Muhammad and Safiyyah Revisited

Addressing the Polemics of A Muslim Dawagandist

Sam Shamoun

This is a second rebuttal to Bassam Zawadi’s recent response (*) regarding Muhammad’s marriage with Safiyyah (*).

Before we begin analyzing his claims we want to first address Zawadi’s complaint:

Unfortunately, the topic is not even about Safiyyah anymore! However, these silly arguments still need to be addressed.

The reason why the topic changed is because Zawadi decided to raise so many points which required a response. If Zawadi wants to keep to the subject then we ask him that next time do not introduce a host of issues, but to stay focused on the subject at hand.

We now begin our response.

Addressing Zawadi’s Evasion Tactics

Zawadi claims:

Its interesting how Shamoun changes the perspective of his argument. In his first article he gave the impression that the reason why the Prophet's wives didn't leave was because they would have been executed as apostates. So Shamoun was giving the impression that the Prophet's wives really hated Islam deep down in their hearts but pretended to be good Muslims in order to stay alive. And now he is arguing that the Prophet's wives really were believers and the reason why they didn't leave the Prophet was because they feared hell.

Yes but the law for killing apostates would have come later. If not, then this would have been a special concession for the Prophet's wives because a verse came down specifically being referred to them and promising them safety.

It is not my problem that Zawadi didn’t understand my response which leads him to assume that I changed my argument. Anyone reading my rebuttals would see that I didn’t change my response, but further expanded upon it in order to help Zawadi see the point I was making.

Let me repeat: The Quran threatened Muhammad’s wives with eternal punishment if they chose to walk away and abandon their husband. The Quran also says that their punishment would be double in the case they committed any gross sins. Moreover, the Quran expressly warns anyone from marrying any of the wives after Muhammad dies. Beyond this even, Islamic law demands that all apostates who refuse to return to their religion be killed:

With the foregoing in perspective, can the readers imagine what would have happened to Safiyyah or Juwayriyyah if they had decided to leave Islam and marry someone else?

To give you an idea of what would have happened to Muhammad's widows if they had chosen to apostatize and/or remarry, notice what Abu Bakr wanted to do to the following woman whom Muhammad intended to marry:

Al-Hakim Abu 'Abd Allah al-Naysaburi stated, "Abu 'Ubayda Ma'mar b. al-Muthanna said, 'The Messenger of God contracted marriage with 18 women.' "Among these he mentioned Qatila, daughter of Qays, sister of al-Ash'ath b. Qays. Some claim that he married her two months prior to his death. Others maintain that he married her during his illness. But she had not come to him, nor had he seen her, nor had he consummated marriage with her."

He went on, "Others claim that the Prophet left a testamentary statement that Qatila be given a choice. If she wished, she could go into seclusion and be forbidden access to the Muslims, and if she wished, she could marry anyone she liked. She did choose to marry, and 'Ikrama b. Abu Jahl married her in Hadramawt. News of this reached Abu Bakr and he commented, 'I'm almost grinding my teeth in anger at them both!'

"'Umar b. al-Khattab said, 'But she is not one of "the mothers of the Believers". He did not consummate marriage with her, nor was she placed in seclusion.'"

"Abu 'Ubayda stated that some people maintain that the Messenger let no testamentary statement about her, that she apostatized after his death, and that 'Umar used her apostacy as argument against Abu Bakr by stating that she was not one of 'the mothers of the Believers'."

Ibn Manda stated that the woman who apostatized was al-Barsa', of Banu 'Awf b. Sa'd b. Dhubyan.

The hafiz Ibn 'Asakir narrated through several lines, from Da'ud b. Abu Hind, from 'Ikrama, from Ibn 'Abbas, that the Messenger of God contracted marriage to Qatila, sister of al-Ash'ath b. Qays, but died before giving her a choice, and that God freed her from commitment to him.

Hammad b. Salama narrated, from Da'ud b. Abu Hind, from al-Sha'bi, that Abu Bakr wanted to behead 'Ikrama b. Abu Jahl after his marriage to Qatila. 'Umar b. al-Khattab, however, persuaded him against this, saying that the Messenger of God had not consummated marriage with her, that she apostatized with her brother, and had become disassociated from both God and His Prophet. He kept insisting on this until Abu Bakr gave up the issue. (Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad, translated by professor Trevor Le Gassick, reviewed by Dr. Muneer Fareed [published by Garnet Publishing Limited: First Edition, 2000], Volume IV, pp. 424-425)

This is what Muhammad's companion wanted to do to a woman whom he almost married. Now imagine what would have happened to the women whom Muhammad did marry if they had decided to leave Islam and marry someone else!

