Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Banu Qurayza – Massacre or Myth

Who Were Banu Qurayza?

Before the Prophet of Islam arrived in Medina there were primarily two groups in Medina, the Jews and Pagans. The Jews were subdivided into three clans, the Banu Qainuqa, Banu Nazir and Banu Quraiza. The other inhabitants of the town were the Aws and Khazraj. Of the two chief clans of the Jews, the Quraiza were the allies of the Aws, while Banu Nazir joined the Khazraj. Fighting frequently broke out between the Aws and the Khazraj , and their Jewish allies however once the Muhammad (SAW) arrived in Medina the Aws and Kharzaj both converted to Islam.

In an effort to unite the city in peace, the Prophet Muhammad drafted the Covenant of Medina (mithaq-i-Medina) in 622 CE, whose general terms were - Muslims and Jews shall live as one people, each one of the parties shall keep to its own faith, and neither shall interfere with that of the other. In the event of a war with a third party, each was bound to come to the assistance of the other, provided the latter were the aggrieved and not the aggressors. In the event of an attack on Medina, both shall join hands to defend it and peace, when desirable, shall be made after consultation with each other.

Battle of the Trench (Ghazwah al-Khandaq)


In 627, the Quraish (the chief aggressors towards Muhammad) decided to go against the Prophet Muhammad once again, after failing at the battles of Badr and Uhud. The level of duplicity in which Banu Qurayza dealt with these circumstances varies with reports, but whether or not it was responsible for instigating the confrontation between the Quraish and Muhammad or merely betrayed the Prophet they did openly align themselves with the Quraishi campaign . This act of treason was designed to encompass the Muslims in battles on all sides, one that would eventually fail them.

After the siege ended, the Quraish defeated again, Banu Qurayza were left alone to face the Muslims they betrayed (going against virtually every principle outlined within the Covenant of Medina). Forced to surrender, the leader of Banu Qurayza was asked “Will you be satisfied, o Aus, if one of your own number pronounces judgement on them? When they agreed he said that Sa'd b. Mu'adh was the man...Sa'd said, Then I give judgement that the men should be killed, the property divide, and the women and children taken as captives.”

This incident if often recounted as the mass slaughter of between 800-1000 ‘innocent’ Jews, and is given credence as being documented by a Muslim historian. The events are often twisted and manipulated, however, when one looks deeper it becomes clear that there were extenuating circumstances.

Documentation – Questionable Methodology


This incident is primarily noted, or cited as recorded in Sirah Rasul Allah (Sīrat Nabawiyya) by Ibn Isḥaq (Muḥammad ibn Isḥaq ibn Yasār, 704-767 CE). While this work has been lost it has been recounted, at least in recensions, by that of Ibn Isḥaq’s student Ziyad al-Bakka’i (which has also been lost) and that of Ibn Hisham (Abu Muhammad 'Abd al-Malik bin Hisham) whose work had been based upon the work of Ziyad al-Bakka’i; Ibn Hisham’s recounting is the only version to have survived and subsequently has become the basis for any editions of Sīrat Nabawiyya by Ibn Ishaq.

Before we enter into discussion regarding the events surrounding Banu Qurayza we must approach this from the view of Islamic sciences. In the Islamic sciences (such as Hadith collection) there are very clearly defined and stringent rules regarding authenticity, and the validity of the isnad (chain of narration) was based upon these rules. While these rules were meticulously followed by some (most famously by the likes of Al-Bukhari and Muslim) it was not followed by all, which is why there are varying classifications of hadith based on their isnad.

"A Sahih hadith is the one which has a continuous isnad, made up of reporters of trustworthy memory from similar authorities, and which is found to be free from any irregularities (i.e. in the text) or defects (i.e. in the isnad)." As defined by Ibn al-Salah

Since the writing of Sirah (history) did not have to meet the same standards that hadith or fiq (jurisprudence), the collection of its sources did not require the same standards of verification and consequently the Sirah itself could not be classified as sahih as hadith are. While the intentions of Ibn Ishaq may have been good, the veracity of his work can be called into question, in particular his use of questionable sources. This use of questionable sources was openly condemned by one of the most well known mujtahid (authoritive Jurist), and author of al-Muwatta, Imam Malik ibn Anas who called him unequivocally a liar and an impostor . Later scholars such as Ibn Hajar and Ibn Taymiyyah also spoke out against the work of Ibn Ishaq due to his use of questionable or spurious narrators. The validity of many of the hadith and stories relayed by Ibn Ishaq have been called into question due to lack of source material or chain of narration. Further complicating the issue is that Ibn Hisham’s work is based upon that of al-Bakka’i who had been viewed as an unreliable or weak narrator by Abu-Hatim, Al-Nasa’i, and even Ibn-Madini (the teacher of al-Bukhari).

