MUHAMMAD AND THE JEWS:
AN ETERNAL ENMITY

by Boris Shusteff

(Part 1 of 3)

Fight against such of those to whom, the Scriptures were given as believe in neither God nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and His apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the true Faith. (Qur'an 9:29)

Every event in the life of the Prophet must be studied carefully in order to learn how to respond should one find oneself in similar circumstances. (Salahi, Muhammad: Man and Prophet, 382)

It is absolutely mind-boggling that people are often unable to see the simple truth, even when they are looking directly at it. A good example is A.B. Yehoshua, a stalwart of the Israeli liberal left. In a July 21 article in The Jerusalem Post, speaking about "a new wave of hatred towards Jews [that] swept across the Arab and Muslim world" he suggests that "the cause and motive of this outbreak of animosity and rejection [of the Jews] must be analyzed."

He writes that "we Jews [must] become more adept at deciphering reality, take pains not to delude ourselves." However, he then completely fails to do this, because he takes the Six-Day War as the starting point of the Jewish-Arab conflict. While criticizing traditional Orthodox Jewry for its refusal "to confront the issue of anti-Semitism and study its causes," he himself does not even touch the issue of Muslim Judeo-phobia, thus missing the only chance to "decipher reality."

He deludes himself and his readers by completely ignoring the religious component of the Arab "rejection of the Jews." Only by taking it into account can we understand why all efforts at appeasement in dealing with the Arabs will always fail. One must analyze the ways that the Prophet Muhammad dealt with the Jews 1,400 years ago in order to gain insight into what can be expected from Muslims today.

Professor Akbar Ahmed from Cambridge writes about the enormous role that Muhammad plays in the Arab world. Muslims revere him above any and all human beings. Ahmed wrote,

"As the Prophet is the messenger, the Qur'an is the message of God. Together they provide the basis for the ideal type of Muslim behavior and thought The Prophet himself had said in his last sermon: 'I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example the sunnah [traditions about the words and deeds of the Prophet], and if you follow these you will never go astray" (1).

In our research on Prophet-Jewish relations we shall assign the role of adviser to Adil Salahi, a British journalist of Arabic origin, and will rely on his fundamental book "Muhammad: Man and Prophet." Salahi spent countless days studying various biographies of the Prophet. He writes "I could not put down the "Life of the Prophet" by ibn Hisham. I do not recall how many times I read that invaluable book, written over a thousand years ago" (ix). While writing the book he serialized the Prophet's history "attending to details and commenting on events. It took four years and a total of 200 episodes to complete." The book presents the "standard Islamic view in detail, trying to elucidate it as much as possible" (xi).

In the introduction to the book Salahi wrote: "There is always an example to follow, an attitude to adopt or a lesson to learn from the Prophet. Whether you are Muslim or not, a careful study of his blessed life will enable you to have a much better understanding of Islam" (x).

We begin our journey with Muhamad's arrival in Medina. At that time three main Jewish tribes lived there, "whose adult males numbered in excess of 2000" (208). These tribes were the Qainuqaa', An-Nadheer and Quraithah. The Jews lived in their own quarters and constituted almost half of the city's population.

While Salahi provides in his book examples of "good Jews" - i.e. ones that accepted the Prophet and converted to Islam - one will be hard pressed to find in the book good words about the Jews as a people. On the contrary, Salahi presents them in a very negative way. He writes:

"It was easy for the Jews to operate their usurious system. In their pawn shops, the Jews did not only accept valuable articles as pledges, but would also take woman and children as security against the repayment of loans. This system secured a strong financial position for the Jews, which enabled them to manipulate the market and exploit it to their own advantage. Hence, the whole population hated them for their selfishness, usury and for the means they adopted to get rich" (210).

Two major Arab tribes, the Aws and the Khazraj, lived in Medina at the time of the Prophet's arrival there. Salahi states that the Jews governed their relations with these tribes based on their own interests.

"They would do anything which ensured any material gain. Hence they tried to cause war to flare up between two tribes, whenever they judged that such a war would be to their own advantage. Indeed, it was the Jews who caused all the civil wars which considerably weakened both the Aws and Khazraj tribes" (210).

