1.13 Turkic 

 0 Contents 1 Foundation

Jesus? Mud Birds 1.15 

1.14 Muhammad - Two Cities - Murder Jews And Non-Muslims

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2007/05/a-christian-caught-in-mecca-what-fate-awaits and Answering Islam.
Muhammad Introduction
1 Names and appellations in the Quran
2 Sources for Muhammad's life
3 Pre-Islamic Arabia
4 Life
5 Early reforms under Islam
6 Appearance
7 Household
8 Legacy
9 See also
10 Notes
11 References
12 Bibliography
13 Further reading

14 External links

Two Cities Of Death To Non-Muslims That Enter

Muhammad’s atrocity against the Qurayza Jews  

1 How Sad made him glad
2 Background 
3 What started the Battle of the Trench?
4 Early biographer Ibn Ishaq says:
5 The Battle of the Trench
6 The aftermath of the siege

  •  (6.1) As we just observed in the previous section, the Muslims had adopted an effective strategy: trenches.
  •  (6.2) Early sources say that Muhammad was about to offer the Ghatafan tribe (a major part of the coalition) one-third of the date harvest, if they withdrew.
  •  (6.3) This weakening was indeed the case, which comes up in a tradition that scholars seem to accept, if only tentatively.
  • (6.4) The coalition’s animals were dying 

7 The aftermath of the withdrawal for the Qurayza Jews

8 How did the executioners decide on which boy to slaughter 
   or leave alive? This hadith gives the obvious answer.
9 Summary of the aftermath for the Jews
10 The Quran
11 These verses reveal three unpleasant truths
12 Defenses of this atrocity
  • (12.1) Muhammad was following his culture.
  • (12.2) Muhammad was following the Law in the Old Testament.
  • (12.3) The Jews broke (in this link find Sura 33) the treaty and fought against Muhammad.
  • (12.4) Sad bin Muadh, the leader of the Aws, made the decision, so Muhammad is blameless.
  • (12.5) Put in perspective, the atrocity is no big deal.
  • (12.6) The West has committed atrocities, so who are Christians to complain?

13 Conclusion


Prophet of Islam

Common calligraphic representation of Muhammad's name
Born Muḥammad ibn `Abd Allāh
c. 570
Mecca (Makkah), Arabia
(now Saudi Arabia)
Died 8 June 632(632-06-08) (aged 62)
Yathrib, Arabia (present-day Medina, Hejaz, Saudi Arabia)
Cause of death Illness (high fever)
Resting place Tomb under the Green Dome of Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina, Hejaz, Saudi Arabia
Other names Abu al-Qasim (kunya), Names of Muhammad
Ethnicity Arab
Religion Islam
Spouse Wives: Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (595–619)
Sawda bint Zamʿa (619–632)
Aisha bint Abi Bakr (619–632)
Hafsa bint Umar (624–632)
Zaynab bint Khuzayma (625–627)
Hind bint Abi Umayya (629–632)
Zaynab bint Jahsh (627–632)
Juwayriya bint al-Harith (628–632)
Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan (628–632)
Rayhana bint Zayd (629–631)
Safiyya bint Huyayy (629–632)
Maymuna bint al-Harith (630–632)
Maria al-Qibtiyya (630–632)
Children Sons: al-Qasim, `Abd-Allah, Ibrahim
Daughters: Zainab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthoom, Fatimah Zahra
Parents Father: `Abd Allah ibn `Abd al-Muttalib
Mother: Aminah bint Wahb
Relatives Ahl al-Bayt

Further articles from Category:Muhammad

In Mecca ·Hijra · In Medina ·Conquest of Mecca ·Wives ·Family tree
Qur'an ·Hadith ·
Early reforms under Islam · Diplomacy ·Military ·Persecution by Meccans ·Migration to Abyssinia ·Farewell pilgrimage
Isra and Mi'raj ·Relics ·Splitting of the moon · Al-Masjid al-Nabawi
Views by subject
Jewish ·Christian · Slavery
Farewell sermon ·Saqifah ·Pen and paper ·Family ·Companions ·History
Durood ·Na'at ·Mawlid ·Haḍra ·Madih nabawi · Ya Muhammad
Islamic ·Jewish ·Bible ·Medieval Christian ·Historicity ·Criticism ·Prophetic biography ·Depictions ·Films ·Depictions in film

Muhammad (c. 570 – c. 8 June 632);[1] also transliterated as Mohammad, Mohammed, or Muhammed; Arabic: محمد‎, full name: Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim (Arabic: محمد بن عبد الله بن عبد المطلب ‎) was a leader[2] from Mecca who unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam. He is believed by Muslims and Bahá'ís to be a messenger and prophet of God, and by most Muslims as the last prophet sent by God for mankind.[3][n 1] Muhammad is generally considered to be the founder of Islam, although this is a view not shared by Muslims.[4] Muslims consider him to be the restorer of an uncorrupted original monotheistic faith of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other prophets.[5][6][7][8]

Born in about 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca,[9][10] he was orphaned at an early age and brought up under the care of his uncle Abu Talib. He later worked mostly as a merchant, as well as a shepherd, and was first married by age 25.[11] Being in the habit of periodically retreating to a cave in the surrounding mountains for several nights of seclusion and prayer, he later reported that it was there, at age 40,[9][12] that he received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", that complete "surrender" to Him (lit. islām) is the only way (dīn)[n 2] acceptable to God, and that he himself was a prophet and messenger of God, in the same vein as other Islamic prophets.[13][14][15]

Muhammad gained few followers early on, and was met with hostility from some Meccan tribes; he and his followers were treated harshly. To escape persecution, Muhammad sent some of his followers to Abyssinia before he and his followers in Mecca migrated to Medina (then known as Yathrib) in the year 622. This event, the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar, which is also known as the Hijri Calendar. In Medina, Muhammad united the tribes under the Constitution of Medina. After eight years of fighting with the Meccan tribes, his followers, who by then had grown to 10,000, conquered Mecca. Muhammad destroyed the pagan idols in Mecca[16] and then sent his followers out to destroy all of the remaining pagan temples throughout Eastern Arabia.[17][18] In 632, a few months after returning to Medina from The Farewell Pilgrimage, Muhammad fell ill and died. By the time of his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam, and he had united Arabia into a single Muslim religious polity.[19][20]

The revelations (or Ayah, lit. "Signs [of God]")—which Muhammad reported receiving until his death—form the verses of the Quran, regarded by Muslims as the “Word of God” and around which the religion is based. Besides the Quran, Muhammad’s life (sira) and traditions (sunnah) are also upheld by Muslims. They discuss Muhammad and other prophets of Islam with reverence, adding the phrase peace be upon him whenever their names are mentioned.[21] While conceptions of Muhammad in medieval Christendom and premodern times were largely negative, appraisals in modern history have been far less so.[15][22]

Names and appellations in the Quran

The name Muhammad written in Thuluth, a script variety of
 Islamic calligraphy.

The name Muhammad means "Praiseworthy" and occurs four times in the Quran.[23] The Quran addresses Muhammad in the second person not by his name but by the appellations prophet, messenger, servant of God ('abd), announcer (bashir)[Quran 2:119], witness (shahid),[Quran 33:45] bearer of good tidings (mubashshir), warner (nathir),[Quran 11:2] reminder (mudhakkir),[Quran 88:21] one who calls [unto God] (dā‘ī),[Quran 12:108] light personified (noor)[Quran 05:15], and the light-giving lamp (siraj munir)[Quran 73:1]. Muhammad is sometimes addressed by designations deriving from his state at the time of the address: thus he is referred to as the enwrapped (al-muzzammil) in Quran 73:1 and the shrouded (al-muddaththir) in Quran 74:1.[24] In the Quran, believers are not to distinguish between the messengers of God and are to believe in all of them (Sura Al-Baqara 2:285). God has caused some messengers to excel above others 2:253 and in Sura Al-Ahzab 33:40 He singles out Muhammad as the "Seal of the Prophets".[25] The Quran also refers to Muhammad as Aḥmad "more praiseworthy" (Arabic: أحمد‎, Sura As-Saff 61:6).

Sources for Muhammad's life


A folio from an early Quran, written in Kufic script (Abbasid period, 8th–9th century).

The Quran is the central religious text of Islam and Muslims believe that it represents the words of God revealed to Muhammad through the archangel Gabriel.[26][27][28] Although it mentions Muhammad directly only four times,[29] there are verses which can be interpreted as allusions to Muhammad's life.[15][n 3] The Quran however provides little assistance for a chronological biography of Muhammad, and many of the utterances recorded in it lack historical context.[30][31]

Early biographies

Next in importance are historical works by writers of the 3rd and 4th centuries of the Muslim era (A.H. -- 8th and 9th century C.E.).[32] These include the traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad (the sira literature), which provide further information on Muhammad's life.[33]

The earliest surviving written sira (biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him) is Ibn Ishaq's Life of God's Messenger written ca. 767 CE (150 AH). The work is lost, but was used verbatim at great length by Ibn Hisham and Al-Tabari.[34][35] Another early source is the history of Muhammad's campaigns by al-Waqidi (death 207 of Muslim era), and the work of his secretary Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi (death 230 of Muslim era).[32]

Many scholars accept the accuracy of the earliest biographies, though their accuracy is unascertainable.[34] Recent studies have led scholars to distinguish between the traditions touching legal matters and the purely historical ones. In the former sphere, traditions could have been subject to invention while in the latter sphere, aside from exceptional cases, the material may have been only subject to "tendential shaping".[36]


In addition, the hadith collections are accounts of the verbal and physical traditions of Muhammad that date from several generations after his death.[37]

Western academics view the hadith collections with caution as accurate historical sources.[37] Scholars such as Madelung do not reject the narrations which have been compiled in later periods, but judge them in the context of history and on the basis of their compatibility with the events and figures.[38]

Non-Arabic sources

The earliest documented Christian knowledge of Muhammad stems from Byzantine sources. They indicate that both Jews and Christians saw Muhammad as a "false prophet". In the Doctrina Jacobi nuper baptizati of 634, Muhammad is portrayed as being "deceiving[,] for do prophets come with sword and chariot?, [...] you will discover nothing true from the said prophet except human bloodshed."[39] Another Greek source for Muhammad is the 9th-century writer Theophanes. The earliest Syriac source is the 7th-century writer John bar Penkaye.[40]

Pre-Islamic Arabia

Main tribes and settlements of Arabia in Muhammad's lifetime

The Arabian Peninsula was largely arid and volcanic, making agriculture difficult except near oases or springs. The landscape was thus dotted with towns and cities, two prominent ones being Mecca and Medina. Medina was a large flourishing agricultural settlement, while Mecca was an important financial center for many surrounding tribes.[41] Communal life was essential for survival in the desert conditions, as people needed support against the harsh environment and lifestyle. Tribal grouping was encouraged by the need to act as a unit, this unity being based on the bond of kinship by blood.[42] Indigenous Arabs were either nomadic or sedentary, the former constantly travelling from one place to another seeking water and pasture for their flocks, while the latter settled and focused on trade and agriculture. Nomadic survival was also dependent on raiding caravans or oases, the nomads not viewing this as a crime.[43][44]

In pre-Islamic Arabia, gods or goddesses were viewed as protectors of individual tribes, their spirits being associated with sacred trees, stones, springs and wells. As well as being the site of an annual pilgrimage, the Kaaba shrine in Mecca housed 360 idol statues of tribal patron deities. Aside from these gods, some Arabs shared a common monotheistic belief in a supreme deity called the "hanifs" and "professed a rigid monotheism",[45], believing in a God who was remote from their everyday concerns and thus not the object of cult or ritual.[citation needed] Three goddesses were associated with Allah as his daughters: Allāt, Manāt and al-‘Uzzá. Monotheistic communities existed in Arabia, including Christians and Jews.[46] Hanifs – native pre-Islamic Arab monotheists – are also sometimes listed alongside Jews and Christians in pre-Islamic Arabia, although their historicity is disputed amongst scholars.[47][48] According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad himself was a Hanif and one of the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham.[49]


Life in Mecca

Timeline of Muhammad in Mecca
Important dates and locations in the life of Muhammad in Mecca
c. 569 Death of his father, Abdul41
c. 570 Possible date of birth, April 26th: Mecca
576 Death of his mother, A-inah
578 Death of his grandfather
c. 583 Takes trading journeys to Syria
c. 595 Meets and marries Khadijah
610 First reports of Qur'anic revelation
c. 613 Begins spreading message of Islam publicly to all Meccans
c. 614 Begins to gather followers in Mecca
c. 615 Emigration of Muslims to Ethiopia
616 Banu Hashim clan boycott begins
c. 618 Medinan War
619 Banu Hashim clan boycott ends
619 The year of sorrows: khadija (his wife) and Abu Talib (his uncle) die
c. 620 Isra and Mi'raj (the ascention to heaven to meet God)
622 Emigrates to Medina (was called Yathrib) (Hijra)

Muhammad was born in Mecca and lived there for roughly the first 52 years of his life (c.570–622). This period is generally divided into two phases, before and after declaring the prophecy.

