Thursday, September 16, 2010

Islam in Medina|Islam The Straight Path|Islamic Teachings|Quran Guidance

Article first published as Islam in Medina on Blogcritics.

We have thus far looked at Muhammed's (pbuh) entry into Medina, and we have briefly touched on the special relationship the Prophet (pbuh) had with that city. We discussed the mixed emotions that each one— those who witnessed this momentous occasion— grappled with as they watched him alighting from his camel and working his way through the crowd.

Young girls continued singing his praises, moving rhythmically from side to side, some with awe and admiration on their faces, others calling out his name and trying to touch him.

They could see his lips moving; they could hear him mutter words like: 'O Allah! You are the Greatest! You are the Greatest! Only You are worthy of all Praise! You are Exalted! Most High!'

Muhammed (pbuh) let his she-camel roam ahead while he himself followed sedately, muttering the praises of God continuously. And the animal proudly swung its head from side to side, sniffing the air, not looking at the throng, almost sensing that its master was no ordinary man, blowing haughtily through its nostrils as if to tell everyone present that she had been entrusted with the special task of finding a suitable abode for this very special person.

The camel finally came to a halt in the courtyard of Sahl and Suhail, the two twins from the Ansars, and the Prophet (pbuh) announced to all those who listened to him that that was where he was going to build the first mosque in Islam, as well as a living quarters for himself.

There were those, of course, who felt that with the coming of Muhammed (pbuh) a new political system was going to be inevitable, such as the Aus and Al-Khazraj, two tribes from the 'Unbelievers' whose sole purpose was to cause division between the Muslims and Jews, and who regarded Medina as a sort of free-for-all, ready for a strong takeover by themselves.

The Jews, on the other hand, had some sort of secret hope concerning the arrival of Muhammed (pbuh). They harbored the ideal that Muhammed (pbuh)— like Jesus, whom they had relied on to help them against the Romans— would join their ranks and bolster their resistance against the Christians whom they bore a grudge against for having expelled them from Palestine.

But before we can explore any sort of relationship Muhammed (pbuh) had with either the Jews or Christians, or with the Unbelievers, for that matter, we have to look at the social structure of Medina, per se.

There were the local Arabs of Medina, called the Ansars, and then there were the newcomers from Mecca, called the Muhajireen, loosely translated as immigrants.

The Jews, for their part, formed a large part of the indigenous community. There were the Banu Qaynuqa, the Banu Qurayzah, and the Banu al-Nadir who lived in and around the City. And, to the North, were the Jews of Khaybar, who, as history tells us, stirred up a lot of problems for the Muslims.

Muhammed's (pbuh) first task was thus to strengthen whatever ties there existed between the Ansars and Muhajireen and establish some sort of council that could regulate the affairs of the Muslims in Medina. The dangers of previous enmities and prejudices were something not to be taken lightly and Muhammed (pbuh) knew that he had to strike the iron while it was still hot. Medina's new-found Islam could not be left to chance.

He thus called upon the Ansars and the Muhajireen to fraternize with one another, bind themselves in pairs, and form a brotherhood for the sake of God. He explained to them that like he and Ali ibn Abu Talib were brothers, Abu bakr and Kharijah ibn Zayd, Umar ibn Al Khattab and Itban ibn Malik al Khazraji, were brothers; so too he desired for each one of the Muhajireen to link himself to an Ansar and to perpetuate this brotherhood of Islam.

So effective proved this idea that as time progressed a genuine blood link developed amongst the Muslims, so that the enemies of Islam had their work cut out in trying to divide the Muslims over petty issues.
Medina then became known as Medina-tul-Rasool, or the City of the Prophet (pbuh).

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