In Response to Brigitte Gabriel’s claims about Islam’s History
The speech of Brigitte Gabriel about the history of Islam is an attempt of defamation by oversimplifying and putting history out of context.
I have worked so far the first two and half minutes of her video, and here is the list of claims that were made in the first 2:30 mins:
“Muhammad Failed and Hijra to Medina” , “Medina and Jews, turned against Jews when they refused accepting him, killing them, expelling them ” and “ Borrow from old testament, similarity between Jews and Islam”.
To each of this claim I derived from history the related incidents and surroundings or overview. Because history has to be understood through sequence of series and cannot be simplified in 5 minuets unless I want to only fill you head and make your mind. I will also below give a short overall comment about the two and half minuets for those who don’t have enough time to read, at least they known why I am arguing her and calming her to be biased speaker with intentions of distortion.
Muhammad and his companions made Hijra (Migration) to Medina after Aws and Khazrj tribes, the main dominating tribes in Medina had embraced Islam. Also due to the fact that Muslims had already tried to migrate before fleeing persecution and Abuse, so Medina was a chance for muslims to start strong. In Medina, three Jew tribes (Banu Quryza, Banu Nadir and Banu Qaunuqa), which constituted minority as regards to Aws and Khazrj, lived in it. The Jews tried to kill Muhammad, they betrayed him during the Siege of Medina although their treaty, they poisoned him and they abused and killed Muslims. As a result, he fought them and expelled them. Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all religions from the same God. In Islam you must believe in Moses and Jesus as Prophets who were sent by God in different times with the same message. Moses was sent to the sons of Israel but they went astray and falsified the religion, likewise Jesus was sent to the Jews but again the religion was falsified. That’s why her claim of copying the religion is invalid, and it is absurd claim as Quraan has drives many examples criticizing the Jews, how could this please them?
Backdrop: Islam’s and Muslims’ conditions before Hijra to Medina
At early ages of the revelation to the prophet Muhammad which began when he was about 40 years old, Muhammad started secretly inviting his close relatives and friends. After three years of secret call to Islam, Muhammad started to declare Islam publicly for 10 years before year of Hijra (Migration).
Quraysh tribe’s leaders (The most powerful tribe in Mecca at that time) didn’t like the call to the new religion, as it was against their beliefs and their benefits. The people in Mecca were agnostics, they were worshipping the Idols which they installed around the Kaaba, and Islam came obviously to free people from worshiping people to worship the creator of the people. The values which Islam came up with such as giving equal rights to servants and their masters, raising the status and value of women, banning committing Adultery and etc, were met with dissatisfaction in a society suffered from women degradation and female infanticide, adultery, injustice and other vices were common practice. Those were all among reasons that made the leaders of Quraysh hate it and worry about their authority and power from the new trend.
They started to stop Islam fiercely and aggressively, they tried to lure the prophet Muhammad, intimidate him and even attacking him and his companions. They started torturing early Muslims until death, all Muslims during that time were subject to abuse and torture. They also launched a boycott against all Muslims which even included food and supplies ban. The persecution practiced against Muslims compelled them to migration. Two migrations were done by Muslims who were weak and most suffered from torture, those are Migration to Abyssinia and Second Migration to Abyssinia.
One could notice from her way of choosing her words and performing them, how much malice and hatred she has. Muhammad has obviously achieved success and the way she used “failed” is her trying picturing him as loser or failed among his people so he went to take advantage of other people.
Hijra to Medina:
Mecca was the hub of all Arabia, there was the Kaaba and in each year tribes of Arabia come to Mecca for pilgrimage during the pilgrimage season. Muhammad used to exploit the chance and explain Islam to other tribes and invite them to embrace it.
“In Mecca, at the pilgrimage season of 620, Muhammad met six men of the Banu Khazraj from Medina, propounded to them the doctrines of Islam, and recited portions of the Quran. Impressed by this, the six embraced Islam, and at the Pilgrimage of 621, five of them brought seven others with them. These twelve informed Muhammad of the beginning of gradual development of Islam in Medina, and took a formal pledge of allegiance at Muhammad’s hand, promising to accept him as a prophet, to worship none but one God, and to renounce certain sins such as theft, adultery, and murder. This is known as the “First Pledge of al-Aqaba”. At their request, Muhammad sent with them Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umair to teach them the instructions of Islam. Biographers have recorded the considerable success of Mus`ab ibn `Umair in preaching the message of Islam and bringing people under the umbrella of Islam in Medina.
The next year, at the pilgrimage of 622, a delegation of around 75 Muslims of the Banu Aws and Khazraj from Medina came, and in addition to restating the formal promises, they also assured Muhammad of their full support and protection if the latter would migrate to their land. They invited him to come to Medina as an arbitrator to reconcile among the hostile tribes. This is known as the “second pledge at al-Aqabah”, and was a ‘politico-religious’ success that paved the way for his and his followers’ immigration to Medina”
So, from this you can understand that the decision by Muhammad to migrate from Mecca to Medina was natural as now the tribes Aws and Khazraj are of his followers, and Medina is new safe place away from persecution and Abuse in Mecca.
“Medina and Jews”
“Turned against jews when they refused accepting him, killing them, expelling them”
It comes to your mind as you watch her, that Medina is the city of Jews in Arabia, which is wrong. Medina was inhibited by two main indigenous tribes which are Aws and Khazraj. The two tribes are the two dominating tribes and with them lived three Jew tribes Banu Quryza, Banu Nadir and Banu Qaunuqa.
