MembersThe Jews of Arabia and the Making of Islam

Part V

By Yoni Israel |
Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90

624 AD

The recent exile of the priestly tribe of Qurayza has ended hundreds of years of Jewish presence in Medina. Hebrew can no longer be heard in the city’s market. The new Muslim landlords are busy erasing Hebrew inscriptions from the houses and removing sacred mezuzahs from doorposts. Muslims are shouting alhamdulillah, giving thanks to the new god who has given them priceless real estate and expensive goods. The latest fad is conversion to Islam.

The Battle of Badr, in which 300 Muslims defeated 3,000 well-trained Quraysh fighters, has just ended, and people are wondering whether it wasn’t Allah who aided the Prophet in his war against these pagan rivals. It seems as if this Allah is stronger than the popular goddesses Menat and Al-Uzza.

Every speech of Mohammed begins with “Allah will not leave the way for the unbelievers to triumph over the believers” (Sura 4, 141). These inciting words are scrawled all over the...

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