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Pledge of al-Ridwan

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Early Islam
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Pledge of al-Riḍwān (Arabic: بيعة الرضوان, literally: pledge of satisfaction) or Pledge of the Tree (Arabic:بيعة الشجرة) was a renewed pledge of some Sahaba of the Prophet Muhammad (s) which occurred in 6/628 near Mecca before the Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty. The Quran 48:18, refers to this event. The titles, "Pledge of the Tree" and "Pledge of Satisfaction" (al-Ridwan) come from this Quranic verse.

According to Sunni Muslims, the divine satisfaction with these pledgers is unconditional, unqualified, and eternal, and thus, all of the Sahaba who were present in this pledge are especially venerated. However, Shi'as hold that the satisfaction expressed in this Quranic verse is because of those people's sacrifices and their pledge on that day, but in order for it to be sustained, they had to fully obey the Prophet (s).

In the Quran

The event is mentioned in the Quran 48:18. The titles, "Pledge of Satisfaction" and "Pledge of the Tree" come from this verse.


In 6/628, the Prophet (s) and a group of Sahaba who only had a sword in a sheath and whose number is said to be from 1400 to 1600 left Medina to visit the Ka'ba and perform the rituals of 'umra. When they arrived in Hudaybiyya, a village which was one station away from Mecca and 9 stations away from Medina, the polytheists blocked their way and prevented them from going to Mecca.

The Prophet (s) had someone, called Kharash, sit on his camel and sent him to Mecca in order to tell the heads of the city that the Muslims were not there for fight; they were there only to visit the Ka'ba and then return home. However, people of Mecca killed the Prophet's (s) camel and some of them wanted to kill Kharash, but others did not let them do it, and they let him return to the Prophet (s).

The Prophet (s) sent 'Uthman b. 'Affan to them and since it took a long time for him to return, there was a rumor that people of Mecca had killed 'Uthman. When this rumor was spread, the Prophet (s) gathered his Companions and they pledged their allegiance to him on their lives. The pledge was made under a tree (a samura tree). Thus, the pledge came to be known as the pledge of the Tree.

Of people who were present in this event, Jadd b. Qays was the only person who hid behind his camel and did not pledge his allegiance to the Prophet (s). Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari is quoted as saying that the first person who pledged his allegiance was 'Ali (a), and then Abu Sinan 'Abd Allah b. Wahab al-Asadi, and then Salman al-Farsi. Some people have mentioned 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar or Abu Asnan (or Sinan) b. Wahab al-Asadi. It is said that 'Umar was the last person who pledged his allegiance to the Prophet (s).

It was later known that 'Uthman was not killed, and the envoys from Mecca made a peace treaty with the Prophet (s) in Hudaybiyya. It was agreed that the Muslims return home that year, though they could visit Mecca next year.

Contents and Consequences of the Pledge

The companions of the Prophet (s) were committed not to leave the Prophet (s) alone against the possible actions of the Quraysh and resist their possible attacks. According to some people, the pledge was supposed to be kept to the death, and according to others, the pledge was limited to the extent of the pledgers' power. Probably the Prophet (s) had intended to prevent any possible runaways by the Muhajirun as it happened in the Battle of Uhud. Bukayr b. Ashajj is quoted as saying that the people pledged their allegiance to their death, but the Prophet (s) told them to pledge to the extent of their power.

The timely plan of the Prophet (s) to unify his companions to resist any possible threats by the Quraysh and perhaps to avoid repeating the bitter experience of some Muhajirun running away in the Battle of Uhud was very successful. When the news about the pledge was propagated, the polytheists were afraid and tried to make a compromise by returning 'Uthman and a group of Muslims and sending some representatives. The story ended with the Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty.

Different Views about the Pledgers

Some Sunni scholars have appealed to some unreliable hadiths to show that the divine satisfaction in this Quranic verses is unqualified and eternal. For example, according to one such hadith attributed to the Prophet (s), they are the best people on the Earth, and according to another, these pledgers will never enter the Hell.

According to Shi'as, given the verse itself and some Sunni sources, the divine satisfaction in this verse ("Allah was satisfied with the believers") is because of the pledgers' sacrifice and pledge on that day, which was immediately followed by divine satisfaction ("when they swore allegiance to you under the tree"), and the satisfaction is conditional upon the pledgers continuing to follow the Prophet (s). However, some of the pledgers deviated from the Prophet's (s) path.

According to al-Shaykh al-Tusi, God was satisfied with people who pledged their allegiance to the Prophet (s) and were believers at the time, but some of them who broke their pledge and went astray were no longer subject to divine satisfaction.

According to the Quran 48:10, to pledge one's allegiance to the Prophet (s) is to pledge one's allegiance to God. However, this verse mentions the great loss for people who break their pledges, and takes the biggest rewards to belong to people who remain allegiant to the Prophet (s).

Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani (a prominent Sunni scholar) quotes 'Ala' b. Musayyib quoting his father as saying that he met Bara' b. 'Azib and told him: "Good for you! You were with the Prophet (s) and pledged your allegiance to him under the tree." But he said: "O the son of my brother! You do not know what [wrong] we did after that."

Construction of a Mosque

The possible place of the mosque in Hudaybiyya

The pledgers were later known as "People of the Tree" (Ashab al-Shajara). A mosque was constructed in the place where the pledge was made.

See Also