The Effect of Badr in Madinah
we have just taken note of the deep effect that the battle of badr had upon makkah. above all, this effect included the will of the quraysh to seek revenge against muhammad and the muslims at the first opportunity. the effect of this battle in madinah was, however, much more obvious and more closely connected with the survival of muhammad and his fellows. the jews, associationists, and hypocrites felt muslim power increase after badr. they realized that this alien who came to them less than two years ago as an escaping emigrant from makkah had increased his power and influence almost to the point of dominating not only the muslims but their city as a whole. as we have had occasion to see, the jews had begun to complain even before badr that they had had many skirmishes with the muslims and that were it not for the covenant of madinah, the explosion would have come sooner. consequently, soon after the muslims' victorious return, the non-muslims of madinah began to meet clandestinely and to encourage the composition and recitation of divisive poetry. it was as if the battlefield had moved from makkah to madinah and the dispute from religion to politics. it was not muhammad's call to god that was being fought; rather, it was his political power, his worldly influence, and his success which incited these parties not only to plot against him but even to think of assassinating him. none of this, of course, was beyond muhammad's ken. all the happenings within his city, including the rumors, reached him in constant flow. simmering in hatred and anger against each other, muslims and jews lay in wait for one another.
muslims kill abu 'afk and asma
before the victory of badr the muslims used to fear the madinese non-muslims, for they were still too weak to return any aggression inflicted upon them. but when they returned victorious from badr, salim ibn 'umayr took upon himself the job of getting rid of abu 'afk, a tribesman of banu 'amr ibn 'awf. the latter was a poet who composed verses disparaging muhammad and the muslims and inciting his own tribe to rise against them. even after badr, abu 'afk still composed and disseminated abusive verse. salim attacked abu 'afk in his sleep in his own yard and killed him. likewise, 'asma', daughter of marwan, of the tribe of banu umayyah ibn zayd, used to insult islam and the prophet by encouraging bad feeling against the muslims. the battle of badr did not make her reconsider. one day, 'umayr ibn 'awf attacked her during the night while she was surrounded by her children, one of whom she was nursing. 'umayr was weak of sight and had to grope for her. after removing the child from his victim, he killed her; he then proceeded to the prophet and informed him of what he had done. when her relatives returned from the funeral, they asked him whether he had killed her. "indeed so," said 'umayr, "you may fight me if you wish. by him who dominates my soul, if you should deny that she composed her abusive poetry, i would fight you until either you or i fall." it was this courage of 'umayr that caused the banu khutmah, the tribe of 'asma's husband, to turn to islam. having converted to islam but fearing persecution at the hand of their fellow tribesmen, some of them had hidden their conversion. henceforth, they no longer did so.
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.
blockade of banu qaynuqa`
for fifteen consecutive days, the muslims blockaded banu qaynuqa` within their quarters, preventing any exit or entry. the jews had no alternative but to surrender and yield themselves to muhammad's judgment. after consulting the muslim leaders, muhammad decided to kill his captives. `abdullah ibn ubayy ibn salul, allied to both jews and muslims, asked muhammad to be merciful toward his allies. when the prophet declined, `abdullah repeated his request, and the prophet declined again. `abdullah then seized the prophet by his shield and would not let him go. at this, the prophet seemed rather angry and said with a loud voice, "leave me; hands off !" ibn ubayy replied, "no, by god, i shall not let you go until you give mercy to my proteges. three hundred armed and four hundred unarmed men have so far protected me against every sort of people. would you kill them all at once? by god, i will never agree to such a judgment, for i fear the turns of fortune." `abdulla was still a man of great power, having command of the associationists of the aws and khazraj tribes, although this power had largely waned with the growth of muslim power. his insistence caused the prophet to regain his good temper and patience, especially since `ubadah~ ibn al samit had joined ibn ubayy in making the same plea. he therefore decided to stretch his hand to `abdullah, to all his proteges, whether associationists or jews, and to grant them all his mercy and benevolence. he decreed only that the banu qaynuqa' should evacuate madinah in punishment for their misdeeds. once more, ibn ubayy tried to plead with muhammad on behalf of his proteges that they be allowed to remain in madinah. one of the muslims, however, prevented ibn ubayy from reaching the prophet and forced him to remove himself. the tribesmen of banu qaynuqa' then announced that "by god, we shall not remain in a city where ibn ubayy is pushed by force and we are unable to protect him." 'ubadah subsequently led them in the surrender of their arms and jewel-making machinery and in the exodus from madinah. they went to wad! al qura where they tarried a while and then proceeded northward until they reached adhri'at near the frontier of al sham, where they settled. perhaps they went there because they wanted to be nearer the land of promise that attracted the jews then as it still does today