Was the Prophet Unjust to the Jews?- Part 2 | About Islam
Home > Ask About Islam > Was the Prophet Unjust to the Jews?- Part 2

Was the Prophet Unjust to the Jews?- Part 2

Questioner

Mohsin

Reply Date

Nov 20, 2018

Question

Dear scholars, some critics of Islam claim that our Prophet (be peace on him) was not just to the Jews of Madinah because he asked one of the tribes to evacuate their motherland where they have been living for centuries. I would be glad if you could briefly explain how our beloved Prophet treated all the Jews of his time besides answering the above allegation. Thanks in advance.

Consultant

Answer


Jews

Short Answer: As for the Prophet’s treatment of the Jews in general, there are many examples that show his kindness to them. For example, a young Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet and he became sick, and so the Prophet went to visit him. It is reported that a funeral of a Jew passed before the Prophet. As a sign of respect, the Prophet stood up. The Prophet was asked: “Why did you stand up for a Jewish funeral?” The Prophet replied, “Is it not a human soul?” (Al-Bukhari). In order to show his nearness to the Jews, the Prophet married Safiyyah bint Huyay, daughter of the chief of the Jewish tribe of Banu An-Nadir. She was captured during the Battle of Khaybar. As an honorable gesture showing the magnanimity of Islam, the Prophet freed and, with her consent, married her.

………….

Asalamu Alaikum Mohsin,

Please find part two of the answer to your question below. Find the first part at the link here

Banu An-Nadir

The relationship between the Jews of Banu An-Nadir and the Arabs was tense. Banu An-Nadir conspired to kill the Prophet when he was going to talk with them.

Imagine how you would feel, Mohsin, if you were visiting one of your friends and he was preparing to kill you at his house instead of offering you food and treating you as a guest. Imagine if he met you with a conspiracy rather than with hospitality.

But even worse than that, the threat was against the leader of the Muslim community and the head of the state of Madinah.

Thereupon, they had to leave, not because of the Prophet  but because of their own handiwork. The Quran tells us at the beginning of Surat Al-Hashr that the believers never imagined that the Jews would leave Madinah and were not even planning on that, but the Jews themselves brought that on themselves.

But when the Prophet gave them the option, they chose to leave. And, that was the lowest form of punishment for the crimes they committed.

Banu Quraizhah

Banu Quraizhah, on the other hand, remained in Madinah. But they did not keep their word either, breaching the agreement in the Charter of Madinah. They helped a confederate army consisting of Quraish and other Arab idolaters who came to attack Madinah.

The Muslim army, which by the highest estimates was only one thousand-strong, was facing a ten thousand-strong army in full arms. The Muslims had to dig a trench in a desperate attempt to defend themselves.

And all of a sudden, they discovered that their fellow citizens (the Jews of Banu Quraizhah), who were entrusted to defend the city from the back, were actually helping the enemy.

It was by the mercy of Allah that the confederates left without fighting and He blew fear into their hearts, but the unforgivable offense of betrayal was not to pass unnoticed.

The Prophet went to them and asked them to choose someone who would issue a judgment in their case.

Verdict of Sa`d ibn Mu`adh 

Banu Quraizhah chose Sa`d ibn Mu`adh because they knew he was their friend and would be fair with them. Sa`d chose a verdict from their own holy scriptures, the Torah: that the men were to be killed and the women and children were to be enslaved.

Thereupon, many Companions of the Prophet, driven by mercy, told the Jews that they would appeal for amnesty from the Prophet. But Banu Quraizhah said, “No, we will never violate the judgment of the Torah.”

Actually, this verdict given by Sa`d is purely from the Torah, and no similar punishment can be found in any Islamic source. Some of them chose to seek forgiveness and were exempted from the death penalty, but many others chose to die to apply the Torah.

If they had chosen, the merciful Prophet would have forgiven them, but arrogance took them to their destiny.

Even the Jews who went to settle up north in Khaybar, did not stop conspiring and stirring enmity against the emerging Muslim community in Madinah. These actions reached such a degree that we can conclude that they were a massive threat to the public security of the society and were to be dealt with accordingly.

Brother Mohsen Haredy, a consultant for Ask About Islam, would like to add the following:

As for the Prophet’s treatment of the Jews in general, there are many examples that show his kindness to them. For example, a young Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet and he became sick, and so the Prophet went to visit him.

It is reported that a funeral of a Jew passed before the Prophet. As a sign of respect, the Prophet stood up. The Prophet was asked: “Why did you stand up for a Jewish funeral?” The Prophet replied, “Is it not a human soul?” (Al-Bukhari).

In order to show his nearness to the Jews, the Prophet married Safiyyah bint Huyay, daughter of the chief of the Jewish tribe of Banu An-Nadir. She was captured during the Battle of Khaybar. As an honorable gesture showing the magnanimity of Islam, the Prophet freed and, with her consent, married her.

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

Walaikum Asalam.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Manners of the Prophet – a Brief Account

Prophetic Respect for Christians and Jews

US Muslims and Jews Work Towards Common Values

 




About Sheikh Ahmad Saad

Ahmed Saad is the founding director of Ihsan Institute of Arabic & Islamic Studies-UK. An international speaker and dynamic scholar. ()

find out more!