Pledge of al-'Aqaba
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, a way to get to the top of a mountain. 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.
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. He met six members of Khazraj from Medina 11 years after Bi'that/619. According to the sources, they met in Mina or in al-'Aqaba. 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:
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.
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. However some historians mentioned that he was sent to Medina after the second Pledge of al-'Aqaba.
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."
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.
- After the pledge, Prophet Muhammad (s) chose twelve naqibs of Yathrib as responsible of their tribes.
- It prepared the city and situations for the forthcoming emigration of Prophet Muhammad (s) to Medina.
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