The amount of action and the amazing stories that took place during the hijrah grabbed the attention away from the roles played by some Companions before the hijrah and away from the hijrah scene.
I want to take you back 3 years before the hijrah when the Prophet was going around the camps for the Hajj talking to different tribes about Islam asking them to believe in him, host him and support him and his message. He met the tribes that attended hajj, one tribe after another, and presented his offer to the leaders of the gathering.
While coming back from a long discussion with Bani Shaiban as mentioned in a previous article, he met six people. Those six were from a tribe called Al-Khazraj, one of two main tribes in Medina, a city north of Makkah known then as Yathrib. He presented Islam to them and they all accepted Islam. He did not ask them to support him or host him because they were only six ordinary people.
These six went back to Madinah and came back next year to meet the Prophet with other six of their fellows who were interested in Islam. The Prophet met them in a place called Al-`Aqabah, in a meeting called, “the First Pledge of Al-`Aqabah.” They pledged to the Prophet to worship Allah and never associate partners with Him, not to steal, not to fornicate, not to kill their children, and not to disobey him had he orders them to do any good.
The city of Yathrib was a fresh open place for conveying Islam and a potential host for the message. The Prophet saw the opportunity and couldn’t let it without doing his best to utilize it for the sake of Da`wah. He decided to send someone to the city to teach people Islam and present the message to them.
The choice was very critical to the success of this mission. The Prophet chose the beloved Companion Mus`ab ibn Umair. I came across an analysis of why the Prophet chose Mus`ab to take on this huge responsibility which I would like to share here for two main reasons:
1) to love Mus`ab, for loving him is part of our Islam, and,
2) to learn from his experience and his effort, for that is essential to attain similar success.
Here are some of the reasons that may underlie the Prophet’s choice of Mus`ab:
– Mus`ab was not so old that it was difficult for him to carry out huge load in Madinah nor was he so young to make unwise or reckless moves. He was in his mid thirties.
– He experienced two previous migrations to Abyssinia so he is used to leaving Makkah and staying away for long times. He also gained the experience to live and interact with people of different culture and even different language.
– He is from a very honorable family, the family of Bani Abd Ad-Dar, the guardians of the key Ka`bah key. The people of Madinah will find it easy to listen to him and interact with him
– He also will send a strong message that Islam is not a revolution of the poor against the rich, something that will help the rich people of Madinah to embrace Islam. He will also serve as a role model of those who might have to lose their wealth to become Muslims in the case they are opposed by their families and tribes.
– He is from the early Muslims, someone who accompanied the Prophet and learned Islam and the Qur’an from him. He has what Madinah needs in terms of knowledge and wisdom.
– Mus`ab was known of his kindness, wisdom, softness and eloquence which are all qualifications needed for an effective presentation of Islam and conveying its message to people. These qualities showed themselves in his interaction with people in Madinah and his ability to positively influence them.
– He will not abandon his message and fall as a victim to the worldly temptations that he may face in Madinah. He withstood this test already when his mother, who was very opposing to him becoming a Muslim. Having failed to convince Mus`ab to convert back to worshipping idols, she decided to deprive him of all the luxuries and wealth he used to enjoy. He assertively and firmly chose Islam leaving behind one of the great wealths in Makkah. A person like that will never fall prey to any temptations he might encounter in Madinah
– There was a possibility that he would be followed by many of the Madinah population and, thus, tempted by leadership. Again, he had already proved his invulnerability to this trap. He had already sacrificed his chances of gaining leadership among his tribe by accepting Islam.
Perhaps for these reasons and probably many others, the Messenger chose Mus`ab to shoulder this huge responsibility.
It was the real success. Thanks to Mus`ab’s effort, Islam went into every single house in Madinah. People joined Islam individually and in groups. Mus`ab prepared Madinah to be the host city of the Prophet and the center of guidance to the whole humanity. In one year, 75 of those people went back to Makkah to call the Messenger to join them in Madinah, for there is not a single household in Madinah except in which there is a Muslim.
May Allah be pleased with Mus`ab and may He have mercy on him!
* This article was first published in October 2014.