Since Zawadi has shown that he doesn’t like to respond directly to my claims, but chooses to evade them instead, we will make sure that this time he actually addresses our points by challenging him to answer the following:

Please explain to the readers what would have happened to Muhammad’s wives if they decided to leave Islam after their husband’s death. Would the Islamic community allow them to freely abandon the religion of Muhammad and return to their previous religion?

Please tell us whether the wives were free to remarry someone after the death of Muhammad. What if Safiyyah met a Jewish man and decided to marry him and return to her former religion of Judaism? Could she do so without the Muslim community trying to kill her?

We expect Zawadi to answer these crucial questions.

Muhammad’s Antagonism of His Enemies and Offensive Jihad

Regarding Muhammad attacking the Banu al-Mustaliq by surprise, here is what Zawadi says:

Shamoun basically did not even address the narrations that I have put forth previously which state that the Bani Mustaliq were preparing for a war against the Muslims.

Note to the Reader: Zawadi will repeat this assertion that I either didn’t address or understand a point he raised. By saying this Zawadi substantiates what I have been saying all along about Osama Abdallah’s team, namely, they do not read their sources carefully and are unable to see that their points have been addressed. In fact, the readers will see all throughout this rebuttal that Zawadi will constantly be proving that my accusations against both himself and his colleagues are correct.

Not only did I address his citations but also provided documentation to show that Muhammad started the hostilities against the Arabs, Jews and Christians. He attacked them first, and they responded as any group or nation normally would when being threatened by a tyrant. More on this below.

He has the audacity to say:

Thirdly, just because the Muslims had attacked the Bani Mustaliq while they were unaware, that doesn't mean that the Muslims initiated the problem. It does not need a rocket scientist to figure out how to reconcile these narrations. Here is what most likely happened...

The Bani Mustaliq were preparing to launch an attack on the Muslims. The Muslims had foreknowledge about this, therefore they took the initiative and attacked first. The Bani Mustaliq were not aware that the Muslims knew about their preparation for war, therefore they were surprised as to why the Muslims attacked them.

Simple as that. That is what most likely happened if we were to be consistent and accept all the narrations regarding this event. Shamoun is saying that they shouldn't have been attending to their livestock if they were preparing for war. Well isn't it possible that SOME of the tribe were attending to the livestock and not ALL of them? It does not need a rocket scientist to try and guess the details.

Let me highlight a specific part of his argument:

The Muslims had foreknowledge about this

Notice Zawadi’s logic here: Muslims were perfectly justified in attacking the Banu al-Mustaliq on the grounds that they knew that the latter were planning to attack them. Yet when the non-Muslims wanted to attack the Muslims on similar grounds, i.e. because the Muslims were either going to attack them or were constantly terrorizing them, Zawadi has a problem with it. The inconsistency is truly amazing to say the least.


I am very unimpressed with Shamoun's ignorance taking into consideration that he writes articles on comparative religion on a full time basis. Anyone who reads history knows that the Meccans oppressed the Muslims and drove them out. That they had a huge bounty on the Prophet's head. Shamoun also argued the same thing regarding the Jews. Again, this is Shamoun's ignorance. Anyone who reads history would know that when the Muslims went to Medinah, they immediately signed a peace treaty with the Jews. But it was the Jews who broke the treaties and betrayed the Muslims.

We have been appealing to this very same history that Zawadi keeps mentioning to prove that it was Muhammad, NOT THE UNBELIEVERS, who started the hostilities by attacking their beliefs, even though they literally begged him to stop. Here, once again, is the link to our article which documents this point:

As if Zawadi couldn’t provide any more proof that he is unable to comprehend what he reads, he refers to my citation of Imam al-Nawawi’s statement that Muslims can attack people unaware if there is a need for it:

Notice that Imam Nawawi said that the unbelievers won't be attacked unaware UNLESS THE NEED SO ARISES. So what was the need in this specific case? Well due to the narrations I put forth (which Shamoun didn't address), it was because the Bani Mustaliq were preparing for war and the Muslims had to ensure that they didn't sit around getting the first blow.

