Monday 20th of May 2024
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Bani Quraydhah and the conquest of Khaybar

As soon as the battle of al-Khandaq came to an end, a revelation came to the Prophet (a.s.) from the heaven ordering him to hasten in attacking the Bani Quraydhah who were the worst community of Jews that had been cursed by Allah and His messenger and were a source of sedition and troubles to Muslims. They plotted against Muslims in broad daylight and in the darkness of night.

The march of the Muslim army

The Prophet (a.s.) ordered the army to set out for the fight against the Bani Quraydha, and that they would not offer the Asr Prayer except there in their land. The Muslim army surrounded the Jews of Bani Quraydhah, who were protecting themselves in strong forts, and impose on them a strict blockade.

The Prophet (a.s.) sent Imam Ali (a.s.) to meet the Bani Quraydha. When he arrived in there, they met him impudently and they criticized the Prophet (a.s.) badly. Imam Ali (a.s.) went back to the Prophet (a.s.), told him what happened, and asked him not to approach the Jews’ forts.

The Prophet (a.s.) said to Imam Ali (a.s.), “I think you heard from them something bad against me. Didn’t you?”

Imam Ali (a.s.) said, “Yes, I did.”

The Prophet (a.s.) said, “If they saw me, they would say nothing like that.”

Then, the Prophet (a.s.) approached their forts and called upon them, “O brothers of apes, has Allah disgraced you and sent down His wrath on you?”

The Prophet (a.s.) ordered his army to firm the blockade which lasted about twenty-five days where nothing took place except shooting arrows and stones on each other. The Jews became certain that their forts would not protect them and they must fall in the grasp of Muslims.

Ka’b bin Asad, a Jewish man, offered an advice to his people saying, “O community of the Jews, you have been afflicted with what you see, and I shall give you three suggestions that you may follow any of them as you like…; we follow this man (Prophet Muhammad) and believe in him. By Allah, it has come clear to you that he is a sent prophet and he is the very one you find in your Book, and thus you shall be safe in your bloods, properties, children, and women.”

They altogether said, “We do never leave the judgment of the Torah and never replace it with any other than it.”

Ka’b said, “If you deny this, then let us kill our children and women, and go out to Muhammad and his companions; only men with unsheathed swords leaving behind us nothing, until Allah will judge between us and Muhammad. If we are killed, we are killed while leaving no progeny behind us that we may fear for them, and if we prevail, we, by my life, shall find women and children.”

They denied this suggestion and said, “If we kill these poor ones, then what good is there in living after them?”

Ka’b offered his third suggestion saying, “If you deny this too, then tonight is the night of Saturday, and Muhammad and his companions may give us security in this night. So let us go down (of the forts) that we may find Muhammad and his companions in inadvertence.”

They did not respond and they said to him, “(If we do) we shall corrupt our Saturday and do in it what those before us did not do except those whom you know and they were metamorphosed as it is clear to you.”[1]

The delegation of Abu Lubabah

The Banu Quraydhah asked the Prophet (a.s.) to send them Abu Lubabah, who was from al-Aws the allies of Banu Quraydhah, to consult with him on this affairs. The Prophet (a.s.) sent Abu Lubabah to them, and when they saw him, they got up before him reverently and respectfully. Their women and children began crying in front of him. When he saw them in that case, he pitied them. They said to him, “What do you see, Abu Lubabah? Do we submit to the judgment of Muhammad?” He said to them, “Yes, you do, (he pointed to his throat) but know well that his judgment on you is the slaughtering!”

He suggested to them to resist and not to submit because he made them understand that the judgment would be the slaughter in any case. Then, Abu Lubabah regretted too much because he was certain that he had betrayed Allah and His messenger. He repented and Allah accepted his repentance.[2]

The arbitration of Sa’d

The Banu Quraydhah sent for their ally the tribe of al-Aws to mediate between them and the Prophet (a.s.). A group from the al-Aws interceded with the Prophet (a.s.) who accepted the intercession and suggested to them to choose an arbitrator as they liked. The Jews chose Sa’d bin Mu’ath and were satisfied with him as the arbitrator. He took from them a promise that they would accept his judgment. He ordered them to put away their arms and they did. Then he judged to kill those who fought and killed Muslims and to captivate their women and children. 

The Prophet (a.s.) acknowledged the judgment of Sa’d and said, “Allah and the believers have been satisfied with his judgment, and with such I have been ordered.”

The sinful Jews were brought to the markets of Medina, and there ditches were dug for them and they were killed. Then, Muslims were relieved from Jews’ evils because they were a source of sedition and troubles.

