The Prophet's Document Between the Muhajirun, the Ansar and the Jews

Akram Diya al Umari

Excerpted from Madinan Society At the Time of the Prophet, International Islamic Publishing House & IIIT, 1991

The text of the document (Majmu’at Al Watha’iq al Siyasiyah)

Bismi Allah al Rahman al Rahim

Clause:

(1) This is a document from Muhammad, the Prophet (governing the relations) between the believers and Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib, and those who followed them and joined them and struggled with them.

(2) They are one community (ummah) to the exclusion of all men.

(3) The Quraysh Muhajirun, according to their present custom, shall pay the blood money within their number and shall redeem their prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers.

(4) The Banu Awf, according to their present custom, shall pay the blood money they paid hitherto, and every section shall redeem its prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers.

(5) Banu al Harith (Ibn al Khazraj), according to their present custom, shall pay the blood money they paid hitherto and every section shall redeem its prisoners with kindness and justice.

(6) Banu Sa’idah, according to their present custom, shall pay the blood money they paid hitherto, and every section shall redeem its prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers.

(7) Banu Jusham, according to their present custom, shall pay the blood money they paid hitherto, and every section shall redeem its prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers.

(8) Banu al Najjar, according to their present custom, shall pay the blood money they paid hitherto, and every section shall redeem its prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers.

(9) Banu ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf, according to their present custom, shall pay the blood money they paid hitherto, and every section shall redeem its prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers.

(10) Banu al Nabit, according to their present custom, shall pay the blood money they paid hitherto, and every section shall redeem its prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers.

(11) Banu al Aws, according to their present custom, shall pay the blood money they paid hitherto, and every section shall redeem its prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers.

(12a) Believers shall not leave anyone destitute among them by not paying his redemption money or blood money in kindness.

(12b) A believer shall not take as an ally against him the freedman of another Muslim.

(13) The God-fearing believers shall be against the rebellious or anyone who seeks to spread injustice, or sin, or enmity, or corruption between believers; the hand of every man shall be against him even if he be a son of one of them.

(14) A believer shall not slay a believer for the sake of an unbeliever, nor shall he aid an unbeliever against a believer.

(15) God’s protection is all-embracing, the least of them may give protection to a stranger on their behalf. Believers are friends and protectors one to the other, to the exclusion of outsiders.

(16) To the Jews who follow us belong help and equality. He shall not be wronged nor shall his enemies be aided.

(17) The peace of the believers is indivisible. No peace shall be made when believers are fighting in the way of God. Conditions must be fair and equitable to all.

(18) In every foray a rider must take another behind him.

(19) The believers must avenge the blood of one another shed in the way of God.

(20a) The God-fearing believers enjoy the best and most upright guidance.

(20b) No polytheist shall take the property or person of Quraysh under his protection nor shall he intervene against a believer.

(21) Whosoever is convicted of killing a believer without good reason shall be subject to retaliation unless the next of kin is satisfied (with blood money), and the believers shall be against him as one man, and they are bound to take action against him.

(22) It shall not be lawful to a believer who holds by what is in this document and believes in God and the last day, to help an evil-doer or to shelter him. The curse of God and His anger on the day of resurrection will be upon him if he does, and neither repentance nor ransom will be received from him.

(23) Whenever you differ about a matter, it must be referred to God and to Muhammad.

(24) The Jews shall contribute to the cost of war so long as they are fighting alongside the believers.

(25) The Jews of the Banu Awf are one community with the believers (the Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs), their freedmen and their persons except those who behave unjustly and sinfully, for they hurt but themselves and their families.

(26) The Jews of Banu al Najjar are like the Jews of Banu ‘Awf.

(27) The Jews of Banu al Harith are like the Jews of Banu ‘Awf.

(28) The Jews of Banu Sa’idah are like the Jews of Banu ‘Awf.

(29) The Jews of Banu Jusham are like the Jews of Banu ‘Awf.

(30) The Jews of Banu al ‘Aws are like the Jews of Banu ‘Awf.

(31) The Jews of Banu al Tha’labah are like the Jews of Banu ‘Awf, except for whoever behaves unjustly and sinfully, for they hurt but themselves and their families.

(32) Jafnah, a clan of the Tha’labah, are as themselves.

(33) The Jews of Banu al Shutaybah are like the Jews of Banu Awf. Righteousness is a protection against sinfulness.

