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A History Of Zionism And Its Ideological Roots

Introduction

This article was written to provide a scholarly analysis on the ideology of Zionism, its origins and purpose, as well as its past “achievements” in having successfully displaced thousands of Palestinians who suddenly lost their homeland to this group of terrorists. We seek to confront and expose the true nature of the ideology of Zionism, often touted as “Jewish nationalism”. Can Zionism be equated with the Jews and Judaism? Is Zionism wholly grounded on religious grounds as the Zionist themselves try to claim, or just another name for the secular and/or racist ideologies that we have seen in the last century in the likes of Nazism, Fascism and Apartheid? These are the fruits of our research on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we leave it to the reader to form their own conclusions and decide whether Zionism should be rightfully confronted and opposed, or otherwise.

The Origins of Zionism

“Tyranny is always weakness”, said James R. Lowell, and tyranny constitutes the fundamental implementations of Zionism. Contrary to common belief, Zionism first emerged as a secular ideology in the 19th century. Under “Zionism”, the Encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. 12, 1990, p. 922) states that:

…Zionism originated in Eastern and Central Europe in the latter part of the 19th century.

This is further collaborated by Sierra Reference Encyclopedia (Collier’s, 1995), when it states under “Zionism” that:

ZIONISM, a Jewish national movement, which had as its objective the reconstitution of an independent Jewish life in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews. Zionism was rooted in the traditional attachment of Jews to their homeland. This feeling was strengthened when the political emancipation of Jewish communities in Western Europe in the 19th century and their assimilation of European culture failed to gain them acceptance. The movement was given urgency by new waves of anti-Semitism in Europe in the late 19th century, particularly the pogroms in Russia, and by the genocidal policies of Hitler’s Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The Zionist movement achieved its aim with the founding of Israel in 1948.

Theodor Herzl was an Jewish-Austrian journalist largely credited with being the “Father of Zionism”, just as Karl Marx and Hitler were credited with being the fathers of Communism and Nazism respectively. Theodor Herzl’s book Der Judenstat (The Jewish State), clearly stated that a future Jewish state should not build upon democracy, and in fact suggests that it should be built upon dictatorship. This is contrary to the Zionist cries of Israel being “the only democracy in the Middle East”.

We read that:

People are not fit for democracy, and will no be so in future either. Sane and mature policies are not the product of parliamentary institutions. Personalities, which are the product of forces of history, best represent the wishes of the people and safeguard the interests and security of the state. It is these personalities and not people who are born to rule and it is their will which should ultimately prevail. 1

A publication issued by the Zionist Organization in London wrote that:

Democracy in American too commonly means majority rule without regard to diversities of types or stages of civilization or differences of quality. Democracy in that sense has been called the melting pot in which that quantitatively lesser is assimilated into quantitatively greater. This doubtless is natural in America, and works on the whole very well. But if American idea were applied as an American administration might apply it to Palestine, what would happen? The numerical majority in Palestine today is [Palestinian] Arab, not Jewish. Qualitatively, it is a simple fact that the Jews are now predominant in Palestine, and given proper conditions they will be predominant quantitatively also in a generation or two. But if the crude arithmetical conception of democracy were to be applied now, or at some early stage in the future to Palestinian conditions, the majority that would rule would be the Arab majority, and the task of establishing and developing a great Jewish Palestine would be infinitely more difficult. The problem at the heart of the Zionist claim was rarely articulated so clearly: the Zionist dream ran counter to the principle of democracy. 2

The Zionist desire for the alienation and eventual expulsion of the original inhabitants residing in the land designed for a “Jewish state” is no secret. Earlier in 1895, Theodor Herzl wrote in his Diary that:

We must expropriate gently the private property on the state assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it employment in our country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly. Let the owners of the immoveable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.3

In October 1882, Validimir Dubnow, one of the earliest Zionist pioneers in Palestine, wrote to his brother articulating the ultimate goals of the Zionists movement:

The ultimate goal…is, in time, to take over the Land of Israel and to restore to the Jews the political independence they have been deprived of for these two thousand years…The Jews will yet arise and, arms in hand (if need be), declare that they are the masters of their ancient homeland.4

In October 1882 Ben-Yehuda and Yehiel Michal Pines, few of the earliest Zionist pioneers in Palestine, wrote describing the indigenous Palestinians, that

…There are now only five hundred [thousand] Arabs, who are not very strong, and from whom we shall easily take away the country if only we do it through stratagems [and] without drawing upon us their hostility before we become the strong and populous ones. 5

In 1916 Lord Balfour declared that he is a “Zionist” during a British Cabinet meeting. In an encounter between Weizmann and Balfour:

