Banu Qurayzah

Mentioning this in detail, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) states,

“The Banu Quraizah had dishonoured their pact with the Muslims and this could not be passed over. The Prophet (sa) collected his exhausted force and told them that there was no rest for them yet. Before the sun went down, he said, they must reach the forts of the Banu Quraizah. Then he sent Ali (ra) to the Banu Quraizah to ask them why they had gone back on their treaty. The Banu Quraizah showed no regret and no inclination to ask for forgiveness. Instead, they insulted Hazrat Ali (ra) and the other Muslim delegates and started hurling vile abuse at the Prophet (sa) and the women of his family. They said that they did not care for Muhammad (sa) and had never had any kind of pact with him. When Hazrat Ali (ra) returned to report the reply of the Jews, he found the Prophetsa and the Companions (ra) advancing towards the Jewish forts.

The Jews had been verbally abusing the Prophet (sa), his wives and daughters. Fearing lest this should pain the Prophet (sa), Hazrat Ali (ra) suggested there was no need for the Holy Prophet (sa) to take part as the Muslims themselves could deal with the Jews. The Holy Prophet (sa) understood the matter and said, ‘You do not wish for me to hear their abuse, Ali?’ ‘Indeed,’ said Ali (ra). The Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘What difference does it make? Moses(as) was of their kith and kin. Yet they inflicted more suffering on him than they have on me.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) continued to advance. The Jews put up their defences and started fighting. Their women also joined them. Some Muslims were sitting at the foot of a wall. A Jewish woman, seeing this, dropped a stone on them and killed one of them. The siege went on for some days. At the end of this period, the Jews felt they would not be able to hold out for long. Then their chiefs sent word to the Prophet (sa) requesting him to send Abu Lubabah (ra), an Ansari chief of the Aus, a tribe friendly to the Jews.

They wanted to consult him about a possible settlement. The Holy Prophet (sa) sent Abu Lubabah (ra) to the Jews, who asked him if they should lay down their arms and accept the settlement of the Holy Prophet (sa). Abu Lubabah (ra) said that they should. But at the same time he passed a finger over his neck, making the sign of death. The Prophet (sa) had said nothing on this subject to anybody. But Abu Lubabah (ra), fearing that the crime of the Jews merited nothing but death, unwittingly made this sign, which proved fateful for the Jews. The latter declined Abu Lubabah’s (ra) advice and refused to accept the Holy Prophet’s conditions. Had they accepted it, the utmost punishment they would have suffered would have been expulsion from Medina. But as ill-luck would have it, they refused to accept the proposal by the Holy Prophet (sa).

Instead of the Holy Prophet’s proposal, they said that they would accept the punishment handed out by Sa‘d bin Mu‘az (ra), chief of their allies, the Aus. They would agree to any punishment proposed by him. A dispute also arose among the Jews. Some of them began to say that their people had really gone back on their agreement with the Muslims.

The behaviour of the Muslims, on the other hand, showed that they were true and honest and that their religion also was true. Those who thought in this way joined Islam. Amr bin Saadi, one of the Jewish chiefs, reproved his people and said, ‘You have committed a breach of faith and gone back on your plighted word. The only course now open to you is either to join Islam or give jizya.’ They said, ‘We will neither join Islam nor give jizya, for dying is better than giving jizya.’ Amr replied that in that case he stood absolved, and saying this left the fort. He was sighted by Muhammad (ra) bin Maslama, commander of a Muslim column, who asked him who he was. On learning of his identity, he told him to depart in peace and himself prayed loudly:

اَللّٰهُمَّ لَا تَحْرِمْنِيْ اِقَالَةَ عَثَرَاتِ الْكِرَامِ

That is, ‘God, give me ever the power to screen the mistakes of the decent.’ What he meant was that this Jew had shown remorse and regret over the conduct of his people. It was the moral duty of Muslims, therefore, to forgive men like him. In letting him go, he had done a good thing, and he prayed that God should give him the chance to do such good deeds again and again. When the Holy Prophet (sa) got to know of what Muhammad (ra) bin Maslama had done, he did not reprove him for letting go this Jewish leader. Rather, he approved of what had been done.”

(Dibacha Tafsir-ul-Quran, Anwar-ul-Uloom, Vol.20, pg. 282-284)

This also clarifies the misconception that the Holy Prophet (sa) was oppressive and ordered the killing of a Jewish tribe. They were themselves the architects of their own downfall. Instead of accepting the decision of the Holy Prophet (sa), they wished the decision to be passed from the leader of another tribe, who had accepted Islam. Nonetheless, this decision was made taking their own teachings into account. Therefore, no blame lies with the Holy Prophet (sa), nor with any of the companions.

An incident highlighting the simplicity and loyalty of Hazrat Abu Lubabah (ra) is that when the Holy Prophet (sa) became free from the Battle of the Ditch and returned to the city, he had barely put off his arms and bathed, when he was informed by way of Divine indication that until a verdict had been settled with respect to the treachery and rebellion of the Banu Quraizah, the Holy Prophet (sa) should not have laid in his arms.

