage (9:29) in its historical perspective, it is a fact that the Byzantines (Romans) were the ones who intended to wage war with the Muslims. Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri in his work of Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar) writes:

The invasion and the conquest of Makkah was considered a decisive one between the truth and the error. As a result of which, the Arabs had no more doubt in Muhammad’s mission. Thus we see that things went contrary to the pagans’ expectations. People started to embrace Islam, the religion of Allah in great numbers. This is manifested clearly in the chapter. The delegations, of this book. It can also be deduced out of the enormous number of people who shared in the Hajjatul-Wad⦣145; (Farewell Pilgrimage). All domestic troubles came to an end. Muslims, eventually felt at ease and started setting up the teachings of All Laws and intensifying the Call to Islam.


The Byzantine power, which was considered the greatest military force on earth at that time, showed an unjustifiable opposition towards Muslims. As we have already mentioned, their opposition started at killing the ambassador of the Messenger of Allah [pbuh], Al-Harith bin, Umair Al-Azdi, by Sharhabeel bin, Amr Al-Ghassani. The ambassador was then carrying a message from the Prophet [pbuh] to the ruler of Busra. We have also stated that the Prophet consequently dispatched a brigade under the command of Zaid bin Haritha, who had a fierce fight against the Byzantines at Mu’tah. Although Muslim forces could not have revenge on those haughty over proud tyrants, the confrontation itself had a great impression on the Arabs, all over Arabia.
Caesar, who could neither ignore the great benefit that Mu’tah Battle had brought to Muslims, nor could he disregard the Arab tribes’ expectations of independence, and their hopes of getting free from his influence and reign, nor he could ignore their alliance to the Muslims, realizing all that, Caesar was aware of the progressive danger threatening his borders, especially Ash-Sham-fronts which were neighbouring Arab lands. So he concluded that demolition of the Muslims power had grown an urgent necessity. This decision of his should, in his opinion, be achieved before the Muslims become too powerful to conquer, and raise troubles and unrest in the adjacent Arab territories.
To meet these exigencies, Caesar mustered a huge army of the Byzantines and pro-Roman Ghassanide tribes to launch a decisive bloody battle against the Muslims.


No sooner news about the Byzantine’s preparations for a decisive invasion against Muslims reached Madinah than fear spread among them. They started to envisage the Byzantine invasion in the least sound they could hear. This could be clearly worked out of what had happened to, Umar bin Al-Khattab one day.
The Prophet [pbuh] had taken an oath to stay off his wives for a month in the ninth year of Al-Hijra. Therefore, he deserted them and kept off in a private place. At the beginning, the Companions of the Messenger of Allah were puzzled and could not work out the reason for such behaviour. They thought the Prophet [pbuh] had divorced them and that was why he was grieved, disturbed and upset. In Umar’s version of the very story he says: “I used to have a Helper friend who often informed me about what happened if I weren’t present, and in return I always informed him of what had taken place during his absence. They both lived in the high part of Madinah. Both of them used to call at the Prophet alternatively during that time of suspense. Then one day I heard my friend, knock at the door saying: “Open up! Open up!” I asked wondering, “What’s the matter? Has the Ghassanide come?” “No it is more serious than that. The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] has deserted his wives.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/730]
In another version, Umar said, “We talked about Ghassanide preparations to invade us. When it was his turn to convey the news to me, he went down and returned in the evening. He knocked at the door violently and said Is he sleeping?’ I was terrified but I went out to meet him. Something serious had taken place.’ He said. Has the Ghassaindes arrived?’ I Said ‘No,’ he said, it is greater and more serious. The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] has divorced his wives.’” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/334]
This state of too much alertness manifests clearly the seriousness of the situation that Muslims began to experience. The seriousness of the situation was confirmed to a large degree by the hypocrites’ behaviour, when news about the Byzantines’ preparations reached Madinah. The fact that the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] won all the battles he fought, and that no power on earth could make him terrified, and that he had always proved to be able to overcome all the obstacles that stood in his way – did not prevent the hypocrites, who concealed evil in their hearts, from expecting an affliction to fall upon the Muslims and Islam….