(34) The freedmen of Tha’labah are as themselves.

(35) The close friends of the Jews are as themselves.

(36a) None of them shall go out to war save with the permission of Muhammad.

(36b) But he shall not be prevented from taking revenge for a wound. He who slays a man without warning slays himself and his household, unless it be one who has wronged him, for God will accept that.

(37a) The Jews must bear their expenses and the Muslims their expenses. Each must help the other against anyone who attacks the people of this document. They must seek mutual advice and consultation, and righteousness is a protection against sinfulness.

(37b) A man is not liable for his ally’s misdeeds. The wronged must be helped.

(38) The Jews must pay with the believers so long as war lasts.

(39) Yathrib shall be a sanctuary for the people of this document.

(40) A stranger under protection shall be as his host doing no harm and committing no crime.

(41) A woman shall only be given protection with the consent of her family.

(42) If any dispute or controversy likely to cause trouble should arise, it must be referred to God and to Muhammad, the Apostle of God (may God bless him and grant him peace), God accepts what is nearest to piety and goodness in this document.

(43) Quraysh and their helpers shall not be given protection.

(44) The contracting parties are bound to help one another against any attack on Yathrib.

(45a) If they are called to make peace and maintain it, they must do so; and if they make a similar demand on the believers, it must be carried out except in the case of one engaged in combat for the sake of the religion.

(45b) Everyone shall have his portion from the faction to which he belongs.

(46) The Jews of al Aws, their freedmen and thus themselves, have the same standing with the people of this document and the same loyalty from the people of this document. Righteousness is the protection against sinfulness: each person bears responsibility for his actions. God approves of this document.

(47) This deed will not protect the unjust and the sinner. The man who goes forth to fight is safe and the man who stays at home in the city is safe, unless either has been unjust and sinned. God is the protector of the righteous and God-conscious, and Muhammad is the Apostle of God (may God bless him and grant him peace).

Analysis of the document

We have already come to the conclusion that the document was originally two. Any discussion or analysis of it must, therefore, be based on a distinction between the material which deals with the Jews and that which organizes the relationships among the Muslims and defines their rights and duties.

We will discuss the clauses dealing with the Jews first, because it seems more likely that, chronologically speaking, they come first, despite the fact that they come later in the order of the clauses in the document, in which the clauses of the second document, dealing with the Muhajirun and the Ansar, come first.

The document of the peace treaty with the Jews

Clauses (24) through (47) of the document deal with the peace treaty with the Jews. This order indicates that the clauses of the two documents have not become intermingled. The clauses of each document are presented as a whole and in sequence. However, Clause (16) is included in the document dealing with the Muhajirun and the Ansar, although it deals with the Jews, because it ensured that the Muslims will deal justly with their allies, the Jews. Hence, this clause should not necessarily be included in the document dealing with the peace treaty with the Jews.

Clause (24) shows that the Jews had committed themselves to contribute to the expense of a war in defense of Madinah and that the Jews continued to contribute so long as the believers were at war. Abu ?Ubayd al Qasim ibn Salam is of the opinion that the financial commitments of the Jews were not limited to a defensive war; he thinks that the Jews also used to go on military campaigns with the Muslims. He said:

“We think that the Jews used to receive a share of the booty when they went on campaigns with the Muslims, on the condition that they made contributions. If there had been no such condition, they would not have received any share of the Muslims’ booty.”[1]

He also related:

“Abd al Rahman ibn Mahdi reported to us from Sufyan from Yazid ibn Yazid ibn Jabir from al Zuhri, who said: ‘The Jews used to go out on campaigns with the Messenger of Allah and were given a share of the booty.'”[2]

However, this is one of al Zuhri’s mursal hadith, and cannot be relied upon. But other hadith were reported about the Jews’ participation in campaigns with the Prophet. These are, in addition to what has been mentioned previously:

1. “The Messenger of Allah asked the Jews of Qaynuqa for help (in fighting).” This hadith was reported through al Hasan ibn Imarah, and Abu Yusuf[3] and al Bayhaqi also included it. Al Bayhaqi mentions that al Hasan ibn Imarah is matruk[4], in spite of the fact that it is not agreed that he is daif. But most of the critically scrupulous scholars consider him daif to the extent that Suhayli relates a consensus to this effect.[5]

2. “The Prophet gave a share of the booty to some of the Jews who had fought with him.” Al Tirmidhi[6] reported it as mursal through al Zuhri, and said that it was hasan gharib. Al Tirmidhi states the principle that the mursal hadith of al Zuhri cannot be relied upon.

