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Makkan Period: The Final Phase

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The Makkan Period of the Prophet’s ﷺ mission followed a clear and distinct path in pursuit of establishing Islam. This was finally achieved after 13 gruelling years in Makkah where the Prophet ﷺ and sahaba faced torture, propaganda and boycott by the Quraysh trying to stop the daw’ah and the victory of Islam. The final culmination of the Makkan period was the Hijra to Madeenah and the establishment of the first Islamic State.

1.   THE ORDER TO MIGRATE

Date: Thursday 1st Rabi’ Al-Awwal, 14th year of prophethood (Year 1 Hijri)

On Thursday 1st Rabi’ al-Awwal[1], at midday which was a time in Makkah when most people were indoors due to the blazing hot sun, the Prophet ﷺ, heavily veiled made his way through the Makkan streets to the house of Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr and his family were not expecting him and were surprised at his visit but as Abu Bakr said, “I swear, he can only have come at this time for one thing!”

A’isha narrates that, when he ﷺ came in, Abu Bakr gave up his couch and the Messenger of Allah sat down. There was no one else in the house except myself and my sister Asma’, daughter of Abu Bakr. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Send away anyone else who is with you.” Abu Bakr replied, “There are only my two daughters; what can be wrong, I pray you?” He ﷺ replied, “Allah has given me permission to leave, to migrate.” Abu Bakr asked, “As companions then, Oh Messenger of Allah?” He ﷺ answered, “Yes, as companions.”

Aisha said, “I swear, before that day I never knew anyone who wept for joy until I saw Abu Bakr do so that day.” Abu Bakr then said, “Oh Prophet of Allah, these are two camels I have readied for this.”[2]

2.   THE NADWA COUNCIL

Date: Thursday 1st Rabi’ Al-Awwal, 14th year of prophethood (Year 1 Hijri)

Quraish were now desperate. If the Prophet ﷺ managed to migrate and establish the state in Madeenah it would not only threaten their summer trade caravans to Syria, but also begin to erode their long-held dominance in Arabia.

That afternoon or evening, delegates from all the Quraishi tribes gathered in their House of Assembly, Dar Al-Nadwa which acted like a parliament for them to discuss the next steps. This day is known as yawm al-zahma, ‘the day of the gathering’.

2.1  Those present at the Assembly

The most significant attendees are listed below.[3]

RepresentativesTribe
ShaitanDisguised as a sheikh from Najd
Abu Jahl bin HishamBani Makhzum
Jubair bin Mut‘im
Tuaima bin ‘Adi
Al-Harith bin ‘Amir
Bani Naufal bin ‘Abd Munaf  
Abu Sufyan bin Harb
Shaibah bin Rabi‘a
Utbah bin Rabi‘a
Bani ‘Abd Shams bin ‘Abd Munaf  
An-Nadr bin Al-HarithBani ‘Abd Ad-Dar
Abul Bukhtary bin Hisham
Zama‘a bin Al-Aswad
Hakeem bin Hizam
Bani Asad bin ‘Abd Al-‘Uzza
Nabih bin Al-Hajjaj
Munbih bin Al-Hajjaj
Bani Sahm
Umaiyah bin KhalafBani Jumah

2.2  Shaitan attends the meeting

Shaitan, Allah curse him, came before them in the form of a venerable sheikh dressed in a heavy cloak. He stood at the door of Dar Al-Nadwa and, when they saw him they asked who he was. He replied, “I am come from Nejd, from the highlands; I have heard why you agreed to meet, and I’ve come to listen to what you say and perhaps offer some comment or advice,” so they invited him in.[4]

2.3  The Debate

OPTION 1. PUT HIM ﷺ IN IRONS AND JAIL HIM

Abu al-Bakhtari bin Hisham suggested, “Put him in irons and jail him; then wait for him to have the same fate that befell poets like him before, such as Zuhayr and al-Nabigha. He would die as they had.” But the Najdi sheikh (Shaitan) objected, saying “No; that’s not a good plan. If you do shut him up, news of him will get right past the door you have locked on him and reach his supporters. They will promptly attack you and release him and then increase in numbers until they overcome you. That’s not a good idea.”

OPTION 2. EXILE HIM ﷺ

They consulted further and one suggested, “Let’s exile him from our territory. Once he has gone, we shouldn’t care where he ends up or what happens to him. So long as he is gone, we’ll be rid of him and we’ll be able to restore our affairs as they were before.” But the Najdi sheikh observed, “No, that’s not a good idea for you. You know how sweet his talk is, and his reasoning, and how he convinces others of his message. If you do that, you’d have no security against him going to live with some Arab tribe and using his speech and discourse to get them to follow him. Then he would lead them against you and perhaps defeat or dispossess you and do what they like with you. No, think of something else.”

OPTION 3. ASSASSINATE HIM ﷺ

Abu Jahl bin Hisham then said, “I have an idea that hasn’t occurred to you yet.” They asked, “What is it, Abu al-Hakam?” He replied, “I think we should select one young man from each tribe, and someone who is strong, of excellent lineage and reputation as a leader. We should give each one a sharp sword and they would go to him and use the swords to strike him in unison. They would kill him and we would then be rid of him. If they do this, his blood will be spread over all the tribes, and Banu ‘Abd Manaf will not be able to do battle against them all, so they will accept blood money which we can pay them.” The Najdi sheikh commented, “What he says is right. This is the right idea, and no other.”

Having agreed upon this, the assembly dispersed.[5]

To understand how we got to this point, we need back to the year 10 of prophethood.

3.   THE YEAR OF GRIEF

Date: Year 10 of prophethood

Year 10 of prophethood is known as the Year of Grief because in this year the Messenger ﷺ was struck with a number of severe tests starting with the death of his uncle Abu Talib in the month of Rajab, who had protected him and the call to Islam (da’wah) for so many years.

Two months later in Ramadan, the Prophet’s ﷺ beloved wife Khadijah and the first to embrace Islam also passed away.

With his ﷺ protection gone he travelled outside Makkah in the month of Shawwal with Zayd ibn Harithah to the city of Taif to seek their support, yet they rejected him and ordered a mob of youth to stone him and Zayd as they left the city.

Bruised and battered with his feet covered in blood the Prophet ﷺ later commented that, “the worse trouble was the trouble on the day of ‘Aqaba when I presented myself to Ibn ‘Abd-Yalail bin ‘Abd-Kulal (one of the chiefs of Taif) and he did not respond to my demand.”[6]

It was after this that Allah ordered the Messenger ﷺ to approach the other Arab tribes. Ali ibn Abi Talib said, “When Allah ordered His Messenger to present himself to the tribes of the Arabs, he left, along with myself and Abu Bakr, for Mina.”[7]

So two months later he ﷺ set out with Ali and Abu Bakr who was an expert in genealogy, to Mina during the hajj season where the tribes were gathering.

4.   SEEKING SUPPORT FROM THE ARAB TRIBES

Date: Dhul-Hijja, Year 10 of prophethood

Location: Mina

Husayn bin ‘Abd Allah said, I heard Rabi’a bin ‘Ibad being addressed by my father who said, “I was once, when a young lad, with my father at Mina when the Messenger of Allah ﷺ would stop at the camps of the Arab tribes and say to them, ‘I am the Messenger of Allah to you. I tell you to worship Allah and to associate no other with Him and to abandon those others you revere; and you should have faith and belief in me and protect me so that I make evident that with which Allah sent me.’

Behind him stood a squint-eyed, neatly dressed man, his hair in two braids and wearing a cloak from Aden. When the Messenger of Allah ﷺ had finished his prayer and address, that man would say to the tribe, ‘This man is only trying to get you to strip al-Lat and al-Uzza off your necks, along with your allies the jinn of the Banu Malik bin Uqaysh in favour of the wrongful innovation he himself brings. Do not obey him and do not listen to him.’

I asked my father, ‘Who is that man who follows behind him and contradicts what he says?’ He replied, ‘That is his uncle, ‘Abd al-Uzza bin ‘Abd al-Muttalib – Abu Lahab.’[8]

Seeking the support (nusrah) from the Arab tribes continued each year during the month of Dhul-Hijja when the tribes would descend on Makkah for the annual pilgrimage (hajj), an event which dates back to the time of Ibrahim and Ismail (Peace be upon them both).

The objective of seeking this nusrah was to:

  • protect the conveyance of the da’wah to the people,
  • and then once the da’wah had taken hold the support would be for taking authority on the basis of this da’wah and establishing a state.[9]

These objectives can clearly be seen from the narrations of the many meetings the Prophet ﷺ had with the Arab tribes.

4.1  Meeting with Banu ‘Amir bin Sa’sa’

Tribal leader:Bayhara bin Firas

Bayhara said, “I swear, if I were to have this brave man of Quraysh, I could eat up the Arabs with him.” He then said to him ﷺ, “If we were to follow your orders and then Allah gave you victory against those opposing you, would we have power after you were gone?” He ﷺ replied, “Allah controls power and places it where He wishes.” Bayhara replied, “Are we to present our throats to the Arabs in your defence and then, if Allah gave you victory, see power go elsewhere than to us? We’ll have nothing to do with you!”[10]

4.2  Meeting with Banu Shayban bin Tha’laba

Tribal leaders: Mafruq bin ‘Amr, Hani’ bin Qubaysa and al-Muthanna bin Haritha

Abu Bakr asked Mafruq “How many are you in number?” He replied, “We are more than 1,000 strong, and a few men can’t beat 1000 as they say.” “And how would protection be with you?” Mafruq replied, “We go to the limit, and every people has a forefather (i.e. we are proud).”

