The Battles of Bani Qainuqa, Bani Nadir and Ahzab

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The Prophet (SM) had a pact with the Iews of Madina, in which they would help the Muslims to defend the city. They had also agreed to live in peace and friendship. However, instead of keeping their word the Jews plotted against the Muslims and planned to kili the Prophet (SM). When the Quraish attacked Madina the lews also broke their pact with the Prophet (SM).

The Bani Qainuqa, a leading Jewish tribe, were the first to break their word. While the Muslims were away at the Battle of Badr, the Bani Qainuqa people molested a Muslim woman and killed another Muslim who tried to help her.

On his return from Badr, the Prophet (SM) asked the Jews to explain their behaviour. He also tried to bring about peace between the two groups. However, the Jews continued their wicked ways and even declared war against the Muslims. As it was the Bani Qainuqa who had broken the pact, the Prophet (SM) led a force of Muslims to their stronghold and besieged them After fifteen days the Bani Qainuqa surrendered and agreed that the Prophet (SM) should decide their fate. The Prophet (SM) asked them to leave Madina which they did, by migrating to Syria.

The Bani Nadir, another Iewish tribe, also betrayed the Muslims by plotting with the Quraish. They spied on the Muslims and informed the Quraish of their movements. They too plotted to kili the Prophet(SM). When these charges were proved, the Prophet (SM) tried to negotiate with the Jews but the hypocrites encouraged them to declare war against the Muslims. The Muslims besieged their forts. After a fortnight they asked the Prophet (SM)to allow them to migrate. Carrying their belongings on six hundred camels they left Madina four years after the Hijra.

The Battle of Ahzab is also known as 'Ghazwa Khandaq' or the Battle of the Trench. It was an attack on Madina by a joint army of all the leading Arab tribes.

Although the Quraish had killed many Muslims in the Battle of Uhud, they had not won a complete victory. Now, they planned to unite the Arab tribes and launch a joint attack on Madina. The Quraish were also joined by the expelled Bani Nadir. Finally, a huge army of 10,000 soldiers, drawn from all the Arab tribes, setoutfor Madina.

The Prophet (SM) and his Companions, realising they were heavily outnumbered discussed how best they could defend Madina. One of the Companions, Salman al-Farsi, pointed out that Madina could be attacked frorn one side only, and suggested that they should dig a trench around that side, so that they could defend the town from behind it. The Prophet (SM) agreed to this. He and 3,000 Muslims began to dig a trench five feet deep and fifteen feet wide. After three days of hard toil the trench was finished and the Muslims waited patiently to see if it would stop the invading army.

When the large force of Quraish, Iews and other Arab tribes reached Madina, they were amazed to find the huge trench barring their way. They tried many times to cross the trench but were beaten back by the Muslims. They then decided to lay siege to Madina and to starve the Muslims into surrender. The siege lasted for almost a month, during which time the Muslims suffered great hardships. The weather was very bad and many days they had no food at all. The enemy archers sometimes kept up their attack for hours so that the Muslims did not even have time to offer Prayers. Despite this the Muslims held out.

The Bani Quraiza, the only remaining Jewish tribe in Madina, should have helped the Muslims to defend Madina, according to their pact. Instead, they decided to throw in their lot with the Muslims' enemies, just when the Muslims needed them most. So the Muslims now had an enemy within the city as well as another all around. One of the leaders of the tribes of Aws, Said ibn Muadh, was sent to persuade them to stand by their treaty, but the Jewish tribe refused to listen.

The Bani Quraiza were wrong to think that the Muslims were about to be defeated. For Allah helped the Muslims to defeat their enemies. First, as the siege lengthened into weeks, there were disagreements and quarrelling among the enemy. Then, a violent sandstorm that lasted for three days all but destroyed their tents and equipment. Finally, they lost their will to fight, and gave up the siegeof Madina and withdrew. The Muslims, though very tired and hungry, were jubilant that they had outlasted and outwitted their enemy's huge army.

As for the Bani Quraiza the Prophet now ordered that their forts should be besieged. After a month the Bani Quraiza laid down their arms and themselves asked that the same Salad ibn Mu'adh should decide their fate. Sa'd decided, in accordance with the Torah, the Jewish Scripture, that all adult males be executed, their women and children held as captives and their property forfeited. In accordance with this judgement 400 of the Bani Quraiza were put to death.

During the Battle of Ahzab and the Battle of Bani Quraiza only ten Muslims lost their lives.


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