Countering Lies On The Banu Qaynuqa Incident

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Salam Zaid

I have decided to take on “The Religion Of Peace” (TROP) website, which is owned by a Christian missionary by the name of Glen Roberts. I want to dedicate a series of articles to refute their so called responses to DTT (discover the truth site). Glen Roberts made several poor and very badly worded “refutations” to DTT. The majority of them were actually commentary and not actual refutation. Here I will address their sources one by one and I will provide arguments as to why their “refutation” is a work of a layman.

The Banu Qaynuqa incident

The first article TROP wrote to DTT was in regards to Banu Qaynuqa incident, where the Jews of Madinah attempted to assassinate the Muslims, betrayed them, and waged war on them.

Glen Roberts decided to take the approach of commentary on some of DTT’s arguments, but later decided to cite Al-Tabari without authenticating what he said or giving sanad to the narrations he was citing. I have already shown why we should take whatever Tabari (those that are not authentic) said with grain of salt in my responses to TMA with that being said let us proceed.

Their commentary on DTT sources goes as follows:

Glen Roberts starts off,

“DTT quotes from five historians, each of whom seems to be repeating what the one before says. The earliest is probably Ibn Ishaq’s account, since the next most reliable account (Kitab Futuh al-Buldan) directly references it. One of their sources, al-Waqidi, is widely regarded as a fabricator.”

Apart from the part regarding Al-Waqidi being fabricator which can be regarded as correct criticism (and about the only good point Roberts made) we should not leave out Ibn Ishaq and several other sources DTT used
We will comment later on, but one comment they made that send the most shock to me is the following,

“None of these accounts say that the Qaynuqa killed Muslims. None even name a third party, much less say that the Qaynuqa took sides against the Muslims in a battle. In fact, the tribe seem to have been on friendly terms with other Muslims”

We will explore how wrong this is later, but first let’s see what Ka’ab Bin al-Ashraf did,

“when the Prophet was done from the battle of Badr he sent Zaid Bin Harith and Abdullah bin Rowaha to tell the ummah of Muslims of the victory, and when this reached Ka’ab Bin al-Ashraf he told the one who informed him of it: how could you say that, these are the kings of Arabs and masters of the people (referring to Quraish), the he left to Makkah and he was crying over the corpses of Quraish dead soldiers and he (Ka’b) was instigating the people to fight the Prophet.” (Sunnan Al-Kubra by Baihaqi volume 9, page 183)

However is it correct that they never killed a Muslim? This is not correcting let’s explore some sources apart from their treason,

“a muslim woman was selling something in banu qaynaqua market for a gold and jewry maker, so the jews wanted her to uncover her face, so the muslim woman didn’t allow this, so the jewry maker took part of her clothes and torn it from back and when she stood up her privte parts were exposed naked so they laughed, so she screamed, so a man of muslims went to the jewry maker and killed him, and the jews gathered around the muslim and killed him, and the muslims saw this and was enraged and a fight happened between the jews and muslims” (Sira Ibn Hisham, volume 2, page 47)

Glen Roberts makes the following childish comment in light of growing evidence,

“If the Banu Qaynuqa actually broke the agreement in some meaningful way, then it would have been included in the historical account. Against this reality, the statement that they “violated” the treaty seems to be an editorial comment that got repeated without supporting detail.“

The part regarding Tabari which as I said before should always be taken with grain of salt was the following,

“Tabari, whom DTT quotes as proof that the Qaynuqa ‘violated’ the agreement actually uses a word that can be interpreted as ‘disagree.’ This is important because the full account offered in his work suggests that Muhammad required that he be recognized as a prophet, and they refused:
What happened with regard to the Banu Qaynuqa’ was that the Messenger of God assembled them in the Market of the Banu Qaynuqa’ and said, “0 Jews, beware lest God bring on you the like of the retribution which he brought on Quraysh. Accept Islam, for you know that I am a prophet sent by God. You will find this in your scriptures and in God’s covenant with you.” They replied, “Muhammad, do you think that we are like your people? Do not be deluded by the fact that you met a people with no knowledge of war and that you made good use of your opportunity. By God, if you fight us you will know that we are real men!” (Tabari v.7 p.85)”

