22. THE NEW SOCIETY IN MADINA
After a long and tiring Journey, Muhammad (pbuh) and his close companion Abu Bakr had safely arrived in Quba. The Makkans had tried their best to prevent Muhammad (pbuh) from performing this Hijra but they had failed miserably. They had tried all their tactics and plans to stop the Prophet (pbuh) from preaching Islam but they had failed miserably. They had tried their best to stop the spread of Islam but their efforts had ended in failure.
When the Prophet (pbuh) arrived in Quba there were many scenes of joy and celebration. The people welcomed Muhammad (pbuh) with open arms. The air was filled with shouts of the Takbir –Allahu Akbar (Allah is great) and the singing of the children. After the people had met the prophet (pbuh), they laid the foundations of the new society by building the first Masjid in Quba.
Muhammad (pbuh) with his own hands helped to build this new mosque. The mosques in those days were not as big and well decorated as they are today. They did not have the beautiful minarets and domes, which makes the Masjids distinct from other buildings. The Masjid was a simple building with a palm leaf roof.
Muhammad spent a few days at Quba before heading for Yathrib. On Friday morning, he set off for Yathrib with a group of his companions. When it was time for Jummah, they prayed it in a valley close to Yathrib. Later on that afternoon they arrived in Madina (which was the new name of Yathrib).
The scenes in Madina were similar to Quba but a much larger community welcomed the Prophet (pbuh). They celebrated the arrival of the prophet (pbuh) by lining the streets of Madina. The men of Madina accompanied the prophet (pbuh) dressed in their armour and armed with their swords and spears. This signified the promise made to Muhammad (pbuh) that they would protect him; this was a demonstration of their intention to fulfil this promise.
Some of the people were competing with each other to invite the prophet (pbuh) to their homes. Some tried to take the reigns of his camel to lead it towards their own home. The Prophet (pbuh) stopped the people and said let the camel go on its own accord. The camel was commanded by Allah and started to wander through the streets of Madina.
The camel travelled through Madina with the crowds of people following it. The camel finally stopped on a plot of land belonging to two orphans. A deal was negotiated and a price agreed for the land, even though the guardians of the land wanted to gift it to the Prophet (pbuh). The land was purchased and a Masjid was built on that very site. The Prophet (pbuh) himself was involved in the construction of the Masjid. He carried the materials and helped to erect the Masjid.
Next to the Masjid, they constructed some living quarters for the prophet’s wives and also an area was set-aside for any homeless and destitute people. In those days, the Muslims used to face Jerusalem for their prayers so the Qibla was set in that direction.
Until his living quarters were ready, the prophet (pbuh) had stayed as a guest in Abu Ayub’s house. Abu Ayub lived adjacent to the site of the Masjid and was actually related to Muhammad (pbuh) from his mother's side. Abu Ayub moved to the upper story of his house with his family during those few days. Abu Ayub was amongst the people who made the pledge with Muhammad (pbuh) in Aqabah.
With the construction of the Masjid, the Azan (call to the prayer) was also instituted. There was a bit of discussion about how to call the people to prayer. One of the companions, Abdullah bin Zayd, had a dream during which he was shown the best way to call the people to prayer. He related the dream to the Prophet (pbuh) who said that it was a true dream. Another Sahabih, had the same dream so it was decided that this would be the universal call to the prayers.
Abdullah bin Zayd taught the words of the Azan to Bilal just as he had heard in the dream. Bilal became the first Mu’azin, the caller to prayer, in Islam. From that day onwards, the azan has been used all over the world call the faithful to the worship of their Lord in Salah. The Azan is said five times a day in every mosque.
There were other immediate problems that needed to be resolved. People would come to the prophet (pbuh) in the masjid Nabwi that had now been completed. The prophet (pbuh) would listen to their problems and advise them on the best solutions. Whenever there was a dispute amongst the inhabitants of Madina, they would always turn to the prophet (pbuh) for guidance and advice.
Another major issue the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would need to deal with was the large number of Muslims who had emigrated to Madina. Many of them had left everything behind, their only belongings were the clothes they were wearing. The Muslims of Madina were not very wealthy and the size of the community had swelled with these new Muslims. The welfare of these Muslims, who were known as the Muhajireen (the people who made Hijra), had to be looked after by the Ansar (the helpers of Madina).
The prophet (pbuh) proposed that each of the Muhajir would be paired with the Ansar. Each would become a brother to the other thus sharing food, shelter and wealth with each other. Many of the Muslims of Makkah had left empty handed and were indeed destitute, without shelter, food or family.
Without any hesitation, the Ansar embraced the Prophet’s instructions and welcomed their new brothers. They knew Allah sent the prophet (pbuh) with true guidance so they adhered to his every command. This became a hallmark of the Ansar. The tribal differences and pride that had existed amongst the people was removed and they became true brothers. They helped and supported each other and through this unity the community thrived.
The Muslims shared everything with each other. They became brothers in faith and whatever little they had for sustenance was shared between them. With these solid foundations of love and brotherhood, the deen of Islam and the welfare of the community flourished.
The Muslim community was new and hence a little fragile and even vulnerable. However, their hearts were forged together with Iman and brotherly love that gave them immense strength. There were many new problems which were beginning to appear and would take time and patience to fully resolve.
The other large group that co-existed in Madina was the Jews. A treaty was agreed with them that allowed everyone complete freedom to worship their own deen. They were equal citizens and nothing would be imposed upon them. They would unite to defend Madina and their advice and opinions would be listened to, as long as it did not cross the boundaries of justice and truth. The Jews readily accepted this agreement even though some of them had their reservations about many matters.
Some of the Jews accepted Muhammad and whole-heartedly followed Islam. However, a large number of them were now enemies of Islam even though they knew that Muhammad (pbuh) was a true prophet! They could not accept the fact that Muhammad (pbuh) was from the children of Ismael and not from the descendents of Ishaq. They held many evil intentions in their hearts.
The Jews had enjoyed a privileged position in Madina because of the past tribal warfare between the Aws and Khazraj. Both these tribes had been weakened because of the years of fighting and bloodshed. They needed to borrow money from the Jews to continue the war that pushed them into debt and poverty. This meant that the Arab tribes were weakened because of the fighting but at the same time were financially crippled.
The Jews were also annoyed at the new unity and brotherhood amongst the tribes of Aws and Khazraj. They were looking at ways to cook up trouble between them hence breaking the unity of the Muslims. They continued to exploit past differences to inflame hatred and misunderstandings between them.
In one instance, they nearly succeeded in causing a new war between the Khazraj and Aws. They got a youth to recite past poetry that highlighted the strength of each tribe, promoting enmity between these tribes. The swords were drawn and ready for war until Muhammad (pbuh) intervened and ended this madness. He reminded them of the favours Allah had given them by guiding them to the truth. He reminded them that they were now brothers and were united in Islam. When the prophet (pbuh) finished, they became very remorseful about the fighting and asked each other for forgiveness. They shed many tears and embraced each other, vowing never to make this error again.
The Quraish hadn’t finished their bidding either. Even now they were consulting Abdullah bin Ubai, the former chief of the tribes. They were encouraging him to fight against the Muslims in Madina. Abdullah bin Ubai started propagating this idea of fighting the Muslims and was amassing an army to put an end to this new power in Madina.
How much havoc would these different groups cause in toppling the Muslims in Madina? Would the Makkans cause civil war in Madina by calling on past favours and new promises? Would the Muslim community be able to survive in this new environment, away from their wealth and trade in Makkah? All will be revealed soon, inshallah.