The Root of Terrorism: Terror Forty-six to Fifty-one
‘Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat’ —Hermann Goering (1893-1946)
The Raid on Bani al-Mustaliq by Muhammad —December, 627CE
Bani al-Mustaliq was a branch of the Khozaa (Jewish) tribe. Two months after Muhammad returned from Dhu Qarad campaign (see Terror 40, CH. 11), Allah suddenly told him that B. al-Mustaliq, under the leadership of Haritha b. Abi Dirar was mobilizing forces against him. Hitherto, B. al-Mustaliq people were friendly to Muhammad. But, out of the blue, Muhammad spread the rumour that B. al-Mustaliq were now joining with the Quraysh to launch an attack against the Muslims. The Muslims even killed a man from B. al-Mustaliq on suspicion of spying for them. With this pretext Muhammad rallied all the fighting men around him to assail the B. al- Mustaliq. It is not clear why Allah had suddenly changed His mind on B. al-Mustaliq. However, the real reason was that B. al-Mustaliq were a prosperous Jewish clan who had immense wealth and property and Muhammad was eyeing to appropriate their resources through plunder. So far, he was not absolutely certain whether his terror campaign to this peace-loving Jewish clan would be a success or not. But when his ethnic cleaning of the Jews in Medina was a great accomplishment, the Jews all around Medina became fearful of his further attack on them. So B. al-Mustaliq Jews took all precautionary measures to prevent such an invasion on them. Naturally, they sought help from other clans as well. Now, a militarily strong Muhammad was poised to plunder this Jewish community to further enrich his horde of followers. We can infer this conclusion from the fact that Muhammad gave no opportunity to this clan to embrace Islam before facing ethnic cleansing—Islamic style. On previous occasions, he abided by the rule that the infidels be given a three days reprieve to decide whether to accept Islam or face liquidation. In fact, Muhammad was not at all keen on this prosperous clan to take up Islam, as that meant no booty to his ardent Jihadists. It was far better that B. al-Mustaliq did not embrace Islam so that the Muslims could pillage everything that they had through a pre-emptive attack. Here is a passage from Sahih Muslim on this raid:
Further confirmation of this sudden pillage is referred in Sahih Bukhari:
Therefore, with clear plunder in mind, Muhammad rallied all the fighting men around him to attack the B.al- Mustaliq. Many Jihadists joined him to have a share in the loot. Muhammad gave Abu Bakr the flag for this attack. Curiously, Abdullah ibn Ubay, Muhammad’s nemesis (and a hypocrite, as per Muhammad) was also made one of the leaders of this strike team. The Muslim forces then started marching with thirty horses. After eight days of marching they encamped at the wells of Muraysi near the seashore, close to Mecca. Muhammad pitched tents for himself, Aisha and Umm Salma, two of his wives who accompanied him. When the B. al-Mustaliq people heard the arrival of Muhammad’s soldiers, they were dismayed, but fought gallantly. After exchanging arrows for a brief period, the Muslim forces advanced and quickly surrounded the B. al-Mustaliq, and soon B. al-Mustaliq’s ranks fell in disarray and they were vanquished, having lost some of their men. Ali b. Talib killed a few wounded B. al-Mustaliq people; among them were Malik and his son. Muhammad seized their cattle herd, took many as captives and divided them among the Jihadists. Two hundred families were taken as captives, two thousand camels (US$700,000) and five thousand sheep and goats (US$ 175,000), as well as a huge quantity of household goods (say US$ 100,000) were taken as booty. Juwayriah, the young, beautiful and vivacious daughter of B. al-Mutaliq chief was one of those captives. The household goods were sold in an auction to the highest bidders. During the battle a Muslim was mortally wounded by another Muslim by accident. The Muslim soldiers were hungry for sex and Muhammad allowed them to rape the B. Mustaliq women captives. Here is a Hadith from Sahih Bukhari:
After having sex (rape) with his captive-girl, Said al-Khudri took this young girl to the nearest slave market for a quick sale. Here is the continuation of the above story,as told by al-Waqidi (vol.i, p.413) and excerpted by Rodinson:
In this connection it is worthwhile to mention the Sharia Law (Islamic Law) on captive women and children:
Muhammad’s marriage to Juwayriah, his seventh wife
The captives of the B. al-Mustaliq were carried to Medina. Among the captives were two hundred women. Men from B. al-Mustaliq soon arrived to make terms for their release. At first, unknown to Muhammad, the pretty Juwayriah fell in the hands of Jihadist, Thabit b. Qays, an Ansar and one of his cousins. Juwayrah was a young woman, the daughter of B. al-Mustaliq chief and married to Musab b. Safwan. As soon as she became a captive, her marriage was immediately cancelled—as per Islamic rule (see above) and she was handed over to those two Jihadists to do with her whatever they liked. It is rather curious to note why a young, beautiful woman captive be allotted to two Jihadists at the same time. I have not found any other reference of a woman captive being shared by two Muslim soldiers. However, a note in Ibn Sa’d’s book says: “When a slave girl was allotted to more than one person, none of them could cohabit with her.” Clearly, this is a later invention by Muslim biographers to assert that Muhammad married a Juwayriah who had not been ‘contaminated’ by another Jihadist. Anyway, because of Juwayriah’s rank, her captor/s put a ransom of nine ounces of gold (in today’s estimate, around US$ 3,600). She could not raise that large sum of gold. So, she approached Muhammad while he was resting in Aisha’s apartment and pleaded for some remission for the heavy price demanded for her release. As soon as Aisha saw Juwayriah she was filled with jealousy. Muhammad gently replied that he would pay her ransom and marry her. Juwayriah agreed on this suggestion. The ransom was paid and Muhammad immediately married her and built a seventh quarter to house her in his ever expanding harem. As soon as the news of marriage of Juwayriah reached to the people, they took it as a relationship between them and the B. al-Mustaliq and as such all the prisoners were let loose free. Previously her name was Barra (Pious). After Muhammad married her, he gave her the Islamic name, Juwayriah. She was only twenty (20) and Muhammad fifty-eight (58) when he married her. Aisha was only thirteen (13) at that time! Here is a Hadith from Sunaan Abu Dawud that describes how Muhammad married Juwayriah:
Aisha said: She then came to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) asking him for the purchase of her freedom. When she was standing at the door, I looked at her with disapproval. I realised that the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) would look at her in the same way that I had looked.
She said: Apostle of Allah, I am Juwayriyyah, daughter of al-Harith, and something has happened to me, which is not hidden from you. I have fallen to the lot of Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas, and I have entered into an agreement to purchase of my freedom. I have come to you to seek assistance for the purchase of my freedom.
The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Are you inclined to that which is better? She asked: What is that, Apostle of Allah? He replied: I shall pay the price of your freedom on your behalf, and I shall marry you.She said: I shall do this. She (Aisha) said: The people then heard that the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) had married Juwayriyyah. They released the captives in their possession and set them free, and said: They are the relatives of the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) by marriage. We did not see any woman greater than Juwayriyyah who brought blessings to her people. One hundred families of Banu al-Mustaliq were set free on account of her.
There is another version of this story that goes like this:
Harith ibn Abu Dirar, the father of and the chief of B. al-Mustaliq came to Muhammad to ransom his daughter, and after talking to Muhammad, he became a Muslim. It is said that he was astonished at Muhammad’s incredible power of fore-knowledge of His (Harith b. Abu Dirar) secret of hidden camels. Then Juwayriyah followed her father and converted to Islam as well. As soon as she became a Muslimah, Muhammad married her and offered her a dowry of four hundred Dirhams.
Still another version runs like this:
Her (Juwayriah) father was not agreeable to her marriage to Muhammad and that a relative of her intervened and gave her to the prophet against the will of her father.