Abu Bakr asked, “And how is it when you make war with your enemies?” Mafruq answered, “When we meet in battle, we are the angriest of men. We take greater pride in our steeds than our sons, care more for our swords than our sperm; victory rests with Allah.”

Mafruq then said, “This is al-Muthanna, our sheikh and military leader.” Al-Muthanna said, “I heard and liked what you said, Oh Quraysh brother. I was impressed by your words. But our answer should be that of Hani’ bin Quhaysa; for us to leave our religion and follow you after one sitting with us would be like us taking residence between two pools of stagnant water, one al-Yamama and the other al-Samawa.” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ asked, “And what might those pools of stagnant water be then?”

Al-Muthanna replied, “One of these is where land extends to the Arab world, and the other is that of Persia and the rivers of Kisra. We would be reneging on a pact that Kisra has placed upon us to the effect that we would not cause an incident and not give sanctuary to a troublemaker. This policy you suggest for us is such a one that kings would dislike.

As for those areas bordering Arab lands, the blame of those so acting would be forgiven and excuses for them be accepted, but for those areas next to Persia, those so acting would not be forgiven, and no such excuses would be accepted. If you want us to help and protect you from whatever relates to Arab territories alone, we should do so.”

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ replied, “Your reply is in no way bad, for you have spoken eloquently and truthfully. (But) Allah’s religion can only he engaged in by those who encompass it from all sides.”

He ﷺ then asked, “Supposing it were only shortly after now that Allah were to award you their lands and properties and furnished you their young women, would you then praise Allah and revere Him?”[11]

Banu Shayban bin Tha’laba later accepted Islam and al-Muthanna bin Haritha was appointed by Abu Bakr as the Amir ul-Jihad for the Iraq campaign against the Persians, their former allies.[12]

5.   THE FIRST SIX

Date: Dhul-Hijja, Year 11 of prophethood

Location: Mina

The Prophet ﷺ started approaching the tribes during the 10th year of prophethood, the same year in which Abu Talib and Khadijah passed away. In the following year he met with a group from the Al-Khazraj tribe who were from Yathrib (later Madeenah), a city 450km north of Makkah.

The Al-Khazraj tribe had just come out of a long and bitter war with the Al-Aws tribe who also inhabited Yathrib. This Battle of Bu’ath, as it’s known was a pivotal moment in history because it set the two tribes of Yathrib on a course to accept Islam and become the future supporters (Ansar) of the Islamic State. Aisha, the wife of the Prophet ﷺ later said, “The day of Bu’ath was a day that Allah caused to take place just before the mission of His Messenger. So that when Allah’s Messenger came to Madeenah, they (the tribes) had divided and their nobles had been killed; and all of that facilitated their conversion to Islam.”[13]

It was the custom of the Prophet ﷺ to speak with the Arab tribes at night and in secret due to the harsh campaign being waged against him and the da’wah by the leaders of Quraish such as Abu Lahab.

On one such night after meeting with Bani Dhuhal at Mina, the Prophet ﷺ, Ali and Abu Bakr passed by a group of six men. This meeting was unplanned so the Messenger ﷺ asked them who they were and they replied, “We are members of the Al-Khazraj tribe.”

Yathrib was not only inhabited by the two Arab tribes but was also home to a number of ancient Jewish tribes. Knowing this the Prophet ﷺ asked them, “Are you from the allies of the Jews.” They said, “Yes.” “Will you not sit down so that I can speak to you?” asked the Prophet ﷺ, so the six men – As‘ad bin Zuraarah, ‘Awf bin Harith, Rafi’ bin Malik, Qutbah bin ‘Amir, ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir and Jabir bin ‘Abdullah – sat down and he ﷺ recited the Qur’an to them and invited them to Islam.

Although this was the first time they had met the Prophet ﷺ, the Jewish inhabitants of Yathrib had for years threatened them saying that a Prophet was set to arise in Arabia and when he did the Jews would follow him and destroy the Aws and Khazraj. On listening to the Prophet’s ﷺ message the six men said to each other, “O people, by Allah, you know that he is indeed the prophet that the Jews threatened us with, so do not let them beat you to him.” They then accepted Islam and vowed to return to Yathrib and carry the da’wah there, calling the people to Islam.[14]

After accepting Islam they said to the Prophet ﷺ, “We will advise you according to our view (of matters). So, remain upon the name of Allah (i.e. as you are) until we return to our people and inform them about your affair and invite them to Allah and His Messenger. It may be that Allah reconciles between us and unites our affair because verily we are far apart from each other and hold hatred for one another today. If you were to come to us today whilst we have not rectified our affair, then we will not possess a group for you (i.e. to support you). So let us agree to meet with you in the (Hajj) season of the coming year.”[15]

5.1  The names of the first six

No.NameTribeService to Islam
1As’ad bin ZuraarahAl-KhazrajOne of 12 Clan Leaders (Naqib). Gave protection to Mus’ab ibn Umayr while he carried da’wah in Madeenah. He died before Badr.
2‘Awf bin al-HarithAl-KhazrajBadr.
3Rafi’ bin MalikAl-KhazrajOne of 12 Clan Leaders (Naqib).
4Qutbah bin ‘AmirAl-KhazrajBadr.
5‘Uqbah ibn ‘AmirAl-KhazrajBadr. He was called both muhajiri and ansari because he stayed with the Messenger ﷺ in Makkah until his migration to Medina.
6Jabir bin ‘AbdullahAl-Khazraj 

6.   FIRST PLEDGE OF AL-AQABA

Date: Dhul-Hijja, Year 12 of prophethood

Location: Mina

When the six new Muslims returned to Yathrib they spoke about the Messenger of Allah ﷺ to their people and called them to Islam. The message spread among them and no household from the two tribes of Khazraj and Aws remained except there was mention of the Messenger ﷺ within them.[16]

One year later they returned to Makkah during the annual hajj season. This time their number had increased to twelve, and they were accompanied by five new Muslims from Al-Khazraj and two new Muslims from Al-Aws with Jabir bin ‘Abdullah remaining behind in Yathrib. More had converted to Islam from both tribes and they remained in Yathrib. Although the da’wah was primarily concentrated among the Khazraj, the da’wah managed to penetrate in to their traditional enemies Al-Aws. This success led the Prophet ﷺ to move to the next stage which was asking the twelve to make a pledge (bay’a) to him. This bay’a paved the way for the da’wah to increase in Yathrib and prepare the entire society for the fulfilment of the Prophet’s mission and the future establishment of the Islamic State.

6.1  The Text of the Bay’a

Ubadah ibn As-Saamit was one of the twelve who pledged and he reported that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ took (a pledge) from us as he took from the women that we will not associate anything with Allah, and we will not steal, and we will not commit adultery, and we will not kill our children, and we will not bring slander upon one another. And he who among you fulfils (this pledge), his reward rests with Allah, and he among you upon whom is imposed the prescribed punishment that is carried out, that is his expiation (for that sin), and he whose (sins) were covered by Allah, his matter rests with Allah. He may punish him if He likes or may forgive him if He so likes.[17]

6.2  The names of those who gave bay’a

No.NameTribeService to Islam
1As’ad bin ZuraarahAl-KhazrajOne of 12 Clan Leaders (Naqib). Gave protection to Mus’ab ibn Umayr while he carried da’wah in Madeenah. He died before Badr.
2‘Awf bin al-HarithAl-KhazrajBadr. First six.
3Rafi’ bin MalikAl-KhazrajOne of 12 Clan Leaders (Naqib). First six.
4Qutbah bin ‘AmirAl-KhazrajBadr. First six.
5‘Uqbah ibn ‘AmirAl-KhazrajBadr. He was called both muhajiri and ansari because he stayed with the Messenger ﷺ in Makkah until his migration to Medina. First six.
6Mu’adh b. al-HarithAl-KhazrajBadr
7Dhakwan b. ‘Abd QaysAl-KhazrajBadr, martyred at Uhud. He was called both muhajiri and ansari because he stayed with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ in Makkah until his migration to Medina.
8Ubadah ibn As-SaamitAl-KhazrajOne of 12 Clan Leaders (Naqib). Badr. Teacher and Judge in Ash-Sham under Umar ibn Al-Khattab. Umar said he was equivalent to 1000 men when he sent Ubadah at the head of 1000 soldiers to reinforce the army of Egypt.
9al-‘Abbas b. Ubada bin NadlaAl-KhazrajMartyred at Uhud. He was called both muhajiri and ansari because he stayed with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ in Makkah until his migration to Medina.
10Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman YazidAl-Khazraj 
11Abu al-Haytham b. al-TayyihanAl-AwsBadr
12‘Uwaym b. Sa’idaAl-AwsBadr

7.   MUS’AB IBN UMAYR

Date: Year 12 of prophethood

Location: Yathrib

Although the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had become the talk of the town in Yathrib, those who had embraced Islam were still small in number and they needed assistance in learning the Qur’an and carrying the dawah. For this task the Prophet ﷺ selected Mu’sab ibn Umayr and sent him to Yathrib, instructing him to recite the Qur’an to them, teach them Islam and instruct them in the faith. Mu’sab was named by the city’s inhabitants as Al-Muqree, a teacher and reciter of the Qur’an.[18]

7.1  Who is Mu’sab ibn Umayr?

The Prophet ﷺ chose Mus’ab ibn Umayr for this important mission based on his many good qualities. Mus’ab was upright and enthusiastic, he had memorised much of the Qur’an, had good manners and strong faith. He was wise and had tact and charisma, and known as the ‘the most charming of the Makkans.’[19] Within a matter of months, Mus’ab was able to spread Islam to most the houses of Yathrib. Through personal face-to-face dawah he garnered the support of important leaders such as Sa’d ibn Mu’adth and Usaid ibn Hudair which led to their entire clans embracing Islam.[20] Mus’ab was the practical manifestation of Allah’s command,

ٱدْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِٱلْحِكْمَةِ وَٱلْمَوْعِظَةِ ٱلْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَـٰدِلْهُم بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِۦ ۖ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِٱلْمُهْتَدِينَ

“Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the kindest way.”[21]

Before Islam, Mus’ab wanted for nothing. He lived in a state of luxury, caressed and pampered, the talk of the ladies of Makkah, the jewel of its clubs and assemblies. The Prophet ﷺ said, “I saw Mus’ab here, and there was no youth in Makkah more petted by his parents than he. Then he abandoned all that for the love of Allah and His Prophet!”[22]

Mus’ab’s mother was Khunaas Bint Maalik, and people feared her almost to the point of terror because she possessed a strong personality. When she was informed of Mus’ab’s conversion to Islam she was outraged. Mus’ab stood fearlessly before his mother, the people, and the nobles of Makkah who assembled around him, telling them the irrefutable truth and reciting to them the Qur’an. His mother hit him and then put him in shackles and imprisoned him in a rough corner of her house until he was able to escape to Abyssinia during the first emigration. On his return from Abyssinia, his mother tried to imprison him for a second time but he swore that if she did that, he would kill all those who came to her aid to lock him up, so she bade him good bye weeping, and said, “Go away, I am no longer your mother,” he went close to her and said, “O mother, I am advising you and my heart is with you, please bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.” She replied to him, angrily raging, “By the stars, I will never enter your religion, to degrade my status and weaken my senses!”[23]

It is this steadfastness in carrying the message which made him the ideal candidate for one of the most important missions in Islamic history.

7.2  The Mission

As mentioned previously, the objective of seeking support from the Arab tribes was to protect the conveyance of the da’wah to the people, and then once the da’wah had taken hold the support would be for taking authority on the basis on this da’wah.[24] Among the 12 who gave the 1st pledge of Al-Aqaba were a number of clan leaders from Khazraj, As’ad bin Zuraarah, Rafi’ bin Malik and Ubadah ibn As-Saamit who could provide protection for the daw’ah in Yathrib. As’ad bin Zuraarah also known as Abu Umama, hosted Mus’ab in his home and accompanied him on visits.

The Prophet ﷺ wrote to Mus’ab telling him to establish Friday prayer in the city. Ka’ab ibn Malik’s son Abd al-Rahman asked, “Why is it, father, that whenever you hear the Friday call to prayer, you pray for Abu Umama?” He replied, “My son, he was the first to unite us in Madeenah at the hazm al-nabit in the quarter of Banu Bayada in al-baqi’, the plain, known as baqi’ al-Khadamat.I asked, “And how many were you there that day?” “We were 40 men,” he replied.”[25]

7.3  The leaders accept Islam

The two Arab tribes in Yathrib were Aws and Khazraj, but similar to Quraysh in Makkah they were sub-divided in to subtribes or clans. One such clan was Banu Abdul-Ashhal which was headed by Sa’d ibn Mu’adth and Usaid ibn Hudair, with Usaid being the de facto leader of the entire Al-Aws tribe.

When Sa’d and Usaid, who were still polytheists, heard of Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr and his Da’wah activities, Sa’d said to Usaid, “May you have no father! Go to these two men (referring to Mus’ab and As’ad ibn Zuraarah) who have come to our homes to make fools of the weak ones among us. Drive them away and forbid them from coming to our homes. Had I not been as close to As’ad ibn Zuraarah as you know me to be, I would have taken care of the matter for you. As’ad is my cousin, and I cannot show hostility towards him.”

Usaid took his spear and began to search out for Mus’ab and As’ad. When the latter two saw him, As’ad ibn Zuraarah said, “He is the chief of his people, and he is coming to you. So be true to Allah when you deal with him.” Mus’ab replied, “If he sits down, I will speak to him.”

Seeing his targets, Usaid went to them and then stood over them in an insulting manner. Without introducing himself or greeting either Mus’ab or As’ad, Usaid gruffly said, “What has brought you here? And why do you make fools of the weak ones among us? Leave us if you value your lives!” Mus’ab became neither angry nor frightened. With the attitude of one who is calm and sure of the truthfulness of his message, Mus’ab said, “Will you not sit down and listen. If you are pleased with the matter (I will now explain to you), then accept it. And if you dislike it, then we will stop doing that which you dislike?”

“You have spoken justly,” said Usaid, after which he drove his spear into the ground and sat down beside Mus’ab and As’ad. Mus’ab spoke to Usaid about Islam and recited to him the Qur’an. Mus’ab and As’ad are related to have later said about Usaid, “By Allah, we saw Islam (i.e., a readiness to embrace Islam) in his face even before he spoke, in terms of the brightness and easygoingness (we read on his features).”

When Mus’ab was done explaining Islam to Usaid, the latter said, “How wonderful and beautiful this speech is! How does one do if one wants to enter into this religion?” They said, “Take a bath and purify yourself and your garment; then bear witness to the testimony of truth (i.e., none has the right to be worshipped but Allah); and then pray.”

Usaid immediately took a bath and purified his garments; he then bore witness to the testimony of truth, after which he stood up and performed two units of prayer.

When Usaid completed his prayer, he said to Mus’ab and As’ad, “Indeed, I have left behind a man named Sa’d ibn Mu’adh. If he follows you both, then no one from his people will remain behind. I will indeed send him to you now.”

Pulling his spear out of the ground, Usaid got up and returned to Sa’d and his people, who were, upon Usaid’s arrival, gathered together in their place of assembly. When Sa’d saw Usaid approaching, he said, “I swear by Allah, Usaid ibn Hudair has come to you with a face that is different from the one he had when he left you (a while ago)!”

When Usaid stood before the gathered crowd, Sa’d said, “What did you do?” Usaid said, “I spoke to the two men, and by Allah, I saw nothing wrong with them. I forbade them (from spreading their ideas), and they said, ‘We will do whatever pleases you.’ But then I was told that Banu Harithah (another clan in Yathrib) are headed towards As’ad ibn Zuraarah in order to kill him. They are doing so because they have found out that he is your cousin, and they want to show you that they have broken their covenant with you.”[26]

Sa’d stood up feeling mixed emotions: On the one hand, he was furious with Banu Harithah; and on the other hand, he was afraid for his cousin’s life. Taking up his spear in his hand, he turned to hurry away, but first he angrily said to Hudair, “I don’t think that you have taken care of anything!”

When Sa’d reached As’ad, he found that both As’ad and Mus’ab were safe and sound; he then realized that Usaid had mentioned Banu Harithah only so that he would go to As’ad and listen to what he and Mus’ab had to say. Nonetheless, he stood over them disparagingly and said to As’ad ibn Zuraarah, “By Allah, O Abu Umama, had it not been for the fact that you and I are related, you would not have held such hopes from me. Do you (think it fair to, or do you dare to) come into our homes with that which we dislike?”

Prior to Sa’d’s arrival, As’ad had seen him approaching and said, “By Allah, coming to you now is the chief of the people he has left behind. If he follows you, then no two people among them will differ among themselves (rather, they will all be united as Muslims).”

After Sa’d finished addressing As’ad, Mus’ab said to Sa’d, “Will you sit down and listen? If you are pleased with the matter (I will present to you), and if you desire (to follow it), then accept it. And if you dislike it, then we will stop doing that which you dislike.” Sa’d said, “You have spoken justly,” after which he drove his spear into the ground and sat down. Mus’ab presented Islam to him, and recited to him the Qur’an. Moosa ibn ‘Uqbah later recounted that Mus’ab had recited the first part of Surah Az-Zukhruf. Also, Mus’ab and As’ad later on said about their meeting with Sa’d, “By Allah, we knew (a readiness to embrace) Islam in his face even before he spoke, in terms of the radiance and easygoingness (of his features).”