A magnified image of the prominent danger threatening the Muslims life was carried to them by the Nabateans who brought oil from Ash-Sham to Madinah. They carried news about Heraclius’ preparations and equipment of an enormous army counting over forty thousand fighters besides Lukham, Judham and other tribes allied to the Byzantines. They said that its vanguard had already reached Al-Balq. Thus was the grave situation standing in ambush for the Muslims. The general situation was aggravated seriously by other adverse factors of too much hot weather, drought and the rough and rugged distance they had to cover in case they decided to encounter the imminent danger.
The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] concept and estimation of the situation and its development was more precise and accurate than all others. He thought that if he tarried or dealt passively with the situation in such a way that might enable the Byzantines to paddle through the Islamic controlled provinces or to go as far as Madinah, this would, amid these circumstances, leave the most awful impression on Islam as well as on the Muslims’ military credibility.
The pre-Islamic beliefs and traditions (Al-Jahiliyah) which were at that time dying because of the strong decisive blow that they had already had at Hunain, could have had a way to come back to life once again in such an environment. The hypocrites who were conspiring against the Muslims so that they might stab them in the back whereas Byzantines would attack them from the front. If such a thing came to light and they succeeded in their evil attempts, the Prophet and his Companions’ efforts to spread Islam would collapse and their profits which were the consequences of successive and constant fights and invasions would be invalidated. The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] realised all that very well. So in spite of the hardships and drought that Muslims were suffering from the Prophet [pbuh] was determined that the Muslims should invade the Byzantines and fight a decisive battle at their own borders. He was determined not to tarry at all in order to thwart any Roman attempt to approach the land of Islam.
When the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] had made up his mind and took his final decision, he ordered his Companions to get ready for war and sent for the Makkans and the other Arab tribes asking for their assistance.
Contrary to his habit of concealing his real intention of the invasion by means of declaring a false one, he announced openly his intention of meeting the Byzantines and fighting them. He cleared the situation to his people so that they would get ready, and urged them to fight in the way of Allah. On this occasion a part of Surat Bara’a (Chapter 9 The Repentance) was sent down by Allah urging them to steadfastness and stamina.
On the other hand, the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] cherished them to pay charities and to spend the best of their fortunes in the way of Allah.
No sooner had the Muslims heard the voice of the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] calling them to fight the Byzantines than they rushed to comply with his orders. With great speed they started getting ready for war. Tribes and phratries from here and there began pouring in Madinah. Almost all the Muslims responded positively. Only those who had weakness at their hearts favoured to stay behind. They were only three people. Even the needy and the poor who could not afford a ride came to the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] asking for one so that they would be able to share in the fight against the Byzantines. But when he said:
“…I can find no mounts for you’ they turned back while their eyes overflowing with tears of grief that they could not find anything to spend (for Jihad).” [Al-Qur’an 9:92]
The Muslims raced to spend out money and to pay charities to provide this invasion. Uthman, for instance, who had already rigged two hundred, saddled camels to travel to Ash-Sham, presented them all with two hundred ounces (of gold) as charity. He also fetched a thousand dinars and cast them all into the lap of the Messenger of Allah[pbuh], who turned them over and said: “From this day on nothing will harm Uthman regardless of what he does.” [Jami’ At-Tirmidhi 2/211 (The virtues of ‘Uthman)] Again and again Uthman gave till his charity toped to nine hundred camels and a hundred horses, besides the money he paid.
Abdur Rahman bin Awf, on his side, paid two hundred silver ounces, whereas Abu Bakr paid the whole money he had and left nothing but Allah and His Messenger as a fortune for his family. Umar paid half his fortune. Abbas gifted a lot of money. Talhah, Sa’d bin Ubadah and Muhammad bin Maslamah, gave money for the welfare of the invasion. Asim bin Adi, on his turn, offered ninety camel-burdens of dates. People raced to pay little and much charities alike. One of them gave the only half bushel (or the only bushel) he owned. Women shared in this competition by giving the things they owned; such as musk, armlets, anklets, ear-rings and rings. No one abstained from spending out money, or was too mean to grant money or anything except the hypocrites:
“Those who defame such of the believers who give charity (in Allah’s cause) voluntarily, and those who could not find to give charity (in Allah’s cause) except what is available to them, so they mock at them (believers).” [Al-Qur’an 9:79]


Upon accomplishing the equipment of the army, the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] ordained that Muhammad bin Maslamah Al-Ansari should be appointed over Madinah. In another version Siba bin Arftah. To Ali bin Abu Talib he entrusted his family’s safety and affairs and ordered him to stay with them. This move made the hypocrites undervalue Ali, so he followed the Messenger of Allah pbuh] and caught up with him. But the Prophet made Ali turn back to Madinah after saying: “Would it not suffice you to be my successor in the way that Aaron (Harun) was to Moses’?” Then he proceeded saying: “But no Prophet succeeds me.”
On Thursday, the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] marched northwards to Tabuk. The army that numbered thirty thousand fighters was a great one, when compared with the previous armies of Islam. Muslims had never marched with such a great number before.
Despite all the gifts of wealth and mounts the army was not perfectly equipped. The shortage of provisions and mounts was so serious that eighteen men mounted one camel alternatively. As for provisions, members of the army at times had to eat the leaves of trees till their lips got swollen. Some others had to slaughter camels, though they were so dear, so that they could drink the water of their stomach; that is why that army was called “The army of distress”.
On their way to Tabuk, the army of Islam passed by Al-Hijr, which was the native land of Thamud who cut out (huge) rocks in the valley; that is “Al-Qura Valley” of today. They watered from its well but later the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] told them not to drink of that water, nor perform the ablution with it. The dough they made, he asked them to feed their camels with. He forbade them to eat anything whatsoever of it. As an alternative he told them to water from that well which Prophet Salih’s she-camel used to water from.
On the authority of Ibn ?Umar: “Upon passing by Al-Hijr the Prophet [pbuh] said:
“Do not enter the houses of those who erred themselves lest what had happened to them would afflict you, but if you had to do such a thing let it be associated with weeping.”
Then he raised his head up and accelerated his strides till he passed the valley out.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/637]
Shortage of water and the army’s need to it made them complain to the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] about that. So he supplicated to Allah who sent a rainfall cloud. It rained and so all people drank and supplied themselves with their need of water.
When they drew near Tabuk, the Prophet said: “If Allah will, tomorrow you will arrive at Tabuk spring. You will not get there before daytime. So whoever reaches it should not touch its water; but wait till I come.” Muadh said: “When we reached the spring it used to gush forth some water. We found that two men had already preceded us to it. The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] asked them: Have you touched its water?’ They replied: ‘Yes’. He said what Allah inspired him to say, then he scooped up little water of that spring, thin stream which gathered together, he washed his face and hand with it and poured it back into it; consequently plenty of water spouted out of it so people watered. Muadh’, said the Messenger of Allah, if you were doomed to live long life you will see in here fields full of vegetation.’” [Sahih Muslim 2/246]
On the way to Tabuk, or as soon as they reached Tabuk, the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] said: Severe wind will blow tonight, so none of you should stand up. Whoever has a camel should tie it up.’ Later on when the strong wind blew, one of the men stood up and the wind carried him away to Tai’ Mountain. [ibid. Sahih Muslim 2/246]
All the way long the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] was intent on the performance of the combined prayer of noon and the afternoon; and so did he with sunset and evening prayers. His prayers for both were either pre-time or post-time prayers.


