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1. Religious and Social Leadership

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Chapter Summary

As the tribesmen of Arabia, the Jews of Medina drew their leadership from the more dominant clans among them. Their community leaders were judges, military commanders, and those who ruled on halakhic matters. According to Islamic tradition, Huyayy b. Akhtab was the most hostile opponent of Muhammad. Islamic sources suggest that Allah warned Muhammad of Huyayy's plan and he was saved. After Huyayy moved to Khaybar, he tried to organize opposition to the Muslims in Medina. In addition to the three large Jewish tribes in Medina, there were a few smaller Jewish tribes. Islamic sources present ʿAbd Allāh b. Ṣūriyā as the most learned man of the Torah in the Ḥijāz. Reports of his attitude towards Muhammad's message are contradictory. It seems that the leaders of the Banū al-Naḍīr and the Banū Qurayẓa were more devoted to their faith than the leaders of other Jewish tribes.

Keywords: ʿAbd Allāh b. Ṣūriyā; Arabia; Banū al-Naḍīr; Banū Qurayẓa; Huyayy b. Akhtab; Islamic tradition; Jews of Medina; Muhammad

10.1163/9789004266094_003
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