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August 21, 1964 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1964-08-21

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Glubb's 'Great Arab Conquests' Delineates Muhammad's
Legacy from Judaism, Massacres of Jewish Settlements

For an understanding of the
Arab position, it certainly is
valuable to know the back-
ground of events in the Middle
East, the emergence of the
newly developing nations and
the strength they have acquired.
In "The Great Arab Con-
quests," published by Prentice-
Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs,
N. J., Gen. John Bagot Glubb,
who was the head of Jordan's
Arab Legion which offered the
stiffest resistance to the Israeli
military forces during Israel's
War of Independence and the
battle for Jerusalem, the events
that marked the rise of Muham-
mad as the Moslem leader and
the historic events of the 7th
century, are thoroughly review-
end and analyzed.
Gen. Glubb, who became
known as "Glubb Pasha," makes
this concluding statement to his
account of the Arab wars and
conquests: "The Arabic-speak-
ing world, after four centuries
of obscurity, is once again play-
ing its part in history. It is both
our duty and our interest to
study more thoroughly the his-
tory and mentality of this group
of races, which have to their
credit so long and illustrious an
historical record."
This will be generally con-
ceded, and the many references
to Jews in the era of Muham-
mad—their sufferings, the mas-
sacres that marked the destruc-
tion of Jewish communities—
have special interest for Jews
and for Israel.
* * •
Glubb describes the existence
in the 6th century of many Jew-
ish colonies in Arabia, in addi-
tion to those of the Christians.
He relates: "In the valley of
the Tigris and Euphrates, the
Jewish communities, dating
doubtless from the Babylonian
captivity, enjoyed religious tol-
eration under the Persian king.
.. . . The considerable Jewish
community in the Yemen has
only been reduced in number
since 1948, the majority having
now migrated to Israel. In addi-
tion, however, there were many
Jewish colonies in the North-
ern Hejas, notably in Teima,
Fadak, Khaibar and Yathrib
(after Islam to be named Med-
ina). No definite information
is available as to where these
Jews came from, or whether
they were Jews by race from
Judaea or Arabs converted to
Judaism. When we make their
acquaintance during the time of
Muhammad's ministry, their
language appears to be Arabic
and they are organized as tribes
precisely like the Arabs around
Of particular interest, in ref-
erence to the then spreading
Judaism and Christianity, is this
account of a convert to Juda-
"Nejran in South Arabia sup-
ported a flourishing Christian
population, with a cathedral
and a bishop. Early in the 6th
century A.D., tradition relates
that the Himyar ruler, Dhu
Nuwas of Sanaa, was converted
to Judaism. With the fanaticism
of the proselyte, he carried out
a massacre of the Christian of
Nejran . . ."
Glubb adds that "in the field
of religion, both Christianity
and Judaism were well known
and a great number of Arabs,
including even Bedouin tribes,
were at least nominally Chris-
In the year 610, when Mu-
hammad was 40, "his mind
dwelt on the eschatalogy of
which he had gathered frag-
ments from the Jews and the
Christians, on a single, vast,
almighty, spiritual Deity, on the
bliss of eternal happiness for
the faithful, or on the agonies
of unending tortures in hell
fire . . ."
* * S
Muhammad has greater con-
nections with Jews, and the in-
fluence exerted upon him by
what became his Jewish heri-