In his narrative Salahi constantly presents the Jews as the enemies of Islam. He writes, " Little did [the Prophet] think in the beginning that blind hatred of anything that did not emanate with the Israelites would determine the Jews' attitude towards Islam" (277). "Shas ibn Qais was an old Jew with unparalleled hatred for Islam" (282). "The Jews of Madinah [Medina] were fierce enemies of Islam, waiting for every chance to deal a devastating blow to Muslims" (283).

Let us follow the development of the events that lead to the expulsion of Qainuqaa', the first Jewish tribe. Salahi writes, "Despite the fact that the Prophet made a treaty with the Jews when he first arrived in Madinah, which stipulated that the Jews would support the Muslims in any fight against any enemy who threatened the Muslims in Madinah, it was soon to become clear that the Jews had no intention of putting that provision into effect" (283).

Salahi continues,

"Indeed, their hatred of Islam, which has no cause except the fact that the Prophet himself was not Jewish, became self-evident - so much so that when they realized that the Muslims had achieved a resounding victory at Badr, they felt very sorry for the non-believers and felt insecure in Madinah Hence the Jews gave every indication that they considered their peace treaty with the Prophet broken. Their poets started to ridicule the Muslims and belittle their victory. Unashamedly they also spoke ill of the Prophet and started a barrage of ridicule against him" (283).

Salahi continues to build his case against the Jews. "The tribe of Qainuqaa' [was] the closest to the Arabs in their quarters. It was perhaps this proximity that led the Jewish tribe of Qainuqaa' to show more hostility to the Muslims then the rest of the Jews. Any provocation would surely be enough to start a war between the two parties" (282). The "provocation" happened very soon when a Muslim woman went into a jeweler's shop in the Jewish market.

"In order to have a laugh at her, a Jew came from behind her and took the lower edge of her dress and stuck it to her shoulders, but she was totally unaware When she stood up the lower part of her body was visible and all the Jews around her laughed. She cried for help and a Muslim man nearby attacked the Jew who perpetrated this and killed him. Several men then attacked the Muslim and killed him" (284).

From this episode, it is hard to conclude that the Jews are on the verge of breaching the agreement, but it is exactly the conclusion at which the Prophet arrives. Let us listen to Salahi,

"The Prophet quickly came over and tried to calm everybody down. The Prophet called notables in the Qainuqaa' tribe and spoke to them, warning them against breach of their treaty: 'You had better guard against a calamity, like that which befell the Quraish. You will be well advised to adopt Islam' Their hatred, however, had become very strong and they would not listen. Their answer was far from conciliatory: 'Muhammad, do you think that we are an easy prey? If we were to fight you, you would certainly know that we are the true fighters' " (284).

Now the case is built. Salahi concludes, "The Jewish tribe of Qainuqaa' moved over to the enemy camp There was certainly no chance that the Muslims would feel easy about probable treachery by the Qainuqaa' Jews when the state of war still existed between the Muslims and the Quraish" (284).

It is important to note that these accusations against the Jews were based on assumptions, feelings and probabilities. So far the Jews had not really done anything criminal. However, this was enough for Muhammad. Salahi writes, "The Prophet received the following instruction from Allah: 'If you have reason to fear treachery from people with whom you have made a covenant, cast it back at them in an equitable manner. For, indeed, Allah does not love the treacherous.' (Qur'an 8:58)" (284).

Armed with this instruction the Prophet declared to [the Jews] that

"The treaty between two parties no longer has any value. He also warned them that he considered himself at war with them. They, on their part, went into their fortifications while the Muslims put them under siege. The siege continued for 15 days, during which the Qainuqaa' Jews received no help whatsoever from any quarter" (285).

As we'll see later, the fate of the Qainuqaa' Jews was the best of all three Jewish tribes. When they "realized that their case was hopeless, they were overtaken by fear and decided to ask the Prophet to let them leave Madinah. He accepted their offer to leave and let them go with their women and children, provided that they left behind their property and arms" (286).

Salahi explains the relatively mild "punishment" of the Jews. The Prophet stopped short of much more severe measures because one of the leaders of the hypocrites Abdullah ibn Ubbai asked him to spare the Jews, since they "are 700 fighters who always protected me against all my enemies". Before the Prophet came to Medina, Abdullah was very influential and Muhammad decided not to alienate the large non-Muslim community, hoping to attract them to Islam in the future.

The Prophet dealt out punishment to individual Jews as well. Salahi presents an episode in Muhammad's life that culminated in the death of "Ka'ab ibn Al Ashraf, a prominent personality of the Jewish tribe An-Nadheer." In this case, the straw that broke the camel's back was the fact that Ka'ab "wrote obscene love poems mentioning Muslim women. This was extremely offensive to the Muslims, who valued their honor very highly" (290).

The Prophet decided that Ka'ab must be stopped.

"He therefore said to some of his companions: 'Who will rid us of Ibn Al-Ashraf, for he has declared his hostility openly?' A man from the Ansar called Muhammad ibn Maslamah said: 'I volunteer for that. I will kill him.' This man requested and was granted permission from the Prophet to pretend to Ka'ab that he and his friends were against the Prophet and against Islam. It is important to note that the Prophet did not hesitate to grant them such permission" (291).

Ibn Maslamah went to Ka'ab with Silkan ibn Salamah. As Salahi explains, "Silkan was Ka'ab's brother by virtue of their both being breast-fed by the same woman. There was therefore an element of trust between them" (291). Silkan deceived Ka'ab and convinced him to meet his friends. The Prophet was involved in the final preparation for the killing. Salahi writes, "They all met at the Prophet's place. Then they set out and the Prophet walked with them part of the way. Before they left him, he blessed their mission and prayed Allah to help them" (292).

The Muslims lured Ka'ab out into the street. Salahi describes the killing,

"When they had walked for quite a while, Silkan suddenly held Ka'ab by his head and shouted to his friends: 'Kill the enemy of Allah'. They hit him with their swords, but he apparently has his armor on and they did not harm him. Muhammad ibn Masalamah, however, had a knife. He stabbed Ka'ab in the lower part of his abdomen and pulled the knife down. Ka'ab fell. When they had made sure that Ka'ab could not live, they started to run" (292).

One of the killers, Al-Harith ibn Aws was wounded during the mission. The other Muslims carried him and went "straight to met the Prophet He went out to see them and they told him of the success of their mission. He wiped Al-Harith's wound with his saliva and it cleared up The incident struck fear in the hearts of the Jews, who realized that the Muslims would tolerate hostility from no one" (293).

(End of Part 1 of 3)

The page numbers in parentheses are from source 2.

1. Akbar S. Ahmed, Islam Today: A Short Introduction to the Muslim World. I.B. Tauris Publishers, 2001. p.28.
2. Adil Salahi. Muhammad: Man and Prophet. A Complete Study of the Life of the Prophet of Islam. Barn and Nobles Books, New York, 1995.

MUHAMMAD AND THE JEWS: AN ETERNAL ENMITY

by Boris Shusteff

(Part 2 of 3)

The expulsion of the second Jewish tribe - the An-Nadheer - followed after the Prophet unearthed the Jewish conspiracy against him. Here are the circumstances of the story. The Prophet had to pay blood money to the relatives of the men killed by one of his companions. Since the Muslim state in Medina was a very poor one, he went to the Jewish tribe of An-Nadheer to ask for money. Salahi writes,

"He asked their chiefs to contribute to the blood money he had to pay. When he made his purpose clear to them they showed their willingness to meet his request. They were careful to show respect to him and addressed him by his title of Abu Al-Qassim, meaning the father of his eldest son, Al-Qassim, who, incidentally had died in infancy. They said to him: 'We will certainly help you in this matter'" (350).

The Prophet and his companions sat down close to a house belonging to a Jew waiting for the money. Then events took a bizarre turn. This is how Salahi describes them,

"The chiefs of the An-Nadheer tribe left them pretending that they were about to raise some money When they were alone, some of the Jews said: 'You will never find the man as easy a prey as he is now. Let a strong person go onto the roof of the house next to which Mohammad is sitting and drop a large stone or rock over his head and rid us of him.' One of them, Amir ibn Jihash ibn Ka'ab, volunteered to commit the treacherous crime. The Prophet was informed by Allah of the design of the An-Nadheer tribe, so he left his companions in their place, giving the impression that he was coming back soon, and went straight to Madinah" (350).

