About Rabbi Mukhayriq
The Mukhayriq Initiative aims to strengthen contemporary Muslim-Jewish relations by drawing inspiration from an ancient friendship. The namesake of the project is Rabbi Mukhayriq, a leader of the Jewish community in Medina, who in 625 CE gave his life fighting to defend the Prophet Muhammad at the legendary Battle of Uhud.
In the years prior to the battle, Mukhayriq had formed a close bond with Muhammad. Shortly after Muhammad’s arrival in Medina, the rabbi hosted a convention in his home where Muhammad drafted the famous Constitution of Medina – an agreement formalizing an alliance between the city’s diverse tribes to ensure individual liberty for all.
Rabbi Mukhayriq decided to join the Prophet Muhammad’s forces at the battlefront even though the attack on Medina was happening during the Jewish sabbath. Mukhayriq left his synagogue, with many congregants following his example, to join Muhammad’s defenders. He insisted on standing at the frontlines to let the attacking forces from Mecca know that the Jewish community of Medina stood with Muhammad.
Before the battle, Mukhayriq instructed that, should he be killed, Muhammad would become the trustee of his estate. The rabbi was indeed struck down – and his palm groves became the first-ever waqf, or Islamic trust, with proceeds benefiting widows and orphans. Those palm groves still exist today as a Muslim charitable trust, a testament to a friendship that began over 1400 years ago. After burying his friend alongside other martyrs of the Battle of Uhud, the Prophet Muhammad eulogized Mukhayriq as “the best of Jews.”
The story of Rabbi Mukhayiq has over the centuries been obscured – and most Muslims and Jews have never heard of him. Today, we aim to help recover this ancient story and harness the inspiring friendship held between the prophet and the rabbi to inspire Muslims and Jews in the 21st Century.