Source: Tafseer Ibn Katheer. From Surah A Hashr
The End that Bani An-Nadir suffered
(He it is Who drove out the disbelievers among the People of the Scripture) referring to the Jewish tribe of Bani An-Nadir, according to Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Az-Zuhri and several others. When the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, he made a peace treaty with the Jews stipulating that he would not fight them and they would not fight him. They soon betrayed the treaty that they made with Allah’s Messenger . Therefore, Allah sent His torment down on them; it can never be averted, and His appointed destiny touched them; it can never be resisted.
The Prophet forced them to evacuate and abandon their fortified forts that Muslims did not think they would ever control. The Jews thought that their fortifications will save them from Allah’s torment, but they did not help them against Allah in the least. Then, that which they did not expect came to them from Allah, and Allah’s Messenger forced them to leave Al-Madinah. Some of them went to Adhri`at in the area of Ash-Sham, which is the area of the grand Gathering and Resurrection, while others went to Khaybar. The Prophet allowed them to evacuate their forts and take whatever their camels could carry. They destroyed the property that they could not carry. This is why Allah the Exalted said, (they demolished their own dwellings with their own hands and the hands of the believers Then take admonition, O you with eyes.) meaning, “Contemplate the end of those who defied Allah’s command, contradicted His Messenger and denied His Book. See how Allah’s humiliating torment struck them in this life, as well as, the painful torment that Allah has reserved for them in the Hereafter.”
Abu Dawud recorded that `Abdur-Rahman bin Ka`b bin Malik said that one of the Prophet’s Companions said, “The Quraysh idolators wrote to `Abdullah bin Ubayy and those who were still worshipping idols among the tribes of Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj. The Messenger of Allah was in Al-Madinah at the time, before the battle of Badr occurred. They wrote: `You have given refuge to our citizen. We swear by Allah, you should fight him, or we will expel you or gather all our forces, until we kill your soldiers and take your women captive.’ When the news of this threat reached `Abdullah bin Ubayy and the idolators of Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj, they prepared to fight the Prophet . The news of this reached the Prophet and he went to them saying,
(The threat of the Quraysh has caused you extreme anxiety! The Quraysh cannot cause you more harm than what you will cause yourselves by your actions. Do you want to fight your children and brethren) When they heard these words from the Prophet , they dis- persed and the news of what happened reached the Quraysh idolators. After the battle of Badr, the Quraysh idolators wrote to the Jews of Al-Madinah, `You have armor and forts! You should fight our citizen or we will do such and such to you, and nothing will prevent us from acquiring your women.’The news of this letter also reached the Prophet and Bani An-Nadir intended to betray their treaty. Bani An-Nadir sent a message to the Prophet asking him to come with thirty of his Companions to meet thirty of their rabbis half way, from either side. They said that the rabbis would listen to the Prophet and if they believe in him, the rest of Bani An-Nadir would believe. They intended to kill the Messenger , and Allah informed His Messenger of this plot before they could harm him. The next day, the Prophet gathered his forces and laid siege to their area, saying to them,
(By Allah ! You will not be safe until and unless you renew your peace treaty with me.) They refused to do so, and the Prophet fought them the rest of that day. The next morning, the Prophet laid siege to the tribe of Bani Qurayzah and left Bani An-Nadir alone that day. The Prophet ordered Bani Qurayzah to sign a new treaty of peace, and they accepted. The Prophet left Bani Qurayzah and went back to Bani An-Nadir with his forces and fought them until they agreed to surrender in return for safe passage out of Al-Madinah. Bani An-Nadir evacuated Al-Madinah and took with them all whatever their camels could carry from their furniture, including even the wood and the doors to their houses. The date trees of Bani An-Nadir were granted to the Messenger by Allah when He said,
(And what Allah gave as booty to His Messenger from them — for this you made no expedition with either cavalry or camelry) that is, what you earned without a fight. The Prophet divided most of their trees between the emigrants and gave to only two men who were poor from Al-Ansar. He did not give the Ansar any of it, except for these two men. The Prophet kept a part of the war booty for himself and that part of charity of the Prophet was transferred to the administration of his daughter’s children, i.e., children of Fatimah.” However, let us summarize the battle of Bani An-Nadir here. From Allah alone we seek help.
