Before the advent of Islam the Jews were well established in and around Madinah. Each tribe lived in well fortified areas. They controlled the economy of Madinah and owned practically all the date groves. They were the overlords of the poor and illiterate Arab tribes of Aus and Khazraj who were laborers. The Jews looked down upon them and used every opportunity to weaken them by inciting quarrels and fights between the two tribes.
On the arrival of Rasulullah in Madinah most of the people of Aus and Khazraj embraced Islam and the Jewish stronghold over them diminished when Rasulullah rejected their belief that they be recognized as the 'people of the Book'.
No kindness or generosity, however, on part of Rasulullah would satisfy the Jews; nothing could satisfy their bitter feelings with which they were aroused. Enraged that they could not use Rasulullah as their instrument for the conversion of Arabia to Judaism (the religion of the Jews), and Rasulullah 's teaching was so much simpler than their Talmudic (scriptures of the Jews) unverified stories. They soon broke off the 'Treaty' made with Rasulullah , and began conspiring with the enemies of Islam. When asked which they preferred idolatry or Islam, they (Jews) like many Christian controversialists said they preferred idolatry, with all its accompanying evils to the creed of Muhammed .
They slandered Rasulullah ; twisted their tongues and mispronounced Qur'aanic words, the daily prayers and formulae of Islam, making them meaningless, absurd, or blasphemous. The Jewish poet and poetesses of whom there existed many at the time, insulted all sense of common decency and recognized code of Arab honor and bravery by ridiculing in obscene verses Muslim women.
The Jews tried to sow the seed of dissatisfaction among the people of Madinah. By their deep superior education, by their deep friendship and unity with the party of the Munfiqeen (hypocrites) and by the general unity of the Jewish tribes of Banu Qainuqah, Banu Nadhir and the Banu Quraizah (so different from the disunity of the Arabs), the Jews formed a most dangerous element within the federated state which had risen under Rasulullah .
The defeat of the idolaters at Badr was felt as keenly by the Jews as by the Makkans. Immediately after the battle of Badr a well-known member of their race Ka'ab bin Ashraf, belonging to the tribe of Banu Nadhir publicly deploring the ill-success of the idolaters, proceeded towards Makkah. Finding the people there plunged in grief, he spared no effort to revive their courage by his sarcastic verses against the Prophet of Islam and his companions, by mournful verses (elegies) on the Makkan infidels who had fallen at Badr. He succeeded in inciting the Quraish to that frenzy of vengeance which took place in the form of a battle on the plains of Uhad.
However, the three Jewish tribes of Banu Qainuqah, Banu Nadhir and Banu Quraizah subsequently began to break the rules of the 'Treaty'. One grave incident of their treachery was the killing of seventy Sahaaba (R.A.) who were called by Bani Ka'ab by treachery to preach Islam. These missionaries were surrounded at Bir-Ma'una and mercilessly put to death. Such acts of deceit eventually led to the downfall of the Jewish tribes. They resorted to various schemes and plots with the munafiq Abdullah bin Ubay bin Sulool and the Kuffaar of Makkah to bring about the downfall of Islam.
The Banu Qainuqah were influential merchants, skilled craftsmen and goldsmith. A Muslim lady once went into the bazaar to sell milk. She was seated close to the shop belonging to a jeweller of the Qainuqah Jews, and became the victim of the most insulting practical joke. Without her knowing it one of the Jewish youth hooked the lowest edge of her robe to the part of the apparel covering her shoulders, so that when she rose to her feet, her nakedness was displayed to the gaze of the Jews in the shop. who were all overtaken by a fit of the most indecent laughter. A Sahaabi (R.A.) seeing this, furiously struck down the insulter with a blow. He in turn was pounced upon by the jeweller's relatives and killed. Other Muslims rushed to avenge him and a pitched battle took place in the open, blood flowing on both sides.
At the first news of the riot, Rasulullah hastened to the spot, and by his presence, succeeded in restraining the fury of the Sahaaba (R.A.). He at once realized what the end would be if these rebellions and disorders were allowed to take their course. Madinah would be turned into an amphitheater (arena), in which the member of the hostile factions might murder one another without being punished. The Jews had openly and knowingly broken the terms of the 'Treaty'. it was necessary to put a stop to this with a firm hand or else peace and security would never prevail in Madinah. Consequently, Rasulullah proceeded at once to the locality of the Banu Qainuqah and required them to enter into the Muslim Commonwealth by embracing Islam or to vacate Madinah. The reply of the Jews was given in the most offensive manner:
'O Muhammed , do not be elated with the victory over your people (Quraish). You have had an encounter with men ignorant of the art of war. If you are desirous of fighting us, we shall show you that we are men'.
Rasulullah called upon the Muslims to come to his aid. The Banu Qainuqah losing their arrogance as soon as Allah's warriors showed themselves, ran away and took refuge in shutting themselves up in their fortresses. After holding out for a fortnight, they had to surrender and beg for mercy although there were 600 Jewish men capable of fighting. On the recommendation of Abdullah bin Ubay bin Sulool, Hazrat Ubaidah bin Saamit (R.A.) was delegated the power of deciding the fate of the Jews. Hazrat Ubaidah bin Saamit (R.A.) led that the whole tribe of Banu Qainuqahh be banished from Madinah. They left Madinah and settled in Shaam (Syria).
The Banu Nadhi were also a treacherous tribe and were noted for their vile plotting against Rasulullah . Amr bin Umayyah Zumree killed two of the Banu Aamir men in retaliation for deceit at Bir Ma'una. The Banu Aamir were the allies of Banu Nadhir. Therefore, Rasulullah proceeded to the Banu Nadhir territory for arbitration of paying blood money to Banu Aamir. He was accompanied by Hazrat Abu Bakr (R.A.), Hazrat Umar (R.A.), Hazrat Ali (R.A.) and a few Sahaaba (R.A.).
Rasulullah had just given them satisfaction, and while conversing with a few companions, Nabi was seated in the shade of a house, when a Jew Amr bin Muhasin, son of Jahsh bin Ka'ab climbed stealthily onto the flat roof with the intention of crushing Rasulullah with huge stones already placed there. By Divine inspiration, Rasulullah looked up just as the son of Jahsh was about to throw the stones. Rasulullah moved quickly away. taking his Sahaaba (R.A.) with him.
The Banu Nadhir had now placed themselves in exactly the same position as the Banu Qainuqah had previously done. They had by their own act of deceit and treachery put themselves outside the pale of the 'Treaty'. As soon as Rasulullah reached Madinah he sent a message to Banu Nadhir asking them to enter definitely into the Muslim Commonwealth by embracing Islam or to vacate Madinah. Relying on the support of the Munafiqeen and Abdullah bin Ubay bin Sulool, with 2000 men to defend their settlement the Banu Nadhir returned a defiant answer. Rasulullah and the Sahaaba (R.A.) set out to punish these treacherous people. The Banu Nadhir shut themselves up in their strongholds. Disappointed however, in the promised assistance of Abdullah bin Ubay bin Sulool and their brethern the Banu Nadhir after holding out for ten days sued for terms of peace. The previous offer was renewed and they agreed to evacuate Madinah.
They were allowed to take all their moveable posesseions with them, with the exception of arms. According to Bukhari Shareef'. Hazrat Abbas (R.A.) has related that the weapons left behind by the jews were 350 swords,50 durrah (whip) and 50 helmets. In order to prevent the Muslims from occupying their dwellings, they destroyed these before leaving. This expulsion took place in Rabi-ul-Awwal 4 A.H.
The Jewish lands, warlike materials etc, which they could not carry away, were distributed by Rasulullah with the consent and cordial approval of the Ansaar, among the Muhajireen, who up to this time had been entirely dependent for support on the generosity of the People of Madinah. Rasulullah realized that in spite of the brotherly love that existed between the Muhajireen and Ansaar, the people of Madinah could not go on forever assisting the Muhajireen. He accordingly assembled the eminent men from among the Ansaar, and asked them whether they had any objection to his distributing among their brethren who had followed him from Makkah, the goods left behind by the Jews. With one voice the Ansaar answered:
'Give to our brothers the goods of the Jews; give them even a portion of ours; We willingly consent'.
Upon this Rasulullah divided the property among the Muhajireen and two of the Ansaar who were extremely poor.
During the Battle of Khandaq (Ditch) Rasulullah and the Muslims relied for the safety of the other side, if not upon the active assistance, at least upon the neutrality of the Banu Quraizah, who possessed several fortresses at short distance, towards the South-East. They were bound by the 'Treaty' to assist the Muslims against every attack from the enemies of Islam.
The Jews(Banu Quraizah) however were persuaded by the idolaters to break off the 'treaty' with the Muslims, and join the kuffar. As soon as the news of their defection reached Rasulullah , he sent the 'Two Sa'ads': Hazrat Sa'ad ibn Mu'az (R.A.) , Hazrat Sa'ad Ubaidah (R.A.) and Hazrat Abdullah ibn Rawaahah (R.A.) to ask them to uphold the 'Treaty'. The reply was defiant and ill-tempered:
'Who is Muhammed . and who is this Apostle God that we should obey him? There is no bound or treaty between us and him'.
As these Jews were well aquatinted with the locality, and could materially assist the besiegers by showing them the weak points of the city, the worry among the Muslims became great.
After the confederates dispersed following their defeat at the Battle of the Ditch, Rasulullah and the Muslim soldiers therefore felt it their duty to demand an explanation of the treachery. Rasulullah and the Muslim soldiers camped in front of a Jewish, enemy fortress, and after a blockade of 25 days forced them to surrender. The Jews made only one condition that their punishment should be left to the judgment of Hazrat Sa'ad bin Mu'az (R.A.) the chief of the Banu Aus tribe.
Hazrat Sa'd ibn Mu'az (R.A.) decreed that the fighting men should be put to death, and that their property divided and the women and children should become the slaves of the Muslims. This decision was compatible with the commands of the Torah (The Book of the Jews)
Rasulullah had made pacts with Jews from the beginning to the effect that they should live together as friends and equals and help each other in the defense of their own town. But the Jews proved by their treachery and intrigues (conspiracy) that they could not be relied upon under any circumstances. Thereafter, Rasulullah decided that the Jews should not be allowed to live in Madinah and they were expelled from the town. This was the natural result of their continuous and persistent hostile conduct, which no other people would ever have tolerated.