Archive for the ‘Makkan Era’ Category

The First People from Yathrib accept Islam | Year 11


In the year that followed the Year of Sadness, the pilgrimage fell at the beginning of summer; it had been the Prophet’s practice now for several years to visit the various groups and to declare his message to any who would listen, reciting for them verses of the revelations.

The nearest point from Mina to Mecca is ‘Aqabah, where the road rises up steeply from the valley towards the hills in the direction of the Holy city; and it was this year at ‘Aqabah that the Prophet came upon six men of the tribe of Khazraj, from Yathrib. He told them about Islam and called on them to submit to Islamic monotheism. Their faces lit up with interest; and they listened to him intently saying to one another, “By God, this is the same thing that the Jews informed us; Indeed, nobody should now get ahead of us.” They accepted his teachings and embraced Islam. They also said to the Prophet, “We have left our people, for there are no people so torn asunder by enmity and evil as they; and it may be that God will unite them through you. We will now go to them and summon them to accept the religion as we have accepted it; and if God unites them together through you, then no man will be more honoured than you”.

The six men of Khazraj delivered the message of Islam to as many of their people as would listen to them; and the next summer, five of them repeated their pilgrimage, bringing with them seven others, two of whom were from the tribe of Aws. At ‘Aqabah, these twelve men pledged themselves to the Prophet, and this pledge is known as the First ‘Aqabah:

“We pledged our allegiance to the Messenger of God on the night of the First ‘Aqabah, that we would associate nothing with God as partner, that we would neither commit theft nor fornication, nor to kill their own children, and we would obey him in what was right.”

When these people left for Madinah, the Prophet sent Musab Ibn Umayr with them to teach the Qur’an to the people there to expound Islam and instruct them about the religion.

The timing of the call was perfect since it took place at a critical juncture when God afforded the opportunity of helping and defending Islam to both the Aws and the Khazraj, and in effect, crushed their own petty squabbling. It was by various causes and circumstances such as this that Almighty God opened the door of acceptance by those who were inherently kind-hearted and sweet-tempered, immune from the Quraishite traits of immoderation, stubbornness and vanity, and hence the people of Yathrib were responsive and open to reason.

Lessons & Wisdoms

At this stage the Prophet and his disciples’ mission had progressed profoundly and were now trying to gain military protection from formidable tribes outside of Makkah. This shows us that:

1) The Prophet sought aid from others not just to find a safe haven for the Muslim community but to remove the obstacles that were preventing the Muslims from establishing Islam in their day to day lives. It is for this reason that the Prophet rejected the offer of support and protection from the tribe of Banu Aamir as this would compromise his ability to further the Prophetic Call.

2)  Muhammad was now beginning to witness the fruits of his labour. He had been through the most arduous times of his life but now things were starting to take a positive turn and his steadfastness and endurance was beginning to pay off. There is a great example of patience and endurance in the life of the Prophet for all. After almost ten years of calling his people to Islam with much opposition and little success, he decided to focus his call to other than the Quraysh by visiting tribal leaders of afar when they would come to Makkah for the annual pilgrimage.  Eleven years of struggle without worldly gain, all for the sake of God, was the price he paid in order to prepare the way for an Islamic upsurge which would spread to all ends of the world, vanquishing the power of the Byzantium and the Persians. God decreed that the foundations of Islam would be built with much struggle and hardship in order to show mankind the Straight Path is one of difficulty and not ease.

3) A possible wisdom behind God Decreeing help arrive from a source outside of Muhammad’s family and tribe was to eliminate speculation and suspicion that perhaps Muhammad’s call was a nationalistic call to bring his people to prominence.

4) The first pledge of Aqaba is an excellent illustration of how the Prophetic Call was as much about social reform as it was about theological reform to pure monotheism. The Prophet asked the converts from Yathrib to pledge themselves not to worship any save God, not to steal, not to commit adultery, not to slay their children, and not to slander their neighbour.

5) The Prophet showed great leadership and management skills in selecting certain Companions to assist him in holding these negotiations. He wouldn’t select any person for a job but rather the most qualified. For instance, the Prophet would have Abu Bakr accompany him as he was the most learned in the field of genealogy and Arab history.

