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Muhammad (sa): The Great Exemplar

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Friday Sermon delivered at Masjid Mubarak, Islamabad, Tilford, UK

‘Incidents From the Life of the Holy Prophet(sa) – Siege of the Banu Nadir Fortresses’

After reciting Tashahhud, Ta„awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said that he would continue mentioning the expedition of Banu Nadir.

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His Holiness(aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(aba) who writes: „The Holy Prophet(sa) had no other choice but to step into the field of battle. As such, in his own absence, the Holy Prophet(sa) appointed Ibni Maktum(ra) as the Imamus-Salat for the settlement of Madinah. With a group of companions, the Holy Prophet(sa) set out from Madinah himself and besieged the village of the Banu Nadir.

According to the custom of warfare at the time, the Banu Nadir took to their fortresses. It was perhaps on this occasion that „Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Sulul and the other hypocrites of Madinah sent word to the chieftains of the Banu Nadir saying, “Do not fear the Muslims at all, for we shall support you and shall fight on your behalf.” However, to the surprise of the Banu Nadir, when war practically commenced, these hypocrites could not muster the courage to openly enter the field of battle in opposition to the Holy Prophet(sa); nor could the Banu Quraizah dare to step into the battlefield against the Muslims and openly aid the Banu Nadir either, although they were with them at heart, and would aid them in secret as well; and the Muslims had even become aware of this.

In any case, the Banu Nadir did not openly take to the field in opposition to the Muslims and retired to their fortresses instead. However, according to the circumstances of that era, their fortresses were very strong and for this reason, they were confident that the Muslims would be able to do them no harm whatsoever, and would themselves become frustrated and lift the siege. There is no doubt that according to the circumstances of that era, to conquer such fortresses was a very difficult and strenuous task, and demanded a very long siege.?

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(The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, p. 382)

The Reasons for Cutting Down Certain Date Palms

His Holiness(aba) said that according to some, this siege lasted for six days while some others say it was either 15, 20 or 23 days. According to narrations, the Holy Prophet(sa) instructed for some threes to be cut down and burned, because the Jews were shooting arrows and throwing stones from atop their fortresses and the trees were helping them in doing so as they provided a sort of covering. Hence, these trees had to be cut down as a mechanism of defence, not for the purposes of harming their orchards. Furthermore, it is recorded that the date palms that were burned comprised the lowest grade of dates. These trees had to be cut in order to stem any fighting and to ensure that there was no further loss of life. It is also clear that the Holy Prophet(sa) instructed those trees to be burned in accordance with divine revelation. God states in the Holy Qur?an:

„Whatever palm-trees you cut down or left standing on their roots, it was by Allah?s leave, and that He might disgrace the transgressors.

(The Holy Qur?an, 59:6)

His Holiness(aba) said that according to some narrations, during the siege, the Holy Prophet(sa) even offered the Jews to enter into a new treaty with him, however the Jews refused. As soon as they saw their trees burning, the Jews agreed to leave their dwelling.

His Holiness(aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra) who writes: „The Muslims continued the siege for many days, but there was no outcome. After a few days had passed, and no outcome came about; and the Banu Nadir remained bent upon conflict as usual, the Holy Prophet(sa) issued the order that some of the date trees belonging to the Banu Nadir, which were situated in the exterior grounds beyond their fortresses should be cut down. These trees which were cut down, bore a type of date known as Linah, which is a very low-grade date and its fruit cannot generally be consumed by humans. The intention in this order was so that the Banu Nadir would become awe-stricken at the sight of these trees being cut down, and so that they would open the gates of their fortresses; in this manner, with the loss of a few trees, the loss of countless lives, as well as conflict and rebellion in the country could be prevented.

Hence, this strategy proved to be successful and only six trees had been cut down when the Banu Nadir began to raise a hue and cry, perhaps under the assumption that the Muslims would cut down all their trees, which included those bearing high-quality fruit as well. Nonetheless, as the Holy Qur?an has elaborated, only a few trees were permitted to be cut down, and even those were of the Linah date. With respect to the remaining trees, however, it was instructed that they be safeguarded. Even under normal circumstances, the Muslims were not permitted to cut down the fruitbearing trees of their enemy.

