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Rabbinic Opposition to Muhammad

Muslim-Jewish relations begin with the emigration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to the oasis of Medina in 622. Medina had a large Jewish community, but Muhammad's hopes of finding many converts among them were disappointed. Most Jews rejected him and some contradicted him openly.

The following text gives the traditional Muslim explanation for this opposition and lists Muhammad's Jewish opponents.


Ibn Ishaq states that at that time the Rabbis of the Jews began to manifest their hostility toward the Apostle of Allah -- may Allah bless him and grant him peace. They did it out of jealousy, envy, and malice because Allah Exalted had conferred distinction upon the Arabs by choosing him as His messenger from amongst them.

They were joined by some men from the Aws and Khazraj who had remained in their paganism. These were the hypocrites who clung to the faith of their fathers which was marked by polytheism and denial of the resurrection. However, when Islam appeared and their people united under it, they were forced to pretend to have accepted Islam. But they accepted only to protect themselves from being killed, while remaining hypocrites in secret. Thus they felt inclined toward the Jews because they belied the Prophet -- may Allah bless him and grant him peace -- and because they strove against Islam.

It was the Rabbis of the Jews who would question the Apostle of Allah and harass him. They brought to him abstruse questions in order to confuse the truth with falsehood. Portions of the Kuran were revealed concerning them and their questions. Although a few queries concerning what is permitted and forbidden were asked by the Muslims themselves.

(These are the names of those Jews:)

There follows a long list of names.

These then were Rabbis of the Jews, men whose malice and enmity was aimed at the Apostle of Allah and his companions. They raised questions and stirred up mischief against Islam in order to extinguish it -- the two exceptions to this being 'Abd Allah b. Salam and Mukhayriq.

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