27 October 2023
Muhammadsa: The Great Exemplar
After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:
Accounts in the life of the Holy Prophetsa were being related. An incident of the Holy Prophetsa drawing the attention of his daughter and son-in-law towards the Tahajjud prayer is recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari as follows.
Hazrat Ali bin Abu Talibra relates that one day the Holy Prophetsa visited him and his own daughter, Hazrat Fatimahra and said: “Do both of you not offer the prayer?” I replied: “O Messengersa of Allah! Our lives are in the hands of Allah. He wakes us whenever He desires to do so.” (This is in relation to the Tahajjud prayer.) Hazrat Alira says that the Holy Prophetsa did not respond to this and left. While the Holy Prophetsa was leaving, I heard him saying the following whilst striking his thigh with his hands:
وَكَانَ الإِنْسَانُ أَكْثَرَ شَىْءٍ جَدَلاً
“But of all things man is most contentious. (18:55)” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab at-tahajjud, Bab tahridi n-nabisa ‘ala qiyami l-layli wa n-nawafil, Hadith 1127)
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has recorded the details of this incident in the following manner:
“One evening, the Holy Prophetsa visited his son-in-law, Hazrat Alira, and his daughter, Hazrat Fatimahra, and said: ‘Do you offer the Tahajjud prayer? (That is, the prayer that is offered in the middle of the night.) Hazrat Alira replied: ‘O Messengersa of Allah! We try to offer it. However, if, by the will of Allah, we remain asleep then it is missed.’ The Holy Prophetsa said: ‘You should offer the Tahajjud prayer!’ He then stood up and returned to his home and on his way out, he repeatedly said:
وَكَانَ الإِنْسَانُ أَكْثَرَ شَىْءٍ جَدَلاً
[But of all things man is most contentious. (18:55)]
“This is a verse of the Holy Quran, which means that a person is often afraid to admit their mistake and covers their flaw by presenting various excuses. What it meant was that instead of Hazrat Alira and Hazrat Fatimahra saying that they err at times, instead they said that ‘when Allah desires for us not to wake up, we remain asleep?’ They attributed their weakness to Allah the Almighty?” (Dibachah Tafsir-ul-Quran, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 20, pp. 389-390)
Expounding on this incident further, in one instance, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra says:
“Hazrat Alira relates an incident of his, which mentions that on one occasion, he responded to the Holy Prophetsa in a manner which carried a tone of argumentation and confrontation, but instead of the Holy Prophetsa being upset or displaying anger, he responded in such a subtle manner, that perhaps Hazrat Alira enjoyed the beauty of these words until the very last days of his life. Moreover, it was his due right to derive pleasure from it. Even today, whenever a wise person learns of how exquisitely the Holy Prophetsa expressed his displeasure, it leaves them astounded. Hazrat Alira relates, ‘One evening, the Holy Prophetsa visited me and Fatimat al-Zahrara, the daughter of the Holy Prophetsa, and said: “Do you not offer the Tahajjud prayer?” I replied: “O Messengersa of Allah! Our lives are in the hands of Allah the Almighty and whenever He desires to wake us, we wake up.” Upon hearing this, the Holy Prophetsa returned without saying anything to me. Then, whilst he turned to leave, he struck his own thigh and said, “But of all things, man is most contentious.”’
Glory be to Allah! How extraordinary was the way in which the Holy Prophetsa explained to Hazrat Alira that he should not have responded in this manner. If it was someone else [responding], they first would have started arguing, that ‘look at my position and status and look at your answer; do you have any right to dismiss my words in such a fashion?’ If this were not the case, then, at the very least, they would have argued, ‘your claim is completely false, which is that a human is compelled in that all their actions are in Allah’s control; and that He forces you to act however He wills, and if He wishes, He either enables you to pray or He does not.’ The Holy Prophetsa could have said that the question of compulsion is completely against the Holy Quran. The Holy Prophetsa could have said all of this. But he did not adopt these two methods; neither did he get upset at him, nor did he argue with Hazrat Alira to highlight his mistake. Rather, he moved to one side and expressed shock at his answer, saying, ‘people are very strange: they take a particular point which benefits them and begin to argue over it.’
In reality, this simple statement of the Holy Prophetsa was so impactful that even a 100 arguments of another person is no match in comparison. We can learn many things from this Hadith.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further analyses this and states, “Different aspects of the Holy Prophet’ssa morals come to light through this; and it is appropriate to mention them here.
“Firstly, we see how much the Holy Prophetsa cared for the spiritual wellbeing of those close to him, in that he would visit them at night [to advise them]. There are many people who are pious themselves and exhort others to be pious as well, but the condition of their own homes is dire. They do not even have the ability to reform the people of their own households. There is a well-known idiom regarding such people that ‘there is darkness underneath the lamp.’
