The Tribes of Aws and Khazraj United
1-The Aws and Khazraj United
The Arabs were fiercely sectarian and tribal, prepared to defend anyone of their own – even if he was a criminal – to the very last man.
They had a saying, “Support your brother, whether he is the oppressor or the one oppressed.” For Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to declare that bonds of faith surpass that of tribe and family was nothing short of revolutionary.1
During Jahiliyyah, long, bloody civil wars raged between the two tribes of the Aws and Khazraj, the inhabitants of Al-Madinah. The last was the Battle of Bu‘ath that shattered the strength of both. Their people were divided, their chiefs killed and wounded. Hatred, enmity, and disbelief brought them to the brink of destruction, but Allah Almighty saved them and united their hearts.
They were misguided, and Allah guided them through the Prophet (pbuh); they were divided, and Allah united them through him; they were poor, and Allah enriched them through him.
Reminding the Aws and Khazraj of His Grace and Mercy upon them and exhorting them to hold fast to brotherhood, Allah Almighty says:
Hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. the Qur’an), and be not divided among yourselves. Remember the Favor of Allah upon you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren. And you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Signs clear to you that you may be guided
(Al-‘Imran 3: 103)
Through Grace and Mercy, Allah gathered the Aws and Khazraj around His Messenger (pbuh) and supported him through them. Even though not all the treasures of the earth, if spent, could have united them, Allah Almighty united them.
It is He Who supported you with His Help and with the believers, and brought together their hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have brought their hearts together; but Allah brought them together. Indeed, He is All-Mighty, All-Wise
(Al-Anfal 8: 62-63)
They were no longer Aws and Khazraj. The Hijrah of the Prophet (pbuh) to Al-Madinah established immediate peace and unity between the two warring tribes and blended them into one whole by the epithet “The Ansar” (Supporters), bestowed on whoever supported and defended the new faith.
The relationship between the Ansar became one of mutual respect, love, and true brotherhood, which taught them to support one another by turning their backs on blood and ruin and standing out against injustice.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Support your brother, whether he is the oppressor or the oppressed.”
A man asked, “O Messenger of Allah, I will support him if he is oppressed; but tell me, if he is an oppressor, how shall I support him?”
He (pbuh) said, “Prevent him from (doing) injustice; that is supporting him.”2
2-Fraternity between the Muhajirun and the Ansar
After building the Masjid, the center of unity and concord, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) united the Muhajirun and the Ansar as true brothers, born of one faith, supporting and supported by one another. “Be you brothers in Allah. Every two be brothers.”
This deed shall remain unsurpassed in the history of humanity, where “I” truly dissolved into “We”, truly blended into one harmonious whole sharing collective hopes and goals.
Muslims of Al-Madinah shared their homes and wealth with the emigrants from Makkah, who left their land, families and possessions for the sake of Islam, and thus became one hand working for the cause of righteousness and piety.
Ninety men, half of them Muhajirun and the other half Ansar, assembled in the house of Anas bin Malik t where the Prophet (pbuh) forged the bonds of brotherhood between them, regardless of wealth or social status. It was a covenantal relationship truly effective and binding – not mere words. Each Emigrant became the brother-in-faith of a Supporter, who inherited each other at death.
Ibn ‘Abbas t said3, “An Emigrant used to inherit a Supporter (and vice versa) in place of their own blood relatives because of the bond of brotherhood which the Prophet (pbuh) had established between them, which was abrogated (inheritance through the bond of brotherhood) upon revelation of the Ayah:
To everyone, We have appointed heirs
(An-Nisa’ 4: 33)
Brotherhood of faith surrounded Al-Madinah with an atmosphere of its own. It created for its thriving community a unique moral, social, and political texture. Allah Almighty says:
Verily, those who believed, and emigrated, and strove hard, and fought with their wealth and their lives in the Cause of Allah as well as those who gave (them) asylum and help, these are (all) allies to one another
(Al-Anfal 8: 72)
It ignited among its members a sublime spirit of altruism and solidarity that manifested itself in many wonderful stands. “Come to divide (share) my wealth with you into two halves. I also have two wives, I can divorce one of them, and when her ‘Iddah (woman’s prescribed waiting period after divorce or widowhood) ends, you can marry her,” Sa‘d bin Ar-Rabi‘ t, the Supporter, said to his brother in Islam ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Awf t, the Emigrant, who replied, “May Allah bless your family and wealth for you. Rather, guide me to the market.” 4 ‘Abdur-Rahman went to the market, traded and returned on that day with some profit, curd and better. He became wealthy through his own labor and got married shortly thereafter.