The context of this particular statement has to do with attacking any group who refuses to accept the Muslim invitation to embrace Islam. The need that this source is speaking of is in connection with Jihad, specifically offensive Jihad or military expeditions to expand Islam both politically and geographically.

According to Islamic theology Muslims are to invite the people to Islam and, in the case of Jews and Christians, to pay Jizyah if they refuse to become Muslim:

Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low. S. 9:29 Pickthall

In the case that they refuse to pay this then the Muslims can attack them without any warning, much like Muhammad did to the Banu al-Mustaliq! As one Muslim source stated:

o9.0 JIHAD

(O: Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion. And it is the lesser jihad. As for the greater jihad, it is spiritual warfare against the lower self (nafs), which is why the Prophet said as he was returning from jihad,

"We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad."

The scriptural basis for jihad, prior to scholarly consensus is such Koranic verses as:

(1) "Fighting is prescribed for you" (Koran 2:216);

(2) "Slay them wherever you find them" (4:89);

(3) "Fight the idolaters utterly" (Koran 9:36);

and such Hadiths as the one related by Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet said:

"I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And their final reckoning is with Allah.";

and the hadith report by Muslim,

"To go forth in the morning or evening to fight in the path of Allah is better than the whole world and everything in it." ...

o9.1 Jihad is communal obligation… When enough people perform it to successfully accomplish it, it is no longer obligatory upon others…

and Allah Most High having said:

"Those of the believers who are unhurt but sit behind are not equal to those who fight in Allah’s path with their property and lives. Allah has preferred those who fight with their property and lives a whole degree above those who sit behind. And to each Allah has promised great good." (Koran 4:95)…

o9.3 Jihad is also obligatory for everyone able to perform it, male or female, old or young when the enemy has surrounded the Muslims…

o9.8 The caliph makes war upon the Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians (N: provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya, def: o11.4)… until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax (O: in accordance with the word of Allah Most High,

"Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden – who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book – until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled." (Koran 9:29),

… The caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim…" (Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, In Arabic with Facing English text, Commentary and Appendices Edited and Translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller [Amana Publications, Beltsville, Maryland, Revised Edition 1994], p. 599-603; bold emphasis ours)

Here is an example of how Muslims implemented Jihad:

2989. It is related that Jubayr ibn Hayya said, "'Umar sent people to the regions of the great countries to fight the idolaters. Al-Hurmuzan became Muslim and 'Umar said, 'I want to consult you about these expeditions.' He said, 'Yes, the example of them and the enemies of the Muslims who are in them is like a bird which has a head, two wings, and two legs. If one of its wings is broken, it gets up on its legs with one wing and the head. If the other wing is broken, it gets up on the two legs and the head. But if the head is broken, then the legs, wings and head are gone. The head is Chosroes, the wing is Caesar and the other wing is Faris. Therefore command the Muslims to make for Chosroes.’"

Jubayr ibn Hayya said, "So ‘Umar detailed us and appointed an-Nu'man ibn Muqarran over us. When we reached enemy territory, the agent of Chosroes came out to us with forty thousand men. An interpreter stood up and said, ‘Let a man among you speak to me.’ Al-Mughira said, ‘Ask whatever you like.’ He said, ‘Who are you?’ He replied, ‘We are people of the Arabs. We used to be in terrible hardship and severe affliction. We would suck hides and date-stones out of hunger and we wore camel hair and goat hair. We used to worship trees and stones. While we were like that, the Lord of the heavens and the Lord of the earths - may His mention be exalted and His immensity magnified! - sent us a Prophet from among ourselves whose father and mother we knew. Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, has commanded us to fight you until you worship Allah alone or pay the jizya. Our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, has informed us from the message of our Lord: whoever of us is killed will go to the Garden in bliss whose like he has never seen. Whoever of us remains will be your masters.’

"An-Nu'man said, ‘If Allah had made you be present at the like of it with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he would not have made you regret waiting nor disgraced you. But I was present with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in the fighting, and when he did not fight at the beginning of the day, he would wait until the winds blew and it was time for the prayer’ [meaning when the day was cooler]."

[Faris was a region of Persia.

An-Nu'man's comments are in answer to al-Mughira's objection to the decision to delay the attack.] (Aisha Bewley, Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 63. Chapters on the Jizya and Truces; source)

Zawadi and his Muslim cohorts must face the music that Islam spread, for the most part, by violence and war, not by preaching, as even Muslims candidly admit:

Al-Jihad (Islamic Holy War) in Allah’s Cause [with a large number of Muslims (union), equipped with the latest modern weapons)], is placed at the top in Islam, and is one of its pillars. Islam CANNOT be established EXCEPT with Jihad and with it is made high (superior) the Word of Allah (La ilaha il Allah – None has the right to be worshiped but Allah, Islam, etc.), and with it – Jihad, is propagated Allah’s Religion (Islam). And by abandoning it – Jihad, [And we seek refuge with Allah from it], there is the DESTRUCTION of Islam and its people (Muslims), with the loss of honour and their country and a severe decline in their rule and kingdom. Jihad is prescribed (as an obligatory duty to Allah), on every Muslim, and he who does not fight in Allah’s Cause and does not (even) speak to his personal-self for fighting in Allah’s Cause, then he will die (as a hypocrite), while committing one of crime [sic], items of hypocrisy. (Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud Din Al-Hilali & Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur’an: With Comments from Tafsir At-Tabari, Tafsir Al-Qurtubi and Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Ahadith from Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and other Ahadith Books [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Lahore, Houston, New York, First Edition: January 2000], Part 2. From Surah 6 to 9, Q. 9:24, fn. 1, p. 338; capital and underline emphasis ours)


Al-Jihad (Holy fighting) in Allah’s Cause (with full force of numbers and weaponry) is given the utmost importance in Islam and is one of its pillars (on which it stands). BY JIHAD ISLAM IS ESTABLISHED, ALLAH’S WORD IS MADE SUPERIOR, (His Word – La ilaha illallah – none has the right to be worshiped but Allah), AND HIS RELIGION ISLAM IS PROPAGATED. By ABANDONING Jihad (may Allah protect us from that) Islam IS DESTROYED and the Muslims fall into an inferior position; their honor is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanishes. Jihad is an obligatory duty in Islam on every Muslim, and he who tries to escape from this duty, or does not in his innermost heart wish to fulfill this duty, dies with one of the qualities of a hypocrite. (Ibid., Q. 9:44, fn. 1, p. 383; capital emphasis ours)

In light of this rather honest admission it shouldn’t come as a surprise to the readers that Muhammad is reported to have made the following statements:

LXXXVII: What is said about spears

It is mentioned from Ibn 'Umar from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "My provision has been placed under the shadow of my spear, and abasement and humility have been placed on the one who disobeys my command." (Bewley, Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 61. Book of Jihad and Military Expeditions; source)

Another version reads:

(88) Chapter.
Narrated Ibn 'Umar that the Prophet said, "My livelihood is under the shade of my spear,(1) and he who disobeys my orders will be humiliated by paying Jizya."

(1) (Ch. 88) "Under the shade of my spear" means, from war booty. (The Translation of the Meanings of Sahih Al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, (Islamic University—Al-Medina Al-Munawwara), Volume IV, p. 108)

With the foregoing in perspective, does anyone blame people like the Banu al-Mustaliq from conspiring against Muhammad in light of his tyranny and threats? Are they really to be blamed for wanting to save their lives from the bloodlust and greed of Muhammad and his henchmen? Why, to even ask the question is to answer it.

For more on the issue of Jihad please consult the following materials:

This leads us to Muhammad’s relationship with the Jews.

Muhammad’s Treatment of the Jews

Zawadi mentioned the treaty Muhammad made with the Jews guaranteeing their peace and protection provided that they kept their end of the bargain. Zawadi hopes to show from this that the Jews were at fault for what Muhammad did to them.

As far as this peace treaty is concerned we will let the late great Christian scholar of Islam Sir William Muir help put this in perspective in order to see the bigger picture:

IV. The Jews

The JEWISH TRIBES located in the vicinity of Medina were on an entirely different footing. Mahomet, as I have already shown, had not only acknowledged the divine authority of their religion, but rested his own claims, in an important degree, upon the evidence of their Scriptures, and the testimony of their learned men. No object was nearer his heart than a combination with them. His feasts, his fasts, his ceremonies, were, up to this time, framed in close correspondence with Jewish custom. Jerusalem itself was his Kibla. Towards that holy spot, the Prophet, and all his followers, turned five times a day while they prostrated themselves in prayer. There was no sacrifice that Mahomet was not prepared to make, short of the abandonment of his claim to the prophetic office, in order to gain the Jews over to his cause.

