I first want to wish all the Muslims around the world a happy and blessed Ramadhan.
Second, I have a question regarding the number of people who were executed from the Banu Qurayza tribe. As we all know, the Banu Qurayza tribe had committed an act of treason against the Muslim state and were sentenced to execution by S’ad Ibn Muadh.
Now my question is that in a lot of reports I have read say that the number of people who were executed was anywhere in the range of 700 to 900 people. Could there be a possibility that the number of people executed, has been exaggerated in these hadiths reports? Could it be that the isnad of these hadiths have some defects. Any sincere believing Muslim should know that not every hadith is correct, regardless of what book it is in (whether its Bukhari, Muslim, Tabari, Ibn Hisham, Malik etc) and that every hadith should be put to the test of criticism.
I for one strongly believe in the science of hadith and I think it is time for Muslims to reevaluate our own history and basically “refute the false reports” through legitimate hadith criticism. Now what I would like to ask the scholars at Understanding-Islam.com to do, is to provide a well written criticism of these hadiths. They could be wrong for all we know. Would you please do that? I greatly appreciate all the help you have done and will do in the future in the service of Islam.
Although it is quite conceivable that the number reported in the referred narratives may be somewhat exaggerated, yet in view of the lack of any more reliable contrary information, it seems quite difficult to academically challenge the referred number or to propose an alternative number.
Nevertheless, it is quite clear from the nature of the decision given by the arbitrator – Sa`d ibn Mu`aaz – that according to the directives of the Bible1, on the basis of which the decision was given, each one of the adult male member of the tribe of the Banu Qurayzah was to be killed, as a punishment for the crime committed by the tribe. Thus, irrespective of the numbers, it can safely be said that each one of the adult male members of the tribe was killed on the day.
I hope this helps.
November 19, 2002
- For details, please refer to an earlier response titled “Why did the Prophet (pbuh) Order the Killing of the Banu Qurayzah?”. [↩]