Second pledge at al-Aqabah

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This is a sub-article to Muhammad before Medina.

The Second pledge at al-Aqabah was an important event that preceded the Migration to Medina.

Event[edit]

Converts to Islam came from nearly all Arab tribes present in Medina, such that by June of the subsequent year there were seventy-five Muslims coming to Mecca for pilgrimage and to meet Muhammad. Meeting him secretly by night, the group made what was known as the "Second Pledge of al-`Aqaba", or "The Second Pledge of Mount Aqabah" where the pledge was made. The guarantee of protection led Orientalists and Muslim scholars to describe it as "Pledge of War".[1][2] Conditions of the pledge, many of which similar to the first, included obedience to Muhammad, "enjoining good and forbidding evil" as well as responding to the call to arms when required.[3]

The Muslim scholar Shawqī Abū Khalīl says that the pledge states:[4]

List[edit]

A list of those included:

  1. Abu Umamah[5]
  2. Nusaybah bint Ka'ab, from the Banu Najjar[6]

From Banu Khazraj:

  1. `Abd Allah ibn Rawahah[7][8]
  2. Sa'd ibn Ubadah[7]
  3. As‘ad bin Zurarah bin ‘Ads[7]
  4. Sa‘d bin Ar-Rabi‘ bin ‘Amr[7]
  5. Rafi‘ bin Malik bin Al-‘Ajlan[7]
  6. Al-Bara’ bin Ma‘rur bin Sakhr[7]
  7. ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Haram[7]
  8. ‘Ubadah bin As-Samit bin Qais[7]
  9. Al-Mundhir bin ‘Amr bin Khunais[7]

From Banu Aws:

  1. Usaid bin Hudair bin Sammak[7]
  2. Sa‘d bin Khaithamah bin Al-Harith[7]
  3. Rifa‘a bin ‘Abdul Mundhir bin Zubair[7]

Arranging the meeting[edit]

The following year on the twelfth and last Islamic month (Dhu al-Hijjah) of 1 BH (June 622 CE), during the season of the pilgrimage (Arabic: Hajj‎‎),[7] 73 new Muslims converts from Medina [8] were among that year's polytheist pilgrims to Mecca. The oft-repeated question amongst them was "Isn’t it high time we protect Muhammad instead of leaving him forsaken, deserted and stumbling in the hillocks of Makkah?"[7]

Shortly after arriving to Mecca, they secretly contacted Muhammad and decided to have a meeting at night in mid Tashreeq Days[a] on last year’s meeting place.[7]

Pledge[edit]

A narration attributed to Ka'b ibn Malik reports:

We set out for pilgrimage and struck a rendezvous in mid Tashreeq Days. We were accompanied by a celebrity and a notable of ours called ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Haram, who was still a polytheist. We disclosed to him our intention of meeting Muhammad and exhorted him to join our ranks and give up polytheism lest he should serve as wood for Hell in the Hereafter. He promptly embraced Islam and witnessed the serious meeting at Al-‘Aqabah.

That very night we slept with our people in our camps. After a third of the night had elapsed, we began to leave stealthily and met in a hillock nearby. We were seventy three men and two women Nusaibah bint Ka‘b from the Najjars and Asma’ bint ‘Amr from Bani Salamah. We waited for the Messenger of Allâh Muhammad until he came in the company of his uncle Al-‘Abbas RaziAllahu Anhu bin ‘Abdul Muttalib Alaihis Salaam who (though himself not a Muslim yet) adjured us not to draw his nephew away from the protection of his own kindred unless we were fully prepared to defend him even at the risk of our lives. He was the first to speak:

"O you people of the Khazraj — the Arabs used to call the Ansâr (Helpers) Khazraj, whether from Khazraj or Aws — you all know the position that Muhammad holds among us. We have protected him from our people as much as we could. He is honoured and respected among his people. He refuses to join any party except you. So if you think you can carry out what you promise while inviting him to your town, and if you can defend him against the enemies, then assume the burden that you have taken. But if you are going to surrender him and betray him after having taken him away with you, you had better leave him now because he is respected and well defended in his own place."