tage is described as follows:
"The basis of the new Apos-
tle's teaching was what he him-
self called the religion of Abra-
ham. The pure revelation made
to Abraham, he alleged, had
been subsequently distorted by
the Israelites. Eventually Jesus
had been sent to bring religion
back from Judaistic heresies to
the true faith. Muhammad be-
lieved in the Virgin Birth and
stated that Jesus had been the
Spirit of God, and had once
again preached the pure faith
of Abraham. Subsequently, how-
ever, the Christians also had
adulterated the true faith, as
the Jews had done before them.
Now he, Muhammad, had been
sent by God, in order that once
more mankind be recalled to
the purity of the original true
"The Prophet, therefore, did
not claim to be the propounder
of a new religion. His was iden-
tical with the faith preached by
Abraham, Moses and Jesus. It
was the Jews and the Christians,
the self-styled disciples of Moses
and of Jesus, who had deviated
from the true faith preached by
Muhammad and all the proph-
ets who had preceded him. In
the early stages of his ministry,
he seems to have hoped that
the Jews and the Christians
would recognize the errors
which (as he claimed) had
crept into their beliefs and
would rally to him to form one
true, all - embracing, religious
"In general, the Prophet
seems to have had more con-
nection with Jews than with
Christians. He makes gener-
ous use of Old Testament
stories, though his versions
are not always the same as
the originals, at least in de-
tails. As it seems probable
that he himself could not
read, he may have heard
these stories and repeated
them from memory. In • gen-
eral, his preaching carried
rather an Old Testament
flavor. Passages in the Bo-
ran ordering the faithful to
fight against the unbelievers
can be matched by many pass-
ages in the Old Testament
where, for example, Jehovah
is represented as ordering
the extermination of the
Amalekites. He appears to
have been less well informed
on the subject of Christi-
anity. He believed, for ex-
ample, that the Holy Trinity
consisted of Jesus, the Virgin
Mary and God."
Another commen t, which
serves as an interesting adden-
dum to the explanation of the
Islamic religious viewpoints, is
Glubb's explanation: "The rela-
tions between Christianity and
Judaism today justify a brief
comment. As Muhammad him-
self declared, Judaism, Christi-
anity and Islam are three re-
lated religions. If we consider
them alone, their differences
may appear profound, but when
we compare them to Hinduism,
Buddhism or communist athe-
ism, they appear, by contrast,
closely connected with one an-
other. Yet many people regard
Christianity and Islam as the
great rival religions. This illu-
sion takes its origin, I believe,
from political rather than reli-
gious causes."
Then he declares that "Mus-
lims have scarcely ever been
involved in hostilities against
Jews except in the last 40 years
in Palestine." This sounds in-
credulous upon reading Glubb's
own accounts of the massacres
in which entire Jewish com-
munities were the victims.
* k *
Glubb traces the Jewish rela-
tionships with Muhammad by
pointing out that "the Jewish
tribes were at first not openly
hostile to the Prophet who had
pronounced his doctrines to be
those of the original religion of
Abraham. The Muslims at this
time faced the tern le in Jerus-

alem when praying and in every
way the Prophet seemed anx-
ious to win the friendship of
the Jews, with whom he con-
cluded an agreement providing
for muti. .,^_ooperation."
There w
Jetx7-1.1 settle-
ment in Mel
adopted a ct
_ed an
toward them an
agreement with them. "Before
he had been a year in Medina,
however, friction arose. The
Jews rejected the Prophet's
mission and, in some cases, even
expressed contempt and deri-
sion. After the battle of Bedr, a
brawl between a Jew and a
Muslim having occurred, Mu-
hammad besieged the Jewish
tribe of Beni Quainuqa in their
settlement, until they surren-
dered. It appeared as if the
Apostle were about to order
their wholesale massacre. Ab-
dullah ibn Obay, the paramount
chief of the Aus and Khazraj
tribes, pleaded so forcibly for
their lives that Muhammad re-
lented. They were ordered to
migrate from Medina to Syria,
and their houses and property
were divided among the Mus-
This was the beginning of the
period of massacres. Before
very long there was an advance
"on the settlement of Beni
Quraidha, the last Jewish tribe
in the Medina Oasis . . . The
sudden withdrawal of the Mec-
cans had left the Jews to face
the indignant Muslims unsup-
ported." Glubb describes the
horrible event as follows:
"The siege of their settlement
lasted for 25 days. Eventually
they surrendered uncondition-
ally. The Jews had long been
resident in Medina, the friends
and allies of the local Arabs.
Muhammad agreed to refer the
decision regarding their fate to
Saad ibn Muadh of the Aus
tribe, formerly their ally. Saad
had been one of the earliest
Medina converts to Islam and
had carried the banner of his
tribe at Bedr. He was now dying
from an arrow wound, received
during the siege. A former
friend of the Jews, he had per-
haps become embittered by his
wound. He announced his deci-
sion that every man of Beni
Quraidha should be put to
death, the women and children
sold as slaves and their posses-
sions taken as plunder. The
Apostle welcomed the verdict
as just and ordered its execu-
tion. Trenches were dug during
the night and on the following
day the Jews were led out in
small parties, their hands tied,
and made to sit down beside
the trench. They were then be-
headed, their bodies pushed
into the trench and another
batch called up. Some 700 men
were dispatched in this man-
ner. Before execution they were
offered the alternative of Islam.
By the repetition of a single
sentence, they could have been
transformed from condemned
criminals to the equals of their
conquerors, but few took advan-
tage of the offer."
Soon thereafter, a defeat by
Muhammad's forces at Uhud
"was atoned for by the plunder
of the Beni Nadheer Jews," and
six weeks after that, "Muham-
mad restored the morale of his
followers by leading them in
June 628 to the attack of Khei-
bar, a Jewish settlement 80
miles north of Medina. There
was some resistance and the
various settlements in the oasis
were attacked one by one and
taken by storm. This time the
Jewish cultivators were not ex-
iled, for the Apostle wished to
keep his followers round him
at Medina in readiness for ac-
tion. He therefore did not wish
them to acquire land and
houses at Kheibar. As a result,
the land was left to the Jews
to cultivate on the condition of
their agreeing to pay half the
annual produce as tribute to
the Muslims. The movable prop-
erty, money and jewels, camels