This is the famous episode, which all the Muslims keep reinvigorating, repeating for 1,400 years that the "Jews are the traitors that wanted to kill the Prophet". It is doubtful that nowadays any court would have taken this case for consideration based only on information submitted to Muhammad by Allah. However, Allah's words are the ultimate proof for Muslims. Besides, the Qur'an clearly says: "You will find that the most implacable of men in their enmity to the faithful are the Jews and the pagans" (Qur'an 5:82). And, "Believers, do not make friends with any but your own people. They will spare no pains to corrupt you. They desire nothing but your ruin. Their hatred is evident from what they utter with their mouths, but greater is the hatred which their breasts conceal" (Qur'an 3:118).

Salahi writes, that when the Prophet "escaped the assassination attempt there was no reason for the An-Nadheer tribe to continue with their plot" (351). However, for Muhammad the case with the An-Nadheer tribe was over. He sent one of his companions with the following message to the Jews,

"Betake yourselves out of my city. You are no longer allowed to share it with me now that you have plotted your treacherous action against me. I give you ten days' notice to carry out this ultimatum. Any one of you seen after this period in Madinah shall be executed" (351).

The Jews tried to resist. They were promised help by Abdullah ibn Ubbai, the man who earlier pleaded for the first expelled Jewish tribe of Qainuqaa'. The Jews again retreated into their quarters. The Muslims encircled them. The siege lasted for 26 days, nobody came to the Jews' help and they asked the Prophet to allow them to leave the city on the same conditions that were stipulated for the Qainuqaa' Jews. However, the Prophet replied that since they "wanted to join forces with others against the Prophet and Muslims [that] meant that they would do the same whenever a new opportunity presented itself" (353).

Therefore their punishment was harsher. They were told that they would have safe conduct to leave Medina with their women and children. However, each of them could have only a camel load of his belongings and no arms were allowed. Their farms and lands were to be given up.

Salahi concludes the episode of the expulsion of the An-Nadheer with following statement, "Thus the encounter with the second Jewish tribe came to its conclusion. Muslims did not have to fight and no blood was shed. The Muslim state was considerably richer now with the lands and the property that the Muslims had gained from the Jews" (354).

Salahi reminds us of another very important point about this expulsion. He indicates that "the Muslims themselves did not expect the Jews of An-Nadheer to be evacuated. This is because of the strength and forces that the Jews possessed." It was Allah who forced them out. "It was He that drove the unbelievers among the people of earlier scriptures Allah reached them when they did not expect, and cast terror in their hearts so that their homes were destroyed with their own hands and the hands of the believers" (Qur'an 59:2).

While the Jews of Qainuqaa' were simply expelled and the Jews of An-Nadheer were expelled and their possessions taken away, the fate of the third Jewish tribe - the Quraithah - was tragic. The Prophet's encounter with this Jewish tribe took place at the time when Medina was besieged by Mohammed's own tribe from Mecca - the Quraish, and the confederate Arab tribes which joined them. As Salahi writes, "this alliance is forged by the Jews." He painstakingly describes the efforts of the Jews to create this anti-Muhammad alliance. Salahi constantly stresses that Muhammad had two major enemies: his Quraish tribe from Mecca and the Jews. He often mentions Quraish and the Jews in one breath. "Indeed, neither the Quraish nor the Jews felt that they could score a victory in an open battle against Muslims." "Both the Quraish and the Jews, however, could only grow more bitter as they realized that Islam was getting stronger every day."

However, while the Quraish and the confederate Arab tribes are shown in the book as mainly marching and waiting to attack Medina, the Jews are constantly presented as the chief spoilers. The following example speaks for itself. Quraish leaders addressed Jewish chiefs,

"some of whom were Rabbis: 'You the Jewish people, are the people of ancient scriptures. You know our quarrel with Muhammad. We now want to ask you: which is better of the two religions - ours or his?' Unhesitatingly, the Jewish chiefs said to those who worshipped idols: Your religion is certainly better than his and you are nearer to the truth than he" (396).

Salahi writes that the Jews in order to persuade the Arab tribe of Ghatafan to join the anti-Islamic alliance promised them "the entire date harvest for a whole year after they have achieved their victory against Muhammad" (397). It is worth mentioning that the Jews who "worked hard to forge the alliance" were not those of the Quraithah tribe but from the An-Nadheer tribe that were expelled by Muhammad to Khaibar after they had been robbed of their possessions.