“This means that just as a lamp illuminates everything in its surroundings but darkness remains below it, in the same way these people go around advising others, but they do not worry about whether the people in their own houses are benefitting from their light. But the Holy Prophetsa was mindful of the fact that his relatives should be illuminated by the light which he wished to spread throughout the world. He vowed to take on this responsibility, for which he would test them and teach them. Moral reformation of one’s relatives is an outstanding trait and if this quality was not found within the Holy Prophetsa, there would be a significant deficiency in his morals. But since he possessed the most excellent of morals, that is why this trait was found within him in abundance.
“The second point we understand is that the Holy Prophetsa had complete conviction in the teachings which he presented to the world, and he did not doubt these teachings for even a moment. Some people allege – God forbid – that in order to deceive the entire world and establish his kingdom, the Holy Prophetsa created this whole enterprise. (This is the allegation, the opponents level.) Otherwise he did not receive any revelations. (Some orientalists used to write this, and the disbelievers in the Holy Prophet’ssa time used to say this as well.) This was not the case; rather, the Holy Prophetsa had such firm conviction in his prophethood and appointment by God, that we find no parallel of this in the entire world. Because it can be assumed that the Holy Prophetsa may have acted with pretence in order to prove his truthfulness to the people, but it cannot be imagined that a person goes to his daughter and son-in-law, especially at night, and enquires as to whether they engage in this form of worship as well; a prayer which has not been made mandatory, but rather the observance of which God has left to the choice of the believer as to whether one wakes up in the middle of the night to observe.
“For the Holy Prophetsa to go out and encourage his daughter and son-in-law to also offer the tahajjud prayers is a testament to his complete conviction upon the teaching he wished to impart to the people. Otherwise, a liar who knows that following or rejecting his teaching is inconsequential could never advise his children to adhere to it – and that too at such a hidden time [of day]. (It would be the same result in either case. Such a person would not be able to advise his children to follow his teachings.) This can only occur if a person’s heart is convinced that excellence cannot be achieved without adhering to the teaching.
“The third matter is the very reason why this incident has been presented, which is that the Holy Prophetsa explained everything with incredible patience. Instead of quarrelling, he would point out the errors of others with love and tenderness. On this particular occasion, Hazrat Alira sought to avert the Holy Prophet’ssa question by saying that after a person falls asleep, he has no control over when he will wake up; whilst a person is sleeping, he is unaware of the time for completing any task. If Allah the Almighty causes him to wake up, he offers prayer. (They had no other choice, as in that era there were no alarm clocks.) It was to no surprise that upon hearing this answer, the Holy Prophetsa was taken aback; the faith in his heart would never allow him to become so neglectful and heedlessly miss the time to offer the tahajjud prayers. It was for this reason that the Holy Prophetsa turned away and simply said, ‘Man is disobedient and quarrelsome.’ In other words, Hazrat Alira ought to have not wasted any opportunity by presenting this excuse.
“Thus, Hazrat Ali, may Allah bestow His grace upon him, said, ‘After that, I was never missed offering the tahajjud prayers.’” (Sirat-un-Nabisa, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 1, pp. 588-590)
We should remember this incident to draw our attention towards offering the tahajjud prayer. Missionaries, life-devotees, and office bearers should be especially mindful of this. It is the prayers offered during the night that effectively draw the grace of Allah the Almighty, and at present, these prayers are essential to save the world from destruction.
In historical accounts, there is also mention of the Battle of Banu Qainuqa, which took place in 2 AH in relation to this it is recorded that after the Holy Prophetsa migrated to Medina, the disbelievers of Arabia diverged into three groups. The first group was of those with whom the Holy Prophetsa settled a peace treaty, on the condition that they would not wage war against the Holy Prophetsa, nor would they support his enemies against him. All three Jewish tribes, namely the Banu Quraizah, Banu Nadir and Banu Qainuqa, entered this peace treaty.
The second group was made up of those who opposed the Holy Prophetsa and waged war against him. This group was the Quraish. The third group was made up of those who disassociated from the Holy Prophetsa and were awaiting his outcome, such as other Arab tribes. Such tribes also varied in opinion; some desired in their hearts for the Muslims to be victorious, such as the Banu Khuza‘ah. Some believed the contrary, such as the people of Banu Bakr. There were also some tribes that appeared to side with the Muslims but supported their enemies covertly. Such people were among the hypocrites. When the Holy Prophetsa arrived in Medina, he entered into peace agreements with all the Jewish people. There was a written contract between the Holy Prophetsa and the Jewish tribes; the tribes joined with their confederates, and peace treaties were established between them and the Holy Prophetsa. There were many conditions in the peace treaties, one of which was that they would not support the enemies of the Holy Prophetsa against him. (Mustafa ‘Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-‘Ibad, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993], p. 179.)