There are other issues which arise upon closer inspection of ibn Ishaq’s sira and the subsequent retelling of it, most notably “There never existed a unified text for the traditions of ibn Ishaq to which the transmitters and later authors could have referred” because ibn Ishaq often delivered them orally according to Sadun Mahmud al-Samuk. This led to different people taking different aspects of his work and creating their own; notably, besides al-Bakka’i’s recension used by ibn Hisham, there was that of Salama al-Fadl al-Razi used by Tabari. Having noted the potential for errors, we cannot however overlook the fact that Ibn Ishaq was known to have relied primarily on the descendants of Banu Qurayza for details of the prophets campaign against them as handed down by their forefathers, causing Ibn Hajar to then reject the stories in question in the strongest terms: "such odd tales as the story of Qurayza and al-Nadir"

In a more generally historical perspective one can look at the allegations made regarding this incident and wonder why an incident of this caliber was not preserved. The significance of such an act, and its implications would be indelibly inscribed in the works of Muslim and Jewish historians alike; instead it was preserved primarily in the questionable integrity of one persons work. Having firmly established the qualifications of the very foundation of which the story of Banu Qurayza has been built, let us now turn our attention to the actual events in terms of Islamic precedence.

The Islamic Perspective of Banu Qurayza

From the Islamic point of view, the issue of Banu Qurayza was addressed only 3 times, which we will examine now:

Noble Quran Surah Al-Ahzab (33:25-26)

And Allah turned back the unbelievers for all their fury: no advantage did they gain; and enough is Allah for the believers in their fight. And Allah is full of strength, able to enforce his will. And those of the people of Al-Kitab who aided them Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts, so that some you slew, and some you made prisoners.

Sahih Al-Bukhari (Volume 5, Book 59, Number 443)

Narrated 'Aisha: When the Prophet returned from Al-Khandaq (i.e. Trench) and laid down his arms and took a bath, Gabriel came and said (to the Prophet ), You have laid down your arms? By Allah, we angels have not laid them down yet. So set out for them." The Prophet said, "Where to go?" Gabriel said, "Towards this side," pointing towards Banu Quraiza. So the Prophet went out towards them.

Sahih Muslim (Book 019, Number 4370)

It has been narrated on the authority of A'isha who said: Sa'd was wounded on the day of the Battle of the Ditch. A man from the Quraish called Ibn al-Ariqah shot at him an arrow which pierced the artery in the middle of his forearm. The Messenger of Allah (may peacce be upon him) pitched a tent for him in the mosque and would inquire after him being in close proximity. 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 (may peace be upon him) asked: Where? He pointed to Banu Quraiza. So the Messenger of Allah (may peace he upon him) fought against them. They surrendered at the command of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him), 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).


From the Quran we have only a very brief mentioning of the subject, and in it we learn nothing of slaughtering the masses, on the contrary, we actually see the word of Allah stipulate only “so that some you slew, and some you made prisoners.” which can in no way be seen as an endorsement for mass slaughter.

Once the view is shifted towards the hadith one will notice that of the only two hadith available referencing of Banu Qurayza incident, one mentions nothing of killing leaving just one reference towards the punishment faced by the tribe. This hadith as related in Sahih Muslim refers to the punishment as “that those of them who can fight be killed, their women and children taken prisoners and their properties distributed (among the Muslims)”

The punishment at first glance seems brutal, and would tend to lead credence to the stories of a wholesale slaughter, however there is more to this below the surface. When the enemy had surrendered, the Prophet of Alah did not immediately saly them all. Instead it was asked of the Jewish leader, “Will you be satisfied, o Aus, if one of your own number pronounces judgement on them? When they agreed he said that Sa'd b. Mu'adh was the man” The significance behind this was simple, Sa’ad b. Mu’adh was a Jewish convert to Islam. As a former Jew, Sa’ad knew the Jewish law and according to al mithaq-i-Medina Jewish law dictated the Jewish community, which meant handing down a sentence in accordance with Jewish law:

Deuteronomy 20: 12-14

“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”

If in fact this event happened as described, perhaps the fact that this was a application of Jewish law on a Jewish community for the crimes of treason, may well explain why this incident was not recorded or preserved by other contemporary scholars, nor does it offer precedence in Islamic jurisprudence. An incident of this magnitude, had it been truly the deaths of nearly a thousand people, surely would have either had precedence or set it however the contrary is actually presented by Islam:

Noble Quran Surah Al’An’am (6:164)

“Say: "Shall I seek a lord other than Allâh, while He is the Lord of all things? No person earns any (sin) except against himself (only), and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another. Then unto your Lord is your return, so He will tell you that wherein you have been differing."

Amongst the reasons that this account of Banu Qurayza can clearly be refuted are:

1.) As stated above, the authority of Islam, al Quran clearly states the rule in Islam is to punish only those who were responsible for the sedition.
2.) Qur'anic refence to this event is minimal. An event of magnitude would have surely been expounded upon for matter of jurisprudence.
3.) Had this slaughter actually happened, jurists would have adopted it as a precedent. In fact exactly the opposite has been the case. The attitude of jurists, and their rulings, have been more according to the Qur'anic rule in the verse, "No soul shall bear another's burden."
4.) In the story of Qurayza specific people were named as having been put to death, thus it is a reasonable conclusion that those were the ones who led the sedition and who were consequently punished - not the whole tribe.
5.) The veracity of the work must come under scrutiny after the authenticity of such events, and the integrity of the authors or their work has so clearly been shown to have substandard quality.

While there are numerous other reasons to refute this account of the Banu Qurayza, I will simply leave off with the fact that nowhere before, or after has such an event happened. The very idea of such an event is diametrically opposed to the principles of Islamic justice. In the end there will be those who continue to perpetuate a story of hate and violence, to further their own virulent ideologies and promote hate and fear, and there will be those who fight such malicious intent. I hope this information will rest in the latter category.

38 comments:

Muhammad Moosa said...

jazakaAllah for the info , i was looking for it every where

Hamza Hashem said...

An honor for me to have helped anyone understand what is a convulted and distorted hsitory of a all to often misunderstood event.

I hope you cotinue to come, I have been away but will cotinue ot produce more articles soon.

Hassan said...

Many thanks for this illuminating post. The issue of Banu Qurayzah is so often abused by detractors of Islam (as well as Muslim extremists, albeit for different reasons) so it certainly is refreshing to read a more balanced interpretation.

Anonymous said...

Magnificent article, brother! It's very informative.

May Allah reward your efforts.

Anonymous said...

Well written article Hamza Hashem.m people are debating ovet it at

http://www.councilofexmuslims.com/index.php?topic=14445.msg396615#msg396615

Anonymous said...

brother, may God bless you, nice article, but there are many hadith in bukhari and muslim, that you missed, that support the view that all grown men were killed. I dont know why but i cant judge becoz the accounts are very brief and i wasnt with them at that time. If u hv any answers to them plz post them.

Hamza Hashem said...

I wouldlike to thank you all for having read my article and for leaving comments, it is always appreciated.

I have checked the link where my article was to be discussed, but at that time, it actually appeared that other things were being discussed instead. Regardless, I just hope I can help shed light on this topic.

Hamza Hashem said...

"but there are many hadith in bukhari and muslim, that you missed"

This is possible as I am no scholar, I am just a simple Muslim offering his insight and research on topics that I have found a need to discuss.

However, without any actually refernces to what hadiths you are talking about, I can not discuss this any further.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Doctor B said...

End of life is a very hard scenario. And when you know that you property and women/children will be distributed among strangers/outsiders. Just keep yourself for a moment in the place of those who were slain. Can you accept it?
God says in Quran that human is very weak. Humans are certainly in a very difficult situation when the forces of Satan/Evil are so strong and man is still expected/ordered to beat them. Poor humans.

Adam Jibreel said...

salams brother,

mashallah an excellent article indeed. its helped me clarify what i saw on the BBC programee. jazakallah khayrun.

Hamza Hashem said...

Salaam Adam

I am very happy people are still finding my blog and finding the information helpful.

While I have been busy and my blog has slowed, I think your comment may inspire me to continue writing.

Thanks for taking the time to read, and hopefully learn a little more about this complicated issue.

sajid said...

I came to know this event regarding Banu Quraiz through a book ALRAHIQ-UL-MAKHTOOM written by an Indian Islamic scholar in which he quoted this event along with many other events like this, he quoted very proudly in shape of prophets character.the book also got award from a Saudian academy.

Going through this,I was amazed due to following reasons that;

1) how could a Muslim believe such events to be truth
2) as you spoke above that this this is totally against the Koranic laws
3)So what if some thing written in sahih bukhari & muslim, as exactly opposite of quran's sprit how can muslims blieve such narrations
4) how possible when Jews were armed living in their own lands and in number a of 1000s could surrender and could be Slaughtered by muslim migrators despite they had sympathy for them in the hearts of majority Muslim ansaris (Impossible). 5)Mohammad (SAW) for gave the makkens when conquered makka who had been the actual enimies of islam, but the prophet did the opposite in case of Jews who did not fight but just make a conspiracy? (Impossible).

