A New World
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) arrived in Yathrib (two hundred and fifty miles north of Makkah) on Monday, Rabi‘ I, 1 A.H., the fourteenth year of prophethood, named from that day onward Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah [the Luminous City], the new world, and the first Muslim State.
There, in his new world, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) supplicated for all the emigrants who forsook their land, homes, families, and wealth for the sake of their faith, and dwelt in Al-Madinah, saying, “O Allah, make us love Al-Madinah as we love Makkah or even more.”1 “O Allah, bestow on Al-Madinah twice the blessings You bestowed on Makkah.”2
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had spent thirteen years in Makkah before Allah Almighty ordered him and his followers to immigrate to Al-Madinah, due to the growing opposition of the Quraish and the receptive attitude shown by some Yathrib pilgrims to Makkah at that time.
Ibn ‘Abbas t said, “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) started receiving the Divine Revelation at the age of forty. He (pbuh) stayed in Makkah for thirteen years receiving the Divine Revelation. Then he (pbuh) was ordered to emigrate, and he (pbuh) immigrated to Al-Madinah and lived there for ten years. Then he (pbuh) died at the age of sixty-three.”3
The Prophet of Islam (pbuh) still had another ten years of struggle ahead of him, a message to convey outside Makkah, a Muslim State to build, new challenges to meet, one victory after another to achieve, and an Ummah of Muhammad (pbuh) that follows his example until the Last Hour.
The Six Youths
It all started with six youths from the Khazraj tribe in Yathrib, who came to Makkah during the Hajj season in the eleventh year of prophethood.
The Prophet (pbuh) used to come out at night to invite the tribes to Islam, as a counteraction to the enmity of the Quraish and their debarring people from the Way of Allah.
The Prophet (pbuh) came out one night in the company of Abu Bakr t and ‘Ali t. On passing by ‘Aqabat Mina, he heard some men talking, so he (pbuh) went to them. They were: ‘As‘ad bin Zurarah, ‘Awf bin Al-Harith, Rafi‘ bin Malik, Qutbah bin ‘Amir, ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir, and Jabir bin ‘Abdullah.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) approached them and asked, “Who are you?”
They said, “A company from Khazraj.”
He (pbuh) said, “From the allies of the Jews?”
They said, “Yes.”
He (pbuh) said, “Would you sit down so that I can talk to you?”
They said, “Yes.”
At that time the people of Yathrib always heard the Jews in their land say, whenever some conflict arose between them, that a prophet was about to rise whom they would follow, and along with him they would exterminate them as the people of ‘Ad and Iram had been exterminated.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) explained to the youths the truth of Islam and its message, then invited them to believe in Allah Almighty and recited for them the Noble Qur’an. The youths said to one another, “O people! You know, by Allah this is the Prophet whom the Jews ever threaten you with. Do not let them precede you to him.” They believed in the Messenger’s Call and embraced Islam.
The youths from Yathrib spoke to their Messenger (pbuh) of their land, which had been ravaged by civil wars fought with unabated violence between the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj. They expressed their hope that his Message would bring an end to war and unite their people. They said, “We have left our people and there can be no worse enmity and evil between people than that between them. We hope that Allah unites them through you. We shall go to them, invite them to your cause, and present to them this religion, which we have accepted from you. If Allah unites them through it, no man shall be dearer than you.”
The youths returned to Al-Madinah full of faith, and conveyed the Message of Islam until there was hardly a house in Al-Madinah that was not talking about the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).4
The First ‘Aqabah Pledge
In the following Hajj season, the twelfth year of prophethood, twelve men came from the Ansar (the Supporters). Five among them were the six who had met the Prophet (pbuh) the year before, and the other seven were Mu‘adh bin Al-Harith, Dhakwan bin ‘Abd Qais, ‘Ubadah bin As-Samit, Yazid bin Tha‘labah, Al-‘Abbas bin ‘Ubadah bin Nadalah, Abul Haitham bin At-Taihan, and ‘Uwaim bin Sa‘idah.
The last two were Aws and all the rest from Khazraj. They met the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) at Al-‘Aqabah in Mina to give him their pledge of allegiance.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh), surrounded by a group of his Companions on the night of the ‘Aqabah Pledge, said, “Give me your pledge of allegiance that you will not associate anything with Allah, that you will not steal, that you will not commit Zina (sexual intercourse outside marriage), that you will not kill your children, that you will not bring forth a slander you fabricate between your hands and feet, and that you will not disobey what is right. Whoever among you fulfills this (pledge), his reward is due from Allah. Whoever commits anything of this and is punished in this world, it shall be for him an expiation. And whoever commits anything of this and Allah shields him (i.e. covers his sin), his matter will rest with Allah: if He so wills, He will pardon him; and if He so wills, He will punish him.”
‘Ubadah bin As-Samit t said, “So we pledged allegiance to him for these (conditions).”5
After swearing allegiance, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sent Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair t, the first Muslim ambassador, to Yathrib (Al-Madinah) with the pledgers to teach the people there the laws of Islam, recite the Qur’an for them, instruct them in religion, and propagate Islam.
