Paradigm for Co-existence: A New Reading for the SIRAH (The Life of Prophet)
The aim of studying and gaining profound understanding of the Sirah, or the Life of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is not just exploring historical events or narrating a set of interesting parables and incidents. Thus, attempting to acquire deep knowledge of Sirah is not to be done same way people study History; nor dealt with as though it were a biography of some Caliph or an era of past history.
However, the aim of learning Sirah and its understanding is for the Muslim to comprehend and fully grasp true Islam in a holistic manner, embodied in the example of the Prophet, pbuh, after having studied a set of intellectual laws and general rules that make up the fundamentals of Islam.
Studying the Life of the Prophet should be pursued as an application of those intellectual principles and basics of Islam, embodied in a super role model to be followed, that is the noble character of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
Dividing and classifying such aim can be summed up in the following detailed set of aims:
1-Understanding the character of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, in light of studying his noble life and the circumstances he lived through.
2-Having a clear image of a role model reflecting almost all fields of life.
3-The knowledge of the Sirah helps one abundantly comprehend the Holy Quran and get to fully grasp its spirit and essence.
4-Gaining profound understanding of the Islamic culture and authentic knowledge.
5-Providing the Muslim scholar and student with a vivid example for teaching and education.
History of Sirah Writings and Books
Throughout the history of Islam, Muslims has given great attention to the traditions of the Prophet (Hadiths), as much as they did to his Sunnah (path), his life, and his remarkable expeditions (Maghazi). And before the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, were first documented, which took place towards the end of the first century AH. (After Hijrah), they were already preserved in the hearts and minds of the great Companions of the Prophet, as well as the Successors.
The literates among those two generations used to document as much of the Prophet’s traditions as they could, since the days of the Prophet, till the era of documentation of the traditions. These earlier written accounts included snaps from his life as well as his expeditions and historic conquests.
The Biography of the Prophet as part of his Tradition:
The life of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, occupied a considerable portion of the narrated traditions of the Prophet. The writings of those who took it upon themselves to preserve and document the Prophet’s traditions abound with instances telling about his life, great conquests, noble characteristics, and all about his companions. Such methodology had remained as is even after separating writings relating to Sirah from that of Hadith, to make each a standalone discipline to be taught and studied separately.
Imam Malik’s Muwataa, the oldest collection of Hadiths; has thoroughly covered sayings of the noble Prophet relating to his life, description, nicknames, and engagement in combative Jihad.
There is also Sahih Bukhari’s Collection of Hadiths, in which Imam Bukhari scanned a sizeable span of the life of the Prophet before and after the Revelation. In his Sahih, and specifically in “The Book of Conquests”, Imam Bukhari explained the merits and characteristics of the Prophet, pbuh, as well as his companions, may Allah be pleased with them all. “The Book of Conquests” comprises almost 1/10 of the entire Sahhih of Imam Bukhari. Almost all Muslims agree that the collection of Hadiths of Sahih Bukhari is the most authentic book after the Qur'an.Imam Bukhari spent sixteen years collecting the Sahih, and ended up with over 9000 Hadiths (with repetition). He died in the year 256 AH.
There is also Sahih Muslim Collection of Hadiths, compiled by the renowned Muslim Scholar Imam Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj al-Naysaburi, who died in the year 261 AH. Sahih Muslim is considered to be one of the most authentic collections of the Hadiths of the Prophet, and along with Sahih Bukhari forms the "Sahihain," or " The Two authentic collections." It comprises of over 7000 Hadiths (with repetitions), and is divided into 57 books, covering different areas of the life of the Prophet, his merits and those of his companions, including a complete chapter tackling the conquests and expedition of Prophet Muhammad and titled ‘The Book of Jihad and Expedition’.
Sirah Books as a Separate Genre of Islamic Writings
Many books were authored about Sirah. And precisely its documentation, as a separate genre of Islamic discipline, started in the second half of the 2nd century AH.
Amongst the early Muslim scholars who wrote about and explained the life and expeditions of the noble Prophet, pbuh, were the following:
1- Abaan ibn Uthman ibn Affan:
He is the son of the Third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, the third in order in the chain of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, may Allah be pleased with them all. His collection of Sirah was merely a compilation of Hadiths relating to the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his day to day dealings, and expeditions. His collection of Sirah was lost among many other books of early Muslims.
2- Urwa ibn al-Zubayr ibn al-Aawwam:
Urwa, son of the renowned Companion, Al Zubayr ibn Al Awwam, is known as a trusted source of Sirah. He devoted himself to the study of Islamic Jurisprudence and the traditions of the Prophet (Hadiths), and is most famous for his unique knowledge of Hadiths narrated from his aunt; Lady Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her. What had also gained him credential is the fact that the Hadiths he had narrated were related by many scholars known for their authentic collections of Hadiths, among other companions of the Prophet, pbuh.
3- Imam Mohamed ibn Shihab al-Zuhri:
Al-Zuhri is a key figure amongst early collectors of Sirah, known as the scholar of al-Hijaz and Syria. He is one of the trusted and authentic sources of narration of the life of the noble Prophet, peace be upon him. He is considered one of early Muslims who took part in the documentation of Sirah. His collection of Sirah was the first biography of the Prophet constructed in the history of Islam.
He is considered one of the most authentic collectors of Sirah and the most precise of them all. Ibn Is’haq depended largelyon his narration, and he died in the year 120 AH.
Categories of Sirah Scholars
This category comprises a group of Muslim scholars who wrote about Sirah and followed the figures mentioned above, the most of famous of which were:
1- Asim ibn Umar ibn Qatadah ibn Al Nu’man al-Ansary
2- Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr ibn Mohamed ibn Amr ibn Hazm al-Ansary
And then came another group of scholars who lived through the time of the First Abbasid Caliph, and the most famous of which were:
1-Musa ibn Uqbah: The leader of the Zubayris, and it is said that he made use of such connection- Imam Malik described him saying: “Refer to Ibn Uqbah’s documentation of the Prophet’s Expedition, it is the most accurate of all.” His collection of Sirah was relatively brief, and only parts of it survived to our age.
2-Mohamed ibn Is’haq ibn Yasar al- Matlaby. He is of Persian origin.
3-Al Waqidi Mohamed ibn Umar ibn Waqed, leader of Banu Hashim. He is second to ibn Is’haq in knowledge about the life of the Prophet, his Expeditions, and historical documentation.
Then came another group of scholars, the most famous of which were:
1-Abu Mohamed Abdul Malek ibn Hisham ibn Ayyub al-Humayry al-Ma’afry, who came from Egypt and was originally from Basra in Iraq.
