The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets – Chapter VII

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Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra) was one of the sons of the Promised Messiah(as). Born on April 20, 1893 he passed his matriculation in 1910 with distinction, and according to the wishes of the Promised Messiah(as), attained an MA in Arabic in 1916. A great religious scholar and prolific writer, his books and speeches are easily understandable by the average reader. Some of his important works include Siratul Mahdi (Life of the Mahdi), Silsila-e-Ahmadiyya (The Ahmadiyya community), Tabligh-e-Hidayat (Propagation of Guidance), Kalimutal Fasl (The Decisive Word) and Hamara Khuda (Our God). He also contributed countless articles to magazines and periodicals of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, such as the daily Al-Fazl, and was Editor of The Review of Religions for many years. Sirat Khatamun Nabiyyin is his magnum opus; an outstanding biography of the Holy Prophet(saw), which includes insightful analysis and commentary on various aspects of his life. For the first time this book has been translated into English. The English rendering, “The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets,” will be serialised in various parts in The Review of Religions.

life-and-character-title

 

First ever serialisation of the newly translated Volume II of Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra’s outstanding biography, Seerat Khatamun Nabiyyin, on the life and character of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. The Review of Religions is exclusively serialising the translation of this book prior to its first publication and release.

 

 

Ghazwah of Banu Qainuqa‘ –

Late 2 A.H.

 

It has already been mentioned that when the Holy Prophetsa migrated from Makkah and arrived in Madinah, there were three tribes among the Jews, which inhabited Madinah at the time. Their names were, Banu Qainuqa‘, Banu Nadir and Banu Quraizah. As soon as the Holy Prophetsa came to Madinah, he settled treaties of peace and security with these tribes, and laid the foundation for peaceful and harmonious cohabitation. By virtue of agreement, all parties were responsible for maintaining peace and security in Madinah, and if a foreign enemy was to attack Madinah, everyone was collectively responsible for its defence.1 In the beginning, the Jews conformed to the treaty, and at least, did not openly create conflict with the Muslims. However, when they began to notice that the Muslims were continuing to gain strength in Madinah, 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. 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.2

 

When the Battle of Badr had taken place and Allah the Exalted, in His Grace, granted a convincing victory to the Muslims, despite them being few and without means over a very fierce army of the Quraish, and the prominent leaders of Makkah were mixed to dust, the Jews of Madinah 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 Muhammadsa fight us and we shall demonstrate how wars are fought.”3 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 Madinah, 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 Muhammadsa, 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.”4 The Jews did not rest upon a mere threat; rather, it seems that 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 Barrara 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.”5 Therefore, after the Battle of Badr, the Jews openly began to fuel mischief, and among the Jews of Madinah, 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 Madinah, the Banu Qainuqa‘ were the first to break the treaty which had been settled between them and the Holy Prophetsa.6 After Badr, they began to rebel fiercely and openly expressed their rancour and malice and broke their treaty and agreement.”7

 

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. On one occasion an argument broke out between a Muslim and Jew. The Jew asserted the superiority of Mosesas above all the other Prophets. This angered the Companion 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.8 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. 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.9 When the Holy Prophetsa was informed of this, he gathered the chieftains of the Banu Qainuqa‘ and explained that such behaviour was not appropriate 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.”10 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, but instead, they stood ready for war.11 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 fifteen 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.12 The Holy Prophetsa accepted this condition, even though according to Mosaic law, all of these people were liable to be put to death,13 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 be imposed as a final remedy. However, on the other hand, allowing such a treacherous and rebellious tribe to remain in Madinah 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 Madinah, 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 Madinah. 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 Madinah. 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.14 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 Madinah 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 and after safely sending them off, he returned.15 The spoils, which were attained by the Muslims, consisted only of weaponry and instruments of their profession, which was that of goldsmith.16

 

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 Ubaiyy bin Sulul, chief of the hypocrites, the Holy Prophetsa abandoned this intention. However, research scholars have not accepted these narrations as being authentic.17 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.18

 

