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The date palm trees of the Banu Nadhir tribe being cut down and burnt

Question

Would you kindly please provide a detailed commentary of the following Hadith in Sahih Bukhari?

The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) had the date palm trees of the Banu Nadhir tribe burnt, and cut down at a place called Al-Buwayrah. Hassan ibn Thabit (radiyallahu ‘anhu) said in a poetic verse: “The chiefs of Bani Lu-ay found it easy to watch fire spreading at Al-Buwayrah.”

حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، حَدَّثَنَا جُوَيْرِيَةُ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنَّهُ حَرَّقَ نَخْلَ بَنِي النَّضِيرِ وَقَطَعَ، وَهْىَ الْبُوَيْرَةُ، وَلَهَا يَقُولُ حَسَّانُ وَهَانَ عَلَى سَرَاةِ بَنِي لُؤَىٍّ حَرِيقٌ بِالْبُوَيْرَةِ مُسْتَطِيرٌ‏.

(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 2326)

 

Answer

This Hadith refers to the time Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and his companions (radiyallahu ‘anhum) laid siege to the Banu Nadhir tribe. Allah Ta’ala has addressed this incident in the Quran, and many Hadiths pertaining to it have also been recorded.

In short, the repeated acts of treachery and betrayal of the Banu Nadhir tribe compelled Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) to issue a directive of launching an attack against them. The Banu Nadhir swiftly scurried into their fortresses and secured the doors. The Muslims then laid siege to them for a number of days.

(Fathul Bari, before Hadith: 4028-4032)

 

Eradicating the trees of the Banu Nadhir tribe

Regarding this event, Allah Ta’ala revealed the following verse:

ما قطعتم من لينة أو تركتموها قائمة على أصولها فبإذن الله وليخزي الفاسقين

Every date palm that you [i.e the Muslims] cut (and burnt) or left standing on its roots was by Allah’s permission and to humiliate the sinners. (Surah Hashar, Verse: 5)

Explaining this verse, Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu ‘anhu) has mentioned that the Sahabah (radiyallahu ‘anhum) were instructed to lure the Banu Nadhir tribe out of their forts. Aiding that cause, instruction was also given to cut down the trees.

(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 3303)

 

Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) has explained that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) ordered that the date palms of the Banu Nadhir tribe be destroyed so as to disgrace them, intimidate, and strike fear in their hearts.

(Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Surah Hashar, Verse: 5; Also see: Ruhul Ma’ani, Surah Hashar, Verse: 5)

 

‘Allamah Qastallani (rahimahullah) has mentioned that it was possible this was done to clear up the area in case a full battle was to take place.

(Irshadus Sari, Hadith: 2326)

 

Many other explanations have been given as well.

 

Additional Commentary

Al-Buwayrah refers to a well-known area between Madinah and Taymaa. It is there that the Banu Nadhir resided and where the incident took place.

The word بني لؤي was used in reference to the seniors of Makkah. Hassan bin Thabit (radiyallahu ‘anhu) recited the poem, mocking and reproaching them, as they were the ones who incited the Banu Nadhir tribe to breach their covenant and promised to assist them if the need arose. However, when the need did in fact arise, no one dared confront the Muslims.

(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 4032, and Umdatul Qari, Hadith: 2326)

 

For further detail, kindly refer to the aforementioned references, along with the books of Sirah.

 

And Allah Ta’ala knows best.

 

Answered by: Moulana Farhan Shariff

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar