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Banu An-Nadir siege 4 A.H

Banu An-Nadir siege 4 A.H T

When and where was the Banu An-Nadir siege?

It took place in Rabi’ Al-Awwal in the fourth year of Hijrah, corresponding to August 625 C.E. It happened in the homes of the Jews of Banu An-Nadir in the south of Medinah.

Who was the leader in Banu An-Nadir siege, and who was the flag-bearer?

The Messenger (peace be upon him) was the leader, and the flag-bearer was Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah honour his face). As for the Jews, Hayai ibn Akhtab was the chief of Banu An-Nadir, who sought refuge from the Muslims in their forts. Hayai ibn Akhtab was the father of Safiyah (may Allah be pleased with her), one of the Mothers of the Believers.

Reasons for Banu An-Nadir siege

This siege was a reply to the evil plots of the Jews of Banu An-Nadir who lived in Medinah. They broke their treaty with the Muslims and conspired to assassinate the Messenger. This was when the Messenger and his Companions were sitting with them (the Jews) to agree on the details of the payment of the blood money for two men who some Companions had killed after the Ma’una well campaign, thinking that they were enemies.

Events of Banu An-Nadir siege

The enmity of the Jewish tribe of Banu An-Nadir became clear to the Muslims after the battle of Uhud and the subsequent painful events of treachery against the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) with them being killed by the disbelievers, as happened in the Ma’una well and Ar-Raji’ campaigns.

Banu An-Nadir were known for their strong forts in the south of Medinah. Their forts gave them much protection, but they preferred to rely on intrigue and harmful plots against the Muslims instead of fighting them face-to-face, especially since they were fearful of a repetition of what happened in Banu Qainuqa when the Jews of Banu Qainuqa were expelled from Medinah, and the death of the chief Kaab ibn Al-Ashraf. For this reason, Banu An-Nadir preferred to keep up their relation with the leaders of disbelief in Mecca, forgetting their treaty and covenant with the Muslims.

The Messenger (peace be upon him), with a group of his Companions, went to Banu An-Nadir to talk to them about their helping them in paying the blood money for two men who Amr Ibn Umayyah Ad-Dumairy had killed. The treaty with the Jews required they contribute in paying the blood money for those who were killed. In actuality, the Jews appeared to agree to contribute in paying the blood money. The Messenger (peace be upon him) and his Companions, including Abu Bakr, Ali and Omar, sat leaning on one of the walls of their houses, waiting for them to fulfill what they had agreed upon. But when the Jews were by themselves, they conspired to throw a heavy stone from the top of house to kill the Messenger. Amr ibn Jahsh, one of the Jewish leaders of Banu Qurayzah who were known for their blatant hostility towards the Muslims, would carry out this plan. He did not listen to the advice of Salam ibn Mashkam to not do this, when Salam said, “Do not do this. Allah with inform him of your intentions against him, and it will break the covenant which is between us and him.”

The miracle of the Messenger (peace be upon him) being rescued

When the Jews were climbing the wall to throw the stone, Angel Gibrael (may Allah be pleased with him) came from the Lord of the Worlds to the Messenger to tell him what the Jews had intended to do. Therefore, the Messenger (peace be upon him) quickly left, heading towards the centre of Medinah. His Companions followed him. They asked, “You left and we did not notice you leaving.” Consequently, the Messenger (peace be upon him) told them what the Jews had planned to do.

After the Messenger (peace be upon him) learnt about the Jews’ treachery, he sent the Companion Mohammed ibn Muslamah to Banu An-Nadir to order them to leave Medinah, giving them ten days to collect their belongings. The Messenger (peace be upon him) added that anyone of them who remained in Medinah after this time would be killed. When the Jews were following the orders and preparing for their journey, the head of the hypocrites, Abdullah ibn Ubai ibn Salul, begged them to stay on the pretext that he had 2000 men who would join them in their fort, and these would die instead of them. Allah (Glorified is He) revealed the following about Ibn Salul’s agreement with the Jews, {Did you not see the hypocrites say to their brethren, the unbelievers among the People of the Book, “If you are banished we too will go with you and will not listen to anyone concerning you; and if war is waged against you, we will come to your aid.” But Allah bears witness that they are liars} [Surah Al-Hashr: 11].

Ibn Salul promised to support Banu Qurayzah and their allies from the tribe of Ghatfan

The head of the Jews of Banu An-Nadir liked this idea, and Huyai ibn Akhtab told them to stay after Ibn Salul had promised to help them. He sent a message to the Messenger, saying, “I will not leave my home. Therefore, do whatever you want to do.”

The Messenger (peace be upon him) lays siege to the Jews of Banu An-Nadir

When the Messenger (peace be upon him) learnt that the Jews were determined to confront the Muslims, the Messenger said, and the Muslims also said, “Allahu Akbar”. The Messenger (peace be upon him) then ordered the Companions to fight the Jews, so they prepared to meet them. The Messenger (peace be upon him) left Ibn Um Maktoum to look after the affairs in Medinah, and then marched towards the Jews. Ali ibn Abu Talib was the flag-bearer. When they reached the Jews of Banu An-Nadir, they imposed a siege on them. Reports differ as to how long the Muslims laid the siege on the Jews, varying from 6 to 15 days. Banu An-Nadir took refuge in their forts, and climbed their walls to throw catapults and stones at the Muslims. Their thick palm trees and gardens helped them to do this. Therefore, the Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered to cut down and burn the trees. Hasan said about this, “The walls of Banu Lo’a enabled them to see the large fire of Buwarah.”

