Last updated: 4 October 2017 From the section Biography of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Henceforth, the organizational principle of the community was not to be mere blood kinship, but the greater brotherhood of all Muslims. The men who accompanied Muhammad on the Hijrah were called the Muhajirun - "those that made the Hijrah" or the "Emigrants" - while those in Medina who became Muslims were called the Ansar or "Helpers."
City of the Prophet
Muhammad and his followers emigrated to the city of Yathrib, 320 kilometres (200 mi) north of Mecca. Yathrib was soon renamed Madinat un-Nabi, literally "the City of the Prophet", but un-Nabi was soon dropped, so its name in English is Medina, meaning "the city". The Muslim year during which the Hijra occurred was
A new society being built
We have already mentioned that the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] arrived in Madinah on Friday, 12th Rabi‘ Al-Awwal 1 A.H., i.e. September 27th. 622 A.D. and took the downstairs of Abi Ayyub’s house as a temporary residence.
Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet's Mosque)
The first task to which the Prophet[pbuh] attended on his arrival in Madinah was the construction of a Mosque, in the very site where his camel knelt down. The land, which belonged to two orphans, was purchased. The Prophet [pbuh] himself contributed to building the Mosque by carrying adobe bricks and stones while reciting verses:
"O Allâh! no bliss is there but that of the Hereafter, I beseech you to forgive the Emigrants and Helpers."
The ground was cleared, of weeds and shrubs, palm trees and rubbish, the graves of the polytheists dug up and then levelled and the trees planted around.
The Qiblah (the direction in which the Muslims turn their faces in prayer) was constructed to face Jerusalem; two beams were also erected to hold the ceiling up. It was square in form, each side measuring approximately 100 yards, facing towards the north and having three gates on each of the remaining sides. Nearby, rooms reserved for the Prophet’s household were built of stones and adobe bricks with ceilings of palm leaves. [Bukhari 1/71,555,560; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/56] To the north of the Mosque a place was reserved for the Muslims who had neither family nor home.
Around the camel of Muhammad [pbuh] and his immediate followers, rode the chiefs of the city in their best raiment and in glittering armour, everyone saying: "Alight here O Messenger of Allâh, abide by us." Muhammad [pbuh] used to answer everyone courteously and kindly: "This camel is commanded by Allâh, wherever it stops, that will be my abode."
The camel moved onward with slackened rein, reached the site of the Prophetic Mosque and knelt down. He did not dismount until it rose up again, went on forward, turned back and then returned to kneel down in the very former spot. Here, he alighted in a quarter inhabited by Banu Najjar, a tribe related to the Prophet [pbuh] from the maternal side. In fact, it was his wish to honour his maternal uncles and live among them. The fortunate host, Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari, stepped forward with unbounded joy for the Divine blessing appropriated to him, welcomed the Noble Guest and solicited him to enter his house. [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/55]
A few days later, there arrived the Prophet’s spouse Sawdah, his two daughters Fatimah and Umm Kulthum, Usama bin Zaid, Umm Aiman, ‘Abdullah — son of Abu Bakr with Abu Bakr’s house-hold including ‘Aishah [R]Ç. Zainab was not able to emigrate and stayed with her husband Abi Al- ‘As till Badr Battle. [Bukhari 1/556]
First 'adhan' given by Bilal (RA)
The Adhân (summoning the Muslims to the Mosque by the Call for prayer) was initiated at this early stage of post-migration era. The Mosque was not merely a locus to perform prayers, but rather an Islamic league where the Muslim’s were instructed in Islam and its doctrines. It served as an assembly place where the conflicting pre-Islamic trends used to come to terms; it was the headquarter wherein all the affairs of the Muslims were administered, and consultative and executive councils held.
Brotherhood among the Sahaba
When the Muhajirin (Emigrant) had left Makkah they took very little possession, and had to leave behind all their wealth and belongings Thus, noticing the cultural and economic differences between the Ansars (Helpers of Madinah) and Muhajirins, the Prophet turned his attention to cementing the ties of mutual brotherhood amongst the two.
A gathering of 90 men, half of whom Emigrants and the others Helpers assembled in the house of Anas bin Malik where the Prophet (pbuh) gave the spirit of brotherhood his official blessing. He started calling the name of one Muhajir and one Ansar and declared them to be brothers of each other. When either of the two persons who had been paired as brothers, passed away, his property was inherited by his brother- in- faith.