Like Usaid had done, Sa’d asked Mus’ab and As’ad, “What do you do if you want to submit and enter the fold of this religion?” They said, “Take a bath and become purified, and purify your two garments (i.e., your upper and lower garment). Then bear witness to the testimony of truth; and after that, perform two units of prayer.” Sa’d forthwith got up to take a bath and purify his garments. When he finished doing that, he bore witness to the testimony of truth; and after that, he performed two units of prayer.

After he finished praying, Sa’d took his spear and returned to where his people were assembled. As Sa’d approached them, they saw him and said, “We swear by Allah, Sa’d has returned to you with a face that is different from the one he had when he left you (a short while ago).” When Sa’d stood over them, he said, “O Banu ‘Abdul- Ashhal, what do you know about my status among you?” They said, “You are our chief, the best among us in judgment, and the most blessed leader we have.” Sa’d said, “Then it is forbidden for the men and women among you to speak to me until you believe in Allah and His Messenger.” Sa’d later said, “By Allah, by nightfall, every single man and woman in the houses of Banu ‘Abdul-Ashhal entered the evening as a Muslim.”

As’ad and Mus’ab returned to the former’s home and continued to invite people to Islam. Not before long, every house in Yathrib, to the exclusion of the districts that were inhabited by the Jewish tribes, had men and women who had embraced Islam.[27]

7.4  Mission Accomplished

In the 13th year of prophethood, one year after the 1st pledge of Al-Aqaba, Mus’ab returned to Makkah just prior to the Hajj season and gave a detailed account to the Prophet ﷺ of the situation in Yathrib. He explained how Islam had permeated the ranks of the Aws and Khazraj tribes, and that they were ready for a new pledge. Based on their numbers and unity they were able to provide protection to the Messenger ﷺ.[28]

The Hajj season was about to commence and more than 70 Muslims from Yathrib were coming to Makkah to meet secretly with the Prophet ﷺ.

8.   SECOND PLEDGE OF AL-AQABA

Date: 13th Dhul-Hijja, Year 13 of prophethood

Time: night-time

Location: Al-Aqaba, Mina

The relationship between Muslim citizens and the ruler is governed by a ruling contract called bay’a (pledge of allegiance). This bay’a is the method of appointing the ruler and this is why the Prophet ﷺ took the second bay’a of Al-Aqaba to show us through his sunnah how to rule according to Islam.

Although the Muslims of Yathrib had grown to a substantial size where they could provide protection to the Prophet ﷺ for establishing a state, there was still a sizeable number of polytheists residing in the city. As the annual Hajj season commenced, 500 or so pilgrims from Yathrib descended on Mina during the days of tashreeq (3 days following Eid). Over 70 were the new Muslims secretly planning to meet the Prophet ﷺ and pledge a new bay’a, whereas the rest were still polytheists and had no idea what the Muslims were planning.

Jabir bin Abdullah one of the first 6, and Ka‘b bin Malik the poet, were both part of the 75 who gave the 2nd pledge. They both narrated the events as they unfolded. Jabir begins his story, “For how long will we leave the Messenger of Allah ﷺ to go around and be driven away in the mountains of Makkah! For how long will we leave him to be terrified over there?”

The Prophet ﷺ planned to meet the Ansar as they became known on the last day of Hajj i.e. the 13th. This would give very little time for the leaders of Quraysh to take action to thwart his plans, since the pilgrims would be packing up and leaving in their thousands the following morning. He ﷺ stationed Ali ibn Abi Talib at the mouth of the mountain pass, and Abu Bakr on the road that led to the pass. Both acted as lookouts to ensure secrecy of the meeting. No other Muslim from Makkah was aware of the meeting except the Prophet ﷺ, Ali and Abu Bakr.[29]

The rest of the polytheists from Yathrib who were camped at Mina with the Muslims, were unaware of this secret meeting. So on the 13th of Dhul-Hijja 73 men and 2 women left the camp one or two at a time so as not to arouse any suspicious among their fellow pilgrims.

They made their way to the mountain pass of Al-Aqaba on the outskirts of Mina and it is there they met with the Prophet ﷺ and his uncle Al-Abbas who although still a polytheist was still providing protection to the Prophet ﷺ in Makkah. Al-Abbas went on to become Muslim and provided intelligence on Quraysh in Makkah for the Prophet ﷺ while he was in Madeenah. He played a pivotal role in the conquest of Makkah through his actions.

Al-Abbas spoke first. “O you people of the Khazraj! (the Arabs used to call the Ansar Khazraj, whether from Khazraj or Aws). You all know the position that Muhammad holds among us. We have protected him from our people as much as we could. He is honoured and respected among his people. He refuses to join any party except you. So if you think you can carry out what you promise while inviting him to your town, and if you can defend him against the enemies, then assume the burden that you have taken. But if you are going to surrender him and betray him after having taken him away with you had better leave him now because he is respected and well defended in his own place.”[30]

Al-Abbas made it clear that the Prophet ﷺ was still well-protected by Banu Hashim in Makkah and by had no need to emigrate for his own safety. This is clear evidence that this second pledge was not an emigration or hijra for fleeing persecution. Rather this hijra was for establishing a new state.

The Prophet ﷺ then said, “Pledge to me that you will listen and obey, both when are active and lazy; that you will spend (for the cause of Islam), both in poverty and in richness; that you will enjoin good and forbid evil; that you will speak for the cause of Allah, fearing not, when you do something for Allah, the blame of a blamer; and that you will support me and protect me when I come to you, in the same way that you protect yourselves, your wives, and your children. And (if you fulfil these conditions,) you will have Paradise.”

Before anyone could pledge, As’ad ibn Zuraarah, one of the first six and who hosted and protected Mus’ab ibn Umayr’s daw’ah in Yathrib explained the implications of this pledge. He said, “Go slowly, O people of Yathrib. We travelled such a far distance with our camels only because we knew that he is indeed the Messenger of Allah; that to bring him out (of Makkah) today means parting from all Arabs, as well as the death of the best among you; and that you will be struck by swords. Either you are people who will remain patient upon all of that, and your reward will be with Allah; or you fear that you will show cowardice (in light of all of the above-mentioned eventualities). So make clear which it is, for you will have a better excuse with Allah (if you make your intentions clear now, rather than make a promise now and break it later).” The Ansar said, “Move out of the way, O As’ad, for by Allah, we will never leave, abstain from, or break the terms of this pledge.” They then all stood up and gave him ﷺ their bay’a.[31]

Because this second pledge entailed a promise to physically support and defend the Messenger ﷺ, is Ubaadah ibn As-Saamit called it the Pledge of War as opposed to the first pledge which was called the Pledge of Women because it contained no promise to fight as women are exempt from fighting.

He Prophet ﷺ then said, “Send to me from among yourselves twelve chiefs (or representatives), whose pledges will be binding upon their people (i.e., upon the rest of you).” They accordingly sent twelve chiefs or naqibs, nine from the Khazraj and three from the Aws.

8.1  The 12 Representatives

No.NameTribeService to Islam
1As’ad bin ZuraarahAl-KhazrajOne of 12 Clan Leaders (Naqib). Died before Badr. First six.
2Rafi’ bin MalikAl-KhazrajOne of 12 Clan Leaders (Naqib). First six.
3Ubadah ibn As-SaamitAl-KhazrajOne of 12 Clan Leaders (Naqib). Badr. Teacher and Judge in Ash-Sham under Umar ibn Al-Khattab. Umar said he was equivalent to 1000 men when he sent Ubadah at the head of 1000 soldiers to reinforce the army of Egypt.
4Sa’d b. al-Rabi’Al-KhazrajBadr, martyred at Uhud
5Abd Allah b. RawahaAl-KhazrajBadr, Uhud, Khandaq. Commander of the Battle of Mu’tah where he was martyred.
6al-Bara’ b. Ma’rurAl-KhazrajFirst to give bay’a. He died before the arrival of the Prophet ﷺ in Medina.
7Abd Allah b. ‘Amr b. HaramAl-KhazrajBadr, martyred at Uhud
8Sa’d ibn Ubadah b. DulaymAl-KhazrajCandidate for post of Khaleefah at the Saqifah of his clan after Prophet’s ﷺ death.
9al-Mundhir b. ‘AmrAl-KhazrajBadr, Uhud. Commander at Bi’r Ma’una where he was martyred.
10Usayd b. HudayrAl-AwsCommander of Aws at Uhud, Hunayn and Tabuk. Part of bay’a of contract to Abu Bakr at Saqifah.
11Sa’d b. KhaythamaAl-AwsMartyred at Badr
12Rifa’a b. ‘Abd al-Mundhir b. ZunayrAl-AwsBadr

9.   QURAISH’S RESPONSE TO THE SECOND PLEDGE

After the Prophet ﷺ met with the 12 representatives he ﷺ requested that they return to their campsite. But before they did, they heard the Shaitaan yell out a warning to the Quraish. Al-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Ubaadah ibn Nadlah said, “By Allah, Who has sent you with the truth, if you want, we will pounce upon the people of Mina (i.e., Quraish) tomorrow with our swords.” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “We were not commanded to do that. So instead, return to your belongings.”[32]

They returned to their belongings, and then in the morning, a group of leaders from the Quraish went to them, asking them about what they had heard regarding their pledge of allegiance to the Prophet ﷺ and their inviting him to migrate to Yathrib. The polytheists among the Aws and Khazraj knew nothing of what had transpired the night before so swore that they did no such thing. Meanwhile, the Muslims among them looked at one another and remained silent.[33]

In the end, the leaders of the Quraish came to know about the details of the Second Pledge of Al-‘Aqabah, and they wanted to pursue the 12 naqibs but it was too late. All but two of them were already well on their way back to Yathrib. Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaadah and Al-Mundhir ibn ‘Amr had remained behind – probably for personal business – and Quraish caught up with both of them at a place called Adhaakhir, which is situated not too far from Makkah. Al-Mundhir managed to escape, but Sa’d was caught. They took him, tied his hands behind his neck, and dragged him by his forelocks until they returned to Makkah. Once there, they began to beat him. Had the beating continued, Sa’d would probably have died as a result. But two members of the Quraish, Al-Haarith ibn Harb ibn Umayyah and Jubair ibn Mut’im, interceded on his behalf and rescued him. They helped Sa’d only because he would protect their caravans as they passed through Yathrib. So if they were to harm Sa’d, they would no longer be able to pass through with their trading caravans, since Sa’d’s relatives would be looking to exact revenge.

