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The Prophet (PBUH) and Violence
In the fiftieth chapter of The Decline And Fall, Gibbon tells how "Mahomet subdues the Jews of Arabia, A.D. 623-627":
"The Kainoka dwelt at Medina under the protection of the city; [Mohammed] seized the occasion of an accidental tumult, and summoned them to embrace his religion, or contend with him in battle. 'Alas!' replied the trembling Jews, 'we are ignorant of the use of arms, but we persevere in the faith and worship of our fathers; why wilt thou reduce us to the necessity of a just defence?' The unequal conflict was terminated in fifteen days; and it was with extreme reluctance that Mahomet yielded to the importunity of his allies, and consented to spare the lives of the captives...a wretched colony of seven hundred exiles was driven, with their wives and children, to implore a refuge on the confines of Syria...
"The Jews had excited and joined the war of the Koreish: no sooner had the nations retired from the ditch, than Mahomet, without laying aside his armour, marched on the same day to extirpate the hostile race of the children of Koraidha. After a resistance of twenty-five days, they surrendered at discretion. They trusted to the intercession of their old allies of Medina; they could not be ignorant that fanaticism obliterates the feelings of humanity. A venerable elder, to whose judgment they appealed, pronounced the sentence of their death; seven hundred Jews were dragged in chains to the market-place of the city; they descended alive into the grave prepared for their execution and burial; and the apostle beheld with an inflexible eye the slaughter of his helpless enemies ...
"Six days' journey to the north-east of Medina, the ancient and wealthy town of Chaibar was the seat of the Jewish power in Arabia: the territory, a fertile spot in the desert, was covered with plantations and cattle, and protected by eight castles...After the reduction of the castles, the town of Chaibar submitted to the yoke. The chief of the tribe was tortured, in the presence of Mahomet, to force a confession of his hidden treasure"
Etc. Emphasis added.
It goes without saying, of course, that, this being Gibbon, one should "read the whole thing."Continue reading "The Prophet (PBUH) and Violence"