Due to some people unable to have access to the volumious books of Tabari, Glen Roberts thinks he can deceive his audience and change words to suit his propaganda against Islam. The word “disagree” is not even in there (screenshot from Tabari, vol.7, p.85-86):

Let’s forget the fact that they didn’t give the sanad of the narration. Let’s forget the fact that no where did the narration suggest that they “disagreed” but rather that they instigated to go to war with with the Muslims. But let’s forget that, let’s explore TROP’s ability to do research and find if a narrator is regarded as authentic, did they do that with Tabari? Or did they treat it as authentic as sunnis view Sahih Bukhari? The answer is no, infact this narration is regarded as non-authentic because of Ibn Hamid (which they removed from chain of narration list, Muhammad Bin Hamid Bin Hyan was one of the narrators of this story and he is regarded as matruk meaning not authentic or literally (dropped) (Online source)

Infact what makes it funnier is that if we read further (using the same weak narrations) we actually see that Tabari refutes Glen Roberts,

“According to Ibn Humayd-Salamah-Muhammad b. Ishaq-‘Asim b. ‘Umar b.Qatadah: The Banu Qaynuqa’ were the first Jews to infringe the agreement between them and the Messenger of God; they took to arms between Badr and Uhud.” (Tabari, volume 7, page 85 – 86)

Screenshot from the book:

Readers, notice the level of deception on Glen Roberts’ part. He delibrately hides these facts to deceive his readers. Glen Roberts, your own source just affirmed what DTT said that Banu Qaynuqa broke the treaty and took up arms against the Muslims.

Glen Roberts continues,

“Here is how Tabari explains it:
According to Al-Zuhri-‘Urwah : Gabriel [the angel] brought the following verse down to the Messenger of God : “And if thou fearest treachery from any folk, then throw back to them their treaty fairly. “‘When Gabriel had finished delivering this verse, the Messenger of God said, “I fear the Banu Qaynuga’.” ‘Urwah says: It was on the basis of this verse that the Messenger of God advanced upon them. (Tabari v.7 p.86)
Hmmm… An angel tells Muhammad that if he simply fears treachery then it’s OK to break the treaty. Why say that if the treaty were already broken? Muhammad promptly says he fears treachery and then advances on the Qaynuqa community with an army. This is a very strange way of saying that he was under attack, as Discover the Truth fantasizes.”

Yet another citation of Tabari with no authentication or verification at all. But let’s have a comment on this like how Glen Roberts loves to do too DTT. Muhammad (p) here simply implied that Banu Qaynuqa might break the treaty and se he advanced upon them, Roberts seems to make the argument that this was the only motivation Muhammad had to attack them. But that is incorrect because if we recall few paragraphs earlier, we seen Tabari clearly laying out that they broke the treaty and “took up arms” against the Muslims at Badr and Uhud? Is the above narration cited by Roberts authentic? The answer might shock you because it laughs at the credibility of TROP, remember when they discredited DTT for using Waqidi? Yup, here they used a narration that was narrated through Waqidi. According to Sahih wa da’if tarikh Tabari in da’if section volume 7 page 101,

“within it’s sanad exist waqidi, and he is matruk” (literally means “Abandoned” e.g., the technical meaning: that the Hadith in which there is such a narrator who has been blamed for lying or falsehood in matters other than narrating Hadith”).

Glen Roberts criticizes DTT for using Waqidi and then goes on to use it himself. Let’s quote Tabari again himself again, he refutes Glen Roberts and states that Banu Qaynuqa took up arms against the Muslims:

“According to Ibn Humayd-Salamah-Muhammad b. Ishaq-‘Asim b. ‘Umar b.Qatadah: The Banu Qaynuqa’ were the first Jews to infringe the agreement between them and the Messenger of God; they took to arms between Badr and Uhud.” (History of al-Tabari: The: The Foundation of the Community: volume 7, page 85 – 86)

So here Tabari clearly states that they took arms preparing to infringe the agreement between them and the Messenger (p).

So clearly when we piece the evidences together, Muhammad (p), based on the evidences from Tabari alone we see that the Banu Qaynuqa advanced, they took arms against the Muslims and infringed upon the agreement. Somehow Glen Roberts wants to deceive his readers, delibrately hide facts related by Tabari to fool innocent readers? So much for “The Qaynuqa were fighting defensively according to every account”.