It was a unique society built from sacrificers and supporters.
The Muhajirun sacrificed everything: their lives, families, wealth, and homes and emigrated to support the Cause of Allah. “O Abu Bakr, what have you left your family?” the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) asked Abu Bakr t, who replied, “I have left them Allah and His Messenger.”5
The Ansar sheltered and aided the Muhajirun. They took them in, shared their food and homes with them, and helped to establish them in trade or work. The Ansar said to the Prophet (pbuh), “Divide the date palms between us and our (emigrant) brothers.” He (pbuh) said, “No.” The Ansar said, “You may spare us garden work (watering and watching the trees) and we will share the fruits with you.” The Muhajirun said, “We hear and obey.”6
The Ansar loved those who immigrated to them, and the Muhajirun, appreciative and grateful for the generosity of their brothers, wondered if any reward was left for them after the kindness shown by the Ansar.
They said, “O Messenger of Allah, we have never seen any people more generous when they have much and more consoling when they have little than the people among whom we have stayed. They have shouldered the work and made us share with them the fruits, so much so that we are afraid lest they should take all reward (from Allah in the hereafter).”
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “No, as long as you supplicate Allah for them and praise them.”7
They lived in the kind of community that Allah wants for humanity: warm, friendly, and faith-filled. Well-pleased was Allah Almighty with them for their great selfless sacrifices and services in His Cause, and well-pleased were they with Him Who promised them both a great reward.
Those who believed, and emigrated, and strove hard in the Cause of Allah, as well as those who gave (them) asylum and aid – these are the believers in truth; for them is forgiveness and a generous provision
(Al-Anfal 8: 74)
3-Covenant of Islamic Alliance
Just as the Prophet (pbuh) had forged brotherhood among the believers, he (pbuh) formed a covenant whereby he wiped any pre-Islamic grudges between them or any bigoted tribal tendencies. Through it, he (pbuh) succeeded in establishing full Islamic unity and uplifted the community from the tribal to the national level. The following are the terms pertaining to the Muslims in the Covenant of Al-Madinah (Constitution of Al-Madinah):
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Ever-Merciful. This is a document by Muhammad, the Prophet (pbuh), between believers and Muslims from Quraish (Emigrants from Makkah) and Yathrib (Residents of Al-Madinah), and those who follow them, join them, and strive with them:
- They (the Muslim people regardless of tribes or families) are one Ummah (nation), to the exclusion of (other categories of) people.
- The Muhajirun (Emigrants) from the Quraish will continue, according to their established custom, to pay their blood money and ransom their captives. (This is carried out) in accordance with the recognized principles of kindness and justice among the believers. Every tribe of the Ansar (Supporters) will continue, according to their established custom, to pay their previous blood money. Every group among them ransoms their captive. (This is carried out) in accordance with the recognized principles of kindness and justice.
- The believers shall not leave a debtor among them. They shall give him enough for (paying) ransom or blood money, according to what is commonly considered as fair.
- The God-fearing believers shall be against whoever transgresses from them, or seeks an illegal gift, or (spreads) sin, aggression, or corruption among the believers. Their hands shall all be against him, even if he is the son of one of them.
- A believer shall not form an alliance with the freedman of (another) believer without his consent.
- A believer shall not kill a believer (in retaliation) for a disbeliever, nor help a disbeliever against a believer.
- The protection (given under this constitution in the Name) of Allah is one; the protection granted by the least of them (to a non-Muslim) is binding on all (believers).
- The believers are supporters of one another, to the exclusion of (other categories of) people.
- Whoever of the Jews follows us is entitled to support and equality. They shall not be wronged, nor shall one support another against them.
10. The peace of the believers is one (indivisible). No (separate) peace shall be made by a believer separate from another believer when there is fighting in the Cause of Allah, unless it is on the basis of equality and justice among them.
