An outline of
Early Islamic History
by N. R. A. G. Soofi
Medina is an old town. It lies some two hundred miles north of Mecca across
the trade route between the Hijaz and Syria. Cold in winter and hot in summer,
Medina has plenty of rain. It is a valley dotted with hills. People lived
there in villages. Each tribe had his own village, its own fort. There were
Jews and pagans. Jews had three tribes - Banu Nadhir, Banu Quraiza
and Banu Qainqa
. The pagan tribes were Aus
Jews were smart traders. They held great power. There had been plenty of
trouble between Jews and pagans. Jews succeeded in dividing pagans, making
them fight among themselves. There was a big war between Aus and Khazraj.
It is called the war of Buas
. The Banu Qainqa Jews aided the Khazraj
and Banu Nadhir and Banu Quraiza Jews helped the Aus. There was much killing.
When both Aus and Khazraj became exhausted, they realized their mistake
and made peace. Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul became their chief. It was
at this time that Islam made its way into Medina.
The Jews did not like the new religion. Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul
did not like the Prophet. The Quresh were bitter enemies of Islam. The
future of Medina was in the hands of God. Muslims were no doubt comparatively
safe now. But security was yet far off. The drums of war could be heard
from a distance.
The Ansar treated the Muhajirs with great kindness. The gave the equal
share in their trade, in their gradens and in their crops. The Prophet
formed bonds of brotherhood between two groups. One Ansari and one Muhajir
were made brothers. The Muhajirs started business. Some grew well off.
They all lived as good Muslims loving one another like real brothers.
Next the Prophet made a pact with the Jews and the other tribes of Medina.
It was agreed that both non-Muslims and Muslims should live peacefully.
Both should enjoy freedom of faith. Both would respect life and property.
In all disputes the Prophet was to be Judge. Nobody was to go to war without
his consent. Parties to the pact were to fight together against their enemies.
Both agreed to defend Medina. The Jews promised not to aid the Quresh or
Islam now had a state and a government. It had now a law and it had
a head, the Prophet.
The Quresh were very furious. The Prophet had escaped. His friends had found
refuge in Medina. Islam had found a home. It had found a following. They
decided to fight. So they began to get ready. They made friends with many
tribes. They sent their agents all over Arabia to war against the Prophet.
They wrote a letter to the people of Medina which said:
"Fight Muhammad. At least turn him out of your town. Otherwise
we will wage war on you. Then we will slay all your men take away your
The Meccans also changed their normal caravan routes and took to routes
lying through areas around Medina and incited local tribes against Muslims.
Muslims were in great fear. They had to keep watch at night. Some were armed
even when asleep. The Prophet would keep awake the whole night. Almost a
whole year went by in this manner. God then commanded Muslims to prepare
to meet force with force. They were few and the Quresh were many. They were
poor and the Quresh were rich. They were without friends. The Quresh had
all Arabia with them. But God promised them victory. For, they were not
the first to draw the sword. They had faith in the word of God and His great
Prophet. They had been forced out of their homes. They had lost everything.
All they wanted was peace. But the Quresh wanted their blood. Muslims were
helpless. The Quresh were active among the tribes. The Prophet too was alert.
He took very wise step to meet the enemy.
- He sent out small scout parties to report on enemy movements in the
- He made treaties of friendship with tribes around Medina.
The Quresh were on the war path. Their letter to the chiefs of Medina had
not been answered. They decided to attack Medina. First a small party of
Meccans raided a place three miles outside the town. It made off with some
camels belonging to Muslims.
[ Early Islamic History ]