Childhood and early life

Muhammad was born about the year 570[9] and his birthday is usually celebrated by Muslims in the month of Rabi' al-awwal.[50] He belonged to the Banu Hashim clan, one of the prominent families of Mecca, although it seems not to have been prosperous during Muhammad's early lifetime.[15][51] The Banu Hashim clan was part of the Quraysh tribe. Tradition places the year of Muhammad's birth as corresponding with the Year of the Elephant, which is named after the failed destruction of Mecca that year by the Aksumite king Abraha who had in his army a number of elephants. 20th-century scholarship has suggested alternative dates for this event, such as 568 or 569.[52]

Miniature from Rashid-al-Din Hamadani's Jami al-Tawarikh, c. 1315, illustrating the story of Muhammad's role in re-setting the Black Stone in 605. (Ilkhanate period)[53]

His father, Abdullah, died almost six months before Muhammad was born.[54] According to Islamic tradition, soon after Muhammad's birth he was sent to live with a Bedouin family in the desert, as the desert life was considered healthier for infants. Muhammad stayed with his foster-mother, Halimah bint Abi Dhuayb, and her husband until he was two years old.[11] Some western scholars of Islam have rejected the historicity of this tradition.[55][not in citation given] At the age of six, Muhammad lost his biological mother Amina to illness and he became fully orphaned.[11][56] For the next two years, he was under the guardianship of his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib, of the Banu Hashim clan, but when Muhammad was eight, his grandfather also died. He then came under the care of his uncle Abu Talib, the new leader of Banu Hashim.[11][52] According to William Montgomery Watt, because of the general disregard of the guardians in taking care of weak members of the tribes in Mecca in the 6th century, "Muhammad's guardians saw that he did not starve to death, but it was hard for them to do more for him, especially as the fortunes of the clan of Hashim seem to have been declining at that time."[57]

While still in his teens, Muhammad accompanied his uncle on trading journeys to Syria gaining experience in commercial trade, the only career open to Muhammad as an orphan.[11][57] Islamic tradition states that when Muhammad was either nine or twelve while accompanying the Meccans' caravan to Syria, he met a Christian monk or hermit named Bahira who is said to have foreseen Muhammed's career as a prophet of God.[58]

Little is known of Muhammad during his later youth, and from the fragmentary information that is available, it is difficult to separate history from legend.[11][57] It is known that he became a merchant and "was involved in trade between the Indian ocean and the Mediterranean Sea."[59] Due to his upright character he acquired the nickname "al-Amin" (Arabic: الامين), meaning "faithful, trustworthy" and "al-Sadiq" meaning "truthful"[60] and was sought out as an impartial arbitrator.[10][15][61] His reputation attracted a proposal in 595 from Khadijah, a 40-year-old widow who was 15 years older than he. Muhammad consented to the marriage, which by all accounts was a happy one.[11][59]

Several years later, according to a narration collected by Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad was involved with a well-known story about setting the Black Stone in place in the wall of the Kaaba in 605 C.E. The Black Stone, a sacred object, had been removed to facilitate renovations to the Kaaba. The leaders of Mecca could not agree on which clan should have the honour of setting the Black Stone back in its place. They agreed to wait for the next man to come through the gate and ask him to choose. That man was the 35-year-old Muhammad, five years before his first revelation. He asked for a cloth and put the Black Stone in its centre. The clan leaders held the corners of the cloth and together carried the Black Stone to the right spot, then Muhammad set the stone in place, satisfying the honour of all.[62]

Beginnings of the Quran

Muhammad adopted the practice of praying alone for several weeks every year in a cave on Mount Hira near Mecca.[63][64] Islamic tradition holds that during one of his visits to Mount Hira, the angel Gabriel appeared to him in the year 610 and commanded Muhammad to recite the following verses:[65]

Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created-
Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood:
Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,-
He Who taught (the use of) the pen,-
Taught man that which he knew not.
—Quran, sura 96 (Al-Alaq), ayat 1-5[66]

After returning home, Muhammad was consoled and reassured by Khadijah and her Christian cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal. Upon receiving his first revelations, he was deeply distressed and resolved to commit suicide.[44] He also feared that others would dismiss his claims as being possessed.[44] Shi'a tradition maintains that Muhammad was neither surprised nor frightened at the appearance of Gabriel but rather welcomed him as if he had been expecting him.[67] The initial revelation was followed by a pause of three years during which Muhammad further gave himself to prayers and spiritual practices. When the revelations resumed he was reassured and commanded to begin preaching: "Thy Guardian-Lord hath not forsaken thee, nor is He displeased."[68][69][70]

A depiction of Muhammad receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. From the manuscript Jami' al-tawarikh by Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, 1307, Ilkhanate period.

Sahih Bukhari narrates Muhammad describing the revelations as, "Sometimes it is (revealed) like the ringing of a bell" and Aisha reported, "I saw the Prophet being inspired Divinely on a very cold day and noticed the sweat dropping from his forehead (as the Inspiration was over)".[71] According to Welch these revelations were accompanied by mysterious seizures, and the reports are unlikely to have been forged by later Muslims.[15] Muhammad was confident that he could distinguish his own thoughts from these messages.[72] According to the Quran, one of the main roles of Muhammad is to warn the unbelievers of their eschatological punishment (Quran 38:70, Quran 6:19). Sometimes the Quran does not explicitly refer to the Judgment day but provides examples from the history of some extinct communities and warns Muhammad's contemporaries of similar calamities (Quran 41:13–16).[24] Muhammad is not only a warner to those who reject God's revelation, but also a bearer of good news for those who abandon evil, listen to the divine word and serve God.[73] Muhammad's mission also involves preaching monotheism: The Quran commands Muhammad to proclaim and praise the name of his Lord and instructs him not to worship idols or associate other deities with God.[74][24]

The key themes of the early Quranic verses included the responsibility of man towards his creator; the resurrection of dead, God's final judgment followed by vivid descriptions of the tortures in hell and pleasures in Paradise; and the signs of God in all aspects of life. Religious duties required of the believers at this time were few: belief in God, asking for forgiveness of sins, offering frequent prayers, assisting others particularly those in need, rejecting cheating and the love of wealth (considered to be significant in the commercial life of Mecca), being chaste and not to kill newborn girls.[15]


According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad's wife Khadija was the first to believe he was a prophet.[75] She was soon followed by Muhammad's ten-year-old cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib, close friend Abu Bakr, and adopted son Zaid.[12][75] Around 613, Muhammad began his public preaching (Quran 26:214).[76] Most Meccans ignored him and mocked him,[74] while a few others became his followers. There were three main groups of early converts to Islam: younger brothers and sons of great merchants; people who had fallen out of the first rank in their tribe or failed to attain it; and the weak, mostly unprotected foreigners.[77]

The last ayah from the sura An-Najm in the Quran: "So prostrate to Allah and worship [Him]." Muhammad's message of monotheism (one God) challenged the traditional order.

According to Ibn Sad, the opposition in Mecca started when Muhammad delivered verses that condemned idol worship and the Meccan forefathers who engaged in polytheism.[74][78] However, the Quranic exegesis maintains that it began as soon as Muhammad started public preaching.[79] As the number of followers increased, he became a threat to the local tribes and the rulers of the city, whose wealth rested upon the Kaaba, the focal point of Meccan religious life, which Muhammad threatened to overthrow. Muhammad’s denunciation of the Meccan traditional religion was especially offensive to his own tribe, the Quraysh, as they were the guardians of the Ka'aba.[77] The powerful merchants tried to convince Muhammad to abandon his preaching by offering him admission into the inner circle of merchants, and establishing his position therein by an advantageous marriage. However, he refused.[77]

Tradition records at great length the persecution and ill-treatment of Muhammad and his followers.[15][74] Sumayyah bint Khabbab, a slave of a prominent Meccan leader Abu Jahl, is famous as the first martyr of Islam, having been killed with a spear by her master when she refused to give up her faith. Bilal, another Muslim slave, was tortured by Umayyah ibn Khalaf who placed a heavy rock on his chest to force his conversion.[80][81] Apart from insults, Muhammad was protected from physical harm as he belonged to the Banu Hashim clan.[74][82][83]

In 615, some of Muhammad's followers emigrated to the Ethiopian Aksumite Empire and founded a small colony there under the protection of the Christian Ethiopian emperor Aṣḥama ibn Abjar.[15][74]

Muhammad desperately hoping for an accommodation with his tribe, either from fear or in the hope of succeeding more readily in this way, pronounced a verse acknowledging the existence of three Meccan goddesses considered to be the daughters of Allah, and appealing for their intercession. Muhammad later retracted the verses at the behest of Gabriel, claiming that the verses were whispered by the devil himself.[74][84][n 4] This episode known as "The Story of the Cranes" (translation: قصة الغرانيق, transliteration: Qissat al Gharaneeq) is also known as "Satanic Verses". Some scholars argued against its historicity on various grounds.[85] While this incident got widespread acceptance by early Muslims, strong objections to it were raised starting from the tenth century, on theological grounds. The objections continued to be raised to the point where the rejection of the historicity of the incident eventually became the only acceptable orthodox Muslim position.[86]

In 617, the leaders of Makhzum and Banu Abd-Shams, two important Quraysh clans, declared a public boycott against Banu Hashim, their commercial rival, to pressure it into withdrawing its protection of Muhammad. The boycott lasted three years but eventually collapsed as it failed in its objective.[87][88] During this, Muhammad was only able to preach during the holy pilgrimage months in which all hostilities between Arabs were suspended.[89]

Isra and Mi'raj

Islamic tradition relates that in 620, Muhammad experienced the Isra and Mi'raj, a miraculous journey said to have occurred with the angel Gabriel in one night. In the first part of the journey, the Isra, he is said to have travelled from Mecca on a winged steed (Buraq) to "the farthest mosque" (in Arabic: masjid al-aqsa), which Muslims usually identify with the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. In the second part, the Mi'raj, Muhammad is said to have toured heaven and hell, and spoken with earlier prophets, such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.[89][91] Ibn Ishaq, author of the first biography of Muhammad, presents this event as a spiritual experience whereas later historians like Al-Tabari and Ibn Kathir present it as a physical journey.[91]

Quranic inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock, adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the al-Haram ash-Sharif. The Dome of the Rock marks the spot from which Muhammad is believed to have ascended to heaven.[92]

Some western scholars of Islam hold that the oldest Muslim tradition identified the journey as one traveled through the heavens from the sacred enclosure at Mecca to the celestial al-Baytu l-Maʿmur (heavenly prototype of the Kaaba); but later tradition identified Muhammad's journey as having been from Mecca to Jerusalem.[93]

Last years in Mecca before Hijra

Muhammad's wife Khadijah and his uncle Abu Talib both died in 619, the year thus being known as the "year of sorrow". With the death of Abu Talib, the leadership of the Banu Hashim clan was passed to Abu Lahab, an inveterate enemy of Muhammad. Soon afterwards, Abu Lahab withdrew the clan's protection from Muhammad. This placed Muhammad in danger of death since the withdrawal of clan protection implied that the blood revenge for his killing would not be exacted. Muhammad then visited Ta'if, another important city in Arabia, and tried to find a protector for himself there, but his effort failed and further brought him into physical danger.[15][88][89] Muhammad was forced to return to Mecca. A Meccan man named Mut'im b. Adi (and the protection of the tribe of Banu Nawfal) made it possible for him safely to re-enter his native city.[15][88][89]

Many people were visiting Mecca on business or as pilgrims to the Kaaba. Muhammad took this opportunity to look for a new home for himself and his followers. After several unsuccessful negotiations, he found hope with some men from Yathrib (later called Medina).[15] The Arab population of Yathrib were familiar with monotheism and prepared for the appearance of a prophet because a Jewish community existed there.[15][94] They also hoped by the means of Muhammad and the new faith to gain supremacy over Mecca, as they were jealous of its importance as the place of pilgrimage.[94] Converts to Islam came from nearly all Arab tribes in Medina, such that by June of the subsequent year there were seventy-five Muslims coming to Mecca for pilgrimage and to meet Muhammad. Meeting him secretly by night, the group made what was known as the "Second Pledge of al-`Aqaba", or the "Pledge of War"[94][95] Following the pledges at Aqabah, Muhammad encouraged his followers to emigrate to Yathrib. As with the migration to Abyssinia, the Quraysh attempted to stop the emigration. However, almost all Muslims managed to leave.[96]


[hide]Timeline of Muhammad in Medina
c. 622 Emigrates to Medina (Hijra)
623 Caravan Raids begin
623 Al Kudr Invasion
624 Battle of Badr: Muslims defeat Meccans
624 Battle of Sawiq, Abu Sufyan escapes capture
624 Expulsion of Banu Qaynuqa
624 Invasion of Thi Amr, Muhammed raids Ghatafan tribes
624 Assassination of Khaled b. Sufyan & Abu Rafi
625 Battle of Uhud: Meccans defeat Muslims
625 Tragedy of Bir Maona and Al Raji
625 Invasion of Hamra al-Asad, successfully terrifies enemy to cause retreat
625 Banu Nadir expelled after Invasion
625 Invasion of Nejd, Badr and Dumatul Jandal
627 Battle of the Trench
627 Invasion of Banu Qurayza, successful siege
628 Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, gains access to Kaaba
628 Conquest of the Khaybar oasis
629 First hajj pilgrimage
629 Attack on Byzantine Empire fails: Battle of Mu'tah
630 Bloodless conquest of Mecca
630 Battle of Hunayn
630 Siege of Ta'if
631 Rules most of the Arabian peninsula
632 Attacks the Ghassanids: Tabuk
632 Farewell hajj pilgrimage
632 Wasal (June 8): Medina

The Hijra is the migration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. In September 622, warned of a plot to assassinate him, Muhammad secretly slipped out of Mecca, moving with his followers to Medina,[94] 320 kilometres (200 mi) north of Mecca. The Hijra is celebrated annually on the first day of the Muslim year.

Migration to Medina

A delegation consisting of the representatives of the twelve important clans of Medina, invited Muhammad as a neutral outsider to Medina to serve as chief arbitrator for the entire community.[97][98] There was fighting in Yathrib mainly involving its Arab and Jewish inhabitants for around a hundred years before 620.[97] The recurring slaughters and disagreements over the resulting claims, especially after the Battle of Bu'ath in which all clans were involved, made it obvious to them that the tribal conceptions of blood-feud and an eye for an eye were no longer workable unless there was one man with authority to adjudicate in disputed cases.[97] The delegation from Medina pledged themselves and their fellow-citizens to accept Muhammad into their community and physically protect him as one of themselves.[15]

Muhammad instructed his followers to emigrate to Medina until virtually all his followers left Mecca. Being alarmed at the departure of Muslims, according to the tradition, the Meccans plotted to assassinate Muhammad. With the help of Ali, Muhammad fooled the Meccans who were watching him, and secretly slipped away from the town with Abu Bakr.[94][99] By 622, Muhammad emigrated to Medina, a large agricultural oasis. Those who migrated from Mecca along with Muhammad became known as muhajirun (emigrants).[15]

Establishment of a new polity

There is no god but He,
the Living, the Everlasting.
Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep;
to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth.
Who is there that shall intercede with Him save by His leave?
He knows what lies before them and what is after them,
and they comprehend not anything of His knowledge
save such as He wills.
His Throne comprises the heavens and earth;
the preserving of them oppresses Him not;
He is the All-high, the All-glorious.

—The "Throne Verse", 2:255, revealed in Medina[100]

Among the first things Muhammad did to settle down the longstanding grievances among the tribes of Medina was drafting a document known as the Constitution of Medina, "establishing a kind of alliance or federation" among the eight Medinan tribes and Muslim emigrants from Mecca, which specified the rights and duties of all citizens and the relationship of the different communities in Medina (including that of the Muslim community to other communities, specifically the Jews and other "Peoples of the Book").[97][98] The community defined in the Constitution of Medina, Ummah, had a religious outlook but was also shaped by practical considerations and substantially preserved the legal forms of the old Arab tribes.[15] It effectively established the first Islamic state.