Edicts & Rulings

The Quranic chapter as-Saba, named after the people of Saba, was revealed in the second half of the Meccan period, a short time before the Night Journey. It contained pivotal concepts that can be summed up in the question addressed to all human beings in verse 9: “Are they, then, not aware of how little of the sky and the earth lies open before them and how much is hidden from them?” and in the call to moral responsibility sounded in verse 46: “Say: ‘I counsel you one thing only: Be ever conscious of standing before God whether you are in the company of others or alone.'” With such revelation, God inspired Muhammad to remain focused on the task at hand: to call mankind to the exclusive worship of God alone and warn them of submitting to any other deity.


The Night of Ascension | Year 12


The Prophet loved to visit the Ka’bah and one night after praying he was overcome with sleep, and he lay down beside it.

“Whilst I was sleeping in the Hijr,” he said, “Gabriel came to me and spurred me with his foot whereupon I sat upright.” The angel then cut open his body from the top of the chest downwards. He then took out the Prophet’s heart and washed it is a golden basin and then filled it with faith and sealed his body. He then led him out to the gate of the Mosque, and there was a white beast named Buraq, between a mule and an ass, with large wings either side and his every stride was as far his eye could see. The Prophet was carried on it, and Gabriel set out with him till they reached the Jerusalem at speed. Then they were met by a group of Prophets – Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others – and when he prayed on the site of the holy Mosque, they gathered behind him for prayer.

Then, Muhammed was taken up to Heaven. Led by the Archangel, who now revealed himself as a heavenly being, they ascended beyond earthly space and time, and as they passed through the Heavens they met some of the Prophets. Each time he met another Prophet he would extend greetings to them and they would reply, “you are welcomed, O pious son and pious Prophet.”

Then he was made to ascend to Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (the Lote Tree of the utmost boundary). Its fruits were like the jars of Hajr (a place near Medina) and its leaves were as big as the ears of elephants. Gabriel said: ‘This is the Lote Tree of the utmost boundary.’ There ran four rivers; two were hidden and two were visible. The Prophet asked, ‘what are these two kinds of rivers, O Gabriel?’ He replied, ‘as for the hidden rivers, they are two rivers in Paradise and the visible rivers are the Nile and the Euphrates.’

Then Al-Bait-ul-Mamur (the Sacred House) was shown to him and a container full of wine, another full of milk, and a third full of honey were brought to the Prophet; he took the milk. Gabriel remarked: ‘This is the Islamic religion which you and your followers are following.’

Then fifty prayers were enjoined on the Prophet at which Moses remarked, ‘Your followers cannot bear fifty prayers a day, and by God I have tested people before you, and I have tried my level best with the Children of Israel (in vain). Go back to your Lord and ask for reduction to lessen your followers’ burden.’ So the Prophet returned continuously, until he was ordered to observe five prayers a day. The Prophet was then transported back to his earthly station.


Lessons & Wisdoms

The miraculous physical journey of the prophet to the land of Jerusalem and then onwards to the heavens beyond earthly space was a great honoring by God which contained many wisdoms,

  • The event occurred after a year of immense sadness and grief for the prophet, and so the incident strengthened his resolve and through it God made manifest to him his true status as messenger. In a time when the prophet was facing fierce rejection, the night of ascension lifted the spirit of the prophet to an unprecedented level showing him that if the earth became too restricted for him than the heavens were ready to receive him with honor.
  • The journey was also a personification of the prophet’s leadership for all of mankind. He was taken from east to west indicating that he was the Imam of the entire globe. Then God decreed that the prophet lead an entire congregation of past prophets in the al-Aqsa mosque. This was symbolic of the prophets superiority as his message, though theologically identical to theirs, would one day reach every home in every town; suitable for every generation, whereas the message of the previous prophets was for a certain people in a particular era.
  • The visit to al-Aqsa mosque shows the importance it holds in the eyes of God. The mosque with it’s surrounding areas have been made blessed, indicating the responsibility Muslims have in safeguarding it against evil and corruption. Such a trust was once given to the children of Israel, but they betrayed  it and so God raised a new nation to uphold His commandments.
  • The commandment to offer five daily prayers were given to the prophet on this journey which shows us the lofty and unique nature of this act of worship. The enormity of importance the daily prayers required that the prophet be raised up to the heavens and then be informed.
  • The prophet was given the opportunity to gaze upon paradise and hell. He spoke of their description and through his narrations have we come to know more of there nature. He once said “A piece of paradise the size of a bow is better than all beneath the sun…” The prophet saw the Divine Light of his Lord who gave his eye the ability not to waiver upon seeing it. He would later say “I take refuge in the Light of Thy Countenance”