Arriving at Tabuk and camping there, the Muslim army was ready to face the enemy. There, the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] delivered an eloquent speech that included the most inclusive words. In that speech he urged the Muslims to seek the welfare of this world and the world to come. He warned and cherished them and gave them good tidings. By doing that he cherished those who were broken in spirits, and blocked up the gap of shortage and mess they were suffering from due to lack of supplies, food and other substances.
Upon learning of the Muslims’ march, the Byzantines and their allies were so terrified that none of them dared set out to fight. On the contrary they scattered inside their territory. It brought, in itself, a good credit to the Muslim forces. That had gained military reputation in the mid and remote lands of Arabian Peninsula. The great and serious political profits that the Muslim forces had obtained, were far better than the ones they could have acquired if the two armies had been engaged in military confrontation.
The Head of Ailah, Yahna bin Rawbah came to the Messenger of Allah [pbuh], made peace with him and paid him the tribute (Al-Jizya). Both of Jarba’ and Adhruh peoples paid him tribute, as well. So the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] gave each a guarantee letter, similar to Yahna’s, in which he says:
“In the Name of Allah the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
This is a guarantee of protection from Allah and Muhammad the Prophet, the Messenger of Allah to Yahna bin Rawbah and the people of Ailah, their ships, their caravans on land and sea shall have the custody of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, he and whosoever are with him of Ash-Sham people and those of the sea. Whosoever contravenes this treaty, his wealth shall not save him, it shall be the fair prize of him that takes it. Now it should not be lawful to hinder the men from any springs which they have been in the habit of frequenting, nor from any journeys they desire to make, whether by sea or by land.”
The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] dispatched Khalid bin Al-Waleed at the head of four hundred and fifty horsemen to Ukaidir Dumat Al-Jandal and said to him: “You will see him hunting onyxes.” So when Khalid drew near his castle and was as far as an eye-sight range, he saw the onyxes coming out rubbing their horns against the castle gate. As it was a moony night. Khalid could see Ukaidir come out to hunt them, so he captured him, though he was surrounded by his men, and brought him back to the Messenger of Allah [pbuh], who spared his life and made peace with him for the payment of two thousand camels, eight hundred heads of cattle, four hundred armours and four hundred lances. He obliged him to recognize the duty of paying tribute and charged him with collecting it from Dumat, Tabuk, Ailah and Taima’.
The tribes, who used to ally the Byzantines, became quite certain that their dependence on their former masters came to an end. Therefore they turned into being pro-Muslims. The Islamic state had therefore enlarged its borders to an extent that it, touched the Byzantines’ and their agents’ borders. So we see that the Byzantine agents’ role was over.
The effect of this invasion is great as regards extending and confirming the Muslims’ influence and domination on the Arabian Peninsula. It was quite obvious to everybody that no power but Islam’s would live long among the Arabs. The remainders of Jahiliyin and hypocrites, who used to conspire steadily against the Muslims and who perpetually relied on Byzantine power when they were in need of support or help, these people lost their expectations and desires of ever reclaiming their ex-influence. Realizing that there was no way out and that they were to submit to the fait accompli, they gave up their attempts.


Many verses of Bara’a (Tauba) Chapter handling the event of Tabuk were revealed. Some verses were revealed before the march, while others after setting out for Tabuk, i.e. in the context of the battle. Some other verses were also revealed on the Prophet’s arrival in Madinah. All of which covered the incidents that featured this invasion: the immanent circumstances of the battle, exposure of the hypocrites, the prerogatives and special rank earmarked for the strivers in the cause of Allah acceptance of the repentance of the truthful believers who slackened and those who hung back, etc. [5]


From that historical point, Quran 9:29 was a war of self-defence. If the Muslims had not done nothing and sat back, the Muslim community as a whole would have been wiped off in Arabia, by the Byzantine (Romans) and other enemies.

