Thursday, July 30, 2009


"Kinot" for the Jews of Islamic Lands

Kinana, Safiya, Rayhana, Kab, and thousands upon thousands more whose names were not recorded.... Al eileh ani bochiya - For these, too, I shed tears....

Compiled by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

From Sahih Bukhari, a collection of Muslim oral teachings, Vol. 4, Book 53, hadith no. 392:

Narrated Abu Huraira: While we were in the mosque, the Prophet came out and said, "Let us go to the Jews." We went out till we reached Bait-ul-Midras. He said to them, "If you embrace Islam, you will be safe. You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I want to expel you from this land. So, if anyone amongst you owns some property, he is permitted to sell it, otherwise you should know that the Earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle."


Excerpted from Sirat Rasul Allah, a Muslim biography of Muhammad ("HaMishuga", according to Rambam) written by Ibn Ishaq (704-761 CE)

...The apostle of Allah invited the Jews, possessors of' the scripture, to accept Islam and tried to enlist them in its favour; but he also threatened them with the punishment and vengeance of Allah. He was told, 'Nay. We shall follow that religion which our fathers professed, because they were more learned and better men than we are.' ....

...On another occasion the apostle entered a Jewish school and invited those who were present to Allah. They asked, 'What is your religion, Muhammad?' and he replied, 'The religion of Abraham .' They said, 'Abraham was a Jew.' Then the apostle told them, 'Bring the Torah and let that judge between me and you', but they refused....

....Soon after his return the apostle assembled the Jews in the market place and addressed them: 'Make profession of Islam before Allah punishes you as He has punished the Quraysh!'....

....Then the Jewish tribe asked that the apostle of Allah should not shed their blood, but permit them to carry away as much of their property as their camels could bear. He consented and they loaded as many of their possessions as they could on their camels, even demolishing their houses that they might take away the thresholds. Then they left, with their wives, children, and household goods, and accompanied by their drums, flutes and singers. The rest they left to the apostle of Allah.....

....The apostle of Allah besieged the Qurayza for twenty five days until they were distressed, and Allah struck fear into their hearts. When they had become convinced that the apostle would not depart until he had humbled them, Kab, their chief, spoke to them thus: I have three suggestions to make, of which you may select whichever you prefer. We can obey this man and believe in him.... In this case, your lives, property and children will be secure.' They replied, 'We shall never abandon the commandments of the Torah, nor substitute any others for them.' He went on, 'If you reject this, we can kill our children and women, and go out to Muhammad and his companions with drawn swords; then God will decide between us and Muhammad. If we perish, we shall perish without leaving orphans who might suffer evil, but if we are victorious, I swear we shall take their wives and their children!' They rejoined, 'Should we kill these poor creatures? What would life be to us without them?' He said, 'If you reject this, too, then consider. This is the Sabbath night, and it is possible that Muhammad thinks he is secure. Let us therefore make a sortie, and we may surprise him and his men.' But they answered, 'Shall we desecrate the Sabbath, and do on the Sabbath what none has done before...?'

Then the Qurayza asked the apostle to send them Abu Lubaba - one of the Aus, to which tribe they had been allied - that they might consult with him. When he arrived the men rose, and the women and children crowded around him in tears, so that he was deeply touched. They said, 'Think you that we ought to leave the fort as Muhammad commands?' and although he said 'Yes', he drew his hand across his throat, to show that they would be slaughtered. .....

...In the morning the Qurayza came down from their fort to surrender to the apostle of Allah, and the Aus begged that as the apostle had dealt leniently with allies of the Khazraj he would do the same for the allies of the Aus. The apostle said, 'Would you like one of your own people to decide their fate and they welcomed it. He continued, 'Then let Sad b. Muadh decide.'

...They told him, 'Deal kindly with thy allies, because the apostle of Allah has appointed thee for this purpose.' But they entreated him too much and he said, 'Sad will take good care not to incur the censure of Allah by fearing the censure of men.' Then some of his people went away and lamented for the men of the Banu Qurayza, before Sad even reached them, because Sad had spoken thus.

....And Sad pronounced the following sentence, 'I decree that the men be killed, the property be divided, and the women with their children be made captives.' The apostle of Allah said, 'Thou hast decided according to the will of Allah, above the seven firmaments.'