Mahomet desirous of a combination with them

It was natural that Mahomet, holding these sentiments, should desire to enter into close union with the Jews. This he did in a formal manner shortly after reaching Medina; for he associated them in a treaty of mutual obligation, drawn up in writing, between the Refugees and the men of Medina, in which he confirmed the Jews in the practice of their religion, and in the secure possession of their property. The main provisions of this Contract, as given to us by Ibn Ishac, are the following:- …

Ill-will grows up between Mahomet and the Jews.

It is nowhere stated when this treaty was entered into; but we may naturally conclude that it was not long after the arrival of Mahomet at Medina. It is probable that, for a short time, the Jews remained on terms of cordiality with their new ally; but it soon became apparent to them that Judaism could not go hand in hand with Islam. The position of Mahomet was no longer negative: his religion was not a mere protest against error and superstition. It was daily becoming more positive and more exclusive in its terms. The Prophet rested his claims on the predictions of the Jewish Scriptures; yet he did not profess to be the Messiah; --- the Messiah, he held, had already appeared in the person of Jesus, and had been rejected. He was himself another, and a greater Prophet, also foretold in their Book. The Jews, he said, knew this: they recognized in Mahomet the promised Prophet, "as they recognized their own sons;" yet, out of jealousy and spite, from wilful blindness, they rejected him, as they had rejected their own Messiah. This was the position which Mahomet held: how could they concede it without an entire abandonment of Judaism? It was impossible. Thus Judaism and Islam came rapidly into a state of direct antagonism. Those Jews who joined Mahomet virtually abnegated their ancestral faith, and went over to another. With few exceptions, however, the Jews remained steadfast, and fearlessly testified that their Scriptures contained no warrant for the assumptions of the Arabian Prophet: the Messiah that was to come, they said, should be of Jewish blood, and of the lineage of David. The disappointed hope of finding in Mahomet a supporter of their faith, naturally changed into bitter and hostile feeling. What availed his oft-repeated professions of respect for their ancient prophets, and allegiance to their Scriptures, when he now so openly contradicted their clearest testimony?

They are inveighed against as blind and stiff-necked

The few traitors to Judaism, whom Mahomet was able (by what inducements we shall see by and by) to gain over, were of the utmost service to his cause. They were constantly referred to as his "witnesses". They bore evidence that the Prophet's character answered to every mark predicted in their Books; and asserted that their brethren, actuated by jealousy, and mortified that the gift of prophecy should pass over from their nation to another people, had concealed the passages which were favourable to his claims. These were the only men whose eyes were open. Judicial blindness had seized the rest; a "thick covering" enveloped their hearts, and rendered them seared and callous. They followed in the footsteps of their forefathers. What but unbelief and rebellion might be looked for from the descendants of those who murmured against Moses, killed their Prophets, and rejected their Messiah?

The Jews a standing cause of annoyance to Mahomet

Such was the plausible reasoning by which Mahomet succeeded, so far as his own followers were concerned, in setting aside the adverse testimony of the Jews; yet they were a constant cause of trouble and anxiety. They annoyed him with questions, the point of which he found it often difficult to turn aside. The very people to whose corroboration he had spontaneously appealed over and over again in the Coran, proved a stubborn and standing witness against him. There existed, also, a strong sympathy between the clans of Medina and the Jewish tribes, which had severally stood by them in their troubles, and had repeatedly shed their blood in their defence. Sympathy in such a direction was dangerous to Mahomet. He resolved to rid him of this source of weakness and risk; and he was not long in finding pretexts which might enable him to gain his end.

Notices of them in the Coran

Meanwhile, his Revelation teemed with invectives against the Israelites. The tales of their forefathers’ disobedience, folly, idolatry, were reiterated at great length; and the conclusion insinuated that the descendants of so flagitious and incorrigible a race must be equally incorrigible and flagitious15.