Several ordinances were proclaimed to win over the numerous and wealthy Jewish population. But these were soon rescinded as the Jews insisted on preserving the entire Mosaic law, and did not recognize him as a prophet because he was not of the race of David.[94]

The first group of pagan converts to Islam in Medina were the clans who had not produced great leaders for themselves but had suffered from warlike leaders from other clans. This was followed by the general acceptance of Islam by the pagan population of Medina, apart from some exceptions. According to Ibn Ishaq, this was influenced by the conversion of Sa'd ibn Mu'adh (a prominent Medinan leader) to Islam.[101] Those Medinans who converted to Islam and helped the Muslim emigrants find shelter became known as the ansar (supporters).[15] Then Muhammad instituted brotherhood between the emigrants and the supporters and he chose Ali as his own brother.[102]

Beginning of armed conflict

Following the emigration, the Meccans seized the properties of the Muslim emigrants in Mecca.[103] Economically uprooted and with no available profession, the Muslim migrants turned to raiding Meccan caravans, initiating armed conflict with Mecca.[104][105][106] Muhammad delivered Quranic verses permitting the Muslims to fight the Meccans (see sura Al-Hajj, Quran 22:39–40).[107] These attacks allowed the migrants to acquire wealth, power and prestige while working towards their ultimate goal of conquering Mecca.[108][109]

The Masjid al-Qiblatain, where Muhammad established the new Qibla, or direction of prayer

On 11 February 624 according to the traditional account, while praying in the Masjid al-Qiblatain in Medina, Muhammad received a revelation from God that he should be facing Mecca rather than Jerusalem during prayer. As he adjusted himself, so did his companions praying with him, beginning the tradition of facing Mecca during prayer.[110] According to Watt, the change may have been less sudden and definite than the story suggests – the related Quranic verses (2:1362:147) appear to have been revealed at different times – and correlates with changes in Muhammad's political support base, symbolizing his turning away from Jews and adopting a more Arabian outlook.[110]

In March 624, Muhammad led some three hundred warriors in a raid on a Meccan merchant caravan. The Muslims set an ambush for them at Badr.[111] Aware of the plan, the Meccan caravan eluded the Muslims.[106] Meanwhile, a force from Mecca was sent to protect the caravan, continuing forward to confront the Muslims upon hearing that the caravan was safe. The Battle of Badr began in March 624.[112] Though outnumbered more than three to one, the Muslims won the battle, killing at least forty-five Meccans with only fourteen Muslims dead. They also succeeded in killing many Meccan leaders, including Abu Jahl.[113] Seventy prisoners had been acquired, many of whom were soon ransomed in return for wealth or freed.[104][106][114][115] Muhammad and his followers saw in the victory a confirmation of their faith[15] as Muhammad ascribed the victory to the assistance of an invisible host of angels.[116] The Quranic verses of this period, unlike the Meccan ones, dealt with practical problems of government and issues like the distribution of spoils.[117][118]

The victory strengthened Muhammad's position in Medina and dispelled earlier doubts among his followers.[119] As a result the opposition to him became less vocal. Pagans who had not yet converted were very bitter about the advance of Islam. Two pagans, Asma bint Marwan and Abu 'Afak, had composed verses taunting and insulting the Muslims. They were killed by people belonging to their own or related clans, and no blood-feud followed.[120]

Muhammad expelled from Medina the Banu Qaynuqa, one of three main Jewish tribes.[15] Although Muhammad wanted them executed, Abd-Allah ibn Ubaiy chief of the Khazraj tribe did not agree and they were expelled to Syria but without their property.[118] Following the Battle of Badr, Muhammad also made mutual-aid alliances with a number of Bedouin tribes to protect his community from attacks from the northern part of Hijaz.[15]

Conflict with Mecca

The Kaaba in Mecca long held a major economic and religious role for the area. Seventeen months after Muhammad's arrival in Medina, it became the Muslim Qibla, or direction for prayer (Salah). The Kaaba has been rebuilt several times; the present structure, built in 1629, is a reconstruction of an earlier building dating to 683.[121]

The Meccans were now anxious to avenge their defeat. To maintain their economic prosperity, the Meccans needed to restore their prestige, which had been lost at Badr.[122] In the ensuing months, the Meccans sent ambush parties on Medina while Muhammad led expeditions on tribes allied with Mecca and sent out a raid on a Meccan caravan.[123] Abu Sufyan subsequently gathered an army of three thousand men and set out for an attack on Medina.[118][124]

A scout alerted Muhammad of the Meccan army's presence and numbers a day later. The next morning, at the Muslim conference of war, there was dispute over how best to repel the Meccans. Muhammad and many senior figures suggested that it would be safer to fight within Medina and take advantage of its heavily fortified strongholds. Younger Muslims argued that the Meccans were destroying their crops, and that huddling in the strongholds would destroy Muslim prestige. Muhammad eventually conceded to the wishes of the latter, and readied the Muslim force for battle.[118] Thus, Muhammad led his force outside to the mountain of Uhud (where the Meccans had camped) and fought the Battle of Uhud on March 23.[125][126] Although the Muslim army had the best of the early encounters, indiscipline on the part of strategically placed archers led to a Muslim defeat, with 75 Muslims killed including Hamza, Muhammad's uncle and one of the best known martyrs in the Muslim tradition. The Meccans did not pursue the Muslims further, but marched back to Mecca declaring victory. This is probably because Muhammad was wounded and thought to be dead. When they knew this on their way back, they did not return back because of false information about new forces coming to his aid.[118] They were not entirely successful, however, as they had failed to achieve their aim of completely destroying the Muslims.[127][128] The Muslims buried the dead, and returned to Medina that evening. Questions accumulated as to the reasons for the loss, and Muhammad subsequently delivered Quranic verses 3:152 which indicated that their defeat was partly a punishment for disobedience and partly a test for steadfastness.[129]

Abu Sufyan now directed his efforts towards another attack on Medina. He attracted the support of nomadic tribes to the north and east of Medina, using propaganda about Muhammad's weakness, promises of booty, memories of the prestige of the Quraysh and use of bribes.[130] Muhammad's policy was now to prevent alliances against him as much as he could. Whenever alliances of tribesmen against Medina were formed, he sent out an expedition to break them up.[130] When Muhammad heard of men massing with hostile intentions against Medina, he reacted with severity.[131] One example is the assassination of Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf, a chieftain of the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir who had gone to Mecca and written poems that helped rouse the Meccans' grief, anger and desire for revenge after the Battle of Badr.[132][133] Around a year later, Muhammad expelled the Banu Nadir from Medina[134] to Syria allowing them to take some of their possessions because he was unable to subdue them in their strongholds. The rest of their property was claimed by Muhammad in the name of God because it was not gained with bloodshed. Muhammad surprised various Arab tribes, one by one, with overwhelming force which caused his enemies to unite to annihilate him.[135] Muhammad's attempts to prevent formation of a confederation against him were unsuccessful, though he was able to increase his own forces and stop many potential tribes from joining his enemies.[136]

Siege of Medina

Allah is the Light
of the heavens and the earth.
The Parable of His Light is
as if there were a Niche
and within it a Lamp:
the Lamp enclosed in Glass:
the glass as it were a brilliant star:
Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive,
neither of the east nor of the west,
whose oil is well-nigh luminous,
though fire scarce touched it:
Light upon Light!
Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light:
Allah doth set forth Parables for men:
and Allah doth know all things.

—The famous "Light Verse", part of the sura An-Nur, 24:35

With the help of the exiled Banu Nadir, the Quraysh military leader Abu Sufyan had mustered a force of 10,000 men. Muhammad prepared a force of about 3,000 men and adopted a new form of defense unknown in Arabia at that time: the Muslims dug a trench[135] wherever Medina lay open to cavalry attack. The idea is credited to a Persian convert to Islam, Salman the Persian. The siege of Medina began on March 31 627[135] and lasted for two weeks.[137] Abu Sufyan's troops were unprepared for the fortifications they were confronted with, and after an ineffectual siege lasting several weeks, the coalition decided to go home.[135][138] The Quran discusses this battle in sura Al-Ahzab, ayat (verses) 9-27, 33:9–27.[79] During the battle, the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza, located at the south of Medina, had entered into negotiations with Meccan forces to revolt against Muhammad. Although they were swayed by suggestions that Muhammad was sure to be overwhelmed, they desired reassurance in case the confederacy was unable to destroy him. No agreement was reached after the prolonged negotiations, in part due to sabotage attempts by Muhammad's scouts.[139] After the coalition's retreat, the Muslims accused the Banu Qurayza of treachery and besieged them in their forts for 25 days. The Banu Qurayza eventually surrendered; according to Ibn Ishaq, all the men apart from a few who converted to Islam were beheaded, while the women and children were enslaved.[135][140][141] Walid N. Arafat and Barakat Ahmad have disputed the accuracy of Ibn Ishaq"s narrative, however.[142] Arafat believes that Ibn Ishaq's Jewish sources, speaking over 100 years after the event, conflated their account with memories of earlier massacres in Jewish history; he notes that Ibn Ishaq was considered an unreliable historian by his contemporary Malik ibn Anas, and a transmitter of "odd tales" by the later Ibn Hajar.[143] Ahmad argues that only some of the tribe were killed, while some of the fighters were merely enslaved.[144][145] Watt finds Arafat's arguments "not entirely convincing", while Meir J. Kister has contradicted[clarification needed] the arguments of Arafat and Ahmad.[146]

In the siege of Medina, the Meccans exerted their utmost strength towards the destruction of the Muslim community. Their failure resulted in a significant loss of prestige; their trade with Syria was gone.[147] Following the Battle of the Trench, he made two expeditions to the north which ended without any fighting.[15][135] While returning from one of these (or some years earlier according to other early accounts), an accusation of adultery was made against Aisha, Muhammad's wife. Aisha was exonerated from the accusations when Muhammad announced that he had received a revelation confirming Aisha's innocence and directing that charges of adultery be supported by four eyewitnesses (sura 24, An-Nur).[148]

Truce of Hudaybiyyah

Although Muhammad had already delivered Quranic verses commanding the Hajj,[149] the Muslims had not performed it due to the enmity of the Quraysh. In the month of Shawwal 628,[135] Muhammad ordered his followers to obtain sacrificial animals and to make preparations for a pilgrimage (umrah) to Mecca, saying that God had promised him the fulfillment of this goal in a vision where he was shaving his head after the completion of the Hajj.[150] Upon hearing of the approaching 1,400 Muslims, the Quraysh sent out a force of 200 cavalry to halt them. Muhammad evaded them by taking a more difficult route, thereby reaching al-Hudaybiyya, just outside of Mecca.[151] According to Watt, although Muhammad's decision to make the pilgrimage was based on his dream, he was at the same time demonstrating to the pagan Meccans that Islam does not threaten the prestige of their sanctuary, and that Islam was an Arabian religion.[151]

Negotiations commenced with emissaries going to and from Mecca. While these continued, rumors spread that one of the Muslim negotiators, Uthman bin al-Affan, had been killed by the Quraysh. Muhammad responded by calling upon the pilgrims to make a pledge not to flee (or to stick with Muhammad, whatever decision he made) if the situation descended into war with Mecca. This pledge became known as the "Pledge of Acceptance" (Arabic: بيعة الرضوان , bay'at al-ridhwān‎) or the "Pledge under the Tree". News of Uthman's safety, however, allowed for negotiations to continue, and a treaty scheduled to last ten years was eventually signed between the Muslims and Quraysh.[151][152] The main points of the treaty included the cessation of hostilities; the deferral of Muhammad's pilgrimage to the following year;[153] and an agreement to send back any Meccan who had gone to Medina without the permission of their protector.[151]

Many Muslims were not satisfied with the terms of the treaty. However, the Quranic sura "Al-Fath" (The Victory) (Quran 48:1–29) assured the Muslims that the expedition from which they were now returning must be considered a victorious one.[154] It was only later that Muhammad's followers would realise the benefit behind this treaty. These benefits included the inducing of the Meccans to recognise Muhammad as an equal;[153] a cessation of military activity posing well for the future; and gaining the admiration of Meccans who were impressed by the incorporation of the pilgrimage rituals.[15]

After signing the truce, Muhammad made an expedition against the Jewish oasis of Khaybar,[153] known as the Battle of Khaybar. This was possibly due to it housing the Banu Nadir, who were inciting hostilities against Muhammad, or to regain some prestige to deflect from what appeared to some Muslims as the inconclusive result of the truce of Hudaybiyya.[124][155] According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad also sent letters to many rulers of the world, asking them to convert to Islam (the exact date is given variously in the sources).[15][156][157][158] Hence he sent messengers (with letters) to Heraclius of the Byzantine Empire (the eastern Roman Empire), Khosrau of Persia, the chief of Yemen and to some others.[156][157][158] In the years following the truce of Hudaybiyya, Muhammad sent his forces against the Arabs on Transjordanian Byzantine soil in the Battle of Mu'tah, in which the Muslims were defeated.[158][159]

Final years

Conquest of Mecca

The truce of Hudaybiyyah had been enforced for two years.[160][161] The tribe of Banu Khuza'a had good relations with Muhammad, whereas their enemies, the Banu Bakr, had an alliance with the Meccans.[160][161] A clan of the Bakr made a night raid against the Khuza'a, killing a few of them.[160][161] The Meccans helped the Banu Bakr with weapons and, according to some sources, a few Meccans also took part in the fighting.[158][160] After this event, Muhammad sent a message to Mecca with three conditions, asking them to accept one of them. These were that either the Meccans paid blood money for those slain among the Khuza'ah tribe; or, that they should disavow themselves of the Banu Bakr; or, that they should declare the truce of Hudaybiyyah null.[162]

The Meccans replied that they would accept only the last condition.[162] However, soon they realized their mistake and sent Abu Sufyan to renew the Hudaybiyyah treaty, but now his request was declined by Muhammad.[158]

Muhammad began to prepare for a campaign.[163] In 630, Muhammad marched on Mecca with an enormous force, said to number more than ten thousand men. With minimal casualties, Muhammad took control of Mecca.[164][165] He declared an amnesty for past offences, except for ten men and women who were "guilty of murder or other offences or had sparked off the war and disrupted the peace".[166] Some of these were later pardoned.[165][167] Most Meccans converted to Islam and Muhammad subsequently had destroyed all the statues of Arabian gods in and around the Kaaba.[165][168][169] According to reports collected by Ibn Ishaq and al-Azraqi, Muhammad personally spared paintings or frescos of Mary and Jesus, but other traditions suggest that all pictures were erased.[170] The Quran discusses the conquest of Mecca.[79][171]

Conquest of Arabia

Soon after the conquest of Mecca, Muhammad was alarmed by a military threat from the confederate tribes of Hawazin who were collecting an army twice the size of Muhammad's. The Banu Hawazin were old enemies of the Meccans. They were joined by the Banu Thaqif (inhabiting the city of Ta'if) who adopted an anti-Meccan policy due to the decline of the prestige of Meccans.[172] Muhammad defeated the Hawazin and Thaqif tribes in the Battle of Hunayn.[15][173]

In the same year, Muhammad made the expedition of Tabuk against northern Arabia because of their previous defeat at the Battle of Mu'tah as well as reports of the hostile attitude adopted against Muslims. With the greatest difficulty he collected thirty thousand men, half of whom, however, on the second day after their departure from Mecca, returned with Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy, untroubled by the damning verses which Muhammad hurled at them.[174] Although Muhammad did not make contact with hostile forces at Tabuk, he received the submission of some local chiefs of the region.[15][175]

He also ordered the destruction of remaining pagan idols in Eastern Arabia. The last city to hold out against the Muslims in Eastern Arabia was Taif. Muhammad refused to accept the surrender of the city until they agreed to convert to Islam and let his men destroy their statue of their goddess Allat.[176][177][178]

A year after the Battle of Tabuk, the Banu Thaqif sent emissaries to Medina to surrender to Muhammad and adopt Islam. Many bedouins submitted to Muhammad to be safe against his attacks and to benefit from the booties of the wars.[15][174] However, the bedouins were alien to the system of Islam and wanted to maintain their independence, their established code of virtue and their ancestral traditions. Muhammad thus required of them a military and political agreement according to which they "acknowledge the suzerainty of Medina, to refrain from attack on the Muslims and their allies, and to pay the Zakat, the Muslim religious levy."[174][179]

Farewell pilgrimage

Anonymous illustration of al-Bīrūnī's The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries, depicting Muhammad prohibiting Nasi' during the Farewell Pilgrimage, C17th Ottoman copy of a C14th (Ilkhanate) manuscript (Edinburgh codex).