“[Weizmann] laid out his much repeated argument – that Zionists and British interests are identical. The Zionist movement spoke, Weizmann said, with the vocabulary of modern statesmanship, but was fueled by a deep religious consciousness. Balfour, himself a modern statesman, also considered Zionism as an inherent part of his Christian faith. . . . Soon after, Balfour declared in a cabinet meeting, I am a Zionist.”6

In 1936 the Mapai leader David Hacohen explained how Zionist socialism should be for Jews not Arabs, he stated that:

I remember being one of the first of our comrades [of the Ahdut Ha’avodah] to got to London after the first World War. … There I became a socialist. … [In Palestine] I had to fight my friends on the issue of Jewish socialism, to defend the fact that I would not accept Arabs in my trade union, the Histadrut; to defend preaching to the housewives that they not buy at [Palestinian] Arab stores, to prevent [Palestinian] Arab workers from getting jobs there. …. To pour kerosene on the [Palestinian] Arab tomatoes; to attack Jewish housewives in the markets and smash the Arab eggs they had bought; to praise to the skies the Keneen Kayemet [Jewish National Fund] that sent Hankin to Beirut to buy land from absentee effendi [landlords] and to throw the fellahin [peasants] off the land– to buy dozens of dunums– from an Arab is permitted, but to sell, God forbid, one Jewish dunam to an Arab is prohibited.7

In 1937, David Ben-Gurion eloquently articulated the Zionist goals regarding population transfer as the following:

With compulsory transfer we [would] have a vast area [for settlement] ….I support compulsory transfer. I don’t see anything immoral in it.8

Such racist sentiment was the norm among the early Zionist leaders, similar statements were constantly repeated by Ben-Gurion and Jabotinsky. Zionism has always been recognized as a form of racism and this is evident when in 1975 the U.N. General Assembly first adopted a resolution equating Zionism with racism. The U.N. adopted that resolution annually until 1991 when the Madrid Accord began.

The Zionist Expansionism and The Palestinian Dilemma

“…after a lapse of 1800 years, it could not be said that Palestine was the land of the Jews. Otherwise the United States of America should now belong to the Red Indians and the situation in England, and in many countries of the world should be different. In my opinion, the Jews have no right in Palestine except their right to personal property. They do not have the right to establish a State. It is most unfortunate that a state is based on religious basis.

The above citation is from A. Toynbee, a well-known historian. His criticism of the Zionist theory of returning to Palestine clearly underlined the sentiments of those who clearly see no justification for a Jewish State to be established in Palestine. Palestine has always been recognized as belonging to Palestinians, not to a group of secular terrorists who uses religion as a justification for a State. As a researcher points out:

History tells us that the first people to settle in Palestine were the Canaanites, six thousand years BCE. They were an Arab tribe who came to Palestine from the Arabian Peninsula, and after their arrival, Palestine was named after them [i.e., Canaan]. 9

And further, he added that:

As for the Jews, the first time they entered Palestine was approximately six hundred years after Abraham had entered the land, i.e., they entered it approximately 1400 years BCE. So the Canaanites entered Palestine and lived there approximately 4500 years before the Jews.10

Hence it is clear that the Jews have no right to the land, whether according to religious law or in terms of who lived there first and possessed the land. Despite this, the state of Israel was recognized by the U.N. in 1948 on condition that it accepted the right of the Palestinians to an independent state, and implementation of Security Council Resolution 194 guaranteeing the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. Over half a century later, these inalienable rights remain unfulfilled. The implantation of the Zionist entity in Palestine has been rightly described as An-Nakba (The Catastrophe) by the Palestinians. The hoopla surrounding Israel conveniently ignores the fact that Palestine was stolen by European Jewish terrorists in connivance with the European powers, primarily Britain but also France (and later the U.S.) to create a western beach-head in the heartland of Islam. This was only made possible by driving out the indigenous population – the Palestinians – from their ancestral lands, through terror and mass murder.

The Zionists have also constantly peddled the mythology of turning ‘deserts into orchards’, a claim already responded to, with the active collaboration of the Western media. Their claim to Palestine is based on a complete perversion of historical facts sprinkled with Biblical references to geography. The Zionists – most of them secular fanatics who have nothing to do with Judaism — have reduced the Bible to a real estate manual.

