PLEDGE OF 'AQABAH (621 CE)
In the tenth year of Prophet’s mission (620 AD), Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) met six people from Yathrib who had come for the annual rites of pilgrimage at ‘Aqaba (near Mina in Makkah). They listened to him earnestly, learnt about Allah (The One God) and His revelations, and immediately recognized him as the prophet mentioned in Jewish scriptures as told by their fellow Jewish citizens. (In times of serious discussions with the Arabs, the Jews of Yathrib used to talk about the coming of a prophet who will lead them to security and dominion in the land.). All six people from Yathrib accepted Islam. They pledged an oath of allegiance to the Prophet and promised to return the next year with more people. Upon their return to Yathrib they described the prophet to the people and soon he became the talk of the town. The following year twelve more men came for the annual rites of pilgrimage and all accepted Islam. The terms of the pledge, known as the First Pledge of ‘Aqaba, included the following:
We shall not associate anyone with Allah (The One God): whether in worship, His attributes, His power or His authority.
We shall not indulge in adultery, fornication, and practice or propagate any other indecency.
We shall not steal or rob anyone’s property in any manner or under any pretense.
We shall not practice the custom of killing children.
We shall not falsely accuse or backbite anyone.
We shall not disobey you in good deeds and just cause.
We shall always follow you, be it hard or easy, to our liking or not, and we shall act according to your commands. We shall follow and obey your decisions even if it be against ourselves and in favor of others.
We shall not participate in opposing the deserving persons of authority or positions.
We shall support the truth and justice and stand firm under all circumstances. In matters of Allah’s religion, we shall not be afraid for our name, disrepute, disgrace, or blame.
After concluding this pledge, the prophet (pbuh) said: “If you fully comply with these promises, you will have the right to paradise; but if you fault, you will not have the right to paradise. Allah may punish you or He may forgive you.”
The new Muslims asked the prophet to send them a Muslim who could teach the Qur’an and Islamic injunctions. The Prophet sent Mus’ab bin ‘Umair (ra), a distinguished companion, for this task. He was the first Meccan Muslim to arrive in Yathrib. Within a few months of his arrival in Yathrib, many people accepted Islam.
The name Yathrib was changed to Medinat-un-Nabawi, meaning the 'City of the Prophet' soon after he migrated there (622 AD). The use of only the first word in that name (i.e., Medinah) became popular later.
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Allah: Allah is the Arabic word for The One and Only God, The Creator and Sustainer of the universe. It is used by the Arab Christians and Jews for the God (Eloh-im in Hebrew; 'Allaha' in Aramaic, the mother tongue of Jesus, pbuh). The word Allah does not have a plural or gender.
pbuh: Peace Be Upon Him. This expression is used for all Prophets of Allah.
ra: Radiallahu Anhu (May Allah be pleased with him).
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