Jabir ibn Abd-Allah (RA) narrates: ‘Allah guided us to Islam. And we believed in him and we recited the Quran, until not a single sub-tribe remained except that some amongst them had embraced Islam. And then Allah caused us to come together, and we spoke to one another and we said, “For how long will we allow the prophet to be repelled from one valley to another outside of Mecca and to fear for his life?” And so we gathered together in the last night of Hajj.’
Another narration from Ka’ab ibn Malik (RA) goes: ‘When we went for Hajj we hid our Islam from our pagan relatives. And we all agreed to meet in the last part of the night, and so in the middle of the night we began sneaking out of our tents one by one. And we waited for the prophet, and eventually he came with his uncle Abbas, even though Abbas was still upon the religion of his people.’ Now Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib (RA) was of a similar age to Muhammad ﷺ, and they were in fact raised as foster brothers. And so he had a very real love and worry for the prophet, and so despite not being a Muslim he attended the covenant in order to protect and speak for his nephew, and to try to negotiate with the Muslims from Yathrib. And he would later convert to Islam as well.
And Jabir continues: ‘And when his uncle Abbas came, Abbas said to the prophet looking at all of these people, “O my nephew, I don’t know any of these men. And I don’t feel comfortable.”’ – Remember that all of the senior members of the Aws and Khazraj that Abbas had known had all died.
‘We came to the prophet Muhammad ﷺ, and Abbas was the one who stood up to speak on behalf of the prophet. And he said “O Khazraj (the majority were still Khazraj but there were some Aws) you know the status of this man amongst us. And we have protected him from his own people, even though we agree with our people. He has respect and honour amongst us, and he has protection but he has decided to leave us to go over to you. So if you are sure that you can live up to your conditions with him and protect him from those who disagree, then you shall bear his responsibility otherwise let him be for now.”’ We can clearly see that Abbas did not trust the converts from Yathrib here, and as well that he felt embarrassed that his own nephew had to abandon his tribe to go to them for protection. And so he claimed that the prophet had respect and honour and was protected, however this was just compensation and the fact was that within a few weeks his own tribe would try to kill Muhammad ﷺ in the major assassination attempt.
‘The Muslims replied, “O Abbas you have spoken, now let the prophet speak. O Rasulallah, put the conditions that you expect from us.”
The prophet then stood up, “I shall let you give the oath in return for protection, that you shall protect me like one of your own.”’
Al-Bara ibn Ma’roor (RA) stood up and agreed to this immediately, however then Abul Haytham ibn Tayyhan (RA) stood up and asked more cautiously, ‘O Rasulallah, we have ties with the Jews. By accepting you those treaties will be broken. So once you come over to our side and then Allah gives us victory, will you then leave us and go back to your people?’
And the prophet smiled and replied, ‘My blood is your blood, and my destruction is your destruction,’ essentially meaning that no, he would become one of them forever. And so the Muslims of Yathrib agreed, so the prophet told them to say the oath: ‘You hear and you obey in ease and in difficulty, and that you spend in your money in the way of Allah, and that you command the good and you forbid the evil, and that you speak the truth no matter what the consequences, and that you help me once I come to Yathrib just like you help you own family and your own wives and children.’
And when he said this a voice cried out, ‘And what shall we get in return?’
The prophet replied, ‘Al-Jannah,’ and this was all that the converts wanted to hear.
So they all stood up to embrace the prophet’s hand, however before any of them could give the oath As’ad ibn Zurarah (RA) grasped Muhammad’s ﷺ hand and held it down, and then said, ‘Wait everybody. O people of Yathrib, we haven’t travelled all of this distance and undertaken this long journey except that we know that this man is the messenger of Allah. We know this. And once his people expel him then you will be asking for war. And so if you’re ready that your necks meet swords, then go and give him the oath and realise that the best of you will be killed. If you are prepared to do this then give him the oath. If not, then stop now – perchance Allah will forgive you.’
To this the Muslims replied, ‘O As’ad, you have spoken enough. Move your hand from the prophet’s and let us put it.’ And so all 73 men amongst them gave the oath, and there were also two women present whom the prophet took the oath from verbally, and as we know the Muhammad ﷺ never touched a woman’s hand who wasn’t related to him or wasn’t his wife.
When this had happened, all of a sudden a loud voice in the valley of Mina cried out into the silence of the night, ‘O people sleeping in the tents, do you not know that a group of rebels and blameworthy people have gathered together with the man who left your religion to wage war against you!’
And the prophet said, ‘This is Azab ibn Uzayb, the shaytaan of Aqabah. I swear by Allah I will deal with you.’ Now normally the shayateen are private, however Azab felt so threatened by this and so overwhelmed that he actually called out to try to warn the people.
Now the converts then asked the prophet, ‘O Rasulallah, should we not launch an attack now? We are 70 strong we all have our swords they are unarmed. We could have a huge victory over them!’
But the prophet responded, ‘I have not been commanded to do this.’ And so the converts returned to their tents and the meeting was concluded.
The next morning a group from the Quraish was sent to every single camp of the people of Hajj, asking them if they knew anything about the covenant and if any of them had attended. And finally they reached the camp of the Khazraj, and there they asked the same questions. The non-Muslims all spoke up and said that no, they had not been in attendance and had no idea about this meeting, while the Muslims – who could obviously not lie – simply remained silent. And so the matter was resolved and the delegation from the Quraish returned.
From this incident we see so much of the blessings of those who would become the Ansar (which the Muslims of Yathrib would be called when the Hijra began), and how much faith that they had even this early in their adoption. They were the ones who approached the prophet with the idea of taking him in and giving him protection, and despite knowing that this would bring war on their heads from the Quraish – one of the biggest and strongest tribes of the time – they were eager and willing to accept Muhammad ﷺ. And they wanted nothing in return except Al-Jannah and for the prophet to stay with them after victory, which was a huge contrast to the Kindah from earlier who wanted control of the entire matter. And despite the fact that they had only pledged to protect the prophet, when Azab called out to the pagans they volunteered immediately to launch a pre-emptive strike, which would have certainly brought war upon their heads. But this was not right at the time, and so Muhammad ﷺ forbade it. And we even see the strength of their imaan when they were questioned the next morning by the delegation from the Quraish, as they would not lie even then. And thus this group are from amongst the most blessed of the Muslims, so much so that the prophet said about them: ‘Were it not for the Hijra, I would have been a man from the Ansar. And if the Ansar went in one direction, and all of mankind went in the other direction, I will follow the direction of the Ansar.’ And also: ‘Loving the Ansar is a part of imaan. Hating the Ansar is a sign of hypocrisy.’ And so if the prophet held the Ansar in this much love, then we must also love the Ansar just so.
Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 025
Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 026