Jewish tribe of Medina, ethically Jewish but bore Arab names, were majorly craftsmen and goldsmiths. Long term alliance with Banu Khazraj, on Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) arrival to Medina, and convenient with Muslims, of the three Jewish tribes of Medina, were considered to be the weakest tribe with only 300 soldiers with Armour and 400 soldiers without. The alliance was broken when a Banu Qaynuqa goldsmith pestered a Muslim women customer to show her face and later pinned her clothes down when she got up she was stripped naked, seeing this a Muslim man killed the goldsmith and the whole tribe killed the Muslim man which resulted in revenge killings, escalating to enmity between Muslims and Banu Qaynuqa (remember some of these Muslims were of Banu Khazraj who were long time supports of Banu Qaynuqa). And Banu Qaynuqa response for breaking the alliance was viewed as a declaration of war. Two strongholds of Banu Qaynuqa was besieged by Muslims for 14 or 15 nights and Banu Qaynuqa surrendered unconditionally, which resulted in expulsion of the Banu Qaynuqa from Medina, with all their belongings except their military arms. Abdullah ibn Ubayy chief of Banu Khazraj pleaded to let them remain in Medina. After their expulsion they migrated to De’ra in Syria and absorbed an existing Jewish community.
A Arab-Jewish tribe of Medina, either ethically Jewish but intermarried with Arabs, or were Arab converts to Judaism. Huyayy ibn Akhtab was the chief of the Banu Nadir, and an enemy of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) but never expressed his animosity towards Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) openly (refused to admit Abu Sufyan in his home), planned assassination of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) by dropping a stone on his head, on discovery of the treachery Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) ended alliance with Banu Nadir as a result they were given an ultimatum to leave Medina within a specified time, the Banu Nadir refused and Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) ordered siege of their fortress, after 6 nights of siege Banu Nadir surrendered and were given a safe passage and they were allowed to take all their belongings except their military arms, they left Medina and settled in Khaibar, who give them the status of leaders within the farming community, historically this event is also known as Invasion of Banu Nadir.
One of the three Jewish tribe of Medina, and remained to be the only Jewish tribe left in Medina after expulsion of Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Nadir, Banu Qurayza claimed to be Israelite decent, but intermarried with Arabs or gained some Arab customs, had long term alliance with Banu Aws, had alliance with Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).
Huyayy ibn Akhtab (cheif of Banu Nadir) travelled to Makkah to meet Abu Sufyan (chief of Quraysh) and convinced him to form a Confederate to defeat Prophet Muhammed (ﷺ), the Confederate included Quraysh, the expelled Jewish tribes Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Nadir, and other Pagan tribes
The Confederate army was 10,000 men and 600 horsemen and 2,000 men on camels which included
Quraysh : 4,000 foot soldiers, 300 horsemen, 1,000–1,500 men on camels
Banu Ghatafan : (Banu Nadir enlisted them by promising half of their harvest) 2,000 foot soldiers, 300 horsemen
Bani Assad, Banu Sulaym (Banu Nadir enlisted them as well) : 700 men
Banu Murra 400 men
Banu Shuja 700 men
Others (Bani Asad, Khaibar, Bani Nadir, Bani Qaynuqa) 2,000 men.
Siege of Medina
Confederate army seiged Medina for a total of 27 days, trenches was uncommon in Arabian warfare and the confederate army tried to attack with horses and camels to force a way in but failed. During the first 2–3 weeks of the siege they only exchanged arrows from a fair distance and the casualty was only about 8. The situation was a deadlock and any attempt by confederate army resulted in casualties.
Betrayal of Banu Qurayza
Getting tired of the deadlock Huyayy ibn Akhtab (Chief of Banu Nadir) turned to Banu Qurayza who had remained neutral and asked them to end their pact with Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), Banu Qurayza was very reluctant to betray Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) but Huyayy ibn Akhtab ensured that Muslims would be overwhelmed if they could betray Prophet Muhammed (ﷺ) when Banu Qurayza saw the confederate army they changed their stance to betray Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), which also gained the huge weaponry to Confederates.
Banu Qurayza strongholds were reinforced which caused Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) to be anxious about their intentions, and realized the grave danger the Banu Qurayza posed. Because of the pact with Banu Qurayza they didn’t make any defensive preparations along the border with them and the rumor of betrayal was causing panic withing Muslim ranks.
“Borrow from old testament, similarity between jews and Isalm”
In the islamic belief, there is only one unique God, creator of the universe. This one God has one message throughout humanity, and he sends this message through different messengers to various people and times, the same message but the teachings/ requests/ suits each nation and time. Of the most famous messengers of God are Moses, Abraham and Jesus. Each had words form God revealed to him example: Torah to Moses and Bible to Jesus. So Islam and the “heavenly religions” are not just similar, they are the same source the same message, the same religion “Islam” (the word means to submit to God purely so you can live in peace and harmony here and in the hereafter). Later on these earlier words of God (the books) were subject to modification and changes example: translation, addition to or omission from it. So these books no longer carry purely the words of God. Because of that (and due to original different legislation sent for different time frames and nations) we can see differences between these books -religions- which are all originally the same religion, example: while some Christians believe in the divinity of Jesus, Muslims believe he is one of the most honorable messengers, but merely .. a human. Qur’an (the final revelation) was always consistent about the “people of the book” (Jews and Christians), you cannot find change of tone or change of words when God mentions them in Qur’an.
What is also funny, how the lady said that Muhammad was trying to borrow from Judaism to please them, but in fact, in Qur’an, there are many criticism (and many praise) to the past and present Jews (at that time) and the purpose of mentioning criticism and praise about Jews and Christians was just to set both good and bad example, to encourage for doing what’s right and avoiding what’s wrong by learning by example.