Seerah
Seerah - Life of the Prophet Muhammad (saw)
 

18 - First Activities in Madina

The Emigration constitutes a very important event which allowed Prophet Muhammad to fulfill his duties of Prophethood under more auspicious conditions and which enabled the spread of Islam. The greatest aim of the Last Prophet was to convey the message of the Qur’an, to teach the religion through his lived example and to increase the number of believers, thus enabling the transmission of the religion to future generations without alteration. To this end, he resolved to make specific arrangements and take certain precautions. Encouraging the believers to be perfected servants of God who have attained God’s approval and pleasure, he took measures aimed at ensuring the harmony and social solidarity among them, giving specific directions and advice. In this regard, the Prophet instructed the exchange of greetings, looking out for the poor, not neglecting relatives, and waking for prayer in the hours of the night when others were still asleep, promising paradise for those who did so.

 

There was first and foremost the need for a mosque that would constitute the center of the Muslim community. In the Makkan period, Muslims had very limited opportunity to come together for worship and listen to the Messenger. With the increase in the number of Muslims particularly after the First ‘Aqaba Allegiance, As’ad ibn Zurara commissioned the construction of a mosque, facing Jerusalem, at the site used for drying dates and where the Prophet’s Mosque would later be built. While the Muslims in Makka were yet unable to perform their Friday Prayers, those living in Madina were able to pray in congregation here. Upon entering Madina, Prophet Muhammad decided to build a mosque at the place at which his camel knelt and purchased the land belonging to the two orphan children Sahl and Suhayl for this purpose. During the construction lasting about seven months, the Prophet was a guest in the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari and here received a pledge of allegiance from the men, and at another house, a pledge of allegiance from the women. Being one of the two places of worship built by the Prophet himself (the other being Quba), the Prophet’s Mosque had three doors with its direction of prayer facing Jerusalem. Prayers were performed facing Jerusalem until the direction of prayer was changed towards the Ka’ba, in accordance with the verses revealed sixteen or seventeen months after the Emigration (2:149-150).

 

The Prophet’s Mosque was first and foremost a place of worship. However during the Age of Happiness, it was the center of virtually all the Prophet’s activities, principally education and teaching. The place where political and military developments were discussed and various decisions made, where the wounded were treated, where prisoners of war or offenders were held in custody, where war spoils were kept, where delegations of Muslim tribes, envoys and guests were hosted, where judicial cases were conducted, where marriages were announced or where various ceremonies held was again the Prophet’s Mosque. Prophet Muhammad fulfilled all the requirements of his duty of Prophethood in his mosque and in his house adjoining the mosque, and conveyed and taught the newly revealed Qur’anic verses here. Meanwhile, he commissioned the construction of the antechamber known as the Suffa --covered with branches of the date palm-- at the back of the Prophet’s Mosque for the accommodation of the dispossessed and those Companions seeking an education. Those taking shelter or studying here came to be known as the Ashab al-Suffa, or the Suffa Companions. Prophet Muhammad chose from among the Suffa Companions when establishing committees who would travel outside Madina for diplomatic purposes or to convey the message of Islam.

 

Immediately after the Emigration, the Prophet declared the Emigrants as a brother or sister of a Muslim from the Aws or Khazraj tribes. This arrangement of ‘Brotherhood’ provided significant opportunity for the unification of the Muslim society, as well the provision of material and moral support for the Emigrants who had left all their possessions in Makka. In line with the pledge that the Madinan Muslims made to the Prophet at ‘Aqaba, they accepted and embraced the Emigrants as their own siblings, sharing all the resources at their disposal as well as their homes with them. However much the Madinans wanted to share their property rights, together with their gardens of date palms and other assets with the Emigrants, the latter responded with gratitude for their noble gesture and did not accept their offer. The Prophet ultimately declared that property rights remained with the Madinans, while the Makkans could have a share of the produce in proportion to their effort and thus the profits earned through joint effort were shared. This display of solidarity and cooperation between the Madinan Muslims and the Emigrants was openly praised in the Qur’an, with the statement, “Those who have believed and emigrated (to the home of Islam), and striven hard with their wealth and persons in God's cause, and those who give refuge (to them) and help (them) – those (illustrious ones) are friends and protectors of one another (and can inherit from one another)” (8:72). The Madinan Muslims who welcomed the Makkan Emigrants and helped them came to be known as the Ansar (the Helpers). Following the establishment of such a brotherhood, inheritance provisions were deemed valid for a period of time (8:72); however, after the Battle of Badr, these were abolished and inheritance was restricted to blood relations only (8:75). By establishing this bond of brotherhood, the Prophet not only fulfilled the needs of the Emigrants who were in dire circumstances, but also enabled an understanding of brotherhood based on religion to supplant that which was based on tribe. Provisions on the order of cooperation, mutual support and counsel which remained outside the law of inheritance forever remained in force, and with the broadening of the institution in this sense, all believers were declared brothers (49:10).

 

Emigration to Madina continued for the period extending until the conquest of Makka. In the early years of the Madinan period, Prophet Muhammad mandated the emigration to Madina of all those who came to him from both Makka and the surrounds of Madina to pledge their allegiance. Furthermore, he would not approve of those having emigrated to Madina later leaving, and prayed to God for emigration that was both resolute and fruitful. Prophet Muhammad, with the complete sense of responsibility of being the Last Prophet, wanted to prepare the grounds for the religion that he conveyed to be learned by a large community through practice, to be transferred to succeeding generations in the most accurate way, and to be protected from alteration and destruction until the Last Day. And so, these efforts yielded fruit and the Muslims in Madina, whose strength increased with their growing number, achieved success in their political and military struggles against their enemies. When the victory of the Muslims was crowned with the eventual conquest of Makka, the Prophet, saying, “There is no emigration after the conquest of Makka,” (Tirmidhi, "Sirah", 33) lifted the compulsion for those having accepted Islam to emigrate to Madina, but insisted that they participate in battle when called to do so.

 

In the period of the Prophet’s emigration to Madina, there was no organized state in Madina, as was the case with the rest of the Hejaz region; every tribe lived under the rule of its own chieftain. Alongside the Aws and Khazraj tribes, there were also the three Jewish tribes of Banu Qaynuka, Banu Nadir, and the Banu Qurayza, whose exact time of arrival to the city is not known for certain. It is known that the Aws and Khazraj were in constant conflict with each other and that some Jews sided with the Aws, while the others sided with the Khazraj. There was no administrative structure encompassing all those living in the city. After ensuring the unity and cooperation among the Muslims by means of the brotherhood he established among them, the Prophet gathered representatives from the Jewish tribes, Arabs who had not yet accepted Islam and the Muslims at the house of Anas ibn Malik in order to discuss the way in which they could all live in the city in peace and security and deliberate upon the conditions needed to achieve this. Persuading all groups to form a single city state, Prophet Muhammad brought all the issues that were agreed upon therein together in the form of a written document. Included in this pact --referred to with words such as “book” and “page” in the sources, described as the “first written constitution” by some scholars, and whose text has reached our day—are such issues as ensuring internal peace, preventing potential external threat, determining a judicial authority to resolve legal conflict between individuals, and identifying certain economic obligations. Stipulated in particular, was the need for the Jews to be in cooperation with the Muslims when faced with external threats to Madina, and not ally with the Quraysh. It was also decided that financial matters such as military expenses, ransom and blood money would be covered by each group individually, that they would administer judicial authority independently, and that Prophet Muhammad himself would be the ultimate judicial authority in cases of dispute between members of different groups. Moreover, the freedom of religion and freedom of conscience of the Jews and the Muslims is also explicitly stated. At his time, in accordance with the article in the document asserting that, “The valley of Yathrib is a Sanctuary for the people of this Pact,”    Prophet Muhammad assigned Ka’b ibn Malik to determine and delineate the borders of Madina, with the Prophet’s Mosque being at the center. The political and military activities conducted thereafter were done so in conformity with these borders. The Prophet commissioned the construction of a market place for the Muslims in Madina and designated the Baqi vicinity as a cemetery. As such, he realized the very first city-plan that would later become a model in the Muslim world, with the mosque at the center and including the Emir’s residence, a market, graveyard, and neighborhood districts.

 

Another one of the arrangements of the first year of Emigration (622) was the recitation of the Call to Prayer in order to notify Muslims of the specific times for prayer. There are accounts which state that the Call to Prayer was legitimized in the second year of Emigration (623). Although the five daily prayers were made obligatory in the Makkan period, there had been no method determined to pronounce the prayer times up until the Prophet’s emigration to Madina. In point of fact, the conditions of the Makkan period were not conducive to this. In Madina, however, the Muslims encountered an environment in which they could openly perform their worship and their numbers had begun to increase with every passing day. Prophet Muhammad consulted with his Companions about what could be done in order to allow the Muslims to realize the time for prayer and make it to the mosque on time for worship. In the wake of the consultation where various opinions were put forth, no definite decision had been reached. In the meanwhile, according to narration, the Call to Prayer was taught to ‘Abd Allah ibn Zayd ibn Salaba in a dream, with him then informing the Prophet of what he saw. The Prophet asked ‘Abd Allah to teach these words to Bilal al-Habashi who had a sonorous voice; consequently climbing to the top of a tall house, Bilal al-Habashi recited the morning Call to Prayer. In this way, the Call to Prayer became the mark of Islam and the symbol of Muslim presence. It continues to be recited across the world at virtually all times of the day as the channel calling people to servanthood of the One God.

 

Comments

 
LUBAABAH
LUBAABAH23.02.2012

subhanalla he is my belovedddddddddd prophet!!!

23.02.2012

 

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