discussion before conclusion of the covenant
a1 bara said, "we have covenanted with you, o prophet of god. by god, we are men of many wars; we are men of the sword, having inherited it from father unto son." before al bard' finished his words, abu al haytham ibn al tayyihan said, "o prophet of god, there are pacts between us and some jews which we are going to denounce. should your cause succeed later or among your own tribe, would you return to them and leave us alone?" muhammad smiled and said, "no! rather, your blood is my blood and your destruction is my destruction. you are of me and i am of you. i shall fight whomsoever you fight and make peace with whomsoever you will make peace." the people were about to rise and give covenant to muhammad when al `abbas ibn `ubadah interrupted and said, "o men of khazraj ! are you fully aware of what you are about to covenant with this man? you are about to covenant with him to make war against all sorts of men without discrimination. if you have any fear that, should you lose your wealth and should your leaders fall by the sword, you might betray muhammad, say so now and withdraw from this covenant. for if you do not and then betray your oath, you will have lost this world as well as the next. but if you feel certain that you can stand by him and fulfill this oath, notwithstanding the loss of your property and the murder of your dear ones, then go ahead and covenant with him. he is, by god, the best gain in this world and in the next."
all the people present answered together, "we take him despite all threats to property, wealth and life. tell us, o prophet of god, what will be our reward' if we remain true to this oath?" with his usual self-reliance muhammad answered, "paradise." they stretched out their hands to him, and he to them, and the covenant was concluded. thereafter, the prophet said, "elect among yourselves twelve representative who will be responsible to me regarding your behavior and conduct." after they elected nine from al khazraj and three from al aws, the prophet addressed them in the following words: "you are the guarantors of your people, just as the disciples were guarantors of theirs before jesus, son of mary. i, for my part, am the guarantor of my people." such was their second covenant which included the words, "we have covenanted to listen and to obey in health and in sickness, in fortune and misfortune, to tell the truth wherever we might be and, at all times, to fear none in the cause of god."
all this had taken place in the middle of the night atop one of the hills of al `aqabah in perfect isolation from the surrounding world. only god, the covenanters felt certain, knew what they were about. no sooner had they terminated their meeting, however, than they heard a crier warning the quraysh in the following words, "muhammad and the apostates have covenanted to make war against you." the case of this, however, was unique. he had heard a little bit about the matter as he traveled to al `aqabah and, being a qurayshi and idolater, he thought of spoiling the arrangement of muhammad and of frightening the muslims by pretending everything the muslims did was known to their enemies. a1 khazraj and al aws, however, stood firm by their covenant. indeed, al `abbas ibn `ubadah told muhammad immediately after he heard the crier, "by god, who has sent you with the truth, if you order us to pounce upon mina tomorrow morning with our swords, we shall do so." muhammad answered, "god has not commanded us to fight. return to your quarters." the covenanters returned to their quarters and slept until the morning.