The Campaign against Banu Qurayzah

We have already noted that when the Confederates came and camped outside Al-Madinah, Banu Qurayzah broke the covenant that existed between them and the Messenger of Allah . This happened by the agency of Huyay bin Akhtab An-Nadari, may Allah curse him, who entered their stronghold and would not leave their leader, Ka`b bin Asad, alone until he agreed to break the covenant. Among the things that he said to him was, "Woe to you! This is the opportunity for glory. The Quraysh and their company of men from various tribes, and the Ghatafan and their followers, have come to you, and they will stay here until they eliminate Muhammad and his companions.'' Ka`b said to him, "No, by Allah, this is the opportunity for humiliation. Woe to you, O Huyay, you are a bad omen. Leave us alone.'' But Huyay kept trying to persuade him until he agreed to his request. He laid down the condition that if the Confederates went away without doing anything, he ﴿Huyay﴾ would join them in their stronghold and would share their fate. When Banu Qurayzah broke their covenant and news of this reached the Messenger of Allah , he and the Muslims were very distressed by that. When Allah helped him by suppressing his enemy and driving them back disappointed and lost, having gained nothing, the Messenger of Allah returned to Al-Madinah in triumph and the people put down their weapons. While the Messenger of Allah was washing off the dust of battle in the house of Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, Jibril, upon him be peace, came to him wearing a turban of brocade, riding on a mule on which was a cloth of silk brocade. He said, "Have you put down your weapons, O Messenger of Allah'' He said, "Yes.'' He said, "But the angels have not put down their weapons. I have just now come back from pursuing the people.'' Then he said: "Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, commands you to get up and go to Banu Qurayzah.'' According to another report, "What a fighter you are! Have you put down your weapons'' He said, "Yes.'' He said, "But we have not put down our weapons yet, get up and go to these people.'' He said: "Where'' He said, "Banu Qurayzah, for Allah has commanded me to shake them.'' So the Messenger of Allah got up immediately, and commanded the people to march towards Banu Qurayzah, who were a few miles from Al-Madinah. This was after Salat Az-Zuhr. He said,

«لَا يُصَلِّيَنَّ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمُ الْعَصْرَ إِلَّااِفي بَنِي قُرَيْظَة»

(No one among you should pray `Asr except at Banu Qurayzah.) So, the people set out, and the time for the prayer came while they were still on the road. Some of them prayed on the road, saying, "The Messenger of Allah only wanted to make us march quickly.'' Others said, "We will not pray it until we reach Banu Qurayzah.'' Neither of the two groups were rebuked for what they did. The Messenger of Allah followed them. He left Ibn Umm Maktum, may Allah be pleased with him, in charge of Al-Madinah, and he had given the flag to `Ali bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him. Then the Messenger of Allah went to them (Banu Qurayzah) laying seige to them for twenty-five days. When this had gone on for too long, they agreed to accept the judgement of Sa`d bin Mu`adh, the leader of `Aws because they had been their allies during the Jahiliyyah, so they thought that he would treat them kindly as `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul had done for his allies of Banu Qaynuqa` when he had asked the Messenger of Allah to set them free. So, these people thought that Sa`d would do the same for them as Ibn Ubayy had done for those people. They did not know that Sa`d had been struck by an arrow in his medial arm vein during the campaign of Al-Khandaq. The Messenger of Allah had had his vein cauterized and had brought him to stay in a tent in the Masjid so that he could keep a close eye on him. One of the things that Sa`d, may Allah be pleased with him, said in his supplication was, "O Allah, if there is still anything that has to do with the war against Quraysh, then keep me alive for it, and if You decree that the war between us and them is over, then let the bleeding be renewed, but do not let me die until I get my satisfaction with regard to Banu Qurayzah.'' Allah answered his prayer and decreed that they would agree to be referred to him for judgement, and this was their own free choice. When this happened, the Messenger of Allah called him to come from Al-Madinah to pass judgement on them. When he arrived, riding on a donkey that had been specially equipped for him to ride, some of the `Aws began to urge him not to be too harsh, saying, "O Sa`d, they are your clients so be kind to them, trying to soften his heart.'' But he kept quiet and did not answer them. When they persisted in their request, he said, "Now it is time for Sa`d to make sure that no rebuke or censure will divert him from the path of Allah.'' Then they knew that he would not let them live. kWhen he reached the tent where the Messenger of Allah was, the Messenger of Allah said:

«قُومُوا إِلَى سَيِّدِكُم»

(Stand up for your leader.) So the Muslims stood up for him, and welcomed him with honor and respect as befitted his status and so that his judgement would have more impact. When he sat down, the Messenger of Allah said:

«إِنَّ هَؤُلَاءِ وَأَشَارَ إِلَيْهِمْ قَدْ نَزَلُوا عَلَى حُكْمِكَ، فَاحْكُمْ فِيهِمْ بِمَا شِئْت»

