The Qainuqa‘ Jews breach the Covenant
seeing that allâh sided with the believers and granted them a manifest victory and perceiving the muslims’ awesome presence in madinah, the jews could no longer contain themselves or conceal indignation. they started a series of provocative and harmful deeds publicly. the most wicked amongst them were the tribe of banu qainuqa‘, who lived in quarters within madinah named after them. as for jobs, they took up goldsmithery, blacksmithing and crafts of making household instruments, that is why war weaponry was available in large quantities in their houses. they counted 700 warriors, and were the most daring amongst the jewish community in arabia, and now the first to breach the covenant of cooperation and non-aggression which they had already countersigned with the prophet [pbuh]. their behaviour grew too impolite and unbearable. they started a process of trouble-making, jeering at the muslims, hurting those who frequented their bazaars, and even intimidating their women. such things began to aggravate the general situation, so the prophet [pbuh] gathered them in assemblage, admonished and called them to be rational, sensible and guided and cautioned against further transgression. nevertheless they remained obdurate and paid no heed to his warning, and said: "don’t be deluded on account of defeating some quraishites inexperienced in the art of war. if you were to engage us in fight, you will realize that we are genuine war experts."
in this regard, the words of allâh were revealed saying:
"say (o muhammad [pbuh] ) to those who disbelieve: ‘you will be defeated and gathered together to hell, and worst indeed is that place to rest.’ there has already been a sign for you (o jews) in the two armies that met (in combat — i.e. the battle of badr): one was fighting in the cause of allâh, and as for the other (they) were disbelievers. they (the believers) saw them (the disbelievers) with their own eyes twice their number (although they were thrice their number). and allâh supports with his victory whom he pleases. verily, in this is a lesson for those who understand." [al-qur'an 3:12,13] [sunan abu da'ud with aunul-ma'bood 3/115; ibn hisham 1/552]
the answer of banu qainuqa‘ amounted, as seen, to war declaration. the prophet [pbuh] suppressed his anger and advised the muslims to be patient and forbearing and wait for what time might reveal.
the jews, went too far in their transgression, presumptuous behaviour and licentious practices. one day a jewish goldsmith provoked a muslim woman whose genitals become uncovered when he had tied the edge of the garment to her back. a muslim man happened to be there and killed the man; the jews retaliated by killing that muslim. the man’s family called the muslims for help and war started.[ibn hisham 2/47,48]