More Muslim and non-Muslim scholarly commentaries on Quran 9:29

Dr. Mustafa As-Sibaa’ie, ‘The life of Prophet Muhammad highlights and lessons’ writes,

The Battle of Tabook
This is also known as Ghazwat al-Usrah (the campaign of hardship). It took place in Rajab 9 AH.
Tabook is a place between Wadi al-Qura, in the Hijaz, and Syria. The reason for this battle was that the Byzantines had gathered a huge number of troops in Syria, including the tribes of Lakhm, Judhaam, ‘Aamilah and Ghassan, who were Christianized Arabs. They did so because Heraclius intended to attack Madeenah and put an end to the state that was developing in the Arabian Peninsula, as the news of this state and its victories had filled Heraclius with fear and terror. So theProphet ordered the people to prepare for a campaign. That was a time of great and intense heat. The sincere Muslims responded willingly, but three of them remained behind, even though their faith was sincere. The Prophet commanded the rich to provide equipment for the army, and they brought a huge amount of money. Abu Bakr brought all of his wealth, which was forty thousand dirhams. Umar brought half of his wealth, and Uthmaan gave a large amount in charity that day equiped one-third of the army. The prophet prayed for him and said, “Nothing that Uthmaan does can harm him after this day.” A number of the poor Sahaabah came to him who had no animals to ride, and the Messenger said, “ I do not have anything that I can give you to ride.” They turned away with tears streaming dwn their faces because they did not have the means to prepare themselves to join the army. Eighty-odd of the hypocrites stayed behind, and a number of Bedouin gave invalied excuses, but the Prophet accepted them.
The Messenger of Allah set out with the people. There were thirty thousand warriors with him, and ten thousand horses. This was the greatest army that the Arabs had seen at that time. He marched until he reached Tabook, where he stayed for twenty days, during which he did not engage in any fighting. [6]

Scholar Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi

What was the genesis of this expedition? It is related that the Apostle got reports of Byzantine forces converging in the northern frontiers of Arabia with the intention of mounting an attack on the Muslims. Ibn Sa’ad and Waqidi had reported that the Apostle was informed by the Nabataeans that Heraclius was intending to come upon him and that his advance party had already reached Balqa. This was after storing on year’s provision for his army and drafting the pro-Byzantine tribes of Lakhm, Jodham, Amla and Ghassan under his banner. [7]

Maulana Muhammad Ali in his book, ‘The Holy Quran, Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction’,

29a “The last word on the wars with the idolaters of Arabia having been said, this verse introduces the subject of fighting with the followers of the Book. Though the Jews had for a long time assisted the idolatrous Arabians in their struggle to uproot Islam, the great Christian power, the Roman Empire, had only just mobilized its forces for the subjection of the new religion, and the Tabuk expedition followed, which constitutes the subject-matter of a large portion of what follows in this chapter. As the object of this Christian power was simply the subjection of the Muslims, the words in which their final vanquishment by the Muslims is spoken of are different from those dealing with the final vanquishment of the idolatrous Arabians. The Qur’an neither required that the idolaters should be compelled to accept Islam, nor was it in any way its object to bring the Christians into subjection. On the other hand, the idolaters wanted to suppress Islam by the sword, and the Christians first moved themselves to bring Muslim Arabia under subjection. The fate of each was, therefore, according to what it intended for the Muslims. The word jizyah is derived from jaza, meaning he gave satisfaction, and means, according to LL, the tax that is taken from the free non-Muslim subjects of the Muslim Government whereby they ratify the compact that ensures them protection; or, according to AH, because it is a compensation for the protection which is guaranteed them, the non-Muslim subjects being free from military service.
The phrase ‘an yad-in has been explained variously. The word yad (lit., hand) stands for power or superiority, the use of the hand being the real source of the superiority of man over all other animals, and the apparent meaning of the phrase is in acknowledgement of your superiority in protecting their lives, etc. (AH). It may also be added that the permission to fight, as given to the Muslims, is subject to the condition that the enemy should first take up the sword, Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you (2:190). The Holy Prophet never overstepped this limit, nor did his followers. He fought against the Arabs when they took up the sword to destroy the Muslims, and he led an expedition against the Christians when the Roman Empire first mobilized its forces with the object of subjugating the Muslims. And so scrupulous was he that, when he found that the enemy had not yet taken the initiative, he did not attack the Roman Empire, but returned without fighting. Later on, however, the Roman Empire, like the Persians, helped the enemies of Islam and fomented trouble against the newly established Muslim Kingdom, as a result of which both these empires came into conflict with the Muslims and, notwithstanding the fact that both the Persians and the Romans were very powerful nations with unlimited resources and strong military organizations, and that they both tried at one and the same time to subjugate Islam, the result was what is predicted here in clear words — they were both reduced to a state of subjection by an insignificant nation like the Arabs.” [8]