This was in reference to the peace treaties. Regarding the Banu Qainuqa and their involvement in spreading disorder, it is recorded in historical accounts, such as Ibn Ishaq, that there was an elderly man by the name of Shas bin Qais who harboured great enmity and rancour in his heart towards the Muslims. On one occasion, some Companions from the Aus and Khazraj tribes were having a discussion at a gathering. Shas bin Qais passed by them. When he observed that, owing to Islam, they had overcome their mutual enmity from the era of ignorance and were now seated together in love and peace, he burned up in jealousy. Out of impulse, he said “Banu Qayla” (i.e., addressing the chieftains of the Banu Aus and Khazraj who had become united!) By Allah, if the noble people of the Aus and Khazraj have become united, then we cannot reside here amongst them.” He tried to incite and enrage them. He was accompanied by a Jewish youth. He instructed the youth to go sit amongst them, bring up the Battle of Bu’ath and other events of the past, and recite some of the couplets that were written in relation to those events.
The Battle of Bu’ath took place in the era of ignorance between the Aus and Khazraj tribes, during which Aus prevailed over the Khazraj. At that time, the chief of the Aus tribe was Hudair bin Simak Ash’ali. He was the father of Hazrat Usaidra. The chief of the Khazraj tribe was ‘Amr bin Nu’man Bayazi. Both these individuals were killed during the battle. This Jewish youth sat amongst the Muslims and raised this discussion to enrage and incite them. The slumbering sentiments of the Aus and Khazraj were impassioned once again, and they became infuriated. They began to quarrel amongst themselves and expressed their superiority over one another. Matters escalated to such a degree that each one of them stood against the members of the other tribe to argue and dispute. Their contention grew. Aus bin Qazih represented the Aus tribe, while Jabbar bin Sakhar represented the Khazraj tribe. During the argument, one of them said that if the other desired, they could reignite this war and begin anew. Thus, both parties were furious and they said that they were ready to fight. On the one hand, they had embraced Islam, but on the other, there remained a hint of ignorance. Furthermore, they promised to fight against one another at Harrah. Medina is situated between two “Harrah’s”. A Harrah refers to a black, rocky landscape. To the east [of Medina] is Harrah Aqim, which is also known as Harrah Banu Quraizah. The other Harrah, situated three miles to the west of Medina, is Harrah al-Waburah. There is one towards the east and one towards the west. There is a distance of three miles between the two. In the meantime, there was slogans of “to your weapons”. Following this, the atmosphere became extremely heated and both sides started to vehemently prepare for war. When the appointed time came, people of both tribes set out towards the designated Harrah.
It was well-nigh possible that a bloody battle would break out, however Allah so willed that news of this reached the Holy Prophetsa. Upon learning of this, the Holy Prophetsa immediately gathered some of the Muhajir companions and went towards the people of Aus and Khazraj. Addressing them all with great wisdom, the Holy Prophetsa stated:
“Allah! Allah! You have returned to the ways of ignorance despite the fact that I am present among you and even after Allah has guided you towards Islam. You were bestowed honour through Islam; your practices from the time of ignorance were completely eradicated; you were granted salvation from disbelief and love for one another was instilled in your hearts. Despite all this, you have turned back to your old condition.”
These words of the Holy Prophetsa had such an impact upon them that they felt great remorse over their actions and began to cry. The people of Aus and Khazraj who had gathered in order to fight against each other were now embracing one another and showing complete obedience, they returned along with the Holy Prophetsa.
These aforementioned details have been recorded in Sirat ibn Hisham. (Ibn Hisham, Sirat Ibn Hisham [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2001], pp. 385-286; Sayyid Fadl al-Rahman, Farhang-e-Sirat [Karachi, Pakistan: Zawwar Academy Publications, 2003], pp. 101-102.)
In relation to the Jews violating the terms of their treaty it is written that when Allah the Almighty granted the Muslims an extraordinary victory in the Battle of Badr, the rebellious attitude [of the Jews] became plainly clear and also the jealousy they harboured towards the Holy Prophetsa and the Muslims. Owing to their enmity and hatred, they ended their treaty and began saying, “O Muhammad [sa]! You think that we are like your people? Do not be deceived for you have fought against a people who are unacquainted with the art of war, hence you were able to overcome them. (In other words, they were referring to the Battle of Badr whereby the Muslims defeated the disbelievers of Mecca.) We, however, are courageous. By God, if you fought against us, you will find out that indeed we are real men.” Among the three Jewish tribes, the first among them to break their treaty and show treachery was the Banu Qainuqa.