The Zionist colonial settler enterprise was launched by shedding the blood of the Palestinians. It has been sustained through terror, the most common characteristic of the Zionists, for 50 years. More than 475 Palestinian towns and villages were completely wiped out. There is no trace left of them anymore. Soon after the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Moshe Dayan, the one-eyed Israeli general, had boasted to a group of visiting Jews from the U.S. that the present generation had expanded the boundaries of the State of Israel this far. Now it was up to the next generation to take them further. He also candidly admitted that hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns had been wiped out. And it was this same general who proclaimed that:

“…a new State of Israel with broad frontiers, strong and solid, with the authority of the Israel Government extending from the Jordan [river] to the Suez Canal.11

The above quote should clarify the reality of Zionist expansionism. This certainly refutes the Zionist propaganda that Palestinian inhabitants of towns fled on orders from the Arab governments, it is clear that they fled in the face of the Zionist terror machine. Deir Yassin (April 9, 1948) was but one example of numerous Zionist atrocities perpetrated against innocent civilians. Palestinian women were paraded naked in the streets. Many of them were bayoneted to death before their bodies were dumped in wells. At least 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes in this campaign to settle the European Jews in Palestine. This obscenity is being celebrated today as a great achievement. Former Israel Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, boasted of the importance of the massacre of Deir Yassin in his book “The Revolt: The Story of the Irgun”. He wrote that there would not have been a State of Israel without the “victory” of Deir Yassin: “The Hagganah carried out victorious attacks on other fronts… In a state of terror, the Arabs fled, crying, ‘Deir Yassin’.”

Nor did the massacres cease after the establishment of the Jewish State; they continued in times of both peace and war. Following are the names of some of them: Sharafat Massacre, Kibya Massacre, Kafr Qasem Massacre, Al-Sammou’ Massacre, the Sabra And Shatila Massacre, Oyon Qara Massacre, Al-Aqsa Mosque Massacre, the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, the Jabalia Massacre.

Many leaders of the Zionist terrorist gangs — Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, et al — later became prime ministers of ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’. The ‘most powerful democracy’ in the world – the U.S. – has such a close relationship with the so-called ‘only democracy’ that massive annual handouts are bestowed upon it even while American citizens are denied many of their basic needs. Further, these very same Zionists are wasting U.S. taxpayers’ money by advocating and supporting the building of a shrine to a militant Jew, Baruch Goldstein who massacred a group of praying Muslims at a mosque in Hebron, in 1994. And we see that until today, thousands of militant Jews visit his grave annually to ‘celebrate’ the murders committed by this Jewish terrorist. This is just one out of the various examples on why it is the Zionist regime of Israel that is the ‘only American-funded country in the Middle East’ to fund and to support State terrorism. But as we have seen, State terrorism is nothing new to the Zionist regime.

And if taking away their land is not enough to humiliate the Palestinians, the Zionists tried to wipe out the identity of the Palestinians, by pretending that they do not exist as a people and as a nation. A Zionist scholar, Israel Eldad, also promulgates this claim of ‘no Palestine or Palestinians’ , in his book The Jewish Revolution as follows:

Can this [Jewish] rich existence be compared with the Palestinian nation? Who is that nation? What is it? Where and when was it born? What is its identity? What are its distinctive features- physical and mental? And except for the feats of its marauding gangs, what has it ever been known for?” (p. 119)

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Golda Meir, Israel’s Prime Minister between 1969-1974, stated in June 1969

It is not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them, they did not exist.12

Of course Ms. Meir conveniently fails to mention that prior to 1948, the Jews do not exist with a single national identity, but that did not stop them from being identified as such, did it? We don’t expect her and her ilk to mention it anyway, since it is clear that it was the Zionists who drove Palestinians into the sea, not vice-versa. And as recent as 1968, the Jewish historian Maxime Rodinson wrote that

the Arab population of Palestine was native in all the usual senses of the word. 13

Claiming that there was no such thing as Palestinians is merely but one of the many ways the Zionists perform their version of ‘ethnic cleansing’, effectively wiping out the existence of the Palestinians as a distinct social, political, and cultural entity and rewriting the history books with their perverted ‘version’ of the events.

The Palestinian Resistance and Zionist War Machine

The attacks by the Zionists, whether militarily or by propaganda, prompted several Palestinian resistance groups to be formed against the Zionist regime, which the regime conveniently labels them as “terrorists”. But a distinction must be made between terrorism and the resistance to occupation which international conventions authorize. The Declaration on Principles of International Law (1970) emphasized that all states are under a duty to refrain from any forcible action which deprives people of their right to self-determination. The Declaration also notes that “in their actions against, and resistance to, such forcible action” such peoples could receive support in accordance with the purpose and principles of the UN Charter. Various UN resolutions have reaffirmed the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for liberation from colonial domination and alien subjection, “by all available means including armed struggle” (see UNGA 3070, 3103, 3246, 3328, 3481, 31/91, 32/42 and 32/154). Article 1(4) of Protocol I (additional to the Geneva Conventions) considers self-determination struggles as international armed conflicts situations. The principle of self-determination itself provides that where forcible action has been taken to suppress the right, force may be used in order to counter this and achieve self-determination.

It is obvious that with the systematic ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the Zionist regime, these Palestinian resistance groups are certainly not “terrorists”. On the contrary, these resistance groups are fighting a legitimate war, against a enemy that has oppressed their people for so long that it would be a crime to themselves and to the Palestinians if they do not oppose the enemy and stand by and watch the Zionist pillaging what is left of Palestine.

Israel is the only country in the world where torture of political prisoners is not only legal but its supreme court actively endorses it. Palestinians are held without trial under what is euphemistically called ‘administrative detention.’ The maximum period is six months but it is routinely extended. There are Palestinians who have been held without charge or trial for four or five years. While the Western media routinely present Israel as a beleaguered State in a sea of hostile neighbors, it is the only nuclear power in the region with more than 200 nuclear weapons. Its army has grown to 600,000 and it can deploy more than 2,800 tanks and 700 combat planes, according to the Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. This gives it a formidable military muscle against the Arab armies which it has defeated in almost all the wars. But since 1982, Israel’s military has found itself mired in less glorious adventures, including the costly 1982-1985 invasion of Lebanon and its attempts to crush the Intifada from 1987 to 1994. In Lebanon it got a bloody nose at the hands of the Hizbullah, whose spirit of sacrifice put the fear of God into the pleasure-loving Zionist thugs. Instead of confronting the Islamic fighters, the Zionists bombard Lebanese villages using long-range artillery and planes.

Hostage-taking is also a favorite ploy of the Zionists. Literally hundreds of Palestinians and Lebanese are incarcerated in the Khiam concentration camp where torture is rampant. Similarly, Palestinians held without trial are also tortured in prisons inside what is called Israel. If young Palestinians are incarcerated, their leaders are expelled from their own land. It is ironic that alien occupiers from eastern Europe and America should expel people from their own homes and land where their forefathers have lived for millennia. The Zionists are also extremely sadistic. Young children are targeted for special wrath. Thousands of Palestinian children have been brutally beaten up by the gun-toting Zionists. Young stone-throwing Palestinians have been buried alive; others have had their bones broken with rocks, on direct orders from Yitzhak Rabin, the Nobel peace prize winner! During the Intifada, the Zionist occupiers frequently used tear gas in confined spaces, resulting in hundreds of pregnant Palestinian women suffering miscarriages. Another of their favorite ploys is to mix flour and kerosene in Palestinian homes, making it unfit for consumption. Despite such cruelties, the Zionists have failed to break the spirit of the Palestinians. Every Israeli cruelty brings out an even greater determination to stand up to the occupiers. As the Israeli military historian Martin Van Creveld of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem admitted, “An army which fights against the weak, becomes weak itself.” He went on: “In these instances, the army is the sure loser because its victories are without honor and its defeats are always humiliating”.

The Jerusalem Issue and Al-Aqsa Mosque

Jerusalem is better known to the Muslims by the means of Bayt al-Maqdis (the holy house) or simply al-Quds (the holy); the latter is the most common name at the present. Since 638 A.D. when the second Caliph ‘Umar Al-Khattab liberated the city, Jerusalem had always been ruled by a succession of Muslim rulers. But of course, the Zionist mind is uncomfortable with the fact that Jerusalem has always been Muslim in history and therefore tries to manipulate Jerusalem’s history. The UN Resolution 181, which divided Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state, specifically declared Jerusalem “corpus separatum” and placed the city under international jurisdiction. However, in 1948 the military forces of Israel occupied the western part of the city. In 1967 the conquest was completed when Israel forcibly occupied the city’s eastern half. In 1980, Israel passed a Basic Law declaring Jerusalem its capital. The international community responded decisively to this provocative act. UN Security Council Resolution 476 (June 30, 1980) says that Israeli actions to change the status of Jerusalem “constitute a flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention” and declares such measures ‘null and void'”. UN Security Council Resolution 478 (August 20, 1980) states that “the enactment of the ‘basic law’ by Israel constitutes a violation of international law”. All nations have kept their embassies in Tel Aviv.

In the past, the Zionists tried to and partially succeeded in burning-down Islam’s third holiest sanctuary, the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque. The nefarious sacrilege was by no means, as the Israeli government then suggested, an isolated act committed by a deranged man who acted on his own. Quite the contrary, the morbid Israeli designs against the sacred Muslim shrine show that diabolical feat was a deliberate collective act of aggression carried out with the unmistakable acquiescence of the Israeli political establishment and the active encouragement of much of the world’s Jewry and their fundamentalist Christian allies.

