Archangel Gabriel (عليه السلام) on the very day the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) came back to Madeenah after the previous battle, and while he was washing in Umm Salama’s house, visited him asking that he should unsheathe his sword and head for the habitation of the seditious Banu Quraiza and fight them. Gabriel noted that he with a procession of angels would go ahead to shake their forts and cast fear in their hearts.
The Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم), immediately summoned the prayer caller and ordered him to announce fresh hostilities against Banu Quraiza, institued Ibn Umm Maktum as a ruler of Madeenah, and entrusted the banner of war to ‘Alee bin Abee Talib who marched towards the appointed target and came close enough to hear the Jews abusing the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم), who on his part set out at the head of three thousand infantry men and thirty horsemen of Ansar (Helpers) and Muhajireen (Emigrants). On their way to encounter the enemy, the afternoon prayer was due. Some Muslims refused to observe it until they had defeated the enemy, while others offered it in its proper time, as usual. The Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) objected to neither. When they reached the habitations of Banu Quraiza, they laid tight siege to their forts. Seeing this terrible situation they were in, the chief of the Jews Ka’b bin Asad offered them three alternatives: to embrace Islaam, and consequently their life, wealth, women and children would be in full security, and reminded them that such behaviour would not be incongruous with what they had read in their books about the veracity of Muhammad’s Prophethood; to kill their children and women and then challenge the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) and his followers to the sword to either exterminate the Muslims or be exterminated, or as a third possibility to take Muhammad (صلى الله علیه وسلم) and his people by surprise on Saturday - a day mutually understood to witness no fighting.
None of those alternatives appealed them, so their chief, angrily and indignantly, turned to them saying: “You have never been decisive in decision-making since you were born.” The gloomy future already visible, they made contacts with some Muslims, who had maintained good relation with them, in order to learn about their fate in the light of the current circumstances. They requested that Abu Lubaba be despatched to them for advice. On his arrival, the men began to implore, women and children to cry desperately. In answer to their demand for advice he pointed to his throat saying it was homicide awaiting them. He then immediately realized that he had betrayed the Prophet’s trust, so he headed directly for the mosque in Madeenah and tied himself to a wooden tall pole swearing that no one would untie him save the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم), and added that he would never enter the habitation of Banu Quraiza in recompense for the deadly mistake he made. When the Messenger (صلى الله علیه وسلم) was informed of this incident, he said, “I would have begged Allaah to forgive him if he had asked me, but since he had tied himself out of his own free will, then it was Allaah Who would turn to him in forgiveness.”
The Jews of Banu Quraiza could have endured the siege much longer because food and water were plentifully available and their strongholds were greatly fortified, whereas the Muslims were in the wild bare land suffering a lot from cold and hunger, let alone too much fatigue consequent on endless warfare operations that had started even before the battle of Confederates. Nevertheless, this was a battle of nerves, for Allaah had cast fear in the the Jews’ hearts, and their morale had almost collapsed especially when two Muslim heroes, ‘Alee bin Abee Talib and Az-Zubair bin ‘Awwam (radi-Allaahu ‘anhumaa) proceeded with ‘Alee swearing that he would never stop until he had either stormed their garrisons or been martyred like Hamzah (a former Muslim martyr).
In the light of this reluctance, they had nothing except to comply with the Messenger’s judgement. The Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) ordered that the men should be handcuffed, and this was done under the supervision of Muhammad bin Salamah Al-Ansari while the women and children were isolated in confinement. Thereupon Al-Aws tribe interceded begging the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) to be lenient towards them. He suggested that Sa’d bin Mu’adh, a former ally, be deputed to give verdict about them, and they agreed.
Sa’d meanwhile stayed behind in Madeenah due to a serious wound he sustained in the Confederates Battle. He was summoned and brought on a donkey. On his way to the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم), the Jews used to exhort him to be lenient in his judgement on account of former friendship. Sa’d remained silent but when they persisted he uttered: “It is time for Sa’d not to be afraid of the blame of the blamers.” On hearing this decisive attitude, some of them returned to Madeenah waiting for a desperate doom.
