* He it is Who expelled those who disbelieve among the People of the Book from their homes at the first gathering. You did not think they would go forth, and they thought their fortresses would protect them from God. Then God came upon them whence they reckoned not, and cast terror into their hearts, as they razed their houses with their own hands and with the hands of the believers. So take heed, O you who are possessed of sight.
2 Here those who disbelieve among the People of the Book is a specific reference to the Banū Naḍīr; see the introduction to this sūrah. At the first gathering refers to the gathering of the Muslim forces. Alternately, it can be read “to the first gathering” as a reference to the Banū Naḍīr’s having been banished to Syria (Ṭ), but then gathering in Khaybar. God cast terror into their hearts when the Prophet heard of their plans to assassinate him and had their leader, Kaʿb ibn Ashraf, executed instead
(Q). God came upon them whence they reckoned not refers to the fact that those who executed Kaʿb had previously been trusted allies of the Banū Naḍīr (Q). After being
forced to leave their homes, the Banū Naḍīr are reported to have taken them apart with their own hands, as they sought to take with them anything of value (Ṭ). That they razed their houses with their own hands could also be taken as an allusion to the fact that their banishment and loss of property resulted from their breaking their treaty and then rejecting more congenial terms before being forced to forfeit their homes and their land altogether. The injunction to take heed, or “reflect,” O you who are possessed of sight, is understood by the philosopher and jurisprudent Ibn Rushd as a “proof of the obligatory nature of the syllogism, or of both the syllogism and legal reasoning (qiyās)” (Faṣl al-maqāl, 28).