2-Mohamed ibn Sa’ad, student of al-Waqedy and his disciple who used to write down his books and document his life. And this is how he came to be nicknamed “the disciple of al-Waqidi”.
Principal Works on Sirah
Hundreds of books and tratises were constructed about the noble Sirah of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his characteristics, merits and virtues, the most notable of which are:
1- Al Sirah Al Nabaweya (The Prophetic Sirah); by Imam Abu Mohamed abdul Malek ibn Hisham ibn Ayyub
2- Al Shifa be Ta’reef Huquq Al-Mustafa (Healing by the Cognizance of the Rights of the Chosen-One), which tackles the virtues of the noble Prophet and was written by al-Kadi Abi al- Fadl Ayyad ibn Musa ibn Ayyad
3- Al Wafa fi Fada’il Al-Mustafa (Detailed Analysis of the Virtues of the Chosen-One), by Abul Faraj ibn al-Jawzi
4- Al Rawd Al Anf fi Sharh Sirat ibn Hisham (a Commentary on Ibn Hisham's Collection of Sirah), by Abi al-Qasim al-Suhayli
5- Al Fosool fi Ikhtisar Sirat Al Rasul (Summary of the Sirah of the Messenger of Allah), by Ibn Kathir
6- Zadul Mi’ad fi Haday Khayr al Ibad (Provisions for the Hereafter Taken from the Guidance of the Best Servant of Allah), by the renowned Imam Shamsul Din Abi Abdullah Mohamed ibn Abu Bakr ibn Ayyub ibn Saad, known as ibn Al Qayyim Al Jawzi.
7- Al Raheeq Al Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar), by Shaykh Safi- ur-Rahman Al Mubaraqpuri
There are numerous other collections of Sirah that were compiled by scholars of earlier and contemporary times.
Paradigms for Coexistence
Islam laid the foundation and set clear principles for genuine coexistence and harmonious integration within world communities which allows for effective interaction and communication without compromising the basic teachings of Islam.
Based on those principles and according to the primary basics of Islam, Muslims are and have been pioneers in establishing and developing the Islamic Civilization to adapt to up-to-date changes that have been creeping in throughout the history of humanity and till date, following the footsteps of their role model, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in simply all areas of life.
This proves the universality of the divine statement mentioned in the Quran; wherein Allah SWT says: “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day...”- (al-Ahzab: 21)
The Messenger of Allah, pbuh, has left Muslims a rich legacy of fine teachings, including four Paradigms of coexistence whether within Muslim or non-Muslim community.
1- The First paradigm is that of Mecca;
And it stands for perseverance and coexistence
2-The Second paradigm is that of Abyssinia:
And it underlines Muslims’ stay in Abyssinia and stands for loyalty, sharing and support
3-The Third paradigm is that of Medina, in its first stage:
And it stands for exposure and cooperation.
4-The Fourth paradigm is that of Medina, in its second stage:
And it stands for justice, awareness and understanding before striving for the cause of Allah.
These four schemes or paradigms cover all possible circumstances that may encompass a Muslim’s need to coexist in and integrate into any community of whatever faith. It is imperative to perceive all four schemes as universal, each valid for particular conditions framing a particular place and age. It is equally important to keep in mind that each of these four schemes is a standalone and consistent paradigm that neither overwrites nor cancels other schemes of coexistence derived from the noble Sunnah of the Prophet. Accordingly, attempting to fully grasp the Sunnah of the Prophet, pbuh, and making the best use of it, requires comprehending his life in its totality without excluding or sidestepping any of its sections.
The primary virtues framing each scheme have come to shape the Muslim character, settling deep in his heart and soul, making justice, perseverance, cooperation, loyalty and awareness part and parcel of his personality. As a matter of fact, such virtues represent the essence of the religion of Islam which Allah has sent to humanity to abide by; through all times and circumstances.
Islam encourages peaceful coexistence with Non-Muslims and followers of other faith traditions, as it leads to effective exchange of interests, thoughts, and knowledge, let alone fostering good relations among members of the same society. This has been the case between Muslims and non-Muslims since the advent of Islam, as an application of the lofty teachings of Islam and the noble Messenger of Allah, which organized relations between people, to be based on faithful principles stemming from the fine human values of Islam and avoiding unneeded violence, aggression and conflict.
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has perfectly applied these principles, especially when dealing with Non-Muslims. He treated them with unparalleled compassion and kindness, preserving their rights and calling them to virtues within a frame of refined manners, mercy and respect for human dignity.
Islamic Civilization has been established on a strong foundation that recognizes freedom of faith and social justice among citizens, without regard to religion or race. It has furthermore laid special emphasis on the values of tolerance, unity, and calling people to a common ground and common code of ethics, including respect and care for one’s neighbor, as per the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh.
FIRST: The Mecca Scheme:
The conditions in Mecca before the advent of Islam;
Before and up till the rise of Islam, Mecca has been under the sole control and authority of the polytheists of Quraysh, with the majority of its inhabitants sunk in deep ignorance and barbarity ranging from idol worshiping to the worst practices humanity had ever witnessed. Indeed it was the age of darkness for Mecca, and Arabia at large that was marked by polytheism, prostitution, licentiousness, plundering, gambling, drunkenness, and girl-infanticide.
Pre-Islam Mecca did not know social justice and was hugely lacking in decent morals. The strong used to oppress the weak and usurp his rights. The master used to oppress his sub-ordinates of aids and slaves and maids treating them inhumanely without regard to their rights or dignity. An Arab used to have privilege over a non-Arab and thus treated him snobbishly. Racial discrimination took its ugliest form, with the white people feeling superior to the blacks, treating them with prejudice and discriminating against them. This was clearly stated in Ja’afar ibn Ali ibn Abi Taleb’s statement while addressing people before Negus of Abyssinia. He eloquently described the conditions prior to the Prophet's mission saying:
“We used to worship idols, eat the carrion, engage in illicit sexual practices, cut ties of kinship, treat our neighbors badly, and the strong among us used to oppress the weak.”
In this scheme of the pre-Islamic Mecca, and early after the advent of Islam, Muslims were a minority, and the authority in Mecca was antagonistic to the nascent community Of Muslims. The anti Islam forces attempted to put an end to the rising power of Islam. The society was generally polytheist, not believing in Allah, and had no religious code to follow.
The Prophet Muhammad and his companions within this scheme:
Before his being commissioned to Prophethood
Before revelation and at the beginning of his mission as a Prophet, the Messenger of Allah, pbuh, lived in harmony with his people. He played a central social role, helping them and cooperating with them with what can bring good to the community and serve their welfare.