In relation to their mischievous behaviour, there is also an incident where they harassed a Muslim woman. It is written that alongside their enmity towards the Holy Prophetsa, another incident which took place was that the wife of an Ansari companion brought her trade goods to a marketplace of the Banu Qainuqa which consisted of cattle such as camels and goats so that she could sell it and obtain profit from it. She sold her goods in the marketplace of the Banu Qainuqa and then went to a Jewish jeweller shop and sat there looking at some jewellery while she had her face and body covered. In that instance some wicked and dissolute Jewish men insisted that she reveal her face, however she refused. Following this, the owner of the jewellery shop stood up and discreetly tied the corner of her outer covering with something behind her. According to another narration it is mentioned that he attached one part of her outer garment with a nail or a thorn. The lady was completely unaware of this and so when she stood up to leave, her garment came off as it was tied to something and thus revealed her body parts and the Jews began to laugh over this. Owing to this immoral act, the lady began to scream. A Muslim man was walking past. As soon as he saw this mischievous act of the Jews, he leapt towards the Jewish jeweller and killed him with his sword. Upon this, the Jews attacked the Muslim and killed him. Following this incident, the Muslims had great anger for the Banu Qainuqa. The Holy Prophetsa stated that there was no agreement between the Muslims and this tribe for such an act. Upon this, Hazrat Ubadah bin Samitra stated, “O Messengersa of Allah! I am with Allah, His Messengersa and the Muslims and I no longer take any responsibility for this treaty.” (‘Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 284; Ibn Hisham, Sirat Ibn Hisham [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2001], p. 514.)
The Holy Prophetsa tried to advise the Banu Qainuqa but instead of trying to understand the matter, they instead began to openly give threats. The details in relation to this are as follows.
The Holy Prophetsa gathered the Banu Qainuqa and said, “O party of Jews! Strive to save yourself from the destruction which Allah shall send down just like He did upon the Quraish on the occasion of Badr. Thus, demonstrate obedience for you know that I am from Allah the Almighty and I am His Messenger and this truth is something you find in your book and in the covenant which Allah took from you.” upon this, they replied, “O Muhammad[sa]! You perhaps think that we are like your people. Do not be deceived for you have fought against a people who are unacquainted with the art of war, thus you were able to easily overcome them. However, by God, if you fought against us you will find out what true bravery is.”
In another narration it is mentioned that when the Holy Prophetsa learnt of the violation of the treaty by the Jews on the occasion of Badr, the Holy Prophetsa gathered the Banu Qainuqa in the marketplace and warned them. And it is said that this particular response was with reference to this warning.
After this incident, the Jews of Banu Qainuqa left from there and went into their fortress. The Holy Prophetsa set out towards them and appointed Hazrat Abu Lubabahra as his deputy in Medina. The flag of the Holy Prophet was white, which was handed over to his uncle, Hazrat Hamzahra. Subsequently, the Banu Qainuqa were besieged. With regard to the details, it is mentioned that the Holy Prophetsa laid a strict siege on the Jews of Banu Qainuqa for 15 days. He departed for this expedition on 15 Shawal and remained there until the new moon of Dhu al-Qa’dah. (‘Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 285; Mustafa ‘Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-‘Ibad, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993], p. 179.)
Allah the Almighty instilled the awe of the Muslims in their hearts. From the Banu Qainuqa, 400 warriors were deployed for the protection of the fort and 300 were clad in armour. Eventually, the Jews became frustrated owing to the siege and sent a request to the Holy Prophetsa that if he allowed them safe passage, they would leave Medina forever. They asked to spare their women and children and that they would leave their wealth and possessions behind. This included all their wealth and weapons, etc. The Holy Prophetsa accepted this proposal and ordered them to leave Medina. This has been mentioned in Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah. (‘Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2002], pp. 285, 287.)
In the majority of the biographies of the Holy Prophetsa there is a narration regarding Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Sulul wherein it states that he visited the Holy Prophetsa many times. Since he was a confederate of the Banu Qainuqa, he continuously tried to intercede on behalf of the Banu Qainuqa and pleaded with the Holy Prophetsa through various means in the hope that he would forgive the Banu Qainuqa, not to kill them and allow them to leave. (Mustafa ‘Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-‘Ibad, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993], pp. 179-180; Ibn Hisham, Sirat Ibn Hisham [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2001], p. 514; Sharh al-Zurqani ‘ala al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1996], p. 531.)