The leaders of Quraish were fully aware of the implications of this 2nd pledge. If the Prophet ﷺ managed to establish a new state in Yathrib, a city 450km north of Makkah, he could threaten their summer trade caravans to Syria which provided an economic lifeline to Makkah. Allah describes this in the Qur’an,

إِۦلَـٰفِهِمْ رِحْلَةَ ٱلشِّتَآءِ وَٱلصَّيْفِ

“their tradition of the winter and summer caravans”.[34]

10.        HIJRAH OF THE COMPANIONS

Date: Muharram & Safar, 14th year of prophethood – Year 1 Hijri

Quraish had now learned about the imminent departure of the Muslims in Makkah, and so stepped up their campaign by attacking them with more intensity than ever before. They bore down heavily upon the Prophet’s Companions and abused them, so the companions complained to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, and asked him permission to migrate. He ﷺ said, “I have been informed of the place to which you will migrate; it is Yathrib. Whoever wants to leave, then let him go there.”

Over the coming weeks, the Muslims then began departing for Yathrib in small groups and would leave Makkah keeping news of their departure a secret. [35]

10.1       The First to Migrate

The first to reach Yathrib was Abu Salamah ibn Abdul-Asad. Next to arrive was ‘Aamir ibn Rabee’ah and his wife Laylaa bint Abi Hathmah. Thereafter, one group after another arrived and they staying in the homes of the Ansar who provided them with shelter and food. Prior to the Prophet’s ﷺ arrival, Saalim the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifah would lead the muhajireen in prayer at Qubaa, a suburb of Yathrib.

10.2       The Ansar Return to Makkah

Some of the Ansar returned to Makkah to assist the muhahireen in their departure. They were, Dhakwaan ibn ‘Abd Qais, ‘Uqbah ibn Wahb ibn Kaldah, Al-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Ubaadah ibn Nadlah and Ziyaad ibn Lubaid.[36]

11.        METHODS EMPLOYED BY QURAISH TO PREVENT MIGRATION

Quraish were desperate to prevent the establishment of the new state and so employed a number of tactics to try and stop the Prophet’s ﷺ companions from migrating. They broke up families, used kidnap and imprisonment, and confiscated wealth.

11.1       Breaking up Families

Abu Salamah was the first to migrate. When he made up his mind to leave, he put a saddle on his camel for his wife Umm Salamah and carried her on top of it. Then he put his one Salamah on his wife’s lap and steered his camel making his way out of Makkah. When men from his wife’s clan – Banu Al-Mugheerah – saw them, they pulled at the camel and took away his wife.

When Abu Salamah’s clan – Banu Abdul-Asad – saw this, they became angry and wouldn’t allow Banu Al-Mugheerah to take his son Salamah with them. A tug of war ensued and Salamah’s hand became dislocated before he was taken away by Banu Abdul-Asad. Abu Salamah, his wife and son were all separated with Abu Salamah in Yathrib, Umm Salamah with her tribe and Salamah with his tribe.

Umm Salamah would go out every morning to Al-Abtah (a place between Makkah and Mina) and sit and cry until evening. This continued for nearly a year when a man from her clan passed by and took pity on her. He said to Banu Al-Mugheerah, “Will you not allow this poor woman to leave. You have divided her from her husband and son!?” They said to her, “Go to your husband if you want.” After that Banu Abdul-Asad returned her son Salamah to her and they mounted a camel and set off for Madeenah.[37]

11.2       Kidnap and imprisonment

When Umar ibn Al-Khattab, ‘Ayyaash ibn Abee Rabee’ah and Hishaam ibn Al-‘Aas were ready to migrate they made an appointment to meet at the trees of Adaat (situated 12 miles from Makkah). They said, “Whoever among us is not there in the morning, then it means that he has been hindered (from coming), so let the other two among us go on.”

Hishaam didn’t make the appointment as he was imprisoned and prevented from coming. Umar and Ayyaash managed to reach Qubaa on the outskirts of Yathrib, but Abu Jahl ibn Hishaam and Al-Haarith ibn Hishaam managed to catch up with them in pursuit of Ayyaash, who was their half-brother from their mother. They said to Ayyaash, “Verily, your mother has vowed not to allow a comb to touch her head until she sees you and not to seek shade from the sun until she sees you.”

Ayyaash felt compassion for her, and so Umar said to him, “O ‘Ayyaash, by Allah, your people want only to tempt you away from your religion, so be wary of them. By Allah, if lice were to harm your mother, she would comb her hair; and if the heat of Makkah were to become severe upon her, she would seek shade,” but Ayyaash replied, “I will fulfil the oath of my mother; and at any rate, I have wealth there which I will take.” Umar offered Ayyaash half his wealth to prevent him going with them but Ayyaash insisted on going. After leaving with Abu Jahl ibn Hishaam and Al-Haarith ibn Hishaam, Ayyaash was overcome by them, tied up and taken to Makkah where he along with Hishaam ibn Al-‘Aas were tortured and imprisoned.

Eventually the Prophet ﷺ managed to send one of the companions to Makkah to rescue Ayyaash and Hishaam which through much resourcefulness and intelligence he managed to achieve. Ayyaash and Hishaam were now free and able to finally take up residence in their new home in Al-Madeenah (formerly Yathrib).[38]

11.3       Confiscating wealth

Suhaib Ar-Rumi had come to Makkah as a slave after being purchased by Abdullah ibn Jud’aan, one of Quraish’s chiefs. Suhaib was well-liked by Abdullah ibn Jud’aan so he freed him. Suhaib became a wealthy businessman and when it was time for him to migrate the people of Makkah said to him, “You came here a poor, insignificant person. Then, while you stayed among us, your wealth increased and has reached the high amount it has reached. Then you decide to leave with your own self and your wealth. By Allah, that will not happen.”

Suhaib said, “Suppose I leave my wealth here (for you), will you then step aside and allow me to leave?” They said, “Yes,” and so he gave them his entire store of wealth. News of this reached the Prophet ﷺ who said, “Suhaib has profited! Suhaib has profited!”[39]

12.        ASSASSINATION PLOT

Date: Night-time, Thursday 1st Rabi’ Al-Awwal, Year 1 Hijri

We return now to Dar Al-Nadwa. Quraish chose 11 men from 9 tribes to carry out the assassination that night.[40] They gathered together outside the home of the Prophet ﷺ waiting at his door. The Prophet ﷺ who was inside the house, was fully of aware of their presence and the assassination plot against him. Earlier the angel Jibrael had visited the Prophet ﷺ and informed him of their plot. Jibrael told the Prophet ﷺ not to sleep in his bed that night, so he ﷺ said to Ali ibn Abi Talib who lived with him, “Sleep on my bed, wrapping yourself in this green cloak of mine from Hadramaut; sleep in it. You’ll not come to any harm from them.”

