The massacre of the Koreitza and the War of the Ditch cannot be viewed apart. The ruthlessness of the former is the outcome of the success which made it possible. Mahomet had defeated a most formidable attempt to overthrow him, an attempt which would have lost much of its potency if the Koreitza had remained either friendly or neutral, and in the triumph which followed he sought to make such treachery henceforth impossible. He never lost an opportunity; he saw that the Koreitza must be dealt with instantly after the failure of the Meccan attack, and unhesitatingly he accomplished his work.
His act is a plain proof of his increasing confidence in his mission and in himself as ruler and emissary from on high. It speaks not only of his barbarity and courage in the use of it when occasion arose, but also of his tireless energy and swift perception of the right moment to strike.
His lack of compunction over the cruelty bears upon it the stamp of his age and environment. The Koreitza were the enemies of Allah and his Prophet; they had dared to betray him. Their doom was just. The result of the failure of the Meccan attack was to restore in great measure Mahomet’s reputation, so that he had less trouble hereafter with the Disaffected within Medina and with the maraudings of desert tribes. For the moment his position within the city was comparatively secure; moreover, in exterminating the Koreitza he had removed the last of the hated Hebrew race from the precincts of his adopted city, and could regard himself as master of all its neighbouring territory. The Disaffected, it is true, remained sufficiently at variance with him to resent, though impotently, his severity towards the Koreitza, and to declare that Sa’ad ibn Muadh’s death, which occurred soon after, was the direct result of his bloody judgment. But their resentment was confined to speech. The Meccans had retired discredited, and were unlikely to attack again for some time at least.
For a little space Mahomet seemed secure in his city, whence active opposition had been driven out.
The period after the War of the Ditch shows him definitely the ruler of a rival city to Mecca. The Kureisch have made their last concerted attack and are now forced to recognise him as a permanent factor in their political world, though they would not name him equal until he had made further displays of strength. He takes his place now among the city chieftains of Western Arabia, and has next to reckon with the nomad Bedouin tribes of the interior, in which position he is akin to the ruler of Mecca himself. He is still never at rest from warfare. One expedition succeeds another, until there is some chance of the realisation of his dream, whose splendour even now beats with insistence upon his spirit, the establishment of his mighty faith within the mother-city which gave it birth, whence, purged of its idolatries and aflame with devotion, it shall make of that city the goal of its followers’ prayers, the crown of its earthly sovereignty.