In 632, at the end of the tenth year after the migration to Medina, Muhammad carried through his first truly Islamic pilgrimage, thereby teaching his followers the rites of the annual Great Pilgrimage (Hajj).[15] After completing the pilgrimage, Muhammad delivered a famous speech known as The Farewell Sermon, at Mount Arafat east of Mecca. In this sermon, Muhammad advised his followers not to follow certain pre-Islamic customs. He declared that an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.[180] He abolished all old blood feuds and disputes based on the former tribal system and asked for all old pledges to be returned as implications of the creation of the new Islamic community. Commenting on the vulnerability of women in his society, Muhammed asked his male followers to “Be good to women; for they are powerless captives (awan) in your households. You took them in God’s trust, and legitimated your sexual relations with the Word of God, so come to your senses people, and hear my words ...” He told them that they were entitled to discipline their wives but should do so with kindness. He addressed the issue of inheritance by forbidding false claims of paternity or of a client relationship to the deceased, and forbade his followers to leave their wealth to a testamentary heir. He also upheld the sacredness of four lunar months in each year.[181][182][183] According to Sunni tafsir, the following Quranic verse was delivered during this event: “Today I have perfected your religion, and completed my favours for you and chosen Islam as a religion for you.”(Quran 5:3)[15][184] According to Shia tafsir, it refers to the appointment of Ali ibn Abi Talib at the pond of Khumm as Muhammad's successor, this occurring a few days later when Muslims were returning from Mecca to Medina.[185]

Death and tomb

A few months after the farewell pilgrimage, Muhammad fell ill and suffered for several days with a fever, head pain, and weakness.[184] He died on Monday, June 8, 632, in Medina, at the age of 63, in the house of his wife Aisha.[186] With his head resting on Aisha's lap, he asked her to dispose of his last worldly goods (seven coins), then murmured his final words:

Rather, God on High and paradise.[186]

He was buried where he died, in Aisha's house.[15][187][188][189] During the reign of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I, the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (the Mosque of the Prophet) was expanded to include the site of Muhammad's tomb.[190] The Green Dome above the tomb was built by the Mamluk sultan Al Mansur Qalawun in the 13th century, although the green color was added in the 16th century, under the reign of Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.[191] Among tombs adjacent to Muhammad's are those of his companions (Sahabah)—the first two Muslim Caliphs Abu Bakr and Umar—, and an empty one that Muslims believe awaits Jesus.[188][192][193]

Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (the Mosque of the Prophet) in Medina, Saudi Arabia, with the Green Dome built over Muhammad's tomb in the center.

When bin Saud took Medina in 1805, Muhammad's tomb was stripped of its gold and jewel ornaments.[194] Adherents to Wahhabism, bin Sauds' followers destroyed nearly every tomb dome in Medina in order to prevent their veneration,[194] and the one of Muhammad is said to have narrowly escaped.[195] Similar events took place in 1925 when the Saudi militias retook—and this time managed to keep—the city.[196][197][198] In the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam, burial is to take place in unmarked graves.[195] Although frowned upon by the Saudis, many pilgrims continue to practice a ziyarat—a ritual visit—to the tomb.[199][200]


Conquests of Muhammad and the Rashidun.

Muhammad united the tribes of Arabia into a single Arab Muslim religious polity in the last years of his life. With Muhammad's death, disagreement broke out over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community.[20] Umar ibn al-Khattab, a prominent companion of Muhammad, nominated Abu Bakr, Muhammad's friend and collaborator. Others added their support and Abu Bakr was made the first caliph.[189] This choice was disputed by some of Muhammad's companions, who held that Ali ibn Abi Talib, his cousin and son-in-law, had been designated the successor by Muhammad at Ghadir Khumm. Abu Bakr's immediate task was to make an expedition against the Byzantine (or Eastern Roman Empire) forces because of the previous defeat, although he first had to put down a rebellion by Arab tribes in an episode referred to by later Muslim historians as the Ridda wars, or "Wars of Apostasy".[201]

The pre-Islamic Middle East was dominated by the Byzantine and Sassanian empires. The Roman-Persian Wars between the two had devastated the region, making the empires unpopular amongst local tribes. Furthermore, in the lands that would be conquered by Muslims many Christians (Nestorians, Monophysites, Jacobites and Copts) were disaffected from the Christian Orthodoxy which deemed them heretics. Within only a decade, Muslims conquered Mesopotamia and Persia, Byzantine Syria and Byzantine Egypt.[202] and established the Rashidun empire.

Early reforms under Islam

According to William Montgomery Watt, for Muhammad, religion was not a private and individual matter but rather “the total response of his personality to the total situation in which he found himself. He was responding [not only]… to the religious and intellectual aspects of the situation but also to the economic, social, and political pressures to which contemporary Mecca was subject."[203] Bernard Lewis says that there are two important political traditions in Islam – one that views Muhammad as a statesman in Medina, and another that views him as a rebel in Mecca. He sees Islam itself as a type of revolution that greatly changed the societies into which the new religion was brought.[204]

Historians generally agree that Islamic social reforms in areas such as social security, family structure, slavery and the rights of women and children improved on the status quo of Arab society.[204][205] For example, according to Lewis, Islam "from the first denounced aristocratic privilege, rejected hierarchy, and adopted a formula of the career open to the talents".[204] Muhammad's message transformed the society and moral order of life in the Arabian Peninsula through reorientation of society as regards to identity, world view, and the hierarchy of values.[206] Economic reforms addressed the plight of the poor, which was becoming an issue in pre-Islamic Mecca.[207] The Quran requires payment of an alms tax (zakat) for the benefit of the poor, and as Muhammad's position grew in power he demanded that those tribes who wanted to ally with him implement the zakat in particular.[208][209]


A hilya containing a description of Muhammad, by Hâfiz Osman (1642–1698)

Ali gave the following description of Muhammad's physical appearance:[210]

Muhammad was middle-sized, did not have lank or crisp hair, was not fat, had a white circular face, wide black eyes, and long eye-lashes. When he walked, he walked as though he went down a declivity. He had the "seal of prophecy" between his shoulder blades ... He was bulky. His face shone like the moon. He was taller than middling stature but shorter than conspicuous tallness. He had thick, curly hair. The plaits of his hair were parted. His hair reached beyond the lobe of his ear. His complexion was azhar [bright, luminous]. Muhammad had a wide forehead, and fine, long, arched eyebrows which did not meet. Between his eyebrows there was a vein which distended when he was angry. The upper part of his nose was hooked; he was thick bearded, had smooth cheeks, a strong mouth, and his teeth were set apart. He had thin hair on his chest. His neck was like the neck of an ivory statue, with the purity of silver. Muhammad was proportionate, stout, firm-gripped, even of belly and chest, broad-chested and broad-shouldered.

The "seal of prophecy" between the Prophet's shoulders is generally described as having been a type of raised mole the size of a pigeon's egg.[211] Another description of Muhammad was provided by Umm Ma'bad, a woman he met on his journey to Medina:[212]

I saw a man, pure and clean, with a handsome face and a fine figure. He was not marred by a skinny body, nor was he overly small in the head and neck. He was graceful and elegant, with intensely black eyes and thick eyelashes. There was a huskiness in his voice, and his neck was long. His beard was thick, and his eyebrows were finely arched and joined together.

When silent, he was grave and dignified, and when he spoke, glory rose up and overcame him. He was from afar the most beautiful of men and the most glorious, and close up he was the sweetest and the loveliest. He was sweet of speech and articulate, but not petty or trifling. His speech was a string of cascading pearls, measured so that none despaired of its length, and no eye challenged him because of brevity.

Descriptions like these were often reproduced in calligraphic panels (hilya or, in Turkish, hilye), which in the 17th century developed into an art form of their own in the Ottoman Empire.[212]


Muhammad's life is traditionally defined into two periods: pre-hijra (emigration) in Mecca (from 570 to 622), and post-hijra in Medina (from 622 until 632). Muhammad is said to have had thirteen wives or concubines. (There are differing accounts on the status of some of them as wife or concubine.[213])[214] All but two of his marriages were contracted after the migration to Medina.

At the age of 25, Muhammad married the wealthy Khadijah bint Khuwaylid who was 40 years old at that time.[215] The marriage lasted for 25 years and was a happy one.[216] Muhammad relied upon Khadija in many ways and did not enter into marriage with another woman during this marriage.[217][218] After the death of Khadija, it was suggested to Muhammad by Khawla bint Hakim that he should marry Sawda bint Zama, a Muslim widow, or Aisha, daughter of Um Ruman and Abu Bakr of Mecca. Muhammad is said to have asked her to arrange for him to marry both.[148]

Traditional sources dictate that Aisha was six or seven years old when betrothed to Muhammad,[148][219][220] with the marriage not being consummated until after she had reached puberty at the age of nine, ten or eleven years old.[221][222][148][219][223][224][225] While the majority of traditional sources indicate Aisha was 9 (and therefore a virgin) at the time of marriage, a small number of more recent writers have variously estimated her age at 15 to 24.[226][227][228][229][230]

After migration to Medina, Muhammad (who was now in his fifties) married several women. These marriages were contracted mostly for political or humanitarian reasons. The women were either widows of Muslims who had been killed in battle and had been left without a protector, or belonging to important families or clans whom it was necessary to honor and strengthen alliances with.[231]

Muhammad did his own household chores and helped with housework, such as preparing food, sewing clothes and repairing shoes. He is also said to have had accustomed his wives to dialogue; he listened to their advice, and the wives debated and even argued with him.[232][233][234]

Khadijah is said to have had four daughters with Muhammad—(Ruqayyah bint Muhammad, Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad, Zainab bint Muhammad, Fatimah Zahra)—and two sons—(Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad and Qasim ibn Muhammad)—who both died in childhood. All except two of his daughters, Fatimah and Zainab, died before him.[235] Some Shi'a scholars contend that Fatimah was Muhammad's only daughter.[236] Maria al-Qibtiyya bore him a son named Ibrahim ibn Muhammad, but the child died when he was two years old.[235]

Nine of Muhammad's wives survived him.[214] Aisha, who became known as Muhammad's favourite wife in Sunni tradition, survived him by many decades and was instrumental in helping bring together the scattered sayings of Muhammad that would form the Hadith literature for the Sunni branch of Islam.[148]

Muhammad's descendants through Fatimah are known as sharifs, syeds or sayyids. These are honorific titles in Arabic, sharif meaning 'noble' and sayed or sayyid meaning 'lord' or 'sir'. As Muhammad's only descendants, they are respected by both Sunni and Shi'a, though the Shi'a place much more emphasis and value on their distinction.[237]

Zayd ibn Harith was a slave that Muhammad bought, freed, and then adopted as his son. He also had a wetnurse.[238] Muhammad owned other slaves as well, whom he bought usually to free.[239]


Muslim views

Following the attestation to the oneness of God, the belief in Muhammad's prophethood is the main aspect of the Islamic faith. Every Muslim proclaims in the Shahadah that "I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God, and I testify that Muhammad is a Messenger of God". The Shahadah is the basic creed or tenet of Islam. Ideally, it is the first words a newborn will hear, and children are taught as soon as they are able to understand it and it will be recited when they die. Muslims must repeat the shahadah in the call to prayer (adhan) and the prayer itself. Non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam are required to recite the creed.[240]

According to the Quran, Muhammad is only the last of a series of Prophets sent by God for the benefit of mankind, and commands Muslims to make no distinction between them. Quran 10:37 states that "...it (the Quran) is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book - wherein there is no doubt - from The Lord of the Worlds.". Similarly Quran 46:12 states "...And before this was the book of Moses, as a guide and a mercy. And this Book confirms (it)...", while 2:136 commands the believers of Islam to "Say: we believe in God and that which is revealed unto us, and that which was revealed unto Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered."

Historian Denis Gril believes that the Quran does not overtly describe Muhammad performing miracles, and the supreme miracle of Muhammad is finally identified with the Quran itself.[241] However, Muslim tradition credits Muhammad with several miracles or supernatural events.[242] For example, many Muslim commentators and some Western scholars have interpreted the Surah 54:1–2 as referring to Muhammad splitting the Moon in view of the Quraysh when they began persecuting his followers.[241][243]

The Sunnah represents the actions and sayings of Muhammad (preserved in reports known as Hadith), and covers a broad array of activities and beliefs ranging from religious rituals, personal hygiene, burial of the dead to the mystical questions involving the love between humans and God. The Sunnah is considered a model of emulation for pious Muslims and has to a great degree influenced the Muslim culture. The greeting that Muhammad taught Muslims to offer each other, “may peace be upon you” (Arabic: as-salamu `alaykum) is used by Muslims throughout the world. Many details of major Islamic rituals such as daily prayers, the fasting and the annual pilgrimage are only found in the Sunnah and not the Quran.[244]

The Sunnah also played a major role in the development of the Islamic sciences. It contributed much to the development of Islamic law, particularly from the end of the first Islamic century.[245] Muslim mystics, known as sufis, who were seeking for the inner meaning of the Quran and the inner nature of Muhammad, viewed the prophet of Islam not only as a prophet but also as a perfect saint. Sufi orders trace their chain of spiritual descent back to Muhammad.[246]

Calligraphic rendering of "peace be upon him", customarily added after Muhammad's name in writing. The phrase is encoded as a ligature at Unicode codepoint U+FDFA.[247] .

Muslims have traditionally expressed love and veneration for Muhammad. Stories of Muhammad's life, his intercession and of his miracles (particularly "Splitting of the moon") have permeated popular Muslim thought and poetry. Among Arabic odes to Muhammad, the Qaṣīda al-Burda ("Poem of the Mantle") by the Egyptian Sufi al-Busiri (1211–1294) is particularly well known, and widely held to possess a healing, spiritual power.[248] The Quran refers to Muhammad as "a mercy (rahmat) to the worlds" (Quran 21:107).[15] The association of rain with mercy in Oriental countries has led to imagining Muhammad as a rain cloud dispensing blessings and stretching over lands, reviving the dead hearts, just as rain revives the seemingly dead earth (see, for example, the Sindhi poem of Shah ʿAbd al-Latif).[15] Muhammad's birthday is celebrated as a major feast throughout the Islamic world, excluding Wahhabi-dominated Saudi Arabia where these public celebrations are discouraged.[249] When Muslims say or write the name of Muhammad or any other prophet in Islam, they usually follow it with Peace be upon him (Arabic: sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam).[21] In casual writing, this is sometimes abbreviated as PBUH or SAW; in printed matter, a small calligraphic rendition is commonly used instead of printing the entire phrase.