Salahi's story goes further, describing the siege of Medina by Quraish and other non-Islamic forces. They were unable to breach Muhammad's defense. Then Huyai ibn Akhtab, one of the Rabbis of the An-Nadheer, "realized that the only chance to achieve the goal of bringing about the collapse of Islam and the annihilation of Muhammad and his companions was to persuade the Quraithah to join forces with the Arabic polytheist and their Jewish allies" (405).

Very soon ibn Akhtab convinced Rabbi Ka'ab ibn Assad, the Quraithah leader, to join the anti-Muhammad forces. When that was done "the Quraithah followed their leader Ka'ab ibn Assad in his unilateral abrogation of their treaty with the Muslims" (407). Salahi writes that the Quraithah asked to be given ten days to prepare for the fight against Muslims. The Jews are presented in the book as the most dangerous element of the anti-Islam coalition. "Some of the companions of the Prophet [said] that they were much more worried about their women and children being attacked by the Quraithah than about facing the much larger force of the Quraish and Ghatafan" (412).

Salahi explains that "the Jews of the Quraithah had easy access to Madinah and apparently they sent some of their men to frighten the Muslim women and children. One of them was killed by Saffiyyah bint Abdulmutallib, the Prophet's aunt, when she saw the man moving suspiciously very close to the quarters of the Muslim women" (413).

Then a miracle happened. The Quraish and Ghatifan decided that they could not continue the siege of Medina any longer and left. The Muslims realized "that this was accomplished through no effort of their own, except their demonstration that they were prepared to give any sacrifice they were called on to give. As said earlier, it was accomplished by Divine Providence" (423).

The same Divine Providence told Muhammad to settle the score with the Jews. The next day after the departure of the Quraish, "the Angel Gabriel came to the Prophet to tell him: 'Allah commands you, Muhammad, to march to the Quraithah. I am now going there to shake their hearts" (423). In order to take the Quraithah by surprise the Prophet even permitted the postponement of an obligatory prayer. The Muslims imposed a siege on the Quraithah Jews. All attempts by the Jews to come to a peaceful agreement with Muhammad were refused by him. "They were told that their only choice was to submit to the judgment of the Prophet, whatever that might be - that is, an unconditional surrender" (427).

After 25 days of siege the Jews surrendered and "accepted the judgment of the Prophet." The Prophet told them "to choose any person from the Aws to be their arbiter. Their choice was the chief of the Aws tribe, Sa'ad ibn Mu'tah." The Aws used to be the Jews' former allies. Thus, one could have expected some clemency in their judgment. When the Aws people brought a donkey to Sa'ad, and sent him on his way, they told him, "The Prophet has chosen you to judge them in order that you be kind to them. You know that Abdullah ibn Ubai was kind to his allies." However Sa'ad was silent at their request and then when he became tired of their insistence he said: "It is time for Sa'ad to disregard all criticism when it comes to something through which he hopes to please Allah." (431). And Sa'ad pleased Allah.

"He asked Quraithah to give him their most solemn pledges and oaths that they would accept whatever judgement he made. When they did, he pronounced his verdict in these words: 'I hereby rule that all the men of the Quraithah are to be killed, their properties to be divided and their women and children be enslaved.' The Prophet endorsed the ruling and said it was Allah's" (431).

The Jews were taken into Medina. Moats were dug in the marketplace for the execution of the Jewish men, who were taken in groups and beheaded. "Some reports suggest that the number of men killed was 400. Others put it at 600 and other put it even higher at 800-900. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that the number was 600-700 people" (432). Salahi explains that the punishment incurred by the Jews was just. Since "Ka'ab ibn Assad led Quraithah to perpetrate treachery which could have left thousands of Muslims dead in the streets of Medina and a fatal blow befalling their women and children" (434). "Had they been allowed to settle somewhere else in Arabia, they were certain to try to have another go at the Muslims by raising new forces and forging new alliances. No wise government would have allowed its enemy such a chance" (436).

(End of Part 2 of 3)

The page numbers in parentheses are from source 2.

1. Akbar S. Ahmed, Islam Today: A Short Introduction to the Muslim World. I.B. Tauris Publishers, 2001. p.28.
2. Adil Salahi. Muhammad: Man and Prophet. A Complete Study of the Life of the Prophet of Islam. Barn and Nobles Books, New York, 1995.

