The Invitation from Medina

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It was the pilgrimage season once again, and as ritually expected, there was a flow of people towards Mecca. There were also Muslims from Medina among those who were coming to the Ka’ba for the pilgrimage. These were seventy five people, including two women. They came to Mecca after a long and arduous journey. This was the most joyful day for them. But for the Mecca of that day, it was impossible for this many people to come and meet with our noble Prophet in the Ka’ba. They had to find another solution and this meeting had to take place without encountering any problems. That is why they first chose Qab ibn Malik and Bara ibn Ma’rur among them and sent them to the Ka’ba. With the influence of a dream he had, Bara had been performing his Prayers facing the direction of the Ka’ba. His friends had censured him, for this meant dissension from our noble Prophet’s practices who faced the Masjid al-Aqsa. He was looking forward to asking the Messenger of Allah about the truth of the matter. What was strange was neither of them had seen the Messenger of Allah before and they did not know what he looked like. They started to speak among themselves on the road, wondering how they would recognize him. They asked a Meccan. The Meccan responded: “Do you know his uncle Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib?”

Yes, they knew Abbas who came to Medina now and then for trade: “Yes,” they said. The man said: “Then it is easy! He is the man who sits next to Abbas in the Ka’ba! Go there and you will see.”

Now they were walking without hesitation. Then they came to the Ka’ba. Abbas was sitting down and the Pride of Humankind, peace and blessings be upon him, was with him. They approached them and saluted them. When they saw how warm and sincere they were, the Messenger of Allah turned to Abbas and said: “Do you know these men, O Abu Fadl?”

“Yes,” said Abbas, “This is Bara ibn Ma’rur; head of his tribe, and this is Qab ibn Malik!”

The light of joy was upon the face of the Messenger of Allah because these names did not represent just themselves. There were seventy more people like them behind them and they had come representing them. They asked how they were to meet. The location was once again Mina, the place called Aqaba, like in previous years. They went back to their friends and let them know of the situation.

But the other people they had come with from Medina did not know of this. That is why they would camp with them the first night and they would meet with our noble Prophet in the late hours of the night.

When the time of the meeting had come, they got up without making a sound and came to the place of the meeting. Our noble Prophet was once again accompanied by his uncle Abbas. When the Messenger of Allah saw seventy five people in front of him, he was overjoyed beyond words. Mus’ab, the one and only representative and guide of the Messenger had left and now he had returned with seventy five people! Never in the thirteen years of strife in Mecca had so many people been welcomed into Islam at once. The troubles in Mecca seemed to have transformed into a shower of blessing in Medina. This was the product of one year, and now they were speaking of the process that led them here. Mus’ab had another piece of good news that would make his Beloved, peace and blessings be upon him, happy. This was in fact the good news that was awaited from every believer! He was very emotional as he recounted his good fortune: “O Messenger of Allah! There is no household in Medina left in which Islam is not spoken about,” he said with great modesty.

For a believing soul to live and be present in any part of the world meant that that place had already been conquered in the name of the cause. The Messenger of Allah had provided the goal, and Mus’ab had received the message. That is why people had come running after the steps he had taken; he had reaped the harvest of the sincerity he had sown.

They had a joint request; they were inviting the Rose of the Hearts, Muhammad the Trustworthy, peace and blessings be upon him, to Medina. The reasoning was valid; Medina seemed much more favorable for an Islamic way of life. Its people were also warmer and more welcoming to a religious way of life.

Yes, there was an invitation, but there was a great price to be paid in order to accept it. Our noble Prophet’s hijra alone would not solve the problem; everyone who believed would have to immigrate to Medina. For the ones who stayed in Mecca, the Quraysh would devise various plots and they would suffocate them with their harassment. This presented them with a great problem; they would have to leave their houses and possessions, relatives and friends here. For some, immigration would also mean leaving parents and children behind, and leaving the fields and orchards in the hands of the Quraysh. In short, this would be like leaving for the grave, for everything with worldly connections would be left in Mecca. On the other hand, one would have to start anew and with nothing in Medina, they would have to set up new homes and start new businesses. While one lived one’s religion freely, one also had to find a way to earn a living so that one’s family and children would not have to suffer poverty and scarcity. It wasn’t just a couple of families; there were about 180 of them! If these problems weren’t solved soon, there would be very serious social problems and this could cause further problems in the future.

It was clear that the Messenger of Allah now had decided to leave Mecca. For thirteen years he had strived for the faith of his community but he had always been met with violence. But now before him were people who were actively supporting his cause. His uncle Abbas, who watched from afar what was happening, felt the need to say something to these people who were inviting the Messenger of Allah to their land. He said: “O people of Khazraj! As you know, despite everything, Muhammad is among us and we are protecting him despite all interferences. But now he means to join you and go with you to your land. Accept this only if you will able to be true to your word, if you will be able to protect him against those who contradict him as you protect your own life and possessions. But if you will leave him alone after you leave this place and hand him over to his enemies, if you will hurt him in the end, then give up the idea right now and leave him with us. Despite everything, he lives here with his own tribe with honor and dignity and performs his duties as should be.”

With this statement, Abbas wanted to remind them what their invitation meant. He wanted them to understand the real nature of what they were getting themselves into and to make sure that they would protect his nephew with a strong will despite all the obstructions they may face. He could see that he would soon be separated from his nephew and he was not going to hand him over to other people without seeing the same kind of determination in their eyes.

The people coming from Medina were equally brave and they turned to Abbas to say: “We have listened to what you say and we know what you mean.”

They then turned towards the Messenger of Allah and said: “O Messenger of Allah! What do you want from us in the name of your Lord and for yourself?”

Then the Pride of Humankind, peace and blessings be upon him, took word. He first thanked Allah and then read verses from the Qur’an. Then he started to speak about the general aspects of Islam and compared the customs of yesterday with today. He then added: “I want absolute obedience both at times of welfare and wellbeing and at times of trouble; both when you have little to eat and in times of abundance. I want you to give alms! You will never hold any other thing equal to Him, perform the Prayers and give alms! You will advise people to do good and warn against the doing of evil! You will take all your steps for Allah without fearing that some people might censure you. When I come to stay among you, you will protect me like you protect your children and your women and help me.”

Bara ibn Ma’rur, held the Messenger of Allah by the hand and said: “Yes, I swear by He who has sent you with Truth that we will protect you as we protect our children and women. We promise you and we swear allegiance to you O Messenger of Allah! I swear by Allah that we are people who know what war is and we can hold our weapons, this is our heritage from our ancestors who always lived on the battlefields.”

Here, Abu’l-Haysam came to the fore. It was clear that he too had something to say: “O Messenger of Allah! We have a problem with a tribe over there and we keep warring with them. While we fight with them on this issue, should Allah give you victory and should your cause start to be accepted by all, will you then leave us and go back to Mecca?”

The Messenger of Allah started to smile. Then he said: “No. On the contrary, the rule is blood for blood, possession for possession! Now I am a part of you, and you are a part of me. I will fight who you fight, and I will live in peace with those you have come to an agreement with!”

As’ad ibn Zurara also came to the fore, held the hand of the Messenger of Allah and said similar things. Things were much clearer now. As’ad was told by his own tribe to let go of our noble Prophet’s hand, so that they may too hold it and swear allegiance to him. Upon that the Messenger of Allah asked them to form a representative delegate of ten. While doing so, he was making references to Moses and Jesus, telling them that both Prophets had chosen certain people with whom they took their cause further. Each delegate would represent a tribe; they would organize their friends, and they would also act as a catalyst when they returned to Medina to ensure that Islam spread faster in their town. These people were As’ad ibn Zurara, Sa’d ibn Rabi, Abdullah ibn Rawaha, Rafi ibn Malik, Bara ibn Ma’rur, Abdullah ibn Amr, Ubada ibn Samit, Sa’d ibn Ubada ve Munzir ibn Amr from the Khazraj and Usayd ibn Khudayr, Sa’d ibn Haysama and Rifa’a ibn Abdulmunzir from the tribe of Aws. The Meccan Muslims were represented by the Messenger of Allah himself. Things were now going to be wrapped up.

Abbas ibn Ubada came to the fore and said to his friends: “O people of Khazraj! Do you realize what you are doing by swearing allegiance to this man?”

“Yes,” they said. His aim was to make people realize the responsibility of their word and to make them hold on to it faster and stronger. He continued: “You stand now against all, the red and the black, declaring war on all! If you think you can hold onto your word when your possessions and family become targets, then all is well; then happiness in this world and the next will be yours. But if you fail to show loyalty when you face difficulties tomorrow, then this will spell your defeat in this world and the next.”

“We are entering this cause at the expense of our property and at the risk of bringing trouble on the heads of our family; we invite him in full knowledge of this,” the responded.

They then turned to our noble Prophet and asked: “If we prove ourselves to be loyal to our word, what will we gain, O Messenger of Allah?”

He answered without hesitation: “Paradise.”

It was now time to take the last step. With great respect they said: “Give us your hands, O Messenger of Allah. We will swear allegiance to you.”

They then came to the Messenger of Allah by one, held his hand in musafaha, a gesture in which both hands enveloped the hands of other, and thus sealed their allegiance. The two women from Medina, Nasiba bint Qab known as Umm Umara and Asma bint Amr who had come all the way with the group, also sealed their allegiance from afar through a gesture.

 

Kesmez, Umit. “The Luminous Life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)” Tughra Books Press. December 2014.