Mukhayriq 'the best of the Jews'


There are many stories that contemporary Imams rarely tell their congregations. The story of Mukhayriq, a Rabbi from Medina is one such story. I have heard the stories about the battle of Uhud, one of Prophet Muhammad major battles with his Meccan enemies, from Imams and Muslim preachers hundreds of times, but not once have I heard the story of Rabbi Mukhayriq who died fighting in that battle against the enemies of Islam.

So, I will tell the story of Rabbi Mukhayriq - the first Jewish martyr of Islam. It is quite apropos as the season of spiritual holidays is here.

Mukhayriq was a wealthy and learned leader of the tribe of Tha'labah. He fought with Prophet Muhammad in the battle of Uhud on March 19, 625 AD and was martyred in it. That day was a Saturday. Rabbi Mukhayriq addressed his people and asked them to go with him to help Muhammad . His tribe's men declined saying that it was the day of Sabbath. Mukhayriq chastised them for not understanding the deeper meaning of Sabath and announced to his people that if he died in the battle his entire wealth should go to Muhammad

Mukhayriq died in battle against the Meccans. And when Muhammad , who was seriously injured in that battle, was informed about the death of Mukhayriq, Muhammad said, "He was the best of Jews."

Muhammad inherited seven gardens and other forms of wealth from Mukhayriq. Muhammad used this wealth to establish the first waqf - a charitable endowment - of Islam. It was from this endowment that the Prophet of Islam helped many poor people in Medina.

When Muhammad migrated form Mecca to Medina in 622 he signed a treaty with the various tribes that lived in and around Medina. Many of these tribes had embraced Islam, some were pagan and others were Jewish. All of them signed the treaty with Muhammad that is referred to by historians as the Constitution of Medina. The first Islamic state, a multi-tribal and multi-religious state, established by Muhammad in Medina was based on this social contract.

According to Article 2 of the Constitution, all tribes who were signatory to the treaty constituted one nation (ummah). Mukhayriq's people too were signatories to this treaty and were obliged to fight with Muhammad in accordance to Article 37 of the Constitution, which says:

The Jews must bear their expenses and the Muslims their expenses. Each must help the other against anyone who attacks the people of this document. They must seek mutual advice and consultation, and loyalty is a protection against treachery. A man is not liable for his ally's misdeeds. The wronged must be helped.

In a way Rabbi Mukhayriq, who was also a well-respected scholar of Jews in Medina, was merely being a good citizen and was fulfilling a social contract. But his story is fantastic, especially for our times when we are struggling to build bridges between various religious communities. Mukhayriq's loyalty, his bravery, his sacrifice and his generosity are inspirational.

Perhaps it is about people like Mukhayriq that the Allah says:

And there are, certainly, among Jews and Christians,
those who believe in God, in the revelation to you,
and in the revelation to them, bowing in humility to God.
They will not sell the Signs of God for a miserable gain!
For them is a reward with their Lord (Quran 3:199).

Mukhayriq's story is a story of an individual's ability to transcend communal divides and to fight for a more inclusive idea of community. He was a true citizen of the state of Medina and he gave his life in its defense. He was a Jew and he was an Islamic hero and his story must never be forgotten and must be told and retold. When Muslims forget to remember his, and other stories that epitomize interfaith relations they diminish the legacy of Islam and betray the cause of peace.

If Muslim Imams told his story in their congregations in America and elsewhere, I am confident that it will contribute to manifestations of increased tolerance by Muslims towards others. There are many such wonderful examples of brotherhood, tolerance, sacrifice and good citizenship in Islamic traditions that undergird the backbone of Islamic ethics. I wish we told them more often.

Source: AltMuslim - Muqtedar Khan


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  9 Comments   Comment

  1. shahabuddin from India

    Very informative story. I had learned about the Meesaq e Madina

    (Madina agreement) But story of Mukhayriq Rabbi is eye opener and I

    have not read earlier. Thank you. Jazakallah Khair

  2. Adnan Chaabi from USA

    Thank you brother for a nice story.

