(THE SEALED NECTAR)
Memoirs of the Noble Prophet
Author: Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri
Jamia Salafia - India- .
Translated by: Issam Diab .
In Shawwal (in the last of May or in the beginning of June 619 A.D.), ten years after receiving his mission from his Lord, the Prophet set out towards At-Ta�if, about 60 kilometres from Makkah, in the company of his freed slave Zaid bin Haritha inviting people to Islam. But contrary to his expectations, the general atmosphere was terribly hostile. He approached the family of �Umair, who were reckoned amongst the nobility of the town. But, to his disappointment, all of them turned deaf ear to his message and used abusive language as regards the noble cause he had been striving for. Three brothers from the chieftains of Thaqeef ��Abd Yaleel, Mas�ud and Habeeb � sons of �Amr bin �Umair Ath-Thaqafy met the Prophet , who invited them to embrace Islam and worship All�h, but they impudently jeered at him and refused his invitation. "He is tearing the cloths of Al-Ka�bah; is it true that All�h has sent you as a Messenger?" said one of them. "Has not All�h found someone else to entrust him with His Message?" said the second. "I swear by All�h that I will never have any contact with you. If you are really the Messenger of All�h, then you are too serious to retort back; and if you are belying All�h, then I feel it is imperative not to speak to." said the third. The Messenger of All�h , finding that they were hopeless cases, stood up and left them saying: "Should you indulge in these practices of yours, never divulge them to me."
For ten days he stayed there delivering his message to several people, one after another, but all to no purpose. Stirred up to hasten the departure of the unwelcome visitor, the people hooted him through the alley-ways, pelted him with stones and obliged him to flee from the city pursued by a relentless rabble. Blood flowed down both his legs; and Zaid, endeavouring to shield him, was wounded in the head. The mob did not desist until they had chased him two or three miles across the sandy plains to the foot of the surrounding hills. There, wearied and exhausted, he took refuge in one of the numerous orchards, and rested against the wall of a vineyard. At a time when the whole world seemed to have turned against him, Muhammad turned to his Lord and betook himself to prayer and the following touching words are still preserved as those through which his oppressed soul gave vent to its distress. He was weary and wounded but confident of the help of his Lord:
"I seek protection in the light of Your Countenance, which illuminates the heavens and dispels darkness, and which controls all affairs in this world as well as in the Hereafter. May it never be that I should incur Your wrath, or that You should be wrathful to me. And there is no power nor resource, but Yours alone."
Seeing him in this helpless situation, Rabi�a�s two sons, wealthy Makkans, were moved on grounds of kinship and compassion, and sent to him one of their Christian servants with a tray of grapes. The Prophet accepted the fruit with pious invocation: "In the Name of the All�h." The Christian servant �Addas was greatly impressed by these words and said: "These are words which people in this land do not generally use." The Prophet inquired of him whence he came and what religion he professed. �Addas replied: "I am a Christian by faith and come from Nineveh." The Prophet then said: "You belong to the city of the righteous Jonah, son of Matta." �Addas asked him anxiously if he knew anything about Jonah. The Prophet significantly remarked: "He is my brother. He was a Prophet and so am I." Thereupon �Addas paid homage to Muhammad and kissed his hands. His masters admonished him at this act but he replied: "None on the earth is better than he is. He has revealed to me a truth which only a Prophet can do." They again reprimanded him and said: "We forewarn you against the consequences of abandoning the faith of your forefathers. The religion which you profess is far better than the one you feel inclined to."