Islamic depictions of Muhammad

Main article: Depictions of Muhammad Main article: Depictions of Muhammad
Muhammad's entry into Mecca and the destruction of idols. Muhammad is shown as a flame in this manuscript. Found in Bazil's Hamla-i Haydari, Kashmir, 1808.
In line with the hadith prohibition against creating images of sentient living beings, which is particularly strictly observed with respect to God and the Prophet, Islamic religious art is focused on the word.[250][251] Muslims generally avoid depictions of Muhammad, and mosques are decorated with calligraphy and Quranic inscriptions or geometrical designs, not images or sculptures.[250][252] Today, the interdiction against images of Muhammad [250][251] [250][252] designed to prevent worship of Muhammad, rather than God – is much more strictly observed in Sunni Islam (85%–90% of Muslims) than among Shias (10%–15%).[253] While both Sunnis and Shiites have created images of Muhammad in the past,[254] Islamic depictions of Muhammad are rare.[250] They have, until recently[when?], mostly been limited to the private and elite medium of the miniature, and since about 1500 most depictions show Muhammad with his face veiled, or symbolically represent him as a flame.[252][255][253] [254] [250] [when?][252][255]

No depictions of the Prophet dating from his lifetime survive. The earliest depictions come from 13th-century Anatolian Seljuk and Ilkhanid Persian miniatures, typically in literary genres describing the life and deeds of Muhammad.[255][256] During the Ilkhanid period, when Persia's Mongol rulers converted to Islam, competing Sunni and Shi'a groups used visual imagery, including images of Muhammad, to promote their particular interpretation of Islam's key events.[257] Influenced by the Buddhist tradition of representational religious art predating the Mongol elite's conversion, this innovation was unprecedented in the Islamic world, and accompanied by a "broader shift in Islamic artistic culture away from abstraction toward representation" in "mosques, on tapestries, silks, ceramics, and in glass and metalwork" besides books.[258] In the Persian lands, this tradition of realistic depictions lasted through the Timurid dynasty until the Safavids took power in the early sixteenth century.[257] The Safavaids, who made Shi'i Islam the state religion, initiated a departure from the traditional Ilkhanid and Timurid artistic style by covering Muhammad's face with a veil to obscure his features and at the same time represent his luminous essence.[259] Concomitantly, some of the unveiled images from earlier periods were defaced.[257][260][261] Later images were produced in Ottoman Turkey and elsewhere, but mosques were never decorated with images of Muhammad.[254] Illustrated accounts of the night journey (mi'raj) were particularly popular from the Ilkhanid period through the Safavid era.[262] During the 19th century, Iran saw a boom of printed and illustrated mi'raj books, with Muhammad's face veiled, aimed in particular at illiterates and children in the manner of graphic novels; reproduced through lithography these were essentially "printed manuscripts".[262] Today, millions of historical reproductions and modern images are available in some Muslim countries, especially Turkey and Iran, on posters, postcards, and even in coffee-table books, but are unknown in most other parts of the Islamic world, and when encountered by Muslims from other countries they can cause considerable consternation and offense.[254][255]

Other views

Non-Muslim views regarding Muhammad have ranged across a large spectrum of responses and beliefs, many of which have changed over time.[263][264]

Non-Western views

Mahatma Gandhi stated:[265]

I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind.... I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet's biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life.

European and Western views

According to Hossein Nasr, earliest European literature often refers to Muhammad unfavorably. He has been maligned in various European sources for over a millennium.[266] A few learned circles of Middle Ages Europe—primarily Latin-literate scholars—had access to fairly extensive biographical material about Muhammad. They interpreted that information through a Christian religious filter that viewed Muhammad as a charlatan driven by ambition and eagerness for power, and who seduced the Saracens into his submission under a religious guise.[15] Popular European literature of the time portrayed Muhammad as though he were worshipped by Muslims in the manner of an idol or a heathen god.[15] Some medieval Christians believed he died in 666, alluding to the number of the beast, instead of his actual death date in 632;[267] others changed his name from Muhammad to Mahound, the "devil incarnate".[268] Bernard Lewis writes "The development of the concept of Mahound started with considering Muhammad as a kind of demon or false god worshipped with Apollyon and Termagant in an unholy trinity."[269] A later medieval work, Livre dou Tresor represents Muhammad as a former monk and cardinal.[15] Dante's Divine Comedy (Canto XXVIII), puts Muhammad, together with Ali, in Hell "among the sowers of discord and the schismatics, being lacerated by devils again and again."[15] Cultural critic and author Edward Said wrote in Orientalism regarding Dante's depiction of Muhammad:

Empirical data about the Orient...count for very little; ... What ... Dante tried to do in the Inferno, is ... to characterize the Orient as alien and to incorporate it schematically on a theatrical stage whose audience, manager, and actors are ... only for Europe. Hence the vacillation between the familiar and the alien; Mohammed is always the imposter (familiar, because he pretends to be like the Jesus we know) and always the Oriental (alien, because although he is in some ways "like" Jesus, he is after all not like him).[270]

After the reformation, Muhammad was often portrayed as a cunning and ambitious impostor.[15][269] Guillaume Postel was among the first to present a more positive view of Muhammad.[15] Boulainvilliers described Muhammad as a gifted political leader and a just lawmaker.[15] Gottfried Leibniz praised Muhammad because "he did not deviate from the natural religion".[15] Thomas Carlyle in his book Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History (1840) describes Muhammed as "[a] silent great soul; [...] one of those who cannot but be in earnest".[271] Edward Gibbon in his book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire observes that "the good sense of Mohammad despised the pomp of royalty." Friedrich Martin von Bodenstedt (1851) described Muhammad as "an ominous destroyer and a prophet of murder."[15]

Simon Ockley wrote in his book The History of the Saracen Empires (1718);

The greatest success of Mohammad’s life was effected by sheer moral force...It is not the propagation but the permanency of his religion that deserves our wonder, the same pure and perfect impression which he engraved at Mecca and Medina is preserved, after the revolutions of twelve centuries by the Indian, the African and the Turkish proselytes of the Koran. . . The Mahometans have uniformly withstood the temptation of reducing the object of their faith and devotion to a level with the senses and imagination of man. 'I believe in One God and Mahomet the Apostle of God' is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honours of the prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtue, and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion.[272]

A 19th century depiction titled "Muhammad preaching" (1840–1850) by Russian artist Grigory Gagarin

Reverend Benjamin Bosworth Smith in his book Muhammad and Muhammadanism (1874) commented that;

...if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Mohammed, for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports. He cared not for the dressings of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life...In Mohammadanism every thing is different here. Instead of the shadowy and the mysterious, we have history....We know of the external history of Muhammad....while for his internal history after his mission had been proclaimed, we have a book absolutely unique in its origin, in its preservation....on the Substantial authority of which no one has ever been able to cast a serious doubt.[273]

Alphonse de Lamartine's Histoire de la Turquie (1854) says about Muhammad:

If greatness of purpose, smallness of means and outstanding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad.[274]

Never has a man proposed for himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a goal more sublime, since this goal was beyond measure: undermine the superstitions placed between the creature and the Creator, give back God to man and man to God, reinstate the rational and saintly idea of divinity in the midst of this prevailing chaos of material and disfigured gods of idolatry.... The most famous have only moved weapons, laws, empires; they founded, when they founded anything, only material powers, often crumbling before them. This one not only moved armies, legislations, empires, peoples, dynasties, millions of men over a third of the inhabited globe; but he also moved ideas, beliefs, souls. He founded upon a book, of which each letter has become a law, a spiritual nationality embracing people of all languages and races; and made an indelible imprint upon this Muslim world, for the hatred of false gods and the passion for the God, One and Immaterial. ... Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of a rational dogma for a cult without imagery, founder of twenty earthly empires and of a spiritual empire, this is Muhammad.[274]

Annie Besant in The Life and Teachings of Muhammad (1932) wrote

It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme...[275]

According to William Montgomery Watt and Richard Bell, recent writers have generally dismissed the idea that Muhammad deliberately deceived his followers, arguing that Muhammad "was absolutely sincere and acted in complete good faith"[276] and that Muhammad’s readiness to endure hardship for his cause when there seemed to be no rational basis for hope shows his sincerity.[277] Watt says that sincerity does not directly imply correctness: In contemporary terms, Muhammad might have mistaken his own subconscious for divine revelation.[278] Watt and Bernard Lewis argue that viewing Muhammad as a self-seeking impostor makes it impossible to understand the development of Islam.[279][280] Alford T. Welch holds that Muhammad was able to be so influential and successful because of his firm belief in his vocation.[15] Michael H. Hart in his first book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History (1978), a ranking of the 100 people who most influenced human history,[281] chose Muhammad as the first person on his list,[282] attributing this to the fact that Muhammad was "supremely successful" in both the religious and secular realms. He also credits the authorship of the Quran to Muhammad, making his role in the development of Islam an unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history.

Other religious traditions


Criticism of Muhammad has existed since the 7th century, when he was attacked by his non-Muslim Arab contemporaries for preaching monotheism, his marriages, and military expeditions. During the Middle Ages he was frequently demonized in European and other non-Muslim polemics. In modern times, his sincerity in claiming to be a prophet has been questioned, and the laws he established, such as those concerning slavery have been criticised.

See also

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  1. ^ Not all Muslims believe Muhammad was the last prophet. For example, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community considers Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be a prophet as well. ("Finality of Prophethood | Hadhrat Muhammad (PUBH) the Last Prophet". Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. http://www.alislam.org/books/truth/finality.html.)
  2. ^ 'Islam' is always referred to in the Quran as a dīn, a word that means "way" or "path" in Arabic, but is usually translated in English as "religion" for the sake of convenience
  3. ^ S. A. Nigosian(2004), p. 6 The Encyclopaedia of Islam says that the Quran responds "constantly and often candidly to Muhammad's changing historical circumstances and contains a wealth of hidden data."
  4. ^ The aforementioned Islamic histories recount that as Muhammad was reciting Sūra Al-Najm (Q.53), as revealed to him by the Archangel Gabriel, Satan tempted him to utter the following lines after verses 19 and 20: "Have you thought of Allāt and al-'Uzzā and Manāt the third, the other; These are the exalted Gharaniq, whose intercession is hoped for." (Allāt, al-'Uzzā and Manāt were three goddesses worshiped by the Meccans). cf Ibn Ishaq, A. Guillaume p. 166.


  1. ^ Elizabeth Goldman (1995), p. 63 gives 8 June 632, the dominant Islamic tradition. Many earlier, mainly non-Islamic traditions refer to him as still alive at the time of the invasion of Palestine. See Stephen J. Shoemaker,The Death of a Prophet: The End of Muhammad's Life and the Beginnings of Islam, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.
  2. ^ The Leadership of Muhammad at Google Books by John Adair
  3. ^ Quran 33:40
  4. ^ Morgan, Diane (2009). Essential Islam: A Comprehensive Guide to Belief and Practice. p. 101. ISBN 978-0313360251. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=U94S6N2zECAC&pg=PA101&dq=non-Muslims+Muhammad+%22founder+of+islam%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=YrDkT9bFLcab8QPa1-TPCg&ved=0CEkQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=non-Muslims%20Muhammad%20%22founder%20of%20islam%22&f=false. Retrieved $ July 2012.
  5. ^ Esposito (1998), p. 12.
  6. ^ Esposito (2002b), pp. 4–5.
  7. ^ Peters, F.E. (2003). Islam: A Guide for Jews and Christians. Princeton University Press. pp. 9. ISBN 0-691-11553-2.
  8. ^ Esposito, John (1998). Islam: The Straight Path (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 9,12. ISBN 978-0-19-511234-4.
  9. ^ a b c
  10. ^ a b Encyclopedia of World History (1998), p. 452
  11. ^ a b c d e f g An Introduction to the Quran (1895), p. 182
  12. ^ a b An Introduction to the Quran (1895), p. 184
  13. ^ F. E. Peters (2003), p. 9.
  14. ^ Esposito (1998), p. 12; (1999) p. 25; (2002) pp. 4–5
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao Alford Welch, Muhammad, Encyclopedia of Islam
  16. ^ Sahih-Bukhari, Book 43, #658
  17. ^ Sahih Bukhari Book 59, #641
  18. ^ Hisham Ibn Al-Kalbi - The Book of Idols. Translated by Nabih Amin Faris. Princeton University Press, pg. 21-22
  19. ^ "Muhammad," Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim world
  20. ^ a b See:
    • Holt (1977a), p.57
    • Lapidus (2002), pp 0.31 and 32
  21. ^ a b Ann Goldman, Richard Hain, Stephen Liben (2006), p. 212
  22. ^ Watt (1974) p. 231
  23. ^ Jean-Louis Déclais, Names of the Prophet, Encyclopedia of the Quran
  24. ^ a b c Uri Rubin, Muhammad, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  25. ^ Ernst (2004), p. 80
  26. ^ Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (2007). "Qurʾān". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-68890/Quran. Retrieved 2007-11-04.
  27. ^ Living Religions: An Encyclopaedia of the World's Faiths, Mary Pat Fisher, 1997, page 338, I.B. Tauris Publishers.
  28. ^ Quran 17:106
  29. ^ Rippin, Andrew (2005). Muslims: their religious beliefs and practices. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-415-34888-1. http://books.google.com/?id=4TQ5yvnpwBAC&pg=PA324&dq=quran+muhammad+biography#v=onepage&q=four%20times&f=false. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  30. ^ Clinton Bennett (1998). In search of Muhammad. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-0-304-70401-9. http://books.google.com/books?id=-VTIkkcUFHQC&pg=PA18.
  31. ^ Francis E. Peters (1994). Muhammad and the origins of Islam. SUNY Press. p. 261. ISBN 978-0-7914-1876-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=Jrq6boXdJOAC&pg=PA261.
  32. ^ a b Watt (1953), p.xi
  33. ^ Reeves (2003), pp. 6–7
  34. ^ a b S. A. Nigosian(2004), p. 6
  35. ^ Donner (1998), p. 132
  36. ^ Watt (1953), p.xv
  37. ^ a b Lewis (1993), pp. 33–34
  38. ^ Madelung (1997), pp.xi, 19 and 20
  39. ^ Walter Emil Kaegi, Jr., "Initial Byzantine Reactions to the Arab Conquest", Church History, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Jun., 1969), p. 139-149, p. 139-142, quoting from Doctrina Jacobi nuper baptizati 86-87
  40. ^ Philip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs, 10th edition (1970), p.112.
  41. ^ Watt (1953), pp.1–2
  42. ^ Watt (1953), pp. 16–18
  43. ^ Loyal Rue, Religion Is Not about God: How Spiritual Traditions Nurture Our Biological,2005, p.224
  44. ^ a b c John Esposito, Islam, Expanded edition, Oxford University Press, p.4–5
  45. ^ Ueberweg, Friedrich. History of Philosophy, Vol. 1: From Thales to the Present Time. Charles Scribner´s Sons. pp. 409. http://books.google.com.ar/books/p/pub-4297897631756504?id=GZfL4GsU3JAC&pg=PA409&dq=Hanifs&cd=2&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Hanifs&f=false.
  46. ^ See:
    • Esposito, Islam, Extended Edition, Oxford University Press, pp.5–7
    • Quran 3:95
  47. ^ Kochler (1982), p.29
  48. ^ cf. Uri Rubin, Hanif, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  49. ^ See:
    • Louis Jacobs(1995), p.272
    • Turner (2005), p.16
  50. ^ Esposito, John L. (ed.) (2003). The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. p. 198. ISBN 978-0195125580. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=E324pQEEQQcC&pg=PA198&dq=muhammad+birthday+Rabi%27+al-awwal&hl=en&sa=X&ei=cPXgT4XmE4-18QPB5byWDw&sqi=2&ved=0CEoQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=muhammad%20birthday%20Rabi%27%20al-awwal&f=false. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  51. ^ See also Quran 43:31 cited in EoI; Muhammad
  52. ^ a b Watt (1974), p. 7.
  53. ^ Ali, Wijdan (1999),p. 3
  54. ^ Josef W. Meri (2005), p. 525
  55. ^ Watt, Halimah bint Abi Dhuayb, Encyclopaedia of Islam
  56. ^ Watt, Amina, Encyclopaedia of Islam
  57. ^ a b c Watt (1974), p. 8.
  58. ^ Armand Abel, Bahira, Encyclopaedia of Islam
  59. ^ a b Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History (2005), v.3, p. 1025
  60. ^ Khan, Majid Ali (1998). Muhammad the final messenger (1998 ed.). India: Islamic Book Service. p. 332. ISBN 81-85738-25-4.
  61. ^ Esposito (1998), p. 6
  62. ^ Dairesi, Hırka-i Saadet; Aydın, Hilmi (2004). The sacred trusts: Pavilion of the Sacred Relics, Topkapı Palace Museum, Istanbul. Tughra Books. ISBN 978-1-932099-72-0.
  63. ^ Emory C. Bogle (1998), p.6
  64. ^ John Henry Haaren, Addison B. Poland (1904), p.83
  65. ^ Brown (2003), pp. 72–73
  66. ^ Quran 96:1–5
  67. ^ See:
    • Emory C. Bogle (1998), p.7
    • Razwy (1996), ch. 9
    • Rodinson (2002), p. 71.
  68. ^ Quran 93:3
  69. ^ Brown (2003), pp. 73–74
  70. ^ Uri Rubin, Muhammad, Encyclopedia of the Quran
  71. ^ "Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement". Cmje.org. http://www.cmje.org/religious-texts/hadith/bukhari/001-sbt.php. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
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  73. ^ Daniel C. Peterson, Good News, Encyclopedia of the Quran
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  75. ^ a b Watt (1953), p. 86
  76. ^ Ramadan (2007), p. 37–9
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  78. ^ F. E. Peters (1994), p.169
  79. ^ a b c Uri Rubin, Quraysh, Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an
  80. ^ Jonathan E. Brockopp, Slaves and Slavery, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
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  83. ^ Peters (1999) p. 172.
  84. ^ The Cambridge companion to Muhammad (2010), p.35
  85. ^ Kuran, Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd Edition, Vol. 5 (1986), p. 404
  86. ^ Shahab Ahmed, Satanic Verses, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  87. ^ F. E. Peters (2003b), p. 96
  88. ^ a b c Moojan Momen (1985), p. 4
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  90. ^ Oleg Grabar (1 October 2006). The Dome of the Rock. Harvard University Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-674-02313-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=OeIOowshe6EC&pg=PA14. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
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  117. ^ Lewis(2002), p. 44
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  119. ^ Russ Rodgers, The Generalship of Muhammad: Battles and Campaigns of the Prophet of Allah (University Press of Florida; 2012) ch 1
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  121. ^ F. E. Peters (25 July 2005). The Monotheists: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conflict and Competition, Volume I: The Peoples of God. Princeton University Press. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-691-12372-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=RsafPfUjC6EC&pg=PA88. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  122. ^ Watt (1961), p. 132.
  123. ^ Watt (1961), p. 134
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  125. ^ C.F. Robinson, Uhud, Encyclopedia of Islam
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  127. ^ Watt (1974) p. 137
  128. ^ David Cook(2007), p.24
  129. ^ See:
    • Watt (1981) p. 432;
    • Watt (1964) p. 144.
  130. ^ a b Watt (1956), p. 30.
  131. ^ Watt (1956), p. 34
  132. ^ Watt (1956), p. 18
  133. ^ Rubin, Uri (1990). "The Assassination of Kaʿb b. al-Ashraf". Oriens 32 (1): 65–71. doi:10.2307/1580625. JSTOR 1580625.
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  136. ^ Watt (1956), p. 35
  137. ^ Watt (1956), p. 36, 37
  138. ^ See:
    • Rodinson (2002), pp. 209–211;
    • Watt (1964) p. 169
  139. ^ Watt (1964) pp. 170–172
  140. ^ Peterson(2007), p. 126
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Further reading