1- The statement of Lady Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, which was supported by those who lived through that time, when the Prophet, peace be upon him, came to her and first told her about the revelation, she replied to him saying:
“Nay! But be assured of the good tidings! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you, for by Allah, you keep good relations with your Kith and kin, speak the truth, help the poor and the destitute, entertain your guests generously and assist those who are stricken with calamities.”
1-Before revelation, the Prophet, peace be upon, had concluded an agreement with some tribes of Quraysh so that they would aid the weak, and they formed what was known as Al Fodool Confederacy. Its constituency comprised a number of the noblest tribes of Quraysh. They swore allegiance to the agreement or the covenant at the house of Abdullah ibn Jadaan, for he enjoyed great fame and prestige.
There met the people of Banu hashim, Banu Al Mutallib, Asad ibn Abdul Uzza, Zahra ibn Kilab, Taym ibn Murra, and they agreed to aid and support every weak and distressed citizen of Mecca, and to fight the oppressor till he returns all rights he usurped.
About the treaty, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is narrated to have said: “I saw in the House of ibn Al Jadaan a treaty that is more beloved to me than red camels, and if I was to be called to it right now in the state of Islam, I would respond to the call.”
3-The Prophet’s support for his uncle Abu Abd al-Mutallib.
The prophet took his cousin Ali to raise him, in an attempt to alleviate the heavy responsibility on the shoulders of his uncle Abu Talib at the time.
2-After the beginning of the Prophetic mission
At this phase of the life of the Prophet, a number of questions are raised; all pertaining to how he, peace be upon him, lived through this stage of his life, after the Revelation. Also how he and the early Companions who believed in his message lived. Did they abandon their business and work and cut themselves off from people, their travels and trade? Or did they limit their trade and transaction to only Muslims? In addition, who refused to coexist and live in harmony, was it the Muslims or the Polytheists? Who imposed a siege upon the towns of Abu Talib? Who imposed a merciless and unjustified siege and denied people the right to marriage, buying or selling among many others? It was Quraysh; the Poleytheists of Mecca. However Muslims remained resolute and steadfast. They lived under such siege for three years in the alleys of Abu Talib, until their conditions aggravated and became unbearable. They used to eat tree leaves, and the sound of their children crying out of hunger could be heard from far away areas, which triggered the resentment of the people of Quraysh who rejected what their leaders did to the Muslims.
But Prophet, pbuh, courageously faced this test, and so did his companions. Books of Sirah tell us about Bilal ibn Rabah, the first Muazzin or caller to prayer chosen by the Prophet himself, and the difficulties he faced at the hands of the Polytheists of Mecca as a punishment for embracing Islam. Umayyah ibn Khalaf, one of the masters of Mecca used to grab Bilal in the heat of the sun, throw him in the hot desert, and place a huge rock on his chest. He used to tell him " you either continue to suffer or desert the religion of Muhammad", yet Bilal remained resolute and used to repeat “Allah is One”.
As for Ammar ibn Yassir, he received his share of suffering and abuse at the hands of the Polytheists of Mecca, till he was forced to speak ill of the Prophet and praise their gods in order to be released. When he came to Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, he asked him “What’s up Ammar?” Ammar replied: “It’s evil O Messenger of Allah.”Then he said: The polytheists did not release me until they forced me to praise their gods!” Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said kindly: “Ammar, what about your heart?” Ammar answered: Allah's Prophet, my heart is confident with faith.” The Prophet said, “If they did it again, say what you said!”
And upon this incident Allah sent down a verse reading: “Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith but such open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty Surah an-Nahl: 106
There’s also Lady Sumayya bin Khayyat, mother of Ammar ibn Yasser who was killed by Abu Jahl as a punishment for her refusal to speak ill of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and praise their gods.
The noble Prophet, pbuh, taught us how to act in such situations, when placed under such pressure and faced with similar oppression. Whenever the Prophet, peace be upon him, passed by members of early Muslims being tortured at the hands of the Polytheists, he used to provide them with immense spiritual and psychological support, giving them the glad tidings of entering Paradise in the Hereafter, saying: “O family of Yasir! Be patient and your promised reward shall be Paradise!”
Therefore we learn how, through the Mecca Scheme, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to order his companions to have patience in bearing the difficulties and torture they were subjected to. In addition, the Prophet in many occasions informed his companions to be hopeful for a better future of Islam. In a nutshell, the Maccan scheme comprised of patience, hope and coexistence.
-SECOND: The Scheme of Abyssinia
The Prophet, pbuh, has presented a full-fledged paradigm for coexistence and living in harmony with the other, and the Abyssinia scheme is one good example of such. The early Muslims were forced to migrate to Abyssinia. In so doing, they applied one method that has been used by so many Prophets of Allah who preceded Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. The Holy Quran mentions in many verses how many prophets who were sent to other communities before him resorted to migration along with their followers, to escape the abuse and torture they faced at the hands of the disbelievers.
But here we have to stop and contemplate the events surrounding the Muslims’ first migration to Abyssinia, and attempt to heed the lesson behind them. When the Muslims’ conditions became critical and they could no more tolerate the abuse of the Polytheists, the Prophet ordered them to migrate along with their families to save themselves the oppression and aggression of Quraysh. However, he did not migrate, as he later did, migrating from Mecca to Medina. And this was no coincidence.
The Prophet did not think of migrating from Mecca, except after:
1-Exhausting all the means to invite people of Quraysh to Islam so that they could earn the honor of being among the early Muslims who entered Islam upon its advent, for Mecca housed his people and members of his family.
2-Making sure that his companions were safe and that they have all migrated and safely settled in Medina. Also that Islam has entered each house in Medina, and that it has become a safe homeland for the Muslim community and Islam.
Like Mecca, Abyssinia was not a Muslim society; however, it preserved the rights of the Muslim minority, granting it protection and freedom of faith. Abyssinia was an umbrella of justice and protection for whoever resorts to it; those who were oppressed in their nations and those who carry noble messages that would benefit people, who have a legacy that would help serve humanity and not destroy it. This is what encouraged the Prophet to encourage Muslims to migrate to Abyssinia.
The Scheme of Abyssinia served a situation where Muslims lived in a society as a minority; yet enjoy a safe environment that preserves their rights and freedoms within a non-Islamic state.
Why did Muslims migrate to Abyssinia?
When the Polytheists of Mecca escalated their aggression and abuse of Muslims, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, could feel the extent of pain and calamity befalling the early Muslim community, he said: “If you were to go to Abyssinia (it would be better for you), for the king (there) is a great person. He does not oppress anybody and it is a friendly country, You remain there until the time comes when Allah shall relieve you from your distress.” So some joined the migrating group and the rest kept their Islam secret.
