The Prophet is in the society of Hilf al-Fudul

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) had reached twenty years of age.

Many people had lost their lives in the Battles of Fijar in which much blood was shed. As a result, the feeling of hostility had further sharpened among Arab tribes. At every moment, the smallest reasons had the potential of causing the break-up of great incidents, like someone getting killed or tribes attacking one another.

There was no sense of security in terms of life, property, and dignity for those who came from outside of Mecca. Anyone could take any foreigner’s property he wanted without paying a single penny. The weak and helpless were being subjected to all kinds of persecution and they did not have the courage to show defiance.

A solution had to be found for this situation that spread savagery. These actions that were unbefitting to human dignity had to be stopped. Yet, what could be done?

These were the matters that people with integrity, those whose conscience felt tormented amid the injustice, and those who were consistently thinking about the community’s safety and social order, wanted to resolve.

The Seized Goods of the man from Zabid!

The last straw was when As bin Wail, a leading figure of the city, extorted the goods of someone from the Zabid tribe of Yemen.

Every door that the Zabidi tribesman had knocked on for help was being shut on his face. Finally, he went up the Abu Qubays Mountain and attempted to notify the Qurayshis of the insults and injustice that he faced in a loud voice. And it was from this summit that that he summoned the community for help. (1)

This invitation awoke the minds that were contemplating the miserable circumstances in their society. They immediately huddled together and looked for a solution to resolve the corruption and illegitimate behavior that was taking place. Our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) uncle, Zubayr was the first person who attempted to gather prominent figures and the reputable elderly in one place in respect to this matter. (2)

Hashim, Muttalib, Zuhra, Asad, Harith, and many of leading figures from the sons of Taym met in the home of Abdullah bin Juda, who was considered to be the oldest person in Mecca and one of the wealthiest and influential of men. It was there, in his home, that the “Hilf al-Fudul” alliance was established.

After they spoke and discussed at great length, they decided on the following articles:

1- No person will be subjected to persecution, regardless of whether he/she is a native of Mecca or an outsider.

2- From now on, there will be no opportunities for cruelty to occur. An oppressor’s cruelty will not be overlooked and there will be no further opportunities for oppression to be inflicted.

3- We will push for the rights of the downtrodden until they are obtained. (3)

Promising they would persevere in upholding these testaments, the members of the alliance made the following oath:

“We will persevere with our oath till the seas do not have enough water to wet a strand of hair, till the mountains are wiped away, and until the act of istilam (the act of rubbing the Hajarul-Aswad while circumambulating the Kaaba. If it cannot be rubbed due to big crowds, then a gesture of greeting should be given from a distance) is removed.” (4)

The name given to this alliance was”Hilf al-Fudul” .

The reasons for this are explained as follows:

Hilf” means oath whereas “fudul” means people with virtue.

During a period in which they were found in Mecca, two people by the name of Fadl from the Jurhumi tribe, made an oath with someone named Fudayl from the Qatura tribe, to prevent cruelty and rape from taking place in the city.

Because the leading figures of the Quraysh had gathered in respect to similar matters and with the intention of making decisions, this association was called “Hilf al-Fudul” to remind the “incident that took place between the Fadls”. (5)

The association’s first action was to take back the Zabidi tribesman’s goods, which he had brought for the purpose of trade, from As bin Wail.

Although our Beloved Prophet (PBUH) was young, he joined this association, which comprised of the elderly, together with his uncles and showed an affirmative response with his vote.

This shows that our Holy Prophet (PBUH) had possessed mature thoughts since he was very young, that he was disgusted by cruelty, and had a reputable standing among his tribe.

Of course this individual, who was a symbol of compassion and mercy, was going to rush to help the oppressed and facilitate the positive endeavors on this matter before he was assigned the responsibilities that came with his prophethood. He had been sent for the purpose of “completing high ethics”. In that case, he would partake in every endeavor that was a means of upholding high ethics.

As a matter of fact, after he was appointed as a Prophet (PBUH), he expressed his contentment at having joined the association with the following statement:

“I was also there in Abdullah bin Juda’s home when the oath was affirmed. In my opinion, that oath is more pleasant than owning red-haired camels. If I am summoned to it during the Islamic era, I will accept it.”… (6)

This word of the Messenger of Allah is also a criterion for the Muslims of today: To help the societies and organizations that struggle against oppression and all kinds of immoralities no matter under what name and how...

[1] Suhayli, Rawdu'l-Unf, 1/91.

[2] Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 1, p. 128; Suhayli, ibid, V. 1, p. 91.

[3] Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 1, p. 141; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 1, p. 129; Suhayli, ibid, V. 1, p. 93.

[4] Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 1, p. 129; Suhayli, ibid, V. 1, p. 93.

[5] Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 1, p. 142; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 1, p. 129.

[6] Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 1, p. 141-142; Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 1, p. 129; Suhayli, Rawdu’l-Unf, V. 1, p. 94; Ibn Kathir, Sirah, V. 1, p. 261.