During the days of Prophet PBUH, there existed three Jewish tribes in the valley of Madinah i.e. Banu Qurayza, Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Nazeer. The Prophet reached non-interference deal such that Muslims and Jews will not meddle in each other’s affairs. Following the battle of Badr, Prophet politely invited the Jews to Islam. He PBUH said “O Jews! Become Muslims before what befell the Quraysh befalls you.” They said: “O, you seem to think that we are your people. Do not deceive yourself because you vanquished a contingent of Quraysh having no knowledge of war and got the better of them; for, by God, if we fight you, you will find that we are real men and that you have not met the like of us”. This indeed was an open challenge to the Prophet.
The intent to write this article aroused when I was browsing to read something about Jews during Prophet’s time. Surprisingly most facts were distorted and presented about the tribe Banu Qaynuqa. Hence I considered to shed some light on this as to why were they expelled by the Prophet PBUH.
Upon perusing the pages of history, the following incident is worth mentioning. On an eventful day, a Muslim woman went to a marketplace owned by the Jews of Banu Qaynuqa. She was a chaste and modest woman. She visited a jeweler amongst them. The Jews saw her and disliked the fact that she was chaste and covered. Evil as they were; wanted to have a glimpse of her, molest, or flirt with her. Such were their immoral actions before Islam honored woman. They wanted to uncover her face and take off her hijaab, but she refused to budge. The jeweler then took an end of her garment and attached it to the end of her Khimaar (a kind of Dupatta for women), while she was unaware. When she stood up, her garment was raised, revealing her body parts. The Jews began to laugh. The Muslim woman cried out, wishing they had killed her rather than uncovering her body.
A Muslim man witnessing this incidence brandished his sword and attacked the jeweler, killing him. In turn, the Jews attacked the Muslim and killed him. When prophet PBUH was acknowledged about this and the fact that Jews had violated their pledge with him, engaging in molestation of woman: He surrounded the Jews until they all surrendered and conceded to his judgment.
When the prophet PBUH decided to punish them in retribution for the dishonor of a Muslim woman, the leader of Hypocrites, in whose eyes the honour of a woman was only to care for satisfying their stomachs and private parts – Abdullah Bin Ubay Bin Salul stood up and said, “O Muhammed! Please treat my allies with kindness!” He said this because they had been allied to him during the days of pre-Islamic ignorance. The Prophet turned away and refused to forfeit, for how could he forgive a group who wished to spread corruption amongst the believers?
The leader of hypocrite said again “O Muhammed, treat them with kindness!” But the Prophet turned away from him again in pursuit of defending the honour of the chaste Muslim woman. The leader of Hypocrites became angry. He placed his hand in the pocket of the Prophet’s shirt and pulled him saying “Be kind to my allies! Be kind to my allies!” This angered the Prophet. He turned around and shouted at him, “Let me go of you” the hypocrite refused and began to beg the Prophet to prevent their execution.
The Prophet turned to him and said, “They are yours, then” and decided not to execute them. However he did banish them from their dwellings in Madinah. Yes, a chaste Muslim woman deserves no less! Indeed Islam is the only religion which no doubts upholds the true value of woman. This historic incident has proved that Islam does not tolerate any inappropriate action against woman.
Hence the whole tribe of Banu Qaynuqa was expelled despite the intercession of hypocrite Abdullah bin Ubay.