The migration to Abyssinia took place in the fifth year after the commencement of the Prophetic mission. Upon hearing the news, Quraysh sent spies after Muslims and they went into fierce fighting against them.
How was the life of the Prophet’s Companions in Abyssinia?
The migrant Muslims to Abyssinia set a great example for coexistence with Non-Muslims. This model was a full realization the notion of citizenship and delineated the social responsibility of each citizen. Muslims upheld their responsibility as Abyssinian citizens as it should be and in return, they enjoyed the protection of their full rights.
From the historic conversation of Abdullah ibn Jaafar, may Allah be pleased with him, with Negus, refuting claims and heresy spread by Quraysh tribesmen, we are informed of how Muslims ought to do. Muslims, wherever they are, whenever they are, need to be educated on how to deal with and communicate with Non-Muslims in an inviting way that would encourage them to learn more about Islam and respect Muslims.
This is in sheer contrast to the methodology adopted by the zealots of extremist thinking in our modern time, who take refuge in Non-Muslim states and gain the kind of protection they seek after, yet they persistently insist on speaking ill of the original citizens of those foreign lands they resorted to, thereby triggering negative feelings of hatred and bigotry against Islam and Muslims. Those zealots use much negative and extremist speech that rejects people’s faiths and speaks ill of them, continuously calling them awful names, and endlessly expressing their hate and bigotry toward them for not being Muslims.
Such people are simply violating the very profound teachings of Islam, among which is gratefulness; especially towards those who live in peace with Muslims. By so doing those people regrettably tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims worldwide and give the world a faulty and ugly picture about Islam that is far from true, giving to worlwide extremists and enemies of Islam every reason and pretext to be antagonistic to Islam and Muslims.
Muslims offered Negus to join his army in fighting his cousin who was seeking to usurp his throne, but he refused. After he won his fight, Muslims cheered his victory and felt great happiness. But soon the armies were back to fight Negus and his people, and then Muslims insisted on joining his army and aid his fight. And so they did, willingly. Even though they were fighting along a Non-Muslim army and for a Non-Muslim leader, it was the common responsibility towards the homeland they were living in that compelled them join the army and fight along with Negus.
Muslims’ stay in Abyssinia, under the leadership of Negus was peaceful, harmonious and respectful. The companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, were truthful and compassionate, and Muslims in general paid great respect to the indigenous of Abyssinia. They were grateful to the Abyssinians and never interfered in the internal affairs of their nation, except to offer help, aid, and support. They never denied them gratitude for allowing them share their homeland.
The companions of the Prophet who migrated to Abyssinia lived under the guardianship of Negus and under his authority, and he was watchful of their lifestyle and religious practices, and how they dealt with others, which proved to him the truthfulness of the religion they followed and their loyalty to it. And this underlines one important fact that a Muslim’s acts should echo his talk and beliefs.
Muslims can be best representatives of the religion of Islam, if they best practice it and hold fast to its profound teachings conveyed through the holy Quran and the noble teachings of the Prophet. Dealing gently with peaceful Non-Muslims can be one effective channel of Da’wah (religious preaching). Whereas negativity and bigotry would scare people away from Islam and spread wrong and faulty image of this noble religion.
The Model of Abyssinia is best suitable and more convenient to be applied in our modern age, especially with nations we have no war or armed struggle with. Muslims living in majority non-Muslim populations can follow the scheme of Abyssinia, as it would allow for much needed harmonious co-existence, let alone creates the environment for much contribution of the Muslim minorities living in Western societies and helps them effectively integrate into them.
Moral lessons derived from the Scheme of Abyssinia to be applied to our time.
The Model of Abyssinia is greatly significant and replete with values that can be applied in our present time. For example:
1-The diverse soci-econimic and political conditions during the production of scholarly books on many Islamic disciplines were quite instrumental in preferring one scheme of co-existence over another, or laying emphasis on one model of the Prophet's above over another. This has given rise to a biased and even reductionist reading of the Sirah.
2-The Islamic Civilization was at the peak of its glory and strength at its early stages. At this phase, Muslim Jurists and Mujtahids focused on the issues prevalent at their times as there was a crucial need for such responses from their part at the time. They are not to be blamed for that, for every era and period of time requires Islamic Scholars to make Ijtihad on the newly rising matters and changes of the time they live in, on condition they do not violate the general frame of the Islamic law or Sharia as outlined in the Quran and applied by the Noble Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
3-Looking into the scheme of Abyssinia, where Muslims were a small community forced to migrate as a result of oppression and abuse to settle in a Non-Muslim state where they enjoyed a great share of freedom, peacefulness and well-needed protection, one finds that it may have seemed a farfetched model in the 2nd or the 3rd century AH. This may explain why Muslim scholars of that age refrained from applying or promoting the model of Abyssinia and denying it their care and attention, as they did not see it a possible reality. They were also skeptical that time would come where Muslims would feel the need to resort to such scheme for effective coexistence with the other- for; again, the Islamic civilization was at its peak of power and development back then. For them, speaking of living under a foreign power, while Muslims were of extreme power and authority, was not the least suitable alternative or a matter to be considered or bear in mind in the process of extracting legal rulings form the Sharia.
But this reality has changed, so has the status quo of the Muslim community, and there rose a need for the Ummah to consider this model and study its application from the noble life of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and the life of his companions, may Allah be please with them all. Muslims now need to peacefully coexist with the other same way Muslims did upon their settlement in Abyssinia. Muslims now need to look into the example laid by Prophet Muhammad with regards to such model and such circumstances, to follow his footsteps in fostering good relations and creating harmony with Non-Muslims, without compromising the basic principles of Islam or its primary aims and fundamentals.
4-Hence, Muslim Jurists were generally inclined towards the Scheme of Medina, that last state upon which the Prophet, peace be upon him, has left his companions and the Rightly Guided Caliphs, before he died. And there they began asserting this model and preferring it over others as the Madinan scheme represented a model of a powerful state and powerful nation.
5-What this treatise seeks to prove is that all FOUR models or schemes of coexistence laid down by the noble Prophet are valid and universal. None should replace or overwrite the other, yet each fits within a set of circumstances to serve certain needs and deal with a certain reality. The reality of the age Muslims live through is what compels resorting to one model instead of the other, or preferring one scheme instead of the other, in order to achieve harmonious and effective coexistence with Non-Muslims, in a way that would help bring much-needed peace to the world and avoid much unwanted bloodshed and violence.
