The Invasion of Banu Quraidah

on the very day Allah’s Messenger retuned to Madinah after the battle and was freshening up in Umm Salamah’s(May Allah be Pleased with her) house, when Jibreel came to him and asked why he had unsheathed his sword. He should head toward the locality of the treacherous Banu Quraizah fight against them. Jibreel related to him that he, along with a procession of angels, would go on ahead to shake their forts and cast fear in their hearts.

Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) immediately summoned the prayer caller and ordered him to announce that every listener should offer the ‘Asr prayer at Banu Quraidah. He appointed Ibn Umm Maktum (May Allah be Pleased with him) to administer the affairs of Madinah in his absence, and entrusted the war standard to `Ali bin Abi Talib (May Allah be Pleased with him), who marched towards the appointed target and came close enough to hear the Jews abusing Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Prophet set out at the head of three thousand infantry men and thirty cavalry from the Ansar (Helpers) and Muhajireen (Emigrants). On their way to the enemy, the time for the Asr prayer became due So some of them refused to observe it until they reached the enemy, while others performed it on the way. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) objected to neither of these two decisions. Upon reaching the locality of Banu Quraidah, the Muslims laid siege to their forts. Seeing the terrible situation they were in, the chief of the Jews, Ka`b bin Asad, offered his people three alternatives: 1) embrace Islam and their lives, wealth, women, and children would be in full security; he reminding them that such behavior was not be in opposition to what they had read in their Books about the authenticity of Muhammad’s Prophethood; 2) to kill their children and women and then challenge the Prophet and his followers to a fight whose consequence will either be that they kill the Muslims or be killed by the Muslims; 3) conduct a surprise attack against Muhammad and his people on Saturday, a day that all understood they would not participate in any fighting.

When none of those alternatives appealed to them, their chief, angrily and indignantly, turned to them saying: “You people have never been decisive in decision-making since birth.’’ The dark future already visible, they made contact with some Muslims, who had maintained good relations with them, in order to learn about their fate in light of the current circumstances. They requested that Abu Lubabah (May Allah be Pleased with him) be sent to them for advice. On his arrival, the men began to request favors from him, while the women and children cried desperately. As an answer to their request for advice he pointed to his throat while saying that death was awaiting them. He immediately realized that he had betrayed the Prophet’s (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) trust, so he left and went directly to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah and tied himself to a wooden pole, swearing that no one would untie him except Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He also added that he would never enter the locality of Banu Quraidah as a recompense for the grave mistake that he committed. When the Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was informed of this incident, he said:

“If he had come to me, I would have begged Allah to forgive, but since he tied himself out of his own free will, then it is Allah who will turn to him in forgiveness.’’

The siege could have been tolerated for a longer time by the Jews of Banu Quraidah, as stocks of food and water was abundantly available for them, and their strongholds were greatly fortified; however, the Muslims were camped in the open land and suffered from cold, hunger, and fatigue which resulted from the endless battles they were fought against the army of Confederates. Nevertheless, this too was a battle of nerves, and Allah had cast fear in the hearts of the Jews and their morale had almost completely collapsed. This was especially true when two Muslim heroes, `Ali bin Abi Talib and Az-Zubair bin `Awwam(May Allah be Pleased with her) proceeded toward them, with `Ali (May Allah be Pleased with him) swearing that he would never stop fighting until he had either stormed their fort or been martyred like Hamzah (May Allah be Pleased with him).

In the light of this lack of enthusiasm, they had nothing left except to comply with the judgment of the Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered the binding of the hands of the male adults, which was done under the supervision of Muhammad bin Salamah AlAnsari (May Allah be Pleased with him), while the women and children were isolated and confined. The tribe of Al-Aws interceded on their behalf, begging the Prophet to be lenient towards them. He suggested that Sa`d bin Mu`adh (May Allah be Pleased with him), a former ally of theirs, be deputized to give a verdict concerning them, to which they agreed.

Sa`d (May Allah be Pleased with him) had stayed behind in Madinah due to a serious injury that he had sustained in the battle of Confederates. He was summoned and brought on a donkey. On his way to the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the Jews pressed him to be lenient in his judgment on account of their former friendship. Sa`d (May Allah be Pleased with him) remained silent, but when they persisted he uttered: “It is time for Sa`d not to be afraid of the blame of the blamers.’’ On hearing this decisive attitude, some of them returned to Madinah and spread the news of the fate of the prisoners.