From this narration, it gives the impression that the Holy Prophetsa had decided to kill them but owing to the continuous pleas of Abdullah bin Ubayy they were forgiven. However, this is incorrect. The Holy Prophetsa never intended killing any of their women or children or any of them. In reality, narrations such as this one are dubious. Passing verdict on narrations such as these, a historian named Syed Barakat Ahmad, writes in his book:
“After the Jews had thrown down their weapons, when Abdullah bin Ubayy came to the Holy Prophetsa and said: ‘Please deal kindly with my men’, the Holy Prophetsa replied: ‘May you be ruined, leave me.’ Abdullah bin Ubay replied: ‘Absolutely not! By God! I will not let you leave until you assure me that you will deal kindly with my people. Will you kill them? I swear by God that I am sure the circumstances will change.’ The Holy Prophetsa said: ‘Very well, why don’t you take them with you?’ Ibn Ishaq, Waqidi and Ibn Sa’d have all recorded this incident. Reading these three narrations it gives the impression that Abdullah bin Ubay had some influence over the Holy Prophetsa. However, the words Abdullah bin Ubay uttered in his pleas seem ambiguous. From the narration of Ibn Ishaq, there is absolutely no indication from the words of the Holy Prophetsa that he intended to kill the Banu Qainuqa. (It is not proven from one historian.) But this is most explicitly indicated by Waqidi and Ibn Sa’d has mentioned the same narration. However, in this regard we must keep in mind that even though the Holy Prophetsa was a political leader, he never dealt harshly with his enemies. He disliked violence and if he ever set foot on a battlefield, it was only because he was compelled to do so. Even on the battlefield, he avoided unnecessary bloodshed.” (Rasul-e-Akramsa awr Yahud Hijaz, Sayed Barakat Ahmad [Lahore: Maktabah ‘Aliyah], pp. 98-99.)
Nonetheless, they laid a siege and the Banu Qainuqa sought his protection. It was for this reason the Banu Qainuqa were exiled. The details of this are that in accordance with their plea, this Jewish tribe was exiled. The Holy Prophetsa appointed Ubadah bin Samitra to oversee the arrangements of their exile and gave them three days of respite to leave Medina. And so they left Medina within three days.
According to one narration, the Jews asked for more time, but the Holy Prophetsa did not give them even one hour more and sent them away under his own supervision. They left Medina and headed towards Azriyat, the name of a town in the Levant area. According to one narration, Hazrat Muhammad bin Maslamahra was detailed to oversee their exile. It is quite possible that both of them were assigned to oversee the arrangements. Nonetheless, when the Jews left, many weapons were found. This is because among the Jewish tribes, they were the wealthiest and also were the most brave and skilled in warfare. From among the weapons, the Holy Prophetsa chose three bows, two chainmails, three swords and three spears for himself. The names of the bows were Katum, Rauha and Baida. Katum was broken in the Battle of Uhud. The two chainmails were called Saghdiyah and Fidda. In addition to this, there were three spears and three swords. One sword was named Qalai’, the other was Battar, whereas the third was not named. This is narrated in Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah. (‘Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 287; Yaqut Ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu’jam al-Buldan, Vol. 1 [Maktabat al-Masriyyah], p. 165.)
Regarding the expedition of Banu Qainuqa, it is written in The Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets:
“When the Holy Prophetsa migrated from Mecca and arrived in Medina, there were three tribes among the Jews, which inhabited Medina at the time. Their names were the Banu Qainuqa, Banu Nadir and Banu Quraizah. As soon as the Holy Prophetsa came to Medina, he settled treaties of peace and security with these tribes, and lay the foundation for peaceful and harmonious cohabitation. By virtue of agreement, all parties were responsible for maintaining peace and security in Medina, and if a foreign enemy was to attack Medina, everyone was collectively responsible for its defence. In the beginning, the Jews conformed to the treaty, and at least openly, did not create conflict with the Muslims. However, when they began to notice that the Muslims were continuing to gain strength in Medina, they began to change their attitude and firmly resolved to bring an end to this growing power of the Muslims. To this end, they began to employ all sorts of lawful and unlawful schemes, so much so that they did not even hold back from an attempt to create rift among the Muslims and thus instigate a civil war. As such, there is a narration that on one occasion a large group of people from the tribes of Aus and Khazraj were sitting together and conversing with love and harmony, when a mischievous Jew reached this gathering and began to mention the Battle of Bu‘ath. This was the horrific war which took place between these two tribes a few years prior to the migration, and in which many people from among the Aus and Khazraj were slain at the hands of one another. (This has been mentioned in detail earlier.) As soon as this war was mentioned, memories of the past were refreshed and scenes of ancient enmity began to run before the eyes of various emotional people. The result was that from satirical remarks, taunt and slander, the matter escalated to such an extent that both parties found themselves at daggers drawn in the very same gathering. Thank God, however, that the Holy Prophetsa was notified in due time and he immediately arrived at the scene with a community of the Muhajirin and calmed both parties down; and rebuked them as well saying,
“‘Do you follow a way of ignorance while I am amongst you? You do not value the favour of God that through Islam He has made you brothers.’
“The Ansar were so deeply moved by this admonition that their eyes began to flow with tears, and they began to embrace one another whilst repenting for their action.
