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Featured Mohamed's extermination of the Banu Quraiza.

Discussion in 'Quranic Debates' started by stevecanuck, Nov 27, 2022.

  1. stevecanuck

    stevecanuck Well-Known Member

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    Verse 33:26 - "Pickthall: And He brought those of the People of the Scripture who supported them down from their strongholds, and cast panic into their hearts. Some ye slew, and ye made captive some."

    What follows is 100% my opinion. I can't support it with documentation because history is written by the victors (read the link at the bottom for a perfect example). Note: Yathrib was the name of the city now known as Medina.

    In 627 Mohamed attacked the only remaining Jewish tribe in Yathrib - the Banu Quraiza. They surrendered without a fight, and then Mohamed oversaw their extermination (ordered by someone else, but approved by Mohamed). Hundreds of men and youth were beheaded, while the women and children were taken as slaves. Their property was seized and distributed as war booty (this much is not in dispute).

    All of this happened because the Jews had it coming (this is the disputed bit). The Islamoapologist story is that the Jews had conspired against Mohamed during the Battle of the Trench and had aided the enemy. After the Muslims won said battle, Mohamed conveniently received a visit from Gabriel telling him his work was not done. He now had to attack the Banu Quraiza to make them pay for their perfidy and 'treason'.

    I have a different take. After beating the Meccans and their allies, Mohamed no longer needed to maintain the pretense of having a defensive alliance with the Jews. He simply didn't need them any more, so he decided to complete his goal of taking the city over and getting rid of the people who made the fatal mistake of giving him a home when he entered Yathrib as a refugee.

    Mohamed had already rid himself of the other two major Jewish tribes - the Banu Qaynuqa and the Banu Nadir. First, he expelled the Banu Qaynuqa from Yathrib and confiscated their wealth. Justification for this stemmed from an incident in which a Jew embarrassed a Muslim woman by exposing part of her leg. The Jew was killed by a Muslim man who in turn was killed by a group of Jews. This led Mohamed to lay siege to the Banu Qaynuqa fortress and to expel them after they surrendered without a fight. In my opinion, Mohamed used a single incident as a convenient excuse to expel an entire Jewish tribe rather than to treat it as the criminal/civil matter that it clearly was. Perhaps of greater significance is the fact that in only three years Mohamed had gained both the military and the political power to be in a position to make the rules in what used to be a largely Jewish city.

    Next, in the aftermath of the Battle of Uhud, Mohamed expelled the Banu Nadir tribe for alleged acts of treason. Although the story varies, and is described in surah 59, Mohamed claimed to have evidence of either a Banu Nadir plot to kill him, or that they had colluded with the Meccans. This was a summary decision made by Mohamed with no trial or actual evidence presented, again suggesting he was looking to purge Yathrib of Jews on any pretext, regardless of how unsupported. This left only the Banu Quraiza, whose fate was now effectively sealed.

    Al-Quran Ibn Kathir Tafsir | Alim.org
     
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  2. sun rise

    sun rise Śvāna Dharma
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    In my opinion you are 100% wrong.
     
  3. stevecanuck

    stevecanuck Well-Known Member

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    Let's assume that the leaders of the Banu Quraiza did indeed conspire against Mohamed. Does that mean you're good with their fate?
     
  4. sun rise

    sun rise Śvāna Dharma
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    Using today's morality or the ethics of the time such as Roman law? Law of majestas - Wikipedia

    Or compared to the death penalty for treason against the US? Treason laws in the United States - Wikipedia (as well as quite a few other nations).
     
  5. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    What makes you think that any of this actually happened though?

    Do you believe these same sources when they said Muhammad split the moon or flew to Jerusalem on a donkey?

    Here you are trusting that the historical record is so accurate you can actually reconstruct Muhammad's thought processes.

    If you are a Muslim, you trust that this historical record has been protected by divine providence and the fact that Muhammad's companions and successors were uniquely superior humans with remarkable levels of honesty. If you start with these assumptions then it makes sense to trust the narrative.

    You are not a Muslim though, so why do you uncritically trust sources that secular historians often see as later narratives created to explain ambiguous passages of the Quran?
     
  6. stevecanuck

    stevecanuck Well-Known Member

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    In the sense that Mohamed is said to be the perfect exemplar for mankind. Is the extermination of Jewish youth and the enslavement of women and children, all of whom would have had nothing to do with any alleged treason, a reasonable action of such a person?

    Yeah, right. When the Rosenbergs were executed for treason the federal government also wiped their entire community. Give your head a shake.
     
