Volume 4, Book 52, Number 68 :
Narrated by ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa)
When Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Where (to go now)?” Gabriel said, “This way,” pointing towards the tribe of Bani Quraiza. So Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) went out towards them.
The following account has been taken from the Sealed Nectar, the first paragraph highlighting how Banu Qurayzah broke their treaty with the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and the rest is about the invasion itself. Happy reading!
During the process of fighting, Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh was shot by an arrow that pierced his artery. Perceiving his end approaching, he invoked Allâh saying: “Oh, Allâh, you know nothing is closer to my heart than striving in Your way against those people (disbelievers) who belied Your Messenger and banished him from his town. Oh, Allâh, I deeply believe that You have decreed that we should fight them, so if there is still more fighting to go with them, let me stay alive in order to strive more against them. If it has settled down, I beseech you to ignite it again so that I breathe my last in its context.”He concluded his supplication beseeching Allâh not to let him die until he had had full revenge on Banu Quraiza. In the midst of these difficult circumstances, plottery and intrigues were in fervent action against the Muslims. The chief criminal of Bani Nadir, Huyai, headed for the habitations of Banu Quraiza to incite their chief Ka‘b bin Asad Al-Qurazi, who had drawn a pact with the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) to run to his aid in times of war. Ka‘b, in the beginning resisted all Huyai’s temptation, but Huyai was clever enough to manipulate him, speaking of Quraish and their notables in Al-Asyal, as well as Ghatfan and their chieftains entrenched in Uhud, all in one mind, determined to exterminate Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his followers. He, moreover, promised to stay in Ka‘b’s fort exposing himself to any potential danger in case Quraish and Ghatfan recanted. The wicked man went on in this manner until he later managed to win Ka‘b to his side and persuade him to break his covenant with the Muslims. Banu Quraiza then started to launch war operations against the Muslims especially the secluded garrisons that housed the women and children of the Muslims.
INVADING BANU QURAIZA:
Archangel Gabriel (Peace be upon him) on the very day the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) came back to Madinah after the previous battle, and while he was washing in Umm Salama’s house, visited him asking that he should unsheathe his sword and head for the habitation of the seditious Banu Quraiza and fight them. Gabriel noted that he with a procession of angels would go ahead to shake their forts and cast fear in their hearts.
The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) , immediately summoned the prayer caller and ordered him to announce fresh hostilities against Banu Quraiza, institued Ibn Umm Maktum as a ruler of Madinah, and entrusted the banner of war to ‘Ali bin Abi Talib who marched towards the appointed target and came close enough to hear the Jews abusing the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him), who on his part set out at the head of three thousand infantry men and thirty horsemen of Ansar (Helpers) and Muhajireen (Emigrants). On their way to encounter the enemy, the afternoon prayer was due. Some Muslims refused to observe it until they had defeated the enemy, while others offered it in its proper time, as usual. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) objected to neither. When they reached the habitations of Banu Quraiza, they laid tight siege to their forts. Seeing this terrible situation they were in, the chief of the Jews Ka‘b bin Asad offered them three alternatives: to embrace Islam, and consequently their life, wealth, women and children would be in full security, and reminded them that such behaviour would not be incongruous with what they had read in their books about the veracity of Muhammad’s Prophethood; to kill their children and women and then challenge the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his followers to the sword to either exterminate the Muslims or be exterminated, or as a third possibility to take Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his people by surprise on Saturday — a day mutually understood to witness no fighting.
None of those alternatives appealed them, so their chief, angrily and indignantly, turned to them saying: “You have never been decisive in decision-making since you were born” The gloomy future already visible, they made contacts with some Muslims, who had maintained good relation with them, in order to learn about their fate in the light of the current circumstances. They requested that Abu Lubaba be despatched to them for advice. On his arrival, the men began to implore, women and children to cry desperately. In answer to their demand for advice he pointed to his throat saying it was homicide awaiting them. He then immediately realized that he had betrayed the Prophet’s trust, so he headed directly for the mosque in Madinah and tied himself to a wooden tall pole swearing that no one would untie him save the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him), and added that he would never enter the habitation of Banu Quraiza in recompense for the deadly mistake he made. When the Messenger (Peace be upon h im) was informed of this incident, he said, “ I would have begged Allâh to forgive him if he had asked me, but since he had tied himself out of his own free will, then it was Allâh Who would turn to him in forgiveness.”
The Jews of Banu Quraiza could have endured the siege much longer because food and water were plentifully available and their strongholds were greatly fortified, whereas the Muslims were in the wild bare land suffering a lot from cold and hunger, let alone too much fatigue consequent on endless warfare operations that had started even before the battle of Confederates. Nevertheless, this was a battle of nerves, for Allâh had cast fear in the the Jews’ hearts, and their morale had almost collapsed especially when two Muslim heroes, ‘Ali bin Abi Talib and Az-Zubair bin ‘Awwam (May Allah be pleased with him) proceeded with ‘Ali swearing that he would never stop until he had either stormed their garrisons or been martyred like Hamza (a former Muslim martyr).
In the light of this reluctance, they had nothing except to comply with the Messenger’s judgement. The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) ordered that the men should handcuffed, and this was done under the supervision of Muhammad bin Salamah Al-Ansari while the women and children were isolated in confinement. Thereupon Al-Aws tribe interceded begging the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to be lenient towards them. He suggested that Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh, a former ally, be deputed to give verdict about them, and they agreed.