These remarks explain Mahomet's secession from the Jewish institutions

This outline, otherwise in some respects premature, is necessary as an introduction to the following chapter, in which we shall find Mahomet gradually receding from the customs and institutions of the Jews, even where he had formerly adopted them. (Muir, The Life of Mahomet: With Introductory Chapters on the Original Sources for the Biography of Mahomet, and on the Pre-Islamic History of Arabia, Volume III, Chapter Ninth: State of Parties at Medina.—First two Years after Mahomet's Arrival. A.H. II. A.D. 623, pp. 31, 35-38: source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

That Muhammad first tried to appease the Jews by following their customs and practices in order to win them over is admitted by Muslim sources. When he saw that his efforts were in vain and that they were not going to convert Muhammad turned against them and their traditions:

The Change of Qiblah

One of these is God’s changing of the Muslims’ Qiblah (the direction faced in prayer) from Syria (that is, Jerusalem) to the Ka‘bah. This was in the second year of the Prophet’s residence in Medina, in Sha‘ban (which began January 28, 624). The early scholars disagree as to the date at which the Qiblah was changed in this year; the majority say that it was changed halfway through Sha‘ban, eighteen months after the arrival of the Messenger of God in Medina.

Those who says this.

According to Musa b. Harun al-Hamdani – ‘Amr b. Hammad – Asbat – al-Suddi – Abu Malik and Abu Salih – Ibn ‘Abbas and Murrah al-Hamdani – Ibn Mas‘ud and some companions of the Prophet: People used to pray towards Jerusalem when the Prophet came to Medina, and for eighteen months after his Emigration. He used to raise his head to heaven when he prayed, to see what he would be commanded, he used to pray towards Jerusalem, and then this was abrogated in favour of the Ka‘bah. The Prophet used to like to pray towards the Ka‘bah, and God revealed the verse: "We have seen the turning of your face to Heaven…"

According to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Ibn Ishaq: The Qiblah was changed in Sha‘ban, eighteen months after the arrival of the Messenger of God in Medina.

Ibn Sa‘d - al-Waqidi offers a similar account, adding: The Qiblah was changed to the Ka‘bah at midday on Tuesday, halfway through Sha‘ban.

According to Abu Ja‘far (al-Tabari): Others say that the Qiblah was changed to the Ka‘bah sixteen months after the beginning of the Hijrah era.

Those who have said this.

According to Al-Muthanna b. Ibrahim al-Amuli – al-Hajjaj – Hammam b. Yahya – Qatadah: They used to pray towards Jerusalem while the Messenger of God was in Mecca before the Hijrah. After the Messenger of God emigrated, he prayed towards Jerusalem for sixteen months and after that was turned towards the Ka‘bah.

According to Yunus b. ‘Abd al-A‘la – Ibn Wahb – Ibn Zayd: The Prophet turned towards Jerusalem for sixteen months, and then it reached his ears that the Jews were saying, "By God, Muhammad and his companions did not know where their Qiblah was until we directed them." This displeased the Prophet and he raised his face toward Heaven, and God said, "We have seen the turning of your face to Heaven." (The History of Al-Tabari: The Foundation of the Community, translated by M. V. McDonald, annotated by W. Montgomery Watt [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1987], Volume VII, pp. 24-25; bold emphasis ours)

Notice how al-Tabari candidly admitted that Muhammad changed the qiblah in response to the Jews making fun of him! For more on this point please see the following article:

As Muir noted, these Jews had legitimate disagreements with his prophetic aspirations since he contradicted just about everything that the Hebrew prophets had said regarding God, Messiah, salvation, ethics etc.

Moreover, Muhammad even told the Jews that if they couldn’t find a prophecy about him in their Scriptures then they were not obligated to follow him. But when the Jews denied that he was mentioned in their inspired Books, Muhammad refused to accept this and took this as a sign of their obstinate rebellion:

The apostle wrote to the Jews of Khaybar according to what a freedman of the family of Zayd b. Thabit told me from ‘Ikrima or from Sa‘id b. Jubayr from Ibn ‘Abbas: ‘In the name of God the compassionate the merciful from Muhammad the apostle of God friend and brother of Moses WHO CONFIRMS WHAT MOSES BROUGHT. God says to you O scripture folk, and you will find it in your scripture "Muhammad is the apostle of God; and those with him are severe against the unbelievers, merciful among themselves. Thou seest them bowing, falling prostrate seeking bounty and acceptance from God. The mark of their prostrations is on their foreheads. That is their likeness in the Torah and in the Gospel like a seed which sends forth its shoot and strengthens it and it becomes thick and rises straight upon its stalk delighting the sowers that He may anger the unbelievers with them. God has promised those who believe and do well forgiveness and a great reward." I adjure you by God, AND BY WHAT HE HAS SENT DOWN TO YOU, by the manna and quails He gave as food to your tribes before you, and by His drying up the sea for your fathers when He delivered them from Pharaoh and his works, that you tell me, DO YOU FIND IN WHAT HE SENT DOWN TO YOU that you should believe in Muhammad? IF YOU DO NOT FIND THAT IN YOUR SCRIPTURE THEN THERE IS NO COMPULSION UPON YOU. "The right path has become plainly distinguished from error" so I call you to God and His Prophet’ (313). (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], p. 256; capital emphasis ours)