    Some hyporcite wanted to frame a jew for some stolen good during the time of Muhammad SAAS. Muhammad listen to both side, the so-called muslim and the jew. the solen good was found at the jew's place. Allah SWT cleared the jew and told Muhammad SAAS that the hypcrite is the real thieve. read ayat 105-115 in surah 4 please.

    Islam is a great religion regarless what people think to the contrary.

  3. Muslim Londoner from UK

    This is a refreshing dose of historical reality highlighting the traditional relationship between the sons of Ibrahim (Alaihis salam). Muslims should be wary of extremism & falling into the trap of unthinking Judeophobia. P.S. I am the first one to say that I am a committed pro-Palestinan, in fact I am for a united pre-partition Palestine which includes Jews as equal citizens because of their special religious if not ethnic ties in many cases.

  4. john from maui

    Best could refer to a category - in which more than one person can share. It's a fascinating story of which I wasnt aware

  5. jahzee from USA

    Thank You Dr. Khan - I agree that more of these types of stories will help with our relationships with other faiths. Sadly the ignorance, hate and tribalism among some Muslim leader is what gets the press. These leaders continue to spread the hate that we accuse some Jews and Christians of. There are enough hate mongers in all the major faiths. Muslims have a unique position because we are directed to behave in a civil and moral regardless of what others do. The cultural contamination of Islam is a major challenge for us. Ask yourself if our beloved prophet would have approved of our decisions and actions.

  6. Tasneem from USA

    Fatima I understand yr intolerence but hate can

    only bring more hate..if Muslims can kill people

    in mosque and throw grenades --just think for a

    minute ..how can we justify no matter how angry we are..Muslims have reached the lowest point of their lives and no matter how wronge jews have done to us..no Muslim can justify this ..I always

    think abt that Jewish lady who use to throw trash

    on Mohammad Rasoallah SW and how tolerent he was

    and the Hikmat was to bear and tolerate when our

    time would come..I refuse to see the way u do and

    I want to bring my children up with more education and think through my head than my heart.

  7. Babandi A Gumel from UK

    Allahu A'alam but as far as we can remember Abdullahi Bin Salam (R.A)was among the best Jews who embraced Islam.But nonetheless you find among all other religions those who are fair minded persons not only the Jews but the Christians Hindus Budhist Shintos and all other Religions.Allah is Just and He wants fairness and Justice this is why we remind ourselves every Friday at the end of Khutbah Innalaha yaamuru bil adal wal Ihsan....So it is good to hear the story of this Mukhayriq which is a lesson for others who come to this website in such of goodness which they will continue to find and we pray for their guidance and Allah give all of us Hidayah to follow the truth as truth and shun baatil as baatil.

  8. fatima from USA

    maybe muqtedar khan should repeat this story in jewish synagogues and israeli parliament because they are the ones who are intolerant currently . mr muqtedar khan seems to blind .. deaf and dumb or he isignoring the truth all this agony against the muslim si because muslim are dying for the sins of mossad and zionist they are conducting the suicide bombings and blaming the muslims and innocent civillians are dying in afghanistan and iraq is being occupied for the benefit of these wonderful enemies of islam called jews rabbi mukhariq was unique if everyone of them was like that then the whole pruose of the quran would be defeated I wonder how much mr mukhariq was paid t oublish and speak of the opposite about muslims muslim have been too tolernat that is why they are seeing the result . if they were ike the evangelical racist christians and the zionist then the enemy would not be trnagressing them today . people attack those who are weak not the ones who are strong. shame on mr muqtedar khan he should ask jews and christian fundamentalist to be tolerant first

  9. Tasneem from USA

    I enjoyed this article and the point made..we Muslims and Al-jazeera spend too much time condeming Jews and the west for our trouble..to some extend it is true but it starts with us. I would like Islamicity to write more articles and bring some understanding between Muslims and the

    rest of the world.