Re-Examining the Story of Banū Qurayẓah Jews in Medina with a Reference to the Account of Ibn Isḥāq

  • Sadik Kirazli Research Fellow at the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation, Charles Sturt University
Keywords: Conflict, Banu Qurayzah, Arab-Israeli Conflict, Jewish-Muslim relations, Prophet Muhammad


When the new believers of emerging Islam in 7th century began to establish their foundational worldviews, the Jews and Muslims had a close but tense relationship. This relationship, according to the account of early Muslim historian Ibn Isḥāq, ended with a very violent and severe punishment of the Banū Qurayẓah Jews. The collaboration of Banū Qurayẓah with the enemy during wartime was considered by the Muslims an act of treason and the tribes warriors were punished with a death penalty. Even today, some pronounce this incident in the Arab/Palestine–Israeli conflict. The conflict often comes up in Islamophobic and polemical literature and discourse. The number of fatalities reported in this historical conflict is highly controversial. Some offer an apologetic defence for the incident, while others exaggerate it. This article is to re-examine the conflicts between the Jews and Muslims of Medina in light of historical primary sources and shows that the number of Jews punished in this incident were significantly less than what is reported by Ibn Isḥāq.