External links

Other biographies


Two Cities Of Death To Non-Muslims That Enter

Nirosh Kamanda, a Christian from Sri Lanka, had a visa to work as a truck driver in Dammam, a town on the Persian Gulf. But after a short time, he illegally left his job and even more illegally entered Mecca – strictly forbidden to non-Muslims – where he sold goods near the Grand Mosque. When questioned by the police, he claimed he had overstayed his umra visa, which allows a Muslim to go on pilgrimage outside of the hajj season. But the police, benefiting from a new fingerprint system, quickly established who he was and arrested him. Kamanda admitted his identity and having come to Mecca to earn money. "I heard that Makkah is a safe place, where I could hide my identity."


Comment: (1) One wonders what Kamanda's fate might be. Deportation, prison, corporal punishment, or even death?

(2) The day the ban on non-Muslims from Mecca and Medina (see the road sign to this effect) emerges as an issue in intra-Muslim debates will be the day one can say that reform of the religion has begun. (May 21, 2007)

May 20, 2009 update: Aymenn Jawad writes in a comment to this blog today that "Nirosh Kamanda was detained and sent to Jeddah. He then faced a trial in a Shari'a court with the Minister of Interior deciding on a punishment based on the recommendations of a judge. However, his fate after this is unknown and will probably never be revealed."

Muhammad’s atrocity against the Qurayza Jews

 1 How Sad made him glad

James M. Arlandson

In AD 627, Muhammad committed an atrocity against the last remaining major tribe of Jews in Medina: the Qurayza.

He beheaded the men and the pubescent boys and enslaved the women and children. In doing this, he wiped an entire tribe "off the map" to use the language of the President of Iran, recently.

The purpose of this article is full disclosure and straightforward analysis about early Islam. How and why did this atrocity unfold?

2 Background

The immediate background of this mass extermination and enslavement is the Battle of the Trench (or Ditch), in February-March-April (the exact calculations vary), AD 627. This battle—though it ended up being a siege—pitted a coalition of Quraysh (a large tribe in and around Mecca) against Muslims and some Medinan non-Muslims. The Quraysh also had allies: the Ghatafan (northern Arab tribes to the east of Medina and Mecca) and an assortment of smaller tribes. As for the Muslims, prominent Islamologist W. M. Watt says that on the eve of battle, Muhammad’s army consisted of "practically all the inhabitants of Medina with the exception of the Jewish tribe of Qurayzah, who seem to have tried to remain neutral. There were some Medinans in league with the Meccans, but they were presumably . . . exiled from Medina for the time being" (Muhammad at Medina, p. 36).

For the size of the two armies, the standard figure for the Meccans and their allies is 10,000, but one Muslim scholar says that the coalition of pagans may have reached 12,000 (Maududi vol. 3, p. 63). However, Watt says of the coalition: "The numbers given for the various contingents [the coalition was divided into three corps], however, do not add up to more than about 7,500. The Meccans themselves had about 300 horses and the nomadic tribes a similar number" (Statesman, pp. 166-67). On the Muslim side, the standard figure that is widely accepted is 3,000. They had no cavalry to speak of.

The larger background of this atrocity against the Jews reveals that Muhammad had already expelled two tribes of Jews: the Qaynuqa in AD 624 and the Nadir in AD 625.

It is unclear why the prophet expelled the first tribe, the Qaynuqa. One source says that these Jews waged war on Muhammad, but this is unlikely since he was flushed with victory over the Meccans at the Battle of Badr, only a month before. But perhaps this exaggeration reflects at least some level of conflict between the two sides. Another source says that some Jews played a trick on a Muslim woman, but this too is unlikely, since the trick is found in Arabic literature. These Jews controlled the market of crafts and trade, and the new Muslim immigrants to Medina were craftsmen, so maybe this is the reason. Regardless, the results worked out the same. After being besieged in their fortress for fifteen days, they were expelled, and the Muslims took over the crafts. "The Banu [tribe] Qaynuqa did not have any land, as they were goldsmiths [and armor-makers]. The Messenger of God took many weapons belonging to them and the tools of their trade" (Tabari, vol. 7, p. 87).

About the Nadir tribe, an early Muslim source says that Muhammad suspected an assassination attempt, while he was collecting some blood-wit money (compensation for bloodshed) from the tribe. Muhammad called on his followers to wage war on them, besieging them in their strongholds for fifteen days in August. Muhammad set about destroying their palm trees. Their livelihood undergoing destruction, they surrendered and departed for the north. Muhammad confiscated their property, just as he took the tools of the Nadir tribe.

The upshot of all of this is clear. The conflict between Muslims and Jews is escalating, and the prophet for all of humanity is about to impose the ultimate penalty on the last remaining major tribe of Jews in Medina. And he will take their property, as well.

Sources: W. M. Watt, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, Oxford UP, 1961, pp. 130-31; 148-51; 166-67; Muhammad at Medina, Oxfored UP, 1956; Sayyid Abul A’La Maududi, The Meaning of the Qur’an, vol. 3; Ibn Ishaq, Life of Muhammad, trans. A. Guillaume, Oxford UP, 1955, pp. 363-64; 437-45. Ibn Ishaq (d. 767) valuable and reliable source by modern scholars, except for some chronology and the miraculous elements. Tabari, The Foundation of the Community, trans. M.V. McDonald and annotated by W. M. Watt (SUNYP, 1987), pp. 85-87; 156-61. Tabari (d. 923) is also considered a reliable source, except for some chronology and the miraculous elements.

3 What started the Battle of the Trench?

Many causes feed into any conflict, but one stands out. Muslim raiders harassed Meccan trade. Modern Saudi biographer Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri expresses the right idea: . . . "[I]t was wise for the Muslims to bring the commercial routes leading to Makkah [Mecca] under their control" (p. 201). Then he lists eight raids between 623 and the Battle of Badr in AD 624. In each one, Muslims were the aggressors, to accomplish the big objective of strangling Mecca’s trade. These raids that sometimes involved hundreds of men continued steadily from that time to the Battle of the Trench. The Meccans had had enough. So they wanted to finish off Islam, once and for all.

From Muhammad’s point of view, he wanted the Kabah shrine in Mecca, and if this goal involved hindering Meccan trade, then so be it. Two early Medinan suras or chapters (2 and 8) reveal his outlook. Sura 2:189-196 and 216-218 command Muslims to fight the Quraysh because this tribe wanted to control their own shrine, even if this entailed prohibiting the Muslims, who were hampering the large tribe’s trade, from visiting it. Next, Sura 2:125-129 asserts without a shred of evidence that Abraham built and purified the shrine, and now Muhammad the monotheist is the best representative of this patriarch. He claimed this while he lived in Mecca, too (Sura 14:35-41). So in effect the shrine belonged to him by revelation, before it actually did by conquest (in early AD 630). Finally, in Sura 8:30-40, the prophet recounts his persecution back in Mecca and why the Quraysh are not the rightful guardians of the shrine. They barred people from it—never mind that about eight years later the prophet will bar pagans from the shrine. All Arab polytheists will be forced to convert or die.

It is impossible (for me at least) to escape the impression that if Muhammad had put aside this desire to control the Kabah, then much of the conflict between him and the Quraysh would never have erupted in the first place. But the shrine was a popular place of religious pilgrimage, so how could he allow religious freedom for polytheists?

Were the Jews involved in the start of the Battle of the Trench? The Islamic sources say that they stirred up the Meccans against the Muslims.

 4 Early biographer Ibn Ishaq says:

A number of Jews who had formed a party against the apostle, among whom were Sallam b. Abu’l-Huqayq al-Nadir [he had been assassinated so the chronology or his placement here is off], and Huyayy b. Aktab al-Nadri, and Kinana b. Abu’l-Huaqayq al-Nadri, and Hauda b. Qays al-Wa’ili, and Abu Ammar al-Wa’ili with a number of B. [Bani or tribe or clan] Nadir and B. Wa’il, went to the Quraysh at Mecca and invited them to join them in an attack on the apostle so that they might get rid of him altogether. (p. 450).

How much did the Jews instigate the battle, and how much were the Meccans fed up with Muslim harassment on their own without Jewish provocation? This is unclear. But let us assume only for the sake of argument that the Islamic sources are right. These specific Jews were the principal instigators. In the end, this does not matter, for the following reason.

It is important to cite these (complex) names, above, because today’s Muslim polemicists who defend Muhammad’s extermination and enslavement of the Qurayza Jews overlook the fact that early Islam knew specifically who the enemy Jewish leaders were—by name. So did all the men and adolescent boys have to be executed and all the women and children enslaved? Could only the leaders not have been executed?

Sources: Ibn Ishaq; Tabari, The Victory of Islam, trans. M. Fishbein, vol. 8, (1997), pp. 6-7. Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar: Biography of the Noble Prophet, Darrusalam, 1996, p. 201. This biography was awarded first prize by the Muslim World League, but it is an encomium more than an objective biography.

 5 The Battle of the Trench

The Muslims dug trenches to the north of Medina, linking them to or near various high grounds (e.g. Mt. Sal, a hill in the central area of Medina) and other difficult spots (e.g. a marshy ground), in order to neutralize the Meccan cavalry and to avoid hand-to-hand pitched battles. The strategy of trenches was new to Arabia, and the early Islamic sources make much of it. The Muslim army bivouacked south of the trench with Medina at their backs, while the coalition camped north of the trench, facing Medina, with Mt. Uhud at their backs. The Jews retreated south of Medina, facing the back of the Muslim army.

Though the Muslims were under siege, which pressed them hard, the trenches indeed worked well. The coalition’s cavalry was stymied, except a foray that came to nothing. The Meccans tried to assault the trench, but they were easily repulsed. The Muslim sources say that Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, fought in a duel, which he won. Some arrows were shot, but that achieved nothing.

This must be emphasized: No real battles or warfare occurred, and this favored the outnumbered Muslims. Early biographer Ibn Ishaq says—and modern historians are in complete agreement—that "[t]he siege continued without any actual fighting" (p. 454). Early historian Tabari agrees: "The Messenger of God and the polytheists stayed in their positions for over twenty nights—nearly a month—with no warfare between the troops, except for the shooting of arrows and the siege" (vol. 8, p. 17). Again, modern western scholars agree on this point.

Even Allah in the Quran confirms this absence of pitched battle: 25 Allah turned back the unbelievers [Meccans and their allies] in a state of rage, having not won any good, and Allah spared the believers battle [q-t-l]. (Sura 33:25; for more analysis, see the section "the Quran," below)

It is important to realize this fact because Muslim polemicists assert or imply that the Jews actually fought the Muslims, so if the Jews were exterminated and enslaved, then it was their fault. But no full-scale battles ever took place, and the early sources say that the Jews remained in their houses and fortresses near Medina—that is, the sources do not depict them forcefully sallying out and attacking Muslims from behind.

Finally, the early sources say that a storm battered the coalition, and the Quran confirms this, implying also that supernatural forces joined in the fight: "You who believe, remember God’s goodness to you when mighty armies massed against you: We sent a violent wind and invisible forces against them. God sees all that you do" (Sura 33:9; Haleem, The Qur’an, Oxford UP, 2004).

In short, the coalition that had amassed against the Muslims in Medina was losing heart.

Besides Ibn Ishaq and Tabari, see the reliable hadith collector and editor Bukhari here and here. The hadith is the traditions about Muhammad outside of the Quran.

 6 The aftermath of the siege

The Meccans and their allies had to withdraw, for at least four reasons.

(6.1) As we just observed in the previous section, the Muslims had adopted an effective strategy: trenches.

No full-scale battle or warfare could take place, so the coalition was becoming discouraged. It is highly likely that the average soldiers saw that they would not be dividing up any spoils, and this added to their disheartenment.

(6.2) Early sources say that Muhammad was about to offer the Ghatafan tribe (a major part of the coalition) one-third of the date harvest, if they withdrew.

But before this offer, he consulted two of his own leaders, and they said that he should not make the deal. They would prefer to meet the coalition with the sword. This account may or may not be authentic. However, the prophet was, after all, under siege for nearly a month, and he wanted to relieve the pressure off of his Muslims. Though the offer may not have been made (and perhaps not even conceived), the narrative may reveal a weakening in the coalition, which Muhammad had observed.

(6.3) This weakening was indeed the case, which comes up in a tradition that scholars seem to accept, if only tentatively.

A recent convert to Islam, Nuaym, of the Ghatafan tribe, volunteered himself in any way that would help. Muhammad set out on a plan, using Nuaym’s affiliations with the Quraysh and the Jews as a ruse: "The apostle said: ‘You are only one man among us. Go and awake mistrust among the enemy to draw them off us if you can, for war is deceit’" (Ibn Ishaq, p. 458; see also Bukhari, and view the two hadiths below this linked one).

First, Nuaym goes to the Jews who were his drinking companions in the "Time of Ignorance." Deceitfully reminding the Jews of his special ties and affection for them, he tells them that the invaders are foreigners, so if the coalition leaves after a fight but wins no spoils and the Jews join them in battle, then the Jews will remain in their homes here in Medina, without any help, leaving them exposed and powerless. Thus, they should not fight with the coalition unless they take some hostages from some leaders of the Quraysh and Ghatafan to ensure that the pagan tribes would fight to the bitter end.

Nuaym then goes to the Quraysh polytheists. Deceitfully reminding them of his affection for them and how he has separated from Muhammad, he informs them that word has reached him that the Jews regretted how the relations between them and Muhammad had devolved. So they told the prophet that they would take some Quraysh leaders hostage, under the subterfuge that ensures that the Quraysh would fight hard. But in reality, the Jews would turn the hostages over to Muhammad. Nuaym said that the Quraysh should not take the deal because of this subterfuge. This would end the siege.

Finally, the Quraysh and the Jews communicated with each other, and they were on the verge of a full onslaught against the Muslims, but negotiations broke down. The Jews indeed asked for hostages to ensure that the Quraysh would fight to the very end, and the (forewarned) Quraysh turned the Jews down, fearing that the Jews would betray the noblemen to Muhammad.

(6.4) The coalition’s animals were dying.

This practical reason for the coalition’s withdrawal is beyond dispute. Generally, the Arabs did not feed their animals, in this case horses and camels, but allowed them to graze. However, Muhammad had ordered the Medinans to harvest early, so this took away the animals’ food. And even if he had not ordered this, then the pasture lands were gone after nearly a month. Indeed, the source documents say through the mouths of the Quraysh and Ghatafan to the Jews that "[t]hey had no permanent camp, that the horses and camels were dying."

To sum up this section, it may be said fairly that Muhammad won a great victory with little fighting. He had three thousand troops at this disposal. The only opposing tribe left in the region was the Jews. Nuaym the deceitful go-between was right up to a point. When the coalition left, the Jews were left powerless, outnumbered, and alone, without allies. This spells trouble for them.

Sources: Ibn Ishaq, p. 458-59; Tabari vol. 8, p. 23-24.

 7 The aftermath of the withdrawal for the Qurayza Jews

After the withdrawal of the coalition, the Jews were isolated, whereas Muhammad had 3,000 jihadists, signaling disaster for the Jews. The tragic drama unfolds in five stages.

(7.1) Traditions state that as the prophet was taking a bath, the (non-Biblical) angel Gabriel appeared to him.

Gabriel tells him the battle is not finished. Muhammad is ordered to fight the Qurayza Jews.

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 Bani [tribe] Quraiza. So Allah’s Apostle went out towards them. (Bukhari; see a parallel hadith here.)

This next hadith shows a regiment of Gabriel (Muslim warriors) marching towards the fortresses of the Jews.

Narrated Anas: As if I am just now looking at the dust rising in the street of Banu Ghanm (in Medina) because of the marching of Gabriel's regiment when Allah's Apostle set out to Banu Quraiza (to attack them). (Bukhari; see this parallel hadith: Muslim no. 4370 and see no. 4371)

These traditions about Gabriel’s leadership are designed to give divine support for the atrocity that is about to be unleashed. Today, we may see this as fanciful, but to millions of Muslims this is real. Be that as it may, one thing is clear. Muhammad had taken off his armor and was enjoying a bath, so he did not feel immediately threatened by these Jews. They had not lined up in battle array to wage war.

But even if Muhammad had felt threatened, why not expel the Jews? Soon Islam will be so powerful that it will expel all Jews (and Christians) from the Arabian Peninsula (see also these hadiths here and here). Muhammad had expelled two tribes of Jews a few years earlier. In fact, he conquers the mainly Jewish city of Khaybar in AD 628. Therefore, it would be inaccurate to assert that if Muhammad had simply expelled the Jews, they would constitute a later substantial and serious threat. He is on the rise militarily.

(7.2) It is odd that during Muhammad’s twenty-five-day siege of the Jews, he employed a poet to abuse them.

The Prophet said to Hassan, "Abuse them (with your poems), and Gabriel is with you (i.e. supports you)." (Through another group of sub-narrators) Al-Bara bin Azib said, "On the day of Quraiza’s (besiege), Allah's Apostle said to Hassan bin Thabit, ‘Abuse them (with your poems), and Gabriel is with you (i.e. supports you).’" (Bukhari)

This shows how valued poetry was in seventh-century Arabia. In some instances, it could resemble a smear campaign, to use the language of today. However, Muhammad assassinated poets who mocked him. But now that he has the power, he gets to employ a satirical poet without fear of reprisal. In fact, he refers to the Jews as brothers of monkeys, citing a legend that he believed, namely, that God turned some disobedient Jews into apes. (Ibn Ishaq, pp. 461-62).

(7.3) The Jews did not mount a strong resistance.

How could they do this, when Muhammad had just withstood such a large coalition and still had at his command 3,000 jihadists?

Then something strange happened while the Jews were negotiating the terms of surrender. They called for a man named Abu Lubabah, a nominal or half-committed Muslim who may have opposed Muhammad on several occasions. They asked him, "Abu Lubabah, do you think we should submit to Muhammad’s judgment?" He said yes, but then he gestured with his hand to his throat to indicate slaughter. Immediately afterwards, he felt that he had betrayed Muhammad. But why? Scholars are not sure. Maybe Abu Lubabah believed that he had signaled imminent death to the Jews, although Muhammad wanted to keep this brutality a secret. The Jews would have resisted submission on these gruesome terms. Watt speculates that the Muslim go-between may have been standing firm in his own clan’s alliance with the Jews and gave away too much information. Regardless, this must be emphasized: It is not whether he gestured that is in dispute, but the dispute is over why he felt that he betrayed Muhammad. Be that as it may, this means that the outcome was not in doubt—as the hand to the throat indicated.

Source: Ibn Ishaq, p. 462; Watt, Muhammad at Medina, pp. 188-89; 214-17

(7.4) Muhammad proposed that the Jews submit to the judgment of Sad bin Muadh.

He was the leader of a large Medinan tribe, the Aws (or Aus), some of whom favored old alliances with the Jews. The leader was an elderly man who was wounded during the siege. His verdict was short and simple—but bloody and cruel.

When the tribe of . . . Quraiza was ready to accept Sad’s judgment, Allah’s Apostle sent for Sad who was near to him. Sad came, riding a donkey and when he came near, Allah’s Apostle said (to the Ansar) [or Helpers], "Stand up for your leader." Then Sad came and sat beside Allah’s Apostle who said to him. "These people are ready to accept your judgment." Sad said, "I give the judgment that their warriors should be killed and their children and women should be taken as prisoners." The Prophet then remarked, "O Sad! You have judged amongst them with (or similar to) the judgment of the King Allah." (Bukhari; see parallel hadiths here, here, and here)

It should be noted from this passage that Sad bin Muadh sat next to Muhammad. Was there undue influence from Muhammad on the wounded old man who was about to die and meet Allah? Muhammad had often preached hell fire in the mosque. That is, Sad knew that he was dying, so he wanted to demonstrate his allegiance to the prophet and Islam. The best way, as the circumstances presented themselves, was to decide on death and enslavement, the ultimate penalty signaling the ultimate commitment. Sad made the prophet glad. Shortly after this verdict the elder in fact died from his wound.

Sources: Ibn Ishaq, pp. 463-64; Tabari vol. 8, p. 34.

(7.5) The sentence: Death by decapitation for around 300-600 men and pubescent boys, and enslavement for the women and children. Ibn Ishaq says that the number may have been as high as 800-900 (p. 464).

Muhammad was wise enough to have six clans execute two Jews each in order to stop any blood-feuds. The rest of the executions were probably carried out by Muhammad’s fellow Emigrants from Mecca, as the heads and bodies were dragged into trenches in the business district of Medina.

Source: Watt, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, p. 174

 8 How did the executioners decide on which boy to slaughter or leave alive? This hadith gives the obvious answer.

Narrated Atiyyah al-Qurazi: I was among the captives of Banu [tribe] Qurayzah. They (the Companions) examined us, and those who had begun to grow hair (pubes) were killed, and those who had not were not killed. I was among those who had not grown hair. (Abu Dawud; see Ibn Ishaq, p. 466)

This next hadith indicates that a woman was delirious. She was killed.

Narrated Aisha . . . No woman of Banu [tribe] Qurayzah was killed except one. She was with me, talking and laughing on her back and belly (extremely), while the Apostle of Allah . . . was killing her people with the swords. Suddenly a man called her name: Where is so-and-so? . . . I asked: What is the matter with you? She said: I did a new act. [Aisha] said: The man took her and beheaded her. [Aisha] said: I will not forget that she was laughing extremely although she knew that she would be killed. (Abu Dawud)

The following narrative says that Muhammad took one woman for himself.

The apostle had chosen one of their women for himself, Rayhana bint Amr . . . one of the women of . . . Qurayza, and she remained with him until she died, in his power. The apostle had proposed to marry and put a veil on her, but she said: "Nay, leave me in your power, for that will be easier for me and for you." So he left her. She had shown repugnance towards Islam when she was captured and clung to Judaism. (Ibn Ishaq, p. 466)

Shortly afterwards, though, she converted to Islam and a messenger informed Muhammad of this, and he reacts to the good news: "This gave him pleasure." It is wrong to believe that this was Muhammad’s motive to execute so many Jews, but this woman does provide an unforeseen, extra benefit.

This hadith gives a hint on how the wealth was distributed.

People used to give some of their date palms to the Prophet (as a gift), till he conquered Bani [tribe] Quraiza and Bani An-Nadir, whereupon he started returning their favors. (Bukhari; see a parallel hadith here)

More specifically, Ibn Ishaq says the spoils were divided among the Muslims thus:

Then the apostle divided the property, wives, and children . . . among the Muslims, and he made known on that day the shares of horse and men, and took out the fifth. A horseman got three shares, two for the horse and one for the rider. A man without a horse got one share (p. 466).

A jihadist horseman was generally wealthier than a horseless jihadist, so this reveals elitism in "egalitarian" Islam. Also, Muhammad was unable to collect any spoils from the departed Meccans and their allies, so how was he supposed to reward his jihadist? The wealth of the Jews. Apart from the details of how the prophet distributed the spoils here, the division of twenty percent for him and eighty percent for his warriors conforms to a "revelation" just after the Battle of Badr in AD 624. In Sura (Chapter) 8:1 and 41, which deals with this battle, Allah grants him and his fighters these percentages.

Allah also allows jihadists to have sex with female slaves. Do we need to discuss this topic any further in the context of these Jewish women and girls?

Sources: Ibn Ishaq, pp. 464-66; Tabari, vol. 8, pp. 27-41.

 9 Summary of the aftermath for the Jews

Since all the names and politics can be confusing, here is a quick overview of the facts found in the previous section "the aftermath for the Qurayza Jews."

9.1 After the Meccans and their allies depart, the Jews are left powerless and outnumbered before 3,000 Muslim jihadists.

9.2 While the Jews were negotiating the terms of surrender with Abu Lubabah, he gestures to his throat, which indicates slaughter. This means that the flow of the events headed in one direction.

9.3 Sad bin Muadh is the leader of the Aws tribe.

9.4 This tribe had old alliances, whatever they were, with the Qurayzah tribe of Jews.

9.5 However, the Aws fought alongside Muhammad.

9.6 The Jews sided with the coalition (though the Jews did not actually fight).

9.7 Thus, the old alliances between the Aws and Jews are weakening.

9.8 After Muhammad’s attack on the Jews, some of the Aws plead with Muhammad to be lenient, such as expulsion.

9.9 Muhammad turns down this request for mercy—a key point, which supports no. 2. The outcome is never in doubt.

9.10 Instead, Muhammad appoints Sad bin Muadh to decide, and everyone agrees to abide by his decision.

9.11 Sad decrees slaughter and enslavement, wanting to firm up his allegiance to Islam before he dies. He dies shortly thereafter from his wound.

9.12 Muhammad says that Sad’s verdict is the judgment of "King Allah." It is right and just. Sad makes him glad.

9.13 Even though everyone agrees to abide by the verdict, Muhammad still does not show mercy, as the men and boys are handcuffed behind their backs and beheaded, and the women and children are enslaved. He takes one of the beautiful, recently "widowed" Jewish women for himself instead of taking the path of mercy.

9.14 Muhammad gets twenty percent of the Jewish property (movable, immovable and human), and the jihadists get eighty percent, to be distributed as he sees fit.

In any steps leading up to an atrocity, something wrong is bound to be revealed, and this appears to be no. 9. As noted, Muhammad could have exiled the Jews, as he had done to the Jewish tribes of Qaynuqa and Nadir a few years earlier. Or he could have executed only the leaders, if he believed that they stirred up his enemies—assuming that they really did this, as the Islamic sources allege.

Something is also wrong with step no. 13. Even though everyone agreed to abide by the verdict, who could have complained—justly complained—if Muhammad had announced this? "We agreed to abide by the tribal chief’s verdict, but as I watch the men and boys being handcuffed and observe all the tears from the women and children, I’m sure no one would object if we showed mercy and exiled them and executed only the few trouble-makers. After all, I often say that Allah is most merciful. I set the example for my community and the world!" But this is wishful thinking. He took one of the beauties (now a widow) for himself, instead.