For more details on Muhammad’s marriage to his captive woman (Juwayriyah) you may refer to this article. You may also wish to read the Islamic version on the raid on B. al-Mustaliq at trueteachings.com
From this raid we also learn about the internal feud between the Muhajirs and the Ansars. Islamic history often talks of the existence of exceptionally amicable relationship between the migrant Quraysh (Muhajir) and the indigenous residents of Medina (Ansars). This is not really true when we read some details as written by several Muslim historians. Here is brief account of the acrimonious relationship that erupted in the open during the plunder of B. al-Mustaliq.
From Tabari’s book, we learn:
An altercation took place between the Ansars and the Mohajirs and swords were drawn while they were drawing water from a well. There was widespread dislike for the Muhajirs in Medina. Abd Allah ibn Ubayy (a local resident of Medina) was greatly disturbed that the newly arrived Muslim migrants had outnumbered them and were poised to take over the complete authority of Medina. When the verbal fight took place between an Ansars and a Muhajir, and Abd Allah ibn Ubay was further agitated at the new found audacity of the Muhajir he said, “Have they really done it? They have tried to outrank us and outnumber us in our own lands. By God, the proverb, ‘Fatten your dog and he will eat you up!’ fits us and [the wearers of] the jilbab (the flowing cloak) of Quraysh to a tree. By God if we go back to Medina, those who are stronger will drive out the weaker from it.”’ Then he turned to his tribesmen who were with him and said: “This is what you have done to yourselves! You allowed them to settle in your lands and divided your wealth with them. Had you kept from them what you had, by God they would have moved to lands other than yours”
Very soon, these utterances of Abd Allah ibn Ubayy reached Muhammad who was then sitting with Umar b. Khattab. Umar was furious and sought Muhammad’s permission to kill Abd Allah ibn Ubayy forthwith. But Muhammad refused to permit him to do so, saying that slaying of Abd Allah ibn Ubay would simply aggravate the situation further by angering the Ansars. To placate the situation, and to avoid bloodshed, Muhammad then ordered his entourage to proceed towards Medina without delaying further.
In this episode we also learn about the mindset of an Islamic fundamentalist. Abd Allah ibn Ubayy’s son. Abd Allah ibn Abd Allah ibn Ubayy was such a fundamentalist. Ibn Sa’d writes:
That meant, for a true Jihadist, nothing, even his father, can be dearer than Muhammad.
When Abd Allah ibn Ubayy came to learn that Muhammad is already aware of his seditious statements, he went straight to him and denied all allegations against him. Muhammad now became accommodative to Abd Allah ibn Ubayy when people told him that he (Muhammad) had dashed the hope of Abd Allah ibn Ubayy who was destined to be the king of Medina.
The Muslims traveled continuously for a day and a night until dawn. Then they halted at a place, and soon they fell asleep. Muhammad did this ruse on purpose to trick the Muslims on a long and exhaustive journey, so that the talk about Abd Allah ibn Ubayy died down. In the evening, when the Muslim army rose fresh from their sleep they marched through the Hijaj and halted at a watering place called Naqa. In the afternoon, while Muhammad was at Naqa a very strong wind blew, hurting the Muslim. They became afraid and assumed that to be a curse from Allah. But Muhammad cleverly told his followers that the strong wind came to Muhammad to announce the death of one of the great men among the unbelievers. When the Jihadists arrived at Medina they heard that Rifaah b. Zayd, a prominent man among the B. Qaynuqa Jews and a great refuge for the polytheists had died. [Note: this story is completely implausible, as Muhammad had already expelled from Medina all the Jews of B. Qaynuqa]. During this journey through the desert, the Muslims did not have water to perform ablution; so Allah revealed the verse (4:43) on Tayammum (ablution using dirt).On this occasion, a complete Sura (Sura 63) was released by Allah on Abd Allah ibn Ubayy and the hypocrites like him.
