Muhammad And The Jews of Madina

Muhammad And The Jews of Madina – Full Guide

Learn all about Prophet Muhammad and The Jews of Medina, and their population in Mekkah and Madina. And

The treatment of Prophet Muhammad to Jews of Madina reflects the real relationship between Judaism and Islam. Those who think that the 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.

How many Jewish Tribes in Madina? 

There were over 20 Jewish tribes in Madina, many of them were small and the majority actually accepted Islam. For example: Bani-Hadal, Bani-Awf, Bani-Thalaba, Bani-Akrima etc. The Three Biggest tripes of Jews in Madinah were: Quraidha, Qainuqah, And Nadeer. 

Jews came to Madinah from a very early age, some even claim since the time of Moses! But the most reliable account starts from the time of the first Babylonian exile, and they kept gathering in Madinah through the centuries, until the time of the prophet (PBUH).

  • Bani-Quraidha were counted between 600-900, 400 men, and the rests were women and children.
  • Bani-Nadeer were counted also more than 600 and lived in the southern part of Madinah. 
  • Bani-Qainuqah were counted around 700 men, and they were mainly merchants.  

Also, it’s worth mentioning that Jews also lived in many small villages and cities a bit distanced from Madinah. Places like Fadk, Taima’, and their greatest city Khaybar, where they were counted by the thousands, while in Madinah the trips were counted in the hundreds. 

The Reason why the Jews populated that area was that they knew from their books that a great prophet would be sent at that location, they settled there in hope that he would come from them and not the Arabs. 

The rights of Jews of Madina

Firstly, the Prophet acknowledged the rights of the Jews and Christians and accepted the presence of the Jews in Madina. 

For those who didn’t accept Islam the prophet (PBUH) guaranteed their rights, and wrote in the constitution of Madina: “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 Madina: “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 Madina: “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 Madina 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 judgments, 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 ….

What Did Mohamed Did To Jew In Madina?

When someone asks “What did Mohamed do to Jews in Madinah?” The Prophet treated all people well, including Jews. Allah (The One Creator of heavens and earth), enjoined fairness, kindness, good treatment and rendering back trusts with the Jews and others, as He, may He be glorified, said:

لَّا يَنْهَىٰكُمُ ٱللَّهُ عَنِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَـٰتِلُوكُمْ فِى ٱلدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَـٰرِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُقْسِطِينَ ٨
Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity”.

quran.com/60/8
  • Prophet Muhammad Used to Visit Sick Jews

There are a lot of examples in this regard, he used to visit their sick:

It was narrated by Anas ibn Maalik that a Jewish young man used to serve the Prophet and he felt sick. The Prophet came to visit him. He sat by his head and said: “Become Muslim.” The boy looked at his father, who was also by his head, and his father said to him: Obey Abu’l-Qaasim (i.e. a nickname of the prophet that means father of al-Qaasim; the prophet’s son who died young). So the young man became Muslim, and the Prophet left, saying, “Praise be to Allah Who has saved him from the Fire.”. [Al-Bukhaari 1356]

  • Prophet Muhammad Used to Accept Jews gifts

He used to accept their gifts. It was narrated by Anas ibn Maalik that a Jewish woman brought some poisoned mutton to the Prophet and he ate some of it. The Prophet used to forgive their mistreatment, and he told the people not to kill the woman, who had put the poison in the mutton. 

  • Prophet Muhammad Used to forgive the transgressors of Jews

In the rest of the narration mentioned above it says: she was brought to the Messenger of Allah and he asked her about that. She said:

I wanted to kill him. He said: “Allah will never give you the power to do that.” They said: Shall we kill her? He said: “No.”

[Al-Bukhaari (2617) and Muslim (2190)]

In fact, this accident also was told by Abu Hurayrah in Saheeh al-Bukhaari (3169) it says that this was done with the knowledge of the Jews and that they admitted that they had tried to kill him with poison. Yet despite that the Prophet -blessings, and peace be upon him- did not issue orders that revenge be taken on his behalf, but after that he executed her for the death of the prophet companion who had been with him and had eaten some of the poisoned mutton; his name was Bishr ibn al-Bara’.

  • Prophet Muhammad Prevented Jews from violating the sacred limits of the Muslims

On the other hand, the messenger did not allow the Jews to transgress the sacred limits of the Muslims, or to persist in that. He would punish anyone who transgressed against the Muslims, wronged them or overstepped the mark in doing so. 

For example, when some of the Jews of Banu Qaynuqaa‘ harassed a Muslim woman in the marketplace and did a trick to expose her body, they challenged the Prophet to fight, saying:

“O Muhammad, do not be deceived by the fact that you killed some of Quraysh, for they were unskilled and did not know how to fight; but if you fight us, you will find out that we are real men”
The Prophet confronted them and expelled them from the city (Al-Madina). That happened when the trouble caused by the Jew Ka‘b ibn Ashraf to the Muslims became grave and he began to impugn their honour and say things about their women in his poems, and he travelled to Makkah to spur the leaders of Quraysh against the Muslims, the Prophet -blessings and peace of Allah be upon him- issued orders to kill him.

  • Prophet Muhammad Used to Deal With Jews Properly Providing Exceeding not the limits 

To sum up, It is the wisdom of  Islam in dealing with the Jews. These are some of the treatments between the prophet and the Jews of Madina, which are mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah.

Believing in Torah and Gospel is one of the faith pillars in Islam, protecting Jews and Christian rights is in the Shariah law essentials, with no doubt that Shariah law also guarantees justice over them and even over Muslims in case of wrong behavior. 

It is worth of mentioning that the word “Ahlu-Dhimmah” that’s called for Christians and Jews in Islam is translated sometimes as “The Protected” as they are in Islam, and they are in most of the 50 Muslim countries worldwide.

 Were there Jews in Makkah?

There were no Jews in Makkah (The home city of Prophet Muhammed -peace be upon him-). Arabian Jews and Christians were clustered into tribes and lived in certain areas, while everywhere else Arabs barely knew anything about Christianity or Judaism other than the casual encounters with them.

Jewish tribes lived in Madina (named Yathrib before Islam) and there were no Jews in Makkah. This is why one of the many things that makes the Quran miraculous is how it mentions in detail many biblical stories even when the Prophet –peace be upon him- was still in Makkah, and then comment on it saying for example: 

تِلْكَ مِنْ أَنۢبَآءِ ٱلْغَيْبِ نُوحِيهَآ إِلَيْكَ ۖ مَا كُنتَ تَعْلَمُهَآ أَنتَ وَلَا قَوْمُكَ مِن قَبْلِ هَـٰذَا ۖ فَٱصْبِرْ ۖ إِنَّ ٱلْعَـٰقِبَةَ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ ٤٩ (سورة هود: 49)
“That is from the news of the unseen which We reveal to you, [O Muḥammad]. You knew it not, neither you nor your people, before this. So be patient; indeed, the [best] outcome is for the righteous.”

Surah Hud – 49

For more on Jews in Islam, please read the following article:

Children of Israel In Quran & In Islam – Full Guide! – Explore Islam (explore-islam.com)

References:

[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 .

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

[4] 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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