The 9th year of Hijrah, known as the year of ‘Aam Al-Wufood or “The Year of Delegations” where various tribes came forward to accept Islam and make treaties with the Muslims.
This lecture was recorded on 29th October 2014
The 9th year of Hijrah, known as the year of ‘Aam Al-Wufood or “The Year of Delegations” where various tribes came forward to accept Islam and make treaties with the Muslims.
This lecture was recorded on 29th October 2014
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1) Although we are discussing it now as is custom, the delegations did not just occur in the 9th year after Tabuk. Rather they actually began probably around the battle of Ahzab in the 5th year right to the end of the prophet PBUHs life. And there are plenty of delegations found in ibn Ishaaq, ibn Hishaam, Al Waaqidi etc. Some scholars have attempted all of them togethers including ibn Kathir. Later scholars build on the classical books, and these days we have in depth dissertations on the delegations of the prophet PBUH. An indian scholar wrote a 250 page book on the delegations that has now became the standard reference for any and all delegations. So the delegations occured over a long period but to pause every time and talk about a delegation would be repetetive. This is why scholars lump them all after Tabuk as we are doing now.
2) No standard book of tafsir lists the delegations because it simply gets boring. So what happens is that, here is where the seerah talks simply gloss over the bulk of the delegations since it’s not that relevant to us. So we will illustrate maybe 10 or 15 delegations which make up only 10% of the actual amount.
So why is the 9th year called the year of delegations? Because the frequency of delegations reached its height. What is a delegation? It is when a tribe sends a representative to negotiate with the prophet PBUH. Delegations dosen’t mean they are embracing Islam. It simply means some negotitation – yes they might embrace Islam, but others might hesitate and wait. The third group were hypocrites who were just pretending to embrace and as soon as the prophet PBUH died they left Islam. Then there were those who openely said “we won’t be muslim but let’s have a peace treaty”. We also had another extreme of delegations of threat; an example is Musaylama al Khazab (the liar). He met the prophet PBUH and he was the head of delegation from his tribe in Yamama. He attempted to negotiate “you have half the Earth I’ll take other half”. The point is the 9th year is the year in which delegations became so frequent the entire year is called the year of delegations. After the conquest of Mecca and especially after Tabuk, where the muslims by default won since the other side didn’t show up, it sealed the fate for the rest of the arabs. Why? Because if there was any capital of Arabia it was Mecca. And if there was a primary tribe it was the Quraysh. So with Mecca and Quraysh conquered, there is no rallying force against the muslims. The rest of the tribes know they cannot put up a fight. Of course they tried to in Ahzab and others under the Quraysh but that didn’t work. So with the conquest of Mecca, Hunayn and battle of Tabuk it’s a done deal. Either the tribes embrace Islam or they make a peace treaty or they go into all out war as Musaylama tried. By the way at this stage you were allowed to be a pagan in Arabia – in the 6th, 7th, 8th year you were allowed via a peace treaty. But in the 9th year that’s when the announcement came when the first verses of surah Tawbah were revealed and Allah says “after four months you have to leave”. The point is, in this year, because of the changes of the political landscape, the surrounding tribes had to embrace Islam or negotiate and that is why this year is called the year of delegations.
We will discuss around 15 delegations – discussing any more will give us no real benefit. We begin with the delegation of Abdul Kays. The tribe of Abdul Kays lived in the area Bahrain – back then, Bahrain was not the island, it was the land close to the island we know now. Many of the people were christian, some pagans etc so there was a mixture. The tribe of Abdul Kays sent two delegations. The first was in the 5th year of the hijrah, and this is considered to be perhaps the first ever delegation the prophet PBUH recieved. Then the tribe sent a second delegation in the 9th year i.e. year of delegations. Why is this signficant? It’s said the tribe was the first tribe outside the hijaaz to accept Islam voluntarily. Therefore this is a great matter of pride for this tribe. A special significance for us is that, in the 5th year of the Hijrah bordering on Persia, they’ve heard of Islam, the message has reached them, they are interested so they send representatives. So in the 5th year a small group converted to Islam and arrived in Madinah. It’s mentioned the prophet PBUH was once giving the khutbah and predicted “soon a delegation will come to you, and they are the best people from the east”. So in a day or two Umar RA was in the marketplace when he saw a group of delegates arrive as the prophet PBUH predicted. He jumped up and rejoiced and said “I give you the good news for the prophet PBUH said you are the best people”. And all of the delegates rushed to meet the prophet PBUH except for the youngest among them, his nickname was ‘al Asaj ibn al-Kays’ (the wounded one) who is a famous sahabi.
