Tue 21 Aug 2018

  The History of the Jews in Madina

The History of the Jews in Madina

The History of the Jews in Madina

The History of the Jews in Madina

There is a full chapter in the book on the life of the Prophet written by Sheikh Abu Al-Hasan devoted to paint a detailed picture of the social order which existed in Madina at the time when the Prophet and his companions from Makkah settled there with their brethren who belonged to that city.
T Such a study is very useful in the understanding of the events that took place in the following years, which witnessed the rise of the first Islamic state in history.
T He points out that in Madina, different faiths, cultures and communities lived side by side to give the city a particularly rich and colorful social life. In this it was markedly different from Makkah, which had a single faith and a single community.
Futile Feuds Among Jewish tribes
T It is thought that the Jews arrived in Arabia, particularly in Madina, in the first century AD. Dr Israel Wilfonson mentions that after the Jews suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of the Byzantines in AD 70, they sought shelter all over the world. T
T Large Jewish groups headed for Arabia. There were three main Jewish tribes in Madina, whose adult males numbered more than 2000. These tribes were the Qaynuqa, al-Na dir and Qurayzah. It is estimated that the Qaynuqa tribe had around 700 men under arms, and al-Nadir had a similar
fighting force, while adult males in Qurayzah might have been 900 in number. Relations between all these tribes were not all that peaceful.
They might go to war against each other. Perhaps the other Jewish communities in Madina were hostile to the Qaynuq a tribe because of the latter's alliance with the Arab tribe of Khazraj. In the battle known as Buath, the other two tribes, the al-Nadir and Qurayzah, fought hard against the Qaynuqa and killed a large number of their men.
At the same time, they paid ransom money for all Jewish soldiers who were captured by them. These hostilities continued after the Battle of Buath. When the Ansar prepared to fight the Jews of the Qaynuqa, none of the other Jewish communities was ready to join them against the Ansar.
Geographical Locations of the Jews
The Jews lived in their own quarters and villages. The Qaynuqa tribe had their special quarters inside the city of Madinah, after they had been expelled by the al-Nadir and the Qurayzah from their forts outside it. The al-Nadir had their quarters about two or three miles to the north of Madinah, in a fertile valley called Badhan.
The Qurayzah quarters were situated at a district called Mahzur, a few miles to the south of Madinah.
All Jewish tribes had their forts and districts where they lived independently, but they could not form a central authority dominated by the Jews to govern the city.
On the contrary, they had their autonomy under the protection of the chiefs of the Arab tribes, to whom they paid annual tributes so that they could be secure from aggression.
Every Jewish leader had an Arab ally from among the chiefs of Arab tribes.
They used to boast of their knowledge of religions and laws and they had their own schools where they studied their faith, legal code and history. They had special places for worship and they had their legal schools where they discussed all their affairs.
Jewish Business Affairs, Language & Laws
Some of their laws and regulations were taken from their scriptures, while others were enacted for them by their rabbis. They had their special festivals and their days of fasting, such as the tenth of Muharram, when their fasting
Commemorated the saving of Moses.
Most of their financial and commercial dealings with others were according to a system based on taking pledges and usury.
Since the economy of Madinah had an agricultural base, it was easy for the Jews to operate their usurious system because farmers often needed to borrow money until harvest time.
In their pawn shops, the Jews did not only accept valuable articles as pledges, but would also take women and children as security against the repayment of loans.
Such deals involving pledging one's wife or child inevitably generated a feeling of hatred between lenders and borrowers, particularly with the Arabs, who were famous for their keen sense of honor, which was overpowering in matters related to wives and children.
This system, however, 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.
Their relations with the two Arab tribes in Madinah, the Aws and the Khazraj, were governed by their own interests. They would do anything which ensured any material gain.
Hence, they tried to cause war to flare up between the 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.
Their unwavering aim was to gain full control of the city finances. When they talked about the imminent advent of a new Prophet, the Arabs of Madinah had all the encouragement they need to embrace Islam.
The language the Jews spoke in their daily life was Arabic, with a distinct Hebrew accent, since they did not abandon Hebrew altogether, but continued to use it particularly in their prayers and scholarly work.
Had they wished, the Jews would have been able to exercise a strong religious influence among the Arabs, to give Judaism firmer roots in Arabia.
Students of Jewish history, however, know that the Jews were never keen to persuade people to follow their own religion.
Intermarriages between Arabs & Jews
Indeed, to try to propagate Judaism is not allowed in certain cases. There is no doubt that a number of Arabs from the Aws and Khazraj tribes, as well as others, embraced Judaism willingly, or owing to their marriage with Jews, or simply because of their upbringing among Jews. One prominent Jew, Kaab ibn al-Ashraf, a merchant and a poet, belonged to the Arab tribe of Tayy, but his father married a Jewish woman of al-Nadir, and Kaab was brought up as a Jew.
Moreover, if an Arab lost two or three children in infancy, he might vow that if he had a surviving son, he would make him a Jew. Hence, some Arabs followed Judaism in this manner.
The two major Arab tribes in Madinah, the Aws and the Khazraj, branched out of Yemeni and Azd tribes as a result of repeated waves of emigration at different times. There were several reasons for such emigration, including the conquest of Yemen by Abyssinians and the major economic setback following the collapse of the Marib dam.
This suggests that the Jews were already settled in Madinah when the Aws and the Khazraj arrived. The Aws clans occupied the southern and eastern areas of Madinah, which were known as the Upper Part, while the Khazraj inhabited the Lower Part in the central and northern areas.
T The Jews played a major part in perpetuating the hostility between the Aws and the Khazraj in order to keep them preoccupied.
There were four clans branching out from the Khazraj, all of whom belonged to Banu Al-Najjar , who lived in the central area around the mosque which was later to be built by the Prophet.
The Aws had their quarters in the very fertile areas, living side by side with the major Jewish communities, while the
Khazraj lived in a less fertile area, neighboring the Jewish tribe of the Qaynuqa.
It is extremely difficult to estimate the Arab population in Madinah, but one can make a good estimate of their fighting force in the battles which they fought after the Prophet's settlement in Madinah. Their regiment in the Muslim army on the day when Makkah fell to Islam was 4,000 strong.
At the time of the Prophet's emigration to Madinah, the Arabs had the upper hand there. The Jews could not unite in opposition to the Arabs. Indeed, some of the Jewish clans formed an alliance with the Aws, while others were allied to the Khazraj. When they fought each other, they were fiercer in their mutual hostility than the Arabs.
The enmity between the Qaynuqa tribe on the one hand and the al-Nadir and the Qurayzah on the other was so fierce that it compelled the Qaynuqa tribesmen to abandon their farms and become manual workers.
Similarly, the Aws and the Khazraj fought several battles against each other, the first of which was known as the Battle of Samirand the last as that of Buuath, which took place five years before the Prophet's emigration to Madinah.
The Jews played a major part in perpetuating the hostility between the Aws and the Khazraj in order to keep them preoccupied. This earned the Jews the title "Foxes", as they were called by the Arabs.



Date:- 21 Feb 2015 ।