Infact such ahadeeths (Narrations of sahih bukhari and muslim not all but those like this) proved to be the actual blasphemers.
And the books like Alraheeq-ul-makhtoom such writers and the academies who award and prevail such falls literature are the actual enemies of Islam such ahadis and literature and scholars must be banned, condemned and disowned by all Muslims who love the prophet Muhammad (SAW)

Islam is the religion of love for humanity and is never against Jews, christians, Hindus boodh or followers of any religion of this world

SAJID PAKISTAN

Hamza Hashem said...

Hello Sajid,

I would like to thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts on my writing. In regards as to what you are saying…

“how could a Muslim believe” – Sadly I believe the reason it is believed is simply apathy. We as Muslims often take things for granted without question if it has been reported enough.

“this is totally against the Koranic laws” – Quran is the unaltered word of Allah, anything that contradicts that is incorrect, regardless of who they are.

“Infact such ahadeeths … proved to be the actual blasphemers.” Neither Bukhari nor Muslim’s account go against the spirit of the Quran so I would be careful of who we call blasphemers.

Alraheeq-ul-makhtoom is a well regarded biography of the Prophet, however I cannot refute its authenticity with you as it has been far too long since I have read it. I will however take it up again.

“Islam is the religion of love for humanity” – Islam is a universal religion based upon forbidding the bad and enjoining the good. Love and humanity are aspects every Muslim should cherish, but it shouldn’t blind us to our responsibilities either.

sajid said...

Dear Hamza,
May God bless you that you took a step to discuss such issue that commonly people either don't know about, or if they now they don't try to think what is it infect, and whether they should speak on this or not, so once again have many thanks from my side for your efforts and sharing the learning you had to multiply our knowledge.
As you said that nothing in the Bukhari's & Muslim's ahadees is against the real sprit of Quran......is questionable. even in those which were agreed upon do have a perspective which goes against.
As far as the Book Ar-Raheeq-ul-Makhtoom is concerned, Dear must go through once again. As I formerly told that I came to know about this Myth of Banu Quraiz genocide in the same book with the reference of sahih ahaadees fortunately the author stated the reference of quran too, an ayah of surah ahzaab when i read it... I got that the thing that Quraan stated is entirely different and the historian Ibne Is-haq very cleverly used this refernce to introduce such hadees definitely he would have done it to project an unacceptable profile of our beloved prophet may 100s years ago. as far as I have known about Ibne-Is-haq he was not a pious Muslim scholar rather he was a an unauthentic historian whose caliber, character and work was not only doubtful...strongly criticized and condemned by Imaam Malik ( an islamic jurist of his time) such falls ahadees from this man and some other men like him (which are still a part of bukhari & muslim tafseer of ibne Qaseer etc), led imam Malik to compile the famous book Moata-I Malik.

Bachir said...

Salam Brother,
I just wanted to say Jazaak allah khayra and may allah may rain upon you with good deeds for this article, I spent the whole day browsing on english and arabic websites looking for the truth about this event, that many describe as a genocide or mass murdering, and hmldh I fell on your blog, which gives a better and more accurate insight about the situation.

sajid said...

Thank you brother,
May Allah guide us to the noble and humble path of Islam. And it is our duty as well to find the truth behind the myths instead of justifying those illogical myths against Islam

Hamza Hashem said...

Assalaam Alekum

Bachir - I had also searched for the realities of this event, which is what led me to the writing of this post. I am very happy that it could be of some benefit to you or others. Please feel free to let me know if there are other topics bothering, and if I can I will help.

Sajiid - I am always pleased to read your comments, and as pervisouly mentioned, I am alwayas happy to be of service and pray any mistakes I have made be forgiven, and any information learned be beneficial. That being said, I am not of the intent to attack the charachter of ibn Ishaq as there were many opinions of him (I mention several of them in the article), I will agree he was more a historian than an Islamic scholar, and should be regraded as such.

I thank all for taking the time read my work, and offer their thoughts, please feel free to let me know your thoughts or questions adn I will do whatever I can to answer.

Anonymous said...

How do you know that you are not one of descendant of a forced convert?

How do u justify Ayesha's marriage to Mohammad?

sajid said...

dear anonymous, before demanding any justification you let us know that what is your understanding about both of the questions you asked?

sajid said...

eterte

Hamza Hashem said...

Hello Anonymous,

I would like to thank you for taking time to come to my blog. As for your questions, it does make wonder why you ask, and if you actually read the article you are commenting on, as neither has relevance to the article itself.

