Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rabbi Mukhayriq, Yahudi Syuhada Perang Uhud

Perang Uhud adalah salah satu perang heroik Rasulullah dan para
Sahabatnya dari Madinah
melawan kaum musyrik Quraisy dari Mekkah.  Dalam perang ini sekitar 70
Sahabat Rasulullah
wafat sebagai syuhada, antara lain paman beliau, Hamzah bin Abdul Mutthalib.
Tetapi, tahukah Anda bahwa di antara yang bertempur di pihak
Rasulullah ada seorang Rabbi Yahudi,
Rabbi Mukhayriq yang akhirnya tewas melawan musuh-musuh Islam?
Saya juga baru tahu.
Tulisan Muqtedar Khan berikut ini menghimbau agar kisah ini disebarluaskan,
dan mengharap adanya cakrawala baru dalam dialog antaragama.

Ketika kita berdoa dan bersalawat untuk Rasulullah, para sahabatnya,
para syuhada,
apakah Rabbi Mukhayriq salah satunya?
"Dia (Mukhayriq) adalah yang terbaik di antara kaum Yahudi." (Rasulullah)

“He was the best of the Jews”

If Muslim Imams told the story of Rabbi Mukhayriq to their
congregations in America and elsewhere, I am confident that it will
contribute to manifestations of increased tolerance by Muslims towards


  There are many stories that contemporary Imams rarely tell their
congregations. The story of Mukhayriq, a Rabbi from Medina is one such
story. I have heard the stories about the battle of Uhud, one of
prophet Muhammad’s major battles with his Meccan enemies, from Imams
and Muslim preachers hundreds of times, but not once have I heard the
story of Rabbi Mukhayriq who died fighting in that battle against the
enemies of Islam.

So, I will tell the story of Rabbi Mukhayriq – the first Jewish martyr
of Islam. It is quite apropos as the season of spiritual holidays is

Mukhayriq was a wealthy and learned leader of the tribe of Tha’labah.
He fought with Prophet Muhammed in the battle of Uhud on March 19, 625
AD and was martyred in it. That day was a Saturday. Rabbi Mukhayriq
addressed his people and asked them to go with him to help Muhammed.
His tribe’s men declined saying that it was the day of Sabbath.
Mukhayriq chastised them for not understanding the deeper meaning of
Sabath and announced to his people that if he died in the battle his
entire wealth should go to Muhammed.

Mukhayriq died in battle against the Meccans. And when Muhammed, who
was seriously injured in that battle, was informed about the death of
Mukhayriq, Muhammed said, “He was the best of Jews.”

Muhammed inherited seven gardens and other forms of wealth from
Mukhayriq. Muhammed used this wealth to establish the first waqf – a
charitable endowment - of Islam. It was from this endowment that the
Prophet of Islam helped many poor people in Medina.

When Muhammed migrated form Mecca to Medina in 622 he signed a treaty
with the various tribes that lived in and around Medina. Many of these
tribes had embraced Islam, some were pagan and others were Jewish. All
of them signed the treaty with Muhammed that is referred to by
historians as the Constitution of Medina. The first Islamic state, a
multi-tribal and multi-religious state, established by Muhammed in
Medina was based on this social contract.

According to Article 2 of the Constitution, all tribes who were
signatory to the treaty constituted one nation (ummah). Mukhayriq’s
people too were signatories to this treaty and were obliged to fight
with Muhammed in accordance to Article 37 of the Constitution, which

The Jews must bear their expenses and the Muslims their expenses. Each
must help the other against anyone who attacks the people of this
document. They must seek mutual advice and consultation, and loyalty
is a protection against treachery. A man is not liable for his ally’s
misdeeds. The wronged must be helped.

In a way Rabbi Mukhayriq, who was also a well-respected scholar of
Jews in Medina, was merely being a good citizen and was fulfilling a
social contract. But his story is fantastic, especially for our times
when we are struggling to build bridges between various religious
communities. Mukhayriq’s loyalty, his bravery, his sacrifice and his
generosity are inspirational.

Perhaps it is about people like Mukhayriq that the Quran says:

And there are, certainly, among Jews and Christians, those who believe
in God, in the revelation to you, and in the revelation to them,
bowing in humility to God. They will not sell the Signs of God for a
miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord (3:199).

Mukhayriq’s story is a story of an individual’s ability to transcend
communal divides and to fight for a more inclusive idea of community.
He was a true citizen of the state of Medina and he gave his life in
its defense. He was a Jew and he was an Islamic hero and his story
must never be forgotten and must be told and retold. When Muslims
forget to remember his, and other stories that epitomize interfaith
relations they diminish the legacy of Islam and betray the cause of

If Muslim Imams told his story in their congregations in America and
elsewhere, I am confident that it will contribute to manifestations of
increased tolerance by Muslims towards others. There are many such
wonderful examples of brotherhood, tolerance, sacrifice and good
citizenship in Islamic traditions that undergird the backbone of
Islamic ethics. I wish we told them more often.

Muqtedar Khan is Director of Islamic Studies at the University of
Delaware and a fellow of the Institute for Social Policy and

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