The First ‘Aqabah Pledge

The First ‘Aqabah Pledge

We have already spoken about six Madinese who embraced Islam in the pilgrimage season in the eleventh year of Prophethood. They promised to communicate the Message of Islam to their townsfolk.

The following year, on the occasion of the pilgrimage, there came a group of twelve disciples ready to acknowledge Muhammad as their Prophet. The group of men comprised five of the six who had met the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) the year before, the sixth who stayed away was Jabir bin ‘Abdullah bin Reyab, the other seven were:

  1. Mu‘adh bin Al-Harith, Ibn ‘Afra, from Khazraj.
  2. Dhakwan bin ‘Abd Al-Qais, from Khazraj.
  3. ‘Ubadah bin As-Samit, from Khazraj.
  4. Yazeed bin Tha‘labah, from Khazraj.
  5. ‘Al-‘Abbas bin ‘Ubadah bin Nadalah, from Khazraj.
  6. Abul Haitham bin At-Taihan, from Aws.
  7. ‘Uwaim bin Sa‘idah, from Aws.

They avowed their faith in Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) as a Prophet and swore: "We will not worship any one but one Allah; we will not steal; neither will we commit adultery, nor kill our children; we will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood and we will not disobey you in any just matter." When they had taken the pledge, Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "He who carries it out, Allâh will reward him; and who neglects anything and is afflicted in this world, it may prove redemption for him in the Hereafter; and if the sin remains hidden from the eyes of the men and no grief comes to him, then his affair is with Allâh. He may forgive him or He may not." [Bukhari 1/550; 2/727; 2/1003]

The Muslim Envoy in Madinah

After the Pledge (in the form of an oath had been taken) the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) sent to Yathrib (Madinah) Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair Al-‘Abdari [R], the first Muslim ‘ambassador’ to teach the people there the doctrines of Islam, give them practical guidance and make attempts at propagating the Islam among those who still professed polytheism. As‘ad bin Zurarah hosted him in Madinah. So prepared was the ground, and so zealous the propagation that the Islam spread rapidly from house to house and from tribe to tribe. There were various cheerful and promising aspects of success that characterized Mus‘ab’s task. One day Mus‘ab and As‘ad were on their way to the habitations of Bani ‘Abd Al-Ashhal and Bani Zafar, when they went into the premises of the latter clan. There they sat near a well conversing with some new converts. Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh and Usaid bin Hudair, chiefs of the two clans heard of this meeting, so Usaid approached the Muslims armed with his lance while the other Sa‘d excused himself on grounds that As‘ad was his maternal cousin. Usaid came closer cursing and swearing and accused the two men of befooling people weak of heart, and ordered that they stop it altogether. Mus‘ab calmly invited him to sit saying, "If you are pleased with our talk, you can accept it; should you hold it in abhorrence, you could freely immunize yourself against what you hate." "That’s fair," said Usaid, pierced his lance in the sand, listened to Mus‘ab and then heard some verses of the Noble Qur’ân. His face bespoke satisfaction and pleasure before uttering any words of approval. He asked the two men about the procedures pertinent to embracing Islam. They asked him to observe washing, purge his garment, bear witness to the Truth and then perform two Rak‘a. He responded and did exactly what he was asked to do, and then said there was a man (Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh) whose people would never hang back if he followed the Islam. He then left to see Sa‘d and his people. Sa‘d could immediately understand that Usaid had changed. To a question posed by Sa‘d, Usaid said that two men were ready to comply with whatever orders they received. He then managed a certain situation that provided the two men with a chance to talk with Sa‘d privately. The previous scene with Usaid recurred and Sa‘d embraced Islam, and directly turned to his people swearing that he would never talk with them until they had believed in Allâh, and in His Messenger. Hardly did the evening of that day arrive when all the men and women of that sept of Arabians embraced Islam with the exception of one, Al-Usairim, who hung back until the Day of Uhud. On that day he embraced Islam and fought the polytheists but was eventually killed before observing any prostration in the way of prayer. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) commented saying: "He has done a little but his reward is great."

Mus‘ab stayed in Madinah carrying out his mission diligently and successfully until all the houses of Al-Ansar (the future Helpers) had Muslims elements, men and women. One family only stood obdurate to the Islamic Da‘wah (Call). They were under the influence of the poet Qais bin Al-Aslat, who managed to hold them at bay and screen off the Call of Islam from their ears until the year 5 A.H.

Shortly before the approach of the following pilgrimage season, i.e. the thirteenth year of Prophethood, Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair returned to Makkah carrying to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) glad tidings about the new fertile soil of Islam in Madinah, and its environment rich in the prospects of good, and the power and immunity that that city was bound to provide to the cause of Islam. [Ibn Hisham 1/435; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/51]