It was the name of the palm trees of Banu An-Nadir. Concerning this, Allah (Glorified is He) revealed, {The palm-trees that you cut down or those that you left standing on their roots, it was by Allah's leave that you did this. (Allah granted you this leave) in order that He might humiliate the evil-doers} [Surah Al-Hashr: 5].

That is, the cutting of the gardens of the enemy was permissible in order to protect the Muslims during the conflict; it was not considered a form of corruption in the land.

When the allies of Banu An-Nadir saw the strength of the Muslims, they abandoned their allies; Banu Qurayzah and Ghatfan told Banu An-Nadir that they could not help them, and Ibn Salul did not fulfill his promise to support them. Allah (Glorified is He) compared these tribes to Satan when he will desert man and let him down on the Resurrection Day, after he kept tempting them with false promises in this life. Allah (Glorified is He) says, {Their parable is that of Satan when he says to man, ‘Disbelieve,’ but when he disbelieves, he says, ‘I wash my hands of you. Verily, I fear Allah, the Lord of the Universe’} [Surah Al-Hashr: 16].

It was clear what had happened; Allah threw fear into the hearts of the Jews, and they were defeated. They prepared themselves to surrender and lay down their weapons. They sent a messenger to the Messenger, saying, “We will leave Medinah.” That is, they agreed themselves to leave Medinah. They would leave with as much loads as they could carry on their camels, except their weapons. They destroyed their houses with their own hands in order to carry the doors and windows with them. Some of them even carried some pillars and roof supports, carrying everything on 600 camels.

Results of Banu An-Nadir siege

The Muslims were victorious, and the Messenger (peace be upon him) survived the evil plot to kill him because of a miracle from the heavens.

The elders and most of Banu An-Nadir left Medinah, such as Huyai ibn Akhtab and Salam ibn Abu Al-Haqeeq. They travelled to Khaybar, and some of them travelled to Ash-Sham.

Only two of these Jews embraced Islam, Yameen ibn Amr and Abu Saad ibn Wahab.

The Messenger (peace be upon him) seized Banu An-Nadir’s weapons, and took over their land, houses and wealth. Their weapons included 50 shields, 50 helmets and 340 swords. All the wealth was allocated to the Messenger as there was no fighting. The Messenger (peace be upon him) divided it between the Muhajareen (the Immigrants), especially those who first immigrated to Medinah, but he (peace be upon him) also gave some to the Ansars (Helpers) Abu Dujanah and Sahail ibn Haneef because they were poor. Moreover, the Messenger (peace be upon him) took some to spend on his family to sustain them for one year. He (peace be upon him) used what remainded to obtain weapons to use in future wars in Allah’s cause.

How is Banu An-Nadir siege explained in the Quran?

Allah (Glorified is He) revealed a complete Surah, Surah Al-Hashr, to expose the plots of the Jews and the hypocrites, warn the Muslims, and also praise the Muhajareen and Ansar.

Allah (Glorified is He) opened this Surah with these explicit and decisive ayahs (Quranic verses), {All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth extols Allah's Glory: He is the Most Mighty, the Most Wise. It is He Who, in the first assault, drove forth the People of the Book that disbelieved from their homes at the first gathering of forces. You did not believe that they would leave; while they too thought that their fortresses would defend them against Allah. Then Allah came upon them from whence they did not even imagine, casting such terror into their hearts that they destroyed their homes by their own hands, and (their destruction was also caused) by the hands of the believers. So learn a lesson from this, O you who have eyes to (truly) see with! If Allah had not decreed banishment for them, He would certainly have chastised them in this world. As for the Hereafter, the chastisement of the hell-fire awaits them. That is because they set themselves against Allah and His Messenger; and whoever sets himself against Allah should know that Allah is surely Most Stern in retribution. The palm-trees that you cut down or those that you left standing on their roots, it was by Allah's leave that you did this. (Allah granted you this leave) in order that He might humiliate the evil-doers. You [believers] did not have to spur on your horses or your camels for whatever gains Allah turned over to His Messenger from them (the disbelivers); but Allah grants authority to His Messengers over whomsoever He pleases. Allah has power over everything} [Surah Al-Hashr: 1-6].

What lessons do we learn from Banu An-Nadir siege?

Allah is able to change circumstances as He likes. The Jews were very powerful and their forts were impenetrable, but they left them after destroying them with their own hands. Moreover, Allah made the Muslims, who stood for the truth, steadfast and determined when facing the Jews under the brave leadership of the Messenger (peace be upon him).

The siege also teaches us that it is necessary to be careful of the treachery of the traitors from among the Jews; the Jews broke their covenant with the Muslims and planned to assassinate the Messenger.


The Prophet’s Biography by Ibn Hesham, 2/190; Zaad Al-Maad (Provisions for the Hereafter) by Ibn Al-Qayyim, 2/110; Authentic Collection of Hadith by Al-Bukhari, 2/574; Legislation Learnt from the Prophet’s Biography by Al-Ghazali, p214; The Sealed Nectar by Al-Mubarakpuri, p296; The Prophet’s Biography written in Al-Hallab, the chapter on the Banu An-Nadir siege; Al-Mughazi (The Campaigns) by Al-Waqidi.