Sunday, April 8, 2007

Setting the Stage for Migration.

Description: The events which led to the emigration of the Muslims to Medinah.

By Ben Al-Hussaini.

First Pact of Aqabah

In twelveth year, twelve men of Yathrib, of whom ten were of the Jewish tribe of Khazraj and the other two of Aws, came to Makkah and took an oath of faithfulness to the Prophet at Al-Aqaba, a hill on the north of that city. This oath was called the Women's' Oath, not that any women were present at this time, but because a man was not thereby obliged to take up arms in defense of the Prophet SAW or his religion, it being the same oath that was afterwards exacted of the women.

The oath was as follows: "We will not associate anything with Allah; we will not steal nor commit adultery or fornication, nor kill our children [as the pagan Arabs used to do when they apprehended that they would not be able to maintain them], nor forge calumnies; we will obey the Prophet SAW in everything that is reasonable, and we will be faithful to him in well and sorrow."

This is known as the First Pledge of Aqaba. When they returned to Yathrib, the Prophet SAW sent with them his first ambassador, Mus’ab ibn ‘Umair, to teach the new converts the rudiments of the faith and further spread the religion to those who had not yet embraced Islam.

Mus'ab, having arrived at Yathrib by the assistance of those who had been formerly converted, gained several new converts, particularly Usaid Ibn Khudair, a chief of man of the city, and Sa'ad Ibn Mu'adh, prince of the tribe of Aws. Mus’ab preached the message of Islam until almost every family in Yathrib had a Muslim in their midst, and before the Hajj of the following year, 622.

Mus’ab returned to the Prophet SAW and told him the good news of his mission, and of the goodness and strength of Yathrib and its people. Islam spread so fast that there was a scarce a house that did not have some Muslims in it.

Second Pact of Aqaba

Mus'ab returned from Yathrib accompanied by seventy-three men and two women of that city who had adopted Islam, besides others who were as yet unbelievers. On their arrival, these Yathribites immediately sent to the Prophet and invited him to their city. Seventy-five of them Muslims, from them two women, came to perform the Hajj. During the latter part of one night, while all were asleep, the Muslims from amongst the Yathribite pilgrims secretly crept into the place whether they had previously arranged to meet the Prophet SAW, at the rocks at Aqaba, to vow allegiance to the Prophet and invite him to their city.

The Prophet was in great need of such assistance, for his opponents had by this time grown so powerful in Mecca that he could not stay there much longer without imminent danger. He therefore accepted their proposal and met them one night by appointment at Al Aqaba. His uncle, made a speech to those of Yathrib wherein he told them that, as the Prophet Muhammad was obliged to quit his native city and seek shelter elsewhere, and they had offered him their protection, they would do well not to deceive him; and that if they were not firmly resolved to defend and not to betray him, they had better declare their minds and let him provide for his safety in some other manner.

Upon their professing their sincerity, the Prophet SAW swore to be faithful to them, on condition that they should worship none but Allah observe the precepts of Islam, obey the Prophet in all that was right, and protect him against all insults as heartily as they would their wives and families. They then asked him what would be their return, if they should happen to be killed in the cause of Allah; he answered: "Paradise," whereupon they pledged their faith to him and his cause. The Prophet then selected twelve men out of their number to act as his delegates. Another person from the pilgrims who was present the previous two years also stood and warned against the danger of their commitment and their preparedness to uphold it. In their staunch determination and love of the Prophet SAW, they swore to defend him as they would defend their own selves, their wives and children. It was then that the emigration to Yathrib, was decided. Thus concluded the second covenant of Al Aqaba.

This is known as the Pledge of War, because it involved protecting the person of the Prophet, by arms if necessary; and soon after the emigration to Yathrib, the Quranic verses permitting war in defense of the religion were revealed. These verses are crucial in the history of Islam:

“Permission is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged, and God is indeed able to give them victory; those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said -- Our Lord is God! For were it not that God repels some people by means of others, monasteries and churches and synagogues and mosques in which the name of God is extolled would surely have been destroyed . .” [Surah Al-Hajj, 22:39-40]

A turning-point had come for Prophet Muhammad SAW, for the Muslims, and for the world. It was Prophet Muhammad’s destiny, and an aspect of his prophetic function, that he should demonstrate the alternatives open to the persecuted and the oppressed; on the one hand, forbearance; on the other, what is called by Christians the ‘just war’, but for which, in the words of a later Quranic revelation – “corruption would surely overwhelm the earth” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:251].

The Yathribites returned home leaving the Prophet SAW to arrange for the journey to their city. The Prophet SAW directed his followers to seek immediate safety at Yathrib, which they accordingly did. About one hundred families silently disappeared from Makkah and proceeded to Yathrib, where they were received with enthusiasm and much hospitality.

Finally, all the disciples had gone to Yathrib. The Prophet alone remained at Makkah, keeping with him only his young cousin, 'Ali bin Abu Talib, and his devoted friend Abu Bakar.

Plot to Murder the Prophet.

The Makkans, fearing the consequence of this new alliance, began to think seriously of preventing Muhammad SAW from escaping to Yathrib. They met in all haste. After several milder expedients had been rejected, they decided that he should be killed. They agreed that one man should be chosen out of every tribe and that each man should strike a blow at him with his sword so that responsibility of the guilt would rest equally on all tribes. The Bani Hashim, Muhammad's own tribe, was much inferior and therefore would not be able to revenge their kinsman's death.

A number of noble youths were selected for the bloody deed. As the night advanced, the assassins posted themselves round the Prophet's dwelling. They watched all night long, waiting to murder Muhammad SAW when he should leave his house at the early dawn. By some the Prophet had warned of the danger, and he directed 'Ali to lie down in his place and wrap himself up in his green cloak which he did. The Prophet miraculously escaped through the window and he repaired to the house of Abu Bakar, unperceived by door. In the meantime, looking through a gap and seeing 'Ali, whom they mistook for Muhammad SAW himself, asleep, continued watching there until morning. When 'Ali arose, they found themselves deceived. The fury of the Quraish was now unbounded.

The news of the failed plot and that Muhammad had escaped aroused the whole energy of the Quraish. A price of a hundred camels was set upon Muhammad's head.


See: Prophet Muhammad.14.

No comments: