“Two religions may not dwell together on the Arabian Peninsula.”

By James Stephens

February 15, 2010

Please find in the Christian or Jewish Bible anything approaching the following

[Start quotes from Quran here]

47:4- “Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), strike off their heads; at length; then when you have made wide Slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives.”

9:123- “Oh ye who believe! Murder those of the disbelievers and let them find harshness in you.”

2:191- “Kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from wherever they drove you out.”

8:12- Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”

[End quotes from Quran here]

It is a fact that the original “non believers” as far as Islam is concerned were the Jews. Again it is necessary to understand this historically, especially the facts concerning the very early origins of Islam.  The great work by Mitchell G Bard gives outline understanding of this early period:

[Begin outline by Bard here]

Muhammad was born in Mecca approximately 570 C.E. and was a member of the Quraysh tribe. As with Moses and Jesus, we know little about his childhood. His parents died when he was young, and he never learned to read or write. When he was 12, he visited Syria and had his first exposure to Jews and Christians and apparently developed a respect for these “People of the Book.” At 25, Muhammad married a widow named Khadija who was involved in trade and got him involved in it as well.

During one trading journey when he was about 40, Muhammad had an encounter with the angel Gabriel revealed to him special revelations. Different opinions exist on whether Mohammed miraculously read or just repeated the revelations, which said he was to become the messenger of God. Following his prophetic experience, Mohammed returned to his wife and began spreading the teachings he learned.

Afterward, Muhammad began to develop a code of behavior that he said had come from Allah, or God. Some of the revelations included that the world would end, that God would judge humans mercifully if they submitted to His will, and that people should pray to show their gratitude to God.

The people who accepted Muhammad’s teachings came to be known as Muslims and their religion Islam, Arabic for “surrender [to the will of Allah].” Muhammad was regarded as the last and most perfect prophet. During the two centuries after Muhammad’s death, the laws of Islam were codified in the Shariah, and Muhammad was regarded as the last and most perfect prophet. The word of God was revealed to him through the angel Gabriel and recorded in the Arabic language in the Koran (or Qur’an).

The principles of Islam were developed over time and, as was the case with earlier men professing to be prophets, not everyone was willing to accept Muhammad’s claim to be God’s messenger. Muhammad was attacking the way of life of the more powerful families in the Quraysh tribe, and they were not happy about it. In addition to having to persevere the criticism of his views, he also suffered terribly when his wife and uncle died in the same year.

In 622, Muhammad left Mecca for an oasis then known as Yathrib. This trip became known as the hejira, the flight from persecution in Mecca. The term has also come to mean leaving a pagan community for one that adheres to the laws of Islam. In his new home, which was later renamed Medina, Muhammad became a mediator, arbitrating disputes between tribes.

Interestingly, Medina also had a sizeable Jewish community, which had probably moved there after being expelled from Palestine by the Romans. Muhammad respected the Jews, and his early teachings appeared to borrow from Jewish tradition. The Jews began to distance themselves from Muhammad, however, when he became critical of their not recognizing him as a prophet.

Once it was clear the Jews would not accept him, Muhammad began to minimize or eliminate the Jewish influence on his beliefs. For example, he shifted the direction of prayers from Jerusalem to Mecca, made Friday his special day of prayer, and renounced the Jewish dietary laws (except for the prohibition on eating pork). Originally, he said the Arabs were descendants of Abraham through his son Ishmael, but in the Koran Abraham’s connection to the Jews is denied, with Muhammad asserting that Abraham is only the patriarch of Islam, not Judaism as well, because he “surrendered himself to Allah.”

One of the immediate consequences of Muhammad’s frustration was the expulsion of two Jewish tribes from Medina and the murder of all the members of a third Jewish tribe (except for the women and children, who were sold into slavery). But even worse for the long-term treatment of the Jews were a number of inflammatory statements about Jews that Muhammad made that appear in the Koran — which, over the years, stoked Arab/Islamic anti-Semitism.

