Saturday, April 14, 2007

Prophet Muhammad's Treaty with the Jews

Prophet Muhammad Treaty with the Jews in Madinah

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;

All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam is His Messenger.

Description: Another effort taken by the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) on the relationship with non-Muslims to provide peace, security and prosperity to all mankind at large.

The Treaty.

Another effort taken by the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) in Madinah after making sure that the pillars of the new Islamic community were well established on strong bases of administrative, political and ideological unity, the Prophet started focus on the relationship with non-Muslims. All of these efforts were exerted solely to provide peace, security and prosperity to all mankind at large, and to bring about a spirit of understanding and harmony within in the new state.

The closest people within the vicinity of Madinah were the Jews. While harboring evil intentions, and nursing a bitter feeling of resentment, they showed neither the least resistance nor the slightest hostility. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) decided to conclude a treaty with them with clauses that provided full freedom in faith and wealth. He had no intention whatsoever of following severe policies involving expulsion, seizure of wealth and land or hostility.

The treaty came within the context of a larger framework relating to inter-Muslim relationships.

The most important provisions of the treaty are the following:

1. The Jews of Bani ‘Awf are one community with the believers. The Jews will profess their religion and the Muslims theirs.

2. The Jews shall be responsible for their expenditure, and the Muslims theirs.

3. If attacked by the third party, each shall come to the help of the other.

4. Each party shall hold counsel with the other. Mutual relation shall be founded on righteousness; sin is totally excluded.

5. Neither shall commit sins to the prejudice of the other.

6. The wronged party shall be aided.

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

8. Madinah shall remain sacred and inviolable for all that join this treaty.

9. Should any disagreement arise between the signatories to this treaty, then Allah the All-High and His Messenger shall settle the dispute.

10. The signatories to the treaty shall boycott the Quraish commercially; they shall also abstain from extending any support to them.

11. Each shall contribute to defending Madinah, in case of a foreign attack, in its respective area.

12. This treaty shall not hinder either party from seeking lawful revenge.” [Ibn Hisham 1/503, 504]

Madinah and its suburbs, after the endorsement of this treaty, turned into a coalition state, with Madinah proper as capital and Muhammad as the “President”; authority lay mainly in the hand of the Muslims, and consequently it was a real capital of Islam. To expand the zone of peace and security the Prophet SAW started to enter into similar treaties with other tribes living around his state’

Prophet’s solemn covenant of mutual obligation between his people and the Jew tribes of Medina and its surrounding areas, in which it was agreed that they would have equal status as citizens of a state and full religious liberty, and that each would defend the other if attacked was made in the first year of his reign at Madinah. But their idea of a Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam)was one who would give them dominion, and a Jewish prophet, not an Arabian one. The Jews had also profited greatly from the infighting between Arab tribes, as it was through this instability of the region that they had gained the upper hand in trade and commodities. Peace among the tribes of Medina and its surrounding areas was a threat to the Jews.

Also, from among the inhabitants of Medina were those who resented the newcomers, but held their peace for the time being. The most powerful of them, Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul, was extremely resentful of the arrival of the Prophet, as it was he who was the de facto the leader of Yathrib prior to the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam). He accepted Islam as a matter of formality, though he would later betray the Muslims as the leader of the ‘hypocrites.’

Due to this common hatred towards the Prophet(Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), the Muslims, and the new state of affairs of Yathrib, the alliance between the Jews and the ‘hypocrites’ of Medinah was almost inevitable. Throughout the history of Muslims in Medinah, they tried to seduce the followers of the new religion, constantly plotting and planning against them. Due to this, there is frequent mention of the Jews and hypocrites in the Medinah chapters of the Qur'an.

See: Prophet Muhammad. 18

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