It was an Arab custom and it is also practiced everywhere else, even to this day, that two feuding parties agree on someone to act as the arbitrator. Muhammad who was at first considered to be an outsider and therefore impartial was called to act as an arbitrator in one of these conflicts. It is important to note that the conflict in Yathrib was not between Muslims and Jews; otherwise Muhammad could not have acted as the arbitrator. Also as we saw earlier there were no religious disagreements in Yathrib. However Jews were part of the treaty because of their alliances with the Arab tribes.
This must have been a golden opportunity in the prophetic carrier of Muhammad, which changed his fortune and turned the odds in his favour. As part of the pledge, they were to protect the Prophet as they would protect their women and children if he were attacked by the Meccans.
The numbers of the Muslims in Yathrib grow thanks to the tolerance of the Jews and their error in giving the immigrants a safe haven. Jews did not foresee that the man to whom they give asylum today would be so ungrateful that would turn against them and eventually would be the cause of their destruction.
The treaty did not give Muslims a mandate to govern. Ibn Hisham reports part of that treaty. But as we shall see this treaty must have been forged. It states.
"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. They shall sincerely wish one another well. Their relations will be governed by piety and recognition of the rights of others, and not by sin and wrongdoing. The wronged must be helped. The Jews must pay with the believers so long as the war lasts. Yathrib shall be a sanctuary for the people of this document. If any dispute or controversy likely to cause trouble should arise, it must be referred to God and to Muhammad the Apostle of God; Quraish and their helpers shall not be given protection. The contracting parties are bound to help one another against any attack on Yathrib; Every one shall be responsible for the defence of the portion to which he belongs" (lbn Hisham, vol. ii, pp. 147 to 150).
There are several clues that make us realize that this treaty is altered. The most obvious is that the Jews could not have signed a document, which would have acknowledged Muhammad to be the Apostle of God
. This would have meant acceptance of Muhammadâ€™s claim by the Jews, which obviously never happened.
So the above document is most likely forged. Also there are contradictions in the context of the document. It starts as a treaty signed by two sovereign nations (tribes) with equal rights and powers. However the phrases â€œThe Jews must pay with the believers so long as the war lastsâ€ and â€œIf any dispute or controversy likely to cause trouble should arise, it must be referred to God and to Muhammad the Apostle of God;â€
contradict that notion of equality.
These sentences are more likely inserted later. They give Muslims superiority, which is in conflict with the rest of the document that gives an impression of an agreement between two equals. But the most important point is how could Muhammad be the arbitrator if he is the beneficiary in this treaty? It is amazing that Muslim scholars have read this document for centuries and it has never occurred to them to ask how could Muhammad be the arbitrator if he is part of the treaty? But that is exactly the point. A religious mind is shackled. Although they would laugh if a similar story is said about another group, they do not seem to have any difficulty is accepting it when it is about their own religion.
These are telltales that the above treaty is not authentic. Yet, since Muhammad and his ready-to-assassin followers destroyed the real document, along with the Jews who were a part of that treaty, we are left with nothing, but this lame document to find the truth. Which makes our task not unlike trying to find a needle in a haystack.