23.1 The Jews Conspire with Polytheist Tribes
Islam continued to spread to more remote parts, and the enemies of Islam grew more desperate and frantic. The most bitter of all were the Jews. Immediately before Mohamed's advent, all the signs had pointed that a prophet was about to appear. They believed that this prophet would appear amongst themselves as they were the chosen people. They were aware through all the questions they asked and all the tests they made on Mohamed that he spoke the truth. They were aware through an accurate description they had of him in their books that he was the chosen prophet, but they were not going to follow an illiterate Arab. The spread of Islam gave Mohamed the temporal power that they coveted and they resented his authority. They put their heads together, plotted, conspired, and finally came up with the idea that all the tribes of Arabia, all the polytheists, should unite to exterminate the Muslims.
The elders of the tribe of Banu Nadir, headed by their chief, Huyayy ibn Akhtab, went to see Quraysh, taking with them some of the leaders of the polytheist tribes that lived near Quraysh. The leaders of Quraysh asked them how they fared, and they replied that they were waiting for Quraysh to come to Medina so that they could march with them to meet Mohamed. Quraysh then asked them about Banu Qurayza, the only Jewish tribe that had not broken its covenant with the Messenger and was still living in Medina. They answered that Banu Qurayza too were waiting for Quraysh to come, so that they could show their true colors and fight on their side. These words were tempting to Quraysh, but still they hesitated.
Day by day it had become clearer and clearer that Mohamed was neither an impostor nor a madman. Those of them who had been present at Badr or Uhud had seen strange and inexplicable phenomena. They felt that behind Mohamed there stood a mighty power. They were not sure anymore that to fight him was the right thing. In doubt, they consulted the nobles of Banu Nadir, for they had great respect for the Jews' knowledge of these things, which were obscure to them. They said to them,
"You are the people of the first book, and you are the people who know most about what we and Mohamed differ. Is our religion better or his?"
The Jews assured them that their religion, idol worship, was better than the worship of Allah alone. Concerning these words the holy verses say:
Have you seen those given a part of the Book
believe in Al-Jabot and the godless and those who deny
that they follow a more true way than those who believe?
Those are the ones Allah curses.
He whom Allah curses will find none to support him. (4:51-52)
Alas, the hatred and envy in the Jews ' hearts was so great, It made them betray the truth and betray Allah whom they worshipped. They kept pressing Quraysh and did not leave Mecca until extracting a promise from Quraysh to come and fight the Muslims in Medina.
With this promise in their pocket, the Jews went to seven other tribes. They promised them a swift victory and much loot, assuring them that Quraysh would lead the battle. Now every tribe that had a grudge against the Muslims got ready to march upon Medina, tempted by the promise of a quick kill and easy spoils.