During Muhammad ﷺ’s childhood a telling incident revived the old conflict between the Ahlaf (the Confederates) and the Mutayyabun (the Scented Ones) and showed how dramatically the fortunes of Hashim had plummeted when Abdul Muttalib was an old man.
After the conclusion of the Fijar wars, a Yemeni merchant had sold some goods to one of the most important men in the clan of Sahm, from the Confederates. But he refused to pay for them and the Yemeni appealed to the tribe of Quraysh as a whole to see that justice was done. The chief of the clam of Taym, one of the Scented Ones, called a meeting to which he invited anybody who cared about justice and right dealing. Representatives from the clan of Hashim, Al-Muttalib, Asad and Zahrah- who were all from the Scented Ones- responded and made a pact which was later known as the Hilf al-Fudul, the League of the Virtuous.
It is said that the spirit of this pact and the course of deliberations therein marked a complete departure from the pre-Islamic tribal-pride. The boy Muhammad ﷺ was said to have been present at the ceremony and to have spoken highly of this chivalric association. Shortly after having been honoured with Prophethood, he stated: “I witnessed a confederacy in the house of ‘Abdullah bin Jad‘an. It was more appealing to me than herds of cattle. Even now in the period of Islam I would respond positively to attending such a meeting if I were invited.”
End of 585 CE
Lessons and Wisdom
Though the Fudul Alliance took place prior to prophethood, when the Prophet made mention of the alliance during his prophetic career he would keenly state how he would gladly accept such an alliance once more i.e. after the advent of Islam. The following lessons can be learnt from this incident:
1. Muhammad ﷺ felt honored at being part of a pact to establish justice regardless of whom the pact was taken with. This indicates that justice itself is an absolute value and not relative to creed or ethnicity and its attainment falls under the banner of ‘enjoining the good and forbidding evil’. Muslims should thus take the leading role in engaging in similar alliances to stand against injustice, regardless of whom is being oppressed.
2. The incident occurred in a time when Arabia was stooped in the darkness of disbelief and immorality. And so the Fudul Alliance illustrates to us that if evil becomes rampant in a community, it does not mean that the society is in anyway completely devoid of sound moral direction. Elements of goodness will always exist and it is upon the reformers within the community to seek out these elements and work with them. The Prophets relationship with Abu Talib, his disbelieving uncle, is a prime example of this.
3. A Muslim should strive to have a positive impact on society, to aspire to be a person who is remembered for the positive influences he had on the events that took place during his life. Even before receiving revelation the Prophet was already known amongst his community as ‘al Ameen’- the trustworthy, as the people became inclined towards him due to his positive role in the society and good character.
Polemical rebuttals particular to this year
This part of the timeline seeks to address some of the most commonly held criticisms and attacks levelled at the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
A series of short articles critically analysing these polemics begins from 595 CE and then later in the following two eras- Makkan and Madinan Eras
Edicts and Rulings
The Hilf Fudul, Alliance of Virtue, is an example of Islamic guidance concerning enjoining good and forbidding evil. This overarching principle is explained in the Quranic chapter of al-Maidah in verse five:
You who have fatih! do not profane the sacred rites of Allah or the sacred months, or the sacrificial animals, or the ritual garlands, or those heading for the Sacred House, desiring profit and good pleasure from their Lord. When you have come out of ihram, then hunt for game. Do not let hatred for a people who debar you from the Masjid al-Haram incite you into going beyond the limits. Help each other to goodness and god-consciousness. Do not help each other to wrongdoing and enmity. Have fear of Allah, Allah is severe in retribution.