6-Contemporary Muslim Mujtahids ought to consider these FOUR models and try and delve deep into their implications to discover and extract as much moral lessons and benefits as possible. They have got to exert the needed effort in trying to derive Islamic rulings that would serve the welfare of Muslim individuals and communities alike, grant them their due rights, freedoms as well as needed safety and protection. Expounding new legal rulings based on such FOUR meritorious models would help Muslims establish the required balance between meeting their life needs and fulfilling their religious obligations; such as establishing prayers among other religious rites. It would allow them peacefully coexist with Non-Muslims and avoid much unwanted collision and rifts.
7-Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, never wasted a chance or a situation without seizing it as an opportunity to advice Muslims and give them a glimpse of his noble teachings, even at times of war and calamities. He, pbuh, used to advice them to avoid war instead of pursuing it, and to ask Allah to protect them instead of going to conflicts with Non-Muslims. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, is narrated to have once said: “Do not wish to meet the enemy, but when you meet (face) the enemy, be patient (i.e. stand firm when facing the enemy).” It is not befitting for Muslim scholars to be reluctant in exerting the effort required of them to expound new Islamic rulings, and depending instead on previous edicts or rulings that are the outcome of efforts by scholars that preceded them, those who efficiently fulfilled their mission and did their best in trying to extract accurate Islamic rulings needed for the age they lived in.
The gap Muslims face nowadays between the Islamic legal rulings, the living reality and their welfare keeps widening and unless scholars intervene, Muslims are at the risk of falling into a series of unbearable difficulties.
8-Lastly, the model of Abyssinia, through which the Prophet, peace be upon him, and the early Muslims laid a fine and strong example for effective coexistence with Non-Muslims, invites us to cling to the teachings of our noble Prophet, our role model, and our teacher, pbuh- for those teachings are indeed valid for all ages and all places.
We should try and follow the footsteps of the Prophet, apply his refined teachings, especially those that would help alleviate the rising difficulties of our modern age and guide human individuals and communities to live in much needed harmony and peaceful coexistence.
This is the best, and perhaps the most trusted way for Muslim to effectively integrate into and contribute to their communities. Muslims need to consider the model of Abyssinia to participate and contribute richly to their nations and communities, become one entity, one body with them, instead of being an alienated, undesired organ of that body.
Achieving such end would certainly help Muslims best achieve their religious obligations and establish their Islamic rites, in contrast to what others may mistakenly believe, thinking it would make Muslims dissolve into the shadows of Non-Muslims and cause them to compromise their religious principles and fundamentals. Islam is the religion of truth, it encompasses any other facts and is not to be replaced. It is perfect; free of any imperfection that needs correction.
A good Muslim should not fear changes creeping into the modern age, nor be feared for. But rather he should get exposed to global communities to impact and contribute richly to them, without fearing for the purity of his faith in any way. Islam is a stable and firm religion that cannot be changed or messed up with. Islam is capable of best presenting itself, to spread and reach far and wide, to impact and not get impacted, to influence and not get influence. Muslims should make sure they do not stand as an obstacle hampering the spread of Islam to reach farther nations and communities. But regrettably, the attitudes of some Muslims nowadays tend to give a wrong impression about Islam and might discourage others to learn about this noble and fine religion.
Thus, Muslims need to reconsider their behavior and try to hold fast to the refined and tolerant teachings of Islam, lest they be a reason for spreading a faulty picture of it and thus cause people to refrain. Returning to the path of Allah and pure Islam is what can best serve the image of this religion.
The Scheme of Medina: Phase I
This model or scheme involves the Medina being a homeland shared by Muslims, Jews, Polytheists, and HypocritesIn this Scheme of Medina, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, dealt with the new reality by drafting a constitution organizing the life between all sects living in the city; it was a perfectly tailored political and social covenant that was based on the principles of justice and equality whether in rights or duties. The Covenant of Medina covered people’s right to freely practice their religion and fulfill their obligations, as well as their right to security, freedom and sanctity of their blood and wealth.
The Prophet's, pbuh, and the companions' life in Medina I
The first thing the Prophet did upon arriving in Madina was constructing the Mosque to serve as the first Muslim Community Center. Subsequent to building the Mosque was instituting brotherhood between the immigrants who came from Mecca (Al Muhajirun), and the helpers (Al Ansar):
In building the mosque, the Prophet invited everybody to gather around the Mosque and support its establishment to serve as the first Muslim Community Center. It was also headquarter for leadership and a social center to look into cases of rifts and mend issues between people.
Afterwards, the Prophet, pbuh, was faced with another challenge, that was more or less economic-oriented. Nearly half of the Muslim population back then was originally from Mecca, they were immigrants who abandoned their wealth, trade, houses and all their belongings, to escape the torture and abuse of the disbeliever. This required the Prophet, peace be upon him, much wisdom to address such issue. He, pbuh, then decided to institute brotherhood between the immigrants who came from Mecca (Al Muhajirun), and the helpers (Al Ansar), and the former started sharing the latter their trade and wealth. Ibn Is’haq, narrates:“The Prophet instituted brotherhood among his Companions, Muhajirun and Ansar alike, saying, pbuh, ‘be brothers for the sake of Allah’, and this brotherhood lasted throughout the remaining life of the Prophet in Madina”
Secondly: Concluding a Pact and Establishing Common Ground with the faith Communities in Madina
The first to see and spread news about the arrival of the Prophet in Medina was A Jew. One of Al Ansar was quoted as saying: “The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, came when we were at our houses, and the first to see him was a Jew, who knew we were awaiting the arrival of the Prophet in anticipation, so he shouted out loud saying: ‘O people, He has come’. So we came out to greet the Prophet, peace be upon him, as he was hiding under palm leaves shielding him from the sun, and accompanied by Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him."
The Covenant of Medina:
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah, had to deal with a new reality in Medina, the fact that the city housed people of various beliefs and ethnic backgrounds. There were Muslims, Jews, Christians, disbelievers and the tribes of Al Aws and Al Khazraj. And soon there rose from the community a group of Munafikoon, or Hypocrites. Muslims themselves were divided into Muhajiroon and Ansar. However, and despite this variety of the population, the Prophet sought persistently to establish a strong state that would enjoy genuine peace, solidarity, and harmony, engaging all groups, trends of thought and origins.
