The Second Pledge of Aqabah
The Second Pledge took place a year after the first one, which was the concluded in the twelfth year of Prophethood. That year during the haji season, many of the people of Yathrib, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, came to Makkah, The Muslims had decided that they would not leave the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in Makkah to be expelled and persecuted. Seventy-three men and two women, Nusaybah bint Ka’b and Asmaa bint Amr, contacted him in secret and agreed to meet him in secret at night in the mountain pass that is next to Jamrat al-Aqabah.
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) came out at night, took his uncle Al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib with him and reached the mountain pass of Aqabah. The believers from Madinah were waiting for him. When they expressed their desire to take Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) to Madinah, Al-Abbas rose to say, “O assembly of the people of Madinah! You all know the position that Muhammad holds among us. We have protected him as much as we could. He is honoured and respected among his people. He refuses to join anyone but you. If you think you can fulfil what you promised to do for him while inviting him and you can defend him against his enemies, then assume the burden that you have taken. But if you are going to surrender him and betray him after taking him away with you, then leave him right away because he is already respected and well-protected in his own place.”
Al-Abbas demanded an unwavering pledge for the support and protection of the Prophet (pbuh). He warned them that if they were not sure that they could keep the terms of the pledge and provide effective protection for him should he migrate to their city, they should not take the pledge!
The Prophet (pbuh) then rose to speak. He recited some verses of the Quran, called people to Allah, exhorted them to embrace Islam and said, “I give you my pledge that you will protect me from whatever you protect your women and children.”
Al-Baraa ibn Maroor, who was the spokesman for the group, said, ”Yes, by the One Who has sent you with the truth, we will most certainly protect you from what we protect our women and children. So take our pledge, o Messenger of Alah! By Allah. we are skilled fighters and reliable in war, this is a trait passed down io us from our ancestors.”
Then Abu Al-Haytham ibn Taihan, an elderly Muslim from Madinah, interrupted Al-Baraa saying, “There are agreements between us and them fue. the Jews) which we would then sever. Do you think if we support you and Alah makes you victorious, you would retum to your people and leave us?”
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) smiled and said, “No, But your blood is my blood, your war is my war. am of you and you are of me; I fight whom you fight and make peace with whom you make peace.”
Then they asked, “Messenger of Allah! What would be our reward if we fulfil our pledge?”
“Paradise” he replied. Then all the members of the delegation stretched their hands for the pledge whose principles were as follows:
- To listen and obey in all sets of circumstances;
- To spend in times of ease and hardships;
- To enjoin good and forbid evil;
- To serve the Cause of Allah in all circumstances without fearing the blame of anyone;
- To support the Prophet (pbuh) when he came to them and to protect him against whatever they would protect themselves and their spouses and children.
They all swore allegiance and Al Baraa’ ibn Ma’roor was the first to extend his hand to the Prophet (pbuh). The two women took the pledge orally, as the Prophet (pbuh) never shook hands with a strange lady.
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) appointed twelve deputies who would be responsible for the affairs of the rest. They were given the duties of providing leadership and guidance for their respective groups. The duty of the deputy was manifold: he was the leader of the prayer, the teacher of the Quran, the arbiter in disputes, the adviser and commander on the battleground. They had the example of Musab ibn Umayr and his leadership to guide them.
Nine of them were from the Khazraj and three were from the Aws.
The Muslims of Madinah now made the pledge to support and defend the Prophet (pbuh) at any cost. They were prepared to go to war if that was necessary to defend him. It is however very important to note here that the pledge of going to war was purely defensive. Warfare would be defensive in the sense that it would be used for defending the Prophet if someone attacked him.
There was no hint in the pledge to wage an offensive war against the Quraysh or anybody else. You will learn later, Inshaa Allah, that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) asked special permission of the Ansaar (Helpers) – the people of Madinah – when he had to fight the Quraysh in the battle of Badr, which took place after the Prophet’s emigration to Madinah.