3. “The Prophet used to go out on campaigns with the Jews.”[7] This is one of the mursal hadith of al Zuhri, and cannot be relied upon.

4. “The Messenger of Allah went out on a campaign with some of the Jews.” This was reported by al Bayhaqi (al Bayhaqi, Sunan, 9/53), who said that it was munqati. It is also one of the mursal hadith of al Zuhri.

5. “The Messenger of Allah went out with ten of the Jews of Madinah and raided Khaybar.” Al Waqidi[8] reported it, but he is daif. Al Bayhaqi[9] and al Zayla’i[10] reported it from him.

6. “Some of the Jews fought with the Prophet in some of his wars, and he gave them a share of the booty, as he gave the Muslims.” Al Khatib al Baghdadi[11] reported it from Abu Hurayrah, but its isnad is daif and omits some of the narrators.

Hence, it becomes clear that all of the hadith which report the Jews’ participation in wars with the Messenger of Allah are weak. Some hadith have been reported which show that the Prophet prevented the Jews from taking part in wars with the Muslims. They are:

1. Abu Abd Allah al Hakim[12] reported a hadith from Abu Hamid al Sa’idi who said: “The Messenger of Allah went out beyond Thinyat al Wada’, where he found a group of warriors. He asked: “Who are they?” He was told: “Banu Qaynuqa. They are the people of Abd Allah ibn Salam”. He then asked: ‘Have they become Muslims?’ He said: ‘Tell them to go back; we do not ask help from the Mushrikun.’

Al Hakim reported this as evidence in support of another hadith, in which it is said: “We do not ask Mushrikun for help against other Mushrikun.” Al Hakim said: “It is sahih in the isnad, but they (i.e., al Bukhari and Muslim) did not report it’ This hadith was reported as dealing with the Battle of Uhud, but al Hakim’s report mentions that it dealt with one of the campaigns, without specifying which one[13]. Specifying the battle of Uhud is definitely an error, because the Banu Qaynuqa were banished a year before Uhud. Al Bayhaqi also reported it from Abu Hamid al Sa’idi through al Hakim.[14] Al Waqidi and Ibn Sa’d reported that they were allies of Abd al Allah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul, and that the Prophet said: “Do not ask Mushrikun for assistance against other Mushrikun.”[15]

2. Ibn Ishaq[16], Imam Sahnun[17], and Ibn al Qayyim[18] all reported through al Zuhri that “on the day of Uhud, the Ansar said: ?Why don’t we ask our Jewish allies for help?’ He said: ?We have no need of them.”

The first hadith is more authentic in its isnad than any other, although it includes Sa’d ibn al Mundhir, who is an accepted narrator (maqbul) according to Ibn Hajar. The view is more likely because of the report in the document which refers to the Jews’ participation in contributing to the war effort; the contribution is, however, confined to wars in defense of Madinah. Clause (44) offers the following explanation: “The contracting parties are bound to help one another against any attack on Yathrib’

But why did some of the Jews go out to help the Muslims, as suggested by al Hakim? This goes back to the alliances which existed between al Aws, al Khazraj and the Jews before the coming of Islam. The Jews probably wanted to reinforce these alliances and to strengthen their ties with their old allies, and to use this to set the Muslims against one another, to weaken their morale and to spread hypocrisy among them. But the Prophet prevented them from carrying out this plan by refusing any help from them so long as they remained unbelievers. It is clear, from what the Ansar said to the Prophet at Uhud that the influence of the old alliance between the Aws, Khazraj, and the Jews persisted. They said: “Why do we not ask our Jewish allies for help?” It is also affirmed by the intervention of Abd Allah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul, the leader of the hypocrites, on behalf of Banu Qaynuqa, who were the allies of his people, al Khazraj, and by the attempt of some of the Aws to protect their Jewish allies, the Banu Qurayzah, from being killed after they had accepted the judgment of the Prophet. The Prophet had appointed Sa’d ibn Mu’adh as judge, and the latter sentenced them to death. By doing so, Sa’d disowned their alliance, just as ‘Ubadah ibn al Samit (who was from Banu ‘Awf of the Khazraj) had done before him, when Banu Qaynuqa had fought against the Messenger.