The following is a list of the acts of aggression and desecration against Al-Aqsa Mosque since June 7, 1967:

    June 7, 1967: The occupation authorities confiscated the keys of the Western Gate known as Bab El-Magharba immediately after Israeli troops seized the town from the fleeing Jordanians.

    June 9, 1967: The congregational Friday prayer was not held on orders from the occupation authorities. That was the first time the Juma’a prayer didn’t take place since the liberation of Jerusalem from the hands of the Crusades in 1167 AD on October 19,1990, The Juma’a prayer was delayed for two hours because the the occupation authorities denied Muslim worshiper entry to the Haram compound.

    June 21, 1969: An Australian-born terrorist, Denis Michael Rohan, entered the mosque and set the magnificent Nurruddin Zinki Mihrab on fire. The fire gutted the unique Mihrab, which has restored. The sacrilegious act against the mosque was condemned world-wide, but was praised by wide segments of world Jewry and Christian fundamentalists who view the creation of Israeli in Palestine as a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and a precedence to the second advent of Jesus.

    November 16, 1969: The Israeli occupation authorities seized the Fakhriyya Corner on the south-western side of the Haram Al-Sharif.

    August 14, 1970: The Gershon Solomon group, and ultra-fanatic groups dedicated to the so-called rebuilding of the Temple of Solomon of the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque after it is demolished, forcibly entered the premises of the Haram, but were repulsed by Muslims. The confrontation resulted in tens of worshippers being injured by Israeli troop gunfire.

    April 19, 1980: A group of Jewish rabbis and sages held a semi-secret conference devoted to exploring ways and means “to liberate the Temple Mount from Muslim hands”.

    August 28,1980: The Israeli occupation authorities dug a tunnel right underneath the Mosque.

    March 30, 1982: Numerous letters were sent by Muslim Waqf authorities urging them to abandon the Temple Mount and warning them of the dire consequence of their “usurpation of our Temple”. The letters were written in Hebrew, English, French ,Spanish and Polish.

    May 20, 1982: Several Zionist organizations sent death threats to Waqf officials.

    April 11, 1982: An Israeli soldier named Allen Goodman stormed the interior of the Mosque, spraying worshipers with bullets from his M-16 assault rifle, killing and wounding over 60 Palestinians.

    March 26, 1983: The main entrance to the Jerusalem’s Waqf department collapsed due to Israeli excavations underneath.

    August 21, 1985: The Israeli police permitted Jewish extremists to hold prayers within the confines of the Haram premises.

    August 4, 1986: A group of Rabbis issued final ruling allowing Jews to pray at the Haram Al-Sharif and demanded the establishment of a Synagogue in the area.

    May 12, 1988: Israeli soldiers opened fire on a peaceful Muslim march at the Haram, killing and wounding about a hundred Palestinians.

    August 8, 1990: The Israeli authorities committed a grisly massacre at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, killing 22 worshipers and injuring over 200.

    July 25, 1995: The Israeli High Court of Justice issued a ruling, allowing Jews to pray at the “Temple Mount”. The decision sparked off widespread protests among Muslims.

Conclusions

We have seen the origins and the basic goals of Zionism, at the expense of its original inhabitants. The Zionists, in the mould of the colonialism of the British, French, Portuguese and Dutch in the 17th and 18th century, seek to rewrite history and thus effectively try to blot out the historical existence of Palestine and the right of Palestinians to their own State. In the process, the Zionist regime have built Israel upon the blood of thousands of Palestinians killed during An-Nakba, as well as the millions of Palestinians that were dispossessed of their land, citizenship, culture and history. Not to mention that these power-hungry Zionist thugs also try to deny Muslim control of Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state and Haram As-Shareef, the third-most holiest site in Islam.

No one, after weighing the evidence above, would consider Zionism to be a legitimate ideology of peace. On the contrary, Zionism must be condemned and rejected in the same way Fascism, Apartheid, Nazism and other racist ideologies had been rejected in the past. The day Israel shakes free of its Zionist ideals and its anti-Arab schizophrenia is the day Palestine will finally exist with Jerusalem as its capital, and only then will the Israel-Palestine conflict will come to an end. A History of Zionism and Its Ideological Roots 2

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "A History Of Zionism And Its Ideological Roots," in Bismika Allahuma, December 14, 2006, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/history/history-of-zionism/

References:

Online resources:

