Sunday, May 1, 2011

Arabian Tribes Representatives at Medina

The 9th year of the hijrah (630-631) was known as "the year of the delegations" (sanatu al-wufud). The conquest of Mecca, the acceptance of Islam by the Hawazins, a large and strong tribe, the fact that people of Saqif, who were living in Taif, had made a pledge with Medina, and Northern Arabia coming under the sovereignty of Islam caused the Arab tribes who were living in various parts of the peninsula to send delegations to Medina and give their allegiance. Among these developments, the Quraishis' acceptance of Islam was of particular importance. The Arab tribes began to accept the religion of Allah when the Quraishis, who of great importance among the Arab tribes and who had been the most significant opponents of the Muslims, accepted Islam. Surah An-Nasr reports this issue: "When Allah's succor and the triumph come and you see mankind entering the religion of Allah in troops, hens hymn the praises of Allah, and seek forgiveness of Him. O! he is ever ready to show mercy" (An-Nasr, 110/1-3). The delegations who came to Medina and talked to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on behalf of their tribes stated that they had become Muslim and they took pledges for themselves and on behalf of their tribes; they wanted to learn the religion directly from its Messenger and sometimes requested tutors to be sent to the tribe. Among these delegations, there were representatives of the Saqif and Hanifa tribes. Some of the people who came to Islam tried to make terms, asking to be excluded from some of the basic forms of worship in Islam and to be allowed to ignore some of the prohibitions. There were also people who accepted the sovereignty of the Islamic state without becoming Muslim, who paid the jizya, such as the Christians of the Najran and Taghlib tribes. Visits from such delegations gave Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) an opportunity to talk about the Islam. Such delegations stayed in the houses of Abdurrahman ibn Awf, Ramla bin Harith, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari or Khalid ibn al-Walid, or they sometimes stayed in the (porch or veranda of al-Masjid al-Nabawi) or in tents pitched in the courtyard of the masjid. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) gave importance to the members of the delegations; he read the Holy Quran for them and told them the basics of the religion and the moral rules. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also gave them information about significant issues and sent them back with presents, assigning governors, zakat and jizya collectors or teachers of Islam; he prepared written documents concerning these matters. The visits of the delegations indicate that tribes living in various places of Arabia became Muslim and Medina was accepted as the capital of the peninsula. In his work, Ibn Sa'd mentions seventy-one delegations that came from various parts of Arabia in the 9th (630) and 10th years; he also gives some information about each tribe (see Ibn Sa'd, I, 291-359).

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