How did Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) convey Islam to Arabia and beyond despite his people’s hostility?
How was he able to communicate with neighboring Arab tribes while suffering a near-siege situation in Makkah?
One short-term solution was for him to meet pilgrims coming to Makkah from different parts of the Arabian Peninsula. So, in the 10th year of the revelation, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) met pilgrims from several tribes. He arranged for these meetings to be held at night, away from the surveillance of the Quraish.
One night in Mina, outside Makkah, he met six men from Yathrib. These men were from the Khazraj, one the two big tribes of Yathrib (a city later known as Madinah). Several Jewish tribes had settled there, and their religious books mentioned that this was the time of God’s last prophet. The Jews told the people of Madinah that they would follow God’s last prophet once he appeared.
So, with this background information, the six men were curious to learn more. They sat with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and he explained to them the main teachings of Islam. What he told them about monotheism sounded familiar, as they had heard about it from the Jews of Madinah. They consulted with each other and said:
“Know surely, this is the Prophet with whom the Jews are ever threatening us; wherefore let us make haste and be the first to join him.” (The Sealed Nectar)
And They Converted to Islam
The six men consequently found themselves in a state of belief. They converted to Islam and returned to Madinah, where they started conveying the message.
The following year double the number came back to meet the Prophet (peace be upon him). These twelve people from Yathrib had already converted to Islam. Ten were from the tribe of Khazraj and two from the rival tribe of Aws. This was the largest conversion so far outside Makkah.
The two tribes had in fact been at war for five years. Many of their leaders had died in that war. A younger generation of leaders from both tribes emerged after the war. For the first time, their representatives united under the banner of Islam to meet the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Makkah.
This historical meeting became known as the First Aqaba Covenant. Ubada ibn Al-Samit was one of the twelve men. He narrates in a hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari the following details:
“I and a group gave the pledge of allegiance to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him. The Prophet said, “I take your pledge that you will not worship anything but Allah, you will not steal, you will not kill your children, you will not slander or spread falsehood, and you will not disobey me in good conduct…” (Al-Bukhari)
After their conversion, they asked the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to send with them to Madinah someone to teach them Islam. At that time, approximately 250 men in Makkah had converted to Islam. From among them, the Prophet (peace be upon him) chose Mus’ab ibn Umair for this mission.
The First Ambassador of Islam
So Mus’ab, a devoted young Muslim who came from a rich family, traveled with them to Madinah. His main mission was to teach them Qur’an, to lead them in prayer, and to introduce Islam to Madinah.
He was the perfect person for this mission. In addition to his noble background, he had traveled twice before to Abyssinia. So, he had the experience of living abroad and interacting with people of different cultures. As one of the early converts in Makkah, he had the knowledge to teach and invite non-Muslims to Islam.
Within a few weeks of Mus’ab’s arrival in Madinah, forty people had accepted Islam. Muslims in Makkah were persecuted and could not pray in congregation. So, the Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed Mus’ab to lead the very first Friday prayer (jumuah) in Madinah. At that time, no mosque had yet been built. So this first Jumuah was held in the house of As’ad ibn Zurara, one of the first Muslims in Madinah.
Read Also: Winning Hearts
Mus’ab faced many difficulties while preaching Islam in Madinah. But through his wisdom, patience, and strong faith he was able to overcome most of these challenges.
One day, two of the tribal leaders in Madinah, Usaid ibn Hudair and Sa’d ibn Mu’ath, were fuming. They resented what Mus’ab was doing and wanted to send him back to Makkah. They witnessed more and more people leaving the religion of their fathers and turning to Islam. Usaid took his spear and headed towards the house where Mus’ab was staying to make him leave. But Mus’ab was not afraid. He asked Usaid to listen to some basic teachings of Islam and judge for himself.
So Usaid listened to Mus’ab and found that it all made sense. He accepted Islam on the spot. The same scenario was repeated with Sa’d ibn Mu’ath. The conversion of these two leaders opened the door for many more conversions.
New Converts: New Ambassadors to Islam
Today, a newly converted sister who is visibly Muslim through her hijab is an ambassador of Islam. The same applies to newly converted brothers who declare their faith in public.
As a native of your country, you represent Islam in the eyes of your non-Muslim family, neighbors, colleagues, and friends. This is a golden opportunity to invite them all to Islam when you are ready. It is also an important responsibility.
In the last few decades, high-profile converts to Islam have done an excellent job communicating their faith. They include renowned figures such as Cat Stevens in the UK and the late Muhammad Ali in the US. Actions speak louder than words. It is their ethical stance on matters of importance to society which have captured people’s attention.
You are not expected to give lectures and talks about Islam from day 1. However, you will find that many people are interested to learn about your journey to Islam. So, don’t be upset if people frequently ask you questions about it, especially non-Muslims. You may like to prepare two versions of your story about Islam. One, a short summary for brief answers. The other, a more detailed version explaining the reasons for your decision and the impact Islam has had on your life.
When people can see that you have become a better person, they may be interested in learning more about your new faith.
More People Travel to Makkah to Meet the Prophet Muhammad
Returning to Madinah, Usaid ibn Hudair and Sa’d ibn Mu’ath were the leaders of Banu Al-Ash-hal, a sub-tribe of Al-Khazraj. Within a short time of their conversion to Islam, the whole tribe also accepted Islam. This was one of the main mass conversions that took place in Madinah.
Mus’ab continued to invite the people of Madinah to Islam and his efforts were very successful. In the following pilgrimage season, 75 people from Madinah traveled to Makkah to meet the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). They traveled in the company of Mus’ab. In Makkah, they gave Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the Second Aqabah Covenant.
What happened next?
More events from the Seerah 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- The Friday Prayer
This part of the Seerah mentions the first time the Friday prayer (Jumuah) was held. It was held in Madinah, led by Mus’ab ibn Umair. Please check the following resources for more details on the Jumuah prayer and its importance in Islam:
Friday Prayer: Obligatory for Women?
How Friday Prayer Brought Me to Islam
Why is Friday so Special for Muslims?
No Mosque Near Where I Live: How to Pray Friday Prayer?
2- New Converts & Non-Muslims Relations
Being Muslim and Bridging Between Cultures
How to Deal With My Non-Muslim Neighbors?
Wisdom and Hope in Dealing with Your Non-Muslim Family
Converts to Islam: Balancing Between Religion & Family
3- The First Ambassador of Islam: Mus’ab ibn Umair
He came from a noble and wealthy background, the tribe of Bani Abd Ad-Dar, the guardians of the Ka`bah key. His passion for Islam was so strong that he sacrificed all his wealth for the sake of Islam.
For more background information on Mus’ab ibn Umair, the first ambassador the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent to Madinah, please check these resources:
10 Amazing Facts About the First Ambassador of Islam
First Ambassador of Islam: Why Mus’ab?
Five Lessons From the Young Mus’ab: The First Missionary of Islam
4- Send us your question 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 will also add new 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.
The Sealed Nectar – Sheikh Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarkpuri
Spiritual Hijrah: Preparing for the Physical Migration – Dr. Jasser Auda
Da’wah: Calling People to Allah – Friday Speech by Dr. Jasser Auda