According to what I heard from ‘Ikrima, freedman of Ibn ‘Abbas or from Sa‘id b. Jubayr from Ibn ‘Abbas, Jews used to hope that the apostle would be a help to them against Aus and Khazraj before his mission began; and when God sent him from among the Arabs they disbelieved in him and contradicted what they had formerly said about him. Mu‘adh b. Jabal and Bishr b. al-Bara’ b. Ma‘rur brother of B. Salama said to them: ‘O Jews, fear God and become Muslims, for you used to hope for Muhammad’s help against us when we were polytheists and to tell us that he would be sent and describe him to us.’ Salam b. Mishkam, one of the B. al-Nadir, said, ‘He has not brought us anything we recognize and he is not the one we spoke of to you.’ So God sent down about that saying of theirs: ‘And when a book comes to them from God CONFIRMING what they have, though beforehand they were asking for help against those who disbelieve, when there came to them what they knew, they disbelieved in it, so God’s curse rests on the unbelievers.’

Malik b. al-Sayf said when the apostle had been sent and they were reminded of the condition that had been imposed on them and what God had covenanted with them concerning him, ‘No covenant was ever made with us about Muhammad.’ So God sent down concerning him: ‘Is it not that whenever they make a covenant a party of them set it aside? Nay most of them do not believe.’

Abu Saluba al-Fityuni said to the apostle: ‘O Muhammad, you have not brought us anything we recognize and God has not sent down to you any sign that we should follow you.’ So God sent concerning his words, ‘We have sent down to thee plain signs and only evildoers disbelieve in them.’ (P. 257; bold, capital and italic emphasis ours)

A number of them came in to the apostle and he said to them, ‘Surely you know that I am an apostle from God to you.’ They replied that they did not know it and would not bear witness to him. So god sent down concerning their words: ‘But God testifies concerning what He has sent down to thee. With His knowledge did He send it down and the angels bear witness. And God is sufficient as a witness.’ (Ibid., p. 265; bold emphasis ours)

Mahmud b. Sayhan and Nu’man b. Ada’ and Bahri and ‘Uzayr and Sallam came to him and said: ‘Is it true, Muhammad, that what you have brought is the truth from God? For our part we cannot see that it is arranged as the Torah is.’ He answered, ‘You know quite well that it is from God; you will find it written IN THE TORAH WHICH YOU HAVE. If men and jinn came together to produce its like they could not.’ Finhas and ‘Abdullah b. Suriya and Ibn Saluba and Kinana b. al-Raba‘ and Ashya‘ and Ka’b b. al-Asad and Shamwil and Jabal were there and they said: ‘Did neither men nor jinn tell you this, Muhammad?’ He said: ‘You know well that it is from God and that I am the apostle of God. You will find it written IN THE TORAH YOU HAVE.’ They said: ‘When God sends an apostle He does for him what he wishes, so bring down a book to us from heaven that we may read it and know what it is, otherwise we will produce one like the one you bring.’ So God sent down concerning their words: ‘Say, Though men and jinn should meet to produce the like of this Quran they would not produce its like though one helped the other.’ (324).

Huyayy, Ka’b, Abu Rafi‘, Ashya‘, and Shamwil said to ‘Abdullah b. Sallam when he became a Muslim, ‘There is no prophecy among the Arabs, but your master is a king.’ Then they went to the apostle and asked him about Dhu’l-Qarnayn and he told them what God had sent him about him from what he had already narrated to Quraysh. They were of those who ordered Quraysh to ask the apostle about him when they sent al-Nadr and ‘Uqba to them. (Ibid., pp. 269-270; bold, underline and capital emphasis ours)

Make sure to remember Muhammad’s repeated claim that he came to confirm the revelation given to Moses and his admitting that the Jews of his time had this very revelation in their possession and could therefore use it to verify his assertions. This will be important later on in the rebuttal.