“When the Battle of Badr had taken place and Allah the Exalted, in His Grace, granted a convincing victory to the Muslims, despite their being few and without means over a very fierce army of the Quraish, and the prominent leaders of Mecca were mixed to dust, the Jews of Medina went up in flames of jealousy. They began to openly hurl stinging comments at the Muslims and publicly asserted in gatherings that, ‘So what if you have defeated the army of the Quraish. Let Muhammad[sa] fight us and we shall show him how wars are fought.’ This escalated to such an extent that in one gathering they even uttered such words in the very presence of the Holy Prophetsa. As such, there is a narration that after the Battle of Badr, when the Holy Prophetsa returned to Medina, one day, he gathered the Jews and admonished them and whilst presenting his claim, invited them to Islam. The chieftains among the Jews responded to this peaceful and sympathetic address of the Holy Prophetsa in the following words, ‘O Muhammad[sa], it seems that you have perhaps become arrogant after killing a few Quraish. Those people were inexperienced in the art of war. If you were to fight us, you would come to know the real likes of warriors.’
“The Jews did not rest upon a mere threat, rather, it seems as if they even began to hatch conspiracies to assassinate the Holy Prophetsa. There is a narration that in those days when a faithful Companion by the name of Talhah bin Barra’ra was about to pass away, he bequeathed that ‘If I die at night, the Holy Prophetsa should not be notified about my funeral prayer, lest a misfortune befalls the Holy Prophetsa at the hands of the Jews on my account.’
“Therefore, after the Battle of Badr, the Jews openly began to fuel mischief, and among the Jews of Medina, since the Banu Qainuqa were the most powerful and bold, it was they who first began to breach the treaty. As such, historians write:
“‘Among the Jews of Medina, the Banu Qainuqa were the first to break the treaty which had been settled between them and the Holy Prophetsa. After Badr, they began to rebel fiercely and openly expressed their rancour and malice and broke their treaty and agreement.’
“However, despite such events, under the guidance of their Master, the Muslims demonstrated patience in every way and did not allow themselves to take the lead in any respect. It is narrated in a Hadith that after the treaty which had been settled with the Jews, the Holy Prophetsa would even take special care to protect their sentiments. (from their side they expressed enmity, but the Holy Prophetsa would still protect their sentiments) On one occasion an argument broke out between a Muslim and a Jew. The Jew asserted the superiority of Mosesas above all the other Prophets. The Companion was angered by this and he dealt somewhat harshly with that person replying that the Holy Prophetsa was the most superior of all the Messengers. When the Holy Prophetsa was informed of this, he was displeased and rebuked the Companion saying, ‘It is not your task to go about speaking of the superiority of God’s Messengers in comparison to one another.’
“Then, the Holy Prophetsa mentioned a partial superiority of Mosesas and consoled the Jew. However, despite this loving conduct of the Holy Prophetsa, the Jews continued to escalate in their mischief. Eventually, it was the Jews who created a cause for war and their heart-felt animosity could not be tamed. What happened was that a Muslim lady went to the shop of a Jew in the market in order to purchase some goods (as has been mentioned in detail already) A few evil Jews, who were then sitting at the shop began to harass her in a most mischievous manner and even the shopkeeper himself committed the evil deed that while the lady was unaware, he attached the lower corner of her skirt to the mantle on her back with a thorn or something of that sort.
“As a result, when the lady stood up to leave due to their rude behaviour, the lower part of her body became exposed at which the Jewish shopkeeper and his accomplices burst out in laughter. Outraged, the Muslim lady screamed and appealed for help. It so happened that a Muslim was present nearby. He dashed to the scene and in a mutual altercation, the Jewish shopkeeper was killed. Upon this, the Muslim was showered with swords from all directions and this remarkably indignant Muslim was put to death. When the Muslims were informed of this event in national indignation, their eyes gorged with blood in rage. On the other hand, the Jews who desired to make this incident an excuse to fight, congregated in the form of a crowd and a state of riot broke out. When the Holy Prophetsa was informed of this, he gathered the chieftains of the Banu Qainuqa and explained that such behaviour was not appropriate (just look at the manner in which the Holy Prophetsa responded and tried to diffuse the situation) and that they should refrain from such mischief and fear God. Instead of expressing disappointment and remorse, they responded with very refractory answers and repeated their earlier threat that, ‘Do not become arrogant over your victory at Badr. When you are to fight us you shall come to know the real likes of warriors.’