Professor John Andrew Morrow

…..the early Muslims had to fend of all sorts of aggressive assaults of the unbelievers from the Quraysh and their allies among the bedioun and Jewish tribes, in such well-known Battles as those of Uhud, Al-Khandaq, Mu’tah and Tabuk[9]

Malik Ghulam Farid commentary on Quran 9:29

1175. The expression ‘An Yadin’ means (1) Willingly and in acknowledgement of the superior power of Muslims. (2) In ready money and not in the form of deferred payment.
* In this verse … is not translated. After the translation … will read as: ‘and Allah is most Forgivving, Merciful.’
(3) Considering it as a favour from Muslims; the practice ‘an meaning, on account of, and Yad denoting power and favour (Lane). The verse refers to those People of the Book who lived in Arabia. Like the idolaters they too had been actively hostile to Islam and had planned and plotted to exterminate it. Muslims were, therefore, ordered to fight them unless they agreed to live as loyal and peaceful subjects. The Jizyah was a tax which these non-Muslims had to pay as free subjects of the Muslim state in return for the protection they enjoined under it. It may be noted that as against Jizyah which was imposed on non-Muslims, a much heavier tax- Zakat was levied on the Muslims, and in addition to Zakat they had to perform military service from which non-Muslims were exempt. Thus the latter in a way fared better, for they had to pay a lighter tax and were also free from military duty. The word Saghirun expresses their subordinate political status; otherwise they enjoyed all social rights equally with Muslims. The idolaters of Arabia and Jews and Christians who lived in their neighbourhood were the principal adversaries of Islam. After having dealt with the believers relations with the People of the Book, especially with their religious beliefs and doctrines. [10]

Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali states in his commentary on surah nine,

Muslims are therefore basically opposed to war and are never the ones to start it. By the imperative of their own religion, they are taught not to impose their beliefs on others by force. Their mission is to impart and communicate God’s message, leaving people free to decide whether to believe or reject it. Those who refuse to believe are free to pursue their lives in peace as long as they do not pose any obstacle or threat to Islam and the Muslims, who perceive their faith as the strongest and most vital binding relationship between God and humankind and that it is their responsibility to make others aware of it and provide them with the opportunity to understand and appreciate it. This is the basis of the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in Islamic society. God says elsewhere in the Qur’an: ‘Therefore if they (the unbelievers) do not trouble you and cease their hostility towards you and offer you peace, God gives you no authority over them’ [al-Nisa: 90]. Those who take up arms against a Muslim state or parts of it must be met by force, and if they are overcome, they should be disarmed. Once that is achieved, they are free to lead their own lives and practise their beliefs in peace and security under the protection of the Muslim authorities, in return for which they have to pay a levy.

This is the background against which prescription of the Jizyah, or exemption tax, came into being. It is not due from those who are neutral and have never taken arms against the Muslim state. The surah gives ample explanation for the reasons behind the establishment of this tax, for it stipulates who should pay it. They are those ‘who do not believe in God and the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden, and who do not follow the true religion, until they pay the exemption tax unreservedly and with humility. [11]

In the book ‘Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia’, Alexander Mikaberidze, commenting on 9:29 writes,

The following verses are widely acknowledged to be the first to grant Muslims permission to bear arms:
Permission [to fight] is given to those against whom war is being wrongfully waged, and indeed, God has the power to help them: those who have been driven from their homes against all right for no other reason than their saying, ‘Our Provider is God!’ For, if God had not enabled people to defend themselves against one another, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques- in all of which God’s name is abundantly glorified- would surely have been destroyed. (22:39-40)
In these verses, the Koran asserts, if people were not allowed to defend themselves against aggressive wrongdoers, all the houses of worship- it is worthy of note here that Islam is not the only religion indicated here- would be destroyed and thus the word of God extinguished. Another verse states:
They ask you concerning fighting in the prohibited months. Answer them: ‘Fight therein is a serious offence. But to restrain men from following the cause of God, to deny God, to violate the sanctity of the sacred mosque, to expel its people from its environs is in the sight of God a greater wrong than fighting in the forbidden month. [For] discord and strife (fitna) are worse than killing.’ (2:217)
Wrongful expulsion of believers- Muslims and other monotheists- from their homes for no other reason than their avowal of belief in one God is one of the reasons- jus ad bellum- that justify recourse to fighting, according to these verses. Earlier revelations (Koran 42.40-43) had allowed only non-violent self-defence against wrongful conduct of the enemy. In another verse (2:291), the Koran acknowledges the enormity of fighting, and thus the potential taking of human life, but at the same time asserts the higher moral imperative of maintaining order and challenging wrongdoing. Therefore, when both just cause and righteous intention exist, war in self-defence becomes obligatory.
Fighting is prescribed for you, while you dislike it, but it is possible that you dislike. But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you love a thing which is bad for you. But God knows and you know not. (2:216)
The Koran further asserts that it is the duty of Muslims to defend those who are oppressed and cry out to them for help (4.75), except against a people with whom the Muslims have concluded a treaty (8.72)
With regard to initiation of hostilities, the Koran has specific injunctions. Koran 2.190 reads, ‘Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not commit aggression, for God loves not aggressors,’ which forbids Muslims from initiating hostilities. Recourse to armed combat must be in response to a prior act of aggression committed by the opposite side.
In the month of Ramadan in the third year of the Islamic calendar (624), full-fledged hostilities broke out between the Muslims and the pagan Meccans in what became known as the Battle of Badr. In this battle, the small army of Muslims decisively trounced a much larger, and more experienced, Meccan army. Two years later, the battle of Uhud was fought in which the Muslims suffered severe reverses, followed by the Battle of Khandaq in 627. Apart from these three major battles, a number of other minor campaigns were fought until the Prophet’s death in 632. Some of the most trenchant verses exhorting the Muslims to fight were revealed on the occasions of these military campaigns. One such verse is 9.5, which is one of what have been termed the ‘Sword verses’ (Ayat al-sayf), states,
And when the sacred months are over, slay the Polytheists wherever you find them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every conceivable place.
Another verse that is often conjoined to the previous verse runs:
Fight against those who- despite having been given revelation before- do not believe in God nor in the Last Day, and do not consider forbidden that which God and His Messenger have forbidden, and do not follow the religion of the truth, until they pay Jizyah with willing hand, having been subdued. (9.29).
The first of the sword verse verses (9.5), with its internal reference to the polytheists who may be fought after the end of the sacred months, would circumscribe its applicability to only the pagan Arabs of Muhammad’s time; this is how in fact manu medieval jurists, such as al-Shafii (d. 820), understood the verse. The second of the sword verses is seemingly at the People of the Book, that is, Jews and Christians, but again, a careful reading of the verse clearly indicates that it does not intent all the people of the Book but only those from among them who do not, in contravention of their own laws, believe in God and the Last Day and, in a hostile manner, impede the propagation of Islam.
The Koran, in another verse (2.193), makes clear, however, that should hostile behaviour on the part of the foes of Islam cease, then the reasons for engaging them in battle also lapses. This verse states: ‘And fight them on until there is no more chaos (fitna) and religion is only for Gd, but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.’ [12]