The Reason behind the Battle of Bani An-Nadir
After the seventy Companions whom the Prophet sent to teach the Qur’an were killed at the area of Bi’r Ma`unah, excluding `Amr bin Umayyah Ad-Damri, who killed two men from the tribe of Bani `Amir on his way back to Al-Madinah. He did not know that these two men had a promise of safe passage from Allah’s Messenger . When he went back to Al-Madinah, he told the Prophet what happened and the Prophet said,
(You have killed two men, I shall pay the blood money for them.) Bani An-Nadir and Bani `Amir were allies and had treaties. The Prophet asked Bani An-Nadir to help pay the blood money for the two dead men. The area of Bani An-Nadir was in a suburb of Al-Madinah, a few miles to the east. In his book of Sirah, Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar said; “Then the Messenger of Allah went to Bani An-Nadir to ask them for financial help to pay the blood money of the two men from Bani `Amir, who were killed by `Amr bin Umayyah Ad-Damri. They had a promise of safe passage from the Prophet according to the (subnarrator) Yazid bin Ruman. Bani An-Nadir and Bani `Amir had a treaty and were allies.
When Allah’s Messenger went to Bani An-Nadir asking them for help to pay the blood money for the two men, they said, `Yes, O Abu Al-Qasim! We will help you, since you asked us for help.’ Yet, when they met each other in secret, they said, `You will not find a better chance with this man than this,’ while the Messenger of Allah was sitting next to a wall of one of their houses. They said, `Who will ascend this wall and drop a stone on this man and rid us of his trouble’ `Amr bin Jihash bin Ka`b volunteered and ascended the wall of the house to drop a stone on the Messenger .
The Messenger of Allah was sitting with several of his Companions, such as Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Ali. The news of this plot was conveyed to the Prophet from heaven, and he stood up and went back to Al-Madinah. When the Companions thought that the Messenger was absent for a long time, they went to see where he was and saw a man coming from Al-Madinah. They asked him, and he said that he saw the Prophet enter Al-Madinah. The Messenger’s Companions went to him, and he told them the news of the betraying plot that the Jews planned against him. He ordered them to prepare for war and to march forth to Bani An-Nadir.
The Prophet gathered his forces and marched to the area of Bani An-Nadir, who had taken refuge in their fortified forts. The Messenger ordered their date trees be cut down and burned. The Jews heralded at the Prophet, `O Muhammad! You used to forbid mischief in the earth and blame those who did it. Why is it that you had the date trees cut down and burned’ Meanwhile, `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, Wadi`ah, Malik bin Abi Qawqal, Suwayd, Da`is and several other men who all belonged to the tribe of Al-Khazraj bin Bani `Awf, sent a message to Bani An-Nadir saying, `Be firm and strong. We will never abandon you. If you are fought against, we will fight along with you and if you are forced to leave Al-Madinah, we will accompany you.’ The Jews waited for this claim of support, but the hypocrites did not deliver. Allah cast terror in the hearts of the Jews. They asked the Messenger to allow them safe passage out of Al-Madinah and to spare their lives. In return, they would only take what their camels could carry, except for weapons. The Prophet agreed.
The Jews collected all the wealth their camels could transport. One of the Jews would demolish his own house around its door, so that he could carry the door on the back of his camel. Bani An-Nadir moved to Khaybar, and some of them went to Ash-Sham. They left all that remained behind for the Messenger of Allah , who had control over how it was to be divided.
The Prophet divided it between the emigrants and none of Al-Ansar got a share, except for Sahl bin Hunayf and Abu Dujanah Simak bin Kharashah. They said that they were poor and the Messenger of Allah gave them their share. Only two men from Bani An-Nadir embraced Islam, Yamin bin Umayr bin Ka`b bin `Amr bin Jihash and Abu Sa`d bin Wahb and they saved their wealth due to their acceptance of Islam.” Ibn Ishaq continued, “Some of the offspring of Yamin narrated to me that the Messenger of Allah said to Yamin,
(Have you not heard what your cousin plotted to do against me) Yamin bin `Umayr promised someone a reward if he killed his cousin `Amr bin Jihash, and someone killed him, according to their claim” Ibn Ishaq then said, “All of Surat Al-Hashr was revealed about Bani An-Nadir. ” A similar story was recorded by Yunus bin Bukayr from Ibn Ishaq. Allah’s statement,
(He it is Who drove out the disbelievers among the People of the Scripture) refers to Bani An-Nadir,
(from their homes at the first gathering.) Allah said,
(You did not think that they would get out.) i.e., within the few days you laid siege against them. The Companions had surrounded their forts for only six days, and their forts were fortified and formidable. This is why Allah the Exalted said,
(And they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah! But Allah reached them from a place where they expected it not.) meaning, there came to them from Allah what they did not expect or anticipate. Allah said in another Ayah,
(Those before them indeed plotted, but Allah struck at the foundation of their building, and then the roof fell down upon them, from above them, and the torment overtook them from directions they did not perceive.)(16:26) Allah said,