On his arrival, he alighted with the help of some men and was informed that the Jews had agreed to accept his decision concerning them. He immediately wondered if his judgment would be accepted by all those present, including the Prophet himself. The reply was positive.

He judged that all the able-bodied male belonging to the tribe should be put to death, the women and children taken as prisoners, and their wealth divided among the Muslim fighters. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) accepted his judgment saying that Sa`d (May Allah be Pleased with him) had judged according to the Command of Allah. In fact, the Jews were deserving of this severe punishment, as they harbored an ugly treachery against Islam. They had amassed a large arsenal of weapons which consisted of one thousand five hundred swords, two thousand spears, three hundred coats of armor, and five hundred shields; all this went into the hands of the Muslims.

Huyai, who was chief among the war criminals and was a devil from Bani Nadeer and the father of Safiyah, had joined the ranks of Banu Quraizah when the Quraish and Ghatafan defected; he was brought before the Prophet with his hands tied to his neck. In a bold rebellious tone, he declared full enmity of the Prophet, but admitted that Allah’s Will was to be fulfilled and that he was submissive to his destiny. He was ordered to sit kneel, and beheaded on the spot.

Only one woman from among the Jews was killed. The punishment was carried out on her because she had killed a Muslim soldier by throwing a grinding stone on him. A few from among the enemy embraced Islam and their lives, wealth, and children were spared. As for the spoils of the war, the Prophet divided them, after placing a fifth aside, in accordance with Allah’s Orders. Each cavalry man received three shares and one share went to the infantry man. Female captives were sent to Najd to be bartered for horses and weaponry. For himself, the Prophet selected Rehanah bint Zaid bin `Amr bin Khanafah, whom he freed and married in the sixth year of AlHijra. She died shortly after the Farewell pilgrimage and was buried in AlBaqi’.

After the completion of the battle with banu Quraizah and their subsequent defeat, the wish of Sa`d bin Mu`adh was fulfilled and so he breathed his last. `Aishah(May Allah be Pleased with her) narrated that in response to his supplication his wound opened and he once again began to bleed from the front portion of his neck. This all occurred while he was in his tent that the Prophet had pitched for him in the mosque so that he would be in close to him in order to inquire about and watch over his condition. The people were not scared until the blood began to flow towards them. Along with Sa`d’s (May Allah be Pleased with him) tent there was also the tent of Banu Ghifar and they said: “People of the tent, what is it that is coming to us from you?’’ Lo, it was Sa`d’s (May Allah be Pleased with him) wound that had begun to bleed and from which he died.

Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded from Jabir that Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

``The Throne of the Compassionate shook at the death of Sa`d bin Mu`adh.’’

At-Tirmidhi graded authentic the narration from Anas in which he said: “When the shrouded body of Sa`d bin Mu`adh (May Allah be Pleased with him) was carried…’’ At-Tirmidhi said: The hypocrites alleged it was too light. Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied:

``The angels are carrying him.’’

In the siege of Banu Quraizah, one Muslim man was killed named Khallad bin Suwaid (May Allah be Pleased with him), who was killed when a Jewish woman dropped a grinding stone on him, and another also died who was Abu Sinan bin Mihsan, the brother of `Ukashah.

Abu Lubabah (May Allah be Pleased with him) stayed tied to the pillar for six nights. His wife would come and untie him during the prayer and after its completion, he would tie himself again to the pillar. Early one morning, Allah the All-Forgiving revealed to Allah’s Messenger that Allah had turned to Abu Lubabah (May Allah be Pleased with him) with forgiveness. The Muslims rushed to release him but he insisted that only Allah’s Messenger should do it, which was shortly done before the Fajr prayer.

This battle took place in the month of Dhul-Qa`dah, 5 A.H., and the siege of Banu Quraizah lasted for 25 days.

Surat Al-Ahzab (The Confederates) was revealed concerning the basic issues relating to the believers and the hypocrites during the battle of the Confederates, and the consequences of the Jewish treachery and their breach of their covenants.

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