11. Every expedition that fights with us must take turns with one another (in participating).
12. The believers (their bloods are equal) shall mutually and equally defend that which is shed of their blood in the Cause of Allah. The God-fearing believers are under the best and most upright guidance.
13. A Mushrik13 (from Al-Madinah) may not grant asylum to a person from the Quraish or his property; nor shall he intervene for him against a believer.
14. Whoever unjustly kills a believer, and there is evidence of this, shall be killed in requital unless the heir of the killed is satisfied (with blood money).
15. The believers shall all be against him (the killer), and it is unlawful for them to take any action except against him (the killer).
16. It is unlawful for a believer, who ratifies what is in this document and believes in Allah and the Last Day, to support a heretic or shelter him. Whoever supports him or shelters him, upon him shall be the Curse of Allah and His Anger on the Day of Resurrection, and no repentance or ransom shall be accepted from him.
17. Any matter in which you differ must be referred to Allah Almighty and to Muhammad (pbuh).8
4-Brotherhood of Believers
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the loving big brother of this believing group, did not distinguish himself or others with a special title. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “If I were to have taken a close friend from among my followers, I would have chosen Abu Bakr, but sufficient is the brotherhood and love of Islam.”9
His sublime moral teachings of fraternity, which constitute an integral part of Islam that must be accepted and adhered to, laid down the foundations for a strong and united nation that no longer lived as separate and warring entities, but where each individual became a part of a larger whole, an organ of the one great body of Islam.
Imam and Leader, Muhammad (pbuh), exhorted, saying:
- “The similitude of believers as regards their mutual love, mercy, and sympathy is like that of the body; if any of its organs complains, the whole body calls upon one another (sharing) with (it) sleeplessness and fever.”10
- “Muslims are like one man; if his eye aches, his whole (body) aches, and if his head aches, his whole (body) aches.”11
- “A believer to a believer is like the structure, (its parts) enforcing each other,” and he (pbuh) interlaced his fingers.12
- “A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He should neither wrong him nor let him down. Whoever attends to the needs of his brother, Allah will attend to his needs. Whoever relieves a Muslim of some distress, Allah will relieve him of one of the distresses of the Day of Resurrection. And whoever covers (the faults of) a Muslim, Allah will cover him on the Day of Resurrection.”13
- “The whole of a Muslim for a Muslim is inviolable: his property, his honor, and his blood. Enough of evil for a person to despise his Muslim brother.”14
- “Reviling a Muslim is disobedience (to Allah) and fighting him is infidelity.”15
- “Two Muslims who meet with their swords both, the killer and the killed, are in Hellfire.” Abu Bakrah t said, “O Messenger of Allah, this is (for) the killer; what about the killed?” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “He was eager to kill his companion.”16
- “Do not hate one another; do not envy one another; do not turn your backs on one another. O worshipers of Allah, be brothers.”17
- “None of you will have faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”18
- “You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I guide you to a thing which if you do, you shall love one another? Spread Salam (the greeting of peace: peace be upon you) among you.”19
Little by little, the Prophet (pbuh) uplifted the consciousness of the individual out of the cage of the self and self-interest into the spaciousness of love for humanity:
- “Whoever has food enough for two should seek out a third person (to feed), and whoever has food enough for four should seek out a fifth or a sixth.”20
- “Whoever has a spare mount, let him give it to someone who does not have a mount; and whoever who has spare provisions, let him give them to someone who does not have provisions.”21
- “Every act of righteousness is charity, and part of righteousness is to meet your brother with a cheerful face and to pour out from your bucket into the vessel of your brother.”22
- “Each of you is the mirror of his brother; if he sees some fault in him, he should wipe it away from him.”23
The individual was thus elevated; no longer living alone for oneself, but for all humanity. “The best of people are those who are most beneficial to people.”24
No longer were efforts selfish and souls materialistic. “A tree was harming the passersby on a road, which a man cut and laid out of the way, and thereby was admitted into Paradise.”25
Inner conflicts eventually healed. They usually arise from suppressed energy that finds no outlet, but accumulates within and along with it diminishes the scope of action and the value of human experience.
With Islam, they find a natural release from the narrow sphere of human activity or interest, timed life, and the limited world of the self into the vast expanse of the universe.