The apostle of Allah imprisoned the Qurayza in Medina while trenches were dug in the market place. Then he sent for the men and had their heads struck off so that they fell in the trenches. They were brought out in groups, and among them was Kab, the chief of the tribe. In number, they amounted to six or seven hundred, although some state it to have been eight or nine hundred. All were executed.

One man turned to his people and said, 'It matters not! By God's will, the children of Israel were destined for this massacre! Then he seated himself and his head was struck off.

Aisha, the wife of the apostle, said, 'Only one of their women was killed. By Allah! She was with me, talking and laughing, while the apostle slaughtered her countrymen in the marketplace; and when her name was called, I asked, "What is this for?" and she replied, "I am going to be slain!" I asked why and she answered, "For something I have done!" Then she was taken away, and her head was struck off. But I shall never cease to marvel at her good humour and laughter, although she knew that she was to die." She was the woman who threw a millstone down from the Qurayza fort and killed a Believer.

Now the apostle distributed the property of the Banu Qurayza, as well as their women and children, to the Muslims, reserving one fifth for himself.

...The apostle of Allah selected one of the Jewish women, Rayhana, for himself, and she remained with him as his slave until she died. He had suggested marriage to her, that she should wear the veil (to separate her from all other persons, as his wives did), but she replied, 'Rather allow me to remain thy slave; it will be more easy for me, and for thee.' At the time of her capture she was an enemy of Islam, and desired to remain a Jewess....

....The apostle occupied the Jewish forts one after the other, taking prisoners as he went. Among these were Safiya, the wife of Kinana, the Khaybar chief, and two female cousins; the apostle chose Safiya for himself. The other prisoners were distributed among the Muslims. Bilal brought Safiya to the apostle, and they passed the bodies of several Jews on the way. Safiya's female companions lamented and strewed dust on their heads. When the apostle of Allah observed this scene, he said, 'Remove these she-devils from me!' But he ordered Safiya to remain, and threw his reda [cloak] over her. So the Muslims knew he had reserved her for his own. ....

...Kinana, the husband of Safiya, had been guardian of the tribe's treasures, and he was brought before the apostle, who asked where they were hidden. But Kinana refused to disclose the place. ...Some of the treasure was found. After that Kinana was asked again about the remainder, but he still refused to tell. The apostle of Allah handed him over to al-Zubayr, saying, 'Torture him until he tells what he knows', and al-Zubayr kindled a fire on his chest so that he almost expired; then the apostle gave him to Muhammad b. Maslama, who struck off his head.

....After the apostle of Allah had conquered the Khaybar forts and possessions, he arrived near the forts of al Watih and al-Sulalim, which were the last strongholds. These he besieged. ...After about ten days, the people realized the hopelessness of attempting to hold out; so they asked for peace and that their lives be spared. The apostle agreed, because he had already subdued all the other territory.

When the people of Fadak, a Jewish town nearby, heard what was taking place they sent emissaries to the apostle to ask him to spare them and they would abandon to him all their property. He agreed. ...but added, 'If we should find it convenient to expel you, we shall do so.'


From a history of Jews under Islamic rule

Joseph HaNagid, the Jewish vizier of Granada, Spain, was crucified on December 30, 1066 by an Arab mob, who then proceeded to raze the Jewish quarter of the city and slaughter its 5,000 inhabitants.

In the 8th century, whole Moroccan Jewish communities were wiped out by Muslim ruler Idris I. In 1465, Arab mobs in Fez slaughtered thousands of Jews, leaving only 11 survivors, followed by similar massacres throughout Morocco. In Marrakesh, more than three hundred Jews were murdered between 1864 and 1880.

Throughout North Africa in the 12th century, the Almohads either forcibly converted or decimated several Jewish communities.

In Libya in 1785 Ali Burzi Pasha murdered hundreds of Jews; In Algiers, Jews were massacred in 1805, 1815 and 1830.

Decrees were issued and ordering the destruction of synagogues in Egypt and Syria (1014, 1293-4, 1301-2), Iraq (854-­859, 1344) and Yemen (1676).

Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death in Yemen (1165 and 1678), Morocco (1275, 1465, 1790-92) and Baghdad (1333, 1344).

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