On arrival, he alighted with the help of some men. He was informed that the Jews had agreed to accept his verdict about them. He immediately wondered if his judgement would pass on all the people present, the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) included, turning his face away in honour of him. The reply was positive.
He decided that all the able-bodied male persons belonging to the tribe should be killed, women and children taken prisoners and their wealth divided among the Muslim fighters. The Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) accepted his judgement saying that Sa’d had adjudged by the Command of Allaah. In fact, the Jews deserved that severe punitive action for the ugly treachery they had harboured against Islaam, and the large arsenal they have amassed and which consisted of one thousand and five hundred swords, two thousand spears, three hundred armours and five hundred shields, all of which went into the hands of the Muslims. Trenches were dug in the bazaar of Madeenah and a number of Jews between six and seven hundred were beheaded therein. Hotbeds of intrigue and treachery were thus exterminated once and for all.
Huyai, a chief criminal of war, a devil of Bani Nadir and Safiyah’s father, had joined the ranks of Banu Quraiza when Quraysh and Ghatfan defected, was admitted into the audience of the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) with his hands tied to his neck with a rope. In audacious defiance, he declared obstinate enmity to the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) but admitted that Allaah’s Will was to be fulfilled and added that he was resigned to his fate. He was ordered to sit down, and was beheaded on the spot.
Only one woman of the Jews was killed because she had killed a Muslim warrior by flinging a grinding stone upon him. A few elements of the enemy embraced Islaam and their lives, wealth and children were spared. As for the spoils of the war, the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) divided them, after putting a fifth aside, in accordance with Allaah’s injunctions. Three shares went to the horseman and one to the infantry fighter. Women captives were sent to Najd to be bartered with horses and weaponry. For himself, the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) selected Rehana bint ‘Amr bin Khanaqah, manumitted and married her in the year 6 Hijri. She died shortly after the farewell pilgrimageand was buried in Al-Baqi’.
After the war with Banu Quraiza had been settled and they had been defeated, Sa’d bin Mu’adh’s wish was gratified and he gave his last breath. In response to his supplication ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنها) narrated, Sa’d’s wounds began to bleed from the front part of his neck while he was in his tent which the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) had pitched for him in the mosque so that he would be in close proximity in order to inquire about and watch his well-being closely. The people were not scared except when the blood flowed towards them, and in the Mosque along with Sa’d’s tent, there was the tent of Banu Ghifar. They said: O people of the tent, what is it that is coming to us from you? Lo! it was Sa’d’s wound that was bleeding and he died thereon.
Jaabir narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) had said: “The Throne of the Compassionate shook for the death of Sa’d bin Mu’adh.” When his bier was carried, At-Tirmidhee said: The hypocrites alleged it was too light. The Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) retorted:
“The angels are carrying him.”
In the process of the sieze laid to Banu Quraiza, one man of the Muslims, Khallad bin Suwaid was killed when a women of the Jews dropped the grinding stone on him, and another, Abu Sinan bin Mihsan, the brother of ‘Ukasha, died.
Abu Lubaba stayed tied for six nights. His wife used to untie him at prayer times and then he tied himself again to the pole. One early morning, Allaah the All-Forgiving revealed a verse to the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) to the effect that Allaah had turned to Abu Lubaba with forgiveness. The Muslims rushed to release him but he insisted that the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) himself do it. And this was done shortly before the morning prayer.
This Ghazwah took place in the month of Dhul Qa’dah in the year five Hijri, and the siege of Banu Quraiza’s forts lasted for 25 days. The Chapter of Confederates was revealed containing Allaah’s Words concerning the basic issues relating to the believers and hypocrites during the battle of the Confederates, and the consequences of the treachery and breaching of covenants by the Jews.