That being said, what I do know is that I chose Islam, of my own free will after careful consideration and several years studying other religions as I was not born into a Muslim family, nor raised in a Muslim country, I did not even know of Islam until I was 16.

Furthermore, I do not justify any of the prophets actions, nor will I engage in such dialog in a comments sections. Perhaps you can find the answer your searching for on another site. I am a simple Muslim trying to offer the answers to questions I have been asked to look into.

I hope that helps, and inshAllah my efforts and your will not be for nothing.

Hamza Hashem said...

Assalaam Alekum Sajid

I am glad your still keeping up with my blog. I apologize for not writing anything recently, however I am working on a few things and hope to have new material up soon.

Salaam

Hamza

sajid said...

Wa-alykum salaam!
Beloved brother Hamza,

It is very amazing to know that you were not muslim by birth and chose Islam by research and free-will.....yet you have very clear concepts and crystal faith Masha-Allah (May God increase it).

I would like to bring your consideration on some basic points which might be helpful in your noble cause.
1- According to Quran, the Quran is the only code of conduct for muslims that it is the only book for which God promised to save and secure forever, no islamic litrature or historical compilations ( even sahih hadees, as to call them sahih is just human claim not of Allah as he did for Quran) could not help us to justify our deeds in hereafter if done wrong or against the basic spirit of Quran or humanity.
2- Ahadees the historical compilations were composed and compiled after many years after the death of our beloved prophet and his four closed companions. these were compiled on the basis of human memories having a succession of many years & individuals, so many times have been challenged revised and refined, and still going on and yet need to be sorted out.
3- So many things in Ahadees supposed to be the basic part of Islam are no where in Quran. and tried to be imposed by the peoples of tribal thoughts and self made governments of middle-east so that they can legitimate their family rule and monarchism by calling them islamic. For example the law of Rajm (The death penalty by stoning, for adultery or rape) is taken from some hadees but nowhere in Quran, on the other hand for Quran defines the punishment of Lashes to be applied with respect to the nature of this crime.
4- So many ridiculous or blasphemous questions asked by the non-muslims are extracted from the Ahadees (as asked by Anonymous), but have no place or prove in Quran.

AsSalaam

Hamza Hashem said...

Assalaam Alekum Sajid

I thank you for the continued contributions to my blog, and would like to address some of your points as well.

First of all regarding Islam we understand what Allah has said in the Quran:

“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” (Quran 5:3)

Regarding the Quran itself, Allah has said:

“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).” (Quran 15:9)

So we are in no disagreement, the Quran is the immutable word of Allah, the living Miracle, and the first and primary path (above all others) of all Muslims.

Secondly I would like to add that there is a significant distinction between Hadith (especially Sahih) and Historical accounts such as the Seerah of the Prophet (as alluded to in this very post).

While the Hadith can certainly have some fault, to not acknowledge it is dangerous in and of itself. The Prophet came down as the “Example” to all mankind. The Quran is the Diving revelation, the word of Allah without question, however the Prophet taught us from his example, and his example is learned from Hadith.

“And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy.” (Quran 3:132)

“And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from” (Quran 59:7)

“Obey Allah and obey the Messenger; but if you turn away – then upon him is only that [duty] with which he has been charged, and upon you is that with which you have been charged. And if you obey him, you will be [rightly] guided. And there is not upon the Messenger except the [responsibility for] clear notification.” (Quran 24:54)

“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and do not invalidate your deeds.”

As you can see clearly the implications from the words of the Quran are to also follow the Prophet; this is important because it could insist on following the word of Allah, the Quran alone, but rather Allah chose to say to also follow the Prophet, the best of examples.

This to me is a clear indication for following the Hadith as well, however, understanding that Hadith are not infallible means to use our intellect as well because any Hadith that goes against teachings of the Quran cannot and must not be used. Hadith cannot and must not ever take the place of the Quran.
Hadith are a supplement to the Quran, it offers us the insight on specifications of things that Allah did not answer specifically (preferring to leave it to the Prophet to teach us). The Hadith are not to be put on the level of the Quran, rather it is a reference guide for us for those things not specifically addressed in the Quran (such as – How do we pray?).

The problem today is that too many people have opted to use the Hadith as a primary reference rather than Quran, and that is wrong in every way. The Quran is our first, primary guide for in it is the answer to our most important questions. People need to stop using the Hadith (and Quran) to suit their own needs and justifications, and take it for what it is – Sayings and Traditions of the Prophet – not the imutable word of Allah.

Sorry for the long response, I look forward to further dicussions.

Salaam,

Hamza

wani said...