Ka‘b replied: "We have heard your words, and now O Messenger of Allâh, it is for you to speak and take from us any pledge that you want regarding your Lord and yourself." [7]

A narration attributed to Jabir ibn Abd-Allah reports:

The Ansâr (Helpers) asked the Messenger of Allâh Muhammad about the principles over which they would take a pledge. The Prophet answered:

  1. To listen and obey in all sets of circumstances.
  2. To spend in plenty as well as in scarcity.
  3. To enjoin good and forbid evil.
  4. In Allâh’s service, you will fear the censure of none.
  5. To defend me in case I seek your help, and debar me from anything you debar yourself, your spouses and children from. And if you observe those precepts, Paradise is in store for you.[7][9]

In another version:

A narration attributed to Ka'b ibn Malik reports:

The Prophet began to speak, recited some Qur’ânic verses, called people unto Allâh, exhorted them to enter the fold of Islam and concluded saying: "I give you my pledge that you debar me from whatever you debar your women and children from." Here Al-Bara’ bin Ma‘rur, caught him by hand, and said: "Oh yes, we swear by Allâh, Who sent you as a Prophet in Truth, that we will debar you from whatever we debar our women from. Have confidence in us, O Messenger of Allâh. By Allâh, we are genuine fighters and quite reliable in war, it is a trait passed down to us from our ancestors."

Then ‘Abul Haitham At-Taihan interrupted and said: "O Prophet of Allâh! Between us and the Jews, there are agreements which we would then sever. If Allâh grants you power and victory, should we expect that you would not leave us, and join the ranks of your people (meaning Quraish)?" The Prophet smiled and replied:

"Nay, it would never be; your blood will be my blood. In life and death I will be with you and you with me. I will fight whom you fight and I will make peace with those with whom you make peace."

After the negotiations concerning the conditions of allegiance had ended, and all of the audience were unanimously agreed to ratify it, two men of the early generation of converts who had embraced Islam in the eleventh and twelfth years rose to their feet to apprise the others of the serious step they were about to take so that they could give their pledge fully aware of the whole affair and consequently be ready for the sacrifice they were expected to make. Al ‘Abbas bin Ubada bin Nadlah, in this context, remarked: "O you people of Khazraj! Do you know the significance of the pact that you are entering into with this man? You are in fact avowing that you will fight against all and sundry. If you fear that your property will be at stake or the lives of your nobles will be endangered, then leave him now, because if you do this after the pledge, it will be degrading for you both in this world and the world to come. But if you think that you can carry out what you are called upon to do in spite of the loss of precious lives and property, then undertake this heavy responsibility, and I swear by Allâh, that herein lies the good of this world and that of the next."

They replied, "We have already considered the loss of property and the murder of our notables, yet we pay him allegiance. But what is our reward if we observe all the items of this pact?" The Prophet replied: "Paradise is in store for you." Then they asked him to stretch out his hand, and they all stretched out their hands and took the pledge. Only at that time did As‘ad bin Zurarah come to realize the people’s readiness for sacrifice in the cause of Allâh.[7]

A narration attributed to Jabir ibn Abd-Allah reports:

When we started to pay allegiance to the Prophet, As‘ad bin Zurarah stood up and gave the following short address: "Take it easy people of Yathrib! We have not covered that long distance except because we have had deep belief that he is the Messenger of Allâh. We are already convinced that following him entails departure from the pagan Arabs even if it were at the risk of our life. Should you preserve in this course, holdfast to it, and your great reward is placed in the Hand of Allâh, but if you are caught in fear, I admonish you to give it up just now, and then you would be more excusable by Allâh.[7]

Muhammad took the pledge of the two women – Nusaybah bint Ka'ab and Umm Munee Asma bint Amr bin 'Ad – orally, rather than clasping hands with them, considering that they were not Mahram with him.[7]

Deputies[edit]

Muhammad asked those involved to appoint twelve deputies to preach Islam in Medina and taking responsibility in matters relating to the propagation of Islam regarding the people of their own tribe. Those elected were:

From Banu Khazraj:

  1. `Abd Allah ibn Rawahah [7]
  2. Sa'd ibn Ubadah [7]
  3. As‘ad bin Zurarah bin ‘Ads [7]
  4. Sa‘d bin Ar-Rabi‘ bin ‘Amr [7]
  5. Rafi‘ bin Malik bin Al-‘Ajlan [7]
  6. Al-Bara’ bin Ma‘rur bin Sakhr [7]
  7. ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Haram [7]
  8. ‘Ubadah bin As-Samit bin Qais [7]
  9. Al-Mundhir bin ‘Amr bin Khunais [7]

From Banu Aws:

  1. Usaid bin Hudair bin Sammak[7]
  2. Sa‘d bin Khaithamah bin Al-Harith[7]
  3. Rifa‘a bin ‘Abdul Mundhir bin Zubair[7]

Once again, those twelve men were sworn to act as surety over the affairs of their people, and Muhammad would act as surety over his people, meaning all the Muslims.[7]

At this point, the secret meeting was discovered by an inhabitant in Al-‘Aqabah. Al-‘Abbas bin Nadlah said "By Allâh, Who has sent you in Truth, we are powerful enough to put the people of Mina (the Quraishites) to our swords tomorrow, if you desire." Muhammad said "We have not been commanded to follow that course. Now, back to your camps." They went back to sleep until morning.[7]

Meccan protests[edit]

The following day, a large delegation that included the Meccan leaders set out for the camp of the Medinan to protest severely against the treaty: "O people of Khazraj, it transpired to us that you have come here to conclude a treaty with this man and evacuate him out of Makkah. By Allâh, we do really hold in abhorrence any sort of fight between you and us."[7]

The Medinan polytheists were not aware of the secret meeting and swore by God that no truth in the report. ‘Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul, a Medinan polytheist, refuted their allegations denouncing them as null and void, claiming that his people would never initiate anything unless he gave them clear orders.

The Medinan Muslims did not speak and the Meccans became convinced by the arguments of the Medinan polytheist. However, they were not fully satisfied and kept investigating the matter. It was not after that the Medinan pilgrims had left the city that they realized the truth of the matter. In a fit of rage, they pursued the pilgrims.[7]

After much effort, they arrested al-Mundhir bin Amru but he broke away from them. Sa'd ibn Ubadah was also captured. They tied his hands to his neck and dragged him by his hair. Heavily beating him, they brought him to Mecca. But, luckily, Al-Mut‘im bin ‘Adi and Harith ibn Harb saved him, due to business relation they had with him.[7][10]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ the 11th, 12th and 13th days of Dhu al-Hijjah.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shawqī Abū Khalīl, Atlas Al-sīrah Al-Nabawīyah, p.85, Darussalam (2004), ISBN 9960897710. Quote: "The second Pledge of Al-'Aqabah (the pledge of war) was: "Blood is blood and blod not to be paid for is blood not to be paid for. I am of you and you are of me. I will war against them that war against you, and be at peace with those and peace with you""
  2. ^ Watt (1974) p. 83
  3. ^ Ibn Hisham, as-Seerat an-Nabawiyyah, Vol. I p. 454
  4. ^ a b Shawqī Abū Khalīl, Atlas Al-sīrah Al-Nabawīyah, p.85, Darussalam (2004), ISBN 9960897710. Quote: "The second Pledge of Al-'Aqabah (the pledge of war) was: "Blood is blood and blood not to be paid for is blood not to be paid for. I am of you and you are of me. I will war against them that war against you, and be at peace with those and peace with you""
  5. ^ Tahdhib al-Tahdhib by Ibn Hajar Asqalani Dictionary, Al Islam .
  6. ^ Ghadanfar, Mahmood Ahmad (2001), Great Women of Islam, Riyadh, pp. 207–15 .
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak "The Second 'Aqabah Pledge", The Sealed Nectar, Sunni path .
  8. ^ a b Abd Allah ibn Rawaahah, Islamic council .
  9. ^ Ahmad ibn Hanbal
  10. ^ "7. Glimpses of hope – Light of Islam", A Personality: The Apostle, SE: Swipnet .