  1. Theodor Hertzl, The Jewish State, p. 69 []
  2. One Palestine Complete, p. 119 []
  3. America and The Founding Of Israel, p. 49 []
  4. Righteous Victims, p. 49 []
  5. Righteous Victims, p. 49 []
  6. One Palestine Complete, p. 41 []
  7. Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 25 []
  8. Righteous Victims, p. 144 []
  9. Ahmad al-‘Awadi, al-Suhyooniyyah, Nash’atuhaa, Tanzeemaatuhaa, Inshitatuhaa, p. 7 []
  10. Ibid., p. 8 []
  11. Iron Wall, p. 316 []
  12. Iron Wall, p. 311 []
  13. Rodinson, M., Israel and the Arabs, Penguin, 1968, p. 216 []
Categories
History Jews of Arabia

The Expulsion Of Banu Al-Qurayzah

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

The date of the campaign

The action against Banu Qurayzah took place at the end of Dhu al Qa’dah and the beginning of Dhu al Hijjah in the fifth year1, after the Battle of the Ditch, which took place in Shawwal of the fifth year AH, according to Qatadah, ‘Urwah ibn al Zubayr, Ibn Ishaq and Abd al Razzaq.2 Imam Malik and Musa ibn ‘Uqbah suggested that the Battle of the Ditch took place in Shawwal of the fourth year. Ibn Hazm suggested the same. The three of them drew their conclusion from a hadith of Abd Allah ibn ‘Umar which said that the Prophet would not let him fight at the Battle of the Ditch, when he was 15.3

Al Bayhaqi showed that it was possible to reconcile the two suggestions. He said: “In fact, there is no difference between them, because they meant that it took place after four years had passed and before the fifth year was completed.” Al Zuhri declared that the Battle of the Ditch took place two years after Uhud. All are agreed that Uhud took place in Shawwal of the third year, except for those who suggested that the hijrah calendar should begin from Muharram of the year following the emigration, and did not take into consideration the months which remained in the year of the hijrah, from Rabi’ al Awwal onwards, as al Bayhaqi mentions. Yaqub ibn Sufyan al Fasawi suggested that Badr took place in the first year, Uhud in the second year, Badr al Maw?id in Sha?ban of the third year, and the Battle of the Ditch in Shawwal of the fourth year. This contradicts the opinion of the majority of scholars. It is well known that ‘Umar decreed that the hijrah calendar should start from Muharram of the year in which the emigration took place, and according to Malik, that it should start from Rabi’ al Awwal of that year.

There are three opinions, but the opinion of the majority, that Uhud took place in the third year, and that the Battle of the Ditch took place in Shawwal of the fifth year, is authentic.

Some of the scholars, including al Bayhaqi, explained the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar by saying that at the Battle of Uhud he had only just turned 14, whereas at the Battle of the Ditch he was 15 going on 16. This is reasonable, because when the Battle of Uhud ended, the two sides agreed to meet at Badr for another battle in the following year (Badr al Mawaid), but it did not happen. Al Bayhaqi said: “It is nonsense to say that they came to besiege Madinah two months later.”4

The reason for the campaign

The reason for the campaign goes back to Banu Qurayzah’s breaking of the treaty between themselves and the Prophet. This has been proved from different reports which, when taken together, could be used as valid evidence. Huyayy ibn Akhtab al Nadari5 incited them to break the treaty at a critical time when the Muslims were being besieged by 10,000 warriors from the various tribes. There is a strong report that the Prophet sent al Zubayr ibn al Awwam6 to check on Banu Qurayzah, then he sent Sad ibn Mu’adh, Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah, Abd Allah ibn Rawahah and Khawwat ibn Jubayr7 to check whether the rumors about the treachery of Banu Qurayzah were true. These four confirmed the rumors, and this news distressed the Muslims.

Ibn Ishaq gave a detailed report — without isnad — of the treachery of Banu Qurayzah and their breaking of the treaty. Most of the Sirah writers also reported it without isnad8.

Musa ibn ‘Uqbah mentions — also without isnad — that Qurayzah asked Huyayy ibn Akhtab to take 90 men from the nobles of Quraysh and Ghatafan as hostages, so the Quraysh would not leave Madinah before they had destroyed the Muslims. Huyayy agreed to that, so they announced their breaking of the treaty.9

The Prophet was commanded by God to fight Banu Qurayzah after he returned from the Battle of the Ditch10 so the Prophet ordered his companions to go to Qurayzah straight away, and tell them that God had sent Jibril to shake their strongholds and strike fear into their hearts11, and instructed them that no one was to pray Asr before they reached Banu Qurayzah12. The time for Asr came, and some were still on their way to Banu Qurayzah, so some of them prayed, and some of them delayed their prayer, but the Prophet did not blame either group, because they had tried their best to understand what he wanted them to do. Those who had delayed the Asr prayed it after Isha as Ibn Ishaq explained.13

The scholars reconcile the reports of al Bukhari and Muslim by suggesting the possibility that some of them had already prayed zuhr before the order came, while some had not, so the Prophet ordered those who had not yet prayed not to pray, and ordered those who had already prayed not to pray Asr. It is also possible that two groups were sent out separately: the first group was told not to pray Zuhr and the second was told not to pray Asr.1415, 7/408-9

The Prophet went out to Banu Qurayzah, and appointed Abd Allah ibn Umm Maktum16 to govern Madinah in his absence. This report could be accepted even though it has not been proved to be sahih.