‘Debating the War of Ideas’, written by two Scholars, John Gallagher and Eric D. Patterson say that the Quran ‘forbids aggressive warfare’,

The Quran also developed a just war ideology. It forbids aggressive warfare and the pre-emptive strike, and makes it clear that self-defence was the only possible justification for hostilities. War was always a terrible evil, but it was sometimes necessary in order to preserve decent values, such as freedom of worship. Even here, the Quran did not abandon its pluralism: synagogues and churches as well as mosques should be protected. The Quran insists on the importance of mercy and forgiveness, even when during armed conflict. While engaged in hostilities, Muslims must fight steadfastly in order to bring the war to a speedy end, but the moment the enemy asked for peace, Muslims must lay down their arms. They must accept any truce, even if they suspect the enemy of double-dealing. And it is always better to sit DOWN AND solve a problem by rational, courteous discussion. True, retaliation was permitted as in the Jewish tradition- eye FOR EYE, tooth for tooth- but it must be strictly confined to those who had actually perpetrated the atrocities and ‘he who shall forgo it out of charity will atone better for some of his past sins.’ Later Islamic Law developed additional principles of humane warfare. It forbids war against a country where Muslims are permitted to practice their religion freely; it outlaws the killing of civilians, the deliberate destruction of property, and the use of fire in warfare.

Holy war was not one of the essential principles of Islam The word Jihad does not refer to armed conflict but to the ‘effort’ and ‘struggle’ required to implement God’s will in a flawed and violent world. Muslims are exhorted to strive in his endeavour on all fronts: intellectual, social, economic, spiritual, moral, and domestic. Sometimes they would have to fight, but this was not their chief duty. An oft-quoted tradition recalls Muhammad telling his companions after a battle: ‘We are returning from the lesser Jihad (the battle) and going to the Greater Jihad,’ the immeasurably more important and difficult struggle to reform their own society and they own hearts. It is true that Muslim rulers often engaged in wars for territorial aggrandizement and personal interest and dignified their military activities by calling it a Jihad, but, like other Kings and imperialists, they were motivated by political ambition rather than by religion. [13]

‘Out of darkness into light: Spiritual guidance in the Quran with reflections from Christian and Jewish sources’ written by Ann Holmes Redding, Jamal Rahman and Kathleen Schmitt Elias,

The Jihad that is so feared in Western society is known in Islam as the ‘lesser jihad’, and again, the fear is based on misinterpretation not only by non-Muslims but also by Muslim extremists who carry jihad lengths that were never sanctioned or condoned by the Quran. This lesser Jihad is about defending and protecting oneself and others when under attack- and only when under attack. “Fight in the way of God those who fight you,” says the Quran, “but begin not hostilities, for God loves not the aggressors” (2:190). This verse has also been interpreted to mean “do not transgress limits in the fight.” War is permitted only in self-defence, and the limits are well defined: no hostilities toward women, children, and the aged, no destruction of trees and crops, and no continuation of war once the enemy sues for peace. In the brutal world of the seventh century the terms of lesser Jihad were remarkably enlightened, but in any age there are those who ignore the words of scriptures and prophets, wreaking havoc on the earth by over-reaching their role as vice-regents of our compassionate and merciful God. Properly understood, the lesser Jihad of self-defence is entirely legitimate, but it will always be secondary to the greater Jihad of self-realization as a beautiful manifestation of the Divine. In Rumi’s metaphor, the Lion who breaks the enemy’s ranks is a minor hero compared with the lion who over-comes himself. [14]