Heart-broken and depressed, Muhammad set out on the way back to Makkah. When he reached Qarn Al-Manazil, All�h, the Almighty sent him Gabriel together with the angel of mountains. The latter asked the Prophet for permission to bury Makkah between Al�Akhshabain �Abu Qubais and Qu�ayqa�an mountains. Full narration of this event was given by �Aishah - may Allah be pleased with her - (the Prophet�s spouse). She said: "I asked the Prophet if he had ever experienced a worse day than Uhud. He answered that he had suffered a lot from those people (the idolaters) but the most painful was on the day of �Aqabah. I went seeking support from Ibn �Abd Yalil bin �Abd Kalal, but he spurned me. I set out wearied and grieved heedless of anything around me until I suddenly realized I was in Qarn Ath-Tha�alib, called Qarn Al-Manazil. There, I looked up and saw a cloud casting its shade on me, and Gabriel addressing me: All�h has heard your people�s words and sent you the angel of mountains to your aid. The latter called and gave me his greetings and asked for my permission to bury Makkah between Al-Akhshabain, the two mountains flanking Makkah. I said in reply that I would rather have someone from their loins who will worship All�h, the All�Mighty with no associate." A concise meaningful answer fully indicative of the Prophet�s matchless character and the fathomless magnanimous manners.
The Messenger of All�h then came back to wakefulness and his heart was set at rest in the light of that invisible Divinely provided aid. He proceeded to Wadi Nakhlah where he stayed for a few days.
During his stay there, All�h sent him a company of jinns who listened to him reciting the Noble Qur��n:
The same incident is referred to in S�rah Al-Jinn:
From the context of these verses and their relevant interpretation, we can safely establish it that the Prophet was not aware of the presence of that group of jinns. It was only when All�h revealed those verses that he came to know of it. The verses also confirm that it was the first time they came. However, the context of the different versions suggests that the jinns repeated their visits later on. The presence of that company of jinns comes in the context of the Divine support given to His Messenger, and constitutes a propitious sign of ultimate victory and success for the Call of Islam. It provides an unshakable proof that no power however mighty could alter what is wrought by All�h:
"And we think that we cannot escape (from the punishment of) All� h in the earth, nor can we escape (from the punishment) by flight." [72:12]
Given this support and auspicious start, depression, dismay and sadness that used to beset him since he was driven out of At-Ta�if, he turned his face towards Makkah with fresh determination to resume his earlier plan to expose people to Islam and communicate his Message in a great spirit of zeal and matchless enthusiasm.
Zaid bin Harithah, his companion, addressing the Prophet said, "How dare you step into Makkah after they (Quraish) have expatriated you?" The Prophet answered: "Hearken Zaid, All�h will surely provide relief and He will verily support His religion and Prophet."
When he was a short distance from Makkah, he retired to Hira� Cave. Whence he despatched a man from Khuza�ah tribe to Al-Akhnas bin Shuraiq seeking his protection. The latter answered that he was Quraish�s ally and in no position to offer protection. He despatched the messenger to Suhail bin �Amr, but to no avail, either. Al-Mut�im bin �Adi, a notable in Makkah, however, volunteered to respond to the Prophet�s appeal for shelter. He asked his people to prepare themselves fully armed and then asked Muhammad to enter into the town and directly into the Holy Sanctuary. The Prophet observed a two-Rak�a prayer and left for his house guarded by the heavily-armed vigilant �Adi�s.
It has been reported that later Abu Jahl, the archenemy of Islam, asked Mut�im if his behaviour suggested protection or conversion, the latter replied it was merely protection. Abu Jahl was relieved and said that he would give Muhammad protection for his sake.
The Messenger of All�h never forgot Mut�im�s favour. At the conclusion of the battle of Badr, he declared publicly that if Mut�im had been still alive and asked for the release of the Quraishite captives, he would not deny him his request.
In Dhul Qa�dah, the tenth year of Prophethood, i.e. July 619, the Prophet , returned to Makkah to resume his activities. The time for pilgrimage to Makkah was approaching so he hastened to introduce people both tribes and individuals to Islam and call upon them to embrace it, just as it was his practice since the fourth year of his Prophethood.
On the authority of Az-Zuhri, of the tribes that Islam was introduced to, we could speak of Banu �Amir bin Sa�sa�ah, Muharib bin Khasfa, Fazarah, Ghassan, Murrah, Haneefah, Saleem, �Abs, Banu Nasr, Banu Al-Buka�, Kindah, Kalb, Al-Harith bin Ka�b, Udhrah and people of Hadrmout. Islam was not introduced to them in one single year but rather repeatedly from the fourth year till the last pre-migration season of pilgrimage. They however, remained obdurate and none of them responded positively.