There are many mursal traditions (athar) which strengthen one another to the level of hasan li ghayrih, and which say that Ali was sent to carry the flag at the head of the army.17

The reports differ as to whether the siege of Banu Qurayzah lasted for a month18, 25 days19, 15 days20 or any number of days between 10 and 1821. The strongest evidence shows that it was twenty-five days; most of the Maghazi writers favor this version, following Ibn Ishaq.22

The success of the siege and the fate of Banu Qurayzah

When the siege intensified and became unbearable for Banu Qurayzah, they wanted to surrender and accept whatever judgment the Prophet passed on them. They consulted Abu Lubabah ibn Abd al Mundhir, one of the companions of the Prophet who was also their ally, and he indicated that if they surrendered, they would be killed. Abu Lubabah later regretted saying this, and tied himself to one of the pillars in the Prophet’s Mosque until his repentance was accepted.23 Banu Qurayzah agreed to accept the judgment of Sa’d ibn Mu’adh; they thought that he would show mercy to them, because of the alliance between them and his people, al Aws.

Sa’d was carried to them, because he had been wounded in the hand by an arrow at the Battle of the Ditch, and was ill. He judged that the warriors should be killed, and their wealth shared. The Messenger confirmed this and said: “You have judged according to God’s judgment.”24 By doing this, Sad ibn Mu’adh disowned his alliance with Banu Qurayzah. This did not disturb the Aws at all, despite their alliance with Banu Qurayzah and the fact that they had only recently entered Islam. Their acceptance of this was facilitated by the fact that their leader Sa’d passed judgment on Banu Qurayzah. The number of warriors who were executed was 400.25 Three of Banu Qurayzah were spared because they entered Islam26 and they kept their wealth; three others may have been spared because they were protected by some of the companions because of their loyalty to the treaty during the siege. There are many reports dealing with this, but they cannot be taken as valid evidence. The prisoners were detained in the house of Bint al Harith.27

The executions were carried out in the market place in Madinah, where trenches were dug; they were killed in groups and thrown into the trenches.28 Only one of their women was killed29; she had killed one of the companions — Khalid ibn Suwayd — by dropping a millstone on him.

Boys below the age of puberty were released.30 After the execution of the warriors had been carried out, the Prophet divided their wealth and appointed the women to the custody of the Muslims.31 The books of Maghazi give some detail of how the division was carried out, but their reports cannot be taken as valid evidence.

The Messenger chose Rayhanah ibn Khanafah, one of the women prisoners, for himself, according to Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Sa’d and many others. Al Waqidi and those who followed him said that he married her, but the first suggestion is more likely.

Some contemporary historians tend to deny and weaken the reports dealing with the punishment faced by Banu Qurayzah32 on the basis that proving these reports may hurt humanitarian feelings or serve the interests of Zionist propaganda, but this is not the case. The most authentic Islamic sources prove that it happened. The severe punishments were only given because of the acts of high treason which Banu Qurayzah committed when they betrayed the Muslims and broke the treaty, instead of participating with them in defending Madinah, in accordance with the treaty between the two sides. In this day and age, nations still execute traitors who cooperate with the enemy.

The punishment of Banu Qurayzah fitted their crime, because they had exposed the Muslims to the threat of being killed, their wealth to the threat of being seized, and their women and children to the threat of being taken prisoner; therefore, their punishment was a fitting recompense. There is no need to avoid historical facts or to deny authentic reports. The Expulsion of Banu al-Qurayzah 3