Few examples of brother-in-faith
- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) - Ali ibn Abu Talib
- Abu Bakr - Khaarij ah bin Zaid Ansari
- Umar - Utban ibn Malik
- Uthman - Aus ibn Sabit
- Ja`far ibn Abī Tālib - Muadh ibn Jabal
- Abdur Rahman bin Awf - Saad ibn Rabi Aqbi Badri
- Talhah - Kab bin Malik
- Mus`ab ibn `Umair - Abu Ayub Aqbi
- Ammar ibn Yasir - Huzaifa ibn Alaiman
- Abu Darda - Salman the Persian
- Manzar ibn Umar - Abu Dharr al-Ghifari
- Muhammad ibn Maslamah - Abu Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah
The Prophet [pbuh] attached to that brotherhood a valid contract. It was not just meaningless words or passing whim taking the form of accidental greeting but rather a valid practice relating to blood protection and wealth sharing.
One prime example of the selflessness that the brotherhood produced was that of Abdur Rahman bin 'Awf, a muhajirun, and Sa'd bin Ar-Rabi, an ansar. Sa'd bin Ar-Rabi proposed to Abdur Rahman:
I am the richest man amongst the Helpers. I am glad to share my property half and half with you. I have two wives, I am ready to divorce one and after the expiry of her ‘Iddah, (the prescribed period for a woman divorcee to stay within her house unmarried) you may marry her.
Sa'd bin Ar-Rabi
But Abdur Rahman refused both. Instead he blessed him and asked him:
Kindly direct me to the market so that I may make my fortune with my own hands.
Abdur Rahman, Bukhari 1/553
Abdur Rahman eventually prospered through his own hard work and got married soon after.
The Ansars were extremely generous to their brethren-in-faith. Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that they once approached the Prophet (pbuh) with the request that their orchards of palm trees should be distributed equally between them and their brothers (from Makkah). But the Prophet (pbuh) was reluctant to put this heavy burden upon them. It was, however, decided that the Muhajiruns would work in the orchards along with the Ansars and the yield would be divided equally amongst them. [Bukhari 1/312]
Such examples point directly to the spirit of sacrifice, altruism and cordiality on the part of the Helpers, and also to the feeling of appreciation, gratitude and self-respect that the Emigrants held dear to their hearts. They took only what helped them eke a reasonable living. In short, this policy of mutual brotherhood was so wise and timely that many obstinate problems were resolved wonderfully and reasonably.
Brotherhood- in-faith" to quote Muhammad Al-Ghazali again, "was holding subordinate every distinction of race and kindred and supporting the Islamic precept: none is superior to the other except on the basis of piety and God- fearing.
Imam Al-Ghazali, Fiqh As-Seerah p140,141
The practice of shared inheritance continued until the Battle of Badr after which a Qur'anic verse was revealed and regular rule of inheritance was established.
But kindred by blood are nearer to one another regarding inheritance.
Surah 8 Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War), ayat 75
A Charter of Islamic Alliance
Just as the Prophet (pbuh) had established a code of brotherhood amongst the believers, so too he was keen on establishing friendly relations between the Muslims and non-Muslim tribes of Arabia. The Prophet (pbuh) was keen on ruling out any inter-tribal feuds or pre-Islamic traditions which could sneak into the new environment and jeopardise the positive ambience.
Some provision concerning the Emigrants and Helpers were:
Words of wisdom
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) guided the people of Madinah in the light of Islamic education. He enjoined on them to observe rigteousness and praiseworthy manners. He taught them honour, glory, worship and first and foremost obedience to Allâh and His Messenger.
That you provide food and extend greetings to one whom you know or do not know.
‘Abdullah bin Salâm said: When the Prophet [pbuh] arrived in Madinah, I went to see him and I immediately recognized through his features that he would never be a liar. The first things he (the Prophet [pbuh]) said was: "Extend peace greetings amongst yourselves, provide food to the needy, maintain uterine relations, observe prayer at night while people are asleep, then you will peacefully enter the Garden (Paradise)."
At-Tirmidhi; Mishkat Al-Masabih 1/168
The Muslim is that one from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe.
None amongst you believes (truly) till one likes for his brother that which he loves for himself.
He will not enter Paradise, he whose neighbour is not secure from his wrongful conduct.
Narrated by Muslim; Mishkat Al-Masabih 2/422
A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim; he neither oppresses him nor does he fail him. Whosoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allâh will remove from him one of the griefs of the Day of Judgement. Whosoever shields a Muslim, Allâh will shield him on the Day of Resurrection.