The following is a resume of aspects relating to the Prophet�s appeals as regards the new faith he was preaching:
When Banu �Amir returned to their habitations, they narrated the story to an elderly man who had lingered behind because he was too old. They told him, "A young man of Quraish of Bani �Abdul Muttalib, claiming that he is a Prophet, contacted us, asked for support and invited us to embrace his religion." The old sheikh was struck by the news, and wondered if there was no way of making amends for the loss of that opportunity and swore, "He is really Ishmaelite (he descends from Ishmael). He is the Truth (he is a real Prophet). How did it happen that you misjudged his words?"
The Prophet was not dismayed at all. He persisted in his mission for the fulfillment of which he had been commissioned to strive despite all odds. He did not confine his efforts to the tribes but also conducted contacts with individuals from some of whom he was able to receive a favourable response. Moreover, later in the same season, some of them did believe in his Prophethood and entered the fold of Islam. The following list included some of those early converts:
Hope inspiring Breezes from the Madinese:
It was during the pilgrimage season, in the eleventh year of Prophethood, that the Islamic Call found the righteous seeds through which it would grow up to constitute tall trees whose leaves would foster the new faith and shelter the new vulnerable converts from the blows of injustices and high-handness of Quraish. It was the Prophet�s wise practice to meet the delegates of the Arabian tribes by night so that the hostile Makkans would not debar him from achieving his objectives. In the company of his two truthful Companions �Ali and Abu Bakr, he had an interesting talk regarding Islamization with Bani Dhuhal, but the latter suspended their conversion. In pursuit of the same objective, the Prophet and his Companions passed by �Aqabat Mina where they heard people talking. They went at their heels until they encountered six men from Yathrib, all of whom from Khazraj tribe: As�ad bin Zurarah, �Awf bin Harith, Rafi� bin Malik, Qutbah bin �Amir, �Uqbah bin �Amir and Jabir bin �Abdullah. The last two being from Aws and the former four from Khazraj.
The Madinese always heard the Jews say that a Prophet was about to rise, for the time for a new dispensation had arrived. Him they would follow and then smite their enemies as the children of �Ad and Iram had been smitten.
"Of what tribe are you?" asked the Prophet. "Of the tribe of Khazraj," they replied. "Are you the allies of the Jews?" The Prophet enquired. They said: "Yes." "Then why not sit down for a little and I will speak to you." The offer was readily accepted for the fame of Muhammad had spread to Madinah and the strangers were curious to see more of the man who had created a stir in the whole area. The Prophet presented to them an expose of Islam, explained its implications, and the responsibilities that fell upon the men who accepted it. When the Prophet concluded his talk, they exchanged among themselves ideas to the following effect: "Know surely, this is the Prophet with whom the Jews are ever threatening us; wherefore let us make haste and be the first to join him."
They, therefore, embraced Islam, and said to the Prophet, "We have left our community for no tribe is so divided by hatred and rancour as they are. All�h may cement our ties through you. So let us go and invite them to this religion of yours; and if All�h unites them in it, no man will be dearer than you."
The handful of Madinese converts remained steady to the cause and they preached the Islam with full zeal and devotion with the result that they succeeded in winning adherents for Islam from amongst their fellow citizens and hardly was there a house in Madinah not talking curiously and enthusiastically about the Messenger of All�h .
Marriage of the Prophet to �Aishah - may Allah be pleased with her - :
In Shawwal of the same year, the Prophet concluded a marriage contract with �Aishah - may Allah be pleased with her - , �the truth verifier�, when she was six of age and consummated his marriage with her in Shawwal, the year 1 A.H. in Madinah when she was nine.
The last days of the Makkan phase of the Prophet�s life are noted for alternate fortunes ranging between two extremes: gradual success and continual persecution. However, glimpses of propitious lights were looming on the distant horizon, to ultimately materialize in the event of the Prophet�s Night Journey to Jerusalem and then Ascension through the spheres of the heavens.
Dome in Palestine
As for its exact date, it is still controversial and no common consent has been reached. However, the majority of jurists is in favour of a date between 16-12 months prior to migration to Madinah. The following is a epitome of the details of that miraculous event narrated on the authority of Ibn Al-Qayyim.
