Answered by Shaykh Gibril F Haddad
Wa `alaykum as-Salam:
The Banu Qurayza committed high treason by breaking their oath of alliance with the Muslims and turning against them in time of war. When the battle against them was over, the Prophet, upon him peace, searched for an arbiter known and accepted to both sides who would rule concerning their penalty. The arbiter chosen was Sa`d ibn Mu`adh, who had been mortally wounded and died shortly afterwards. Sa`d said: "I will judge them according to the Law of Musa." He was of the tribe of Aws, who were the allies of the Jewish Banu Qurayza, the men who were executed. They assented to whatever verdict he would give as a leader from Aws.
Ibn Kathir in al-Bidaya mentions that the number of the men executed after the 25-day siege were 400, and that another version says 700. Someone said that the decision was probably taken by Sa`d ibn Mu`adh in light of Deuteronomy 20:12-14.
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