(and He cast terror into their hearts) means, Allah cast fear, terror and fright in their hearts, and why would that not happen to them He who was given victory, by Allah frightening his enemies the distance of a month, laid siege to them. May Allah’s peace and blessings be on the Prophet. As in Ibn Ishaq’s explanation — which preceded;
(that they demolished their own dwellings with their own hands and the hands of the believers.) the Jews brought down what they wanted to transport from their roofs and doors, so that they could carry them on camels. Similar was said by `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and several others. Allah’s statement,
(And had it not been that Allah had decreed exile for them, He would certainly have punished them in this world;) meaning, if it was not for the fact that Allah had already decreed that they would evacuate Al-Madinah, leaving behind their homes and wealth, He would have sent another type of punishment upon them, such as being killed and captured. This was said by Az-Zuhri. `Urwah, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd said that Allah decreed that the Jews would be punished in the life of this world and face the torment of the fire of Hell He prepared for them in the Hereafter. Allah said,
(and in the Hereafter theirs shall be the torment of the Fire.) meaning, it is a matter ordained that they will surely face,
(That is because they opposed Allah and His Messenger.) means, Allah prepared this specific punishment and sent His Messenger and his Companions against them, because they defied Allah and His Messenger and denied the good news that Allah sent forth in the Books of previous Messengers regarding the coming of Muhammad . The Jews knew these facts about Muhammad just as they knew their own children. Allah said,
(And whosoever opposes Allah, then verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.)
The Prophet Cut down the Date Trees of the Jews by the Leave of Allah
(What you cut down of the Linah, or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allah, and in order that He might disgrace the rebellious.) Linah is an especially good type of date tree. Abu `Ubaydah said that Linah is a different kind of dates than `Ajwah and Barni. Several others said that Linah refers to every type of date fruits, except for the `Ajwah (ripen dates), while Ibn Jarir said that it refers to all kinds of date trees. Ibn Jarir quoted Mujahid saying that it also includes the Buwayrah type. When the Messenger of Allah laid siege to Bani An-Nadir, to humiliate them and bring fear and terror to their hearts, he ordered their date trees to be cut down. Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Yazid bin Ruman, Qatadah and Muqatil bin Hayyan said, “Bani An-Nadir sent a message to the Messenger , saying that he used to outlaw mischief in the earth, so why did he order that their trees be cut down Allah sent down this honorable Ayah stating that whatever Linah was felled or left intact by the Muslims, has been done by His permission, will, leave and pleasure to humiliate and disgrace the enemy and degrade them.” Mujahid said, “Some of the emigrants discouraged others from chopping down the date trees of Jews, saying that they were war spoils for Muslims. The Qur’an approved of the actions of those who discouraged and those who approved of cutting these trees, stating that those who cut them or did not, did so only by Allah’s leave.” There is also a Hadith narrated from the Prophet with this meaning. An-Nasa’i recorded that Ibn `Abbas said about Allah’s statement,
(What you cut down of the Linah, or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allah, and in order that He might disgrace the rebellious.) “They forced them to come down from their forts and were ordered to cut their trees cut down. So the Muslims hesitated, and some of them said, `We cut down some and left some. We must ask Allah’s Messenger if we will earn a reward for what we cut and if we will be burdened for what we left intact.’ Allah sent down this Ayah, t
(What you cut down of the Linah, or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allah).” Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah ordered that the date trees of Bani An-Nadir be cut down and burned. The Two Sahihs collected a similar narration. Al-Bukhari recorded that `Abdullah bin `Umar said,”Bani An-Nadir and Bani Qurayzah fought (against the Prophet ), and the Prophet exiled Bani An-Nadir and allowed Bani Qurayzah to remain in their area until later, when the Prophet fought against Qurayzah. Their men were executed and their women, children and wealth were confiscated and divided among Muslims. Some of them, however, were saved because they returned to the Prophet’s side, who granted them asylum, and they embraced Islam. All of the Jews of Al-Madinah, Bani Qaynuqa`, the tribe of `Abdullah bin Salam, Bani Harithah and the rest of the Jewish tribes in Al-Madinah were exiled.” The Two Sahihs also recorded from Ibn `Umar that the Messenger of Allah burned down the date trees of Bani An-Nadir and had them cut down the date palms of Al-Buwayrah. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored revealed this Ayah,
(What you cut down of the Linah, or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allah, and in order that He might disgrace the rebellious.)” Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that the battle of Bani An-Nadir occurred after the battles of Uhud and Bi’r Ma`unah.