SubhanAllah. JazakhaAllah Khairan Katheeran for the entry. I was frantically searching for an explanation to the reasons behind the incident. It seems that the incident has been manipulated in the most disastrous manner, I couldn't believe what I was watching and reading. I knew there was some kind of explanation. I was desperate to find an explanation. And this entry explained it all. Thank you! Fi Amanillah.

Samina Yasmin said...

Good article. Has removed several doubts in the matter. This incident in all probability never took place in Islamic history.

Hamza Hashem said...

Samina Yasmin

I am honored if I was able to help your understanding of this event at all. Whether this event happened or not may be debatable, however what is not is that it most certainly did not happen as it is reported today as it goes against the very principles that the prophet taught us.

Stay strong in your faith, and always question and use your mind as you walk through the endless hate monger and lies spread about Islam. It is only through our rational questioning and investigation can we begin to understand the complex tapestry of Islamic History. Please continue searching and seeking for the truth.

RijaR said...

Jazak Allah!!
I was really disturbed by this argument that one of my friends put up. I tried to find any reasoning online for what they referred to as "massacre" everywhere.
The arguments I read made no mention whatsoever of the fact that Sa’ad b. Mu’adh was the one who came up with the punishment and that too, in accordance with the Jewish law.
Thank you so much for such a detailed analysis.
I really appreciate it!
And thank you also for mentioning the difference between Sirah and Hadith/ Fiqh.
It puts things in perspective.

Assalam-o-alaikum!

Anonymous said...

First you try to deny it happened here

"From the Quran we have only a very brief mentioning of the subject, and in it we learn nothing of slaughtering the masses, on the contrary, we actually see the word of Allah stipulate only “so that some you slew, and some you made prisoners.” which can in no way be seen as an endorsement for mass slaughter."

Now of course, you never mention the possibility that this was talking about them slaying some in the BATTLE and taking others captive and how the beheadings happened after they were already captives. Seems to me that the Quran was only referencing the battle itself, not what happened afterwards.

Then, you contradict yourself and explain how this event could be the result of Jewish law found in Deuteronomy and therefore the massacre DID happen and it was because Jewish law dictates that it happen.

So which is it? Did it happen or not? You contradict yourself.

Anonymous said...

RijaR, you have basically admitted that the incident DID happen, while the author was trying to deny it ever happened, even though he later contradicted himself and went on to explain possible reasons for why it happened. I can't understand why Muslims have such a hard time with consistent reasoning, and the rules change on the fly when they need them to, and then change back when they need them to.

The author basically said the incident did not happen, and then said let me tell you why it happened. LOL!! That makes no sense at all.

I will never understand how Muslims reason.

Hamza Hashem said...

Anonymous,

I would like to thank you for reading my post and taking the time to comment on it even if you disagree. Now that you have had a chance to throw our voice into it, please allow me to respond in kind. First, Let me perfectly clear, so there is no misunderstanding – I am clearly denying it happened, especially as it is recorded now (the reasons being detailed within the post).

You stated that it “Seems to me that the Quran was only referencing the battle itself, not what happened afterwards” –

Your assertion is mere speculation with no foundation. You are making an ‘assumption’ without putting forth any evidence to support it. Furthermore it dampens your argument to say that Quran was referencing the battle alone, which specifically states, ‘some you slew, and some you made prisoners’, because why would the Quran tell them to take prisoners in battle only to slay them later. The idea of this argument is baseless.

Now before you begin accusing one of making contradictory statements, perhaps you should finish reading the entire work. You go on to claim “Then, you contradict yourself and explain how this event could be the result of Jewish law found in Deuteronomy and therefore the massacre DID happen”

Again, I could not be more clear – I began the next section directly after the quote from Deuteronomy by stating “If in fact this event happened as described” – which is in no way can be construed as an endorsement by me that it did happen. I was rather making a possible explanation of the event “if” it had in fact happened. I never once actually state that it did and the overwhelming evidence I proposed (and you ignored) clearly states I am not in favor of accepting this event happened – especially as described.

Finally you leave off with - “So which is it? Did it happen or not? You contradict yourself. “ – so again, let me be clear (since I do not believe you read the entirety of my post -

Amongst the reasons that this account of Banu Qurayza can clearly be refuted are:

1.) As stated above, the authority of Islam, al Quran clearly states the rule in Islam is to punish only those who were responsible for the sedition.

2.) Qur'anic reference to this event is minimal. An event of magnitude would have surely been expounded upon for matter of jurisprudence.

3.) Had this slaughter actually happened, jurists would have adopted it as a precedent. In fact exactly the opposite has been the case. The attitude of jurists and their rulings have been more according to the Qur'anic rule in the verse, "No soul shall bear another's burden."