Glen Roberts later states,

“Tabari continues: The Messenger of God besieged them for fifteen days and prevented any of them from getting out. They then surrendered at the discretion of the Mesenger of God . They were fettered, and he wanted to kill them, but ‘Abd Allah b. Ubayy spoke to him on their behalf… Four hundred men without armour and three hundred with coats of mail, who defended me from the Arab and the non-Arab alike, and you would mow them down in a single morning? By God, I do not feel safe and am afraid of what the future may have in store (Tabari v.7 p.86)
Muhammad “fears” treachery, has a private conversation with an “angel” and the next thing you know, 700 people are tied up and waiting to be beheaded. Which party would you fear? “

You don’t know the party that instigated a war? The party that threatened to fight Muhammad? The party that took arms in preparation for battle? The party that humiliated the Muslims by attacking an innocent woman?
Let’s see yet again if this is an authentic narration. According to Sahih Wa Da’if Tarikh Tabari volume 7 page 102
“it contains Waqidi and he is matruk”

Isn’t it ironic for the second time TROP uses Waqidi after criticizing DTT for using him?

So far TROP has not shown what part of the agreement or treaty did Muhammad broke or invoked “The Qaynuqa were fighting defensively according to every account”.

No they were not, they saw the might of the Prophet (p) who defeated the Quraish tribe and instigated to fight him, remember Ka’ab Ibn al-Ashraf, earlier?

But let us see the full account and not take parts of what Glen Roberts deceptively left out,

“The Messenger of God besieged them until they surrendered at his discretion. ‘Abd Allah b . Ubayy b. Salul rose up when God had put them in his power, and said, “Muhammad, treat my mawdli well”; for they were the confederates of al-Khazraj . The Prophet delayed his answer, so ‘Abd Allah repeated, “Muhammad, treat my mawali well.” The Prophet turned away from him, and he put his hand into (the Messenger’s) collar. The Messenger of God said, “Let me go! “-he was so angry that they could see shadows in his face (that is, his face coloured ). Then he said, “Damn you, let me go!” He replied, “No, by God, I will not let you go until you treat my mawali well. Four hundred men without armour and three hundred with coats of mail, who defended me from the Arab and the non-Arab alike, and you would mow them down in a single morning? By God, I do not feel safe and am afraid of what the future may have in store .” So THE MESSENGER OF GOD SAID, THEY ARE YOURS.” (Tabari, volume 7, page 86)

Hold on, so Muhammad actually let them go and didn’t keep them on besiege and didn’t behead them? Hmmmmmm sounds like Glen Roberts is hiding important details to spread his propaganda.

However, the account I gave above is also weak for having waqidi in it’s narration

“If the Banu Qaynuqa actually broke the agreement in some meaningful way, then it would have been included in the historical account”

Either Glen Roberts is blind or delibrately deceiving his readers. The very source TROP quotes, such as Tabari in fact states clearly that Banu Qaynuqa broke the treaty. Tabari went further and also showed that they took up arms against the Muslim community.

Here are the earliest documented reports (before Tabari) that state that the Banu Qaynuqa broke the treaty and waged war.

1. Kitab Futuh al-Buldan – al-Imam abu-l Abbas Ahmad Ibn-Jabir al-Baladhuri (d. 892 CE):

“It is reported that at the arrival of the Prophet in al-Madinah he wrote an agreement and made a covenant with the Jews of Yathrib. The Jews of Kainuka, however were the first to violate the covenant, and the Prophet expelled them from al-Madinah.” (Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, By al-Imam abu-l Abbas Ahmad Ibn-Jabir al-Baladhuri, (Translated by Philip Khuri Hitti, PH. D.), [New York – Columbia Univeristy, Longmans, Green & Co., Agents – London: P. S. King & Son, LTD. 1916], volume 1, page 33)

2. Ibn Hisham (d. 833 CE):

“Among the Jews of Madīnah, the Banu Qainuqa‘ were the first to break the treaty which had been settled between them and the Holy Prophet.” (As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah,  Abu Muḥammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, page 514)

3. Zurqani (1645 – 1710 CE):

“When the battle of Badr took place the Jews (Banu Qainuqa) manifested their malevolence and their spirit of revolt and retracted from their plighted word (i.e., broke the treaty).” (Zurqani, volume 1, page 529)

