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Inviting the Arab Tribes to Islam

Inviting the Arab Tribes to Islam

The Holy Prophet carried out his invitation to people in Mecca and elsewhere. For instance, he went to the following tribes: Kindah, Kalb, Ban£-°an¢fah and Ban£-Am¢r ibn ¯a`¥a`ah to invite them to the new religion. However, Ab£-Lahab used to follow him and discourage people from accepting his religion.[1]

In his dialogues with Ban£-`ªmir, the Holy Prophet was told by one of the elderly chiefs of that tribe, named Bay¦arah ibn Fir¡s, “If we swear allegiance to you and God makes you victorious over your opponents, will you promise your succession to us?” The Holy Prophet replied, “That is God's affair, not mine. God will nominate anybody He wishes.” Aggressively, the man replied, “You want us to stand against the Arabs for your sake and defend you; and upon your victory, somebody else gets the initiatives? We do not need your religion.”[2]

It is narrated that the same issue was brought up by the elders of the Kindah tribe to whom the Holy Prophet gave the same reaction.[3] This kind of reply and taking position on the part of the Holy Prophet is significant in two ways:

First: He emphasized that the issue of succession is God's affair. This confirms the issue that he has been appointed by God; i.e. his position is a Divine selection and this adoption takes place by God, not through people.

Second: The Holy Prophet, contrary to other statesmen who do everything in order to obtain their objectives, did not make use of unethical instruments. Although the adoption of Islam by the members of a large tribe was of utmost significance and value in those days, the Holy Prophet did not promise anything which he could not keep.

During the °ajj and `Umrah ceremonies in which security prevailed due to the sacredness of those months and during which a great number of people could come from different areas to Mecca and Min¡ or the markets outside Mecca, such as the seasonal markets of `Uk¡¨, al-Majannah and Dh¢’l-Maj¡z,[4] the Holy Prophet extended his invitation and visited the elderly chiefs of the tribes. Even if the pilgrims themselves did not accept Islam, they spread the news of the Holy Prophet's prophethood in their cities and towns; and this was a step ahead towards victory and success.

[1] Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 2:65-66; ±abar¢, T¡r¢kh 2:232-233; al-Bul¡dhar¢, Ans¡b al-Ashr¡f 1:237-238; Ibn Is¦¡q, al-Siyar wa’l-Magh¡z¢, pp. 232.

He invited the following tribes to Islam one by one: Ban£-Faz¡rah, Ghass¡n, Ban£-Murrah, Ban£-Sulaym, Ban£-`Abs, Ban£-°¡rith, Ban£-`Udhrah, al-°a¤¡rimah, Ban£-Na¥r, and Ban£-Buk¡'. However, none of them accepted his religion. See Ibn Sa`d, Al-±abaq¡t al-Kubr¡ 1:216-217.

[2] Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 2:66; Zayn¢ Da¦l¡n, Al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah 1:145; Murta¤¡ al-`ªmil¢, al-¯a¦¢¦ min S¢rat al-Nab¢ al-A`¨am 2:157-176.

[3] Ibn Kath¢r, al-Bid¡yah wa’l-Nih¡yah 3:140.

[4] Ibn Sa`d, op cit, 1:216.

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