The Messenger of All�h was carried in body from the Sacred Mosque in Makkah to the Distant Mosque in Jerusalem on a horse called Al-Buraq in the company of Gabriel, the archangel. There he alighted, tethered the horse to a ring in the gate of the Mosque and led the Prophets in prayer. After that Gabriel took him to the heavens on the same horse. When they reached the first heaven Gabriel asked the guardian angel to open the door of heaven. It was opened and he saw Adam, the progenitor of mankind. The Prophet saluted him and the other welcomed him and expressed his faith in Muhammad�s Prophethood. He saw the souls of martyrs on his right and those of the wretched on his left.
Gabriel then ascended with the Prophet to the second heaven, asked for opening the gate and there he saw and saluted John, son of Zachariya (Yahya bin Zakariya) and Jesus, son of Mary. They returned the salutation, welcomed him and expressed their faith in his Prophethood. Then they reached the third heaven where they saw Joseph (Yusuf) and saluted him. The latter welcomed the Prophet and expressed faith in his Prophethood. The Prophet, in the company of Gabriel, then reached the fourth heaven where he met the Prophet Enoch (Idris) and saluted him. Prophet Enoch returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. Then he was carried to the fifth heaven where he met the Prophet Aaron (Harun) and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. In the sixth heaven he met Moses (Musa) and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. Muhammad on leaving, saw that Moses began to weep. He asked about the reason. Moses answered that he was weeping because he witnessed a man sent after him as a Messenger (Muhammad) who was able to lead more of his people to the Paradise than he himself did. Then Prophet Muhammad reached the seventh heaven and met Abraham (Ibrahim)- peace be upon him - and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. Then he was carried to Sidrat-al-Muntaha (the remotest lote tree) and was shown Al-Bait-al-Ma�m�r [(the much frequented house) which is like the Ka�bah (Sacred House) encompassed daily by seventy thousand angels, so that the angels who once encompassed it would not have their turn again till the Resurrection]. He was then presented to the Divine Presence and experienced the thrill of witnessing the Divine Glory and Manifestation at the closest possible propinquity. There the Lord revealed unto His servant that which He revealed, and ordained fifty daily prayers for him. On his return, he spoke to Moses that his followers had been enjoined to pray fifty times a day. Moses addressing the Prophet said: "Your followers cannot perform so many prayers. Go back to your Lord and ask for a remission in number." The Prophet turned to Gabriel as if holding counsel with him. Gabriel nodded, "Yes, if you desire," and ascended with him to the Presence of All�h. The All-Mighty All�h, Glory is to Him, made a reduction of ten prayers. He then descended and reported that to Moses, who again urged him to request for a further reduction. Muhammad once more begged his Lord to reduce the number still further. He went again and again in the Presence of All�h at the suggestion of Moses for reduction in the number of prayers till these were reduced to five only. Moses again asked him to implore for more reduction, but he said: "I feel ashamed now of repeatedly asking my Lord for reduction. I accept and resign to His Will." When Muhammad went farther, a Caller was heard saying: "I have imposed My Ordinance and alleviated the burden of My servants."
There is however some difference as regards the issue whether the Prophet saw All�h with his physical eye or not. Some interpreters say that seeing All�h with his naked eyes was not confirmed. Ibn �Abbas, on the other hand, says that the word Ru�ya as used in the Noble Qur��n signifies the observation with the help of the eye.
In S�rah An�Najm (Chapter �The Star) we read:
Here (he) refers to archangel Gabriel, and this context is completely different from that in the Prophetic tradition of Isra� and Mi�raj, where �the approach� relates to that of the Lord, Glory is to Him.
Some significant suggestive incidents featured the �Night Journey� of the Prophet, of which we could mention:
The disbelievers, however, found it a suitable opportunity to jeer at the Muslims and their creed. They pestered the Prophet with questions as to the description of the Mosque at Jerusalem, where he had never gone before and, to the astonishment of many, the Prophet�s replies furnished the most accurate information about that city. He supplied them with all the news about their caravans and the routes of their camels. However, all this increased in them nothing but flight from the Truth, and they accepted nothing but disbelief.
For the true Muslims, however there was nothing unusual about the Night Journey. The All-Mighty All�h, Who is Powerful enough to have created the heavens and the earth by an act of His Will, is surely Powerful enough to take His Messenger beyond the heavens and show him those signs of His at firsthand which are inaccessible to man otherwise. The disbelievers on their part went to see Abu Bakr on account of this event, and he readily said: "Yes, I do verify it." It was on this occasion that he earned the title of As-Siddiq (the verifier of the truth).
The most eloquent and most concise justification of this �Journey� is expressed in All�h�s Words:
The Divine rules as regards the Prophets goes as follows:
To Moses, his Lord said:
In order that:
The Prophets, after seeing All�h�s Signs, will establish their Faith on solid certainty too immune to be parted with. They are in fact eligible for this Divine privilege because they are the ones who will bear burdens too heavy for other ordinary people to carry, and in the process of their mission, they will regard all worldly ordeals and agonies too small to care about.
There are simple facts that emanate from this blessed Journey, and flow along into the flowery garden of the Prophetic biography; peace and blessings of All�h be upon its author, Muhammad. The story of �the Night Journey� as we see in the Noble Qur��n is epitomised in the first verse of the S�rah Isra�(Chapter 17 � The Journey by Night) then there is a quick shift to uncover the shameful deeds and crimes of the Jews, followed by an admonition saying that the Qur��n guides to that which is most just and right. This arrangement is not in fact a mere coincidence. Jerusalem was the first scene of the Night Journey, and here lies the message directed to the Jews and which explicitly suggested that they would be discharged of the office of leadership of mankind due to the crimes they had perpetrated and which no longer justified their occupation of that office. The message suggested explicitly that the office of leadership would be reinstituted by the Messenger of All�h to hold in his hand both headquarters of the Abrahamic Faith, the Holy Sanctuary in Makkah and the Farthest Mosque in Jerusalem. It was high time for the spiritual authority to be transferred from a nation whose history got pregnant with treachery, covenant-breaching and aggression to another nation blessed with piety, and dutifulness to All�h, with a Messenger who enjoys the privilege of the Qur��nic Revelation, which leads to that which is best and right.
There, however, remains a crucial question waiting to be answered: How could this foreseen transition of authority be effected while the champion himself (Muhammad) was left deserted and forsaken stumbling in the hillocks of Makkah? This question per se uncovered the secrets of another issue which referred to a phase of the Islamic Call and the appearance of another role it was about to take up, different in its course and noble in its approaches. The forerunners of that new task took the shape of Qur��nic verses smacking of direct and unequivocal warning accompanied by a severe ultimatum directed to the polytheists and their agents:
Together with these verses, there were others revealed to show the Muslims the rules and items of the civilization upon which they could erect their Muslim community, and foreshadowing their ownership of a piece of land, exercising full freedom over it and establishing a coherent society around whose axis the whole humanity would rotate. Those verses in reality implied better prospects for the Prophet omprising a secure shelter to settle in, and headquarters safe enough to empower and embolden him to communicate his Message to all the world at large; that was in fact the inner secret of that blessed journey. For this very wisdom and the like we deem it appropriate to suggest that �the Night Journey� took place either before the First Pledge of �Aqabah or between the two; after all, All�h knows best.
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 the year before, the sixth who stayed away was Jabir bin �Abdullah bin Reyab, the other seven were:
They avowed their faith in Muhammad 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 said: "He who carries it out, All�h 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 All�h. He may forgive him or He may not."
The Muslim Envoy in Madinah:
After the Pledge (in the form of an oath had been taken) the Prophet sent to Yathrib (Madinah) Mus�ab bin �Umair Al-�Abdari - may Allah be pleased with him -, 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��n. 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 All�h, 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 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 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.
The Second �Aqabah Pledge
The next year, thirteenth of Prophethood, June 622 A.D., during the pilgrimage season, over seventy converts from Madinah came in the trail of their polytheist people to perform the rituals of pilgrimage in Makkah. 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?"
Shortly after arrival, they conducted clandestine contacts with the Prophet and agreed to meet him secretly at night in mid Tashreeq Days (the 11th, 12th and 13th days of Dhul Hijja) in a hillock at Al-�Aqabah, the last year�s meeting place.
One of the leaders of the Ans�r (Helpers), Ka�b bin Malik Al-Ansari - may Allah be pleased with him - , gave an account of the historic meeting which changed the whole course of the struggle between Islam and paganism, he said:
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 All�h until he came in the company of his uncle Al-�Abbas bin �Abdul Muttalib who (though himself not a Muslim), 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 Ans�r (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 All�h, it is for you to speak and take from us any pledge that you want regarding your Lord and yourself."
It was a definite stance showing full determination, courage and deep faith to shoulder the daunting responsibility and bear its serious consequences.
The Messenger of All�h then preached the Faith, and the pledge was taken. Al-Imam Ahmad, on the authority of Jabir, gave the following details:
The Ans�r (Helpers) asked the Messenger of All�h about the principles over which they would take a pledge. The Prophet answered:
In another version narrated by Ka�b, he said:
The Prophet began to speak, recited some Qur��nic verses, called people unto All�h, 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 All�h, 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 All�h. By All�h, 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 All�h! Between us and the Jews, there are agreements which we would then sever. If All�h 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:
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 All�h, 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 All�h.
On the authority of Jabir, who said: "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 (Muhammad ) is the Messenger of All�h. 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 All�h, but if you are caught in fear, I admonish you to give it up just now, and then you would be more excusable by All�h."
With respect to the two women, the pledge was taken orally for the Prophet had never shaken hands with a strange lady.
The Prophet then asked the group to appoint twelve deputies to preach Islam to their people in Madinah, to shoulder the responsibility of implementing the articles of this pledge and to guide the respective men of their own tribes in matters relating to the propagation of Islam. The deputies elected were nine from Al-Khazraj: As�ad bin Zurarah bin �Ads, Sa�d bin Ar-Rabi� bin �Amr, �Abdullah bin Rawahah bin Tha�labah, Rafi� bin Malik bin Al-�Ajlan, Al-Bara� bin Ma�rur bin Sakhr, �Abdullah bin �Amr bin Haram, �Ubadah bin As-Samit bin Qais, Sa�d bin �Ubadah bin Dulaim and Al-Mundhir bin �Amr bin Khunais. Three others were from Al-Aws: Usaid bin Hudair bin Sammak, Sa�d bin Khaithamah bin Al-Harith and Rifa�a bin �Abdul Mundhir bin Zubair. Once again, those twelve men were sworn to act as surety over the affairs of their people just as the Christ�s disciples did, and the Prophet would act as surety over his people, meaning all the Muslims.
Somehow or other, the news of these secret desert meetings with the Madinese leaked out. The Prophet immediately knew that it was a certain pudgy ugly devil, inhabited in Al-�Aqabah, who discovered their meeting, and he threatened to settle his account with him as soon as possible.
On hearing this, Al-�Abbas bin Nadlah said "By All�h, 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." The Prophet said "We have not been commanded to follow that course. Now, back to your camps." They went back to sleep till morning. 
No sooner did Quraish hear of this treaty than a kind of trouble-provoking tumult began to mushroom in all directions. They realized quite fully that an allegiance of this sort is bound to produce far-reaching ramifications of direct impact on their lives and wealth. The following day, a large delegation comprising the leaders and arch-criminals of Makkah set out for the camp of the Madinese to protest severely against the treaty. They addressed the Madinese: "O people of Khazraj, it transpired to us that you have come here to conclude a treaty with this man (Muhammad) and evacuate him out of Makkah. By All�h, we do really hold in abhorrence any sort of fight between you and us."
The Madinese polytheists having known nothing about the secretly taken pledge, began to swear by All�h and answered in good faith that there was no truth in the report. �Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul, a Madinese 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 Madinese Muslims, however, remained silent neither negating nor confirming. The Quraishite leaders seemed to be almost convinced by the arguments presented by the polytheists, and went back home frustrated. However, they did not fully acquiesce in the words they heard. They began to scrutinize the smallest details, and trace the minutest news till it was established beyond a shadow of doubt that the pact did take place, but that was after the Madinese pilgrims had left Makkah. In a fit of rage, they pursued the pilgrims but did not succeed in catching hold of anyone except Sa�d bin �Ubadah. They subjected him to unspeakable tortures, but he was later rescued by Al-Mut�im bin �Adi and Harith bin Harb bin Omaiya with whom he had trade relations.
That is the story of the Second �Aqabah Pledge, later known as the Great �Aqabah Pledge, effected in an atmosphere of love, allegiance and mutual support between Madinese believers and weak Makkan Muslims. This new spirit of affection, rapport and cooperation could never be attributable to a fleeing whim, on the contrary, it totally derived from an already deeply-established approach, viz. Belief in All�h, His Messenger and His Book. It was a Belief so rooted in the selves that it managed to stand immune to all powers of injustice and aggression, and could be translated into miracles in the practical aspects of action and ideology pursuit. That sort of Belief was the real instrument for the Muslims to record in the annals of history unprecedented breakthroughs. We are also sure that the future will always remain wanting as regards those great achievements carried out by those great men.
After the endorsement of the Second �Aqabah Pledge and the establishment of a petite Muslim state in a vast desert surging with disbelief and ignorance � the most serious gain in terms of Islam �, the Prophet gave his leave for the Muslims to migrate to Madinah, the nascent Muslim state.
Migration to Madinah, in terms of personal interests, was no more than material waste and sacrifice of wealth, all in return for personal safety only. Even here, the migrant could not expect full security; he was liable to be robbed or even killed either at the beginning or end of his departure. The future was foggy, pregnant with various unpredictable sorts of sorrows and crises.
Bearing all this in mind, the Muslims began to migrate, while the polytheists spared no effort in hindering and debarring them, knowing beforehand that such a move implied unimaginable threats and unthinkable destructive dangers to their whole society:
Shortly afterwards Abu Jahl, and his brother Al-Harith came to Madinah to see their third brother �Ayyash. They cunningly tried to touch the most sensitive area in man, i.e. his relation with his mother. They addressed him claiming that his mother had sworn she would never comb her hair, nor shade herself off the sun unless she had seen him. �Ayyash took pity on his mother, but �Umar was intelligent enough to understand that they wanted to entice �Ayyash away from Islam so he cautioned him against their tricks, and added "your mother would comb her hair if lice pestered her, and would shade herself off if the sun of Makkah got too hot for her." These words notwithstanding, �Ayyash was determined to go and see his mother, so �Umar gave him his manageable docile camel advising him to stick to its back because it would provide rescue for him if he perceived anything suspicious on their part. The party of three then set forth towards Makkah. As soon as they covered part of the distance, Abu Jahl complained about his camel and requested �Ayyash to allow him to ride behind him on his camel. When they knelt down to the level of the ground, the two polytheists fell upon �Ayyash and tied him. They rode on into Makkah shouting at people to follow their example with respect to �fools�.
These are just three self-explanatory models of the Makkans� reaction towards anyone intending to migrate. Nevertheless, the believers still managed to escape in successive groups and so rapidly that within two months of the Second �Aqabah Pledge, entire quarters of Makkah were deserted. Almost all the followers of Muhammad had migrated to their new abode, except Abu Bakr, �Ali, the Prophet himself, and those helpless noble souls who had been detained in confinement or were unable to escape. The Prophet , together with Abu Bakr and �Ali, had made all the necessary preparations for migration but was waiting for leave from his Lord.
It is noteworthy that most of the Muslims who had migrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), came back to Madinah to join the rest of the Muslims there.
The situation was no doubt critical in Makkah but Muhammad was not at all perturbed. Abu Bakr was, however, urging the Prophet to depart from that town. He was also eagerly waiting for an opportunity to accompany Muhammad on this eventful journey. But the Prophet told him that the time had not yet come; the Lord had not given him the command to migrate. In anticipation of the Command of All�h, Abu Bakr had made preparations for the journey. He had purchased two swift camels and had fed them properly for four months so that they could successively stand the ordeals of the long desert journey.