He, peace be upon him, concluded the historic Covenant of Medina. It is rightly considered the first Constitution in the world outlining the characteristics of the new State, dealing with people on basis of equality without regard to religion, blood or gender. The covenant stipulated that all members of the community, all citizens, are bound to fight for the sake of the city and should commit to protecting it. The covenant also stated that all members of the community share the same common responsibility of caring for one another, aiding one another, and enjoining what is good for the nation and warding off whatever evil that may threaten it.The covenant stressed that securing the borders of the city was a common responsibility shared by all members of the community, laying strict emphasis on the fine values of equality, mutual care and peaceful coexistence amongst all citizens.
Ibn Ishaq is reported to have said;‘‘And the Messenger of Allah concluded an agreement between the Muhajirun and the Ansar, summoned the Jews to it, bound them and secured them in their religion and possessions.”
Objectives and Articles of the Covenant of Medina:
1-The Covenant of Medina is considered the first constitutions organizing the relation between Muslims and Non-Muslims. The Prophet, pbuh, stated in the covenant: “whoever of the Jews submits to us, he shall have (our) help and support; they shall not be wronged and also no help shall be given against them.” He, pbuh, also said: ”The Jews of Banu Auf are one nation with the Mu’minoon (the believers).”As one clause of the covenant stated: “Verily they are one distinct community against the rest of mankind.”
2-In this Charter of Human Rights, the first of its kind in human history, the constitutional nucleus of a society and state, one finds that Islam has recognized Non-Muslims, especially Jews and Christians living among Muslims, as full citizens of equal rights to protection, respect and freedom. The covenant stipulated: “And verily, the neighbor (stranger) is like the host (protected): neither he be harmed nor he commits offence (treachery). And verily, there shall be no protection to a woman without the consent of her family.
3-This Sahifah (or covenant) is the first written constitution in human history to recognize all sectors of citizens, as they form one nation sharing one homeland. Medina was the first among world countries and nations to establish a strong state that safeguards and recognizes rights of citizenship and works on imbibing in its people a sound sense of identity and belonging.
4-Medina set a good example of a strong state that respects and abides by high moral values, refined manners, a just constitution, and rights of citizenship.
5- Considerable attention should be given to the fine selection of the word “Safe” which the Prophet, peace be upon him, used repetitively throughout the text of the Covenant. It is a general word that covers individuals’ protection, as well as protection of their dignity, reputation, and equality with others, without being discriminated against or ignored due to religion, origin, color, or gender. Safe also covers protection of the family, wealth, freedom of religion … etc.
6-But there were cases where people failed to commit and adhere to this charter or some of its clauses, such as Banu al- Nadhir tribe. At first, Banu al-Nadhir accepted the Prophet’s charter and agreed to commit to it. They agreed to live in peace and harmony with Muslims in Medina, but later on, they went back on their word and withdrew their vow and violated the clauses of the covenant, which they initially accepted. They refused to support the prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and share with Muslims in collecting Blood Money to be given to the heirs of the two people of Banu Aamir who were killed by Amr ibn Umayya al-Dumairi.
It’s worth mentioning that there was a separate pact the Prophet, peace be upon him, had signed with the Jews of Banu al-Nadhir, and it stipulated that they should share and take part in collecting money needed for paying blood moneys. Narrations tell us that there had been many agreements and pacts between Banu Aamir and Banu al-Nadhir, for paying heirs blood money.
- Justice towards People of Medina; as Stipulated in The Covenant:
To achieve justice among all people of Medina, the Covenant was establishedon FOUR main pillars:
1-Peaceful Coexistence amongst all sectors of the society and providing protection and security to all;
According to the Covenant:
“And verily, this writing will not give protection to an oppressor or a sinner; And whoever goes out of Madina has the security and whoever enters Madina has the security; but (no security) to the oppressor and the sinful.
2-Granting Freedom of Belief to all; And this is shown in the Prophet’s statement;
“To Jews, their Deen (Religion), and to the Believers, their Deen (Religion).”
3-Granting equal chance to all to share in the political, social and military life in Medina.
The covenant states:“ And verily, Jews shall bear (their) cost along with the Believers so long as they fight.”
4-Endorsing the principle of individual responsibility: "And verily, none from them (the Jews) are permitted to go to war without the authorization of Muhammad, but he shall not be prevented from taking revenge for injury (wound). (As against this) one who commits murder, he invites catastrophe for himself and for his family, unless he has been wronged. And verily Allah watches honest fulfillment of this article.”
This scheme involves a society that is a rich mixture of population comprising Muslims and Non-Muslims. The Prophet, the first Head of State in the constitutional and political history of humanity, endorsed the principle of citizenship and abiding by law, in this case, the constitution; which was described by Jan Jack Russo as “the social contract”. Here, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, struck a contract amongst all sects of the population in Medina, being all bound to their citizenship and the responsibility to defend their homeland.
Profound understanding of the Sahifa (Covenant):
1-The Constitution has prescribed the notion of a state that houses a community whose members represent a variety of cultures, cults and religions, also coming from different regions, yet are bound by sharing one homeland.
2-The constitution has perfectly addressed the complexity of human relations. For there were blood ties, family connections, and there were religious ties. There were also ties of neighborhood and those of mutual interests. Managing to bring all kinds of connections live in peace and harmony is what was to achieve for individuals and the community sound and lasting social coexistence.
3-What is also noteworthy is the fact that the covenant recognized the Jewish minority as citizens and part of the Islamic state and an important element of it. It also considered Jews of Banu Auf one nation with the Mu’minun (the Believers), stressing that the religious tie should not be an obstacle in the way of that of citizenship. In fact Islam promoted thetie of citizenship and all manners involving it; ranging from social solidarity, respect for others’ religion, dignity and freedom. Respecting the tie of citizenship a duty Islam prescribes on every Muslim.
4-In an Islamic State, Divine sovereignty belongs only to Allah and His Messenger.
The covenant stated: “And verily, whenever there occurs transgression or dispute among the people (ahl) of this (Sahifah)covenant from which villainy may be feared, the matter shall be referred to Allah and to Muhammad, Rasul Allah.
And such statement entails the following:
First; the clarity of text of the covenant which stipulates all that aforementioned, thus, whoever signs it, is committed to the fulfillment of all its clauses.
Second; with all members of the community coming under the shade of Islam, accepting its rule and respecting it, it was quite logical that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, emerges as the ruler, legislator, judge, protector, arbitrator, and defender of the city, in charge of the deciding for the welfare of the society. People referred to him all matters and disputes that arise amongst the community; all acceptants of the Sahifa.
