Jewish Persecution: 1 CE – Today, part 19

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The Nadir were expelled with only what they could carry, but with 600 camels that was still quite a lot. Muslim historian al-Waqidi wrote, “Their women were decked out in litters wearing silk, brocade, velvet, and the finest red and green silk. People lined up to gape at them.” The Nadir left to the sounds of tambourines and trumpets. Most went to the Jewish community of Khaybar and the rest to Syria. The Jews of Khaybar became subject of the Nadir chiefs who emigrated there. 

On the topic of emigration, Muhammad benefited greatly from the expulsion. He personally kept 1/5th of the land, giving him financial independence. He also had houses and spoils to distribute to his faithful who had followed him from Mecca in his most recent battles. Prior to clearing the Qaynuqa and Nadir, his immigrant followers had been forced to rely on the charity of Medinians. 

In 627, all of Muhammad’s enemies in the regions joined forces together to try to take him off the map once and for all. The Meccans, their tribal allies, the ousted Jewish Qaynuqa in Syria and Nadir in Khaybar, and the nomadic tribes they were offering to pay half their date crop to in case of success. 10,000 men in all marched on Medina and, if it weren’t for a new Persian military tactic Muhammad had learned from a follower, never before seen in the Arab peninsula, it could have worked. 

The Qur’an refers to this alliance as the Confederate army, the “confederacy of nonbelievers and Jews against Islam”. Muhammad had advanced warning giving him four days to prepare. He called a war council of advisors. Should they meet the Confederates in the city, or out in the open? Both tactics had worked before, but before the Muslims hadn’t been so severely outnumbered and about to face a famine. The Medinians harvested their crops early so that the Confederates would have to rely on their own rations. 

A Persian Muslim named Salman suggested they utilize Medina’s natural geography to protect them, with the aid of a trench. They dug along two sides of the city, where they were vulnerable to attack from mounted troops. The Confederates with their 10,000 men came riding on at least 600 horses and 1,000 camels. Between the lava flows, trees, and hillocks naturally surrounding Medina, and the added trench and new hillocks made by the Muslim defenders, they were secure for a long siege. 

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