In the book, ‘The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era’, Professor Micheline R. Ishay,

The notion of specified limits on the use of violence is also embedded in Islamic teaching, as the Quran echoes the biblical standard of “life for life, eye for eye, ear for ear, tooth for tooth and wound for wound equal for equal.” Yet following the teaching of Jesus and Mohammad, one can still ‘remit retaliation by way of charity’ (Surah 5:45). While retaliation against an evil must be proportionate to that evil (Surah 42:40), there are instances in which retaliation by means of war, or Jihad (literally meaning ‘exertion’) is, as in the Christian notions of just war, legitimated. The Quran justifies wars for self-defence to protect Islamic communities against internal or external aggression by non-Islamic populations, and wars waged against those who ‘violate their oaths’ by breaking a treaty (Surah 9:12, 9:13, 42:40-43).
If God commands us to go to war, a better afterlife, exhorts the Quran, is promised to the true soldiers of faith: “And if ye are slain or die, in the way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are fare better than all they could amass [in wealth]” (Surah 3:157). If some modern Islamic religious zealots, such as Osama Bin laden, have found in the concept of the holy war a justification for terrorist activities, they have overlooked the fact that the same Quran, drawing from the Hebrew Bible, urges a soldier of faith “to protect the life of non-combatants, aged ones, children and women, as well as the life of imprisoned soldiers.” Temperance, the Quran states, I also mandated: ”Fight in the name of God those who fight you; but exceed not the limit. For God loves not those who exceed the limit…. Fight till there is no persecution, and the judgement be God’s. But if they desist, let there be no hostilities save against the unjust.” One should not forget, after all, that Islamic juridical writings urging tolerance and moderation in war, such as the Abbou Hassan of Baghdad (1036), the Hedaya (1196), and the Vikayat printed in Spain (1280) were composed five hundred years before Grotius and the Christian humanists. Those views live on in the contemporary Islamic writings of the Lebanese Sobhi Mahmassani. [15]

All the above evidence refutes the assertion made by Islamophobes, that the Muslims fought the Jews and Christians (Byzantines/Romans) for no reason. According to bigoted Isamophobes, Muslims are somehow bloodthirsty animals, and just want war with everyone who is not Muslim, but as shown above, these claims are false and expose their deceitful intentions. In conclusion, the Quranic verse 9:29 commanded Muslims to fight only those that were involved in aggression against them, as shown by its historical context. Muslims only fought the Byzantines in self-defence, to save the themselves from oppression and extinction.



[1] A comprehensive commentary on the Quran By the Reverend E. M. Wherry volume 2 page 274
[2] Reference: Sahih Muslim 1479 e, 1475 b In-book reference : Book 18, Hadith 44. USC-MSA web (English) reference: Book 9, Hadith 3511http://sunnah.com/muslim/18/44
[3] Ibn Sa’d’s Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Translated by S. Moinul Haq (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 2009) Vol.II, 203-204
[4] The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the KITAB FUTUH AL-BULDAN of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, By Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD, [1916], volume 1, page 92
[5] Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar) Memoirs of the Noble Prophet [pbuh] by Saifur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri page 272- 280
[6] The life of Prophet Muhammad highlights and lessons by Dr. Mustafa As-Sibaa’ie page 116 – 117
[7] Muhammad Rasulullah The Apostle of Mercy By S. Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, page 320
[8] The Holy Quran, Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction by Maulana Muhammad Ali, [Year 2002 Edition], Page 404
[9] Islamic Images and Ideas: Essays on Sacred Symbolism, by Professor John Andrew Morrow, page 31
[10] The Holy Qur’an Arabic Text with English Translation & Short Commentary, Malik Ghulam, Farid Page 383 – 384
[11] A Thematic Commentary on the Qurʼan, by Scholar, Shaykh Muḥammad Ghazālī page 182 – 183
[12] Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia [Copyright 2011] by Alexander Mikaberidze page Volume 1, 929 – 930
[13] Debating the War of Ideas by John Gallagher, Eric D. Patterson page 57
[14] Out of darkness into Light: Spiritual guidance in the Quran with reflections from Christian and Jewish sources Ann Holmes Redding, Jamal Rahman, Kathleen Schmitt Elias PAGE 53
[15] The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era By Micheline R. Ishay page 45 – 47

1st Corinthians chapter 9: Apostle Paul’s Missionary Deception (Taqiyya)!

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Kaleef. K. Karim

Christian critics of Islam have long been bringing up the false statement, asserting that Muslims are allowed to lie, be deceptive in order to bring non-Muslims to Islam. Let’s be clear, nowhere in Islam is there anything what these liars have stated. I will address this false claim soon, God willing.

