“And He [Allah] brought those of the People of the Scripture [the Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe] who supported them [the Meccans] down from their strongholds, and cast panic into their hearts. Some you [Muslims] slew and some you made captive. And He [Allah] caused you to inherit their land and their houses and their wealth, and land you have not trodden. Allah is able to do all things.” —Koran 33:26-27
Muslim Anti-Semitism Begins in Earnest
When Muhammad emigrated to Medina, he found half the town Jewish. The problem Muhammad had was in convincing Jews he was the final Jewish prophet. So, the verses Allah sent down about Jews became harsher, such as Koran 5:60, which says, “Shall I tell you of a worse case than theirs for retribution with Allah? Worse is the case of him [the Jew] whom Allah has cursed, on whom His wrath has fallen and of whose sort Allah has turned some to apes and swine.” And there is a narrative from Muhammad in Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Hadith 6981, where Allah’s messenger says, “You will fight against the Jews and you will kill them until even a stone would say: Come here, Muslim, there is a Jew [hiding himself behind me]; kill him.”
The Battle of Badr: A Turning Point in World History
The Battle of Badr, fought in 624, was a significant turning point for Muhammad, who, by winning this battle, was able to begin the process of dominating his opponents. The Battle of Badr was the first large-scale battle fought between Muhammad’s mujahideen and the Meccans. The Meccan forces outnumbered the Muslims by a factor of three. Muhammad had not yet succeeded in establishing himself as the supreme power in Medina. The Koran describes how the Muslims were helped by thousands of angels descending on the battle, to strike terror into the hearts of the Quraysh. Koran 3:123–126 recounts the battle as follows: “And already had Allah given you victory at [the Battle of] Badr while you were few in number. Then fear Allah! Perhaps you will be grateful. [Remember] when you said to the believers, ‘Is it not sufficient for you that your Lord should reinforce you with three thousand angels sent down?’ Yes, if you remain patient and conscious of Allah and the enemy come upon you [attacking] in rage, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels having marks [of distinction]. And Allah made it not except as [a sign of] good tidings for you and to reassure your hearts thereby. And victory is not except from Allah.”
As a proven military general, Muhammad’s political fortunes began to change in Medina. Fence-sitters began to throw in their lots with Muhammad. And Muhammad began to sponsor, increasingly, the casting of terror into the hearts of his spiritual and political adversaries, by means of murder, assassination, and jihad.
The Invasion of the Banu Nadir
The Banu Nadir tribe was a tribe of Jews Muhammad had expelled from Medina for allegedly plotting his assassination. The assassination excuse was likely a ploy on Muhammad’s part to justify an attack against them. This was to become a recurring pattern with Muhammad when it came to disposing of populations of Jews: first accuse the Jews of treason, then enter into jihad against them.
Muhammad committed an economic attack against the Banu Nadir date palms by cutting them down. This attack on the financial well-being of an adversary was unprecedented in Arabia, so Allah made it acceptable by sending down a Koranic verse—Koran 59:5—to justify it: “Whatever you have cut down of [their] palm trees or left standing on their trunks—it was by permission of Allah and so He would disgrace the defiantly disobedient.” This event prefigures the economic attack by Islam on the World Trade Center.
The Battle of the Trench & the Genocide of the Banu Qurayza
The Battle of the Trench, a 27-day-long siege of Medina in the winter of 627, was carried out by Meccan forces and some confederate Jewish tribes. The outnumbered Muslims dug a trench on Muhammad’s orders to supplement Medina’s natural fortifications.
To improve their chances of success, the confederates tried to persuade the Muslim-allied Medinan Jews, the Banu Qurayza, to help them. But the Banu Qurayza would not allow the confederates ingress through their lands. So, the siege ended with a favorable result for Muhammad. Allah says as much when speaking to Muhammad in Koran 33:9, saying, “O you who believe! Remember Allah’s favor unto you when there came against you hosts, and We [Allah] sent against them a great wind and hosts [of angels] you could not see. And Allah is ever Seer of what you do.” After a month-long siege, it was Allah who turned the enemy hosts away by means of sending a “great wind and hosts [of angels]” that Muhammad and the Muslims “could not see.”
Muhammad Accuses the Jews
However, Muhammad did accuse the Banu Qurayza of treachery, despite the fact that an actual betrayal would have meant a disaster for Muhammad. Indeed, it would appear that the Banu Qurayza only helped Muhammad against the Meccans, by making false promises of actions against Muhammad that they never carried out, thereby extending the siege to the point of breaking it in favor of their ally Muhammad. Indeed, Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Quraysh, said to his forces before giving up the siege, as reported in The Life of Muhammad, Section 683: “O Quraish, we are not in a permanent camp; the horses and camels are dying; the Banu Qurayza have broken their word to us and we have heard disquieting reports of them. You can see the violence of the wind which leaves us neither cooking-pots, nor fire, nor tents to count on. Be off, for I am going.”
It is likely Muhammad decided to accuse the Banu Qurayza of treachery to rid himself of doctrinal challenges by their rabbis. It is also possible that having no booty to divide after the battle was a problem that might be solved by looting the Banu Qurayza tribe.
At any rate, the idea to accuse the Banu Qurayza of treason does not seem to have come to Muhammad as a matter of dire urgency, since the idea occurred to him only subsequent to relaxing and bathing at the successful conclusion of the siege. The evidence for this is in Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Hadith 68, where Aisha presents the occurrence of this idea to Muhammad in terms of a vision he experienced of the Angel Gabriel: “When Allah’s Apostle returned on the day [of the Battle] of Al-Khandaq (i.e. Trench), he put down his arms and took a bath. Then Gabriel, whose head was covered with dust, came to him saying, ‘You have put down your arms! By Allah, I have not put down my arms yet.’ Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Where [to go now]?’ Gabriel said, ‘This way,’ pointing towards the tribe of Banu Qurayza. So Allah’s Apostle went out towards them.”
The beheadings took all day. And the grown women, the young girls, and the prepubescent boys were all sold into slavery. This was the genocide of the Banu Qurayza tribe, which established that the annihilation of an entire population that questions Islam is favored by Allah.
Allah Sends a Verse Justifying Genocide
In order to Justify Muhammad’s annihilation of an entire tribe, Allah sent down a new verse, Koran 33:26-27: “And He [Allah] brought those of the People of the Scripture [the Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe] who supported them [the Meccans] down from their strongholds, and cast panic into their hearts. Some you [Muslims] slew and some you made captive. And He [Allah] caused you to inherit their land and their houses and their wealth, and land you have not trodden. Allah is able to do all things.”
Ibn Ishaq describes the killing of the Banu Qurayza men, in The Life of Muhammad, Section 690, as follows: “Then they [the Banu Qurayza] surrendered, and the apostle [Muhammad] confined them in Medina. . . . Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches. . . . There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900. As they [the Jews] were being taken out in batches to the apostle they asked Kab what he thought would be done with them. He replied, ‘Will you never understand? Don’t you see that the summoner never stops and those who are taken away do not return? By Allah it is death!’ This went on until the apostle made an end of them.” Thus genocide of the Kafir (the non-Muslim) became doctrinaire Islam.
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