The Prophet's (Peace Be Upon Him) Attitude Towards al- Hijaz Jews ,A Historical and Methodical Study

Discussion Committee: 
Prof. Jamal Juda
Khaleda Abdullateef Hasan Yaseen
This thesis, entitled (The Prophet's Attitude Towards al-Hijaz Jews A Historical and Methodical Study), discusses the historical geography of al- Hijaz, the political and economic conditions of the Jews, the Islamic Call and the Jews, the Prophet's measures related to the Jews' possessions in al-Hijaz, and restricted chronologically from the pre-Islamic period to the death of the Prophet in the year 11 AH / 633 AD. The study investigated the natural geography of al-Hijaz such as the surface, mountains, valleys, the climate, frontiers, population distribution whether urban or nomads, and the locations where the Jews occupied and their importance. The Jews comprised an integral, effective part of public life in al- Hijaz. There are various narrations regarding their incoming in the area. It seems that they arrived in Arabia in successive periods represented by several immigration waves, the strongest of which was after the Roman occupation of Palestine in the first century AD. The Jewish locations were scattered in several Hijazi loci including Yathrib (Medina), Khaibar, Wadi-lqura, Fadak, Tayma, and Maqana. These places were, in fact, oases and plains that were suitable for agricultural activities due to their fertile soils and abundant underground water. Furthermore, they lay at the active trade routes between Yemen, Syria, Africa and Iraq. Therefore, their inhabitants worked in agriculture, industry, trade, and financial swaps such as money exchange, usury and credits. Consequently, the influence of the Jews strengthened financially that enabled them to control the economy of al-Hijaz to a large extent. Apparently, the Jews in al-Hijaz in general and in Medina in particular had the upper political hand. However, after the intervention of Byzantium in the region to control the trade routes in the middle of the sixth century AD, it assisted al-Aws and al-Khazraj to extract the authority from the hands of the Jews. This was followed by the emergence of the Islamic Call in al-Hijaz. The relations between the Prophet on the one hand and the Jews of Medina and al-Hijaz on the other consisted of three phases: peaceful coexistence, controversy, and then confrontation and liquidation. Following al-Hijrah immediately, that relationship was characterized with harmony and cooperation between the two parties. The Prophet attempted to organize the political, economical and social relations among the inhabitants of Medina including the Jews through the Medina Charter. No sooner had the first phase started that the second phase of controversy and disagreement began. The Jews launched a media campaign that targeted the essence of the Prophet's thought. Gradually, the two parties became at loggerheads. The situation exploded soon after the Battle of Badr (2 AH / 623 AD) because the Jews were alarmed of the raising status of Muslims. Consequently, they made attempts to cooperate with Quraish against the young state. In addition, they breached their agreements with the Prophet. As a result of the Jewish hostile measures, the Prophet had no other alternative except to confront them,. Hence, the phase of confrontations started. The beginning was with Banu Qaynuqa who were the first to breach the agreements, followed by Banu Nadir who conspired against the Prophet and attempted to murder him. Following that, Banu Qurayza allied the allies and conspired with Quraish to finish the young state. As a result, the Prophet evacuated them from Medina and confiscated their possessions, finishing their intellectual, economical, and political existence. The same was executed outside Medina against the Jews of Khaybar which had become a center of planning and conspiracy against Islam and Muslims. The Prophet did the same with Fadak and Wadi-lqura, concluded a truce with Tayma and Maqana that accordingly paid Danegeld, making them part of the non-Muslims who enjoyed Muslim protection (Ahlu-Thimmah). The Prophet's conquest of the Jewish lands was in various forms. Some of them surrendered without combat after siege and gave in under the Prophet's judgment (Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Nadir), others were besieged and fought until they surrendered and gave in under the Prophet's judgment (Banu Qurayza, Khaybar, and Wadi-lqura), while others surrendered voluntarily without fighting such as Fadak. The Prophet's measures against the possessions of the Jews were not similar despite the similarity of conquest of some locations. In some cases, he evacuated them from Medina and agreed to their existence outside it. He distributed the monies of Banu Qaynuqa, but he personally possessed the possessions of Banu Nadir and confiscated all their monies. He possessed half the lands of Fadak but he made a resolution to execute all the fighters of Banu Quraiza and possess women and offspring. However, he did not do the same with Khaybar and Wadi-lqura. He granted protection to the Jews of Tayma and Maqana and take from them Jizya following the conquest of Mecca. Through investigating the narrations of historians, the research studied the development of terms and expressions such as truce, by force, spoils of the war, booty, and loot. Such terms had not been used by the early narrators but appeared with the narrators of the second decade of the Umayyad State, making us feel that the Islamic administration passed through consecutive stages until stabilized with some related terms.
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