As for al Asaj, he stayed behind, cleansed himself, took a bath, wore some good garments, put on perfume, and then went to meet the prophet PBUH. In other words he took time to prepare himself and then comes. And the prophet PBUH says “Ya Asaj you have two characteristics Allah and His messenger love them”. Al Asaj said what is that? And the prophet PBUH replied “you can control your tempter (forberance), and you don’t act hastily (calm and collected)”. this is a very famous hadith that occured in this story in the 5th year. So al Asaj says “these two characteristics, have I developed them or has Allah given them to me?” It’s a very clever question. The prophet PBUH said “no Allah implanted them in you”. This shows us that at some level there is an element beyond your control. Some people are short tempered etc. So al Asaj very cleverly responded “all praise be to Allah who has implanted in me characteristics that He loves”. And al Asaj is a very famous sahabi because of this.
Then the delegates said “ya RasulAllah between us and you is the tribe of Mudar, a pagan tribe, and they are fighting us so we can only come to you in the sacred months (i.e. we won’t be able to come for a year), so tell us something that will cause us to enter Jannah and we can teach our people when we go back”. So clearly this is an intellegent tribe. This hadith is in Bhukari and Muslim so it is fully authentic, and it’s a very famous hadith which has alot of theological implications. The prophet PBUH responded “I command you to have imaan in Allah, and do you know what is imaan? That you say the shahada, pray the prayers, fast Ramadan and pay zakat.” And he stopped there – he didn’t mention Hajj because it’s the 5th year of the Hijrah and there is no Hajj. Why is this a theological hadith? Because he said “do you know what is imaan?” And then the prophet PBUH listed the pillars of Islam. So he defined imaan with same defintion of Islam that is found in the hadith of Jibreel AS. This is why the hadith is very deeply discussed, i.e. what is imaan, what is Islam and what is their relationship? The delegates also mentioned they live in a cold climate so asked if they could drink alcohol. The prophet PBUH forbade them from doing so, and he literally listed all the different types of alcohol one by one which are forbidden. It is said that, they were the first group to build a masjid outside the hijaaz, and they were the first to pray juma’a.
The second delegation is that of Banu Sa’ad ibn Bakr. Halima, the foster mother/carer of the prophet PBUH when he was an infant, was from the tribe of Banu Sa’ad. So this tribe as we discussed a while ago would come down to Mecca and take care of the children of Quraysh. And the Banu Sa’ad is one of the subtribes of Hawaazim which fought alongside the Quraysh at Ahzab. So the delegates sent at the time was not a muslim. The tribe was meant to negotiate a treaty, and this took place before one of the most important delegations which was that of Ta’if. So before takeef this tribe comes, and negotiates a peace treaty. They send one of elders Dimam ibn Sa’laba. Recall the main difference between Hawaazim and Takeef was that Takeef was residents of Ta’if, but Hawaazim lived around Ta’if. So they are bedouins. This means in terms of their manners they were rough. So the Hawaazim cheifton comes in, and he was a very hairy scruffy man with two ponytails. And this is common amongst the bedouins that they had ponytails. So ibn Sa’laba comes in, brings his camel all the way to the door of the masjid; then he barges in and says “where is the son of Abdul Muttalib”. SubhanAllah we see the wisdom of why Allah chose the prophet PBUH to have the most prestigious lineage. This is a bedouin, ignorant, crude and unlettered. Yet he knows Abdul Muttalib and he knows the man claiming to be a prophet is his grandson. So this no doubt has an impact on his thinking and embracing Islam. That “if I will embrace a religion let it at least be from someone with lineage and prestigue”. If we go back to Hunayn what was the prophet PBUH saying? “I am the true prophet, and I am the grandson of Abdul Muttalib”. At that time that was the rallying call needed so the prophet PBUH used it. In any case the prophet PBUH said “I am the son of Abdul Muttalib”.
