23.7 Nuaym's Plot
Nuaym, a man newly entered into Islam, thought of fighting Jewish cunning by cunning. So after getting permission from the Prophet, he went to speak to Banu Qurayza. He had been their ally before entering Islam and they did not yet know that he had become a Muslim. He told them that the tribes were restive, unhappy about this long wait. What would their fate be if the tribes were to debunk after they had broken their covenant with Mohamed? Pretending to be concerned about their welfare, he counseled them not to fight on the side of the tribes until the latter gave them a collateral of their good will.
"Let them give you hostages," he said,
"so that they do not depart and leave you to Mohamed."
Then he went to Quraysh, who also did not know that he had entered into Islam. Telling them that he was speaking confidentially, he told them that Banu Qurayza regretted breaking faith with Mohamed and would do anything to appease him. 'They are going to ask you to give them hostages, and they plan to kill them to appease Mohamed. So if they ask for hostages, you will know what to think, then he went to the tribe of Ghatafan and told them the same thing.
To test Nuaym's words, Abu Sufyan sent a messenger to Kab ibn Asad, the head of Banu Qurayza, telling him that they would attack immediately after Kab's answer came. Kab told the messenger that the next day was a Saturday and that they could do nothing on a Saturday. This offended Abu Sufyan and he sent a reply,
"Make another Saturday a holiday and fight tomorrow with us. If you go back on your agreement with us, we shall start attacking you."
The answer of Banu Qurayza was that they did not fight on Saturdays and that Elohim had cursed some of them because they worked on a Saturday. Then they demanded hostages. Abu Sufyan now had no doubts about Nuaym's warnings. Ghatafan also thoroughly believed him and an atmosphere of doubt and suspicion began to spread between the tribes and their Jewish allies. Nevertheless Abu Sufyan and the heads of the tribes decided that the time to attack was the early morning as they felt they could not delay any longer.