Hostility of the Jews. When the Holy Prophet came to Madina, a few Jews accepted Islam and they were sincere in their faith in Islam. Some other Jews accepted Islam, but they were not sincere in their faith. They were hypocrites, and their object in accepting Islam was to disrupt it from within. The rest of the Jews were hostile to Islam. They ridiculed Islam and slandered the Holy Prophet and the Muslims. Ka’ab b Ashraf, Abu Afak, and Asma bint Marwan composed filthy songs satirizing the Holy Prophet and the Muslims.
Molestation of a Muslim woman by the Jews. Some time after the battle of Badr, a Muslim woman went to the street in the quarter of Banu Qainuqa’, and gave an order to a goldsmith in the street for the making of some ornaments. One of the Jews came behind her, and opened the fastenings of her dress while she was talking to the goldsmith. She remained unaware of the rascality of the Jew, and when she stood up to depart, her trouser slipped exposing her nakedness. The Jews had a hearty laugh at her exposure. She shrieked and cried for help. A Muslim who passed that way came to her help, and he killed the rascal who had done the mischief. The Jews in turn fell upon the Muslim and killed him.
The Holy Prophet’s ultimatum. In this sad episode the Jews were the aggressors. The Holy Prophet, therefore, asked the Jews to make amends failing which punitive action would be taken against them. The Jews accepted the challenge and replied as follows: “O Muhammad, let not the victory at Badr over a people who did not know how to fight deceive you. By God if you fight us, you will know that we are men who know to fight.”
The fight. The Holy Prophet mustered a force, and ordered an attack on the quarter of Banu Qainuqa’. The Holy Prophet gave the standard to Abu Bakr. Banu Qainuqa’ did not dare fight in the open. They shut themselves in their strongholds. The Muslims besieged these strongholds. The Quraish of Makkah had promised to help Banu Qainuqa’, but no help came. The siege lasted for a fortnight by which time the Jews were brought to bay and they surrendered. The Holy Prophet and his companions were of the view that the treacherous Jews should be killed. Abdullah b Ubayy interceded for them, and the Holy Prophet ultimately agreed to spare their lives provided they migrated from Madina. They were allowed to carry such movable property except arms as they could. They emigrated to Wadi al Qara, north of Arabia, and finally to Syria. Their property left at Madina was distributed among the Muslims. That was the first victory of the Muslims against the Jews. It showed that the Muslims were strong enough to take action against those who fomented treason.