In any case, this strategy proved to be successful and being struck with awe, after a siege of fifteen days, the Banu Nadir opened the gates of their fortresses on the condition that they would be permitted to leave with all of their property and belongings in peace and security. This was the very same offer which the Holy Prophet(sa) had already presented. Since the only desire of the Holy Prophet(sa) was the establishment of peace, turning a blind eye towards the hardship and expenses, which the Muslims had been made to bear in this campaign, even now, the Holy Prophet(sa) accepted the condition of the

Banu Nadir and appointed his companion Muhammad bin Maslamah(ra) to supervise the departure of the Banu Nadir from

Madinah in peace and security.?

(The Life and Character and Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 382384)

The Banu Nadir Tribe?s Agreement to Depart Madinah

His Holiness(aba) said that after the Jews surrendered, they sent word to the Holy Prophet(sa) that they would leave Madinah and requested to leave in peace and security. The Holy Prophet(sa) agreed, ensuring their safety and even offered that they could take along with them all that their camels could carry, except for weapons. This also serves as a response to those who allege that the Muslims engaged in warfare only to obtain the spoils of war. Here, the Holy Prophet(sa) had won a decisive victory against those who had constantly caused grief to Muslims and were guilty of treachery and could have taken any strict measure and it would have been appropriate, yet he showed the highest degree of mercy by allowing them to leave in peace and safety whilst also taking with them whatever they could save weaponry. Even despite this, it is recorded that the Jews destroyed their homes before leaving so that they would serve no benefit to the Muslims.

His Holiness(aba) said that the conditions for the expulsion of the Banu Nadir from Madinah were as follows:

1.         The Banu Nadir could go wherever they wished outside of Madinah.

2.         They must leave Madinah without any of their weapons.

3.         Aside from weapons, the Jews could take with them whatever their camels could carry

4.         Whatever the Jews leave behind will become the property of the Muslims

His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Muhammad bin Maslamah(ra) was appointed to oversee the expulsion of the Banu Nadir from Madinah. The Banu Nadir raised an issue saying that they were owed certain debts. They were making this excuse in an attempt to find a reason to remain in Madinah longer. The Holy Prophet(sa) said that they should swiftly retrieve their loans and that they should eliminate the interest on those loans in order to speed up the process. During this process, it is recorded that there were two Jews who realised the fault in their ways and in the darkness of the night joined the Muslim army, professing their allegiance to Islam.

His Holiness(aba) said that as the Jews were leaving Madinah, they had loaded 600 camels with everything they could. They had even broken down their homes and loaded the wooden doors from their homes atop their camels. As the Jews left Madinah with their women and children and their belongings upon their camels, though there was a fire of sadness burning in their chests, they left in a manner expressive of not having any worry about leaving their homes.

His Holiness(aba) said that as the Jews passed through a market in Madinah while singing and making merriment in order to try and show off their wealth. However, the Holy Prophet(sa) did not pay any attention to this. It could have been that the Holy Prophet(sa) would not allow them to take anything along with them, even their own clothes, however the mercy of the Holy Prophet(sa) was such that he allowed them to take whatever their camels could carry and as they left boasting and showing off, the Holy Prophet(sa) did not pay it any mind.

His Holiness(aba) said that some of the Banu Nadir resettled in Syria while others resettled in Khaibar where there were already many Jewish fortresses. The Jews of Khaibar were proficient in battle, while the Jews of Banu Nadir were proficient in political matters. As such, the Jewish presence was fortified in Khaibar with the arrival of the Banu Nadir.

His Holiness(aba) said that among the Banu Nadir there were also some sons of the Ansar [natives to Madinah] Companions. It had been a custom before Islam that if a woman?s children typically would not remain alive, she would make a vow that if her son remained alive she would make him a Jew. As such, there were certain sons of the Ansar who were Jewish in this way. When the Banu Nadir were leaving Madinah, those Ansar did not wish for their sons to leave as well.