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "The Expulsion Of Banu Al-Qurayzah," in Bismika Allahuma, October 16, 2005, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/history/the-expulsion-of-banu-al-qurayzah/
  1. Ibn Sa’d, al Tabaqat, 3/74; Ibn Hisham, al Sirah, 3/715; Al Tabari, Tarikh al Rusul, 3/593; Ibn Sayyid al Nas, Uyun al Athar, 3/68 []
  2. Abd al Razzaq, al Musannaf, 5/367; Ibn Hisham, al Sirah, 3/699; al Haythami, Majma’ al Zawa’id, 6/143: he attributed it to al Tabarani and said that the men in the isnad are thiqah. []
  3. Al Bukhari, at Sahih, 3/33, 73; see also Malik’s suggestion. []
  4. Ibn Kathir, al Bidayah, 4/934; and al Sirah at Nabawiyyah, 3/180-1; Ibn Qayyim, Zad al Ma’ad, 388-9; Ibn Hajar, Fath al Bari, 7/393 []
  5. Abd al Razzaq reported this from the mursal hadith of Sa’id ibn al Musayyab, which are the most sahih mursal hadith. The report is valid as evidence, if there are other reports which support it (al Musannaf, 5/368-373). Abu Nu’aym, from the mursal hadith of Sa’id also (Abu Nu’aym, Dala’il al Nubuwwah, 3/183). []
  6. Al Bukhari, al Sahih, 3/306; Muslim, al Sahih, 7/138 []
  7. Ibn Hisham, al Sirah, 3/706, without isnad. []
  8. Al-Waqidi, al Maghazi, 3/454-9; Al Tabari, Tarikh al Rusul, 3/570-3; Ibn Hazm, Jawami al Sirah, 187-8; Ibn Abd al Barr, al Durar, 181-3; Ibn Sayyid al Nas, Uyun al Athar, 3/59-60; Ibn Kathir, at Bidayah, 3/103-4 []
  9. Ibn Kathir, al Bidayah, 3/103-4 []
  10. Al Bukhari, al Sahih, 3/24; Ahmad, al Musnad, 6/56, 131, 280 []
  11. Al Bukhari, al Sahih, 3/24; 144 []
  12. Bukhari (Ibid., 3/24); Muslim (Muslim, al Sahih, 5/163) say Zuhr. []
  13. Ibn Hisham, al Sirah, 3/716-7, from the mursal hadith of Ma’bad ibn Ka’b ibn Malik, who is maqbul. []
  14. Ibn Hajar, []
  15. Fath al Bari []
  16. Ibn Hisham, al Sirah, 3/716; Ibn Sa’d, al Tabaqat, 3/74 (both without isnad). []
  17. Ibn Hisam, al Sirah, 3/716; Ibn Hajar, Fath at Bari, 7/413 []
  18. Tabari, Tarikh al Rusul, 2/583, the narrator himself said that he was unsure as to whether it was a month or 25 days. []
  19. Al Sa’ati, al Fath al Rabbani li Tartib Musnad al Imam Ahmad, 21/81-3. All the narrators are reliable. []
  20. Ibn Sa’d, al Tabaqat, 3/74, without isnad. []
  21. Ibn Kathir, al Bidayah, 4/118-9; Ibn Hajar, Fath at Bari, 7/413; mursal from Musa ibn Uqbah from al Zuhri. []
  22. Tabari, Tarikh al Rusul, 2/583; Ibn Hazm, Jawami al Sirah, 193; Ibn Abd al Barr, al Durar, 189; Ibn Sayyid al Nas, ‘Uyun al Athar, 2/69 []
  23. Al Sa’ati, al Fath al Rabbani, 21/81-3, with a hasan isnad. []
  24. Al Bukhari, al Sahih, 2/210, 3/24-25; Muslim, al Sahih, 5/160-1 []
  25. Ahmad, al Musnad, 3/350, with a hasan isnad; Ibn Hajar (Fath al Bari, 7/14) mentioned the differences in their numbers, ranging from 400 to 900, and reconciled the different reports by saying that the increase included the followers of Banu Qurayzah, such as slaves, freedmen, and others. []
  26. Al Bukhari, al Sahih, 3/11; Muslim, al Sahih, 5/159. The three who entered Islam were: Tha’labah ibn Sa’iyah, Usayd ibn Sa’iyah and Asad ibn ‘Ubayd. []
  27. This is the report of Ibn Ishaq (Ibn Hisham, al Sirah, 3/721). ‘Urwah mentions it was the house of Usamah ibn Zayd. The reports can be reconciled by saying that the prisoners were put in two houses because of their great numbers. []
  28. Ahmad, al Musnad, 3/351; al Tirmidhi, Sunan, 4/144-5 []
  29. Ibn Hisham, al Sirah, 3/722; Ahmad, al Musnad, 6/277; Abu Dawud, al Sunan, 2/150. Its isnad is hasan li dhatih. []
  30. Ibn Hisham, al Sirah, 3/724; Ibn Sa’d, al Tabaqat, 2/72-7 []
  31. Al Bukhari, al Sahih, 3/11; Muslim, al Sahih, 5/159 []
  32. See the research of Dr. Walid Arafat in the papers of the World Sirah Conference in Qatar. Ed. note: See the same paper in The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1976, pp. 100-107 []