So Dimam points at the prophet PBUH and says “you are Muhammad?” And the prophet PBUH said “yes I am Muhammad”. So Dimam says “I will ask you, and I will be very tough with you, so don’t get angry with you”. So the prophet PBUH said “ask what you wish”. So Dimam said “your envoy came to us, and he told us that Allah has sent you”. So the prophet PBUH said “he has spoken the truth”. So the bedouin says “who created the heavens, skies and Earth?” The prophet PBUH said “Allah”. Then Dimam says “So I ask you by the One who created the heavans, skies and Earth, I ask you by Allah, are you swearing Allah has sent you to us?” From his simple mind he is thinking if the prophet PBUH swears by Allah he can’t lie. So the prophet PBUH said “I swear by Allah I have been sent by him”. So Dimam said “your envoy also said we have to pray 5x a day, so I ask you by the One who sent you did Allah command us to pray 5x a day?” The prophet PBUH said “Yes”. And then the series of questions go on about zakat, fasting and hajj – note hajj is mentioned because this is the 9th year of the Hijrah. According to some narrations this is the same man who said “do I have to pray anything more than the fard 5 prayers?” And the prophet PBUH said “no unless you want to”. So then he said “do I have one penny more than zakat – do I have to fast one day outside Ramadan? etc” THe prophet PBUH said “no unless you want to”. So he finishes the whole hadith, then the bedouin says “I swear by the One who has sent you that I shall follow this and not increase or decrese one bit”. The prophet PBUH said “if he is true then he shall enter Jannah” i.e. this is the bare minimum of Islam – if you do all this and avoid the major sins you have done your job. Its said when Dimam returned back to his people, he was the one who started preaching to his people – he was so respected by his community that the same day he returned, the entire tribe converted to Islam. And the same day he returned he destroyed the idols in his town. And its said no other delegate had as much impact as Dimam i.e. the entire tribe converted in one day. No doubt there is some type of barakah in this tribe because Halima is from them.
Also there is an interesting miracle reported when the tribe of Muzayana came. The entire tribe came to embrace Islam. When they wanted to return home the prophet PBUH said to Umar RA “ya Umar give them the food they need to return”. SO he needs to provide them with food to last for a few weeks. SO Umar RA says “ya RasulAllah I only have one bag of dates at home”. So the prophet PBUH said again “ya Umar give them the food they need to return”. So Umar RA said “I will do that”. So he goes back to his home, and lo and behold his entire room was full of dates to the ceiling. SubhanAllah. The whole room was full of dates; and when he saw this he called the tribe and all 400 of them took and filled their sack of dates. The last one who exited said “I looked back and the pile of dates was just as it was when we began taking our provisions from it”.
Not all tribes ended so positively – some tribes had some issues even though they accepted Islam, in paticular the Banu Asad ibn Kuzayma. They were 10 people who entered loudly in the masjid, and they said “Oh messenger of Allah we testify that we are muslims, and we would like you to know that we have come to you without you sending anyone. And we’ve accepted Islam without you fighting us. So we aren’t like the other arabs. And we’ve travelled in the darkness and the cold in order to come to you”. So they kept on bragging about what they have done. Allah revealed about this tribe “they think they have done you a favour by embracing Islam – NO, Allah has done them a favour”. And Allah says ‘if you are truly muslims, you should be thankful Allah has made you muslim’.
