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 Battle of Khaybar

The Battle of Khaybar (Arabic: ????? ?????) was fought in the year 629 between Muhammad and his followers against the Jews living in Khaybar, an oasis located 150 kilometers (95 miles) from Medina in the area of Hejaz of the western part of the Arabian peninsula in what is nowadays Saudi Arabia. Contemporary scholars believe that Muhammad moved to attack Khaybar in order to raise his prestige among his followers, as well as to capture booty to sustain subsequent conquests.[1][2] The battle ended with Muhammad`s victory, which allowed him to gain sufficient money, weapons, and support from local tribes to capture Mecca just 18 months after Khaybar.[3]

The defeated Jews were reduced to serfdom. They surrendered on condition of paying tribute to Muhammad and giving up all their land to Muslims. Some scholars hold that this agreement did not cover the Banu Nadir tribe, which had sought refuge in Khaybar after their expulsion from Medina, and that the Muslims beheaded all the men of Banu Nadir, sparing only the lives of the Khaybarian Jews.[4] But this issue is contentious. Jews continued to live in the oasis for several more years until they were finally expelled by caliph Umar. The imposition of tribute upon the conquered Jews served as a precedent for provisions in the Islamic law requiring the exaction of tribute known as jizya from dhimmis, i.e. non-Muslims under Muslim rule, and confiscation of land belonging to non-Muslims into the collective property of the Muslim community.


Khaybar in the 7th century
Khaybar, seventy miles north-east of Madinah, was a Jewish colony with citadels and was the headquarters of the Jewish garrison. It was the last and most formidable Jewish stronghold in Arabia. Muhammad wanted to be secure on that front because the Jews spent much of their wealth on stirring up the neighbouring Arab tribes to wage war against the Muslims.

Muhammad and the Jews of Medina
Over several years after his arrival in Medina, Muhammad killed or expelled all Jews from Medina, because of their siding with the Meccans. In 625, after the defeat in the Battle of Uhud at the hands of the Meccan army, Muhammad expelled from Medina the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir, who then found refuge in Khaybar. In 627, after the Battle of the Trench, Muhammad and his followers beheaded all the men and children of Banu Qurayza, the only Jewish tribe remaining in Medina at that time, and enslaved their women.[1][5]

Muhammad’s reasoning behind his decision to attack Khaybar was the betraying of the jews leaders with the muslims in many agreements and spying on muslims for the sake of kufar, which had been under the peace greement of hydybiya and the quraish tryings to put on fire of war again and ofcourse the best players was jews . The conquest of Khaybar would enable to set a stable security mood in madina after cuting the spies heads of jews who, having hoped to capture Mecca, were disappointed and discontented at the treaty with the Meccans. In addition, the Hudaybiyya agreement gave him the assurance of not being attacked by the Meccans during the expedition.[1][6]

In his preparations for the attack, Muhammad took steps to eliminate some of the leaders of the Jews of Khaybar. His henchmen stole into Khaybar at night and assassinated Abu al-Rafi ibn Abi al-Huqayq, one of the Khaybar chieftains. Seeing the willingness of the Jews to set war with him, with Muhammad.[7]

Jewish defensive preparations
The expulsion of Banu Nadir from Medina led the Jews of Khaybar to realize the danger they were in. Huyayy ibn Akhtab, the chief of Banu Nadir, went with his son to join Meccans and Bedouins besieging Medina during the Battle of the Trench. After the siege of Medina proved unsuccessful, both Huyayy ibn Akhtab and his son defended Banu Qurayza, who were besieged by Muhammad and his followers, and shared the fate of the men of Banu Qurayza who were killed by the Muslims after the surrender.[7]

Course of the battle
Muhammad and his followers marched on Khaybar in May 629. According to different sources, the strength of his army varies from 1,400 to 1,800 men and between 100 and 200 horses. Thanks to the speed and secrecy of the march, the Muslims caught the Jews by surprise; the Jews realized they were under attack only when they went out to work in the fields. As a result, the Jews failed to mount centrally organized defense, and each family was left to defend its own fortified redoubt. In addition, Muhammad bribed the Bedouin allies of the Jews and prevented any further assistance from coming to Khaybar.[6][1]

Knowing the fate of Banu Qurayza, the Jews of Khaybar put up fierce resistance, and Muslims were forced to take fortresses one by one.[6] The Jews, after a rather bloody skirmish in fron