Anyhow, the Banu Quraydhah had black history towards Muslims and were a source of great evils and disasters to Muslims. They often said, “We shall not be pleased except by doing away with Muhammad and his followers.”

Then, the Prophet (a.s.) divided the properties, women, and children of the Banu Quraydhah among the Muslims after deducting from them the khums. But, most of their women remained Jewish and they did not turn Muslim.[3]

The raid of Muslims against the Banu Quraydhah made the Arabs fear the Muslims and it fixed the authority of Islam as a power that could not be defeated.

The conquest of Khaybar

The Prophet (a.s.) saw that the Muslims would not be safe and that Islam would not be prevalent with the existence of powerful Jews who were in the strong forts of Khaybar[4] which was a factory of different arms and war equipments; swords, spears, armors, and tanks that shot hot water with melted lead and were from the most dangerous weapons at that time. Khaybar  was the source that supplied with arms the forces that fought against Muslims.

The Prophet (a.s.) marched with his army to conquer the forts of Khaybar. When he was close to Khaybar, he prayed Allah saying, “O Allah the Lord of the heavens and what they have shaded, the Lord of the earths and what they have born, the Lord of Devils and what they have misled, and the Lord of winds and what the have scattered, we ask You for the best of this village, the best of its people, and the best of what there is in it, and we seek Your protection from its evil, the evil of its people, and the evil of what there is in it.”

Then he ordered the army saying, “Move forward in the name of Allah the High!”

He made Abu Bakr a leader over the army. When Abu Bakr approached the fort, he faced a shower of missiles and he went back with the army disappointedly. On the next day, the Prophet entrusted the leadership of the army to Umar bin al-Khattab who did like his friend Abu Bakr did, and went back disappointedly while the fort of the Jews remained untouchable.

When the army was unable to break into the forts, the Prophet (a.s.) announced that he would appoint a leader that Allah would grant victory to Muslims at his hand. He said, “I will give the banner tomorrow to a man who loves Allah and His messenger and whom Allah and His messenger love. He shall not go back until Allah will make him prevail.”[5]

The army impatiently looked forward to know who that leader would be. No one thought that the expected leader would be Imam Ali (a.s.), because he was suffering trachoma. When the light of morning spread, the Prophet (a.s.) sent for Imam Ali (a.s.) whose eyes were bandaged. He (the Prophet) removed the bandage and spat in Imam Ali’s eyes which recovered soon. He said to him, “Take this banner so that Allah will grant the victory at your hand…”

Imam Ali (a.s.) received the banner from the Prophet (a.s.) and said, “O messenger of Allah, shall I fight them until they become like us (Muslims)?”

The Prophet (a.s.) said, “Move slowly until you arrive in their yard, and then invite them to Islam and tell them of their duties to Allah. By Allah, if Allah guides one man by you, it shall be better to you than to have all properties.”[6]

Imam Ali (a.s.) hurried to the battlefield feeling a bit of neither fear nor worry. He advanced towards the fort, plucked out its great gate, and took it as a shield[7] that protected him against the arrows and missiles of the Jews who were terribly terrified when they saw Imam Ali (a.s.) take out the gate of their fort.

Marhab, the most courageous hero of the Jews, came towards Imam Ali (a.s.) to fight him while reciting some poetry. The imam received him with a strike that split his head and made him fall down to the ground bathing in his blood, and soon the imam finished him off.

Soon, Khaybar was conquered at the hand of Imam Ali (a.s.) and the Jews were subjugated, disgraced, and taught a lesson that they could not forget throughout history.

The Prophet (a.s.) was delighted by this great victory by which the Muslims became glorious and powerful. It happened that on that very day Ja’far at-Tayyar had come back from Abyssinia, and so the Prophet (a.s.) said, “I do not know with which of them I am more delighted; is it the coming back of Ja’far or the conquer of Khaybar?”[8]

A poisoned ewe

Zaynab bint al-Harith, a Jewish woman, offered a poisoned ewe to the Prophet (a.s.) with more poison in the arm because she new that the Prophet (a.s.) liked more the arm of a ewe. The Prophet (a.s.) took a piece of the arm, chewed it, and spat it out. Bishr bin al-Bara’ ate from it, and that caused his death. The Prophet (a.s.) said that it was poisoned. He sent for Zaynab who confessed that she had poisoned the ewe. The Prophet (a.s.) asked what made her do that and she said, “You have done to my people what is not unknown to you, and I said to myself: if he is a king, I shall be relieved from him, ad if he is a prophet, he shall be inspired.” And so the Prophet (a.s.) pardoned her.[9]