Paul admits during his ministry, preaching his Paulinism (Christianity of today), he falsely acted in order to draw people to his faith. In the following passage he openly confesses that he used deception for conversion:

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

Paul is confessing in the above passage that, he acted as a Jew in order to convert them to his faith. He even acted as a pagan so that he can lure them to his religion. The above verse shows that Paul would go in great lengths to spread his religion by deception. Let’s see now what the experts have to say on the above passage.

Loyal D. Rue who is a Professor of religion and Philosophy at Luther college, comments on the passage, he writes:

“In the Christian tradition there is very early precedent for the use of deceptive means for evangelistic purposes. St. Paul himself makes a remarkable admission of his chameleon-like behaviour in the winning converts. Like the consummate used-car salesman, Paul pretends to share the concerns of his immediate audience in order to manipulate them into submitting to his Gospel: “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” [1]

In the Book “Shell Games: Studies in Scams, Frauds, and Deceits (1300-1650)” Richard Raiswell says that deception is endorsed in the Bible if it is for just cause:

“In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes how he deliberately masqueraded in false colours in order to advance the cause of the faith: ‘To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law.’ If the apostle can become all things to all men, then it would see that Scripture implicitly endorses deception when practiced in pursuit of a just cause. Perhaps most conclusively, though, God himself seems not have been above engaging in a little deception from time to time. To ruin Ahab, King of Israel, for instance, the Lord became a lying spirit in the mouth of Ahab’s prophets. Later, speaking through the person of Ezechiel to certain of the elders of Israel, God makes it clear that if the prophet appears to have been deceived in some matter, this deception is of divine origin. In the New Testament, Christ also appears on occasion to have been less than honest. When, after the resurrection, Peter and Cleopas set off for the town of Emmaus, they encountered Christ on the road; as they approached their destination, Luke records that Christ pretended to go further.” [2]

James Prince who is the author of the book “The True face of the Antichrist” also makes mention that Paul is a deceiver. I will remind the viewers that this individual is a Christian himself who believes in Jesus Christ, but he does not believe in Paul, according to him he is the “Antichrist”:

“Paul’s testimony proves his own hypocrisy here in 1 Corinthians, 9, 19-22…….…….. Again here I would trade the word save for trap in Paul’s case. Then Paul pretended to be the saviour after all this. I also believe that a person who is weak needs someone strong for support either physically or spiritually. Let me tell you too that neither Jesus nor his disciples became homosexuals to save homosexuals and neither prostitutes to save prostitutes. They didn’t become all to save everybody. This is totally abomination and hypocrisy. Paul, from his own writing, his own admission said that he was all to trap people. What wouldn’t the devil do to deceive? Jesus warned us though. See Matthew 24:4. “Jesus answered: Watch out that no one deceives you.” [3]

Even the early Church fathers understood this passage (1 Corinthians 9:19-22) that Christians are allowed to use deception for greater good. Christian theologian, Clement of Alexandria (born in the 150 – 215 A.D.), points out to Paul’s statement that lying is allowed in certain circumstances. Professor T. Brian Mooney writes about this in his book and says:

“Clement of Alexandria while praising the Christian who would not lie even in the face of torture or death makes an exception for ‘therapeutic’ lies, alluding to St. Paul’s dissimulations in Acts 16:3 and 1 Corinthians 9:20 (Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, 7.9.53).” [4]

Further evidence which shows Paul openly confessing to the Christian Corinthians that he used deception against them. The verse states:

Corinthians 12:16 Now granted, I have not burdened you; yet sly as I am, I took you in by deceit!

When one reads the above verse, it becomes even more evident that Paul used deception in many instances. Of-course Christian apologists in a desperate attempt to save Paul’s neck, they will say: “these words are not Paul’s but the words of the Corinthians who are accusing Paul of this”. Whatever way apologists want to put it, the verse is very clear that Paul confesses to using deception or the Christians Corinthians say that of Paul. If apologists don’t agree, saying it was the Corinthians accusing Paul of this, charging him with deception, either way Paul is a deceiver. Earliest Christians themselves didn’t find Paul to be truthful, so how can Christians of today try defend him, when the Corinthians charged Paul with deception?

The academic evidences presented shows that Paul indeed sanctioned lying. Paul not only deceived people, but also demonstrated to his Paulinism followers how to deceive humans. This kind of deception is very widespread. One only needs to look at third world countries and see for themselves, how missionaries deceive, con people out of their lives. So, next time Christian missionaries try use the argument that Islam allows lying (when that is NOT true), brothers/sisters just show them their Holy Paul used deception to convert people to his Paulinism.


[1] By the Grace of Guile: The Role of Deception in Natural History and Human Affairs [Copyright 1994] By Loyal D. Rue page 243-244
[2] Shell Games: Studies in Scams, Frauds, and Deceits (1300-1650) [Copyright 2004] by Margaret Reeves, Richard Raiswell, Mark Crane page 16 – 17
[3] The True Face of the Antichrist [Copyright 2013] By James Prince page 92
[4] Responding to Terrorism: Political Philosophical and Legal Perspectives By Robert Imre, Professor T. Brian Mooney, Benjamin Clarke page 76