“Left with no other choice, the Holy Prophetsa set out towards the fortresses of the Banu Qainuqa with a force of Companions. Now this was the last opportunity for them to express remorse over their actions, (when the Holy Prophetsa set off, even if they sought forgiveness then the matter would have been finished) but instead, they stood ready for war. Therefore, war was declared and the forces of Islam and Judaism came forth to battle one another. According to the custom of that era, a method of warfare was that one party would secure themselves within their fortresses and wait. The opposing force would besiege the fortress and whenever an opportunity presented itself, now and then, attacks would be launched against one another. This would continue until the surrounding army would either lose hope in capturing the fortress and lift the siege, and this would be considered a victory to the ones besieged; or being unable to muster the strength to fend off the onslaught, the besieged force would open the gates of their fortress and hand themselves over to the victors. On this occasion, the Banu Qainuqa employed the same tactic, and closed themselves within their own fortresses. The Holy Prophetsa besieged them and this siege continued for 15 days without fail. Finally, when all the strength and arrogance of the Banu Qainuqa had been shattered, they opened the gates of their fortresses on the condition that though their wealth would belong to the Muslims, their lives and families would be spared. The Holy Prophetsa accepted this condition, even though according to Mosaic law, all of these people were liable to be put to death, and according to the initial agreement, the judgement of the Mosaic law should have been administered to them. However, since this was the first crime committed by this nation, as a first course of action, the merciful and forgiving disposition of the Holy Prophetsa could never be inclined towards an extreme punishment, which should only imposed as a final remedy. However, on the other hand, allowing such a treacherous and rebellious tribe to remain in Medina was no less than nurturing a snake in the grass, especially when a group of hypocrites from among the Aus and Khazraj were already present within Medina, and from the exterior as well, the opposition of the whole of Arabia had greatly distressed the Muslims. In such circumstances, the only judgement which the Holy Prophetsa could pass was for the Banu Qainuqa to leave Medina. In comparison to their crime and taking into account the circumstances of that era, this was a very mild punishment. Furthermore, the purpose of this punishment was the security of Medina. Nonetheless, for the nomadic tribes of Arabia it was nothing out of the ordinary to move from one place to another, especially when a tribe did not own any properties in the form of land and orchards – and the Banu Qainuqa had none. (they did not possess any property that they could not move, such as land etc which they depended upon) The entire tribe was given the opportunity to leave one place and settle somewhere else, with great peace and security. As such, the Banu Qainuqa very peacefully left Medina and settled towards Syria. The Holy Prophetsa assigned the task of overseeing the necessary arrangements, etc. associated with their departure to a Companion named ‘Ubadah bin Samitra who was from among their confederates. ‘Ubadah bin Samitra escorted the Banu Qainuqa for a few Manzils [one day’s journey] and after safely sending them off, he returned. The spoils which were attained by the Muslims consisted only of weaponry and instruments of their profession, which was that of goldsmith.
“It has been related in various narrations with respect to the Banu Qainuqa that when they opened the gates of their fortresses and handed themselves to the Holy Prophetsa, due to their treachery, rebellion and mischief, it was the intention of the Holy Prophetsa to execute their combatant men, but on the intercession of ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Sulul, chief of the hypocrites, the Holy Prophetsa abandoned this intention. However, research scholars have not accepted these narrations as being authentic. The reason being that when other narrations explicitly mention that the Banu Qainuqa opened their gates on the condition that their lives and the lives of their families would be spared, it is absolutely impossible to accept that after having accepted this condition, the Holy Prophetsa would follow any other course of action. As a matter of fact, even the condition presented by the Banu Qainuqa that their lives would be spared demonstrates the fact that they themselves knew that their rightful punishment was death. However, they appealed to the mercy of the Holy Prophetsa and they were willing to open the gate of their fortress after receiving the assurance that they would not incur the death penalty. However, although the Holy Prophetsa forgave them due to his merciful disposition, it seems as if in the estimation of God the Exalted, these people were no longer worthy of being left alive on the face of the earth, on account of their evil deeds and crimes. As such, there is a narration that less than one year had passed since the relocation of these people to their place of exile, that an epidemic, broke out among them whereby the entire tribe fell victim to it and was mixed to dust.
“There is a slight difference of opinion with regards to the date of the expedition of Banu Qainuqa. Waqidi and Ibni Sa‘d have stated that it took place in Shawwal 2 AH, and contemporary historians have primarily followed suit. However, Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Hisham have placed it after the Ghazwah of Sawiq, which is confirmed to have taken place in the month of Dhu al-Hijjah 2 AH. An indication is also found in one narration of Hadith, which establishes that the Ghazwah of Banu Qainuqa took place after the Rukhsatanah of Hazrat Fatimahra. In this narration, it is mentioned that in order to arrange for the expenses of the Walimah, Hazrat ‘Alira proposed to take along a Jewish goldsmith from the Banu Qainuqa and go to the forest so that he might procure some grass known as ‘Idhkhar’ and then sell it to the goldsmiths of Medina. This proves that until the Rukhsatanah of
Hazrat Fatimahra, which according to all historians, took place near Dhul-Hijjah 2 AH, the Banu Qainuqa were still present in Medina.
“It is on the basis of these reasons (Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib says) that I have placed the Ghazwah of Banu Qainuqa in late 2 AH, after the Ghazwah of Sawiq and the Rukhsatanah of Hazrat Fatimahra.