Sa‘d meanwhile stayed behind in Madinah due to a serious wound he sustained in the Confederates Battle. He was summoned and brought on a donkey. On his way to the Prophet (Peace be upon him), the Jews used to exhort him to be lenient in his judgement on account of former friendship. Sa‘d remained silent but when they persisted he uttered: “It is time for Sa‘d not to be afraid of the blame of the blamers.” On hearing this decisive attitude, some of them returned to Madinah waiting for desperate doom.
On arrival, he alighted with the help of some men. He was informed that the Jews had agreed to accept his verdict about them. He immediately wondered if his judgement would pass on all the people present, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) included, turning his face away in honour of him. The reply was positive.
He decided that all the able-bodied male persons belonging to the tribe should be killed, women and children taken prisoners and their wealth divided among the Muslim fighters. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) accepted his judgement saying that Sa‘d had adjudged by the Command of Allâh. In fact, the Jews deserved that severe punitive action for the ugly treachery they had harboured against Islam, and the large arsenal they have amassed and which consisted of one thousand and five hundred swords, two thousand spears, three hundred armours and five hundred shields, all of which went into the hands of the Muslims. Trenches were dug in the bazaar of Madinah and a number of Jews between six and seven hundred were beheaded therein. Hot beds of intrigue and treachery were thus exterminated once and for all.
Huyai, a chief criminal of war, a devil of Bani Nadir and Safiyah’s father, had joined the ranks of Banu Quraiza when Quraish and Ghatfan defected, was admitted into the audience of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) with his hands tied to his neck with a rope. In audacious defiance, he declared obstinate enmity to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) but admitted that Allâh’s Will was to be fulfilled and added that he was resigned to his fate. He was ordered to sit down, and was beheaded
on the spot.
Only one woman of the Jews was killed because she had killed a Muslim warrior by flinging a grinding stone upon him. A few elements of the enemy embraced Islam and their lives, wealth and children were spared. As for the spoils of the war, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) divided them, after putting a fifth aside, in accordance with Allâh’s injunctions. Three shares went to the horseman and one to the infantry fighter. Women captives were sent to Najd to be bartered with horses and weaponry. For himself, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) selected Rehana bint ‘Amr bin Khanaqah, manumitted and married her in the year 6 Hijri. She died shortly after the farewell pilgrimage and was buried in Al-Baqi‘.
On the day of Al-Khandaq (battle of the Trench) the medial arm vein of Sa’d bin Mu’ad was injured and the Prophet pitched a tent in the mosque to look after him. There was another tent for Banu Ghaffar in the mosque and the blood started flowing from Sa’d’s tent to the tent of Bani Ghaffar. They shouted, “O occupants of the tent! What is coming from you to us?” They found that Sa’d’ wound was bleeding profusely and Sa’d died in his tent.
Sa’d (RA) was one of the Ansaar (Helpers). He was the chief of the Banu Aws tribe in Madinah. He accepted Islam in the first year of Hijrah (1 AH) when Prophet (SAW) and the Muslims migrated to Madinah from Makkah. He was knows to be a pious, just and wise man.
After the Battle of the Trench in 627 (5 AH), when Medina was unsuccessfully besieged by a Meccan army, the Muslims accused the Jewish Banu Qurayza of treacherous dealings with the enemy. They laid siege to their stronghold and the Banu Qurayza surrendered unconditionally after several weeks of siege.
Several members of the Banu Aws pleaded for their old Jewish allies and agreed to Muhammad’s proposal that one of their chiefs should judge the matter. Muhammad appointed Sa’d, the Banu Qurayza agreed to his appointment. Sa’d had been wounded in the earlier battles, and was on the verge of death. He declared that they be judged by the laws of their own religion (Judaism). Invoking Torah law, Sa’d decreed that all adult male members of the tribe should be executed and all women and children enslaved.
Sa’d died shortly after giving this verdict.
William Muir, a 19th-century Scottish Islamic Scholar, writes:
After delivering himself of the bloody decree, he was conducted back upon his ass to Rufeida’s tent. But the excitement was fatal to him; the wound burst forth anew. Mahomet hastened to the side of his bed: embracing him, he placed the dying man’s head upon his knee and prayed thus : — “O Lord! Verily Sad hath laboured in thy service. He hath believed in thy Prophet, and hath fulfilled his covenant. Wherefore do Thou, O Lord, receive his Spirit with the best reception wherewith Thou receivest a departing soul!” Sad heard the words, and in faltering accents whispered, – “Peace be on thee, O Apostle of God! – Verily I testify that thou art the Prophet of the Lord.” When he had breathed his last, they carried home the corpse. After the forenoon prayer, Mahomet proceeded to join the burial; he reached the house as they were washing the body. The mother of Sad, weeping loudly, gave vent to her grief in appropriate Arab verse. They chided her for reciting poetry on such an occasion; but Mahomet met interposed, saying: “Leave her alone; all other poets lie but she?” The bier was then carried forth, Mahomet helping to bear it for the first.. [A Life of Mahomet and History of Islam to the Era of the Hegira, volume 3]
For more on his biography, read “Sa’d bin Mu’adh, The True Supporter of Islam” by Abdul Basit Ahmad.