One of the assassins Abu Jahl said to those gathered, “Muhammad claims that if you follow him you’ll become kings of the Arabs and non-Arabs alike. Then you’ll be given life after death and be provided with gardens like those of the Jordan. If you don’t do that, then, he says, you will be slaughtered, given life after death but be put into hell-fire where you will he burned.” At that moment emerged from his house saying, “Yes, I do say that. And you are one of them!” He ﷺ picked up a handful of dirt and began sprinkling it on to their heads while he recited the verses,

يسٓ ۝ وَٱلْقُرْءَانِ ٱلْحَكِيمِ ۝ إِنَّكَ لَمِنَ ٱلْمُرْسَلِينَ ۝ عَلَىٰ صِرَٰطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ ۝ تَنزِيلَ ٱلْعَزِيزِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ۝ لِتُنذِرَ قَوْمًا مَّآ أُنذِرَ ءَابَآؤُهُمْ فَهُمْ غَـٰفِلُونَ ۝ لَقَدْ حَقَّ ٱلْقَوْلُ عَلَىٰٓ أَكْثَرِهِمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ ۝ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا فِىٓ أَعْنَـٰقِهِمْ أَغْلَـٰلًا فَهِىَ إِلَى ٱلْأَذْقَانِ فَهُم مُّقْمَحُونَ ۝ وَجَعَلْنَا مِنۢ بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ سَدًّا وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ سَدًّا فَأَغْشَيْنَـٰهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُبْصِرُونَ

“Ya Sin. By the Wise Qur’an. Truly you are one of the Messengers on a Straight Path. The revelation of the Almighty, the Most Merciful so that you may warn a people whose fathers were not warned and who are therefore unaware. The Word has been justly carried out against most of them so they have no iman. We have put iron collars round their necks reaching up to the chin, so that their heads are forced back. We have placed a barrier in front of them and a barrier behind them, blindfolding them so that they cannot see.”[41]

Every single man among them had dirt thrown on his head. He ﷺ then left, and made his way to Abu Bakr’s house.[42]

Someone who had not been there with these men then arrived and asked, “What are you waiting for here?” They replied, “For Muhammad.” He commented, “God damn you! Muhammad just came out to you and he did not leave any single one of you without throwing dirt on your head. He then left and went elsewhere. Can’t you see what has happened to you?” Each man then placed a hand on his head and found dirt there. Looking closely, they saw ‘Ali (but thought it was the Prophet ﷺ) on the bed covered in the cloak of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. The assassins stayed there like that until morning, and when ‘Ali arose from the bed, they said, “By Allah, what he told us must have been true!”[43]

Concerning this incident, Allah revealed the verse,

وَإِذْ يَمْكُرُ بِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ لِيُثْبِتُوكَ أَوْ يَقْتُلُوكَ أَوْ يُخْرِجُوكَ ۚ وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ ٱللَّهُ ۖ وَٱللَّهُ خَيْرُ ٱلْمَـٰكِرِينَ

“When the disbelievers were plotting against you to imprison you or kill you or expel you: they were plotting and Allah was plotting, but Allah is the Best of Plotters.”[44]

12.1       The Assassins

AssassinTribe
Abu JahlBani Makhzum
Abu LahabBanu Hashim
Hakam bin Abil Al-‘AsBanu Umayyah
‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu‘aitBanu ‘Abdu Shams
An-Nadr bin HarithBani ‘Abd Ad-Dar
Umaiyah bin KhalafBani Jumah
Zama‘a bin Al-AswadBani Asad bin ‘Abd Al-‘Uzza
Tu‘aima bin ‘AdiBani Naufal bin ‘Abd Munaf
Ubai bin KhalafBani Jumah
Nabih bin Al-HajjajBani Sahm
Munbih bin Al-HajjajBani Sahm

13.        HIJRAH OF THE PROPHET

Date: Friday 2nd Rabi’ Al-Awwal, Year 1 Hijri

The Prophet ﷺ was still taking the utmost precautions so other than Ali, Abu Bakr and his family no one else knew that he ﷺ left when he did. After the Prophet ﷺ arrived at Abu Bakr’s house they made their exit via a window at its rear and made their way southwards to the cave at Mount Thawr.[45]

Yathrib is 450km north of Makkah so the usual route out of Makkah towards Yathrib is northwards. The Prophet ﷺ knowing that Quraish were in hot pursuit instead travelled south towards Yemen and stopped at Mount Thawr which is about 5km from Makkah.

As the Prophet ﷺ and Abu Bakr made their way towards Mount Thawr, Abu Bakr would walk in front for a while and then he would walk behind. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ asked, “Abu Bakr, why do you walk behind for a while, then go and walk ahead?” He replied, “Oh Messenger of Allah, I think of pursuit and walk behind you, but then I think of ambush and so walk ahead of you.” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ then asked, “You mean if something happened you’d rather it be to you than to me?” Abu Bakr replied, “Yes indeed, by Him who sent you with the truth”.[46]

Ali ibn Abi Talib was ordered to remain behind in Makkah in order to return people’s valuables which they had entrusted to the care of the Prophet ﷺ. Despite their hostility towards the Messenger ﷺ, Quraish still regarded him as as-Sadiq (the Truthful) and al-Amin (the Honest), and used to deposit their valuables with him for safe keeping.

Back in Makkah, Quraish were enraged that the Prophet ﷺ had escaped them so they took Ali to the Ka’bah, and tortured him, brutally beating him and confining him there in an attempt to make him divulge the location of the Prophet ﷺ and Abu Bakr. Ali refused to talk so Abu Jahl went to Abu Bakr’s house.

Asma’ said, “When the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and Abu Bakr had left, a group of Quraysh, including Abu Jahl bin Hisham, came and stood at Abu Bakr’s door. I went out to them and they asked, “Where is your father, Oh Daughter of Abu Bakr?” I replied that I did not know, whereupon Abu Jahl, an evil and uncouth man, raised his hand and slapped me so hard on the cheek that my earring fell off. They then left.[47] Asma’ was heavily pregnant at the time carrying Abdullah ibn Zubair who she gave birth to at Quba and who became the first new born of the state in Madeenah. Despite her vulnerable condition she refused to give up information on the location of the Prophet ﷺ and her father.

Quraish then convened an emergency meeting and organised search parties to hunt down the Prophet ﷺ and Abu Bakr. They blocked all the exits out of Makkah and posted guards there. A reward of 100 camels was set upon the head of each one to whoever captured or killed them. Horsemen, infantry and trackers from many tribes scoured the countryside looking for them.

14.        THE CAVE

Date: Friday 2nd, Saturday 3rd, Sunday 4th Rabi’ Al-Awwal, Year 1 Hijri

Back at Mount Thawr, the Prophet ﷺ and Abu Bakr climbed the mountain to Ghar Thawr, the Cave of Thawr. When they reached the cave Abu Bakr said, “Stay outside, Oh Messenger of Allah, until I make sure the cave is safe for you.” He went inside and made sure it was safe, but then remembered he had not checked out the crevice. So he said, “Stay were you are, Oh Messenger of Allah, while I check again.” He then went back in, made sure the crevice was safe and said, “Come on down, Oh Messenger of Allah.” And he did so.[48]

They confided themselves to the cave for three nights, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Abu Bakr’s daughter Asma’ had prepared a sufrah (a mat used for eating) and some provisions in a leather bag for them. She had cut off a piece of her waistband to tie up the mouth of the bag and for this reason was nicknamed ‘Asma’ of the two waistbands.’[49]

Abu Bakr ordered his son Abdullah to spend the day among Quraysh listening to their planning and what they were saying regarding the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and Abu Bakr. Abdullah would then visit the cave in the evening to report on his findings. He stayed with them each night in the cave and then would leave at early dawn so that in the morning he would be with Quraish in Makkah, acting as if he had spent the night there.[50]

Abu Bakr told Amir bin Fuhayra, his freed-slave, to tend his flock of sheep during the day and then bring them to the cave at night one hour after ‘Isha. Abu Bakr who would then milk and slaughter them. The next morning Amir bin Fuhayra would follow Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr back to Makkah erasing his footsteps with the flock of sheep.[51]

Despite the Prophet ﷺ and Abu Bakr’s meticulous planning, Quraish managed to pick up their trail and followed it to Mount Thawr. They searched the mountain and when they came to the cave Abu Bakr said to the Prophet ﷺ, “If any of them should look under his feet, he would see us.” He ﷺ said, “O Abu Bakr! What do you think of two (persons) the third of whom is Allah?”[52]

A verse of Qur’an was revealed concerning this incident where Allah says,

إِلَّا تَنصُرُوهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ ٱللَّهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ ثَانِىَ ٱثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِى ٱلْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَـٰحِبِهِۦ لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَنَا ۖ فَأَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُۥ عَلَيْهِ وَأَيَّدَهُۥ بِجُنُودٍ لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ ٱلسُّفْلَىٰ ۗ وَكَلِمَةُ ٱللَّهِ هِىَ ٱلْعُلْيَا ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

˹It does not matter˺ if you ˹believers˺ do not support him, for Allah did in fact support him when the disbelievers drove him out ˹of Mecca˺ and he was only one of two. While they both were in the cave, he reassured his companion, ‘Do not worry; Allah is certainly with us.’ So Allah sent down His serenity upon the Prophet, supported him with forces you ˹believers˺ did not see, and made the word of the disbelievers lowest, while the Word of Allah is supreme. And Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.”[53]

At the entrance to the cave, Quraish saw a spider’s web over its opening and said, “If anyone had gone inside here, the spider would not have put a web over its opening,”[54] so they left and didn’t search the cave. This is how Allah وَأَيَّدَهُۥ بِجُنُودٍ لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا  supported him with forces you ˹believers˺ did not see”.

