During the early days of Islam, Prophet Muhammad was unable to garner a lot of support in his birth city of Mecca.  Neither did he have substantial finances, nor militarily strong allies who would coerce others into coming into Islam.  The Quraish of Mecca were tolerant people and went along with the ‘teachings’ of Muhammad Ibn Abdullah for the sake of his uncle Abu Talib, who was one of the wealthier people in the city and the leader of the Banu Hashim clan.  Additionally, Muhammad’s first wife Khadija and her family were well established traders, so Muhammad was able to make his impression with their backing.  However, both Khadija and Abu Talib died in 619 AD leaving Muhammad vulnerable to other elders of Mecca. According to Ibn Sad, one of Muhammad’s companions, the opposition in Mecca started when Muhammad delivered verses that condemned idol worship and polytheism.  And then in 622 AD the local rulers forced Muhammad and his small band of followers to leave the city.  Ironically, Muhammad was extended an invitation of sorts to come to Yasrab (Madina) and act as an arbitrator between the various tribes there.  According to Islamic and Quranic explanation, those who migrated to Madina are called Muhajireen, and the locals who welcomes them in Madina, emptied their own houses to accommodate them are called Ansar.  Ansar comprised of 8 tribes residing in Madina, including the 3 prominent Jewish tribes.

Among the first things Muhammad did after reaching Yasrab, which was renamed Madina in honour of his arrival, was to have document drafted known as the Misaq-e-Madina (Covenant of Madina), among the eight Medinan tribes and Muslim emigrants from Mecca.  Afterwards, the 3 prominent Jewish tribes were sidelined one after the another, as people from other tribes who didn’t have powerful leaders pledged allegiance to Muhammad and became followers of Islam.  Here are some facts about the Jewish tribes and the fate they met after Makkans arrived:

1. Banu Nadir – Muhammad and his companions asked the tribe leaders for some money that had to be paid as Qisas (blood money) for some Muslims killed ‘by mistake’.  In reality, there was already a plan in place to get rid of them from Madina.  So a baseless reason was given whereby they were accused of plotting assassination of Muhammad and told to leave the city.  When they stood their ground with the help of Banu Qurayzah, much of their date palm orchards laden with fruit were set on fire, after a verse was sent approving of this act:

“What you (O Muslims) cut down of the palm-trees (of the enemy), or you left them standing on their stems, it was all by will of Allâh’ 59:5 Quran

After they decided to stand down and leave, an authentic source called Sunan Ibn e Dawood mentions that spoil divide from Banu Nadir property which was confiscated by the Muslims were at first were bestowed completely for the prophet himself.  The premise was that since there were no battle accident during this event, therefore the cavalry and the camel riders cannot claim share.  Afterwards, some part were given to 2-3 companions of Mohammad’s own choice.

2. Banu Qaynuqa – This was the Goldsmith and artisan tribe who depended completely on commerce and trade.  Muhammad gave them ultimatum that they should all convert to Islam or else wrath of Allah will upon them.  They declined as they felt they had support from other non Jew tribes of Madina.  However these tribes co opted with the Muslims and Banu Qaynuqa were also expelled.  It is said that Muhammad wanted to kill all men of the tribe but was convinced by one of the allies, chief of the Khazraj clan, to refrain from doing so.  Here is what Ibn Ishaq has written about it in his Seerat un Nabi

The Messenger of God besieged them until they surrendered at his discretion. ‘Abd Allah ibn Ubayy ibn Saul rose up when God had put them in his power and said, “Muhammad, treat my mawali well.” The Prophet turned away from him, and he put his hand into [the Messenger’s] collar. The Messenger of God said, “Let me go!” — He was so angry that they could see shadows in his face (that is, his face was colored). Then he said, “Damn you, let me go!” He replied, “No, by God, I will not let you go until you treat my mawali well. Four hundred men without armor and three hundred with coats of mail, who defended me from the Arabs and the non-Arabs alike, and you would mow them down in a single morning? By God, I do not feel safe, and I am afraid of what the future may have in store.” So the Messenger of God said, “They are yours.”

