murder of ka'b ibn al ashraf
it is sufficient to add to these two examples the murder of ka'b ibn al ashraf. when learning of the fall of the noblemen of makkah, he exclaimed, "those were the nobles of arabia, the kings of mankind. by god, if muhammad has vanquished these people, the interior of the earth is a better dwelling than the top of it." having assured himself of the news of defeat, he traveled to makkah to incite its people against muhammad, to recite war poetry, and to mourn the victims. furthermore, it was he who falsely accused the muslim women upon return to madinah. the reader is perhaps aware of arab custom and ethic in this regard, and can appreciate the muslims' anxiety over such false accusations directed against their women's honor. indeed, they were so incensed and irritated by him that, after unanimously agreeing to kill him, they authorized abu na'ilah to seek his company and win his confidence. abu na'ilah said to ka'b, "the advent of muhammad was a misfortune to all of us. the tribes have become our enemies and fought against us; our roads are cut off, our families separated and dispersed, and our lives exhausted." with this and similar remarks, abu na'ilah won ka'b's confidence and asked him to lend some money to himself and his friends, pledging to pawn his and their armor. ka'b agreed and asked the muslims to return. they came to his house in the outskirts of madinah after dark. abu na'ilah called out to him. despite his wife's warning, ka'b went out to meet his new friend. the two men walked in the night and were later joined by the companions of abu na'ilah, whom ka'b never suspected. together they walked for a whole hour and covered a long distance, conversing and complaining about the hardships muhammad had brought upon their community, thus reassuring ka'b of their sincerity. from time to time abu nd'ilah would touch the hair of ka'b and exclaim, "i have never smelled such perfume in my life!" then, after gaining ka'b's complete trust, abu na'ilah seized him by the hair, pulled him down to the ground, and said to his companions, "kill the enemy of god!" they struck him with their swords.
jewish fears and aggression
the murder of ka'b increased the fears of the jews to the point that not one of them felt secure. nonetheless, they continued to attack muhammad and the muslims and incite the people to war. a desert woman came one day to the jews' market in the quarter of banu qaynuqa` seeking to remodel some jewelry at one of their shops. they persistently asked her to remove her veil, but the woman refused. passing behind her without her knowledge, one of them tacked her robe with a pin to the wall. when the woman got up to leave, the robe was pulled down and her nakedness exposed. the jews laughed and the woman cried. seeing what happened, a muslim passerby jumped upon the shopkeeper and killed him on the spot. the jews gathered around the muslim and likewise killed him. the muslims' relatives called for help against the jews and a general fight between them and the banu qaynuqa` erupted. muhammad first asked the jews to stop their attacks and keep the covenant of mutual peace and security or suffer the kind of treatment meted out to the quraysh. they ridiculed his request saying: "o muhammad! fall not under the illusion that you are invincible. the people with whom you have fought were inexperienced. by god, if you were to turn your arm against us, you will find us adept in the arts of war." after this, little option was left to the muslims but to fight the jews. otherwise, islam would suffer political deterioration, and the muslims would become the ridicule of quraysh when they had just succeeded in making the quraysh the ridicule of arabia.