His Holiness(aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra) who writes: „With great pomp, splendour and magnificence, the Banu Nadir took along all their movable belongings and possessions. They even demolished their own homes with their own hands, and dislocated their doors, door-frames, and wood and took them along as well. It is written that these people left Madinah with such joy, pomp and show, singing and playing their instruments, as if they were a marriage procession. However, their equipment of war, their immovable property, such as orchards, etc., came into the hands of the Muslims. Since this wealth had been acquired without any practical war, in light of the Islamic Shari„ah, the privilege of its division was solely in the hands of the Messenger of Allah. The Holy Prophet(sa) mostly divided this wealth among the poor Muhajirin, whose means of sustenance was still being borne by the properties of the Ansar, according to the initial system of brotherhood. In this manner, the Ansar indirectly became partners in this wealth of spoils as well.

When the Banu Nadir were departing from Madinah under the supervision of the companion Muhammad bin Maslamah(ra), some of the Ansar attempted to restrain those people who were actually from the progeny of the Ansar, but had become Jewish due to vows made by the Ansar, and the Banu Nadir desired to take them along. However, this demand of the Ansar was against the following Islamic injunction:

“There should be no compulsion in the matter of religion.”

Hence, the Holy Prophet(sa) decided against the case presented by the

Muslims and issued a verdict in favour of the Jews saying, “We cannot stop any person from leaving who is a Jew and desires to leave.” Albeit, two men from the Banu Nadir became Muslim of their own choice and remained in Madinah.

There is a narration which relates that the Holy Prophet(sa) ordered the Banu Nadir to move towards Syria, i.e., that they should not remain in Arabia. However, despite this, a few of their chieftains such as Salam bin Abil-Huqaiq, Kinanah bin Rabi„ and Huyayy bin Akhtab, etc, and a segment of their commoners as well, resettled to the north of Hijaz in the renowned Jewish village of Khaibar. The people of Khaibar welcomed them with open arms, and these people ultimately became the cause of very dangerous sedition and incitement of war.?

(The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 384385)

His Holiness(aba) said that spoils attained after the Banu Nadir left was considered Fai, or that wealth obtained from the disbelievers without there having been warfare. The entirety of Fai would go to the Holy Prophet(sa) and it would be entirely up to him how he wanted to distribute it. The Holy Prophet(sa) distributed all of the wealth obtained from the Jews which comprised weaponry and armoury amongst the Muslims so that they may use these things for the sake of virtue. God says in the Holy Qur?an:

„And whatever Allah has given to His Messenger as spoils from them, you urged neither horse nor camel for that; but Allah grants power to His Messenger over whomsoever He pleases; and Allah has power over all things.? (The Holy Qur?an, 59:7)

His Holiness(aba) said that the Holy Prophet(sa) instructed all of the Ansar to be brought before him and offered them that he could split the spoils amongst the Ansar and the Muhajirin in which case the migrants would still be dependent upon the Ansar. Otherwise, the Holy Prophet(sa) offered that he could give all of the spoils to the Muhajirin so that they could become independent and Ansar would no longer have to share their homes with them. However, in an expression of great love and devotion, the Ansar said that not only would they continue sharing their homes with the Muhajirin but the spoils obtained from the Banu Nadir could still all be given to the Muhajirin.

His Holiness(aba) said that this concludes mention of the Expedition of Banu Nadir. His Holiness(aba) said that he would mention further expeditions in the future.

Appeal for Prayers

His Holiness(aba) urged continued prayers for the Ahmadis in Pakistan, that their circumstances may improve. May Allah generally improve the state of peace and security there and keep Ahmadis in His protection.

His Holiness(aba) also urged prayers for the general state of Muslims around the world, that they may be able to recognise the Imam of the Age and thereby restore their dignity.

His Holiness(aba) also urged prayers for the general state of the world and the conditions of war which continue to develop. It seems that there will certainly be a war based on the direction that the world in going in, however may Allah the Almighty protect every Ahmadi and every innocent person from the ill effects of war.  

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