We are now on the 10th blog of the Seerah, we left off with the religious background of idol worshiping and now we carry on with the Jewish faith in Arabia.
The king of Yemen Tubban As’ad ( Abu Karib) was travelling to do business in Ash-Sham and he passed next to Medina. What he did, he left his son in Medina in order to do business until he came back from Syria. While he was away the people of Medina killed his son, Tubban As’ad came back and heard the news that his son was killed. Upon hearing, he decided to destroy Medina. He attacked and his army was overwhelming compared to the small armies of Medina. If he wanted to, he could have crushed his opposition. But two Jewish rabbis came out of Medina to prevent it.
How did they get there in the first place?
When the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, the Jews dispersed. There were some who came down into Arabia in search of the promised land. Where the prophet would be sent because they had in their book, signs of the awaited prophet. Hence they were looking for the place where he would emigrate to. They saw these signs in Medina and in few other places like Hejaz. That’s where the Jews settled, for that reason they reach and also settled in Medina. You got three Jewish tribes which are Banu Qaynuqa, Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayza. They were ethnically Jewish emigrated when the Romans went after Jerusalem.
The two Jewish rabbis went to the Tubban As’ad and told him “This place is protected by God. If you attempt to destroy it. Allah will destroy you”. They were able to convince to him so Tubban As’ad not only agreed to withdraw his army and stop attacking Medina, but he also was impressed by their religion. He wanted to become Jewish himself and invited the two Jewish rabbis to go with him to Yemen. They agreed and from there on he became Jewish. While he was on his way south heading back to Yemen the tribe of Hawazin met him, who had a problem with the Quraish, the people of Mecca. They wanted to make a fitna (trial) to start a division between the king of Yemen and Mecca. They succeeded in this and Tubban As’ad was now contemplating on attacking Mecca.
Then the two Jewish rabbis intervene “This is another town that is protected by Allah, you shouldn’t attack Mecca, In fact you should go to Mecca and make Tawaf around the Kaabah”. Tubban As’ad agreed “Well let’s go”. The rabbis said “No we cannot join you”. “How come?” Tubban ask, they responded “We are scholars and it is not appropriate for us as scholars to go and make the Tawaf around the Kaabah when it’s surrounded by idols”, so he went in made Tawaf. In that time Tubban As’ad became the first person ever to clothe the Kaabah. He would clothe it once a year and the way they would do it in the past is that they would bring the new clothing and place it over the old. Why? because they considered the clothing of the Kaabah to be sacred and they wouldn’t take it off. They would keep on piling up one cloth over another until the sheer weight of it was so heavy. Eventually they decided that they’re gonna have to take it off and just place one clothing at a time.
Tubban As’ad then went with these two Jewish rabbis to Yemen, they were given freedom and encouragement to spread their religion among the Yemeni tribes. Many of the tribes in Yemen did embrace the Jewish faith. From then on you had two types of Jews in Arabia, first you have ethnic Jews in Khaybar in Madina. But then you have Jews by conversion in Yemen, so the Jews of Yemen are ethnically Arab. But they adopted the Jewish faith. As you can see that at some moments of time, the Jews did preach their religion and now they might not do that but there were points in history where they did preach their religion to others. And an example of this is Yemen. This is how the Jewish religion was introduced into Arabia.