3. Banu Qurayza – The priestly tribe of Jews from Madinah, aligned with Arab tribe Aws, was attacked after the Battle of Trenches.  They were kept under siege for 25 days.  During this time, as their morale waned, they were suggested three alternative ways out of their predicament: embrace Islam; kill their own children and women, then rush out for a charge to either win or die; or make a surprise attack on the Sabbath. The Banu Qurayza asked to confer with Abu Lubaba, one of their allies from the Aws. As per Ibn Ishaq (Seerat un Nabi), Abu Lubaba felt pity for the women and children and advised the tribe to surrender.  What happened next is painful, horrible and unbelievable.  Muhammad decided to make an example out of Banu Qurayzah, as he had been coerced into sparing Jews from the previous to instanced.  The end result was ruthless killing of all men and children, and captivity of all women who were sold in open market.  This was AFTER Banu Qurayzah had decided to surrender unconditionally. Ibn Ishaq (Seerat un Nabi) describes the killing of the Banu Qurayza men as follows:

Then they surrendered, and the apostle confined them in Madina in the quarter of d. al-Harith, a woman of B. al-Najjar. Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches. Among them was the enemy of Allah Huyayy b. Akhtab and Ka`b b. Asad their chief. There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900. As they were being taken out in batches to the apostle they asked Ka`b what he thought would be done with them. He replied, “Will you never understand? Don’t you see that the summoner never stops and those who are taken away do not return? By Allah it is death!” This went on until the apostle made an end of them. Huyayy was brought out wearing a flowered robe in which he had made holes about the size of the finger-tips in every part so that it should not be taken from him as spoil, with his hands bound to his neck by a rope. When he saw the apostle he said, “By God, I do not blame myself for opposing you, but he who forsakes God will be forsaken.” Then he went to the men and said, “God’s command is right. A book and a decree, and massacre have been written against the Sons of Israel.” Then he sat down and his head was struck off.


Muslims tend to justify the numerous marriages of Muhammad by saying that they were politically motivated and were meant to make alliances with various groups. Furthermore, they point to the fact that most of his wives were widows.  The story of Kinana and Safiya is a cynical example of one of those marriages where Muhammad actually ordered the killing of the husband of Safiyya after which he married her. Both Kinana and Safiyya were from Abu Nadir, where Safiyya was the daughter of the Chief of this tribe and her mother was an elite from Banu Qurayzah.

The torture and killing of Kinana, the husband of Safiya is detailed on page 515 of Seerat un Nabi by Ibn Ishaq:
“Kinana b. Al-Rabi’, who had the custody of the treasure of Banu Al-Nadir, was brought to the apostle who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew (informer) came to the apostle and said he had seen Kinana going around a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, “Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?” he said Yes. The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr b. Al-’Awwam, “Torture him until you extract what he has,” so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the Apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.”
In the aftermath of this, here are the details as per Sahih Bukhari. reference 5.59.522:

“Narrated Anas bin Malik: “We arrived at Khaybar, and when Allah helped His Apostle to open the fort, the beauty of Safiyya bint Huyyai bin Akhtaq whose husband had been killed while she was a bride, was mentioned to Allah’s Apostle. The Prophet selected her for himself and set out with her, and when we reached a place called Sidd-as-Sahba,’ Safiya became clean from her menses then Allah’s Apostle married her. Hais (i.e. an ‘Arabian dish) was prepared on a small leather mat. Then the Prophet said to me, “I invite the people around you.” So that was the marriage banquet of the Prophet and Safiya. Then we proceeded towards Medina, and I saw the Prophet, making for her a kind of cushion with his cloak behind him (on his camel). He then sat beside his camel and put his knee for Safiya to put her foot on, in order to ride (on the camel).“
In another place in Sahih Bukhari 5.59.524:

“Narrated Anas:  The Prophet stayed for three rights between Khaybar and Medina and was married to Safiyya. I invited the Muslims to his marriage banquet and there was neither meat nor bread in that banquet but the Prophet ordered Bilal to spread the leather mats on which dates, dried yogurt, and butter were put. The Muslims said amongst themselves, “Will she (i.e. Safiyya) be one of the mothers of the believers, (i.e. one of the wives of the Prophet ) or just (a lady captive) of what his right-hand possesses” Some of them said, “If the Prophet makes her observe the veil, then she will be one of the mothers of the believers (i.e. one of the Prophet’s wives), and if he does not make her observe the veil, then she will be his lady slave.” So when he departed, he made a place for her behind him (on his and made her observe the veil.”
Quran 2.234 says that all widows and divorced women must wait for a period of 4months and 10 days before remarrying

“If any of you die and leave widows behind, they shall wait concerning themselves four months and ten days: When they have fulfilled their term, there is no blame on you if they dispose of themselves in a just and reasonable manner. And Allah is well acquainted with what ye do.”

So in effect, this ruling by Quran was disregarded by Prophet Muhammed as he did not wait for the 4 month period to be over.  Also, Safiya is said to be 19 years of age at this time, while Muhammad was 53.

The purpose of this article is to explain who the Ansar were, and how they invited their own disaster.  The reader can try and find parallels to these factual narrations in many parts of the world, including Israel and Europe.

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