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  7. stevecanuck

    stevecanuck Well-Known Member

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    I don't think there is any disputing that Yathrib had three major Jewish tribes in 622 and none in 627. How did that happen?
     
  8. sun rise

    sun rise Śvāna Dharma
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    NOTHING TO DO WITH ALLEGED TREASON??? You are just stating your prejudice as if it were facts. By that standard you are a shapeshifting grey alien lizard.

    I don't understand how you can make that comparison with a whole group (tribe) committing treason and two people committing treason.
     
  9. stevecanuck

    stevecanuck Well-Known Member

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    You can't possibly be serious. You are saying that young kids DID have something to do with alleged acts of treason.

    Thank you for outing yourself. That was the most spectacular example of bigotry I've ever seen on this site. And that's saying something.

    You also don't understand sarcasm. Is the ANYTHING that you understand?????
     
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  10. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    You have the treaty of Medina from around that time, which doesn't mention the Banu Qurayza, which is generally accepted as authentic. Beyond that you are entirely dependent on sources that are not written to record objective history but to support a religious narrative. Sources that, I'm sure you would agree, contain many things that didn't happen.

    Early sources (the consensus was much later invention) can't even roughly agree when Muhammad was born, but you treat them as having been recorded with pinpoint accuracy by people concerned with the accurate preservation of historical fact.

    Do you, for example, think that Islam emerged miraculously in a pagan backwater, or do you accept that emerged in a highly interconnected part of the region with significant connections to the Roman and Persian Empires and where Judaism and Christianity were common? The context for the emergence of Islam is centuries of conflict between Jewish groups and Christian groups and Romans and Persians with their Christian and Jewish mercenaries. What do the Islamic sources have to say about this?

    Unless we uncritically take the theological narrative at face value, we need to look at a broader context for everything that supposedly happened in a time and place that lack written sources for another couple of centuries. Almost everything in this era is pretty speculative.

    So for example on why he was in Medina:

    Islamic historiography cannot be expected to give a satisfactory answer to this question. Being a tribalography rather than a historiography it gives precedence to the role of individuals, neglecting the general state of affairs at any given time and often adopting a spiritual viewpoint rather than a political one. The Khazraj who had been defeated in the Battle of Buʿāth were the dominant factor in the ʿAqaba meeting. They were linked to the Ghassānids, and Ghassānid groups participated in the umma agreement that was concluded shortly after the hijra. All this suggests that the Ghassānids – and indirectly their Byzantine overlords – intervened with the Khazraj and their collaborators from the Aws on behalf of Muḥammad and convinced them to provide him with a safe haven. Such a move would not have been atypical of Heraclius’ tactics62 and the Byzantine/Ghassānid cause would have been served by the destabilization of Medina and the replacement of the Jews, longtime allies of the Sassanians, with a political entity friendly to Byzantium.

    One must bear in mind that several years earlier the Jews had played an active role in the Sassanian takeover of most of the Byzantine territories,


    Were the Ghassānids and the Byzantines behind Muḥammad’s hijra? - Michael Lecker

    (re the above, it's also worth noting that tradition has it that early Muslims went on a hijra to stay with the Christian Negus of Axum, a Roman aligned Kingdom that had previously invaded Arabia to fight the Jewish kingdom of Himyar.)

    You appear to be uncritically accepting a theological narrative at face values and assuming so much historical accuracy you can see inside the head of a single protagonist. What makes you think this theological narrative is highly historically accurate? Why? Why don't you also accept that he split the moon which is recorded in the same sources?
     
  11. stevecanuck

    stevecanuck Well-Known Member

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    Busy day, but I'll try to respond to the rest later. First, I have a question. What was the treaty of Medina called when it was drafted. I ask because Yathrib wasn't renamed to Medina until later.
     
  12. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    It's a document recorded in Islamic sources.

    Basically one of the few things that is generally (but not universally) accepted by non-Muslim scholars as being genuinely historical rather than hagiographical.

    Don't think it has an "official" name.

    Constitution of Medina - Wikipedia
     
  13. stevecanuck

    stevecanuck Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I have another question. Since the Qur'an repeatedly tells Muslims not to take Christians and Jews as allies, how does the Constitution of Whatever-it's-called square that circle?
     
  14. stevecanuck

    stevecanuck Well-Known Member

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    **mod edit**You're suggesting that what they claim to have seen Mohamed do and say should somehow be discarded because they have religious beliefs that differ from yours.

    How much are you doubting? Did Mohamed rid Yathrib of Jews or not? I need a starting point.
     