Promise of Help & Support from Madinah | Year 13


The thirteenth year saw a greater number of pilgrims from Yathrib; seventy-three men and two women. Secretly, Muhammad contacted the leaders of the group and they agreed to meet at ‘Aqaba during the night on the second day following the pilgrimage. The Muslims of Yathrib kept the meeting secret stealing themselves away under the cover of the night. When they reached ‘Aqaba, men and women ascended the mountain awaiting the arrival of the Prophet.

The Prophet arrived with his uncle ‘Abbas who had not yet converted to Islam. He knew from his nephew that this meeting was to conclude an alliance which might incite Quraysh to a war of aggression as much as it was designed to achieve peace and security. Muhammad had informed his uncle that together with some members of Banu Al Muttalib and Banu Hashim he had agreed with the new group from Yathrib that they would protect him personally. Anxious to strengthen his nephew and people against a war whose losses might fall heavily upon Banu Hashim and Banu Al Muttalib, Abbas sought to make sure that among this group from Yathrib he would find real helpers and allies.

Consequently, he was the first one to open the discussion. He said, “O men from Khazraj, Muhammad’s eminence and prestige among us are known to you. We have protected him even against those of his own people who think as highly of him as we do. Among us, he stands strong and secure. But he insists on joining your party. If you find yourselves capable of fulfilling toward him what you have promised, then you may proceed. But if you would betray him and send him over to his enemies once he has joined your party, you had better now say so and leave him alone.”

After hearing this speech of ‘Abbas, the men from Yathrib said, “We have heard what you said, O ‘Abbas,” and turning to the Prophet, they continued, “O Prophet, speak out and choose for yourself and your Lord what you desire.” Prophet Muhammad, after reciting some verses from the Quran, preached his faith in God in moving terms. He then said to the men from Yathrib, “I covenant with you on the condition that you will protect me against all, just as you would protect your women and children.”

Al Bara said, “We have covenanted with you, O Prophet. By God, we are men of many wars; we are men of the sword, having inherited it from father unto son.” Before Al Bara finished his words, Abu al Haytham said, “O Prophet, 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 ‘Abbas 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 in this world as well as the next. But if you feel certain that you can stand by him and fulfil 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, what will be our reward’ if we remain true to this oath?” He 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 representatives who will be responsible to me regarding your behaviour 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.”


Lessons & Wisdoms

In this year help came to the prophet and his followers in Makkah from a people plagued with bitter conflict and civil war. They had just emerged from a savage conflict with a temporary agreement to stop fighting. The moderate amongst both sides called for a need to be united under one leader; someone who would unite them much like Qusayy had united Quraysh. This background of the people of Yathrib helped the recent converts, who had just returned from the pledging allegiance to the prophet, in paving the way for emigration. The key events that took place in this year hold the following points of wisdom,


  1. There is an ‘Abu Lahab’ amongst every generation of people, who tries to undo the good work of others. He tries to erect barriers and ill feelings towards the callers of truth. The prophet did not allow Abu Lahab and his irk to prevent him from calling others nor did he engage with him with much significance. Instead he would arrange nocturnal appointments with chieftains to avoid interference; so this is how the 1st and 2nd treaty of al-Aqaba was conducted.
  2. Generally, one should not assume that a particular person or group of people will reject the call to truth and thus not approach them. The prophet would approach people from every background to accept islam and moreover his morale was not weakened by their rejection.
  3. There were certain intrinsic characteristics within the people of Yathrib that made them more susceptible to accepting Islam. They had a sense of modesty, gentleness, and humbleness whereas the people of Makkah were quite arrogant and obstinate.
  4. In the second pledge of al-Aqaba, the prophet asked the 73 delegates from Yathrib to select from amongst themselves 12 representatives instead of choosing them himself and thus promoted the islamic concept of consultation. He also gauged from this the proportion of Kazrajites to Awsites; which was 3:1 and then appointed them as the head propagators of Islam in Madinah.
  5. Nearly all those present at the second pledge were also present in the battle of Badar; bearing testimony to their truthfulness to the covenant made.