“Any Muslim who plants a seedling from which a human, an animal, or a bird eats, it is for him a charitable deed (of ongoing reward) until the Day of Resurrection.”26
Thus was impressed upon minds the reality of life being a means, not an end. As such, there was no time to waste on race or class conflicts with such high aims and collective goals awaiting all33. (Let there arise from among you a group of people inviting to good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong. It is they who are the successful) 27
5-Role of Love
The Prophet (pbuh) perfectly understood the role love can play in building nations and societies. He (pbuh) knew that love is the highest good, activating the purest energy, when purely directed to Allah, for His Sake, and firmly rooted in the nexus of any relationships between Muslims, whereby all difficulties are removed and greatest harvests are reaped.
He (pbuh) said, “Among the Servants of Allah are people, neither prophets nor martyrs, who will be coveted by prophets and martyrs on the Day of Resurrection for their status with Allah, the Most High.”
They said, “O Messenger of Allah, tell us who are they?”
He (pbuh) said, “People who loved one another through love of Allah, not for mutual kinship or material benefits. By Allah, their faces are light and they are on light. They will not fear when people fear and will not grieve when people grieve.”
He (pbuh) then recited the Ayah35: (Verily, the Awliya’ (pious servants) of Allah, no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve.)28
The Prophet (pbuh) never let a chance pass by without advocating brotherly love and commanding the Muslims to announce it for one another, to open hearts and spread love and peace among the ranks of the Ummah.29
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “If a man loves his brother, let him tell him that he loves him.”30
A man was in the company of the Prophet (pbuh) when another man passed by him, so he said, “O Messenger of Allah, I love this man.” The Prophet (pbuh) asked, “Have you told him?” He said, “No.” He (pbuh) said, “Tell him.” So he caught up with him and said, “I love you for the Sake of Allah.” He replied, “May He, for Whose sake you love me, love you.”31
- Dr. Hisham A. Hassaballah, The Ummah’s Double-Edged Sword.
- Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Ikrah (Coercion), Hadith no. 6438; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (2263, 2264), At-Tirmidhy (2181), and Ahmad (11511, 12606).
- Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Tafsir Al-Qur’an, Hadith no. 4214; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (2128, 6250) and Abu Dawud (2532, 2533).
- Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Sunnan At-Tirmidhy, Book of Al-Birr Waslah, Hadith no. 1856; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (1907, 1908, 3496, 3497, 3644, 4684), and Ahmad (12508, 12649, 13360).
- Narrated by ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab: Sunnan Ad-Darimy, Book of Zakah (Obligatory Charity), Hadith no. 1601; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by At-Tirmidhy (3608) and Abu Dawud (1429).
- Narrated by Abu Hurairah: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Muzara‘ah (Sharecropping), Hadith no. 2157; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (2518, 3498).
- Sunnan At-Tirmidhy, Book of Sifat Al-Qiyamah wa Ar-Raqa’iq wa Al-Wara‘, Hadith no. 2411; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Ahmad (12602, 12648).
- Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah, The Messenger of Allah r Making Peace With the Jews and the Document He r Wrote between the Muslims from the Muhajirun and the Ansar, vol. 2; Safiur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum; First Phase: Building a New Society & The Covenant of Islamic Alliance.
- Narrated by Abu Sa‘id Al-Khudry: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Salah, Hadith no. 446; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (3381, 3615), Muslim (4390), At-Tirmidhy (3593), and Ahmad (10710).
- Narrated by An-Nu‘man bin Bashir: Sahih Muslim, Book of Al-Birr Waslah Waladab, Hadith no. 4685; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (5552) and Ahmad (17648, 17690, 17706, 18542).
- Narrated by An-Nu‘man bin Bashir: Sahih Muslim, Book of Al-Birr Waslah Waladab, Hadith no. 4687; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Muslim (4686) and Ahmad (17632, 17667).
- Narrated by Abu Musa: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Adab, Hadith no. 5567; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (459, 2266), Muslim (4684), At-Tirmidhy (1851), An-Nasa’y (2513), and Ahmad (18798).
- Narrated by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Madhalim wa Al-Ghasb (Grievances and Usurpation), Hadith no. 2262; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (6437), Muslim (4677), At-Tirmidhy (1346), Abu Dawud (4248), and Ahmad (5103, 5388).
