Invasion of Banu Nadir

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Invasion of Banu Nadir
Location Medina
Result

Successful invasion and Siege:

  • Banu Nadir expelled, the Muslims seize their weapons and capture their goods as war booty[1]
Belligerents
Muslims Banu Nadir tribe

The invasion of Banu Nadir took place in August 625 AD (Rabi' al-awwal, 4 AH)[1][2] The account is related in Surah Al-Hashr (Chapter 59 - The Gathering) which describes the banishment of the Jewish tribe Banu Nadir who were expelled from Medina after being accused of plotting to assassinate the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[3]

Background[edit]

Reason for attack[edit]

Submission of Banu Nadir to the Muslim troops (14th-century painting)

According to The Sealed Nectar, a modern Islamic biography of Muhammad written by the Indian Muslim author Saif ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, once Muhammad with some of his Companions set out to see the Banu Nadir tribe and seek their help in raising the blood-money he had to pay to the Banu Kilab for the two men that ‘Amr bin Omaiyah Ad-Damari had killed by mistake in the Expedition of Bir Maona. On hearing his story they said they would share in paying the blood-money and asked him and his Companions Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Ali and others to sit under a wall of their houses and wait. Mubrakpuri says that the angel Gabriel came down to reveal the plot by the Banu Nadir to assassinate Muhammad, so he, with his Companions, hurried off back to Madinah. On their way, he told his Companions of the Divine Revelation.

Mubrakpuri said, that the Banu Nadir Jews held a short private meeting and they conspired to kill him.[1]

According to Norman Stillman, Muhammad found a casus belli by claiming to have received a divine revelation that the Banu Nadir were plotting to assassinate him.[4] The Encyclopaedia of Islam, states that through Muhammad ibn Maslama, Muhammad ordered them to leave Medina within ten days. The tribe at first decided to comply, but Abdullah ibn Ubayy, the chief of the Khazraj, persuaded them to resist in their fortresses, promising to send 2,000 men to their aid. Huyayy ibn Akhtab decided to put up resistance, hoping also for help from Banu Qurayza, despite opposition within the tribe.[5]

Mubrakpuri claims that in this regards, the Quran says:

"If you are expelled, we (too) indeed will go out with you, and we shall never obey anyone against you, and if you are attacked (in fight), we shall indeed help you."[Quran 59:11][1]

The Banu Nadir regained their confidence and were determined to fight. Their chief Huyai bin Akhtab relied hopefully on what Abdullah ibn Ubayy said. So he sent a message to Muhammad saying: "We will not leave our houses. Do whatever you like to do."[1]

According to the Muslim Jurist, Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Abu Salmah gave an ultimatum to the Banu Nadir on the orders of Muhammad. Tabari claims that he (Abu Salmah) said:

Abu Salamah: Hearts have changed, and Islam has wiped out the old covenants

[Tabari, Volume 7, Foundation of the Community, p.158]

[6]

Analysis[edit]

William Montgomery Watt, mentions in the foreword of the translation of Tabari, Volume 7, multiple reasons for the expulsion of the Banu Nadir. First, the underlying reason for the expulsion of the Banu Nadir was the same as that of the Banu Qaynuqa, namely Jewish criticisms and hostility towards Muhammad and Islam fueling suspicions among ordinary Muslims, keeping in mind that the attack came weeks after the Muslim loss of life in Al Raji and Bir Maona. Second, some members of Banu Nadir wanting to kill Muhammad, but Watt suggests that it is possible that this allegations was an excuse to justify the attack, adding that even if true, this was not the fundamental reason for the attack. Third, a chief of Banu Nadir gave information to Abu Sufyan during the barley-meal raid in 624.[7]

Invasion of Banu Nadir[edit]

According to The Sealed Nectar, the Muslims made the decisive decisions of taking up arms whatever turn the consequences could assume. When the Muhammad received the reply of Huyai bin Akhtab he said: "Allâhu Akbar, Allâhu Akbar." (Allâh is the Greatest of all) and his Companions repeated after him. Then he set out to fight them after appointing Ibn Umm Maktum to dispose the affairs of Madinah during his absence. The standard was entrusted to ‘Ali bin Abi Talib. He laid siege to their forts for six nights — in another version, fifteen. Banu Nadeer resorted to their castles, mounted them and started shooting arrows and pelting stones at the Muslims enjoying the strategic advantage that their thick fields of palm trees provided. The Muslims were therefore ordered to burn those trees. In this respect, a Quranic Verse was revealed:

"What you (O Muslims) cut down of the palm-trees (of the enemy), or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allâh." [Quran 59:5][1]

This incident is also mentioned in the Sahih Bukhari hadith collection in Sahih al-Bukhari, 3:39:519.

Quraizah tribe remained neutral, and ‘Abd-Allah ibn Ubayyas well as Ghatafan failed to keep their promises of support to the Banu Nadir. Mubarakpuri says that Quran 59:16 is related to this.[1]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Saifur (2005), The Sealed Nectar, Darussalam Publications, p. 189  (online)
  2. ^ Tabari, Al (25 Sep 1990), The last years of the Prophet (translated by Isma'il Qurban Husayn), State University of New York Press, ISBN 9780887066917 
  3. ^ Jamie Stokes (2005), Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East, Volume 1, Infobase Publishing, p. 99, ISBN 978-0-8160-7158-6, According to Islamic tradition, the Bani Nadir were expelled from Medina in 625 after being implicated in a plot to assassinate Muhammad 
  4. ^ Stillman, Norman. The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1979. ISBN 0-8276-0198-0. p.14
  5. ^ Vacca, V. "Nadir, Banu 'l". In P.J. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; W.P. Heinrichs. Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. Brill Academic Publishers. ISSN 1573-3912. 
  6. ^ Tabari, Al (2008), The foundation of the community, State University of New York Press, pp. 158–159, ISBN 978-0-88706-344-2 
  7. ^ Tabari, Al (2008), The foundation of the community, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-88706-344-2 |page=xxxv