The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book

By Norman A. Stillman | Go to book overview

4
THE LONG TWILIGHT The Jews of Arab Lands is the Later Middle Ages

A DOCUMENT OF PROTECTION (DHIMMA) ATTRIBUTED BY THE JEWS TO MUHAMMAD
(YEMEN, LATER MIDDLE AGES?)

This is the writ of protection which was extended to the Children of Israel by the Prophet Muḥammad--peace be upon him, and Allah's mercy and blessing.

Long ago, the heathens revolted against the Prophet Muḥammad-- peace be upon him. But Allah granted him victory over them. He killed their leading men, and he took prisoner Ṣafiyya b. Ḥuyayy b. Akhṭab.1 Then the Children of Israel came to him saying: "O Prophet of Allah, o distinguished Prophet, who commands all good and forbids all evil, we are with you and for you; we shall fight to the death against the heathens who oppose you." Then the Prophet rose up and fought the unbelievers, causing a great upheaval among them. He destroyed their city, killed their leading men, and took Ṣafiyya b. Ḥuyayy b. Akhṭab prisoner. Then the Children of Israel came to him and said: "O Prophet of Allah, behold we are obedient and not rebellious, and we shall fight on your side in a renewed, fierce holy war." The Prophet replied: " Allah has revealed to me that I shall marry Ṣafiyya b. Ḥuyayy b. Akhṭab. Her freedom will be her dowry." Those who were present, that is, the Muslims, the Believers, the elders, and the scribes, replied: "O Prophet of Allah, yours is the command, yours is the prophecy, and yours is the knowledge."

The Children of Israel fought in his vanguard until Friday noon. The

____________________
1
1In the text, Ṣafiyya's father's name is distorted to al-Ḥāwī b. al-Khaṭṭāb.

-255-

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