May 15, 2009, 7:28 AM
In the same year, the Prophet (s) met with a group of people from Yathirb. One of the holy Prophet’s (s) methods for inviting people to Islam was to meet with tribes that made pilgrimage to Makkah during the time of Hajj. One year, six members of the Khazraj tribe met with the Prophet (s) and he imparted his message unto them.
They welcomed his invitation, which spoke of reconciliation, peace, and virtue, and said they would return to their people and notify them of the new religion. “Perhaps by your blessing,” they declared, “battles and altercations will retreat from our city. “If you can unify us, you will become the dearest person to us” (Shahidi, 1985/1364).
Two years later, during the time of Hajj in the thirteenth year after the appointment, representatives from Yathrib sword allegiance to the Prophet (s) and pledged that they would be enemies with his enemies, friends with his friends, and wage war against anyone who would wage war against him. After this pledge, the Prophet (s) allowed Muslims to immigrate to Yathrib. In this way, the Prophet’s (s) pains to achieve security and stability came to fruit.
The social climate and security of Yathrib presented the Prophet (s) with an apt environment to solidify the pillars of Islamic rule.
The next step in laying the groundwork for the Islamic civilization was cultivation of a spirit of solidarity. After he entered Yathrib (subsequently named Madinah al-Nabi, lit. city of the Prophet, or Madinah), which was full of bloody tribal conflicts at the time, the Prophet (s) implemented measures that led to uniformity, solidarity and equality of all in the newly founded Muslim society. Some of these measures were as follows:
Compilation of the first public treaty in Islam
In the first months of his presence in Madinah, the Prophet (s) concluded a treaty between the Muhajirun (lit. the immigrants) and Ansar (lit. the helpers) as well as between the Muslims and Jews of Madinha. In the treaty between the Muslim and Jew, the Prophet (s) allowed the Jews their religion and wealth in line with the several conditions. This treaty signifies that the holy Prophet (s) respected the fundamentals of freedom, order, and justice. Moreover, it shows how the Prophet (s) formed a unified front against external attack (Subhani).
As cited Ibn Ishaq, the article of this treaty were as follows
1. Muslims and Jews shall live in Madinah as a single nation.
2. Muslims and Jews shall be free to carry out their respective religious practices
3. In the event of a war, each of these parties shall aid the other against the enemy, on the condition that the other parity is not the aggressor.
4. In the event of an enemy attack on Madinah, both these parties shall cooperate in defence of the city.
5. Entering a peace treaty with the enemy may only be concluded through mutual consultation of both parties.
6. Since Madinah is a holy city, both parties must respect it; thus, all manner of bloodshed are prohibited within the city.
7. In the event of a dispute, the final arbitrator shall be the Prophet of Allah (s).
8. Signers of this treaty shall conduct themselves apropos of each other with goodness and benevolence (Ayati, 1987/1366).
Pact of brotherhood between the Muhajirun and Ansar
Seven Months after Hijrah, the Prophet of God (s) established bonds of brotherhood between the Immigrants and Helpers (i.e. the original inhabitants of Yathrib who converted to Islam) in order that they aid one another on the path of righteousness and inherit from one another after death. With the action, the holy Prophet (s) completely untied the Muhajirun and Ansar. They spirit of equality and brotherhood became strong that every Muslim preferred his Muslim brother over his own self. It has been written that when the spoils of the ‘Bani Nazir’ battle were to be divided, the Prophet (s) said to the Ansar, “if you like, we can give the Mujirun a share of the spoils, and if not, it is all yours”. The Ansar replied, “We not only gift the entirety of spoils to our Immigrant brothers, but we make them partners in our assets and homes as well” (Shahidi, 1985).
In any event, the prudent endeavours of the holy Prophet (s) to establish solidarity and cohesive identity in the Muslim society had many effects. For instance, during the initial years of the Islamic government, old men would colour their beard black and, like their younger cohorts, depart for the battlefield.
THE SPIRIT OF COOPERATION
In subsequent steps, the holy Prophet (s) inspired of cooperation into the newly established society.
Cooperation in good and worth deeds is an emphasised commandment in the Holy Quran:
...Cooperate in piety and God wariness, but not cooperate in sin and aggression.... (Surah Ma’idah 5:2)
This verse’s commandment regarding cooperation is a general principle that encompasses all social, legal, ethical and political issues. As per this principle, Muslims are obligated to cooperate in good deeds. Furthermore, they are absolutely forbidden from cooperating in futile deeds, sin, and oppression even if the perpetrator is a close friend or sibling (Makarim Shirazai et al., 1975).
One of the first undertakings of the great Messenger (s) after his immigration of Madinah was the establishment of a mosque. The great reception given by the majority of Madinah’s people induced the Prophet (s), before anything else; to build a public centre named masjid (lit. Place of prostration) or mosque, for learning and edification as well as political and judicial affairs. The land on which the Prophet’s (s) camel sat upon entering Madinah was brought for ten dinars for the building of this mosque. All the Muslims participated in the construction and supply of building materials. Even the Prophet of Allah(s) gathered stones for the mosque like the other Muslims. When Usayd ibn Hudayr saw this, he came forth and said, “O Prophet of Allah! Let me take the stone”. The Prophet (s) answered, “Go bring another” (Subhani).
The principle of consultation is also a contributing factor for cooperation. Consultation has been focused upon in several verses in the Holy Quran. Most importantly, there is a surah in the Quran named ‘Shurah’ (lit. Consultation). In this surah, consultation is emphasised and encouraged as a most important obligation along with responding to God’s invitation, prayer, and charity.
Those who avoid major sin and indecencies, and forgive when angered those who respond to their Lord, maintain the prayer, and their affairs are by counsel among themselves, and they spend out of what We have provided them with..... (42:37-38)
Also, in verse 159 of surah Al imran, after ordering general pardon, the Quran directs the Prophet (s) to take counsel with Muslims in various affairs and ask them for their opinions in order to give life to their personalities and reinvigorate their minds and souls. In this verse, the word amr (lit’ affairs) embraces all individual and societal affairs, whether economic, political, cultural, or defence-related.
Divine revelation aside, the holy Prophet (s) was so brilliant that he did not require counsel. However, in order to make Muslims aware of the important of consultation so they would make it a basic formula in their lives and also to develop thought in people, the Prophet would call consultative meetings for administration (as opposed to legislation) of divine laws in general Muslim affairs. He greatly valued opinions of thinkers such that sometimes he would forego his opinion in favour of others (Makarim Shirazi et al,. 1975).
To be continued