Third; Allah has revealed unto His Messenger a firm, clear and perfect divine law, open to all people to learn about, study and fully grasp, then decide whether it grants them the aspired justice and equality or not. As for Jews, their Jewish doctrine is closed, and only a few of have learned about and fully know their Book. Also a great portion of their law has perished, except for some religious practices. It was apparent that the Jews would not resort to the Covenant of Medina or refer to the noble Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, except in cases of disputes between them and the Muslims. As for matters rising amongst their Jewish Community and those relating to their religion, they had the freedom either to sort them out amongst their own selves by referring to the texts of the Torah, or to refer them to the Prophet to give his ruling. Their Jewish spiritual leader would decide on which side to resort to. But they had the freedom to refer their matter to the Prophet, pbuh, and then they would have to respect and accept his ruling. God says in the Quran;
[They are] avid listeners to falsehood, devourers of [what is] unlawful. So if they come to you, [O Muhammad], judge between them or turn away from them. And if you turn away from them - never will they harm you at all. And if you judge, judge between them with justice. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Al Ma’idah :42)
The Prophet on Banu Quraydha: cases of pardoning were granted. Example include:
1-Thabit bin Qais came to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and said: O Messenger of Allah, I owe Az-Zubayr some favor and I wanted to compensate him for it, so spare me his life. So the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: You have it. Then he went to Az-Zubayr and told him: The Prophet, peace be upon him, spared your life for me, and here I give it to you. Az-Zubayr said: Another old man, without a family or a son, what is he to do with his life? So Thabit went again to the Prophet, pbuh, and said: O Prophet of God, you are dearer than my father and mother, spare me his wife and son, so the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: You have them. So he went to Az-Zubayr and told him: The Prophet, peace be upon him, has spared me your wife and son, here I give them for you. Az-Zubayr replied: A family of a house in Hijaz without money, how bad is their situation. So Thabit went to the Prophet again and told him: O Messenger of Allah, spare me his money. So the Prophet told him: You have it. So Thabit went to Az-Zubayr and told him: The Prophet has spared me your money, so here I return it to you.
2-In another instance, Salma bint Qays, mother of al-Munthir from tribe of Banu Al Najjar, and one of the aunts of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who prayed after the Prophet facing the two Qiblas (towards the Holy Mosque and towards Al Aqsa Mosque) and vowed allegiance to him along with the rest of the Muslim women, once asked him for Refa’a ibn Samwal Al Quraydhi, and he gave him to her, so she spared him his life, and he later embraced Islam.
3-Some of Banu Quraydha entered Islam that night before going to the battlefield and thus spared their lives, wealth and children. The statement “before they go” shows that their decision to embrace Islam was not driven by fear of death or getting killed. They embraced Islam before knowing the decision of Saad ibn Muadh to kill them. This signals that they embraced Islam after negotiating the matter amongst them, and inside their fortresses.
4-Amr ibn Saadi Al Qyraydhi descended from the camps of Banu Quraydha and passed by the guards of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and among them that night was Mohamed ibn Salama. Ibn Salama saw Amr, and he asked; “who is that?”, so Amr answered; “I am Amr ibn Saadi.” Amr had refused to join the Banu Quraydha in their plot against the Prophet, pbuh, saying: “I would never betray the Prophet.” Mohamed ibn Salama said, upon recognizing it was Amr, “O Allah! Do not deprive me the chance to remove the obstacle off the way of the good people.” And he let Amr pass, and he went on, till he reached the gates of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, not knowing where to go. He described his situation to the Prophet, peace be upon him, who said: “This is a man whom Allah has protected with His Shield.”
5-So when adult members of Banu Quraydha gathered before the Prophet, awaiting the execution of Saad’s decision, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, ordered people to bring piles of dates to be distributed among them.
6-The Prophet, peace be upon him, is narrated to have ordered the Muslims to treat the hostages of Banu Quraydha well, to give them food and water, and not to make them suffer the difficulty of the heat of the sun besides that of their guns.
The Scheme of Medina Phase II
Some claim that Medina in the second phase of its formation was void of any religious diversity and that it was home to only the Muslim Community. Nothing can be as far from truth. Islam and true Muslims do not approve of the notion of cleansing the state of majority Muslim population from any other religions or forcing people to either embrace Islam or leave the lands and thus make Islam the only religion in the country.
We can find in the life of the Prophet, peace be upon him, the best example to follow. Medina, up till the death of the Prophet, pbuh, had Jews living peacefully and having prosperous and lucrative business as well. Perhaps in the later stage of Medina, Jews no more had military camps or fortresses or separate communities like they did in the initial stage of the city that witnessed the formation of the society and organizing its life. But there continued to be Jewish citizens. They were civilians who lived peacefully among the Muslim community, they were neither armed nor had military camps.
Jews in the Second Phase of Medina:
1-Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated "A Muslim and a Jew quarreled, and the Muslim said, "By Him Who gave superiority to Muhammad over all the people!" The Jew said, "By Him Who gave superiority to Moses over all the people!' On that the Muslim lifted his hand wanting to slap the Jew. The Jew went to the Messenger of Allah and informed him of all that had happened between him and the Muslim. The Prophet said, "Do not give me superiority over Moses, for the people will fall unconscious on the Day of Resurrection, I will be the first to regain consciousness and behold, Moses will be standing there, holding the side of the Throne. I will not know whether he has been one of those who have fallen unconscious and then regained consciousness before me, or if he has been one of those exempted by Allah (from falling unconscious)."
And this says a lot about the kind of peaceful life Muslims and Jews enjoyed in Medina at the time.
2-Also `Abdullah bin `Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, "Whoever killed a person having a treaty with the Muslims, shall not smell the smell of Paradise though its smell is recognized from a distance of forty years."
3-Abu Dauwud said, based on the narration of Safwan from a number of Companions of the Messenger of Allah on the authority of their fathers who were relatives of each other. The Messenger of Allah said: Beware, if anyone wrongs a man under the covenant of peace, or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyond his capacity, or takes from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for him on the Day of Judgment”.
4-The noble Prophet has set a good example in simply all matters of life, even in visiting the sick of People of the Book. Anas, may Allah be please with him, narrated that a young Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet, peace be upon him, and he became sick. So the Prophet went to visit him. He sat near his head and asked him to embrace Islam. The boy looked at his father, who was sitting there; the latter told him to obey the Prophet and the boy embraced Islam. The Prophet came out saying: "Praises be to Allah Who saved the boy from the Hell-fire." The Hadith proves that there were Jews living among the Muslims, enjoying much peaceful coexistence. And the Prophet, peace be upon him, was keen on treating them well, paying them their due rights and fulfilling all social obligations towards them same way as Muslims; visiting their sick and caring for the neighbors, without any discrimination against them.