When Abd Allah ibn Ubay’s son, Abd Allah b. Abd Allah b. Ubayy heard of what had happened he approached Muhammad and volunteered to kill his father. He said to Muhammad: “Messenger of God, I have been told that you want to kill ‘Abd Allah b. Ubayy because of what has been reported to you concerning him. If you are going to do it, command me to do it and I will bring you his head. By God, al-Khazraj know that there has never been among them a man more dutiful to his father than I. I am afraid that you may order someone else to do it and he may kill him; and then my soul will not allow me to look on the slayer of Abd Allah b. Ubayy walking among the people: I would kill him, killing a believer to avenge an unbeliever, and thereby enter the Fire [of hell].” Mubarakpuri calls this type of fanatic Jihadist a ‘righteous’ Muslim.
However, Muhammad diplomatically advised Abd Allah (son of ibn Ubayy) not to commit such an act but to be gentle with his father so long as he (Abd Allah ibn Ubayy) remained a Muslim, albeit a nominal one.
After Muhammad arrived at Medina, a polytheist from Mecca, Miqyas b. Subbah came at Medina and became a Muslim. He came to seek the blood money for his newly converted Muslim brother (Hisham b. Subbah) who was killed by mistake during the raid at B. al-Mustaliq. Muhammad paid his blood money to Miqyas.
After receiving the blood money for his brother, Miqyas stayed at Medina for a short while. Then he killed the slayer of his brother, apostatized and left for Mecca. We need to remember the name of Miqyas, as we shall see very soon that he was one of the persons whom Muhammad targeted for killing during his occupation of Mecca. Miqyas was earmarked for murder not because of his killing of his brother’s killer, but because he (Miqyas) apostatized.
During this raid the affair regarding the adulterous relation of Aisha, Muhammad’s youngest and the most favorite wife, with an errant Bedouin youth took place. However, since this is not a case of plunder and terror, it will not be discussed here.
Second Raid at Dumat al-Jandal by Abd al-Rahman b. Awf —December, 627CE
Abd al-Rahman b. Awf was one of the closest companions of Muhammad. Muhammad appointed him to make the second raid on Dumat al-Jandal (Duma). He told Abd al-Rahman, ‘Fight everyone in the way of God and kill those who disbelieve in God. Do not be deceitful with spoils, do not be treacherous, nor mutilate, do not kill children. This is God’s ordinance and practice of his prophet among you. ‘
Abd al-Rahman b. Awf then set out at the behest of seven hundred men on the expedition to Dumat al-Jandal (Duma), that lay on the route to Khaybar, Fadak and then branching out to Syria and Iraq. Duma was a great trading center; the inhabitants were mainly Christians and were ruled by a Christian king. Following the Islamic rule, on reaching Duma, Abd al-Rahman b. Awf summoned the resident tribes to embrace Islam within three days or face execution. People had no choice but to comply with his dreadful ultimatum. During this ultimatum period, Al-Asbagh, a Christian chief of Bani Kalb complied and many of his followers also followed suit. Other tribes also paid tribute (Jizya) to Abd al-Rahman. On agreement to pay Jizya tax regularly, they were allowed to keep their Christianity. When this good news was communicated to Muhammad, he (Muhammad) instructed Abd al-Rahman to marry Tamadhir, the daughter of the Christian chief, Al-Asbagh. In an epistle to Abd al-Rahman, Muhammad wrote, “If they obey you, marry the daughter of their king.” So Abd al-Rahman married Tumadhir bt.al-Asbagh, the daughter of their Christian king and brought this lady with him to Medina. She became one of his many wives, as many as sixteen, besides many concubines.
Raid at Fadak against B. Sad by Ali ibn Talib —December, 627CE
Muhammad received intelligence information that B. Sa’d b. Bakr, the tribe inhabiting Fadak was planning to help the Khaybar Jews. So he sent Ali b. Abi Talib to punish them. Having traveled by night and concealing by day, Ali arrived at the site and lay in wait for them during the day. The Muslims caught a spy who informed them that B. Sa’d b. Bakr had agreed to aid the Khaybar Jews in exchange for some harvest of Khaybar crop. Ali then returned Medina with the captive.