Clauses (25-35) define the relationship with the Judaized members of al Aws and al Khazraj. The clauses mention their tribal Arab origins, and confirmed their alliance with the Muslims: “The Jews of the Banu ‘Awf are one community with the believers”. Al ‘Ibarah, however, gave a variant reading in al Amwal, when he reported: “…..one community among the believers,” which led Abu Ubayd to say: “He was referring to their helping the believers against their enemies with contributions, a condition imposed upon them”. But they had nothing to do with the religion (i.e. Islam). Did the Prophet not make it clear when he said, “The Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs?”.[19] Ibn Ishaq says, “with the believers” which is more reliable. The phrase in al Amwal has probably been altered.

Clause (25) guarantees freedom of worship to the Jews, and limits the responsibility for crimes to the one who commits them (except those who behave unjustly and sinfully, for they hurt themselves and their families). The criminal will receive his punishment, and if he is a member of a tribe which is party to this treaty, “this deed will not protect the unjust and the sinner.”

Clause (45) prohibits the Jews from protecting or helping the Quraysh. The Prophet was planning to intercept the Qurayshite trade caravans which used to pass to the west of Madinah on their way to Syria. It was necessary to include this commitment in order to prevent any conflict between the Jews and the Muslims which could arise from the Jews protecting the trade caravans of Quraysh.

Clause (29) prevents the Jews from leaving Madinah except with the permission of the Messenger. This restriction on their movements may have been intended, in the first place, to prevent them from undertaking any military activity, such as participating in tribal wars outside Madinah, which could affect the security and economy of the city. As citizens of the Islamic state, the Jews had to obey the laws of the state.

According to Clause (42), the Jews recognized the existence of a higher legislative authority which all the inhabitants of Madinah, including the Jews, respected. The Jews were not obliged to refer to Islamic legislation in every case, but only when the incident or conflict was between themselves and the Muslims. In their own matters, they referred to the Torah and their rabbis judged among them. If they wished, they could appoint the Prophet as their judge. The Quran gave the Prophet the choice of accepting to be their judge or of sending them back to their rabbis: … . If they do come to you, either judge between them, or decline to interfere. If you decline, they cannot hurt you in the least. If you judge, judge in equity between them. For Allah loves those who judge in equity” (Al Ma’idah 5:42)[20] No doubt, they only appointed the Prophet as their judge later, after they had become weaker, as Surat al Ma’idah was one of the later Surahs to be revealed.

In Clause (45), the treaty is expanded to cover other allies of the Muslims and the Jews, as this clause obliges each party to establish friendship with the allies of the other parties. But the Muslims excluded the Quraysh because they were in a state of war against them.

Clause (32) considers the area of Madinah to a sanctuary: “Yathrib shall be a sanctuary for the people of this document.” A sanctuary is a place which is not violated, its animals are not to be hunted, and its trees are not to be cut down. Madinah is a sanctuary between the eastern Harrah and western Harrah, and between the Mountain of Thawr in the north and the mountain ‘Ir in the south. Wadi al Aqiq is part of the sanctuary.[21] This clause ensured the internal security of Madinah and prevented any war within it.

The document between the Muhajirun and the Ansar

The document between the Muhajirun and the Ansar begins by defining the allied parties: “The believers and Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib, and those who followed them and joined them and struggled with them.” The distinction between the believers and the Muslims is clear, because, as is well known, the believer (mu’min) is the one who believes and confirms his belief by speech, and is convinced of it in his heart. The Muslim is the one who follows the Islamic laws and carries out the compulsory duties of worship. These two types were only clearly distinguishable in Yathrib because of the appearance of hypocrisy among the inhabitants after the battle of Badr. None of the Muhajirun was a Muslim without also being a mu’mim who believed in his heart.

