In the history of the Arabs that predates the arrival of Islam, never before had there been such wars, certainly none on the scale and magnitude of those that were instigated by Muhammad the founder of Islam. Previous battles in Arabia had mainly centered on tribal differences and were confined to bouts of squabbling with some fights. With the introduction of Islam came not only war, but also an unrelenting genocide and terror that would quickly become integral components in furthering Islam’s expansionism.
The early years of Muhammad’s prophetic carrier, in his native town Mecca, were peaceful. After 13 year of preaching no more than 70 or 80 people had embraced his cause. Not all of them were able fighting men. That explains why those early years were peaceful. Muslims did not have the strength to fight. However soon after Muhammad migrated and settled in Medina, and the Arab population of that town accepted his religion, he began invading and looting first the merchant caravans and then the human settlements to survive and to provide for his followers who had accompanied him and because of their lack of expertise had a difficult time finding employments in Medina.
The fifth year of hijrah (migration to Medina) was an eventful year. That was the year that Muslims fought the famous war of the ditch against the Meccans and soon after that they surrounded the Jewish quarter of Bani Qaynuqa of Medina who were a prosperous population of goldsmiths and blacksmiths and after confiscating their properties (vineyards and homes) and belongings (jewelry and arms) they were banished from their ancestral home. After that he set his sight on another Jewish tribe, the Bani Nadir. He did a similar thing to them. He killed their leaders and many of their able-bodied men and after confiscating their properties and much of their wealth, expelled the rest from Medina. In neither of these cases the Jews offered any resistance. They were taken by surprise and simply surrendered under the superior forces of Muhammad’s men.
Emboldened by his victories over these weaker, non-combative and non-threatening people who agreed to give up their wealth in exchange for their lives and goaded by an insatiable greed and his lust for power this self styled messenger of Allah then set his eyes upon other Jewish tribes of Arabia living outside of Medina. This time it was the turn of Bani al-Mustaliq.
Bukhari, the great biographer of Muhammad, narrates the attack on Bani al-Mustaliq in the following story (Hadith)
“Narrated Ibn Aun:
I wrote a letter to Nafi and Nafi wrote in reply to my letter that the Prophet had suddenly attacked Bani Mustaliq without warning while they were heedless and their cattle were being watered at the places of water. Their fighting men were killed and their women and children were taken as captives; the Prophet got Juwairiya on that day. Nafi said that Ibn ‘Umar had told him the above narration and that Ibn ‘Umar was in that army.” Volume 3, Book 46, Number 717:
This same Hadith is recorded in the Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4292, which validates the claim of its authenticity.
Muhammad molded his religion after Judaism and had great expectations that the Jews would be the first to heed his call. Nevertheless, to his chagrin, the Jews had no interest in his religion and he never forgave them for that. You cannot reject a narcissist without invoking his rage. Muhammad was so upset that he changed the direction of the Qiblah (the direction towards which the Muslims pray) from Jerusalem to Kaaba, which at that time was just a temple of idols and said Allah transformed the Jews were transformed into apes and swine because of their transgression (Q. 5:60) and (Q. 2:65). Muhammad made the Jews the scapegoat to rally his followers around himself. He was an expert of that old trick known as “divide n’ conquer”. The Arabs of Medina were generally a bunch of illiterate folk with little skills and often poor who made their living by working in the vineyards of the Jews and rendering other services to them. They where originally immigrants from Yemen while the Jews were the masters of trades and the owners of the lands who had called Medina home, for 2000 years. They were easy targets. Prowling their wealth and making more money by enslaving their women and children and distributing them among the poor Arabs while giving them the assurance that killing their masters and bread givers is not only ethical but also sanctioned by God proved a very lucrative enterprise for Muhammad, one that would change his fortunes, and set this new religion on its eventual path of war and military conquests.
Muhammad sent one of his companions; Bareeda bin Haseeb, to spy on the Bani al-Mustaliq and after assessing the situation he ordered his men to attack. Muslims came out of Madina on 2nd Shaban of 5 A.H. and encamped at Muraisa, a place at a distance of 9 marches from Medina.
The following quote from an Islamic site states:
“The news of the advance of Muslim forces had already reached Haris. In panic, his men deserted him and he himself took refuge in some unknown place. But the local population of Muraisa took up arms against the Muslims and rained showers of arrows in a sustained manner. The Muslims launched a sudden and furious attack and routed the enemy, who suffered huge casualties and nearly 600 were taken prisoners by the Muslims. Among the booty there were 2,000 camels and 5,000 goats.
The prisoners of war included Barra, the daughter of Haris, who later on became Hazrat Juwairiyah, the consort of the Holy Prophet. According to the prevailing practice all the prisoners were made slaves and distributed among the victorious Muslim soldiers. Hazrat Juwairiyah fell to the lot of Thabit bin Qais. She was the daughter of the leader of the clan, and therefore, very much felt the discomfiture and disgrace of being made slave of an ordinary Muslim soldier. Therefore, she requested him to release her on payment of ransom. Thabit agreed to this, if she could pay him 9 Auqias of gold. Hazrat Juwairiyah had no ready money with her. She tried to raise this amount through contributions, and approached the Holy Prophet also in this connection. She said to him “0’ Prophet of Allah! I am the daughter of Al Haris bin Zarar, the Lord (chief) of his people. You know that it is by chance that our people have fallen captive and I have fallen to the share of Thabit bin Qais and have requested him to release me considering my status, but he has refused. Please do an act of kindness and save me from humiliation”. The Holy Prophet was moved and asked the captive woman if she would like a thing still better. She asked as to what was that thing. He said that he was ready to pay her ransom and marry her if she liked. She agreed to this proposal. So the Holy Prophet (sallal alaho alahie wasallam) paid the amount of ransom and married her.”
The above is the story how Muhammad married Juwairiyah as recorded by Muslim historians. Interestingly Muhammad makes his Allah praise him with verses such as the following: “And surely thou hast sublime morals” (Quran68:4). and “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow” (Quran 33:21).
The question that begs an answer is; was he really the standard of sublime morals and good example to follow?