Jews Of Madinah l

Those who think that disavowal of the distorted religion of the Jews necessitates mistreating them and taking away

Those who think that disavowal of the distorted religion of the Jews necessitates mistreating them and taking away their rights are mistaken. Prophet Muhammad instructed us to adhere to his guidance, as he said: “You must adhere to my Sunnah (i.e prophetic application of God’s orders and teachings).”; his teachings and his Sunnah show us the best example and guide us to the best of manners, especially in his interactions (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) with the followers of other religions.

Firstly, the Prophet acknowledged the rights of the Jews and Christians, and accepted the presence of the Jews in Madinah and wrote in the constitution of Madinah: “The Jews of Banu ‘Awf are one community with the believers”. He also guaranteed to them all kinds of rights. For example:

  1. The right for life: so he did not execute any Jew except one who committed an act of treachery and betrayal.
  2. The right to choose one’s religion: as he allowed them to carry on following their religion, and he did not force anyone to become Muslim, acting in accordance with the words of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted (interpretation of the meaning): “There is no compulsion in religion” [al-Baqarah 2:256]. He wrote in the constitution of Madinah: “The Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs…”
  3. The right to own property: He did not confiscate the property of any one of them; rather the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) approved of the Muslims doing business with them.
  4. The right for protection and defense: It says in the constitution of Madinah: “The Jews must bear their expenses (in war) and the Muslims their expenses. Each must help the other against anyone who attacks the people of this document.”
  5. The right of fair treatment and standing up against wrongdoing committed against anyone: This is affirmed in the constitution of Madinah in which it says: “To the Jew who follows us belong help and support. He will not be wronged nor shall his enemies be aided.”.

The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was fair in passing judgements, even if it was not in the favor of the Muslims. When the people of Khaybar killed ‘Abdullah ibn Sahl, the Prophet did not decide that they had to pay the diyah (compensation), and he did not punish them for their crime, because there was no clear evidence against them. The Prophet even paid his compensation from the wealth of the Muslims. The story is in al-Bukhaari (6769) and Muslim (1669). When al-Ash‘ath ibn Qays and a Jewish man referred a dispute to the Prophet concerning some land in Yemen, and al-Ash‘ath did not have any proof, the Prophet decided that the land belonged to the Jew, on the basis of his oath, as it says in al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

Believing in Torah and Gospel is one of the faith pillars in Islam ….

To be continued, in Jews of Madinah ll


[1] Narrated and classed as hasan by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Baari (7/332)

[2] This is mentioned in a lengthy story of events that occurred in Rabee‘ al-Awwal 3 AH, which was narrated by al-Bukhaari  and Muslim .

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