15.        THE JOURNEY BEGINS

Date: Early morning, Monday 5th Rabi’ Al-Awwal

Early Monday morning after spending three nights in the cave, they met up with their guide Abdullah ibn Uraiqit who brought them their two camels. Amir bin Fuhayra also met up with them and all four set off on their long journey to Yathrib. Abdullah ibn Uraiqit took them along the Hijaz coast along paths that were unknown and unused making it less probable for them to be apprehended by Quraish’s scouting parties. He took them down to the lower part of Makkah and from there along the coast, crossing over the route below Asfan. He then took them along the lower parts of Wadi Amaj and then on to Qudayd where the Al-Khuza’i tribe lived.[55] This is where they passed by the tent of Umm Ma’bad Al-Khuza’i.

16.        THE TENT OF UMM MA’BAD

Date: Rabi’ Al-Awwal, Year 1 Hijri

Umm Ma’bad’s brother was Khunais ibn Khalid Al-Khuza’i who became a companion of the Prophet ﷺ and narrates the story of what unfolded when his sister met with the Prophet ﷺ and Abu Bakr on their migration to Yathrib.

Umm Ma’bad was an old yet strong and hardy woman. She was sitting down with her arms folded over her knees outside of her tent when the four travellers came across her. They asked her whether she had meat and dates that they could purchase from her, but they got none of that from her. The provisions of her people had run out, and they were living through a period of drought. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ saw a goat at the side of the tent and said, “What about this goat, O Umm Ma’bad?” She said, “It is, despite being weak, the sole goat that is left behind (after the drought).” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Does it contain any milk?” She said, “It is weaker than that (i.e., no, it contains no milk).” The Prophet ﷺ asked, “Do you give me permission to milk it?” She said, “Yes, may my mother and father be sacrificed for you! Certainly, if you find milk in it, then milk it.”

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ made a supplication for it and passed his hand over its udder. He ﷺ mentioned Allah’s Name, and invoked for Umm Ma’bad to be blessed in her goat. The goat then opened its legs, getting in a position to be milked, and milk began to come out (from its udder). The Prophet ﷺ asked for a container to be brought to him, one that was large enough to feed a group of people. He then milked a large quantity of milk into it, milk that continued to flow until it became filled to the top. He ﷺ then gave Umm Ma’bad milk to drink, and she drank until she became fully satisfied. He ﷺ then gave his Companions to drink, until they became fully satisfied. The Prophet ﷺ was the last of them to drink. Next, they began to drink over and over again until they all became fully satisfied. And then the Prophet ﷺ milked the goat into the container for a second time, until it became filled to the top again. They left the goat (and the container) with her, completed the transaction (by paying her), and then departed from her.

Umm Ma’bad did not have to wait long before her husband, Abu Ma’bad, returned to her, herding back with him a number of emaciated she-goats, which were so weak that they hobbled from one side to another.

When Abu Ma’bad saw the milk, he became amazed and asked, “Where did you get this milk from, O Umm Ma’bad? The goat (we own) is far from pastureland and has not given birth, and there is no other milk-bearing goats in the house.” She said, “No, by Allah, (you are right). But what happened is that a blessed man passed by us, and such and such was his situation.” Abu Ma’bad said, “O Umm Ma’bad, describe him for me.”

She said, “I saw a man who was patently handsome and whose face was radiant; and he had good manners. He was not skinny or emaciated, and he can overall be described as being handsome. His eyes were Da’aj (i.e., the black part of his eyes was extremely black, and the white part of them was extremely white), and his eyelashes were long. His voice was not strident, his neck was long, and his beard was thick.

The hairs of his eyebrows were thin and long, and both eyebrows were joined together. If he remained silent, then there was a sense of dignity about him; and if he spoke he would be covered by beauty and radiance.

Seen at a distance, he is the most handsome and magnificent of people. And from up close, he is the sweetest and best of people. His speech is sweet and positively true; he speaks moderately, neither too much nor too little. He is of medium- height; neither is he taller than most people nor is he so short as to be disparaged (for being short). He was the most radiant of the three in appearance and the most esteemed as well. He had companions who surrounded him.

If he spoke, they listened attentively. And if he commanded, they hurried to execute his command. He is such that people should serve him and gather around him. He does not frown, and he is certainly not in the least linked to ignorance.”

Abu Ma’bad said, “By Allah, he is the companion of the Quraish whose affair had been mentioned to us I have indeed resolved to become his companion, and I will indeed achieve that goal if I find a way to do so.”[56]

Later on, Umm Ma’bad and Abu Ma’bad both accepted Islam and emigrated to Madeenah.[57]

17.        SURAAQAH IBN MALIK

Date: Rabi’ Al-Awwal, Year 1 Hijri

After leaving the tent of Umm Ma’bad, the Prophet ﷺ, Abu Bakr and Amir bin Fuhayra and their guide Abdullah ibn Uraiqit, continued northwards. They passed near to where the homes of the Banu Mudlij tribe where the bounty hunter Suraaqah ibn Maalik lived. Suraaqah’s nephew Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Maalik Al-Mudliji narrates to us what happened.

“Messengers from the disbelieving Quraish came to us and offered a reward to anyone who came back with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ or Abu Bakr; the reward (100 camels) was to be given to anyone who killed or captured either of the two

While I was sitting down with some of my fellow Banu Mudlij clansmen, a man came to us and said, “O Suraaqah, I have just seen shades of blackness along the seaside (i.e., he saw figures in the distance that appeared to him as shades of blackness). I think that they were Muhammad and his Companions.” I knew that it was indeed them, but I said to him, “Indeed it is not them (he wanted to trick the man, so that he could get the reward all for himself); what you saw were such and such people. Go forth with our spies.”

I then stayed in that gathering for an hour, after which I stood up, entered (my home), and ordered my female servant to take my horse to the other side of the hillside and to restrain it there for me. Meanwhile, I took my spear and went out with it from the back exit of my house. I let my spear’s blade drag on the ground, and I lowered its higher end. When I reached my horse, I mounted it. I spurred it to go fast, so that I could reach them (more quickly).

When I had almost reached them, my horse stumbled, and I fell off of it. I stood up, reached down with my hand to my quiver, and took out from it Al-Azlaam (glasses that were used in pre-Islamic times; upon them was written either, ‘Do’ or ‘Don’t do’. Based on what was written on the randomly chosen glass, one would decide upon what course of action to take). I asked to be told by the Al-Azlaam what I should do: whether I should harm them or not. What came out was the answer I disliked (i.e., not to harm them). I mounted my horse and disobeyed the Al-Azlaam. My horse brought me nearer until I could hear the recitation of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ who did not turn around. Abu Bakr, on the other hand, turned around frequently.

17.1       The Guarantee of Protection

(Suddenly) the two forelegs of my horse sank into the ground, and continued to do so until the horse was knee-deep. I fell off of the horse and then proceeded to prod it. It rose, but barely got its forelegs out. When it had straightened up in an upright position, the remains (of earth) on its hands formed shining smoke in the sky. I asked for guidance from Al-Azlaam, and (again) what came out was the answer I disliked. I called out to them, asking for a promise of safety. They stopped, and I rode my horse until I reached them. When I had earlier been prevented (over and over again) from reaching them, it occurred to me that the affair of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ (i.e., Islam) will become victorious.

I said to him, “Verily, your people have placed a reward over you” and I informed them about what the people (i.e., the Quraish) wanted to do with them. I offered them provision and equipment, but they took nothing from me; nor did they ask me (for anything), except, that is, when he ﷺ said, “Keep our matter a secret.” I asked him to write for me on a scroll a guarantee of safety. He ordered Amir ibn Fuhairah to write it, and Aamir then wrote it down on a piece of leather. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ then resumed his journey.”[58]

Years later at the Battle of Hunain in the 8th year Hijri the Prophet ﷺ conquered Banu Madlij and Suraaqah pulled out this guarantee of safety. The Prophet ﷺ recognised him and gave him security. Suraaqah then embraced Islam and became a companion of the Prophet ﷺ.[59]

17.2       The Bracelets of Kisra, the Persian Emperor

During the meeting with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, he ﷺ asked Suraaqah ibn Maalik, “How shall it be with you when you wear the two bracelets of Kisra?” Years later, during the caliphate of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab and just after the Muslims conquered the lands of Persia, Kisra’s two bracelets, belt, and crown were brought to Umar.

Umar then sent for Suraaqah ibn Maalik, and when the latter came, Umar attired him in the two bracelets…After Umar instructed Suraaqah to raise his hands, Umar said, “Allah is the Greatest. All praise is for Allah, Who has removed them from Kisra ibn Hurmuz, the one who used to say, ‘I am the lord of mankind’ and has made Suraaqah ibn Maalik ibn Jo’sham – a Bedouin from the Banu Mudlij clan – put them on.”

