Nuaym Ibn Masud

Nuaym thus struggled with his conscience and debated with himself. Then he came to a decision. Suddenly he stood upright, determined. The doubts were gone. Under the cover of darkness, he slipped away from the camp of his tribe and made his way to the Prophet of God, peace and blessings of Allah be on him.

When the Prophet beheld him, standing erect in his presence, he exclaimed, “Nuaym ibn Masud?”

“Yes, O Messenger of God,” declared Nuaym. “What has brought you here at this hour?”

“I came”, said Nuaym, “to declare that there is no god but Allah and that you are the servant of God and His Messenger and that the message you have brought is

He went on: “I have declared my submission to God, O Messenger of God, but my people do not know of my submission. Command me therefore to do whatever you desire.”

“You are only one person among us,” observed the Prophet. “So go to your people and act as if you have nothing to do with us for indeed war is treachery.”

“Yes, O Messenger of God,” replied Nuaym. And if God wills, you shall witness what pleases you.” Without losing any time, Nuaym went to the Banu Qurayzah. He was, as was mentioned earlier, a close friend of the tribe. “O Bani Qurayzah,” he said. “You have known my love for you and my sincerity in advising you.”

“Yes ,” they agreed, “but what are you suspicious of so

far as we are concerned?” Nuaym continued: “The Quraysh and the Ghatafan have their own interests in this war which are different from your interests.” “How so?” they queried.

“This is your city,” Nuaym asserted. “You have your wealth, your children and your womenfolk here and it is not in your power to flee and take refuge in another city. On the other hand, the Quraysh and the Ghatafan have their land, their wealth, their children and their womenfolk away from this city. They came to fight Muhammad. They urged you to break the treaty you had with him and to help them against him. So you responded positively to them. If they were to be victorious in their encounter with him, they would reap the booty. But if they fail to subdue him, they would return to their country safe and sound and they would leave you to him and he would be in a position to exact the most bitter revenge on you. You know very well that you would have no power to confront him.”

“You are right,” they said. “But what suggestion do you have?” “My opinion,” Nuaym suggested, “is that you should not join forces with them until you take a group of their prominent men as hostages. In that way you could carry on the fight against Muhammad either till victory or till the last of your men or theirs perish. (They would not be able to leave you in the lurch).” “You have advised well,” they responded and agreed to take up his suggestion.

Nuaym then left and went to Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, the Quraysh leader and spoke to him and other Quraysh leaders. “O Quraysh,” said Nuaym, “You know my affection for you and my enmity towards Muhammad. I have heard some news and I thought it my duty to disclose it to you but you should keep it confidential and do not attribute it to me”

“You must inform us of this matter,” insisted the Quraysh.

Nuaym continued: “The Banu Qurayzah now regret that they have agreed to participate in the hostilities against Muhammad. They fear that you would turn back and abandon them to him. So they have sent a message to Muhammad saying: ‘We are sorry for what we have done and we are determined to return to the treaty and a state of peace with you. Would it please you then if we take several Quraysh and Ghatafan nobles and surrender them to you? We will then join you in fighting them – the Quraysh and the Ghatafan – until you finish them off.’ The Prophet has sent back a reply to them saying he agrees. If therefore the Jews send a delegation to you demanding hostages from among your men do not hand over a single person to them. And do not mention a word of what I said to you.”

“What a good ally you are. May you be rewarded well ,” said Abu Sufyan gratefully.

Nuaym then went to his own people the Ghatafan, and spoke to them in a similar vein. He gave them the same warning against expected treachery from the Banu Qurayzah.

Abu Sufyan wanted to test the Banu Qurayzah so he sent his son to them. “My father sends greetings of peace to you,” began Abu Sufyan’s son. “He says that our siege of Muhammad and his companions has been a protracted affair and we have become weary…We are now determined to fight Muhammad and finish him off. My father has sent me to you to ask you to join battle with Muhammad tomorrow.”

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