Sunday, September 5, 2010

Banu Qurayza & Peace In Muslim World

All religions and cultures have dark, violent moments in their history. The Christian world certainly has a long history of persecuting Jews and many other groups. However, after reading the New Testament, I did not encounter a passage in which Jesus uttered a word or acted in a manner that would encourage his present or future followers to engage in violence. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus exhorted his followers to "turn the other cheek" and refrain from the pursuit of worldly riches and powers. So, even in its darkest moments, Christianity
held the potential to become the largely peaceful and positive religion that it is today. And the positive elements of Christianity have become the most pronounced in nations like the United States were the church has been separated from the corrupting influence of state power.

In contrast, the more I research Islam, the more I am convinced that the violent, repressive behavior of a minority of Muslims reflects fundamental flaws in basic Islamic theology. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the history of the Banu Qurayza, a tribe of Arabian Jews who clashed with the army of Muhammad. After suffering defeat, 800 male members of the tribe were put to death and the women and children were distributed as war booty. If Muslim theologians viewed this as a crime or at least an error, this would be less troubling, but Muslim jurists affirm Muhammad's sentence against the Banu Qurazya. In fact, they are unanimous in viewing Muhammad as a figure to be emulated, whose action and sayings (along with the Koran) form the basis of Islamic Law. So, not only is the massacre justified by most believing Muslims, but anti-semites in the Muslim world frequently site the Banu Qurayza as proof that Jews are inherently perfidious. Until there is major reform in Islamic theology and culture, peace and prosperity in the Muslim World will not be possible.


  1. They attacked Midian just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men. All five of the Midianite kings – Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba – died in the battle. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. Then the Israelite army captured the Midianite women and children and seized their cattle and flocks and all their wealth as plunder. They burned all the towns and villages where the Midianites had lived. After they had gathered the plunder and captives, both people and animals, they brought them all to Moses and Eleazar the priest, and to the whole community of Israel, which was camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho.

    Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the people went to meet them outside the camp. But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. "Why have you let all the women live?" he demanded. "These are the very ones who followed Balaam's advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD's people. Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves. Numbers 31:7-18, Torah

  2. I will write a new post to address your point.