MUHAMMAD AND THE JEWS: AN ETERNAL ENMITY

by Boris Shusteff

(Part 3 of 3)

The slaughter of the Quraithah Jews was not the last encounter that the Prophet had with the Jews. Five days' travel from Medina by camel, about 100 miles away, the large oasis of Khaibar became the main center of Jewish concentration in Arabia, after the destruction of Medina Jewry. The land there was very fertile, with farms and orchards stretching over a very large area. After concluding the famous Al-Hudaibiyah agreement with the Quraish "the Prophet felt that the Muslims were now in position to neutralize the threat posed by the Jews in Khaibar. He therefore called on his companions to mobilize again and start the march towards Khaibar" (493). Salahi explains,

"This was the reason which prompted the Prophet to march on Khaibar. Had he not done so, the Jews of Khaibar would have continued to urge others to attack the Muslims. The pattern of raising Arab tribes against the Muslims would be repeated again and again. There was no other way of stopping the Jewish aggression except by attacking the Jews in their own castles" (495).

The Jews were besieged. In one of the attacks the Muslims forced the gates of one of the forts to open "and started to kill anyone who resisted them, or to take him prisoner" (499). When majority of their strongholds failed, the Jews offered to surrender in return for their safety.

"The surrender agreement stipulated that none of the fighters would be put to death. They would be allowed to leave Khaibar and its vicinity, taking with them their women and children. They would abandon all claims over their land, money, horses and arms. To these conditions the Prophet added: 'But all guaranties given you would be abrogated if you withhold anything from me'. Thus all Khaibar fell to Muslims who were now in possessions of all its wealth and land" (501).

However, when the agreement was made the Jews changed their minds. They asked the Prophet to allow them to remain and work in the farms and orchards, saying, "We are better in this sort of job than you, and the land would yield much better crops if we work on it." They offered to give Muslims half of the crops of all the land in Khaibar in return. "The Prophet accepted these offers and amended the peace agreement accordingly, but added the proviso that the Muslims would evacuate the Jews from Khaibar whenever they chose" (501). After conquering Khaibar the Muslims "smashed the political and economic power of the Jews in Arabia. As the power of Islam continued to increase, the Jewish influence paled into insignificance" (508).

There is no reason to question the validity of any episodes in Muhammad's relations with the Jews. It does not matter how much truth is in them. What matters is that they persist from one biography of Muhammad to another. They have been repeated for fourteen centuries by Muslims all over the world. The Muslims learn from them that the Jews are a treacherous and extremely dangerous people that must be either expelled, killed or enslaved.

The mass destruction of the Quraithah Jews is the only episode in Muhammad's life where his enemies were slaughtered in such terrible numbers. The Jews were the only people treated by the Prophet this mercilessly. A good comparison would be the fate of the Quraish people after Muhammad conquered Mecca. Before the attack "All commanders were under strict orders not to start fighting unless they were attacked. The Prophet was very keen not to shed blood in Makkah [Mecca]" (576). It was reported to the Prophet that one of his commanders Sa'ad "might be so carried away by the occasion that he would start killing the Quraish people. The Prophet was keen not to shed a drop of blood, if that was at all possible, so he replaced Sa'ad at the command of that division" (578).

When Mecca was conquered Muhammad addressed the Quraish and asked them: "What sort of judgement do you think I am going to pass against you? You may go free. You are all pardoned'" (580). Salahi explained that "the pardon granted by the Prophet to the people of Makkah was a general pardon which included all those who fought against him in the battles which had taken place between the Quraish and Muslims" (580).

What is even more important is that these people whose lives the Prophet spared were "indeed the very people who turned him out of their city after repeatedly plotting to destroy his life" (587). (Just recall that for an imagined plot against his life, Muhammad expelled all the Jews of the An-Nadheer tribe and confiscated their possessions).

Salahi writes that when Muhammad called on the Quraish to accept Allah they rejected his appeal. "They stopped at nothing in their hostility to him personally and to his cause. They accused him of being a liar, a sorcerer and a madman. They schemed against him and urged others to be hostile to him and to his companions. They forged alliances to meet his peaceful calls with force of arms" (587).

If one compares the deeds of the Quraish with the deeds of the Jews, the injustice of the punishment brought on the Jews becomes extremely obvious. Especially, taking into account that not in a single episode did the Jews actually inflict any harm on the Prophet. All accusations against them were based on the assumptions that the Jews "might do something." While the Quraish marched all the way from Mecca, without hiding their intentions to destroy Muhammad, the Jews were only "thinking" of inflicting harm on the Prophet and the cause of Islam, based on unproven accusations. This was, however, enough for their merciless treatment.