Raid against Umm Qirfa of B. Fazarah by Zayd b. Haritha/Abu Bakr —January, 628CE
Readers may recall Zayd b. Haritha’s first raid at Wadi al-Qura (see Terror 45, CH. 11). When this raid ended in a failure, Zayd conducted several warlike raids of inferior importance. In one of these operations, he set out for a mercantile trip to Syria to do some border trading there. When he arrived at Wadi al-Qura, he again raided the inhabitants there. However, his caravan was waylaid and was attacked by B. Fazarah tribe. During the fighting B. Fazarah killed a number of Muslims including Ward b. Amr, one of Zayd’s dear comrade-in-arms. Zayd himself was wounded.
After Zayd returned to Medina with his wound he vowed to avenge the death of his comrade by raiding B. Fazarah again. After his recovery from the injury Muhammad sent Zayd with an army against the B. Fazarah. He attacked them at Wadi al-Qura and inflicted heavy casualties on them. He took Umm Qirfa (her real name was Fatimah bt. Rabiah b. Badr), the wife of Malik b. Hudhayfah, the chief of B. Fazarah, as a prisoner. Umm Qirfa was a very old woman having a young and extremely beautiful daughter. She (Umm Qirfa) was the aunt of Uyeina and was married to her cousin, Malik, the uncle of Uyeina. They formed a branch of Fazarah, Fazarah tribe being a branch of the Ghatafan tribe. Zayd took her daughter as a captive and ordered a Jihadist, Qays b. Mohsin to kill Umm Qirfa. Her old age and sex did not deter her from receiving a barbaric Islamic punishment from the Muslim army (Please note here the hypocrisy of Islamic rule on killing a woman). Qays tied each of her legs with a rope and attached the ropes to two camels. Then he drove the camels in opposite directions thus renting her in two. Rodinson writes that Umm Qirfa was torn from limb to limb by four camels. Two brothers from the same family were also brutally executed. When told, Muhammad fully approved this ferocious punishment meted out to a grand old lady. When Zayd brought Umm Qirfa’s daughter to Muhammad, he allocated her to Salamah b. Amr al-Akwa, a Jihadist who captured her. She belonged to a very distinguished Arab family. Then Muhammad found that one of his maternal uncles, Hazn b. Abi Wahb was eyeing on Umm Qirfa’s beautiful daughter. So he asked her owner, Salamah b. Amr b. al-Akwa, if he would give her to his (Muhammad’s) uncle. Salamah readily agreed to Muhammad’s request. This distinguished lady was then passed on to Muhammad’s uncle for his private use.
Another version of this story says that the leader of this raid was Abu Bakr b. Abi Quhafah (told by Salamah) and runs like this:
Muhammad appointed Abu Bakr as the leader of this raiding party. When Abu Bakr arrived at Wadi al-Qura, he ordered his troop to rest there; then they prayed. After prayer, Abu Bakr made a raid on B. Fazarah. The Muslims killed a number of B. Fazarah people and captured a number of their women and children. Among them was Umm Qirfa, a very old lady, wearing a worn-out piece of leather coat. With her was her young daughter, the fairest of the Arabs. Abu Bakr gave Umm Qirfa’s pretty, young and vivacious daughter to, the Jihadist, who had captured her as a booty. After Salamah b. al-Akwa returned to Medina and met Muhammad at the market place, he (Muhammad) asked Salamah to give this pretty young lass to him. Salamah told Muhammad that he liked her but had not had sex with her yet. Then he offered her to Muhammad.