Mus‘ab stayed in the house of ‘As‘ad bin Zurarah t, calling people to Islam until every house of the Ansar sheltered under its roof Muslim men and women.6
The Second ‘Aqabah Pledge
The Muslims in Yathrib anxiously asked themselves, “Until when shall we leave the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to be pursued in the mountains of Makkah?” They decided that it was time to stand by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) body and soul.
Jabir bin ‘Abdullah t said, “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stayed in Makkah for ten years7, following the people to their homes in ‘Ukaz and Mijannah (markets) and during the (Hajj) seasons in Mina, while saying, ‘Who will shelter me? Who will support me until I deliver the Message of my Lord and for him will be (the reward of) Paradise?’ It went as far as any man traveling from Yemen or Mudhar being warned against him by their people, who would come to the travelers and say, ‘Beware of the lad of Quraish. Let him not deceive you.’ He (pbuh) used to walk among their men with fingers pointed at him until Allah sent us to him from Yathrib. We sheltered him and believed in him. Any man who set out from us believed in him, and he (pbuh) taught him the Qur’an. Then he would return to his family who would embrace Islam by his Islam, until there no longer remained a house of the Ansar that did not have inside it a group of Muslims who championed Islam. Then people consulted together and we said, ‘Until when shall we leave the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to be pursued in the mountains of Makkah and afraid?’ Upon that, seventy men from among us departed and came to him during the (Hajj) season. They arranged to meet him at the mountain pass of Al-‘Aqabah.”8
In the thirteenth year of prophethood (one year after the First ‘Aqabah Pledge) during the Hajj season, over seventy Muslims from Yathrib came to Makkah, among them two women: Nusaibah bint Ka‘b and Asma’ bint ‘Amr.
After a third of the night had elapsed, they secretly gathered at the mountain pass near Al-‘Aqabah and waited for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) until he came accompanied by his uncle, Al-‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib t.
Although his uncle still followed the religion of the Quraish, he wanted to be assured of his kindred’s safety. He was the first to speak and said, “He (Muhammad (pbuh)) insists on siding with and joining you. If you think you can fulfill for him what you have invited him to and you will defend him against his opponents, assume the responsibility which you have taken. And if you think that you may surrender him and desert him after he (pbuh) has departed with you, you had better leave him from now, because he is honored and well defended by his people and town.”9
Musnad Imam Ahmad reported that Al-‘Abbas further said, “Let your spokesman speak and be brief, for the Mushrikin keep a sharp eye on you. If they learn about you, they will expose you.”
Abu Umamah ‘As‘ad bin Zurarah, their speaker, said, “Ask, O Muhammad, for your Lord whatever you wish, then ask for yourself and your companions whatever you wish, then tell us the reward due to us from Allah Almighty and you if we do this.”
He (pbuh) said, “I ask for my Lord, the Exalted and the Glorious, that you worship Him (alone) and associate nothing with Him. I ask for myself and my Companions that you shelter us, support us, and defend us against whatever you defend yourselves.”
They asked, “What shall we have if we do this?”
He (pbuh) said, “Yours shall be Paradise.”
They said, “You have that.”10
In response, Allah Almighty revealed11:
(Verily, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties; for (the price) that theirs shall be the Paradise.)
(At-Tawbah 9: 111)
- Narrated by ‘Aishah: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Hajj, Hadith no. 1756.
- Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Hajj, Hadith no. 1752; similar versions are reported by Muslim (2432) and Ahmad (11999).
- Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Manaqib, Hadith no. 3613.
- Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah, The Beginning of Islam among the Ansar, vol. 2; Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, Inviting Tribes and Individuals to Islam: Six Good Breezes from Yathrib.
- Narrated by ‘Ubadah bin As-Samit: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Iman, Hadith no. 17; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (3603, 3604, 4515, 6286, 6303, 6365, 6673, 6914), Muslim (3223, 3224, 3225), At-Tirmidhy (1359), An-Nasa’y (4091, 4092, 4107, 4139, 4916), Ahmad (21616, 21692), and Malik (2345).
- Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah, The First ‘Aqabah Pledge and Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair, vol. 2; Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, The First ‘Aqabah Pledge.
- The Makkan phase lasted for thirteen years; the stage of the secret Call: three years, while the stage of the proclamation of the Call in Makkah: ten years.
- Musnad Ahmad, Book of Al-Mukthrin, Hadith no. 13934; a similar version of the Hadith is also reported by Ahmad (14126).
- Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah, The Second ‘Aqabah Pledge, vol. 2.
- Musnad Ahmad, Book of Ash-Shamyyin, Hadith no. 16461. Ibn Sa‘d, At-Tabakat Al-Kubra, vol. 4.
- Circumstances of revelation: Jalal Ad-Din As-Suyuti, Ad-Durr Al-Manthur fi At-Tafsir bi Al-Ma’thur, interpretation of Surah At-Tawbah [9: 111].