Muhammad slowly began to build his power base both by the persuasiveness of his faith and the old-fashioned way: by marrying women from important families to gain political advantage. He came to control the oases and markets, which forced other traders and tribesmen to negotiate with him. When he finally returned to Mecca, it was at the head of an imposing army that forced the residents to capitulate.

Muhammad died in 632, and it was left to his followers to carry on the traditions he had begun. His followers developed Islam, just as the followers of Moses and Jesus developed Judaism and Christianity over time.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Muhammad.html

More flesh is placed on this by the really excellent analysis found in Eretz Yisroel website

[Begin analysis of this history by Eretz Yisroel]

Although the fact is little publicized, more than one historian has affirmed at the Arab world’s second holiest city, Medina, was one of the allegedly “purely Arab” cities that actually was first settled by Jewish tribes.1

And like the 16th Century English Protestants who financed their endeavors through the plunder of Catholic monasteries in England, the roots of Islamic anti-Semitism might be found in the initial plunder of Jewish settlements, and the imposition of a “poll tax” to fund Arab campaigns.

Bernard Lewis writes:

The city of Medina, some 280 miles north of Mecca, had originally been settled by Jewish tribes from the north, especially the Banu Nadir and Banu Quraiza. The comparative richness of the town attracted an infiltration of pagan Arabs who came at first as clients of the Jews and ultimately succeeded in dominating them. Medina, or, as it was known before Islam, Yathrib, had no form of stable government at all. The town was tom by the feuds of the rival Arab tribes of Aus and Khazraj, with the Jews maintaining an uneasy balance of power. The latter, engaged mainly in agriculture and handicrafts, were economically and culturally superior to the Arabs, and were consequently disliked…. as soon as the Arabs had attained unity through the agency of Muhammad they attacked and ultimately eliminated the Jews.2

In the last half of the fifth century, many Persian Jews fled from persecution to Arabia, swelling the Jewish population there.3 But around  the sixth century, Christian writers reported of the continuing importance of the Jewish community that remained in the Holy Land. For the dispersed Arabian Jewish settlers, Tiberias in Judea was central. In the Kingdom of Himyar on the Red Sea’s east coast in Arabia, “conversion to Judaism of influential circles” was popular, and the Kingdom’s rule stretched across “considerable portions of South Arabia.”

The commoners as well as the royal family adopted Judaism, and one writer ports that “Jewish priests (presumably rabbis) from Tiberias … formed part the suite of King Du Noas and served as his envoys in negotiations with Christian cities.”4

According to Guillaume,

At the dawn of Islam the Jews dominated the economic life of the Hijaz [Arabia]. They held all the best land … ; at Medina they must have formed at least half of the population. There was also a Jewish settlement to the north of the Gulf of Aqaba…. What is important is to note that the Jews of the Hijaz made many proselytes [or converts] among the Arab tribesmen.5

The first “Palestinian” or Judean refugees — the Jews — had resettled to become prosperous, influential Arabian settlers.

The prosperity of the Jews was due to their superior knowledge of agriculture and irrigation and their energy and industry. Homeless [Jewish] refugees in the course of a few generations became large landowners in the country, [the refugees who had come to the Hijaz when the Romans conquered Palestine] controllers of its finance and trade…. Thus it can readily be seen that Jewish prosperity was a challenge to the Arabs, particularly the Quraysh at Mecca and … [other Arab tribes] at Medina.

The Prophet Muhammad himself was a member of the Quraysh tribe, which coveted the Jews’ bounty, and

when the Muslims took up arms they treated the Jews with much greater severity than the Christians, who, until the end of the purely Arab Caliphate, were not badly treated.6

One of the reasons for “this discrimination” against the Jews is what Guillaurne called “the Quran’s scornful words” regarding the Jews7 The Jews’ development of land and culture was a prime source of booty in the Arabian desert peninsula. Beginning at the time of the Prophet Muhammad and Islam8 from the expulsions, depredations, extortion, forced conversions or murder of Jewish Arabians settled in Medina to the mass slaughter of Jews at Khaibar — the precedent was established among Arab-Muslims to expropriate that which belonged to the Jews. Relations between the Prophet Muhammad and the Jews were “never … easy”:

They had irritated him by their refusal to recognize him as a prophet, by ridicule and by argument; and of course their economic supremacy … was a standing irritant.9

It appears that the first “instigation” by the Prophet Muhammad himself against the Jews was an incident in which he had “one or two Jews … murdered and no blood money was paid to their next of kin.”

