The First ‘Oqba Pledge and Spread of Islam
In the eleventh year of prophethood, in the Hajj season, the Prophet (PBUH) heard some people talking in the darkness of night at ‘Oqba, which was at the distance of a few miles from Makkah. The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) went to them. They were six persons who had come from Madinah. The Prophet (PBUH) talked to them about the sublimity and grandeur of Allah, aroused their love for Him, tried to generate hatred in them for idol worship, enunciated values of virtue and refinement, denounced evils and sins, and enlightened their hearts with the recitation of the Qur`an. Although they were idolaters, they had often heard the Jews of Madinah mentioning that a prophet was about to appear soon. That led them to believe in the message of the Prophet (PBUH) and consequently they accepted Islam. When they returned to Madinah, they became the ardent preachers of the true faith there. (Seerat Ibn Hisham,1: 428-29.)
They told everybody in Madinah that the Prophet (pbuh) the world was awaiting had appeared, whose words their ears had heard, and whose countenance their eyes had seen. They told people that he had helped them establish a relationship with the living God due to which the worldly life and death had become valueless for them. (Seerat Ibn Hisham, 1: 428-29. ) The news generated a stir in Madinah and soon it became the talk of the people in each house of the town. Next year, in the twelfth year of the prophethood, the people of Madinah came to Makkah and stealthily accepted Islam. The clauses on which they took the pledge at the hands of the Prophet (PBUH) were as follows:
- They will worship the One and the Only God and will not associate any partner with
- They will not steal and will not indulge in fornication.
- They will not kill their children (daughters).
- They will not cast false aspersions on anyone, nor will they backbite against anyone.
- They will follow the instructions of the Prophet (PBUH) in all good things.
When they wanted to return, the Prophet (PBUH) sent Mus’ab bin ‘Umayr with them to teach them Islam. Mus’ab bin ‘Umayr came from a very wealthy family and had lived a very luxurious life before accepting Islam. When he used to ride a horse, slaves walked along. He never wore a dress of less than two hundred rupees. But after accepting Islam he gave up all means of physical pleasure for the spiritual bliss. Those days when he used to preach Islam in Madinah, he had just a small piece of blanket with which he covered his shoulder. He pinned up the piece of blanket with thorns. (Asadulghaba, 4: 406.)
Hazrat Mus’ab had stayed at the house of As’ad bin Zurara in Madinah. The people of Madinah used to call him Al-Muqri (the Teacher). One day Mus’ab, As’ad, and some other Muslims gathered at the Marq Well (Bi`r Marq) to plan how to invite the Bani ‘Abd Al-Ash-hal and Bani Zafar tribes to Islam. S’ad bin Mu’az and Osayd bin Huzayr were the chiefs of those tribes and had not accepted Islam yet. They came to know about the gathering of Muslims there. S’ad bin Mu’az told Osayd bin Huzayr, “What makes you so heedless of the situation? These two persons have now come to our areas and are trying to misguide the credulous from our people. Go and scold them and tell them not to come to our areas ever again. I could have done that myself, but as As’ad is my maternal aunt’s son, I am keeping quiet.”
Usayd bin Huzayr wore his arms and left for the place where the Muslims had gathered. Seeing him coming, As’ad told Mus’ab: “The chief of his tribe is coming. May he, by the will of Allah, accept your invitation!” Mus’ab said that if Usayd took a seat with him, he would surely talk to him about Islam. By that time Usayd reached there and started calling them names. He also accused them that they had come to misguide the simpletons from his people.
Addressing him politely, Mus’ab asked Usayd to take a seat, listen to what he had to say and then accept if he liked it, or reject if he did not consider it worthwhile. Usayd did not see any harm in it and sat down with them. Mus’ab explained Islam to him and also read some Qur`an. Usayd listened to him and said at the end, “If someone wants to accept your religion, what does he do?” Mus’ab replied that they asked him to take a bath, wear clean clothes, recite Kalima Shahadah (There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad (PBUH) is the Messenger of Allah), and offer two Rak’ats of Salah. Usayd rose from his place, washed his clothes clean, recited Kalima Shahadat, and offered Salah. He then said, “There is a person behind me. If he enters into your religion, none will be there to oppose you. I will go back and send him to you.”
He then returned to S’ad bin Mu’az who was waiting for him. Looking at his face, S’ad remarked, “Look, this is not the face of Usayd with which he had gone to meet them.” He then asked Usayd about his talk with the Muslims. Usayd told him that he had asked them to behave properly and that they had promised to abide by his instructions. “But,” Usayd added, “something unexpected happened there. The people of Banu Haritha, (who are your enemies) suddenly reached there and were trying to kill As’ad bin Zurara simply because he was your cousin.” Hearing this, S’ad bin Mu’az flew in rage. Complaining that Usayd had done nothing to help the situation, he quickly gathered his arms and rushed to make sure that his cousin was not hurt. When he reached the spot, he found Mus’ab and As’ad sitting comfortably there.
He immediately understood that Usayd had tricked him into the situation to let him listen to the message of the Muslims. He burst into abusive utterances against them and, addressing As’ad, said, “Had you not been a relative, you could not have entered my locality.” Patiently, As’ad told Mus’ab that S’ad bin Mu’az was an honorable chief of his tribe, and that if Mus’ab could convince him (of the truth of Islam), few persons will be left to oppose him.” Mus’ab told S’ad, “Have a seat please, and let us talk. If you like what I say, you may accept it. If not, you are free to reject it.” S’ad put his arms aside and sat down with them. Hazrat Mus’ab explained the message of Islam to him and also recited some Qur`an. S’ad asked the same question that Usayd had asked, “How does a person enter into Islam?” He also took a bath, professed Islam, offered Nafl Salah, and returned to his gathering. Upon reaching there, he called his people aloud, “O people of ‘Abd Al- Ash-ha What opinion do you have about me?” His tribesmen replied, “You are our chief and your opinion and judgment are always better than ours.” As’ad then called out again, “Then listen! I consider it Haraam (forbidden) for myself to talk to any person among you, man or woman, who does not bear faith in Allah and His Prophet (pbuh).” The effect of S’ad’s announcement was so tremendous that by the evening none in his tribe remained a non-Muslim. The whole tribe entered into Islam in one day. (Seerat Ibn Hisham, 1: 435-37.)
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