In the wake of President Trump’s courageous recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, “Palestinian” protesters in New York City, London, and Berlin have chanted “Khaybar, Khaybar, ya yahud, jaish Muhammad saufa ya’ud” – “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.” Since they chant it in Arabic, authorities no doubt have no idea what they’re saying, and even if they did, they probably wouldn’t understand the meaning of the chant. But that meaning is quite ominous. This is a call for genocide of the Jews.
As I explain in my book The Truth About Muhammad, Muhammad led a Muslim force against the Khaybar oasis, which was inhabited by Jews — many of whom he had previously exiled from Medina. When he did so, he was not responding to any provocation. One of the Muslims later remembered: “When the apostle raided a people he waited until the morning. If he heard a call to prayer he held back; if he did not hear it he attacked. We came to Khaybar by night, and the apostle passed the night there; and when morning came he did not hear the call to prayer, so he rode and we rode with him….We met the workers of Khaybar coming out in the morning with their spades and baskets. When they saw the apostle and the army they cried, ‘Muhammad with his force,’ and turned tail and fled. The apostle said, ‘Allah Akbar! Khaybar is destroyed. When we arrive in a people’s square it is a bad morning for those who have been warned.’”
The Muslim advance was inexorable. “The apostle,” according to Muhammad’s earliest biographer, Ibn Ishaq, “seized the property piece by piece and conquered the forts one by one as he came to them.” Another biographer of Muhammad, Ibn Sa’d, reports that the battle was fierce: the “polytheists…killed a large number of [Muhammad’s] Companions and he also put to death a very large number of them….He killed ninety-three men of the Jews…” Muhammad and his men offered the fajr prayer, the Islamic dawn prayer, before it was light, and then entered Khaybar itself. The Muslims immediately set out to locate the inhabitants’ wealth. A Jewish leader of Khaybar, Kinana bin al-Rabi, was brought before Muhammad; Kinana was supposed to have been entrusted with the treasure of one of the Jewish tribes of Arabia, the Banu Nadir. Kinana denied knowing where this treasure was, but Muhammad pressed him: “Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?” Kinana said yes, that he did know that.
Some of the treasure was found. To find the rest, Muhammad gave orders concerning Kinana: “Torture him until you extract what he has.” One of the Muslims built a fire on Kinana’s chest, but Kinana would not give up his secret. When he was at the point of death, one of the Muslims beheaded him. Kinana’s wife was taken as a war prize; Muhammad claimed her for himself and hastily arranged a wedding ceremony that night. He halted the Muslims’ caravan out of Khaybar later that night in order to consummate the marriage.
Muhammad agreed to let the people of Khaybar to go into exile, allowing them to keep as much of their property as they could carry. The Prophet of Islam, however, commanded them to leave behind all their gold and silver. He had intended to expel all of them, but some, who were farmers, begged him to allow them to let them stay if they gave him half their yield annually. Muhammad agreed: “I will allow you to continue here, so long as we would desire.” He warned them: “If we wish to expel you we will expel you.” They no longer had any rights that did not depend upon the good will and sufferance of Muhammad and the Muslims. And indeed, when the Muslims discovered some treasure that some of the Khaybar Jews had hidden, he ordered the women of the tribe enslaved and seized the perpetrators’ land. A hadith notes that “the Prophet had their warriors killed, their offspring and woman taken as captives.”
Thus when modern-day jihadists invoke Khaybar, they are recalling an aggressive, surprise raid by Muhammad which resulted in the final eradication of the once considerable Jewish presence in Arabia. To the jihadists, Khaybar means the destruction of the Jews and the seizure of their property by the Muslims.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His new book is Confessions of an Islamophobe. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.
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