- Narrated by Abu Hurairah: Sunnan Abu Dawud, Book of Al-Adab, Hadith no. 4238; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by At-Tirmidhy (1850) and Ibn Majah (4203).
- Narrated by ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Iman, Hadith no. 46; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (5584, 6549), Muslim (97), At-Tirmidhy (1906, 2558, 2559), An-Nasa’y (4036, 4037, 4039, 4040, 4041, 4042, 4043), Ibn Majah (68, 3929), and Ahmad (3465, 3708, 3761, 3916, 3964, 4115, 4162).
- Narrated by Abu Bakrah: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Iman, Hadith no. 30; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (6367, 6556), Muslim (5139, 5140, 5741), An-Nasa’y (4048, 4052, 4053, 4054), Abu Dawud (3723), Ibn Majah (3455), and Ahmad (19528, 19543, 195871, 19589, 19613).
- Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Adab, Hadith no. 5605; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (5612), Muslim (4641, 4642), At-Tirmidhy (1858), Abu Dawud (4264), Ahmad (11630, 12230, 12580, 12702, 12875, 13425), and Malik (1411).
- Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Iman, Hadith no. 12; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Muslim (64, 65), At-Tirmidhy (2439), An-Nasa’y (4930, 4931), Ibn Majah (65), Ahmad (12338, 12671, 13138, 13371), and Ad-Darimy (2623).
- Narrated by Abu Hurairah: Sahih Muslim, Book of Iman, Hadith no. 81; similar versions of the Hadith also reported by At-Tirmidhy (2612), Abu Dawud (4519), Ibn Majah (67, 3682), and Ahmad (8723, 9332, 9788,10027, 10238).
- Narrated by Abdur-Rahman bin Abu Bakr: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Manaqib, Hadith no. 3316; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (567), Muslim (3833), and Ahmad (1611, 1619, 1620).
- Narrated by Abu Sa‘id Al-Khudry: Sahih Muslim Book of Al-Luqatah (Lost Found Items), Hadith no. 3258; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Abu Dawud (1416) and Ahmad (10863).
- Narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdullah: Sunnan At-Tirmidhy, Book of Al-Birr Waslah, Hadith no. 1893; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Ahmad (14182, 14348).
- Narrated by Abu Hurairah: Sunnan At-Tirmidhy, Book of Al-Birr Waslah, Hadith no. 1852; a similar version is also reported by Abu Dawud (4272).
- Narrated by Jabir: Al-Muttaqi Al-Hindi, Kanz Al-‘Ummal fi Sunnan Al-Aqwal wa Al-Af‘al, Hadith no. 43036.
- Narrated by Abu Hurairah: Musnad Ahmad, Book of Al-Mukthrin min As-Sahabh, Hadith no. 7696; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Ahmad (7505, 8142, 8164, 8878, 9010, 9292, 9899, 10028, 10335, 10476), Al-Bukhary (615, 2292), Muslim (3538, 4743, 4744, 4745, 4746), At-Tirmidhy (1881), Abu Dawud (4565), Ibn Majah (3872), and Malik (269).
- Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Sahih Muslim, Book of Muzara‘ah, Hadith no. 2903; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Muslim (2900, 2901, 2902), Ahmad (14668), and Ad-Darimy (2496).
- “Brotherhood of the Believers” is adapted from Sayyid Qutb, As-Salam Al-‘Alami wa Al-Islam (Universal Peace and Islam), chapter of Social Peace, under the subtitle of High Aims of Life, Dar Al-Shorouk.
- Translated meanings of Al-‘Imran 3: 104.
- Narrated by ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab: Sunnan Abu Dawud, Book of Buyu‘ (Transactions), Hadith no. 3060.
- Translated meanings of Yunus 10: 62.
- Adapted from Dr Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi, Love for the Sake of Allah Builds Societies and Nations, Gulf Times Newspaper.
- Narrated by Al-Miqdam bin Ma‘di Karib: Sunnan Abu Dawud, Book of Al-Adab, Hadith no. 4459; a similar version of the Hadith is also reported by Ahmad (16543).
- Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Sunnan Abu Dawud, Book of Al-Adab, Hadith no. 4460; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Ahmad (11980, 12056, 13046).