Mishkat Al-Masabih 2/422; Sahih Al-Bukhari; Sahih Muslim
Abusing a Muslim is an outrage and fighting against him is disbelief.
To remove something harmful from the road, is charity.
Mishkat Al-Masabih 1/12
Charity erases sins just as water extinguishes fire
He is not a perfect believer, who goes to bed full and knows that his neighbour is hungry.
Show mercy to people on earth so that Allâh will have mercy on you in heaven.
Sunan Abu Da'ud 2/235
Try to avert fire even by half a date (in charity) if not by tendering a good word.
Clothing an under- clad Muslim, entitles you to a garment from the Paradise; feeding a hungry Muslim will make you eligible (by Allâh’s Will) for the fruit of the Paradise, and if you provide water to a thirsty Muslim, Allâh will provide you with a drink from ‘the Sealed Nectar’.
Mishkat Al-Masabih 1/169
He used as well to exhort the believers to spend in charity reminding them of relevant virtues for which the hearts yearn.
The believers in their mutual love, are like the human body where when the eye is in agony, the entire body feels the pain; when the head aches, all the body will suffer.
Narrated by Muslim
The bonds of brotherhood between two Muslims are like parts of a house, one part strengthens and holds the other.
Do not have malice against a Muslim; do not be envious of other Muslims; do not go against a Muslim and forsake him. O the slaves of Allâh! Be like brothers with each other. It is not violable for a Muslim to desert his brother for over three days.
The Prophet [pbuh] used as well to promote that habit of abstention from asking the others for help unless one is totally helpless. He used to talk to his companions a lot about the merits, virtues and Divine reward implied in observing the prescribed worships and rituals. He would always bring forth corroborated proofs in order to link them physically and spiritually to the Revelation sent to him, hence he would apprise them of their duties and responsibilities in terms of the consequences of the Call of Islam, and at the same time emphasize the exigencies of comprehension and contemplation. That was his practice of maximizing their morale and imbuing them with the noble values and ideals so that they could become models of virtue to be copied by subsequent generations.
A Cooperation and Non-Aggression Pact with the Jews
Once the pillars of the new Islamic community were well established on strong bases of administrative, political and ideological unity, the Prophet (pbuh) commenced to establish regular and clearly defined relations with non-Muslims. These efforts were solely made to provide peace, security, and prosperity to all mankind at large, and to bring about a spirit of rapport and harmony within his region, in particular.
Geographically, the closest people to Madinah were the Jews. Whilst harbouring evil intentions, and nursing bitter grudge, they showed not the least resistance nor the slightest animosity. The Prophet decided to ratify a treaty with them with clauses that provided full freedom in faith and wealth. He had no intention whatsoever of following severe policies involving banishment, seizure of wealth and land or hostility.
The treaty came within the context of another one of a larger framework relating to inter-Muslim relationships.
The most important provisions of the treaty are the following:
Madinah and its suburbs, after the ratification of this treaty, turned into a coalition state, with Madinah proper as capital and Muhammad [pbuh] as ‘president’; authorities lay mainly in the hand of the Muslims, and consequently it was a real capital of Islam. To expand the zone of peace and security the Prophet [pbuh] started to enter into similar treaties with other tribes living around ‘his state’.
Among the first things Muhammad did in order to settle down the longstanding grievances among the tribes of Medina was drafting a document known as the Constitution of Medina, "establishing a kind of alliance or federation" among the eight Medinan tribes and Muslim emigrants from Mecca, which specified the rights and duties of all citizens and the relationship of the different communities in Medina (including that of the Muslim community to other communities, specifically the Jews and other "Peoples of the Book"). The community defined in the Constitution of Medina, Ummah, had a religious outlook but was also shaped by practical considerations and substantially preserved the legal forms of the old Arab tribes. It effectively established the first Islamic state.
The first group of pagan converts to Islam in Medina were the clans who had not produced great leaders for themselves but had suffered from warlike leaders from other clans. This was followed by the general acceptance of Islam by the pagan population of Medina, apart from some exceptions. According to Ibn Ishaq, this was influenced by the conversion of Sa'd ibn Mu'adh (a prominent Medinan leader) to Islam. Those Medinans who converted to Islam and helped the Muslim emigrants find shelter became known as the ansar (supporters). Then Muhammad instituted brotherhood between the emigrants and the supporters and he chose Ali as his own brother.