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Nonaggression Pact with Three Jewish Tribes

Nonaggression Pact with Three Jewish Tribes

Besides a general treaty in which both Aws and Khazraj and other Jews of these two tribes had participated, the Holy Prophet convened separate treaties with the three Jewish tribes of Ban£-Qaynuq¡`, Ban£’l-Na¤¢r and Ban£-Quray¤ah. This treaty could be termed a nonaggression pact.

As we have already said, these three tribes lived in Medina and its suburbs.[1] In this contract, the signatories were obliged:

(1) Not to cooperate with the enemies of Muslims and not to provide them with horses and weaponry;

(2) Not to take any step against the Holy Prophet and Muslims;

(3) To be punished by the Holy Prophet through killing them or enslaving their children and wives or confiscating their wealth if they ever tried to ignore any article of this contract.

This contract was signed by the heads of the three abovementioned tribes, i.e. Mukhayr¢q, °uyay ibn Akh§ab and Ka`b ibn Asad.[2] Apparently, in those days the Jews neither felt any threat from Muslims nor reckoned their impartiality as an asset, since they assumed the Muslims' other enemies would suffice them. That was the reason for their taking the lead in signing the contract.[3] Thus, through these proceedings, the environments of Medina and the neighboring districts became calm; and the Holy Prophet was at ease. Now it was the time for him to confront Quraysh’s inevitable threats and to prepare himself for the establishment of a new society.

The Hypocrites

In addition to the Jews, there was another group of opponents, called mun¡fiq£n (hypocrites) by the Holy Qur'¡n. They were formed after the Holy Prophet's migration to Yathrib. The members of this group called themselves Muslims on the surface, but they were actually either idolaters[4] or Jews.[5] Having observed Islam's daily increasing popularity and their lacking of power, the hypocrites kept their faces, pretended to be Muslims and entered the rank of Muslims, but behind the curtains, they had some secret affairs with the Jews and conspired against Muslims. Their leader was `Abdull¡h ibn Ubayy who had prepared himself for ascendance to power in Yathrib. However, he was deprived of such leadership due to the Holy Prophet's arrival at the political arena. For this reason, he secretly hated the Holy Prophet.[6]

The hypocrites performed a series of destructive actions against Islam. In S£rahs al-Baqarah (No. 2), ªl-`Imr¡n (No. 3), al-Tawbah or Bar¡'ah (No. 9), al-Nis¡' (No. 4), al-M¡'idah (No. 5), al-Anf¡l (No. 8), al-`Ankab£t (No. 29), al-A¦z¡b (No. 33), al-Fat¦ (No. 48), al-°ad¢d (No. 57), al-Mun¡fiq£n (No. 63), al-°ashr (No. 59) and al-Ta¦r¢m (No. 66), the Holy Qur'¡n has referred to them. It was more difficult for the Holy Prophet to confront this group than the unbelievers or the Jews, because he could not fight them since they pretended to be Muslims. The sabotage and obstruction of this group continued in a systematized way up to the death of `Abdull¡h ibn Ubayy in the ninth year of Hegira.[7] Later, this movement lost its vigor gradually



[1] There are disagreement among historians concerning the birthplace, previous homeland, and lineage of these three Jewish tribes. It is said that after the pressures which were leveled at them by the Roman Empire at Damascus, the Jews came to the Arabian Peninsula, specifically Yathrib, and lived there. See Mu`jam al-Buld¡n 5:84; Waf¡' al-Waf¡' 1:160.

Then, the Qa¦§¡ni tribes, namely Aws and Khazraj, went there to live after the destructions of the Ma’rib Dam. See Mu`jam al-Buld¡n 1:36; Ibn al-Ath¢r, Al-K¡mil f¢’l-T¡r¢kh 1:656.

As we have already said, there were continual conflicts between these two groups. However, some historians contend that they were the Arab natives of the Arabian Peninsula and they had adopted this religion due to Jewish propagation. See A¦mad S£sah, Mufa¥¥al al-`Arab wa’l-Yah£f f¢’l-T¡r¢kh, pp. 627-629.

Some others ascribe the Jewish settlement at Yathrib to the time of Prophet Moses. This, However, seems to be legendary. See Mu`jam al-Buld¡n 5:84; Waf¡’ al-Waf¡’ 1:157.

According to some historical documents and narrations, the Jews, having realized some of the signs of the forthcoming advent of the Promised Prophet, went to Fadak, Khaybar, Taym¡' and Yathrib in search of his emigration. They thus settled there. See Mu`jam al-Buld¡n 5:84; Waf¡’ al-Waf¡’ 1:160; Shaykh al-Kulayn¢, al-Raw¤ah min al-K¡f¢, pp. 309; al-Majlis¢, Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r 15:226.

This issue is in harmony with the first hypothesis. Upon receiving a lot of pressures from Rome, the Jews might have headed of this place from prophecies. Some narrations confirm this issue. See Badr¡n, Tahdh¢b T¡r¢kh Dimashq 1:351; Waf¡’ al-Waf¡’ 1:160.

There are some disagreements concerning the lineage of these three Jewish tribes as to whether they belonged to the Israelites or the Arabs. The majority of scholars emphasize the second view. See A¦mad S£sah, op cit, pp. 627. Ya`q£b¢, too considers the tribes of Ban£’l-Na¤¢r and Ban£-Quray¨ah as Arabs. See T¡r¢kh al-Ya`q£b¢ 2:40, 42; Waf¡’ al-Waf¡’ 1:162.

The following evidence confirms the validity of the first view:

(1) Numerous verses of the Holy Qur’¡n are addressing the Jews as Israelites.

(2) The Jews’ opposition to the Holy Prophet is based on racial grounds; that is to say, the Holy Prophet did not belong to the Israelites.

(3) Arab genealogists have not referred to these Jews as Arabs.

[2] ±abars¢, I`l¡m al-War¡, pp. 69; al-Majlis¢, Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r 1:176, 365, 367 and 2:464; Ibn Hush¡m, al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah 3:231; T¡r¢kh al-Ya`q£b¢, 2:43. After that, the Holy Prophet punished these three tribes because they breached their treaties with him.

[3] al-Majlis¢, op cit, pp. 69, 110.

[4] Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 2:160, 166; al-Nuwayr¢, Nih¡yat al-Irab 1:332.

[5] °alab¢, al-S¢rat al-°alabiyyah 1:337; al-Nuwayr¢, op cit, p339; Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, pp. 174.

[6] Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, pp. 237-238; al-Bayhaq¢, op cit, 2:165; al-Nuwayr¢, op cit, 1:338; Ibn Shabbah, T¡r¢kh al-Mad¢nah al-Munawwarah 1:357; Da¦l¡n, Al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah wa’l-ªth¡r al-Mu¦ammadiyyah 1:184.

[7] Mas`£d¢, al-Tanb¢h wa’l-Ishr¡f, pp. 237.

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