There is a slight difference of opinion with regards to the date of the Ghazwah of Banu Qainuqa‘. Waqidi and Ibni Sa‘d have stated that it took place in Shawwal 2 A.H., and the contemporaries have primarily followed suit. However, Ibni Ishaq and Ibni Hisham have placed it after the Ghazwah of Sawiq, which is confirmed to have taken place in the month of Dhul-Hijjah 2 A.H. 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 ‘Adhkar’ and then sell it to the goldsmiths of Madinah.19 This proves that until the Rukhsatanah of Hazrat Fatimahra, which according to all historians, took place near Dhul-Hijjah 2 A.H., the Banu Qainuqa‘ were still present in Madinah. It is on the basis of these reasons that I have placed the Ghazwah of Banu Qainuqa‘ in late 2 A.H., after the Ghazwah of Sawiq and the Rukhsatanah of Hazrat Fatimahra.20

 

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.21 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. 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.22

 

Endnotes

 

1.  * As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, By Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p. 355, Hijratur-Rasulsa /

Kitabuhusa Bainal-Muhajirina Wal-Ansari Wa Muwada‘atu Yahud, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut,

Lebanon, First Edition (2001)

* Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), By Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Volume 3, p. 50, Thumma Dakhalatis-Sanatuth-Thaniyatu Minal-Hijrah / Dhikru Waq‘ati Badril-Kubra, Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)

2.  Jami‘ul-Bayan

3.  Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), By Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Volume 3, p. 50, Thumma Dakhalatis-Sanatuth-Thaniyatu Minal-Hijrah / Dhikru Waq‘ati Badril-Kubra, Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)

4.  * Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitabul-Khiraji Wal-Imarati Wal-Fai’i, Babu Kaifa Kana Ikhrajul-Yahudi Minal-

Madinah, Hadith No. 3001

* Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), By Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Volume 3, p. 50, Thumma Dakhalatis-Sanatuth-Thaniyatu Minal-Hijrah / Ghazwatu Bani Qainuqa‘,

Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)

* As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, By Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, pp. 513-514, Amru Bani Qainuqa‘, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)

5.  Al-Isabah Fi Tamizis-Sahabah, By Ahmad bin ‘Ali bin Hajar ‘Asqalani, Volume 3, pp. 425-426, Talhah bin Barra’, Fatimatuz-Zahra’, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon (2005)

6.   * As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, By Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p. 514, Amru Bani Qainuqa‘, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)

* Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), By Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Volume 3, p. 50, Thumma Dakhalatis-Sanatuth-Thaniyatu Minal-Hijrah / Ghazwatu Bani Qainuqa‘,

Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)

7.  At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, p. 264, Ghazwatu Bani Qainuqa‘, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)

8.  Sahihul-Muslim, Kitabul-Fada’il, Babu Fada’ili Musaas, Hadith No. 6151

9.  As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, By Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p. 514, Amru Bani Qainuqa‘, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)

10.  Tarikhul-Khamis Fi Ahwali Anfasi Nafis, By Husain bin Muhammad bin Hasan, Volume 1, p. 409, Ghazwatu Bani Qainuqa‘, Mu’assasatu Sha‘ban, Beirut

11.  Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, By Allamah Shihabuddin Al-Qastalani,

Volume 2, pp. 350-351, Ghazwatu Bani Qainuqa‘, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)

12.  At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, p. 264, Ghazwatu Bani Qainuqa‘, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)

13.  Deuteronomy (20:12-14)

14.  Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), By Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Volume 3, p. 51, Thumma Dakhalatis-Sanatuth-Thaniyatu Minal-Hijrah / Ghazwatu Bani Qainuqa‘,

Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)

15.  Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), By Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Volume 3, p. 51, Thumma Dakhalatis-Sanatuth-Thaniyatu Minal-Hijrah / Ghazwatu Bani Qainuqa‘,

Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)

16.  Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), By Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Volume 3, p. 51, Thumma Dakhalatis-Sanatuth-Thaniyatu Minal-Hijrah / Ghazwatu Bani Qainuqa‘,

Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)

17.  Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, By Allamah Shihabuddin Al-Qastalani,

Volume 2, p. 351, Ghazwatu Bani Qainuqa‘, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)

18.  Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, By Allamah Shihabuddin Al-Qastalani,

Volume 2, p. 352, Ghazwatu Bani Qainuqa‘, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)

19.  Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabul-Maghazi, Bab 12, Hadith No. 4003

20.  And Allah knows best (Publishers)

21.  Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabul-Maghazi, Bab 12, Hadith No. 4003.

22.  Muhammadsa by Margolius

 

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