If you were given the responsibility of leading a new community, what would you do?
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) spent his first months in Madinah as a guest at the house of Abu Ayyub. When he and his new community completed building their masjid, he moved out to live in a small room.
The structure of the masjid included adjacent rooms for the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his family. That would be his home for the remaining ten years of his life.
Love and Altruism
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) focused his attention on building the foundations of the new Muslim community. After years of persecution, harassment, and torture in Makkah, the small Muslim community could now finally live in peace. And Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made brotherhood and sisterhood the main foundation of their relationships.
It was a unique community founded on altruism and brotherly love. It was a type of love never witnessed before, and never to be repeated in human history. Would you be willing to give up half your wealth to help refugees arriving in your country to settle down?
That is what the new converts of Madinah (the Ansar) did. They shared their wealth and homes with their new brothers and sisters in Islam (the Muhajirun). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made a pact of brotherhood between them. He chose for each man from the Muhajirun a man from the Ansar to become his brother in Islam. In total, around one hundred pairs.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) established wise pacts of brotherhood, which were win-win relationships. The Muhajirun had left all their wealth and belongings behind in Makkah. They needed work and financial support to start their new life in Madinah. And that was what the Ansar offered them.
On the other hand, the Ansar were new converts to Islam. They needed to learn what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had preached in Makkah for the past 13 years. So, the new brothers in Islam shared everything; their wealth, knowledge, and experience.
A Verse Revealed
Allah (SWT) praised the Ansar in the Quran for their altruism and amazing generosity. He says:
As for those who had settled in the city and ˹embraced˺ the faith before ˹the arrival of˺ the emigrants, they love whoever immigrates to them, never having a desire in their hearts for whatever ˹of the gains˺ is given to the emigrants. They give ˹the emigrants˺ preference over themselves even though they may be in need. And whoever is saved from the selfishness of their own souls, it is they who are ˹truly˺ successful. (59:9)
One day, the Ansar came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) to offer the Muhajirun half of their lands. Can you imagine that? A gift of half of their lands in Madinah, with all their date palms and trees!! This amazing generosity reflects the description in the above verse.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made du’aa for them but refused to accept their generous gift. Instead, he said the Muhajirun would perform the manual labor on the land and share their produce with the Ansar.
With this wise plan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) made sure it was a win-win agreement. He established a solid foundation for fair partnership deals in business and was always on the side of justice.
The Story of Abdul Rahman
These sound work relations further enhanced their bonds of brotherly love. Justice and fairness were always salient features of the Prophet’s leadership style. That’s why they were so successful, combined with abundant love and altruism.
There was an amazing case of Abdul Rahman ibn Aouf, a companion from Makkah. He specialized in business and trade. Prophet Muhammad had made him the brother of Sa’d ibn Al-Rabie from Madinah. So Sa’d offered him half his wealth, but Abdul Rahman refused to accept his generous offer.
This is what happened, as narrated in a hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari. Abdul Rahman said:
“When we came to Madinah as emigrants, Allah’s Apostle established a bond of brotherhood between me and Sa’d ibn Ar-Rabie.
Sa’d said (to me), ‘I am the richest among the Ansar, so I will give you half of my wealth. And you may look at my two wives and whichever of the two you may choose I will divorce her, and when she has completed the prescribed period (before marriage) you may marry her.’
Abdul-Rahman replied, “I am not in need of all that. Is there any marketplace where trade is practiced?’ He replied, “The market of Qainuqa.”
Abdul-Rahman went to that market the following day and brought some dried butter-milk (yogurt) and butter, and then he continued going there regularly…”
He traded on a small scale for the first days, then his business grew. He made a good profit and was able to make and save enough money to get married. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) approved of what he did. He prayed for Abdul Rahman, who became one of the richest people with the blessings of the Prophet’s du’aa.
Secrets for Success
So, amazing altruism and generosity from one side, and independence and hard work from the other side. This community, where love, brotherhood, altruism, sharing, and caring prevailed, was to become the best generation of all times.
Under the leadership of the Prophet, they were able to do miracles in the span of ten years. And after the Prophet passed away, they were able to convey Islam to distant lands with amazing speed. They reached faraway countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe in record time.
Many non-Muslim historians continue to be amazed by the speed of the spread of Islam around the world. But the real secret can be found in Madinah: a divinely guided leader, God’s final prophet, and his sincere followers who deeply loved Allah, His Messenger, and their brothers in Islam.
Inspiration for New Converts Today
Finding a good friend in today’s world takes time. And finding a true brother in Islam often takes more time in the fast-moving societies in which we live. But it is not impossible. So, if you are a new convert to Islam who has not yet found a close Muslim friend, keep trying and don’t give up.
Sisterhood among sisters and brotherhood among brothers, where love for the sake of Allah prevails, are the most precious relationships. If you are in touch with a good Muslim friend, this is a great blessing. So, do your best to upgrade your friendship to a relationship of brotherhood or sisterhood. New converts to Islam need support and born or “old” Muslims today should resurrect this Sunnah.
As a Muslim community, we need to multiply our efforts to cement our relationships with this bond of brotherhood. And Muslim leaders and Imams need to follow the example of Prophet Muhammad, with creative plans to make it multiply.
What happened next in Madinah?
More events will be detailed in the next part of this series, in sha’ Allah.
So please stay tuned…
Activities for New Converts Following this Series
1- New Converts Making Muslim Friends
It often takes time for new converts to make new Muslim friends. Keep trying though, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t yet have a brother in Islam.
Please check these related resources for some useful tips:
- 5 Life-Changing Lessons I learned From Muslim Friends
- Can I Practice Islam Alone?
- Islam is Not Isolation – Seek Good Friends
2- Love for the Sake of Allah
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) established amazing relationships of brotherhood among his followers based on love for the sake of Allah. What does that mean?
3- Altruism & Selflessness
Giving is a highly praised virtue in Islam. And the highest level is the level of ithar, i.e., altruism or selflessness. Find out more…
Stories and Tips to Develop Ithar (Selflessness)
- Stories and Tips to Develop Ithar (Selflessness)
- Your Cheque Has Been Taken Care of, But I Can’t Tell by Who
- Where Are the Ansar Today?
- Are We Giving New Muslims Their Rights?
- The Lost Art of Altruism
4- Send us your questions on this series to [email protected]
This is a special series for new converts to learn about Islam in a comprehensive way through learning the Seerah (Biography of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) in a gradual, chronological way. We add a few more resources of other related areas of Islamic knowledge in each part of the Seerah at the end of each article as extra learning resources.
We are also adding videos to this series as we progress from Year 1 to Year 23 in sha’ Allah.
The references we use in each article are given below for further details. Please feel free to send us any questions you may have to this e-mail: [email protected]
You may also wish to join our Facebook Group, Islam 101, for further learning and also to interact with fellow new converts and those who are new to Islam here.