Quoting Salamah, Tabari writes:
There is a similar Hadith from Sahih Muslim (Refer to: Sahih Muslim: Book 19, Hadith number 4345)
Barbarous Execution of Uraynah Robbers By Muhammad —February, 628CE
Eight members B. Uraynah , a Bedouin tribe, came to Muhammad and embraced Islam. The climate of Medina did not suit them. They complained about a stomach problem they were suffering from an epidemic. Muhammad gave them some camels to take with them; instructed them to drink the camel’s milk and urine as medicines. They took the camels in the plain south of Quba for grazing. Following Muhammad’s prescription, they soon recovered from their stomach problem. Then they escaped with the camels by killing the camel herdsman by cutting off his hands and legs and poking thorny spikes into his tongue and eyes. When this news reached Muhammad, he dispatched twenty horsemen in hot pursuit of the robbers. They caught the robbers and recovered all the camels except one. The eight captives were then brought to Muhammad. On Muhammad’s order their arms and legs were cut off and their eyes were put off. The trunks of these wretched victims were then laid side by side in the hot sun in the plain of al-Ghaba until they died. On this occasion the verses on the punishment of waging war against Allah and for theft were released (5:39, 33).
This story is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari:
Assassination of Al-Yusayr b. Rizam and a party of Khaybar Jews at al-Qarqara —February, 628CE
Even with the assassination of Abu Rafi (also known as Sallam ibn Abul-Huqayq), the chief of Khaybar Jews in December, 624 (see Terror 20, CH. 5) Muhammad did not feel safe from the Jews of Khaybar. The new chief of the Khaybar Jews was Al-Yusayr b. Rizam. He maintained the good relation with the B. Ghatafan, the tribe that Muhammad feared a lot. Muhammad heard that Al-Yusayr b. Rizam was planning a fresh attack against him. So he quickly dispatched Abdallah ibn Rawaha, a leader of the B. Khazraj to Khaybar to gather intelligence to eliminate Al-Yusayr clandestinely. But Abd Allah ibn Rawaha found the Jews to be extremely alert for this type of covert political murder to be a success.
When he returned to Medina with this bad news, Muhammad again sent him openly with thirty men (or thirty selected killers) mounted on camels to persuade al-Yusayr b. Rizam to visit Medina. When the Muslims arrived at Khaybar the Jews treated them well. Abd Allah ibn Rawaha pretended to be friendly with the Jews and invited al-Yusayr b. Rizam to visit Medina with them.He assured al-Yusayr b. Rizam that Muhammad would make him the ruler of Khaybar, giving al-Yusayr b. Rizam a solemn guarantee of his safety. At first, al-Yusayr declined. But due to the persistence of the Muslim delegation he finally relented and went with them with a number of Jews. One of the Muslim delegates, Abd Allah b. Unays mounted al-Yusayr on his beast and rode behind him. When they arrived at al-Qarqarat, about six miles from Khaybar, al-Yusayr suspected the ill-motive of the Muslims and changed his mind about going to meet Muhammad. He dismounted from the beast he was riding with Abd Allah Unays. Abd Allah b. Unays claimed that he perceived al-Yusayr was drawing his sword. So he rushed at him and cut off his leg. Al-Yusayr hit Abd Allah b. Unays with a piece of wood and wounded his head. Ibn Ishak claims that later, God killed al-Yusayr. The Muslims killed all other Jews except one who escaped on his feet. When Abd Allah b. Unays came to Muhammad, Muhammad spat on his wound in his head and it healed immediately! Muhammad praised Allah when he heard the news of assassination of al-Yusayr b. Rizam and the killing of the Jews.
- Mubarakpuri, p.386
- Tabari, vol.viii, p.56
- Muir, vol. iii, p.238
- Ibn Sa’d, vol.ii, p.77
- Haykal, Ch. The Campaign of B. al-Mustaliq
- Tabari, vol. viii, pp.52-53
- Tabari, vol. viii, p.55
- Mubarakpuri, p.391
- Ibn Ishaq, p.672
- Tabari, vol. viii, p.95
- Muir, vol. iv, p.12, Waqidi’s note
- Ibn Ishaq, pp.664-665
- Rodinson, p.248
- Ibn Ishaq, pp.677-678
- Ibn Ishaq, pp.665-666
- Ibn Ishaq, p.666