Clause (2) confirms that: “They are one community to the exclusion of all men” a community whose members are linked by bonds of belief, not of blood, so that they are united in their feelings, thoughts, aims and purposes. Their loyalty is to Allah, and not to the tribe. Their arbitration is according to the Shariah, and not according to custom. They differ in all these ways from other people (“to the exclusion of all men”). These bonds are confined to the Muslims, and do not include anyone else, such as the Jews or their allies. No doubt the religious community was made distinct in order to increase their solidarity and self-respect. This was clarified by the Qiblah, which was changed towards the Ka’bah, after it had been in the direction of Bayt al Maqdis (Jerusalem) for 16 or 17 months.[22]

The Prophet went on to make his followers different in many ways, and explained to them that his aim was to make them different from the Jews. For example, the Jews did not pray wearing their shoes, so the Prophet permitted his companions to pray wearing their shoes. The Jews did not dye their grey hairs, so the Muslims dyed their grey hairs with henna and katam (a plant used for dying the hair black). The Jews used to fast on the day of Ashura’ (the tenth day of Muharram), and the Prophet also fasted on this day. Towards the end of his life, he intended to fast on the ninth day of Muharram too, in order to be different from the Jews. The Prophet established the principle of being different from non-Muslims. He said: “Whosoever imitates a people, he is one of them” and “Do not imitate the Jews”. There are many hadith about this, and they give the meaning that the Muslims are different from, and superior to, non-Muslims. No doubt, imitating others conflicts with our self-respect and superiority to the unbelievers.[23] This distinction and superiority does not form a barrier between Muslims and non-Muslims. The Islamic society is open and expandable, and any one who accepts its ideology can join it.

But Clause (21) prevents those people of the Aws and the Khazraj who had remained polytheists from giving protection to Quraysh and their trade and from trying to prevent the Muslims from intercepting their trade, as the Prophet was determined to pursue the policy of intercepting the trade of Quraysh. No doubt, the Muslims of the Aws and Khazraj – who were the overwhelming majority of their clans – were responsible for applying this ruling in the case of the idolaters in their clans. This commitment had previously been undertaken by the Jews when the peace treaty with them was concluded. The repetition of this text supports the view that the document is composed of two separate documents, as already stated.

It is quite possible that the document of the alliance between the Muhajirun and the Ansar would mention treating with kindness and justice the Jews who were allied to the Muslims, and not inciting one another against them or harming them, despite the fact that the Jews were not present when these clauses were written. This is an example of the moral consistency of Islamic politics, and shows that it does not recognize deceit and backstabbing Clause (16).

Clause (23), at the end of the document dealing with the alliance between the Muhajirun and the Ansar, affirms that the Prophet is the sole point of reference for any differences which may arise among the Muslims of Madinah: “Whenever you differ about a matter it must be referred to Allah and to Muhammad.”

References

[1] Abu ‘Ubayd, al Amwal, 296

[2] Ibid.

[3] Abu Yusuf, al Radd ‘ala Siyar al Awzai, 40

[4] al Bayhaqi, Sunan, 9/53

[5] Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib, 2/304-308

[6] Al Tirmidhi, Sunan, 7/49

[7] Al Zayla’i, Nasb al Riyah, 3/422

[8] Al Waqidi, Kitab al Maghazi, 2/284

[9] Al Bayhaqi, Sunan 9/53, who states: “This is munqati and its isnad is daif”.

[10] Al Zayla’i, Nasb al Rayah 3/422

[11] Tarikh Baghdadi, 4/160, who said: “Al Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abd Allah al Muqri informed me that Ahmad ibn al Faraj al Warraq reported that Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn (al Razin) reported that (al Razin) said: “It was read to Rizq Allah ibn Musa, while I was listening, that: Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah reported from Yazid ibn Yazid ibn Jabir from Abu Hurayrah”. It is clear that Yazid ibn Yazid ibn Jabir could not have met Abu Hurayrah, because Yazid was born circa 77 AH, and Abu Hurayrah died in 57 AH.

[12] Al Hakim, al Mustadrak ‘ala al Sahihayn, 2/122

[13] Al Zayla’i, Nasb al Rayah, 3/423

[14] Al Bayhaqi, Sunan, 9/37

[15] Al Waqidi, Kitab al Maghazi, 1/215-6; Ibn Sa’d, al Tabaqat, 2/27

[16] Ibn Hisham, Sirah, 2/64

[17] Malik ibn Anas, al Mudawwanah al Kubra, 3/40

[18] Ibn Hisham, Sirah, 2/64

[19] Abu Ubayd, al Amwal, p.296

[20] See also, ‘Izzah Durruzah, Sirat al Rasul, 2/148

[21] Muhammad Hamid Allah, Majmu’at al Watha’iq, 441-442

[22] Khalifah, al Tarikh, 32-42; Ibn Hisham, Sirah, 1/550

[23] Ibn Taymiyyah gives a clear idea of this meaning in his book, Iqtida al Sirat al Mustaqim (The Requirements for Following the Straight Path).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *