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Pledge of al-'Aqaba

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Significant Events of
Prophet Muhammad's (s) Lifetime
in Mecca
Before Islam
569-70 Birth; Demise of 'Abd Allah (Father)
576 Demise of Amina bt. Wahb (Mother)
578 Demise of 'Abd al-Muttalib (Grandfather)
583 Business Trip to Damascus
595 Marriage to Khadija bt. Khuwaylid
610 Bi'tha and the beginning of Prophethood
613 Yawm al-Dar and Overt Invitation
614 Harassment of Muslims by Quraysh
615 Birth of Lady Fatima (a)
615 Emigration of a Group of Muslims
to Abyssinia
616 Blockade of Banu Hashim
in Shi'b Abi Talib
619 End of Blockade of Banu Hashim
in Shi'b Abi Talib
619 The year of sorrow, Demise of Abu Talib
and Khadija bt. Khuwaylid
620 Mi'raj
621 The First Pledge of al-'Aqaba
622 The Second Pledge of al-'Aqaba
622 Emigration of Muslims to Medina

Pledge of al-ʿAqaba (Arabic: البیعة العقبة) is the oath of allegiance of people of Yathrib to Prophet Muhammad (s), prior to his emigration to Medina. The first pledge was 12 years after Bi'tha/621 and the second pledge was a year later in year 13 after Bi'that/622, both are known as the pledge of al-'Aqaba. The first pledge is known as Bay'at al-Nisa' and the second one is known as Bay'at al-Harab. The significance of these pledges is that both were important in the preparation of situation for emigration of Prophet Muhammad (s) and Muslims from Mecca to Medina.


Lexically, al-'Aqaba means mountain pass[1], a way to get to the top of a mountain[2]. Because both of the pledges of allegiance to Prophet Muhammad (s) were held at a mountain pass between Mecca and Mina, they are known as pledges of al-'Aqaba. It is located five kilometers far from Mecca[3].

Preparation of Circumstances

Abu Talib b. 'Abd al-Muttalib and Khadija bt. Khuwaylid passed away ten years after Bi'that/618, which left Prophet Muhammad (s) with no supporter, in addition, he was under severe pressure from his enemies[4]. He met six members of Khazraj from Medina 11 years after Bi'that/619. According to the sources, they met in Mina[5] or in al-'Aqaba[6]. Prophet Muhammad (s) asked about their identity and their allies. They said they were Jews' ally. Then he introduced Islam and Qur'an to them. People of Medina vaguely knew about a prophet in Mecca, and they hoped the Prophet (s) could stop the adversaries between the tribes of Aws and Khazraj. After they returned to Yathrib, they told about the Prophet (s) to people.

First Pledge of al-'Aqaba

In the first Pledge of al-'Aqaba, also known as Bay'at al-Nisa', twelve members of Aws and Khazraj converted to Islam and took an oath of allegiance to Prophet Muhammad (s) in the time of hajj, twelve years after Bi'that/621.

Here are the names of those who attended:

From Aws:


The people of Yathrib were obliged to

  • Worship God as the only one and avoid polytheism.
  • Avoid theft and adultery.
  • Avoid filicide
  • Avoid calumnies
  • To listen and obey Prophet Muhammad (s) in all good deeds.


In return the Prophet (s) guaranteed if they act upon the allegiance, they will enter the Paradise; if they rejected it, God may have mercy on them or they may enter the Hell.[8]

Some historians named to pledge as Bay'at al-Nisa' (pledge of the women), however, Bay'at al-Nisa' is the name of the pledge of the women of Mecca with the Prophet (s) after the Conquest of Mecca.[9]

First Action of the Prophet (s)

After the first Pledge of al-'Aqaba, Prophet Muhammad (s) sent Mus'ab b. 'Umayr to Medina to teach Qur'an to newly converted Muslims.[10] However some historians mentioned that he was sent to Medina after the second Pledge of al-'Aqaba.[11]

Second Pledge of al-'Aqaba

The second Pledge of al-'Aqaba, also known as Bay'at al-Harb (pledge of war), took place near Mina, Mecca (today al-Khayf mosque is located there) in the time of hajj, thirteen years after Bi'that/622. It is said seventy men or seventy two men and two women were present at al-'Aqaba. Also al-'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, the Prophet's uncle was present at al-'Aqaba. People of Medina took oath of allegiance to Prophet Muhammad (s) individually or in a group of two. Rafi' b. Malik b. al-'Ajlan was the first person who took the oath of allegiance.

Al-'Abbas said to attendants: "Muhammad is one of us, we have protected him as much as we could. If you can support him, it is good; otherwise, leave him to us." "We take the oath of allegiance to him and we promise that we will fight against his enemies and befriend his friends."

It's said that Bara' b. Ma'rur, or Abu l-Haytham b. Tayyihan, or As'ad b. Zurara was the first person who took an oath of allegiance to Prophet Muhammad (s).


Because people of Yathrib promised to fight alongside Prophet Muhammad (s), this pledge is known as Pledge of War. Some members of Ansar (Helpers) declared they will fight for Prophet Muhammad (s) from the first night. Al-'Abbas b. 'Ubada asked Prophet Muhammad (s) for permission to attack polytheists who were performing hajj practices in Mina, but Prophet rejected it and said return to your families and relatives.[12]


  • After the pledge, Prophet Muhammad (s) chose twelve naqibs of Yathrib as responsible of their tribes.[13]
  • It prepared the city and situations for the forthcoming emigration of Prophet Muhammad (s) to Medina.

See Also


  1. Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-'Arab, Vol.1, P.621
  2. Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-Arab, Vol.1, P.621
  3. Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu'jam al-buldan, Vol.2, PP.692-3
  4. Tabari, Tarikh, Vol.2, PP.343-4
  5. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat, Vol.1, P.218
  6. Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu'jam al-buldan, Vol.3, P.693; Al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol.2, P.353
  7. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat, Vol.1, P.205
  8. Hasan Ibrahim al-Hasan, Tarikh al-Islam, Vol.1, PP.94-5; Al-Baladhuri, Kitab jumal min ansab al-ashraf, Vol.1, PP.275-6
  9. Hasan Ibrahim al-Hasan, Tarikh al-Islam, Vol.1, P.95
  10. Tabari, Tarikh, Vol.2, P.357
  11. Baladhuri, Kitab jumal min ansab al-ashraf, Vol.1, P.277
  12. Ibn Hisham, al-Sirat al-nabawiyya, Vol.1, P.448
  13. Hasan Ibrahim al-Hasan, Tarikh al-Islam, Vol.1, PP.277-8


  • Baladhuri, Ahmad b. Yahya al-. 1417 AH/1996. Kitab jumal min ansab al-ashraf. Beirut: Suhayl Zakkar & Riyad Zirkili.
  • Hasan, al-Hasan Ibrahim al-. 1964. Tarikh al-Islam: al-siyasi wa l-dini wa l-thiqafi wa l-ijtima'i. Cairo.
  • Ibn Manzur. 1363 sh/1985. Lisan al-'arab. Nashr-i Adab-i Hawza.
  • Ibn Sa'd. 1405 AH/1985. Al-Tabaqat al-kubra. Beirut.
  • Tabari, Muhammad b. Jarir al-. 1382-87 AH/1962-67. Tarikh al-Tabari, Tarikh al-umam wa al-muluk. Beirut: Muhammad Abu l-Fadl Ibrahim.
  • Hamawi, Yaqut al-. 1873-66. Mu'jam al-buldan. Leipzig: Ferdinand Wüstenfeld.