The faith of al-Hajjaj bin Ilat

It may be pleasant to mention the beginning of al-Hajjaj’s faith. He became a Muslim at the Prophet’s hands. He had properties here and there in Mecca and he feared that they may be seized if the people of Mecca knew that he was a Muslim. He asked the Prophet’s permission to go to Mecca and the Prophet (a.s.) permitted him. When he was near Mecca, he met some men  from Quraysh who did not know that he had turned a Muslim. They asked him about the news of the Prophet (a.s.), and he said to them, “I have pleasant news to you. Muhammad was terribly defeated and his companions were terribly killed. Muhammad was taken a prisoner, and the Jews said: we do not kill him, but we send him to the people of Mecca to kill him there in order to avenge themselves on him for those whom he had killed from their men.”

These men hurried to Mecca delightedly crying out: ‘It is Muhammad! He shall be brought to you to be killed before you.’ Joys spread everywhere among the people of Mecca.

By this trick, al-Hajjaj could gather his properties safely. Al-Abbas, the Prophet’s uncle, who was very distressed for that news, asked al-Hajjaj whether that news was true or not, and he said to him, “I shall tell you the truth when we are alone.” When they were alone, al-Hajjaj said to al-Abbas, “Keep my speech secret until after three days, and then you can say whatever you like.” Al-Abbas agreed and al-Hajjaj added, “By Allah, I have left your nephew while he was a bridegroom with the daughter[10] of their (the Jews of Khaybar) king. Khaybar was conquered and the Muslims obtained all its properties.”

Al-Abbas was astonished and said, “What do you say, O Hajjaj?”

Al-Hajjaj said, “Yes, by Allah, it is what I said to you. Keep it secret. I have become a Muslim and come here just to take my properties, for I fear that if they (the people of Mecca) know I am a Muslim, they will plunder all what I have. After three days, you can tell the people.”

After three days, al-Abbas came to the Kaaba, and he was received by the people of Quraysh. He said to them, “Muhammad has conquered Khaybar and got married to the daughter of their (the Jews) king and he obtained all their properties.”

They asked him, “Who brought to you this news?

He said, “It is the very man, who told you the news of his (the Prophet) defeat. He was a Muslim. He came to take his properties, and then he set out to join Muhammad and his companions to be among them.”

They were upset and they said, “The enemy of Allah has slipped away. If we knew, we would deal with him elsewise.” It was not long when the certain news came to them about the conquest of Khaybar by the Prophet (a.s.).[11]

[1] As-Seera an-Nabawiyyah by ibn Hisham, vol. 3 p. 246.

[2] As-Seera an-Nabawiyyah by ibn Hisham, vol. 3 p. 247, and other sources.

[3] The Life of Muhammad, p. 356.

[4] Khaybar was a place about three miles from Medina. Inhabited by Jews, it had strong forts and huge gardens of date-palm trees. The battle of Khaybar took place at the end of the sixth year of Hijra. Refer to Khizanat al-Adab (treasury of literature), vol. 6 p. 69.

[5] Hilyat al-Awliya’, vol. 1 p. 62, Sifat as-Safwah, vol. 1 p, 163, Musnad of Ahmed bin Hanbal, tradition no. 778.

[6] Sifat as-Safwah, vol. 1 p. 164, Sahih of al-Bukhari, vol. 7 p. 121, and in Wassa’il ash-Shia, vol. 6 p. 3, it is mentioned in this way: “O Ali, you do not fight anyone except after inviting him to Islam.”

[7] The taking out of the gate of Khaybar was a miracle, because it was opened by forty men together as mentioned in the books of history such as, Tareekh Baghdad, vol. 11 p. 324, Mizan al-I’tidal, vol. 2 p. 218, Kanzol Ummal, vol. 6 p. 368, and in ar-Riyadh an-Nadhirah, vol. 2 p. 188, it is mentioned that seventy men gathered together to return the gate to its place after great efforts.

[8] Sharh Nahjol Balagha, vol. 4 p. 128.

[9] As-Seera an-Nabawiyyah by ibn Hisham, vol. 3 p. 352.

[10] When she was taken a prisoner, the Prophet (a.s.) made her free to choose; either to be released from bondage and get married to the Prophet (a.s.) or to go to join her family, and she agreed to get married with the Prophet (a.s.).

[11] As-Seera an-Nabawiyyah by ibn Hisham, vol. 3 p. 359-360. 

source : http://www.maaref-foundation.com/english/library/beliefs/tawheed_al-mufadhdhal/fourth.htm
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