4. Ibn Ishaq (704 – 768 CE):

“Asim b. Umar b. Qatada said that the banu Qaynuqa were the first of the Jews to break their agreements with the apostle and to go to war, between Badr and Uhud, and the Apostle besieged them until they surrendered unconditionally.” (Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad [Translated by A. Guillaume], page 363)

5. Tabaqat al-Kabir – Ibn Sa’d (784 – 845 CE):

“The Banu Qainuqa… after Badr, they began to rebel fiercely and openly expressed their rancour and malice and broke their treaty and agreement.”3 (Aṭ-Ṭabaqatul-Kubra, By Muḥammad bin Sa‘d, volume 2, page 264)

6. Kitab al-Amwaal – Abu Ubayd al-Qasim Ibn Sallam (774 – 838 CE):

(519) “… The People of the Book were in three groups: Banu Qaynaqa, al-Nadir and Qurayza. The FIRST GROUP revolted and annulled the treaty. They were allies of Abd’Allah Ibn Ubayy. The Messenger of God (p) expelled them from Madina.” (Kitab al-Amwaal by Abu Ubayd al-Qasim Ibn Sallam, page 205)

7. In another classical source it states that the Banu Qaynuqa even challenged the Muslims to war (1559 CE):

“Do not become arrogant over your victory at Badr. When you are to fight us you shall come to know the real likes of warriors.” (Tarikhul-Khamis Fi Aḥwali Anfasi Nafis, By Ḥusain bin Muḥammad bin Ḥasan, volume 1, page 409)

8. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292 – 1350 CE):

“He (the Prophet) made an agreement with the Jews of Al-Madinah, but Banu
Qainiqa’ fought against him after the Battle of Badr, going over to the
east (i.e. to the polytheists forces of Makkah) after it took place,
revealing their injustice and envy.” (Zaad al-Ma’ad, by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, page 324)

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292 – 1350 CE) gives a up bit more info on page 481 as well:

“And he made a number of judgements regarding the Jews: He
made a covenant with them when he first arrived in Al-Madinah,
then Banu Qainuqa’ made war on him and so he conquered them,
then he freed them. (Zaad al-Ma’ad, by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, page 481)

In conclusion for this,

Glen Roberts cited a weak narration by Tabari regarding the Jews of Banu Qaynaqua claiming they will fight back. Glen Roberts misquoted and bluntly took two narrations out of context, removed a complete narration from the section in the book, cited Tabari without sanad and based on the work of Waqidi who is a weak narrator as they admitted. Made several deceptive comments. Glen Roberts failed to tackle DTT’s sources (apart from Waqidi). Cited yet another weak narration by Tabari, used waqidi twice after criticizing DTT for using him, there is literally not a single valid narration TROP made here. Nearly all of Roberts citations of Tabari have been discredited (except those narrations that are reported in other classical book which state that Banu Qaynuqa broke the treaty and waged war against the Muslims), and almost all their objections were mere comments, there is no indication of “self defense” as he deceptively claims, and he ignored all DTT’s citations to how the Banu Qaynaqua broke the treaty. And to add on top of that, they ignored a similar narration from Tabari that refutes their argument and clearly state that the Banu Qaynuqa took arms after infringing upon the treaty. [2]

 

About me:

My name is Salam Zaid, I own the blog http://azblogtalk.blogspot.com. Please take your time and go visit the blog as I have written several articles tackling many Islamophobes such as supposed ex-muslims, and looked at several allegations with historical backing. I am a former ex-muslim turned revert back to Islam after studying Islam for years and engaging with apologetics. Please keep in mind my English isn’t perfect, it’s my second language. Arabic is my mother language and I might make some grammatical mistakes, keep that in mind whenever you read any of my publications. If you see any poor phrasing or bad wordings please inform me, thank you.

Reference:

[1] The article I am writing a response too can can be accesed here: https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/games/discover-truth/topics/qaynuqa.aspx
[2] Scholar Umari al-Madni,
“The reasons for their deportation have to be looked into their continued HOSTILITY TOWARDS Islam and MUSLIMS. That led to a lack of security in Madinah as is evidenced by what they did the Muslim lady.” (Umari: Al-Mujtama, Al-Madni, page 138))

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