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Muhammad: A Mass Murderer

 There were three Jewish tribes living in and around Yathrib, the Banu Qainuqa’, the Ban Nadir and the Banu Quraiza.  Once Muhammad realized that they are not going to accept him as their new prophet, he turned against them. He banished the first two, after confiscating their properties and wealth and massacred the last one.  

Genocide of  Banu Quraiza:  (From Understanding Muhammad)

The last Jewish tribe of Yathrib to fall victim to Muhammad’s vindictiveness was the Banu Quraiza.  Soon after the Battle of the Trench (Khandaq) was over, the Meccans, fed up with Muhammad’s constant raids on their caravans, came to the gates of Medina to punish him.  Advised by a Persian believer, they dug trenches around the city making it difficult for Muhammad’s enemies (The Confederates) to enter, causing their retreat. Muhammad set his eyes on the Banu Quraiza.  He claimed that the Archangel Gabriel had visited him “asking that he should unsheathe his sword and head for the habitation of the seditious Banu Quraiza and fight them.  Gabriel noted that he with a procession of angels would go ahead to shake their forts and cast fear in their hearts,"[1] writes Al-Mubarakpouri. Al-Mubarakpouri continues: “the Messenger of Allâh immediately summoned the prayer caller and ordered him to announce fresh hostilities against Banu Quraiza,”[2]

It is important, in studying Islam, to note that the call to prayer was also the call to war. Muslim’s riots and hooliganism always initiate from the mosques after they offer their prayers.  They are most vicious during the holy month of Ramadan and on Fridays.  In a sermon commemorating the Birthday of Muhammad, in 1981, the Ayatollah Khomeini said:  

Mehrab (Mosque) means the place of war, the place of fighting.  Out of the mehrabs, wars should proceed.  Just as all the wars of Islam proceeded out of the mehrabs.  The prophet had sword to kill people.  Our Holy Imams were quite militants.  All of them were warriors.  They used to wield swords.  They used to kill people.  We need a Caliph who would chop hands, cut throats, stone people.  In the same way that the messenger of Allâh used to chop hands, cut throats, and stone people.[3]

 Muhammad headed an army of three thousand infantry men and thirty horsemen of Ansar (Helpers) and Muhajireen (Emigrants).  The Banu Quraiza was accused of conspiring against the Muslims with the Quraish.  In reality, these Muslim historians deny this charge and say the Meccans withdrew without fighting because they did not receive support from the Banu Quraiza.

When Muhammad made his intentions known, Ali, his cousin and staunch supporter, swore he would not stop until he either stormed their garrisons or was killed.  This siege lasted 25 days.  Finally the Banu Quraiza surrendered unconditionally.  Muhammad ordered the men to be handcuffed, while the women and children were confined in isolation. Thereupon the Aws tribe, who were allies of the Banu Quraiza, interceded, begging Muhammad to be lenient towards them.  Muhammad suggested that Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh, a ruffian among them who had been fatally wounded by an arrow, give a verdict on the Jews.  Sa’d was a former ally of the Banu Quraiza, but since his conversion to Islam he had a change of heart against them.  He also blamed them for the fatal wound he received when a Meccan threw an arrow during the Battle of Trench.  Muhammad knew how Sa’d felt about the Banu Quraiza. He was, after all, his bodyguard and slept in the mosque.

Sa'd's verdict was that “all the able-bodied male persons belonging to the tribe should be killed, women and children taken prisoners and their wealth divided among the Muslim fighters.” 

Muhammad became pleased with this cruel verdict and said that “Sa‘d (had) adjudged by the Command of Allâh."[4]  He often credited Allâh for his own decisions.  This time he chose Sa’d to verbalize his whims.

Al-Mubarakpouri adds that “In fact, the Jews deserved that severe punitive action for the ugly treachery they had harbored against Islam, and the large arsenal they had amassed, which consisted of one thousand and five hundred swords, two thousand spears, three hundred armors and five hundred shields, all of which went into the hands of the Muslims.”

What Al-Mubarakpouri forgets to mention is that the Banu-Quraiza had loaned their weapons as well as their shovels and picks to Muslims so they could dig the trench and defend themselves.  Muslims will never be grateful to those who help them.  They will take your help and will stab you in the back the moment they no longer need you.  We shall see in the next chapter the psychology of this pathology. 

Muslim historians have been quick to accuse the Banu Quraiza of the usual baseless charges to justify their massacre.  They accused them of being mischievous, causing sedition, being treacherous and plotting against Islam.  However no specifics exist as to the nature of those sins to warrant such a severe punishment and their total genocide.   Trenches were dug in the bazaar of Medina and between 600 to 900 men were beheaded and their bodies dumped in them.  

Huyai Ibn Akhtab, the chief of the Banu Nadir whose married daughter, Safiya, Muhammad took as his share of the booty when he invaded Khaibar, was among the captives.  He was brought to the victor with his hands tied from behind.  In an audacious defiance he rejected Muhammad and preferred death to submission to this brute man.  He was ordered to kneel and was beheaded on the spot.

To determine who should be killed, the youngsters were examined. Those who had grown pubic hair were bundled with the men and beheaded. Atiyyah al-Quriaz, a Jew who had survived this massacre later recounted: “I was among the captives of Banu Quraiza. They (the Muslims) examined us, and those who had begun to grow hair (pubes) were killed, and those who had not were not killed. I was among those who had not grown hair.”[5]

Muhammad killed and banished several Jewish tribes, among them are B. Qainuqa’, B. Nadir, B. Quraiza, B. Mustaliq, B. Jaun and the Jews of Khaibar.  On his deathbed, he instructed his followers to cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of all non-believers,[6] an order that Omar, the second Caliph carried out later.  He exterminated the Jews, the Christians and the pagans, forcing them to convert, leave or put them to death.

Now, enriched with the loot, Muhammad could be even generous to those who believed in him.  Anas narrated: “People used to give some of their date palms to the Prophet (as a gift), till he conquered Banu Quraiza and Banu An-Nadir, whereupon he started returning their favors.”[7] 

There is a verse in the Qur’an that speaks about the massacre of the Banu Quraiza approving Muhammad’s butcheries of their men and taking women and children as prisoners.  

He caused those of the People of the Book who helped them (i.e. the Quraish) to come out of their forts.  Some you killed, some you took prisoner. (Q. 33: 26)

 


[1] AR-Raheeq Al-Makhtum  by Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri  http://islamweb.islam.gov.qa/english/sira/raheek/PAGE-26.HTM

[2] Ibid.

[3]  Ayatollah Khomeini: A speech delivered on the commemoration of the Birth of Muhammad, in 1981.

[5] Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 38, Number 4390.  Sunan Abu-Dawud is another collection of hadith regarded to be sahih.

[6] Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 288

[7] Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 176

 

 

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