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The First Treaty of `Aqabah

The First Treaty of `Aqabah

By the twelfth year of the prophethood, twelve people of Yathrib swore allegiance to the Holy Prophet at the foot of the `Aqabah of Min¡[1] at the time of °ajj.[2] Among this group, ten people were from Khazraj and two others from Aws. This showed that these two groups had set their quarrel aside and showed interest in coming under the banner of Islam. They swore that they would not associate anybody with God, steal, engage themselves in adultery, kill their own children, accuse one another, and they would obey the Holy Prophet in performing good deeds.[3]

The Holy Prophet promised them heaven as a reward for their keeping this treaty.[4] After the °ajj ceremony, they returned to Yathrib and asked the Holy Prophet to appoint a teacher to teach them the Holy Qur'¡n and the principles of Islam. The Holy Prophet sent Mu¥`ab ibn `Umayr to them.[5] Due to his hard work in propagation, a great number of people accepted the Islamic faith. In Mecca, the chiefs opposed Islam; but the youth and the deprived ones accepted it as religion. However, in Yathrib, it was the other way round; the chiefs pioneered to adopt Islam and people naturally followed their suit. This was one of the factors for the spread of Islam in this city.

The Second Treaty of `Aqabah

In the thirteenth year of prophethood and at the °ajj ceremony, a group of seventy-five people, eleven of whom were from Aws and two women, entered Mecca. On the twelfth of Dhu’l-°ijjah, the second treaty of `Aqabah was concluded with a lot of precautions. The signers pledged that if the Holy Prophet emigrated to their city, they would protect him like their own relatives and children and fight anybody who would fight against him. For this reason, this treaty came to be called bay`at al-¦arb (the pledge of war). At the end of this meeting, the signers elected twelve representatives to manage their affairs upon their return to Yathrib.[6]

The initial Stages of emigration to Yathrib

Despite all the precautions that the Holy Prophet and the people of Yathrib had taken, Quraysh found out the secrets behind this treaty. Consequently, they endeavored to arrest the treaty signers. Since those who paid homage to the Holy Prophet had left Mecca in time, they could flee to safety except for one who was arrested.

After the departure of the people of Yathrib, Quraysh increased their pressure on Muslims, because they realized that the Holy Prophet had safeguarded a stronghold in Yathrib; they therefore increased their pressures on Muslims. Once again, life in Mecca had become intolerable.[7] For this reason, the Holy Prophet ordered Muslims to emigrate to Yathrib, telling them, “Go to Yathrib; God will provide you with brethren and a safe place.”[8] For two and a half months, (i.e. from the middle of Dhu’l-°ijjah up to the end of ¯afar)[9] Muslims gradually headed for Yathrib despite all hardships that Quraysh put in their way. Hence, no Muslim remained in Mecca except for the Holy Prophet, Imam `Al¢, Ab£-Bakr and some others. In the history of Islam, those Muslims who emigrated to Yathrib are called muh¡jir£n (Emigrants) and those who helped out the Holy Prophet in Yathrib are called an¥¡r.

[1] `Aqabah, meaning a pass, is situated to the west of Mecca.

[2] Five of them had sworn allegiance with the Holy Prophet in the last year, while seven paid homage this year.

[3] This treaty was termed bay`at al-nis¡', because the issues of war not included in it. After the conquest of Mecca, the Holy Prophet asked women to swear their allegiance. This issue is brought up in a verse in S£rah al-Mumta¦anah that reads,

O Prophet! When believing women come to you giving you a pledge that they will not associate aught with Allah, and will not steal, and will not commit fornication, and will not kill their children, and will not bring a calumny which they have forged of themselves, and will not disobey you in what is good; accept their pledge, and ask forgiveness for them from Allah; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (60:12.

[4] op cit, Ibn Sa`d, Al-±abaq¡t al-Kubr¡ 1:220.

[5] Mu¥`ab was a young man from a rich family that belonged to Ban£-`Abd al-D¡r, Quraysh. Although his parents loved him passionately, he was deprived of everything due to his belief in Islam. He was a zealous Muslim who had migrated to Abyssinia twice. See Ibn al-Ath¢r, Usd al-Gh¡bah 4:368-370.

[6] Al-Bayhaq¢, op cit, pp. 132-140, Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, pp. 81-90; al-Bul¡dhar¢, op cit, pp. 240-254; Ibn Sa`d, op cit, pp. 221-223; ±abar¢, op cit, pp. 237; ±abars¢, I`l¡m al-War¡, pp. 54; al-Majlis¢, op cit, 19:25-26.

[7] al-Bul¡dhar¢, op cit, 1:357; ±abar¢, op cit, 2:240-241; Ibn Sa`d, op cit, 1:226; al-Majlis¢, op cit, pp. 26.

[8] Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 2:111; Ibn Shahr¡sh£b, al-Man¡qib 1:182, Ibn Kath¢r, al-Bid¡yah wa’l-Nih¡yah 3:169.

[9] °alab¢, al-S¢rah al-°alabiyyah 2:189.

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