According to this hadith:

"Narrated Atiyyah al-Qurazi: I was among the captives of Banu Qurayzah. They (the Companions) examined us, and those who had begun to grow hair (pubes) were killed, and those who had not were not killed. I was among those who had not grown hair."

Abu Dawood - Sunan Abi Dawud 4404 ( Sahee )

Bani Qurayza tribe was responsible for breaking of treaty and joining the polytheist(Quraysh) army. So when the Muslims attacked Bani Qurayza, they killed all grown men. My question is, why did they kill all the men and not only those men(the leaders of Bani Qurayza) who broke the treaty?

  • 2
    I've heard that this hadith was used to justify the 2014 Peshawar school massacre
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 22:09
  • Yes, the people involved in the Peshawar Massacre used this. Its sad to see people not understanding Islam and using it to justify their wrong acts.
    – Pepper
    Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 5:41

3 Answers 3


It should be noted that mentioned killing of Banu Qurayza's men was carried out according to the Jewish Law (Deutronomy 20:10-14) not Islamic Shariah. Here is the excerpt from NIV:

10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies.

Banu Qurayza had a treaty with Medina City State which they breached. The prophet gave them option whether he himself should impose a punishment on them or they want their own arbiter. They decided to go for the second option and chose Sa'd ibn Mu'adh.

See this hadith of Bukhari

Narrated By Abu Said Al-Khudri : The people of (Banu) Quraiza agreed to accept the verdict of Sad bin Mu'adh. So the Prophet sent for Sad, and the latter came (riding) a donkey and when he approached the Mosque, the Prophet said to the Ansar, "Get up for your chief or for the best among you." Then the Prophet said (to Sad)." These (i.e. Banu Quraiza) have agreed to accept your verdict." Sad said, "Kill their (men) warriors and take their offspring as captives, "On that the Prophet said, "You have judged according to Allah's Judgment," or said, "according to the King's judgment."

  • Who ordered to behead them? Thanks. Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 6:47

It was a decision that was up to the leader. So if you were the Khalifah, you could have decided to kill the men responsible and it would have been valid because it was according to the Shariah.

The Rasool (saw) ordered the killing of Jews because they betrayed treaties he signed with them. Like the Banu Qurayzah, the Rasool (saw) besieged them after they betrayed him when the Ahzaab (confederates) rallied to destroy and exterminate the Muslims and the Islamic State once and for all. The Banu Qurayzah were convinced into supporting the ahzaab by the Jew Huyay Bin Akhtab, who hated Muhammad (saw) and Islam for taking away the leverage they had over the people of Madinah. So Muhammad (saw) laid siege on them. They sought ease to be let to leave Madinah, Muhammad (saw) rejected. They appealed in different ways but Muhammad (saw) rejected because they were treacherous. At the end, Muhammad allowed them to choose from the Muslims to choose who will judge them. They chose Mu’adh Bin Jabal al-Khazraji who took oath from them that they will accept his judgment. He judged that all the men should be executed, their children and women taking as captives. This was approved and done by the Rasool (saw).


The answer is simple, yet difficult for some to believe or grasp.

The answer is YES... When a country does treaty with another country, ALL its citizens are responsible to hold this treaty.

So, if ONE breaks the treaty ALL are HELD responsible.

Many instances of this sort had happened at the time of Prophet pbuh.

The other two tribes of the JEWS were also expelled due to mistakes of few.

Also entire Mecca paid the price for the treachery of ONE tribe who was part of the alliance in treaty of Hudaibiyya.

ALL for ONE and ONE for ALL... is the Islamic concept.

The Banu Quraida's chiefton broke the treaty with Muslims, and therefore, entire Tribe paid the price.

However, having said this, there were people from Banu Quraida, who embrassed Islam and were pardoned, including many slaves from that tribe.

  • Can you give reference?
    – Pepper
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 6:31
  • 2
    This is not accurate. Not everyone is/was held responsible - only those who upheld the treachery and were adult men of fighting age.
    – Ansari
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 15:55

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