The Holy Prophet (sa) was then informed that he should march towards the Banu Quraizah at once. Upon this, the Holy Prophet (sa) made a general announcement to the Companions directing that everyone should set out towards the fortresses of the Banu Quraizah and that the Asr Salat would be offered there. Initially, the Jewish people behaved in a very arrogant and insolent manner. However, as time went on, they began to feel the effects of the besiegement and felt helplessness that the Muslims had surrounded them. In the end, after conferring with one another as to what to do next, they suggested that such a Muslim should be called upon who, due to having a good relation with them and out of his simplicity, could be swayed by them in order to find out the intentions of the Holy Prophet (sa) regarding them. That way, they could decide going forward as to which plan of action they should follow.

Hence, they sent a messenger to the Holy Prophet (sa) requesting him to send Abu Lubabah (ra) bin Munzir Ansari to them in their fortress so that they could take his advice. The Holy Prophet (sa) granted him permission and he went forth into their fortress. The chiefs of Banu Quraizah had planned that as soon as Abu Lubabah (ra) would enter the fortress, the women and children would all go crying to him and try to overwhelm him with all their problems and difficulties. As it were, Abu Lubabah (ra) was affected by it, and when Banu Quraizah asked him what would be of them if they opened their fortress to allow Muhammad (sa) to make his verdict, Abu Lubabah (ra) unwittingly answered, “Yes come down now” but also indicated with his hand swiping across the neck, i.e. that the Holy Prophet (sa) would order to have them killed.

Hazrat Abu Lubabah (ra) says that when it occurred to him that this indication was an act of dishonesty towards God and His Prophet (sa), (and that he had made a grave mistake by showing that sign) his legs gave way. He made his way to Masjid Nabwi. Hazrat Abu Lubabah (ra) tied himself to a pillar of the mosque (as a punishment for himself). He vowed that till God Almighty accepted his repentance, he would remain tied to that pillar.

Hazrat Abu Lubabah (ra) said that when the Holy Prophet (sa) got to hear the news about what took place in the fortress of Banu Quraizah, the Holy Prophet (sa) said, “Leave him alone, let God Almighty decide his fate.” The Holy Prophet (sa) said, “If Abu Lubabah had come to me, I would have sought forgiveness for him. Now, that he has not come to me and has gone elsewhere, leave him be.” Hazrat Abu Lubabah (ra) says that he remained in this ordeal for fifteen days. Hazrat Abu Lubabah (ra) says, “I saw a dream and would often recall that dream. In my dream I saw that we had been surrounded by Banu Quraizah and I was trapped in a pungent swamp. I was trying to get out of there but was unable to do so. It was as if I was about to die from the smell. Then I saw a flowing river. I saw that I washed myself in this river, till I became pure and clean and started to smell nice.” Hazrat Abu Lubabah (ra) went to Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) to seek the interpretation of this dream. Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) interpreted the dream that he would be faced with a difficulty which would make him grieve, but then his difficulties would be dispelled. Hazrat Abu Lubabah (ra) says, “While tied to the pillar, I used to recall this interpretation of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) and was very hopeful that my repentance would be accepted.”

Hazrat Umme Salama (ra) states that the news of pardon of Hazrat Abu Lubabah (ra) was revealed in her home. (The Holy Prophet (sa) received a Divine revelation at the time.) Hazrat Umme Salama (ra) relates, “At the time of dawn, I saw that the Holy Prophet (sa) was smiling. I said, ‘May Allah the Exalted always keep you smiling. What has made you so cheerful?’ The Holy Prophet (sa) replied, ‘The repentance of Abu Lubabah (ra) has been accepted.’ I asked, ‘O prophet of God, can I tell him this?’ The Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘Yes, if you so wish.’”

Hazrat Umme Salama (ra) says, “I called out from the door of the chamber, (this incident is before the commandment of Purdah was revealed), ‘O Abu Lababa! Be content for Allah has shown His blessings to you and has accepted your repentance.’” Upon this, people rushed to untie Hazrat Abu Lubabah (ra), but he said, “No, only the Holy Prophet (sa) will free me from this pillar.” When the Holy Prophet (sa) arrived to offer the Fajr prayers, he untied Abu Lubabah (ra) with his blessed hands.” Hazrat Abu Lubabah (ra) said, “The ancestral home, where I ended up committing such a sin, I will forsake that house. I have made a grave error and for this, I relinquish my house and give my possessions in charity for the sake of Allah and His Prophet.” The Holy Prophet (sa) advised him that he could only give away one-third of that in charity. Hazrat Abu Lubabah (ra) gave a third of his possession in charity and gave up his ancestral home.