4.) In the story of Qurayza specific people were named as having been put to death, thus it is a reasonable conclusion that those were the ones who led the sedition and who were consequently punished - not the whole tribe.

5.) The veracity of the work must come under scrutiny after the authenticity of such events, and the integrity of the authors or their work has so clearly been shown to have substandard quality.

While there are numerous other reasons to refute this account of the Banu Qurayza, I will simply leave off with the fact that nowhere before, or after has such an event happened.

I hope I have better explain my point of view for your understanding whether or not you choose to agree.

Hamza Hashem said...

Anonymous,

Before moving to try and attack my other readers, perhaps you should finish reading my entire post and examine the response I have posted.

RijaR has clearly stated he did not know what happened and was disturbed by the very idea of it – as any Muslim should be. You go on to mention the author (me) and throw unfounded accusations that I have responded to – So to again be clear – I never contradicted myself.

As for consistent reasoning, I would applaud your effort further if you applied the same ideals, rather you have simply made baseless accusations and offered no support for it. So before you come back and start attacking my work further I would expect you to actually read the entire work – because if you have not then your argument carries no weight and is amateurish, and if you have read the entire article then you are purposely choosing to misquote me as a means of deception. Either way it is unacceptable.

I encourage you to come back for rational, and reasonable responses but I will no longer go on with baseless accusations especially against my other commenters.

Hamza Hashem said...

RijaR,

I am sorry for the late response, but I am very glad that this article could help in an way clear up the misconceptions surrounding this event. Please feel free to come by any time, isnhAllah I will begin writing again very soon.

Anonymous said...

Dear author, responses below

I said
You stated that it “Seems to me that the Quran was only referencing the battle itself, not what happened afterwards” –

You responded
Your assertion is mere speculation with no foundation. You are making an ‘assumption’ without putting forth any evidence to support it.

I say,
You don't have any evidence to support that it is talking about more than just the battle. The truth is, the verse doesn't specify either way, and I would think it's more likekly to be talking about the battle itself

You said
Furthermore it dampens your argument to say that Quran was referencing the battle alone, which specifically states, ‘some you slew, and some you made prisoners’, because why would the Quran tell them to take prisoners in battle only to slay them later. The idea of this argument is baseless.

I say
Because it was talking about the battle only, which is usually the highlight or what someone would mention when giving a quick mention of something. So you make assumptions with little basis yourself and then call my assumptions baseless. You did nothing to substantiate why it must be talking about more than the battle. Again, the verses don't specify at all, but perhaps you are reading them the way you need them to be. When the Quran referenced the battle of Badrf, what was it talking about? The battle itself or everything that happened afterwards? Seems like it was talking about the battle itself because it was only making a brief reference. So that would substantiate my claim in this instance.


You said
I was rather making a possible explanation of the event “if” it had in fact happened. I never once actually state that it did and the overwhelming evidence I proposed (and you ignored) clearly states I am not in favor of accepting this event happened – especially as described.

I say
If you want to make a point that it never happened and you are so sure it didn't, there is no reason to bring up an explanation explaining why it happened if it did happen. Seems like you aren't so sure of your conclusion and are therefore covering all of your bases. This is simply and basic logic. If something didn't happen, stick to your point and don't make contingencies for the case that it did happen almost as if to doubt your initial contention. I don't know why nobody has ever explained to you the logic fallacy of what you are doing. This is the equivalent of someone saying, it never happened, but let me tell you why it happened if it did happen. When put simply like that, this should seem to be an odd statement for one to make, but this is exactly what you are doing.


Anonymous said...

Continued to author

You said
1.) As stated above, the authority of Islam, al Quran clearly states the rule in Islam is to punish only those who were responsible for the sedition.

I say
If they were fighting against Muslims, which they were in that battle, they are committing sedition. Therefore every fighter is committing sedition. How can someone fight in a battle against Muslims, kill some of them, and not be considered committing sedition? If they are defending the ones who committed any initial sedition alleged, then they too are committing sedition. Your logic is very unusual

You said
2.) Qur'anic reference to this event is minimal. An event of magnitude would have surely been expounded upon for matter of jurisprudence.

I say
And that's why I say the Quran was only quickly referencing the actual battle itself, just like in the case of Badr. That possibility is far from impossible and perhaps even likely, and yet you try to treat it as impossible while making blatant, unsubstantiated assumptions yourself.

You said
3.) Had this slaughter actually happened, jurists would have adopted it as a precedent. In fact exactly the opposite has been the case. The attitude of jurists and their rulings have been more according to the Qur'anic rule in the verse, "No soul shall bear another's burden."

