Re-examining the story of the Banū Qurayẓah Jews in Medina with reference to the account of Ibn Isḥāq

Sadik Kirazli

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When the new believers of emerging Islam in 7th century began to establish their foundational world views, the Jews and Muslims had a close but tense relationship. This relationship, according to the account of early Muslim historian Ibn Isḥāq, ended with the very violent and severe punishment of the Banū Qurayẓah Jews. The collaboration of the Banū Qurayẓah with the enemy during wartime was considered by the Muslims an act of treason and the tribe’s warriors were punished with the death penalty. Even today, some pronounce this incident in the Arab/Palestine–Israeli conflict. The conflict often comes up in Islamophobic and polemical literature and discourse. The number of fatalities reported in this historical conflict is highly controversial. Some offer an apologetic defence for the incident, while others exaggerate it. This article re-examines the conflicts between the Jews and Muslims of Medina in light of historical primary sources and shows the number of Jews punished in this incident was significantly less than what is reported by Ibn Isḥāq.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Journal of Islamic Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2019


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