… Their leaders opposed his claim to be an apostle sent by God, and though they doubtless drew some satisfaction from his acceptance of the divine mission of Abraham, Moses, and the prophets, they could hardly be expected to welcome the inclusion of Jesus and Ishmael among his chosen messengers.10… the existence of pockets of disaffected Jews in and around his base was a cause of uneasiness and they had to be eliminated if he [Muhammad] was to wage war without anxiety.11

Because the Jews preferred to retain their own beliefs,

a tribe of Jews in the neighborhood of Medina, fell under suspicion of treachery and were forced to lay down their arms and evacuate their settlements. Valuable land and much booty fell into the hands of the Muslims. The neighboring tribe of Qurayza, who were soon to suffer annihilation, made no move to help their co-religionists, and their allies, the Aus, were afraid to give them active support. 12

The Prophet Muhammad’s pronouncement: “Two religions may not dwell together on the Arabian Peninsula.”13 This edict was carried out by Abu Bakr and Omar 1, the Prophet Muhammad’s successors; the entire community of Jewish settlements throughout northern Arabia was systematically slaughtered. According to Bernard Lewis, “the extermination of the Jewish tribe of Quraiza was followed by “an attack on the Jewish oasis of Khaibar.”14

Messengers of Muhammad were sent to the Jews who had escaped to the safety and comfort of Khaibar, “inviting” Usayr, the Jewish “war chief,” to visit Medina for mediations.

Usayr set off with thirty companions and a Muslim escort. Suspecting no foul play, the Jews went unarmed. On the way, the Muslims turned upon the defenseless delegation, killing all but one who managed to escape. “War is deception,” 15 according to an oft-quoted saying of the Prophet.16

The late Israeli historian and former President, Itzhak Ben-Zvi, judged the “inhuman atrocities” of the Arabian communities as unparalleled since then:

… the complete extermination of the two Arabian-Jewish tribes, the Nadhir and Kainuka’ by the mass massacre of their men, women and children, was a tragedy for which no parallel can be found in Jewish history until our own day …. 17

The slaughter of Arabian Jews and the expropriation of their property became Allah’s will. According to the Koran,

… some you slew and others you took captive. He (Allah] made you masters of their [the Jews’] land, their houses and their goods, and of yet another land [Khaibar] on which you had never set foot before. Truly, Allah has power over all things.18

Guillaume reports that the anti-Jewish attack at Khaibar was fiercely fought off, but “though the inhabitants fought more bravely here than elsewhere, outnumbered and caught off their guard, they were defeated.”19 Those who somehow survived constituted the formula for Islam’s future successes. Some of the Jews, “non-Muslims” or infidels, “retained their land,” at least until Muslims could be recruited in sufficient numbers to replace the Jews. Meanwhile, the Arabian Jews paid a fifty-percent “tribute,” or tax, for the “protection” of the new plunderers. As Professor Lewis writes, “The Muslim victory in Khaibar marked the first contact between the Muslim state and a conquered non-Muslim people and formed the basis for later dealings of the same type.”20

Thus the Jewish dhimmi evolved [the protected ones] — the robbery of freedom and political independence compounding the extortion and eventual expropriation of property. “Tolerated” between onslaughts, expulsions, and pillages from the Arab Muslim conquest onward, the non-Muslim dhimmi-predominantly Jewish but Christian too — provided the important source of religious revenue through the “infidel’s” head tax. He became very quickly a convenient political scapegoat and whipping boy as well.

http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~peters/medina.html

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