    #14 stevecanuck, Nov 30, 2022
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2022
  15. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Not sure why that is relevant, as I'm talking about history rather than theology.

    Are you talking history or theology?

    History

    In the Arab conquests, many Jews and Christian fought with the "proto-Muslims".

    One of the reasons it's often seen as authentic is because it doesn't seem to entirely match with the later Orthodox understanding of Islam (which is more 9th/10th C or maybe later).

    As I was saying, the Islamic religious narrative you are taking as historical fact, is a religious narrative not an attempt to record secular academic history.

    It doesn't need to square any circle as it obviously wasn't an issue then.

    This is why piecing together historical context is more interesting than uncritically taking the religious narrative as historical fact.

    Theology

    Depends on who you ask.

    From "take it literally" to "it doesn't mean all. As long as they are of good character and you don't take them as allies in preference to Muslims".

    But Islamic theology has never necessitated rank literalism.


    But seeing as you were analysing Muhammad as if the events were accurate historical fact, the theological justifications are less relevant that the actual history (which is very opaque anyway).

    It is a hagiography written centuries later without any real Late Antique Middle East context (such as that presented in previous post). The earlier the sources the less they agree, and standardisation of the narrative occurred much based on religious reasons.

    Whether any specific event happened is hard to know, and those that did happen almost certainly happened in a very different context (for example Byzantine-Persian conflict, Ghassanid-Lahkmid tribal wars, Roman imperial decline and inability to pay Arab mercenaries, local theological debates, etc.)

    You are the one assuming it is highly accurate though, so just tell me how much you think we can rely on the orthodox theological narrative (i.e. what you are using as history), and what factors you use to differentiate between what you consider obviously false and those which you consider highly accurate? Otherwise you are just cherry-picking based on motivated reasoning.
     
  16. stevecanuck

    stevecanuck Well-Known Member

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    I'm talking about the illogic in the overlap. If the theology says not to ally with Jews, but history says they did, how is that explained?
     
  17. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    It's easy to explain such things as long as you aren't married to rank scriptural literalism (which most Muslims are, and were, not). It's basically a problem you have invented by insisting they should practice their religion the way you want them to.

    As I'm not a Muslim I have no need to defend any aspect of their theology though, and as a secular historical question, early Muslims certainly weren't rank literalists so you adopting this approach is not returning to "true Islam" (a lot of the stuff you take as history very much appears to have appeared to try to explain aspects of the Quran's meaning that people were unsure about).

    As you are the one who is attesting to the high levels of accuracy of certain parts of their theological tradition in this thread, not me, why not just briefly just tell me how much you think we can rely on the orthodox theological narrative (i.e. what you are using as history), and what factors you use to differentiate between what you consider obviously false and those which you consider highly accurate? Otherwise it has to be seen as cherry-picking based on motivated reasoning.
     
  18. stevecanuck

    stevecanuck Well-Known Member

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    No, the way ALLAH wants them to. I'm not the one who proclaimed to Mohamed that Jews should not be taken as allies. As to taking the Qur'an literally - how the hell do you think direct proclamations and commands from Allah should be taken if not literally?

    Source? Link? Any proof whatsoever?????
     
  19. stevecanuck

    stevecanuck Well-Known Member

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    Straw giant.

    If you know of any historian who doubts that the Banu Quraiza were slaughtered, please produce him/her/ze/her/them/they/it.
     
  20. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Are you really that unfamiliar with a topic you claim to have spent decades studying that you think it is a "straw giant" to note many secular scholars doubt the accuracy of the hadith and sirah literature? Have you ever read any contemporary secular scholarship?

    Most secular scholars are highly sceptical of hadith and sirah, and don't assume they accurately recorded events and their context.

    Here's an overview from the Historian Patricia Crone: What do we actually know about Mohammed?

    So common positions would be "we can't really know" or "while events may be roughly historical, they have been decontextualised and reimagined for religious purposes and thus shouldn't be assumed to have a high degree of factual accurate."

    As regards your OP, even if there was a kernel of historical truth behind it, as I showed at the start of the thread, the context would almost certainly be completely different from the theological narrative you rely on. You are assuming they are so accurate you can see inside someone's mind based on them.

    Instead of continually dodging a very simple question, just answer it directly. Why do you uncritically accept as highly accurate narratives written 200 years after the fact that serve a strong theological purpose and are clearly, at best, a blend of decontextualised history and hagiography?

    Although you seem to be unaware of this, noting it is no more controversial than noting that secular scholars do not consider the Gospels an accurate rendition of historical fact.
     
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