I say
The answer lies in your article itself. You claim that it wasn't even Muslims who dictated the punishment, it was the Jews, while also claiming at the same time that it never happened anyway (contradictory). So if the punishment was prescribed by the Jews under their law, as you suggested, this would not fall under Muslim jurisprudence. So again, you contradict yourself.

You said
4.) In the story of Qurayza specific people were named as having been put to death, thus it is a reasonable conclusion that those were the ones who led the sedition and who were consequently punished - not the whole tribe.

I say
Well if I remember correctly, they all surrendered without a fight when Muhammad invaded Mecca. So there were no fighters to be also considered committing sedition like there was in the case of Banu. So only the plotters would be punished in this case. But if people resist a Muslim attack and kill Muslims, how could you not think they would be considered committing sedition as well? I don't think your reasoning skills are all there.

But let's add some common sense to this. This account was written by Muslims themselves. Why would they make up something that makes them look brutal? And the answer would be that they didn't, and behavior like this was not considered brutal back then. Only modern sensibilities consider this brutal, and this is why you want the story to go away.

Anonymous said...

One more thing to the author.

If there is something that does not seem credible about the story, I would think that it's the part about a Jews himself prescribing that they all be murdered. i would think he would try to prescribe the lightest punishment he could get away with, and as substantiation, I point to the incident where Muhammad had them show him there own law about punishment in another matter, and the Jew gave him the book with his finger or thumb covered over the part about stoning. This is what we would expect them to do if a non Jew was asking them to prescribe punishment against a fellow Jew. That makes sense. The part in the story we are talking about makes no sense and more than likely seems like an added part or excuse to absolve Muslims of any culpability. But again, it makes no sense at all for Muslims to make up this entire story, but it could make sense for them to add small parts that absolve them of culpability. That would match general human nature and behavior.

Anonymous said...

Narrated Atiyyah al-Qurazi: I was among the captives of Banu Qurayza. They (the Companions) 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.
Abu Dawud 38:4390


It was narrated that 'Abdul-Malik bin`Umair said: “I heard 'Atiyyah Al-Quazi say: 'We were presented to the Messenger of Allah on the Day of Quraizah. Those whose public hair had grown were killed, and those whose public hair had not yet grown were let go. I was one of those whose pubic hair had not yet grown, so I was let go.” (Sahih)
Ibn Majah 3:20:2541


Narrated Abd-Allah ibn Umar: Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayza 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 Banu Qaynuqa, the tribe of Abdullah bin Salam and the Jews of Bani Haritha and all the other Jews of Medina.
Sahih Bukhari 5:59:362

Hamza Hashem said...

Anonymous...

Thank you for presumably taking the time to read my article... However I see you chose to rebuttal by means of simply posting 3 "hadith" while ignoring the entirety of my work and choosing to not refute anything specific.

Now that being said, please allow me to briefly follow up your quoting...

You chose to quote from Abu Dawud, which while respectable it is universally recognized as not as authentic as either Bukhari (whos is considered best) nor as Muslim (who is considered next best). Furthermore there is no mention of how many people were killed nor is there any other substantiation besides that 1 hadith in his book.

Moving on to Ibn Majah - Again I will pay respect to the work, but offer the same criticism - in accordance to Ibn al-Qaisarani's ranking it is the 6th of 6 considered to be relevant, and prior to Ibn al-Qaisarani it was not held in the same regard - so there are obvious questions regarding some of the collection. That being said, there is also no further clarifications offered for this event in the collections in questions or at least none that you chose to offer up.

Now - Lastly you chose the most authentic collection Sahih Al Bukhari, fine choice. But let us examine what it says. Banu Qurayza attacked the Prophet and his people thus violating an existing peace treaty... Even after that attack the prophet did nothing once hostilities ended. However, according to the hadith you posted, Banu Qurayza betrayed the prophet again and attacked him and it was not until then that he then killed the men. It does not indicate how many nor under what circumstance and it does not dictate this as law - This was a response to a people living in his lands attacking him and violating a treaty, not once, but twice.

So I repeat my questioning that has not been answered to date ...

1) Why is the Qur'anic refence to this event so minimal. An event of this magnitude would have surely been expounded upon for matter of jurisprudence.

2) Had this slaughter actually happened, jurists would have adopted it as a precedent. In fact exactly the opposite has been the case. Why is this?

So lastly, if you wish to read the account of Banu Qurayza then I must repeat - The veracity of the work must come under scrutiny after the authenticity of such events, and the integrity of the authors or their work has so clearly been shown to have substandard quality.

Thank you for reading.