Umar raised his voice with these words, instructed Suraaqah to climb a riding animal, and paraded with him through the streets of Al-Madeenah, while the people surrounded him. Meanwhile, Suraaqah also raised his voice, repeating the words of Umar Al-Faarooq: “Allah is the Greatest. All praise is for Allah, Who has removed them from Kisra ibn Hurmuz and has made Suraaqah ibn Jo’sham – a Bedouin from the Banu Mudlij clan – put them on.”[60]

18.        DAW’AH OF THE HIJRA

Date: Rabi’ Al-Awwal, Year 1 Hijri

18.1       Buraidah Al-Aslamee and his travelling party embrace Islam

On the journey the Prophet ﷺ met Buraidah ibn Al-Husaib ibn Abdullah ibn Haarith Al-Aslamee, and he invited him to embrace Islam. Buraidah ended up fighting sixteen battles alongside the Messenger ﷺ. After his first encounter with the Prophet ﷺ, Buraidah became one of the Du’aat of Islam (a caller to Islam). It was at his hands that Allah opened the doors of guidance for his tribe.[61]

18.2       Two thieves embrace Islam

Near the end of his journey the Prophet ﷺ saw two thieves and, rather than avoid them, he approached them and presented to them the teachings of Islam. As a result, they pronounced the Testimony of Faith and entered into the fold of Islam. He ﷺ then asked them what their names were, and they said, “We are Al-Muhaanaan (literally meaning, the two humiliated or despised ones).” The Prophet ﷺ said to the two thieves, “Rather you are Al-Mukramaan (the two honoured ones).” The Prophet then ordered them to come to him in Al-Madeenah.

19.        ENTERING MADEENAH

Date: Monday, 12th Rabi‘ Al-Awwal stays in Quba 4 days

First visit to Medina Friday 16th Rabi‘ Al-Awwal

Stays in Quba 14 days (Monday 12th Rabi‘ Al-Awwal to Sunday 25th Rabi‘ Al-Awwal)

Enters Madeenah on Monday 26th Rabi‘ Al-Awwal and enters Abu Ayyub house.

Just before entering Quba, the Prophet ﷺ met Az-Zubair ibn Al-Awwam in a caravan of Muslim merchants who were returning from Ash-Sham. Az-Zubair provided Allah’s Messenger ﷺ and Abu Bakr with white clothes to wear.[62] Az-Zubair was one of the early converts to Islam and one of the 10 promised paradise.

After hearing about the Messenger of Allah’s departure from Makkah, Madeenah’s Muslim population would go out every morning to wait for him at Al-Harrah, a land that borders Madeenah and is known for its rocky terrain.

Every morning, they would continue to wait for him until the heat of high-noon forced them to return to their homes. On the last of those days, after they had waited for the entire morning, they returned to their homes. Meanwhile, a Jewish man noticed something in the distance while he was perched above one of the castles of the Jews. What he saw in the distance was the travelling party of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, each member of which was wearing a white garment. The Jewish man knew that he was seeing people, for as they advanced, mirages were disappearing. Not being able to control himself, the Jew said as loud as he could, “O group of Arabs, here comes your grandfather whom you have been waiting for.”

The Muslims raced to their weapons and then set out to meet the Messenger of Allah in the open terrain of Al-Harrah. He led them towards the right, until he stopped with them in the district of the ‘Amr ibn ‘Auf clan at Quba.

Abu Bakr stood up for the people, and meanwhile, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ sat down and remained quiet. The people of the Ansaar — specifically those who had never before seen the Messenger of Allah ﷺ – began to greet Abu Bakr (thinking that he was in fact the Messenger of Allah). But then when the sun came over the Messenger of Allah so that he was no longer protected by shade, Abu Bakr went and shaded him with his robe. Everybody then knew which of the two the Messenger of Allah was.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ remained in the district of Banu Amr ibn Awf for somewhere between 13 to 19 nights. During that period, the Muslims built the mosque that was established upon piety – Masjid Quba. The Messenger of Allah prayed in that mosque, after which he climbed his riding animal (getting ready to set out for Madeenah).

After the Prophet ﷺ had spent a number of days in Quba and wanted to move on towards Madeenah, he sent for the Ansaar. They came and greeted both the Prophet ﷺ and Abu Bakr. They said, “Ride in safety and with (our) obedience (to you).” The Prophet ﷺ and Abu Bakr climbed their mounts, and (for protection) they were surrounded by weapons. When the Prophet ﷺ finally arrived in Al-Madeenah, someone who witnessed his arrival said, “The Prophet of Allah has come. The Prophet of Allah has come.” The people began to look towards him and say, “The Prophet of Allah has come.”

It was a day of happiness and joy, a day that was unprecedented in the history of Al-Madeenah. People attired themselves in their best clothing, as if it was a national holiday; in fact, it was a holiday and a day of exuberant celebration, for it was the day on which Islam physically moved from its narrow sphere in Makkah – narrow not because of the city but because of its inhabitants – to the spaciousness of Al-Madeenah, from which it soon spread to the various comers of the globe.

The people of Al-Madeenah graciously received Allah’s great favour upon them. They were thankful that their land was being appropriated for the service of Islam. It was with the knowledge of these blessings that the people of Al-Madeenah left their homes in a state of joy and happiness, all the while saying, “O Messenger of Allah, O Muhammad, O Messenger of Allah.”[63]The men and women climbed to the top of their houses, and the children and servants scattered about in the streets, calling out, “O Muhammad, O Messenger of Allah, O Muhammad, O Messenger of Allah!”[64]

Yathrib becomes Al-Madeenah Munawaarah, the first Islamic State.

APPENDIX A: TIMELINE OF EVENTS


NOTES


[1] Shamsi, F. (1984). THE DATE OF HIJRAH. Islamic Studies, 23(4), 289-323. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20847277

[2] Ibn Kathir, ‘Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya,’ Vol.2, Garnet Publishing, p.154

[3] Ibid, p.152

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Sahih al-Bukhari 3231, https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3231

[7] Ibn Kathir, Op.cit., p.109

[8] Ibn Kathir, ‘Op.cit., p.104

[9] Dr Muhammad Khair Haikal, ‘Al-Jihad wa’l Qital fi as-Siyasa ash-Shar’iyya’, Vol.2, Dar Al-Thaqafah, p.48

[10] Ibn Kathir, Op.cit., p.105

[11] Ibn Kathir, Op.cit., p.111

[12] Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee, ‘The Biography of Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq’, Dar us-Salam Publishers, p.557

[13] Sahih al-Bukhari 3846, https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3846

[14] Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee, ‘The Noble Life of the Prophet ﷺ,’ p.582

[15] Related by At-Tabaraani from ‘Urwah Bin Az-Zubair: Majma’ Az-Zawaa’id: 6/40-41

[16] Seerah Ibn Hishaam: (Ar-Rawd ul-Unuf: 2/177)

[17] Sahih Muslim 1709c, https://sunnah.com/muslim:1709c

[18] Ibn Ishaq, ‘The Life of Muhammad,’ translation of Sirat Rasul Allah by A. Guillaume, Oxford University Press, p.199

[19] Khalid Muhammad Khalid, “Men Around the Messenger”, Al-Manar, p.19

[20] Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee, ‘The Noble Life of the Prophet ﷺ,’ p.586

[21] Holy Qu’ran, Chapter An-Nahl, verse 125

[22] Khalid Muhammad Khalid, Op.cit., p.22

[23] Ibid

[24] Dr Muhammad Khair Haikal, ‘Al-Jihad wa’l Qital fi as-Siyasa ash-Shar’iyya’, Vol.2, Dar Al-Thaqafah, p.48

[25] Ibn Kathir, ‘Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya,’ Vol.2, Garnet Publishing, p. 121

[26] Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee, ‘The Noble Life of the Prophet ﷺ,’ p.588

[27] Ibid

[28] Ibid, p.594

[29] Ibid, p.600

[30] Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, ‘Sealed Nectar,’ translation of Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, p.74

[31] Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee, ‘The Noble Life of the Prophet ﷺ,’ Op.cit., p.595

[32] Ibid, p.598

[33] Ibid

[34] Holy Qu’ran, Chapter Quraish, verse 2

[35] Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee, ‘The Noble Life of the Prophet ﷺ,’ Op.cit., p.614

[36] ibn Sa’d, Tabaqaat  (1/325)

[37] Ibn Kathir, Op.cit., p.144

[38] Ibid, p.147

[39] Ibid, p.149

[40] Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Op.cit., p.79

[41] Holy Qu’ran, Chapter Ya-Sin, verses 1-9

[42] Ibn Kathir, Op.cit., p.153

[43] Ibid

[44] Holy Qu’ran, Chapter Al-Anfaal, verse 30

[45] Ibn Kathir, Op.cit., p.155

[46] Ibid, p 157

[47] Ibid, p.156

[48] Ibid, p.157

[49] Ibid, p.162

[50] Ibid, p.156

[51] Ibid

[52] Sahih al-Bukhari 3653, https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3653

[53] Holy Qu’ran, Chapter Tawba, verse 40

[54] Ibn Kathir, Op.cit., p.158

[55] Ibid, p.168

[56] Ibid, p.172

[57] Ibid, p.173

[58] Sahih al-Bukhari 3906, https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3906

[59] Ibn Ishaq, Op.cit., p.226

[60] Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee, ‘The Noble Life of the Prophet ﷺ,’ Op.cit., p.666

[61] Ibid, p.686

[62] Sahih al-Bukhari 3906, https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3906

[63] Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee, ‘The Noble Life of the Prophet ﷺ,’ Op.cit., p.668

[64] Sahih Muslim 2009, https://sunnah.com/muslim:2009d