5-It is narrated that during the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him, some companions had sought to protect a Muslim thief from punishment, presenting a Jewish man instead of him to bear the punishment, and thereupon Allah revealed 6 verses of the Quran- of Surah al-Nisaa in defense of the right of the Jew, and urging people to be just. The verses read: “Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth so you may judge between the people by that which Allah has shown you. And do not be for the deceitful an advocate. And seek forgiveness of Allah. Indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful. And do not argue on behalf of those who deceive themselves. Indeed, Allah loves not one who is a habitually sinful deceiver. They conceal [their evil intentions and deeds] from the people, but they cannot conceal [them] from Allah, and He is with them [in His knowledge] when they spend the night in such as He does not accept of speech. And ever is Allah, of what they do, encompassing. Here you are - those who argue on their behalf in [this] worldly life - but who will argue with Allah for them on the Day of Resurrection, or who will [then] be their representative? And whoever does a wrong or wrongs himself but then seeks forgiveness of Allah will find Allah Forgiving and Merciful. And whoever commits a sin only earns it against himself. And Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. But whoever earns an offense or a sin and then blames it on an innocent [person] has taken upon himself a slander and manifest sin.” (al-Nisaa 106-112)
This story paints a clear picture of how Islam has set the foundation of peaceful coexistence based on pillars of justice, harmony and tolerance towards Non-Muslims and within a majority Muslim society. It was in that civil state first founded by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, through which he, pbuh, promoted justice and ensured its application on all sects of the society, without regard to their religions or origins, The Prophet was just to all; Muslims and Non-Muslims alike.
6-Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, would accept a present, but would not accept alms (sadaqah). And Wahb bin Baqiyyah narrated to us, elsewhere, from Khalid, from Muhammad ibn Amr said on the authority of Abu Salamah, and he did not mention the name of Abu Hurayrah: The Messenger of Allah used to accept presents but not alms (sadaqah).This version adds: So a Jewess presented him at Khaybar with a roasted sheep which she had poisoned. The Messenger of Allah ate of it and the people also ate. He then said: Take away your hands (from the food), for it has informed me that it is poisoned. Bishr ibn al-Bara' ibn Ma'rur al-Ansari died. So he (the Prophet) sent for the Jewess (and said to her): What motivated you to do the work you have done? She said: If you were a prophet, it would not harm you; but if you were a king, I should rid the people of you. The Messenger of Allah then ordered regarding her and she was killed. He then said about the pain of which he died: I continued to feel pain from the morsel which I had eaten at Khaybar. This is the time when it has cut off my aorta..”
The Prophet has pardoned the Jewish woman, however she was killed in retaliation for the man who died as a result of eating her poisoned food. The incident, however, did not drive the Prophet to express any feelings of animosity or hatred towards the Jews living in Medina, nor did he think of expelling them.
7-Lady Aisha, wife of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, died while his (iron) armor was mortgaged to a Jew for thirty pounds of barley.
Up till the death of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, there had been a Jew working in the field of wheat trade. The Jew did not mind to take the iron armor of the Prophet, pbuh, as mortgage, nor did the Prophet, pbuh, mind giving it to him.
Thus, all aforementioned instances narrated from the Sunnah of the Prophet, makes it crystal clear that Jews lived as individuals and groups in Medina, even through its second phase. The Prophet, peace be upon him, allowed the Jews of Khaybar, and they were known to be the biggest Jewish Community, to stay and share in the development and of Medina. They were left to cultivate their lands and live peacefully among Muslims.
Groups of Hypocrites and Apostates who lived in Medina in the Second Phase
1-Some companions had reportedly engaged in actions similar to that of the Hypocrites, such as betraying and uncovering the secrets of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Hatib did that once and the Prophet pardoned him and asked Allah to forgive him.
2-The hypocrites back then, were considered the fierce religious and political opposition group in Medina. They plotted and conspired against the Prophet, pbuh, at times of peace and war. But did this compel the Prophet to deal with them harshly? On the contrary, he was patient and lenient towards them. Ibn al-Talla’ says in his collection of rulings: The Prophet was never reported to have killed an apostate or a hypocrite. The life of the Prophet, peace be upon him, abounds with examples showing his patience in dealing with the terrible acts of the hypocrites, even though they were apostates and atheists, and despite their evil plots and dishonesty and betrayal, examples of which are:
a- Marba' bin Qaizi:
Marching to the battle of Uhud, the Muslim army, led by the Prophet, peace be upon him, passed by the Ha’it (i.e. the field) of Marba‘ bin Qaizi, who was a blind hypocrite. When Marba‘realized that they were the Prophetic army, he started throwing dust at their faces, so they rushed to kill him, but the Prophet stopped them, saying:
“Do not kill him. He is blind in heart and eyes.” Marba' bin Qaizi, was one of the Hypocrites who expressed loyalty and belief in Islam, while in reality were atheists.
b- The Prophet, peace be upon him, was the kindest of people in dealing with his enemies. He was lenient, tolerant, and kind to them as a way of avoiding their evil, and perhaps containing it. Lady Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated;“A man asked permission to enter upon the Prophet. When the Prophet saw him, he said, "What an evil brother of his tribe! And what an evil son of his tribe!" When that man sat down, the Prophet behaved with him in a nice and polite manner and was completely at ease with him. When that person had left, 'Aicha said (to the Prophet). "O Messenger of Allah! When you saw that man, you said so-and-so about him, then you showed him a kind and polite behavior, and you enjoyed his company?" the Messenger of Allah said, "O 'Aicha! Have you ever seen me speaking a bad and dirty language? (Remember that) the worst people in Allah's sight on the Day of Resurrection will be those whom the people leave (undisturbed) to be away from their evil (deeds)."
c- And here is proof of the Prophet’s kindness and patience in dealing with the hypocrites. Although, he, peace be upon him, had known their identity and exact names through divine revelation, he never uncovered or spoke of their reality to people, in hope that they may wake up to the truth of Islam and become Muslims one day. The Prophet had known exactly who were the hypocrites as he was ordered, through divine commandment, not to offer funeral prayer for their death nor ask Allah to forgive them. In a holy verse of the Quran, Allah says: “O Prophet, fight against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh upon them. And their refuge is Hell, and wretched is the destination.”( al-Tawbah:73) So he knew them very well, yet preferred to hide their reality, giving them a chance to repent and thus earn salvation.
The Prophet on Cases of Apostasy in Medina
1- Jabir bin `Abdullah narrated that a Bedouin gave the Pledge of allegiance to the Messenger of Allah for Islam and the Bedouin got a fever where upon he said to the Prophet "Cancel my Pledge." But the