and sheep and stores of dates,
oil and grain, were carried off
as plunder." * * *

The Muslim interest in Jerus-
alem may be gleaned from Mu-
hammad's rule that his follow-
ers face the Holy City in their
prayers. We are told by Glubb:
"Jerusalem was, and still is,
deeply venerated by Muslims.
Muhammad had first taught his
followers to face towards Jerus-
alem when praying, and it was
from the site of the temple in
Jerusalem that he had flown up
to the heavens on his night
Glubb's "The Great Arab Con-
quests" does, indeed, add to an
understanding of the Arab
mind. It enlightens us on the
early history of the conquests,
on the Judaic legacy in Moham-
eddanism — and also on the
crimes that were perpetrated
against the Jewish settlements.

New Spanish Magazine
Praises Hitler Regime

LONDON (JTA) — A new Span•
ish magazine which lauds Hitler as
a leader who was "humane and
sentimental," declares that the
murder of 6,000,000 Jews by the
Nazi regime is "a fable" and
blames World War II on "the Jews
and the democracies," has ap-
peared in Spain, according to dis-
patches received here from Madrid.
The magazine, called Juanperez,
carries a photograph of Hitler on
its front cover and strongly de-
fends Nazism as well as Hitler in
its current issue, declaring there
"were some good things in his re-
The Madrid reports indicate that
foreign diplomats there are puzzled
by the appearance of Juanperez,
since all publications in Spain, ex-
cept those issued by the Roman
Catholic Church, are subject to
state control, and no publication
that fails to obtain government ap-
• proval can be printed or circulated.

48 Friday, August 21, 1964

Hebrew Corner

Dental Congress
Closes in Israel

The Skeletons
of Massada

sional and technical questions of
special concern to dentists through-
out the world were discussed at
the International Dental Congress,
in session here.
Dr. James Hollers, president of
the American Dental Association,
speaking art the Congress, hailed
the establishment of the new He-
brew University-Hadassah School
of Dentistry. A posthumous hon-
orary fellowship was conferred
by the Hebrew University, honor-
ing the late Prof. Isaac Schour of
the University of Illinois. T h e
award was accepted by Prof.
Schour's widow.

Senate Resolution
Would Commemorate
Uprising in Ghetto

tor Kenneth B. Keating, New York
Republican, introduced a resolu-
tion in the Senate to commemor-
ate the Warsaw Geetto Uprising
of April 1943.


Massada is high up above cliffs over-
looking the Dead Sea. For generations
this place was a symbol of Jewish hero-
ism in the eyes of Israel and the
nations. In the times of the Romans
Massada was a walled stronghold into
which retreated the zealots that fought
against the Romans for Judean inde-
pendence. In Massada there are ruins
of a castle built by King Herod.
The zealots that withdrew to Massada
held out for 3 years in their war against
the Roman army that beleaguered them.
It was only in the year 75 that the
Romans were successful in breaking into
the fortress.
The fighters of Massada were decisive
in not falling into the hands of the
Romans, so they killed each other.
Since then the hill of Massada stands
desolate overlooking the Dead Sea.
It is only youth groups that come
here and gather in memory of the
heroes that fell.
Many archaeologists dreamt about
digging at Massada. It is only now
that Prof. Yigal Yadia is at the head
of a group numbering 200 volunteers
that are out to uncover the secrets
that lie here. The group includes not
only Jews, but also young people from
all part of the globe. Already in the
first weeks of the excavations many
important objects were found. Amongst
these were 15 skeletotns in a cave. Do
these belong to the last defenders of
Massada? This we as yet do not know.
Coins of different periods were
found and also a large quantity of
br 'nue ornaments.
—Translation of Hebrew Column
Published by Brith Ivrith
Olamith, Jerusalem

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