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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Muhammad and Massacre of the Qurayza Jews

I want you all to have a history lesson today.

You've all heard of the Qurayza tribe of Jews and how Muhammed massacred them shortly after making a 'hudna' with them. This article tells the story of that massacre in a relatively simple manner (it's confusing but there are good summaries at the end and it's worth reading the whole thing to get the flavor).

Hat Tip: LittleGreen Footballs

A brief excerpt:

First, Allah helps the Muslims in warfare or battle (three-letter Arabic root is q-t-l in v. 25) against a much-larger foe, so Allah endorses Islam in battle. Also, verse 25 confirms that Muhammad had nothing substantial to fear from the Jews. “Allah turned back the unbelievers . . . and Allah spared the believers battle.” In down-to-earth terms, Muhammad still had at his disposal a large, weather-beaten army. The Prophet had expelled two other tribes (Qaynuqa and Nadir), so he could have done the same to the Qurayza—as indeed they requested. But the Prophet for humanity declined this merciful and humane option.

Second, Allah permits the enslavement and beheading of Jews, so any Muslim familiar with the background of this verse knows that beheading as such has been assimilated into the Quran. The word q-t-l in verse 26 means slaughter. What is so troubling about the verse is that it seems to celebrate the “terror” that Allah threw into the Jews’ hearts. Indeed, when Abu Lubaba the mediator approached the Jews during negotiations, the women and children were crying. Allah gladly terrorized them.

Finally, Allah permits Muhammad to take the Jewish clan’s property on the basis of conquest and his possession of all things. This is a dubious revelation and reasoning. Allah speaks, and this benefits Muhammad materially. This happens often in Muhammad’s life.

If anyone is looking for a down-to-earth reason for Muhammad’s attack on the Qurayza Jews (instead of “Gabriel’s leadership”), then he does not need to look any further than verse 27. The Prophet confiscated wealth. After all, the Meccans and their allies withdrew without allowing Muslims to take their wealth. So how was Muhammad going to reward his jihadists?

...

Muslim polemical and outreach websites often assert that Islam promotes human rights. It is impossible to see how they can say this honestly and at the same time appeal to the origins of their religion.

This whitewash is deceitful at best and dangerous at worst, if or when Islam gets a foothold in a region on the pretence of “peace and love.” Maybe sleepy Westerners and others will accept this benign version of Islam—in fact too many do, right now. But what happens later when hard-line Muslims (not to mention nonviolent and violent fanatics) cite the numerous brutal verses in the Quran and passages in the hadith to inflict barbarity on people, especially on Jews?

The evidence in this article alone demonstrates that violence is embedded in original Islam. Even a reliable hadith shows Allah reprimanding Muhammad for another of his cruelties (see this article). Sadly, though, Allah did not reprimand his favorite prophet for this clear atrocity against the Jews, but celebrates it (Sura 33:25-27).

It is time for Muslim leaders to renounce violence clearly and specifically, not vaguely: “Yes, we denounce all forms of violence” They must go deeper than this. They must stop denying the dark past, found in the Quran itself and in the example of their Prophet. They must, instead, be clear. “We denounce these specific verses and passages in the Quran and hadith that are violent. These specific acts and words happened in the seventh century (and later centuries), and we have moved beyond all of them. We now want peace.”

A peaceful presentation of Islam is not full disclosure. It is time to be honest. Only then can interfaith dialogue even begin.

Read the whole thing.

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