From Muhammad's relations with the Jews the Muslims can learn only one thing: that they must constantly fight the Jews, since this is what Muhammad was tirelessly doing. Muslims learned from Muhammad's encounters with the Jews that the Jews are the biggest enemies of Islam, that they will never stop battling Muslims, that they are an extremely dangerous people because of their treacheries nature, that they constantly caused wars, and that they attempted to kill the Prophet many times and only Allah saved him. Muhammad died in 632, but the Muslim hatred towards Jews never abated.

On June 14, Fox News published the transcript of an interview with a 3-year-old girl conducted by Muslim Woman Magazine with the host Doaa 'Amer on Iqraa [Saudi Arabia/Egypt TV channel] television. It deserves to be presented almost in its entirety.

'Amer: "Our guest is a girl, a Muslim girl, but a true Muslim. Allah willing, may our God give us the strength to educate our children the same way, so that the next generation will turn out to be true Muslims who understand that they are Muslims and know who their enemies are.
Toddler: Allah's mercy and blessing upon you.
'Amer: What's your name?
Toddler: Basmallah.
'Amer: Basmallah, how old are you?
Toddler: Three and a half.
'Amer: Are you a Muslim?
Toddler: Yes.
'Amer: Basmallah, are you familiar with the Jews?
Toddler: Yes. '
Amer: Do you like them?
Toddler: No.
'Amer: Why don't you like them?
Toddler: Because . . .
'Amer: Because they are what?
Toddler: They're apes and pigs.
'Amer: Because they are apes and pigs. Who said they are so?
Toddler: Our God.
'Amer: Where did he say this?
Toddler: In the Koran.
'Amer: Right, he said that about them in the Koran. Okay, Basmallah, what are the Jews doing? Did they love our master, Muhammad?
Toddler: No.
'Amer: No. What did the Jews do to him?
Toddler: [Pauses, struggling for the right answer.] The Prophet Muhammad killed someone . . .
'Amer: Obviously, our master Muhammad was strong and could have killed them. All right, you know the traditions about the Jews and what they did to the Prophet Muhammad? Is there a story you know?
Toddler: Yes, the story about the Jewish woman. There was a Jewish woman who invited the Prophet and his friends. When he asked her, "Did you put poison (in my food)?" she said to him, "Yes." he asked her, "Why did you do this?" and she replied, "If you are a liar you will die and Allah will not protect you; if you speak the truth Allah will protect you."
'Amer: And our God protected the Prophet Muhammad, of course.
Toddler: And he said to his friends, "I will kill this lady."
'Amer: Of course, because she put poison in his food, this Jewess.
'Amer: Basmallah, Allah be praised. May our God bless her. No one could wish Allah could give him a more believing girl than she. May Allah bless her and her father and mother. The next generation of children must be true Muslims. We must educate them now while they are still children so that they will be true Muslims.

According to Amer to be a true Muslim means to hate the Jews. Millions of little Basmallahs all over the world study the life of the Prophet learning how they need to deal with the Jews. They learn that the Prophet expelled the Jews and therefore, almost all the Jews today have been expelled from Arab countries. They learn that the Prophet robbed the Jews of their possessions, so they rob the Jews of their possessions, as well. They learn that the Prophet orchestrated killings of Jews and they are only glad to follow his example. All stories of Muhammad's life present Jews as dangerous enemies of the Prophet and Islam. This is the axiom that Muslim Arabs obtain with their mother's milk.

Muhammad was ruthless to the Jews, seeing them as his mortal enemies. As the Qur'an says: "the most implacable of men in their enmity to the faithful are the Jews" (Qur'an 5:82). He had said in his last sermon: 'I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example the sunnah, and if you follow these you will never go astray." Only those who do not understand Islam may believe that the Muslims will ever dare to question his last will.

The page numbers in parentheses are from source 2.

1. Akbar S. Ahmed, Islam Today: A Short Introduction to the Muslim World. I.B. Tauris Publishers, 2001. p.28.
2. Adil Salahi. Muhammad: Man and Prophet. A Complete Study of the Life of the Prophet of Islam. Barn and Nobles Books, New York, 1995.

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Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.



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