(Seerat Khatam-un-Nabiyeen, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra), pg. 597-599), (Usdul Ghaaba, Vol. 6, pg. 261-262, Abe Lubabah, Dar-ul-Kutub-ul-Ilmiyyah, 2004, Beirut)

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) has written about the attitude and conduct of the Jews, including the treachery of the Banu Qurayza. Although this has been narrated previously with regard to Hazrat Ammar bin Yasir (ra), however owing to its historical importance, I will narrate it here as well.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) writes:

“But they still had the Banu Qurayza to settle with. The Banu Qurayza had dishonoured their pact with the Muslims and this could not be passed over. The Holy Prophet (sa) collected his exhausted force” returning from the Battle of the Ditch “and told them that there was no rest for them yet. Before the sun went down, they must fall upon the Banu Qurayza in their fortifications. Then he sent Hazrat Ali (ra) to the Banu Qurayza to ask them why they had gone back on their solemn word. The Banu Qurayza showed no regret and no inclination to ask for forgiveness. Instead, they insulted Hazrat Ali (ra) and the other Muslim delegates and started hurling vile abuse at the Holy Prophet (sa) and the women of his family. They said they did not care for Muhammad [sa] and had never had any kind of pact with him. When Hazrat Ali (ra) returned to report the reply of the Jews, he found the Holy Prophet (sa) and the Companions advancing towards the Jewish fortifications. The Jews had been abusing the Prophet (sa), his wives and daughters. Fearing lest this should pain the Holy Prophet (sa), Hazrat Ali (ra) suggested there was no need for the Holy Prophet (sa) to take part as the Muslims themselves could deal with the Jews and that he ought to return. The Holy Prophet (ra) understood what Hazrat Ali (ra) was referring to and said, ‘You want me not to hear their abuse, Ali?’ ‘Exactly,’ replied Hazrat Ali (ra).

“‘But why?’ said the Holy Prophet (sa). ‘Moses was of their kith and kin. Yet they inflicted more suffering on him than they have on me.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) continued to advance. The Jews put up their defences and started fighting. Their women also joined them. Some Muslims were sitting at the foot of a wall. A Jewish woman, seeing this, dropped a stone on them, killing one of the Muslims … The siege went on for some days. At the end of this period, the Jews felt they would not be able to hold out for long. Then their chiefs sent word to the Prophet (sa) requesting him to send Abu Lubabah, an Ansari chief of the Aus, a tribe friendly to the Jews. They wanted to consult him about a possible settlement. The Holy Prophet (sa) sent Abu Lubabah to the Jews, who asked him if they should lay down their arms and accept the conditions of the Holy Prophet (sa). Abu Lubabah said they should. But at the same time, he passed a finger over his neck, making the sign of death. The Holy Prophet (sa) had said nothing on this subject to anybody. But Abu Lubabah, fearing that the crime of the Jews (i.e. breaking a covenant) merited nothing but death, and without giving any thought, made this sign, which proved fateful for the Jews. The latter declined Abu Lubabah’s advice and refused to accept the Holy Prophet’s (sa) decision. Had they accepted it, the utmost punishment they would have received was expulsion from Medina.” The Jews did not accept this and had they accepted, the most that they would have suffered was exile. “But as ill-luck would have it, they refused to accept the Holy Prophet’s (sa) verdict. Instead of the Holy Prophet’s (sa), they said, they would accept the verdict of Saad (ra) bin Muaz, chief of their allies, the Aus. They would agree to any punishment proposed by him. A dispute also arose among the Jews. Some of them began to say that their people had really gone back on their agreement with the Muslims. The behaviour of the Muslims, on the other hand, showed that they were true and honest and that their religion also was true. Those who thought in this way joined Islam. Amr bin Saadi, one of the Jewish chiefs, reproved his people and said, ‘You have committed a breach of faith and gone back on your plighted word. The only course now open to you is either to join Islam or give jizyah.’ They said, ‘We will neither join Islam nor give jizyah (the majority thought in this way), for dying is better.’ Amr replied that in that case, he stood absolved and saying this, he left the fort. He was sighted by Muhammad (ra) bin Maslamah, commander of a Muslim column, who asked him who he was. On learning of his identity, he told him to depart in peace and himself prayed loudly:

اَللّٰھُمَّ لَا تَحْرِمْنِيْ اِقَالَةَ عَثْرَاتِ الْکِرَامِ

‘O Allah! Do not deprive me from the virtue of concealing the mistakes of the honourable.’

“What he meant was that this Jew had shown remorse and regret over the conduct of his people. It was the moral duty of Muslims, therefore, to forgive men like him. In letting him go, he had done a good thing and he prayed that God should give him the chance to do such good deeds again and again. When the Holy Prophet (sa) got to know of what Muhammad (ra) bin Maslamah had done, he did not reprove him for letting go of this Jewish leader, rather he approved of what had been done.”

(Introduction to the Study of the Holy Quran, pp. 162-164)

Yahyah bin Sa‘d narrates, “On the day of Quraizah and the day of Al-Nazeer, when the Holy Prophet (sa) sought counsel from people, Hazrat Hubbab bin Munzir stood up and said, ‘I am of the opinion that we settle down in the midst of the army camps, (that is, go to the location closest to the army in order to obtain intelligence and carry out better surveillance).’ The Holy Prophet (sa) accepted his suggestion. He passed away during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umar.”

(At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 427-428, Hubbab bin Munzir, Da-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, 1990, Beirut)