Another interesting tribe was that of Banu Amr ibn Sa’sa. This is the tribe that was responsible for the well of Bi’r Maoona. one of the main instigators, Amr ibn Tufayl, physically came to Madinah as apart of the delegates but he had no intention of embracing Islam. Then ibn Tufayl said to his henchman “let us get rid of his man”. Note this is taking place in the 7th/8th year. Most likely this is taking place before the conquest of Mecca because once Mecca is conquered its hopeless for any tribe to do anything against the muslims. So this is a small assassination attempt. Amr ibn Tufayl says “I will distract him with a series of questions, and I when I give you the signal, you pull out a dagger and stab him”. Most likely it was a poisionous dagger. So when they came into the prophet PBUH, Amr ibn Tufayl said “give us a private audience”. And the prophet PBUH said “No until you embrace Islam”. He tried asking again but the prophet PBUH declined. When he realised it wasn’t going to happen, he gave his henchman Arbad the secret signal. But Arbad did not do anything. The conversation continues but again Arbad does not do anything. The third time when Arbad dosen’t do anything, ibn Tufayl realises it won’t happen. So to conclude the discussion he tells the prophet PBUH “I give you three options: if you want, you take charge of the people of the cities and I will take charge of the bedouins” i.e. he wants to split leadership. “If not, then the second option, you make me the leader after you. If you don’t do this, there will be an army against you from my side”. Look at the arrogance of this man.
And so the prophet PBUH refused to accept any of the conditions and he said “Allah will stop me. ‘Oh Allah I put you in charge of being sufficient from against Amr ibn Tufayl’ and guide his people”. This was the prophetic methodalogy that even though the prophet PBUH is asking Allah to take care of this man, he still wants guidance for his people. After they felt Amr became furious with Arbad. He said “what is wrong with you, you are considered to be the strongest amongst all the people”. Arbad said “don’t get angry, when I entered upon the prophet PBUH it was my intention. But I could only see you and not him. Every time you are giving me the signal I could only see you!” So Allah directly protected the prophet PBUH as He has done multiple times. Both of them suffered a very evil demise eventually. As for Amr ibn Tufayl, its said on the way back to his tribe, he stopped at the house of a prostitute and spent the night there. In the middle of the night he was inflicted with a disease which spread through his body. When he realised he’s about to die he says “Amr ibn Tufayl will die on this house?!” So he mounted his horse and fled away in the darkness because he didn’t want to die in such a location. So he literally fled and died at a random place. As for Arbad, he returns to his tribe and says something bad about Allah. Lo and behold the next day he went out on his camel, and in front of his community lightening came from the heavans and destroyed both him and his camel. It’s said he is the reference for Surah Ra’ad verse 12, 13:
12. It is He who shows you lightening, [causing] fear and aspiration, and generates the heavy clouds.
13. And the thunder exalts [ Allah ] with praise of Him – and the angels [as well] from fear of Him – and He sends thunderbolts and strikes therewith whom He wills while they dispute about Allah ; and He is severe in assault.
Another delegation is that of Tamim ad Dari, who was a christian from a northen tribe. He came as a delegate embracing Islam. His story is narrated by Fatimah bint Kays, who was one of the sahabiat who immigrated to both Abyssinia and Madinah, so she completed both hijrahs. Fatimah narrates she was in her idaat when she heard a voice saying “come to the prayer”. And so she went to the masjid of the prohpet PBUH and she said “I was in the womens row closes to the men”. When the prohpet PBUH finished the prayer he went onto the mimbar and his face was beaming. He said “let every person stay in his place. Do you know I’ve called you? By Allah I haven’t called you for a lecture, rather I have called you to hear the story of Tamim ad Dari. He was a christian and he has become a muslim, and he has said something that agrees with what I’ve been telling you about dajjal.” So the hadith we will go into now is all about dajjal. This entire story occurs in the 9th year. So the prohpet PBUH is telling the story that “Tamim said he sailed in a ship with 30 men and they were tossed by the waves of the sea and were lost for a month. Until they crashed onto an island at sunset and they were in a small boat. They met a beast with a great deal of hair. And they became scared and said ‘what are you?’ He said ‘I am the jasalsa (this is the name given to the creature of dajjal)’. Tamim said ‘what is the jasalsa?’ The creature said ‘come to the place where the man is waiting to meet you’. Tamim said ‘when we heard there is a man with this creature as his messenger we became more terrified’.” Then the hadith said “we found the hugest man we had ever seen, bound strongly in chains. With his hands tied to his neck; his legs bound from the knees to the ankles with iron shackles. And we said ‘who are you?’ So he said ‘tell me who are you’. They said ‘we are people of Arabia who are stranded on this Island of yours and we took our smaller boats looking for food and water. We met this creature who brought us to you, and we are wondering are you a devil or a man?’ So the man said ‘tell me about the date palms of the trees of Baysan. I am asking you whether they are fruitful. They said ‘yes’. He said ‘its only a matter of time they will go barren and dry’.