Muhammad even resorted to threatening them with violence if they didn’t convert:

VI: Expelling the Jews from the Arabian peninsula

'Umar said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "We will let you remain in that as long as Allah lets you remain there."

2996. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "While we were in the mosque, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came out and said, ‘Go to the Jews.’ We went out until we came to the house of al-Midras. He said, ‘Become Muslim AND YOU WILL BE SAFE. Know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Messenger. I want to expel you from this land. Whoever of you has some property should sell it. However, the earth belongs to Allah and His Messenger.’" (Bewley, Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 63. Chapters on the Jizya and Truces; source; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

In light of the foregoing, it is rather evident that the only reason why Muhammad even made a treaty with the Jews is because he thought he could win them over to his cause and religion. But when he saw that they had no interest in embracing him as a prophet he became violent and turned against them.

Again, does anyone blame the Jews for wanting to fight Muhammad and get rid of him? Would Zawadi condemn any Muslim group today who decide to take a stand against a dictator that was threatening their lives? Of course he wouldn’t. Then why does he condemn the Jews for taking a stand against Muhammad’s tyranny when they could clearly see from their Scriptures that he wasn’t a prophet?

Zawadi provided a series of links regarding Muhammad’s problems with the Jews, to which we provide the following articles and rebuttals:
A Christian perspective on these events

Jesus, the Jews and the Torah

Zawadi asks a question:

Would Shamoun also like to appeal to the Jews [sic] knowledge of their scripture when they rejected Jesus' Prophet hood?

We actually encourage and invite people to examine what the Jews have historically taught regarding the Messiah and compare that with what the Hebrew Bible teaches about this very issue. In fact, we have written some papers on this topic:

Unlike Muslims, faithful Christians do not claim that the Hebrew Bible is corrupted but believe that it is the preserved Word of God which forms the very foundation of the New Testament Scriptures. Thus, if it can be conclusively proven that Jesus is not the Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible then Christians would have to reject Jesus and the New Testament. They could not attack the Old Testament without discrediting the New Testament and historic Christianity.

Moreover, Muslims have already started using the Jewish interpretation of the Hebrew Bible to discredit Christianity:

Yet, unlike Muslims, Christians have used the very Hebrew Bible and ancient rabbinic sources to refute these Jewish attacks on Jesus:

We invite Zawadi to start refuting both the Jewish and Christian interpretations of the Hebrew Bible since both their understanding of these Scriptures exposes Muhammad as a false prophet.

More importantly, Zawadi’s appeal to the Jewish exegesis of the Hebrew Bible goes against the express directives of the Quran which likens the Jews as dumb assess who do not understand or appreciate their Holy Books:

The likeness of those who were entrusted with the (obligation of the) Taurat (Torah) (i.e. to obey its commandments and to practise its legal laws), but who subsequently failed in those (obligations), is as the likeness of a donkey who carries huge burdens of books (but understands nothing from them). How bad is the example (or the likeness) of people who deny the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah. And Allah guides not the people who are Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers, disbelievers, etc.). S. 62:5 Hilali-Khan

Ibn Kathir explains that:

Admonishing the Jews and challenging Them to wish for Death

Allah the Exalted admonishes the Jews who were entrusted with the Tawrah and were ordered to abide by it. However, they did not abide by it, and this is why Allah resembled them to the donkey that carries volumes of books. Surely, when the donkey carries books, it will not understand what these books contain because it is only carrying these books using its strength. This is the example of those who were entrusted with the Tawrah; they read its letter BUT DID NOT UNDERSTAND ITS MEANINGS nor abided by them. Rather, they even corrupted and changed the Tawrah. Therefore, they are worse than the donkey, because the donkey cannot understand. They, on the other hand, could have understood using their minds, but their minds were of no benefit. This is why Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah…

(They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless.) (7:179), (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Since Muhammad likened the Jews to assess who do not understand the Torah why is Zawadi appealing to them to refute the Christian understanding of the Holy Bible? Is he indirectly admitting that Muhammad was wrong about the Jews since they do know their Scriptures and can be consulted for a proper understanding of the Hebrew Bible? If so then why is Zawadi still a Muslim?

Zawadi keeps digging himself further down the hole with every so-called rebuttal.

This concludes part 1 of our rebuttal. Go to Part 2.

Rebuttals to Answering-Christianity
Articles by Sam Shamoun
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