“At this occasion, it would also be appropriate to mention that whilst describing the cause leading up to the Ghazwah of Banu Qainuqa‘, Mr Margoliouth has concocted a most strange and unusual theory of his own accord, which is not even remotely alluded to in a single narration. There is a narration in Bukhari that in a state of intoxication (until then, drinking had not yet been forbidden), Hazrat Hamzahra killed two camels belonging to Hazrat ‘Alira, which he had received from the spoils of Badr. Attaching this separate incident to the Ghazwah of Banu Qainuqa, without any historical evidence whatsoever, Mr Margoliouth writes that the Holy Prophetsa invaded the tribe of Banu Qainuqa so that the spoils would compensate for the loss sustained by Hazrat ‘Alira. (He connected this baseless account) Such audacity in historical writing is perhaps a feat which speaks for itself. Then, the irony is that Mr Margoliouth himself accepts the fact that he has written this on the basis of his own speculation.” (Life & Character of the Seal of Prophet, Vol. 2, pp. 284-291)
Meaning that he could not find any references but it was based on his own speculation. There was no other reason for waging a war against the tribe for the sake of two camels. Their thinking is very strange. The malice and rancour harboured by orientalists and non-Muslim historians for Islam is so great that they easily present a completely distorted version of Islamic history and this is witnessed in many instances. Nonetheless, the other accounts relating to this will be mentioned in the future, God Willing.
I wish to remind you all to pray in light of the current situation of the world. As a result of the war between Hamas and Israel, the martyrdoms of innocent Palestinian women and children continue to increase. The swiftness with which the conditions of war are increasing, and the policies which Israel and the major governments of the world are adopting, make a World War an imminent reality.
Now, the leaders of some Muslim countries have started openly declaring, as well as Russia, China, and even Western commentators are stating that the scope of this war is expanding.
If a wise policy is not adopted immediately, then the world will be destroyed. Everything is appearing on the news, and you are all aware of the situation. Thus, Ahmadis should especially focus on praying. They should not become relaxed. At least one prostration in every prayer, or at least one prostration in any one of the prayers should be spent in supplication for this [situation].
There is no leader in any Western country who wishes to act with justice in this matter, nor do they have the courage to say anything.
Ahmadis should not engage in discussions about which country’s leader is good and which one is not, and that Muslims shouldn’t speak against such and such person; because these are all futile discussions.
Until someone does not have the courage to try and bring an end to this war, they are responsible for leading the world towards ruin.
Thus, along with prayers, you should try and spread the message around you that injustices must be brought to an end. If an Ahmadi has connections with people, then they should explain this to them. This is courage, this is the standard of obeying the commandments of Allah the Almighty.
Representatives of the Israeli government say that Hamas killed their innocent civilians and so they will take revenge. However, this revenge has now exceeded all limits. Four to five times more Palestinian lives have been lost compared to the reported number of Israelis who lost their lives. If their target is to eradicate Hamas, as they claim, then they should fight directly with them. Why are they targeting women, children and the elderly?
Furthermore, they have deprived civilians of water, food and medical aid. This is where all their claims of human rights and the rules of war of these nations falter.
There are some people who draw attention towards these things. For example, recently, former American President, Mr Obama said that even if war must be fought, it should be fought in accordance with the rules of war, and civilians should not be made to endure injustices. The Secretary General of the United Nations also spoke up [regarding this], upon which the Israeli government expressed its displeasure. The claimants of peace in the rest of the world, those who consider themselves to be the greatest champions of peace, did not say anything in support of the Secretary General’s statement. Rather, they expressed their displeasure.
Whatever the case may be, the situation is precarious, and is constantly becoming more precarious. The Western media is actively promoting one side of the story, and briefly presents the other side’s story in a corner. For example, recently among the women who were freed [by Hamas], one woman said that she was treated well during imprisonment. This report was buried in a corner, and another statement that imprisonment under Hamas was hell, constantly made headlines. Justice demands that the entire situation should be presented so that the world can determine for themselves as to who is the oppressor, who is the oppressed, to what extent this war is warranted, and when it should end. Hence, the entire situation should be presented to the world, not just one-sided opinions.
In any case, we must focus a great deal on prayers. We should strive to end injustices within our own circles along with prayers. We should pray for the oppressed Muslims, and that Muslim governments are able to come up with a comprehensive and lasting plan.
There should be a distinct pain in our hearts for Muslims to be alleviated of hardships. We have accepted the Promised Messiahas who – despite the fact that we endure difficulties inflicted by Muslims – expressed his sentiments for them in the following words:
اے دل تو نيز خاطر اينان نگاہ دار
کاخر کنند دعوئے حب پيمبرمؐ
“O heart, be considerate towards them; For they claim to love my Prophetsa.” [Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 3, p. 182]
Thus, our love for the Holy Prophetsa demands that we pray a great deal for Muslims. May Allah the Almighty enable us to do so, and may Allah grant understanding to the Muslims and the whole world.
(Official Urdu transcript published in the Daily Al Fazl International, 17 November 2023, pp. 2-7. Translated by The Review of Religions.)