Why does he not show mercy? The answer is found in no. 14. Muhammad needs to reward his jihadists, since they collected no spoils from the departed coalition—Allah gives him permission in Sura 33:27 (see the next section, "the Quran"). And what makes this entire episode doubly heinous is that Muhammad and his jihadists could have had all of the wealth of the Jews after their banishment, but he still did not take this merciful option. But if he had taken it, would he have earned all the money (and a new "bride") coming from the enslavement of Jewish women and children?

 The Quran

Allah seems to celebrate this slaughter and enslavement in Sura 33:25-27:

25 Allah turned back the unbelievers [Meccans and their allies] in a state of rage, having not won any good, and Allah spared the believers battle [q-t-l]. Allah is, indeed, Strong and Mighty. 26 And He brought those of the People of the Book [Qurayza] who supported them from their fortresses and cast terror into their hearts, some of them you slew [q-t-l] and some you took captive. 27 And he bequeathed to you their lands, their homes and their possessions, together with land you have never trodden. Allah has power over everything. (Majid Fakhry, An Interpretation of the Qur’an, NYUP, 2004; insertions are mine)

 11 These verses reveal three unpleasant truths.

First, Allah helps the Muslims in warfare or battle (three-letter Arabic root is q-t-l in v. 25) against a much-larger foe, so Allah endorses Islam in battle. Also, verse 25 confirms that Muhammad had nothing substantial to fear from the Jews. "Allah turned back the unbelievers . . . and Allah spared the believers battle." In down-to-earth terms, Muhammad still had at his disposal a large, weather-beaten army. The prophet had expelled two other tribes (Qaynuqa and Nadir), so he could have done the same to the Qurayza—as indeed they requested. But the prophet for humanity declined this merciful and humane option.

Second, Allah permits the enslavement and beheading of Jews, so any Muslim familiar with the background of this verse knows that beheading as such has been assimilated into the Quran. The word q-t-l in verse 26 means slaughter. What is so troubling about the verse is that it seems to celebrate the "terror" that Allah threw into the Jews’ hearts. Indeed, when Abu Lubabah the mediator approached the Jews during negotiations, the women and children were crying. Allah gladly terrorized them.

Finally, Allah permits Muhammad to take the Jewish clan’s property on the basis of conquest and his possession of all things. This is a dubious revelation and reasoning. Allah speaks, and this benefits Muhammad materially. This happens too often in Muhammad’s life.

If anyone is looking for a down-to-earth reason for Muhammad’s attack on the Qurayza Jews (instead of "Gabriel’s leadership"), then he does not need to look any further than verse 27. The prophet confiscated wealth. After all, the Meccans and their allies withdrew without allowing Muslims to take their wealth. So how was Muhammad going to reward his jihadists? He was following a bad custom of winner-take-all in seventh-century Arabia. It is a pity that he could not rise above this, as the prophet for all of the world, the last and the best of all the prophets.

For more translations of these verses, the readers may go to three sites: this one has multiple translations; this one has three; and this conservative translation is subsidized by the Saudi royal family.

12 Defenses of this atrocity

(12.1) Muhammad was following his culture.

W. M. Watt follows this tact. He writes:

So far were the Muslims who killed them [the Qurayza Jews] from feeling any qualms that one of them, describing the return from the deed, wrote that they returned with the head of their victim "five honorable men, steady and true, and God was with the sixth of us." This is so much in keeping with the spirit of pre-Islamic times that it is almost certainly authentic; but, even if not, it shows the attitude of the early Muslims. (Muhammad at Medina, p. 328)

This is a remarkable statement from Watt. Five Muslims (plus a sixth) returned after the executions, carrying the head of one of the slaughtered victims, and "God was with the sixth of us" (or the sixth Muslim). This represents the attitude of the early Muslims? God was with all of them during the slaughter? The problem with the "he’s only following his culture" defense is that Muhammad is no ordinary tribal leader; if he were, specialists in Arab culture might read about this atrocity and move on, concluding that, though a difficulty, it has no lasting impact. However, Muhammad claims universality for his religion. He and his followers after his death waged wars of worldwide conquest to prove this universality. Thus, the stakes are too high to retreat to this "culture" defense today.

(12.2) Muhammad was following the Law in the Old Testament.

This line of defense seems to say that the Qurayza Jews got what they deserved from their own Scriptures. If so, then this is a completely misguided comment on this atrocity against the Jews. This sectarian polemicist even quotes Deuteronomy 20:12-14 (see his note 26a. See this article at a Muslim website that quotes this passage in Deuteronomy and one in Numbers.)

In reply, however, this defense turns everything on its head and misapplies the true Scriptures. This severe command was given to Moses for a specific purpose and for a specific time (c. 1,400 BC) and for a specific place (the holy land). It was never intended to be followed outside of the holy land at a later, vaguer time and for self-serving purposes. Were the Qurayza Jews carrying out this ancient command of Moses in the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh century AD so that Muhammad had to take revenge? The corollary opposite is true. Even if we grant the non-Biblical prophet Muhammad credit for understanding the Torah (and that is giving him way too much credit because the Quran is filled with confusion about the Bible), then he was misinterpreting the Law of Moses by waging war at the wrong time, the wrong place, and for self-serving reasons. He is the one who forced Arab polytheists to convert or die; he is the one who said that all Jews and Christians should be forced out of the Peninsula.

However, to imply that Muhammad was carefully following the Old Law is to assume too much. Here are some areas in the Old Testament that Muhammad disobeys: adultery, and divorce; this article is a quick overview of other areas. So why should we take seriously this line of defense that says Muhammad was following the Old Testament?

Hence, this defense is yet another example of tribalism at its worst. Because the ancient Hebrews did this 2,000 years before Muhammad lived, he is justified in doing this to the Jews in his day in Medina. All the Jews of all times meld into one species—the same tribe. But this yanks a Biblical text way out of context and anachronistically misapplies it to another era and context. It is best to analyze Muhammad in his own context and set of circumstances. Did the Qurayza Jews really fight against him? No fighting took place, not even between the coalition and the Muslims.

Finally, Muhammad suffers from the distinct disadvantage of living six hundred years after Jesus, who showed us a better way. We compare—implicitly or explicitly—the two founders, and then the two diverge widely from each other. Thus, all reasonable people sense that this wholesale slaughter and enslavement is an unjustifiable atrocity.

For Christians, Jesus fulfills the aspect of warfare in the Old Testament. See this article on fulfillment and this one on how Christians benefit from the Old Testament. The geographically limited and time-specific wars in the Old Testament have been explained and contrasted with Islamic wars of world conquest in this article and this one. This article replies to Muslim polemics on the topic.

(12.3) The Jews broke (in this link find Sura 33) the treaty and fought against Muhammad.

Let’s take the two aspects (breaking the treaty and fighting) one at a time.

The Islamic sources say that the Jews broke the treaty, so let’s assume this, only for the sake of argument. Yet the early sources also reveal the specific names of the Jewish leaders who instigated the rupture in the treaty. Why did not Muhammad put only them on trial? Why did he have to exterminate every man and adolescent boy and enslave the women and children? This is tribalism at its worst—and greed for Jewish wealth (Sura 33:27).

As for fighting against Muslims, modern historians, using simple logic and the early sources, agree that the Jews did not march out in battle formation; they never sallied out of their fortresses and killed Muslims en masse or even one of them, so the Jews did not actually fight. In fact, no substantive fighting during the month-long siege took place even between the Quraysh and Ghatafan on the one hand and the Muslims on the other. Moreover, after these allies withdrew from Medina, Muhammad was too strong militarily, for he still had at his disposal 3,000 hardened veterans. This is why the Jews never mounted a vigorous resistance when they were besieged. Finally, the Quran says that the Muslims were spared a battle. Allah says in Sura 33:25 that he turned away the huge coalition. So how was Muhammad really threatened by a Jewish sub-group that was much smaller than the Quraysh and Ghatafan?

Also, as noted briefly, the numbers do not add up for an attack by the Jews after the coalition left. Recall that Ibn Ishaq says that possibly 900 Jewish men and pubescent boys were butchered. Let’s grant that number for a moment. On the other side, the sources say that Muhammad had 3,000 men in his army. How could 900 men and boys fight against 3,000 jihadists? Even if we double the number to 1,800 Jewish men and boys, how could they fight against a large Muslim army that had just withstood a huge coalition of non-Muslim tribes? What about the Medinan Arab tribe, the Aws, who still had alliances, such that they were, with the Jews? The Aws fought for Muhammad; would they now fight against him? No evidence suggests even a hint that the Aws were on the verge of switching sides. The alliances quickly dissolved into thin air. To repeat, Muhammad was never seriously threatened or in real jeopardy from the Jews. If he imagined Gabriel commanding him to fight, then Muhammad was actually adding up these numbers. He correctly concluded that the Jews were isolated and outnumbered and that he could do what he wanted with them.

But Muslim polemicists do not allow this high number for the Jews, for it makes Muhammad’s atrocity seem worse, if that is possible. Sectarian Maulana Muhammad Ali says that the number of Jews was 300 (see note 26a). Paradoxically, and perhaps unwittingly, this commentator makes the prophet of humanity seem worse with this low number. In no way were 300 Jewish men and boys ever a real threat against 3,000 Muslim jihadists. Clearly, expulsion of the Jewish community was the better option, not butchery and enslavement. But Muhammad was unable to collect any spoils from the departed Meccans and their allies, so he looked to the Jews. The women and children became human spoils.

This inconsistency happens too often in Muslim polemics. For example, Muhammad assassinated individual critics and opponents. To justify this, polemicists argue that he was defending a fragile and fledgling community. On the other hand, other polemicists argue that Islam was a strong and full-fledged State, so it was allowed to protect its "dignity. The key is to choose the contradictory argument that fits the need at the moment.

Finally, to the victor goes the writing of the history books. Muhammad is the one who gets to call the actions of the Jews a break in the treaty. But are they the only ones to blame? When Muhammad moved to Medina in AD 622, three major tribes of Jews thrived in Yathrib (pre-Islamic name of Medina). When he dies of a fever in AD 632, no major group was left, and the number of individual Jews is in dispute. In these ten years Muslim polemicists would have us believe that all conflicts were everyone else’s fault. When Muhammad either sent out or went out on seventy-four raids, small assassination hit squads, or full scale wars, he was always acting defensively and hence justly. However, this is absurd on its face, as anyone who knows human nature must conclude. In the complicated give-and-take of many wars and conflicts, it is rarely only one side that is blameless entirely. More to the point, when did the Jews ever slaughter Muslim men and boys and enslave women and children, so that Muhammad would be justified in taking like-for-like revenge on them after the allies left?

Thus, even if we assume that the Jews broke the treaty, and even if we assume—contrary to fact—that the Jews forcefully fought against Muhammad before and after the coalition left, he still did not have to kill every man and every pubescent boy and enslave all the women and children, did he? Could he not have set the example for the world and punish them in a more lenient and humane way?

(12.4) Sad bin Muadh, the leader of the Aws, made the decision, so Muhammad is blameless.

As already noted, this line of defense is wrong. Muhammad could have called off the trial. Some of the Aws begged him to show mercy, but he turned down this request. Next, he could have told imaginary Gabriel (read: the prophet’s calculations) to get lost. Further, passing off the verdict to Sad bin Muadh reveals not only extra-sly political acumen in Muhammad, but also cowardice. He did not want to make this hard decision. Maybe he feared the old alliances between the Aws and the Jews, but the alliances did not last. The Aws fought for Muhammad, whereas the Jews opposed him. Would the Aws flip-flop so easily? This did not happen in point of fact. Be that as it may, Sad sat next to Muhammad, and when Sad issued the verdict, he made the prophet glad. "O Sad! You have judged amongst them with (or similar to) the judgment of the King Allah." Was there undue influence from Muhammad on Sad who was dying and about to meet Allah?

(12.5) Put in perspective, the atrocity is no big deal.

Reza Aslan, a young intellectual Iranian, in his book No god but God (Random House, 2005), says that the Qurayza tribe amounted to a tiny fraction of Jews in Medina and its environs (p. 94). Therefore, Muhammad’s execution of them is not a "genocide" (Aslan’s word). His implication is that this act against one tiny tribe of Jews is minor and therefore not extreme, but proportional.

In reply, however, the number of the Jews who remained in Medina is under dispute, but the evidence suggests that there was not one dominant group, though individuals may have been left (Watt, Muhammad at Medina, pp. 216-17). Next, tribalism ruled in Arab culture (and still does in many places), and Muhammad eliminates an entire tribe. Though not a genocide, it is excessive even for the Jews’ "brazen" (Aslan's word) crime. It is simply underhanded to throw in the word "genocide" as if it is supposed to make Muhammad’s excessive punishment seem acceptable. Eliminating a tribe? That’s no big deal when we compare it to a genocide, so Aslan implies. This kind of confused defense of Muhammad’s indefensible actions permeates Muslim literature today.

(12.6) The West has committed atrocities, so who are Christians to complain?

The answer to this is simple. First, the West and Biblical Christianity are not identical. Second, it is always better to compare a founder (Jesus) of a religion with another founder (Muhammad). And this is where the similarities break down completely. Third, the Medieval Crusaders are not foundational for Christianity. Only Jesus and the New Testament authors are. Fourth, the "West" does not claim divine inspiration, but Muhammad did.

Despite these six defenses, anyone whose mind has not been steeped in a lifetime of devotion to Islam knows that Muhammad’s action was factually and objectively excessive, regardless of his culture that he lived in. And excess is never just, as even Allah himself states when he rebukes his favorite prophet for another of his acts of cruelty (see this hadith, Abu Dawud 4357, and this article). Sadly, though, Allah does not reprimand his favorite prophet, but celebrates the atrocity in Sura 33:25-27.

13 Conclusion

Muslim polemical and outreach websites often assert that Islam promotes human rights. It is impossible to see how they can say this honestly and at the same time appeal to the origins of their religion.

This whitewash is deceitful at best and dangerous at worst, if or when Islam gets a foothold in a region on the pretence of "peace and love." Maybe sleepy Westerners and others will accept this benign version of Islam—in fact too many are, right now. But what happens later when hard-line Muslims (not to mention nonviolent and violent fanatics) cite the numerous brutal verses in the Quran and passages in the hadith to inflict barbarity on people, especially on Jews?

The evidence in this article alone demonstrates that violence is embedded in original Islam. Even a reliable hadith shows Allah reprimanding Muhammad for another of his cruelties.

It is time for Muslim leaders to renounce violence clearly and specifically, not vaguely: "Yes, we denounce all forms of violence" . . . . They must go deeper than this. They must stop denying the dark past, found in the Quran itself and in the example of their prophet. They must, instead, be clear. "We denounce these specific verses and passages in the Quran and hadith that are violent. These specific acts and words happened in the seventh century (and later centuries), and we have moved beyond all of them. We now want peace."

A peaceful presentation of Islam is not full disclosure. It is time to be honest. Only then can interfaith dialogue even begin.

14 Supplemental Material

See this series of articles for more information on Muhammad’s atrocity against the Qurayza Jews.

This article is an overview of Muhammad’s relations with the Jews.

My own article, Muhammad and the Jews, provides background information on the other tribes of Jews.

This webpage has many fine articles on Muhammad’s other questionable policies and practices.

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