The Biography of

Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam

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Lesson 18

Relations with the Jews

Before the advent of Islam, the Jews were well established in and around Madinah. Their chief tribes, the Banu Nadhir, Banu Qainuqa and Banu Quraizah, lived in well-fortified areas. They controlled the economy of Madinah and owned practically all the date groves. They were money-lenders who charged enormous interest in their financial dealings. This allowed them to establish an extensive sphere of influence over the poor and illiterate Arab tribes of Aus and Khazraj. Even the wives and children of people were pawned and mortgaged to them as securities against non-payment. In addition to their political and economic domination they were also known for their religious knowledge of the scriptures. On the arrival of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam in Madinah, most of the people of Aus and Khazraj embraced Islam and the Jewish stronghold over them diminished.

As time passed the Jews began to plot against the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. No kindness or generosity on the part of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam would satisfy them. They soon broke off the treaty made by the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and began conspiring with the enemies of Islam. They slandered the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, twisted their tongues and mispronounced the Qur’anic words. They used to greet him with the words : "Assaamu Alaikum" (May death overtake you), instead of "Assalaaamu Alaikum" (May peace be upon you).The Jewish poets insulted all sense of common decency and began to ridicule Muslim women in obscene verses.

The Jews tried to sow the seeds of animosity amongst the people of Madinah. By their superior education, intelligence and their friendship with the hypocrites they now arose as a most dangerous element within the city. They had previously also played a role in inciting the Quraish to avenge their defeat at Badr.

Examples of their troublesome nature were many and open. The Jewish tribe of Banu Qainuqa were goldsmiths by trade. They were always arrogant and haughty. Once a Muslim woman had gone into their market to sell milk when some Jews insulted and humiliated her. A Muslim went to her rescue but the Jews killed him.

On another occasion a Jew by the name of Shas Ibn Qais created a major tumult amongst the Aus and Khazraj when he reminded them of the Bu'ath war that they had previously fought between themselves. There would certainly have been bloodshed had the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam not intervened and reunited their hearts.

Another Jew by the name of Kab Ibn Ashraf was a leading figure in Arabia. His wealth allowed him to wield a high degree of influence amongst the Arabs and Jews. He hated Islam from the bottom of his heart. After the defeat of the Quraish at Badr he personally went to Makkah and offered condolences. Being a poet he often composed poems reviling the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Poetry was a powerful weapon amongst the Arabs and entire tribes could be ignited through the satirical words of the poets. Muhammad Ibn Maslamah Radhi Allahu Anhu finally killed Kab under the instruction of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam.

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam realised that if this type of rebellion by the Jews was allowed to go unpunished Madinah would be turned into an arena of hostile factions, murder and chaos. It was necessary to put a stop to this with a firm hand or else peace and security would never prevail in Madinah.

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam ordered the siege of their fortress in Madinah. After sixteen days the siege was lifted and the Jews surrendered and begged for mercy. Abdullah Ibn Ubay Ibn Sulool, the leader of the hypocrites, who was also a friend of the Jews pleaded with the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam to spare their lives. But, the Banu Qainuqa could not to be trusted anymore and the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam ordered their banishment from Madinah. They then settled at Khaibar.

The Banu Nadhir were also a treacherous tribe and were noted for their evil plotting against the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Once, while conversing with a few Sahabah, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam was seated in the shade of a house when a Jew, Amr Ibn Muhasin, climbed stealthily onto the flat roof with the intention of crushing the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam with huge stones already placed there. By divine inspiration, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam looked up just as he was about to throw down the stones. He moved quickly away and his life was saved.

The Banu Nadhir had now placed themselves in exactly the same position as the Banu Qainuqa had previously done. They had by their own act of deceit and treachery put themselves outside the pale of the treaty. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam sent a message to them asking them to embrace Islam or to vacate Madinah. Relying on the support of Abdullah Ibn Ubay Ibn Sulool and with two thousand men to defend their settlement the Banu Nadhir returned a defiant answer. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam set out to punish them. The Banu Nadhir shut themselves up in their strongholds and held out for ten days. They finally asked for peace and agreed to evacuate Madinah.

The Jewish lands and weapons that they could not carry away were distributed by the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam among the Muhajireen with the consent and cordial approval of the Ansaar. (1)


Lessons to learn

  • The Jews of Madinah showed their treacherous nature in many of their interactions with the Muslims. Despite the Prophet's Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam kindness and forgiving nature they repeatedly went back on their words. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam proved his integrity by sticking to every clause of the treaty he had made with the Jews.
  • The Prophet's Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam kindness was again shown when he allowed the Jews to leave Madinah unharmed. By right he could have punished them severely for their treachery, lies, evil intentions to kill him and their breaking of the treaty they had entered into with him.


In the fourth year after Hijra the tribes of Udal and Qarah came to the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and asked him to send with them a number of Sahabah who would teach them about Islam. While on their way they treacherously killed six of them and took the other three captive. Khubaib Radhi Allahu Anhu was also later captured and killed. Before he was executed he performed a Salaah of two Rakaats and exclaimed : "If I did not fear that you would think that I was afraid of death, I would have prayed for a long time." Abu Sufyaan asked him : "Don't you wish that Muhammad was here in your place so that we might cut off his head and that you were with your family?" Khubaib Radhi Allahu Anhu replied : "By Allah, I do not wish that Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam was now in the place I occupy or that a thorn could hurt him and that I were sitting with my family." (2)



Lessons to learn

  • Like the two disbelieving tribes showed, deception and treachery is a common characteristic in many disbelievers.
  • The words of Khubaib showed that the Sahabah loved the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam more than their own selves. They were prepared to suffer physical torture but they would not allow even the least harm to come to the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam.
  • Between the battle of Uhud and the battle of Ahzaab there were a number of campaigns that the Muslims undertook. By means of these decisive plans the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam spread security in the whole area and managed to subdue the Jews, Quraish and neighbouring Bedouins.



(1) Nadwi, Syed Ab al-Hasan Ali, Muhammad Rasulullah, Lucknow, 1982, p. 230

(2) Mubarakpuri, Safi-ur-Rahman, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, Riyadh, 2000, p. 298



Dua after leaving the toilet

Meaning : We seek Your forgiveness. All praise belongs to Allah Who removed from me discomfort and granted me relief.


When leaving the toilet one should step out with the right foot.