Then he said ‘tell me about the lake of Thabariya – is there still water in the lake?’ They said ‘yes alot of water’. He said ‘soon it will dry up’. Then he said ‘tell me the spring of Zubur is there still water there and do the people go crops?’ They said ‘yes’. Then he said ‘tell me about the unlettered prophet and what he has done’. Tamim replied ‘he’s left Mecca and settled in Yathrib’. So this entity said ‘have the Arabs fought against him?’ They said ‘yes’. He said ‘what was the verdict?’ They said ‘we are told he prevailed over the Arabs and they’ve all shown obediance to him’. So this entity said ‘has it really happened?’ They said ‘yes’. Then the entity said ‘if it is so, then it is better for them to show obediance to him. Now I will tell you about myself. I am the dajjal. And soon Allah will give me permission to emerge. I will come travelling in the lands, I won’t spare any town. I’ll stay in every town for 40 nights except for Mecca and Thayba (Madinah). On every road into these cities there will be angels guarding it”. This is the story of Tamim. The prophet PBUH then goes on. Fatimah says the prophet PBUH was standing on the mimbar with his staff and he began hitting the pulpit saying “this is Thayba, this is Thayba, this is Thayba. Didn’t I tell you about this before?” The people said “yes”. The prophet PBUH said “this is why I like this story about Tamim because it proves what I told you about Mecca, Madinah and dajjal. But he (dajjal) is in the east, east and east”. Fatimah narrates she memorised this hadith from the prophet PBUH.
Now this hadith is narrated in Sahih Muslim, and this is why it’s caused many issues. The fact is this hadith is unique in its narration of a number of things. Firstly the jasalsa, secondly the dajjal is alive right now chained to some wall in some island. Frankly, no one has really resolved this with other traditions that seem to suggest dajjal will be born at a future date. This is why some scholars have cast doubts on his hadith even if it is in Sahih Muslim. One such scholar is ibn Uthaymeen. Ibn Uthaymeen says his hadith seems to contradict others, for example, one hadith it is narrated the prophet PBUH came out one night and said “every single person on this Earth will be dead in 100 years”. The sheikh says “how then can the dajjal be one an island somewhere?” Further there are other issues, that the dajjal is reported to be a short, stocky man. Whereas this hadith mentions he is a giant. It’s also mentioned the dajjal will be born to a couple who was waiting for a child for a long time but it didn’t happen.
Also dajjal has kafir written on the forehead but Tamim dosen’t mention this. And the single most characterisitic of dajjal is his one eye, but Tamim has nothing on this. Based on this, some scholars have said something dosen’t seem right about this hadith.
The students of ibn Uthaymeen weren’t happy about this because it is in Sahih Muslim. By the way, note that Bhukari is a whole another level above Sahih Muslim. The fact that Bhukari dosen’t have this hadith means Bhukari himself didn’t like the hadith to his standards. Another very interesting thing that dosen’t make sense is the very famous contraversy of ibn Sayad. He was a magician from a jewish tribe from Madinah. At one point even the prophet PBUH was unsure whether this person was the dajjal or not, to the extent the prophet PBUH went to quiz and test him. Umar RA until his death would swore ibn Sayad is the dajjal. Yet if the hadith of Fatimah is true, why is Umar worried about this man? The point is this one hadith gives us details that seem to conflict with the entire narrative of dajjal. Thus some scholars have rejected the hadith. Note though hadiths are not judged based on out intellect or feelings. If it dosen’t make sense to us, that is not a legitimate reason to reject it. However, with this hadith, it appears the Quran and Sunnahs narrative of the dajjal is clearly constructed but this one hadith throws a spanner in the entire narrative. The chain of the hadith is As-Sha’bi from Fatimah. And As-Sha’bi was a tabioon who was known to take alot from storytellers, so there is a weakness in the chain. If however the hadith is authentic then we believe it. In the opinion of sheikh yasir qadhi, something dosen’t seem right about it.