The raid on Banū Qaynuqā´ as the source of forced migration in Islam

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Note: We were unable to provide links to the English translations. The links, therefore, refer to the original Arabic sources. If the researcher is familiar with both English and Arabic, he/she will be able to compare the two languages and judge the credibility and accuracy of the translation for themselves.


History: the second year of Hijra.

Biography of the Prophet by Ibn Hisham “Banu Qaynuqāʿ”:

Ibn Hisham said: According to Abdullah b. Jaafar b. Al-Masūr b. Makhrama, according to [p. 48] Abu ʿAwn, said: With regard to Banu Qaynuqāʿ, an Arab woman brought some property of hers and sold it in the marketplace of Banu Qaynuqāʿ, and sat down by goldsmith in the market. People kept on trying to get her to uncover her face, but she refused. The goldsmith [stealthily] tied the hem of her dress to her back. As she stood up, her nakedness was exposed and people laughed at her. She screamed. Immediately a Muslim man leaped on the goldsmith and killed him. Since the goldsmith was a Jew, the Jews attacked the Muslim and killed him. The family of the Muslim called upon the Muslims to fight the Jews. Muslims became angry and fighting began between them and Banu Qaynuqāʿ.


Biography of the Prophet by Ibn Hisham “Banu Qaynuqāʿ”:

Ibn Isḥāq said, and ʿĀṣim b. ʿOmar b. Qatāda?? told me: So the Messenger of Allāh, peace be upon him, besieged them until they accepted his rule. Abdullāh b. Abi Salūl went up to him, after God had given him victory over them, and said: O Muhammad, treat my clients well. They were allies of the Khazraj. He said: the Messenger of Allāh was slow to respond. He repeated: O Muhammad, treat my clients well. He said: he turned away from him. So the man stuck his hand into the pocket of the shield of the Messenger of Allāh, peace be upon him. Ibn Hisham said: It was called Ḏāt al-fuḍūl. Ibn Isḥāq said: The Messenger of Allāh, peace be upon him, said to him: Let go of me. He was so angry that his face turned dark. He repeated another time: How dare you? Let go of me! The man answered: No, by God I won’t let go of you until you treat my clients well. They are four hundred unarmed men and three hundred armed men … I’m afraid of what the future might bring. The Messenger of Allāh, peace be upon him: said: They are yours [during the duration of the siege]   [P . 49] Ibn Hisham said: And the Messenger of Allāh, peace be upon him, employed Bashīr b. ʿAbd al-Munḏir in laying siege to the city. The siege lasted fifteen nights.


Biography, Maghazi of al-Wāqidī “the raid on Qaynuqāʿ”:

When Ibn Ubay spoke to them, the Messenger of Allāh, peace be upon him, released them from being put to death. He ordered them to be exiled from the city.


Biography, Maghazi of al-Wāqidī “the raid on Qaynuqāʿ”:

Ibn Ubay kept on yelling at them as he wiped the blood off his face, saying: How dare you? Calm down. But they kept on yelling at one another, saying: We shall never again stay in a place where your face has been hurt so. But we have nowhere else. They were the bravest Jews. Ibn Ubay had ordered them to barricade themselves and claimed he would join them, but he let them down and did not join them. So they kept to their fort and neither shot an arrow nor fought. Eventually they accepted the reconciliation of the Messenger of Allāh, peace be upon him. They gave in to the rule of the Messenger of Allāh, peace be upon him, and relinquished their possessions to him. When they came down and opened their fort, Muhammad b. Muslim expelled them and seized their possessions. The Messenger of Allāh took from their weapons three bows; one called al-Katūm, which was broken during Uḥud, one called al-Rawḥāʾ, and one called al-Bayḍāʾ. He also took two shields; one called al-Ṣughdiya and another made of silver, as well as three swords; one of them was of good metal and another called al-Battār  (pp. 179), plus one more sword and three spears. He said: they found so many weapons in their fort, as well as forging tools, for they were goldsmiths.


Explanation: the reason for the raid was what happened to that Muslim woman who was the wife of a Muslim man from al-Anṣār. She was in the market and went to a Jewish goldsmith to buy some jewelry for herself. While she was in that Jewish jeweler’s shop, some foolhardy Jewish youths tried to lift her veil and talk to her. She refrained and forbade them.So the Jewish owner of the shop tied the end of her dress and knotted it to her back. As she stood up, her dress was lifted up and her body was exposed.The Jews began to laugh at her and make fun of her. She cried out and called for anyone who would help her against them. A Muslim man saw what had happened to her, attacked the Jew and killed him. When he tried to keep them away from her and remove her, the Jews rallied against him and killed him. So Mohammadand the Muslims besieged the Jews for 15 nights, expelled them from the city, robbingtheir money, their weapons, and their forging tools. Banu Qaynuqāʿ were thus exiled and turned north to Syria where they residedin Aḏraʿāt, leaving behind their money, their weapons and forging tools according to the apostle’s order.


Comment: This behavior of the Prophet is the source of collective punishment for individual mistakes and the source of forced displacement and robbing the property of people, whose sole crime is that one person of their number has committed a crime.


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