(These people) -- and he pointed to them -- (have agreed to accept your judgement, so pass judgement on them as you wish.) Sa`d, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "My judgement will be carried out'' The Messenger of Allah said: "Yes.'' He said, "And it will be carried out on those who are in this tent'' He said, "Yes.'' He said, "And on those who are on this side'' -- and he pointed towards the side where the Messenger of Allah was, but he did not look directly at the Messenger of Allah out of respect for him. The Messenger of Allah said to him: "Yes.'' So Sa`d, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "My judgement is that their fighters should be killed and their children and wealth should be seized.'' The Messenger of Allah said:

«لَقَدْ حَكَمْتَ بِحُكْمِ اللهِ تَعَالَى مِنْ فَوْقِ سَبْعِ أَرْقَعَة»

(You have judged according to the ruling of Allah from above the seven heavens.) According to another report:

«لَقَدْ حَكَمْتَ بِحُكْمِ الْمَلِك»

(You have judged according to the ruling of the Sovereign.) Then the Messenger of Allah commanded that ditches should be dug, so they were dug in the earth, and they were brought tied by their shoulders, and were beheaded. There were between seven hundred and eight hundred of them. The children who had not yet reached adolescence and the women were taken prisoner, and their wealth was seized. All of this is stated both briefly and in detail, with evidence and Hadiths, in the book of Sirah which we have written, praise and blessings be to Allah. Allah said:

﴿وَأَنزَلَ الَّذِينَ ظَـهَرُوهُم﴾

(And those who backed them, Allah brought them down) means, those who helped and supported them in their war against the Messenger of Allah .

﴿مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَـبِ﴾

(of the People of the Scripture) means, Banu Qurayzah, who were Jews from one of the tribes of Israel. Their forefathers had settled in the Hijaz long ago, seeking to follow the Unlettered Prophet of whom they read in the Tawrah and Injil.

﴿فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُم مَّا عَرَفُواْ كَفَرُواْ بِهِ﴾

(then when there came to them that which they had recognized, they disbelieved in it) (2:89). May the curse of Allah be upon them.

﴿مِن صَيَاصِيهِمْ﴾

(from their forts) means, from their strongholds. This was the view of Mujahid, `Ikrimah, `Ata', Qatadah, As-Suddi and others of the Salaf.

﴿وَقَذَفَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمُ الرُّعْبَ﴾

(and cast terror into their hearts;) means fear, because they had supported the idolators in their war against the Messenger of Allah and the one who knows is not like the one who does not know. They had terrified the Muslims and intended to kill them so as to gain earthly power, but their plans backfired; the idolators ran away and the believers were victorious while the disbelievers were losers; where they had aimed for glory, they were humiliated. They wanted to eradicate the Muslims but they were themselves eradicated. In addition to all this, they are doomed in the Hereafter, so by all acounts they are counted as losers. Allah says:

﴿فَرِيقاً تَقْتُلُونَ وَتَأْسِرُونَ فَرِيقاً﴾

(a group you killed, and a group you made captives.) Those who were killed were their warriors, and the prisoners were their children and women. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Atiyah Al-Qurazi said, "I was shown to the Prophet on the day of Qurayzah, because they were not sure about me. The Prophet told them to look at me to see whether I had grown any body hair yet. They looked and saw that I had not grown any body hair, so they let me go and I was put with the other prisoners.'' This was also recorded by the Sunan compilers, and At-Tirmidhi said it is Hasan Sahih.'' An-Nasa'i also recorded something similar from `Atiyah.

﴿وَأَوْرَثَكُمْ أَرْضَهُمْ وَدِيَـرَهُمْ وَأَمْوَلَهُمْ﴾

(And He caused you to inherit their lands, and their houses, and their riches,) means, `He gave these things to you after you killed them.'

﴿وَأَرْضاً لَّمْ تَطَئُوهَا﴾

(and a land which you had not trodden.) It was said that this was Khaybar, or that it was the lands of the Persians and Romans. Ibn Jarir said, "It could be that all of these are referred to

﴿وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيراً﴾

(And Allah is able to do all things.)''

﴿يأَيُّهَا النَّبِىُّ قُل لاٌّزْوَجِكَ إِن كُنتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ الْحَيَوةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا فَتَعَالَيْنَ أُمَتِّعْكُنَّ وَأُسَرِّحْكُنَّ سَرَاحاً جَمِيلاً - وَإِن كُنتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَالدَّارَ الاٌّخِرَةَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلْمُحْسِنَـتِ مِنكُنَّ أَجْراً عَظِيماً ﴾

(28. O Prophet! Say to your wives: "If you desire the life of this world, and its glitter, then come! I will make a provision for you and set you free in a handsome manner.'') (29. "But if you desire Allah and His Messenger, and the Home of the Hereafter, then verily, Allah has prepared for the doers of good among you an enormous reward.'')