In your response your write:
Even then, had the Banu Qurayzah sought forgiveness for their betrayal, the Prophet (pbuh) may have given them respite, as he did so in the past.
However, in Ibn Hisham’s abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s biography of the Prophet (p), he writes:
[After the Muslims had defeated the Banu Qurayzah] `Abdullah b. Ubayy b. Salul went to him when God had put them in his power and said, ‘O Muhammad, deal kindly with my clients’ (now they were allies of Khazraj), but the apostle put him off. He repeated the words, and the apostle turned away from him, whereupon he thrust his hand into the collar of the apostle’s robe; the apostle was so angry that his face became almost black. He said, ‘Confound you, let me go.’ He answered, ‘No, by God, I will not let you go until you deal kindly with my clients.[Guillame, “Life of Muhammad”, p. 363]
Does this not seem to show that the Prophet (p) was going to execute the Jewish tribe, regardless?
Secondly, you write:
Ultimately, the Banu Qurayzah requested the arbitration of Sa`d Ibn Mu`aaz (ra) – one of the leaders of the tribe of Aws – a traditional ally of the Banu Qurayzah and promised that they would accept whatever Sa`d ibn Mu`aaz decided for them. Later on, Sa`d decided that all those among the Banu Qurayzah, who could fight be killed, while all their women and children be taken as slaves and all their wealth and property be confiscated and distributed among the Muslims. Subsequently, the sentence pronounced by Sa`d was implemented by the Muslims.
However, from the same source I have quoted, there seems contradictory information surrounding the events leading to the choice of Sa’d:
O Aus, if one of your own number pronounces judgement on them?’ When they agreed he said that Sa`d b. Mu`adh was the man. [Ibid., p.463]
This seems to suggest that Sa’d was chosen by the Prophet (p) and not the Banu Qurayzah.
From the same source (p.462), there is also a suggestion that before Sa’d had been chosen, the decision had already been made to kill the Banu Qurayzah:
They [the Jewish tribe] said, ‘Oh Abu Lubaba, do you think that we should submit to Muhammad’s judgement?’ He said, ‘Yes,’ and pointed with his hand to his throat, signifying slaughter. Abu Lubaba said, ‘My feet had not moved from the spot before I knew that I had been false to God and His apostle.’ Then he left them and did not go to the apostle but bound himself to one of the pillars in the mosque saying, ‘I will not leave this place until God forgives me for what I have done,’ and he promised God that he would never go to B. Qurayza and would never be seen in a town in which he had betrayed God and His apostle.
There is also the contention that the chosen arbiter, Sa’d, did not like captured prisoners:
While the folk were laying hands on the prisoners the apostle, as I have been told, saw displeasure on the face of Sa`d at what they were doing. He said to him, “You seem to dislike what the people were doing.” “Yes, by God,” he replied, “it is the first defeat that God has brought on the infidel and I would rather see them slaughtered than left alive. [Ibid., p.301]
There is also the suggestion that Sa’d was keen to kill anyone who opposed the Prophet (p):
Sad bin Mu’adh got up and said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! by Allah, I will relieve you from him. If that man is from the tribe of the Aus, then we will chop his head off, and if he is from our brothers, the Khazraj, then order us, and we will fulfill your order.’ [Saheeh al-Bukhari, Sahih, Volume 3, Book 48, Number 829]
Please can you clarify the above.
There can, obviously, be a disparity in the narration of historical incidents, as these narrations are representative of the perception, understanding, interpretation and reporting of an individual, who had either witnessed the particular incident himself or was informed about it by someone who, in turn, had witnessed it. In all such situations, we would prefer the narratives which are either reported by more reliable narrators or those, which present the whole incident in a more comprehensible and acceptable manner. In view of this fact, a difference of opinion can easily result in the in the interpretation and presentation of two or more writers.
In my opinion, the picture presented by Shibli Naumani, which I have recorded in my referred response is more comprehensible and acceptable. There can, however, be a difference of opinion in this regard.
May 30, 2002