The Heart's Witness Against Muhammad: The Stain of Genocide
The point is that if Muhammad is going to be touted as a universal moral model, al-insan al-kamil, the perfect man, then his morality has to be more than relatively better than the conventions of his day
It may be that Muhammad in his day was acting out the rather conventional role of a Bedouin warlord, perhaps even in a relatively more humane way than his opponents. But if Muhammad is going to be touted as a universal moral model, al-insan al-kamil, the perfect man, then his morality has to be more than relatively better than the conventions of his day.
We must recall our theme. It may be that Muhammad in his day was acting out the rather conventional role of a Bedouin warlord, perhaps even in a relatively more humane way than his opponents. (The point is arguable either way depending on what one wants to stress as evidence, but the issue does not really matter.)
The point is that if Muhammad is going to be touted as a universal moral model, al-insan al-kamil, the perfect man, then his morality has to be more than relatively better than the conventions of his day.
Someone unable to overcome the limits of the conventions of his day, especially where they contravene the natural moral law, is unable to legislate a universal morality. He is not a trustworthy messenger, and not a universal lawgiver, and most certainly not the model for mankind.
The natural law is the law of God and it is binding upon all men without exception. So it serves as a canon, the rule, the normative standard by which to measure a man's message regarding God and the playing out of his life. The natural law stands as a measure against which even God's alleged commands can be measured. God will not order something against the natural law, a law based upon right reason, since the natural law is participation in the eternal law, which is God himself.
Historically, the setting of the genocide of the Abu Qurayza tribe is rather complex, but we need to address it as an introduction, even though we risk simplifying the situation.
Muhammad was born and for the greater part of his life lived in Mecca, which was largely a pagan trading town. The neighboring town of Yathrib (later to be called Medina) was a largely agricultural town populated by Jewish tribes that were divided into three: the Banu Qaynuqa, the Banu al-Nadir, and the Banu Qurayza. When Muhammad and his "tribe" of Muslims left Mecca to Medina (in the emigration known as the Hegira or Hijra), he entered into treaties with these tribes.
The Muslims either concocted or suffered real grievances from the Banu Qaynuqa and Banu al-Nadir (we work with Muslim sources which display strong biases in favor of Islam, and are strongly anti-Semitic, so it is hard to determine whether something the historian says is true or not) resulting in fighting between the Muslims and these tribes, with the further result that the two tribes were forced to leave Medina. This left Medina occupied by the Muslims, their non-Jewish allies, and the Jewish Banu Qurayza.
Muhammad was not interested in settling down to the life of the farmer or trader and earning honest money. Somewhere between the end of life in Mecca and the beginning of life in Medina, after the death of his protector Abu Talib and his wife Khadija, intravit autem satanas in Mahometum, and he began a policy of raiding the Meccan caravans which were the lifeblood of the economic wealth of Mecca.
Beginning inauspiciously with the first unsuccessful raid at al-Is, and a second unsuccessful raid at Buwat, where Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas shot the "first arrow of Islam," Muhammad's raids got bolder and better, and eventually began spurring the Banu Quraysh at Mecca to do something about it. This confrontation between the Banu Quraysh of Mecca and their allies, on the one hand, and Muhammad's followers, on the other hand, is called the Battle of the Trench.
So the Banu Quraysh at Mecca, along with a group of other tribes, some Jewish (like the Banu al-Nadir that Muhammad had thrown out of Yathrib or Medina), planned their campaign against the raiding Muslim bandits in Medina. This, of course, presented Muhammad with a great threat, and he sought to gain the support of the last Jewish tribe remaining in Medina, the Banu Qurayza.
With respect to the response of the Banu Qurayza, the sources are a little inconsistent here. Some suggest that Ka'b bin Asad, the leader of the Banu Qurayza, allied himself with the attacking Banu Quraysh from Mecca. Others suggest that Ka'b bin Asad saw the Banu Qurayza between a rock and a hard place and so tried he tried to take a neutral role in between the battling Muslims led by Muhammad and the Banu Quraysh from Mecca. In either event, Ka'b bin Asad and his Banu Qurayza tribe incurred Muhammad's wrath.
After the Battle of the Trench, which essentially was a 27-day siege and resulted in a stalemate---Muhammad's clever defensive tactic of digging trenches ...
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