“We are the children of campaign and combat and have been trained as warriors. We have inherited these qualities from our ancestors.”
At the beginning of his mission, whenever the Prophet learned that an important person from amongst the Arabs had arrived in Makkah, he contacted such immediately and presented his religion to him. On one occasion, a group of Yathrib Arabs came to Makkah to perform Jahiliyyah rites ceremonies, and the Prophet on that occasion contacted them. These contacts provided the preliminaries for ‘migration’, and centralized the scattered strength of Islam at that point. These occurred during the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth years of the prophetic mission.
On the eleventh year of his mission, he met six persons belonging to the tribe of Khazraj and read out some verses of the Qur’an to them. This had a good effect on them and they embraced Islam immediately. The thing which made them inclined to Islam was that they had heard from the Jews that a Prophet of Arabian descent, who would introduce the religion of the Oneness of Allah and would wipe out idol-worship, would be appointed by the Almighty soon and they, therefore, thought that before the Jews stole a march on them, they themselves should assist him and thereby become victorious over their enemies. “It is the very luminous star which has risen from the horizon of reality”. These six persons made continuous efforts to propagate Islam in Yathrib; So much so that there was no house left there where the Prophet was not talked about.
Thus, in the twelfth year, another group consisting of twelve persons came from Yathrib and met the Prophet at ‘ the Valley of ‘Aqabah” a defile near Mina and concluded the first Islamic agreement. The Prophet promised that if they acted according to the agreement their place would be in Paradise, but if they were disobedient, it was for Allah to forgive them or torture them. In the terminology of the historians this ‘Bay’at’ (Oath of allegiance) is called ‘Bay’atun Nisa’ (Bay’at of the women), because at the time of the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet took a similar ‘Bay’at’ from women. This was the first agreement at ‘Aqabah.
On the thirteenth year, seventy three men and two women Nusaibah bint Ka‘b from the Najjars and Asma’ bint ‘Amr from Bani Salamah met the Prophet in Makkah and requested a time appointed for them for the performance of the ceremonies of ‘Bay’at’. The 13th night of Zil-Haj, was chosen and the Valley of al-Aqabah was again the venue. This was the second pledge at al-Aqabah.
It was an important event in the mission of the prophet. Abbas, the Prophet’s uncle, was the first to speak out thus: “O Khazarajites! You have expressed your support for the religion of Muhammad! You should be aware that he is the most dignified person of his tribe. Muhammad is now inclined towards you and desires to be amongst you. If you are confident that you will abide by your agreement and will protect him from harm from his enemies, we are prepared to let him go with you. However, if you are not capable of defending him in difficult circumstances; you are free to forsake him here and let him spend his life amongst his kinsmen with great dignity and respect. “
At this time, Bura’ bin Ma’rur stood up and said: “By Allah! Had there been anything in our hearts other than that which we have said with our tongues we would have expressed it. We have no other intention than sincere compliance with the agreement and sacrifice in the path of the Prophet.” Then, the Khazrajites turned towards the Prophet and requested him to say something. The Prophet recited some verses and stirred their inclination towards Islam. Thereafter he said: “I take this oath from you that you will defend me in the same manner in which you defended your children and the members of your family.”
Bura’ bin Ma’rur, Abul Haytham bin Tayhan and As’ad bin Zurarah then rose from their places and put their hands on the hand of the Prophet by way of ‘Bay’at’. Thereafter, all those present performed ‘Bay’at, one after the other.Thereafter twelve representatives of the Ansar (nine from Khazraj and three from Aws) were introduced to the Prophet. Their names and particulars are recorded in history. The performance of ‘Bay’at’ was finalized in this assembly and the Prophet promised that he would leave Makkah at an appropriate time and go to Yathrib. Then the gathering dispersed.
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