Muhammad, the last Messenger of God to humanity, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (PBUH), took an oath of allegiance from Muslim women that came to Medina after Hijrah (Migration from Makkah to Medina). Women’s oath of allegiance to Muhammad PBUH was one of two pillars that supported building the only “Utopian society” that actually existed which was “the closest” to the Utopia of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia (1516).
Why Such Importance Given to Women’s Allegiance?
To begin with, that oath of allegiance in 622 A.D. provided the basis for the remarkable piety of people, the high sense of accountability in the community and security of the entire Medina society. In fact, that allegiance ensured the moral righteousness of the entire society of Medina. Come to think of it. Women are half of any society and they are responsible for the upbringing of the other half as well as their own gender. That makes them the entire society!!! The care given in Islam to women is unprecedented. This is to emphasize the fact that they are equally responsible as men are, for the righteousness and the security of their community.
Details of Women’s Allegiance to Muhammad PBUH:
The women’s pledge of allegiance was almost identical to what men pledged with some extras that accommodate women’s needs, responsibilities and affairs. According to several authentic Hadiths (sayings of Prophet Muhammad), Muslim women that migrated from Makkah to Medina took an oath of allegiance with Muhammad PBUH detailed as follows:
First, not to associate anything with Allah in worship
Second, not to steal
Third, not to kill innocent souls
Fourth, not to commit adultery
Fifth, not to kill their children
Sixth, not to produce any lie that they have devised
Seventh, not to disobey Allah and His final Messenger (Muhammad PBUH)
Eighth, not to scream, speak ill, hit their faces, or tear their clothes and hair in grief over deceased people
Ninth, not to seduce (beautify themselves or show their beauty) non-Mah’ram men (men that they may get married to)
That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? That can produce a totally virtuous society. Only then, Muhammad PBUH said the most incredible thing!!!
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,
“In as much as you are able and capable” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi] (1)
To illustrate, women, with Allah’s Mercy, are pardoned from what they are forced to do. Moreover, they are pardoned from what they cannot or are unable to do, and what is overwhelming to them. They are given a second chance to ask for forgiveness and actually get pardoned and forgiven for what is truly out of their hands.
The narrator of the Hadith, Umayma, continued to say, “They said:
‘Allah and His Messenger are more merciful to us than we are to ourselves'” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi] (2)
How Challenging to Keep Oath of Allegiance?
Those nine things were not easy to quite a few of those women. Their communities and lifestyles were very different and it took some sacrifice and a lot of adjusting and humongous will-power to keep that oath (as it does to all new Muslims at every place and time). Hence, those early Muslims, men and women, were described to be the best of people of all times by Muhammad PBUH. They took that oath and faithfully kept it.
Abu Huraira (one of Prophet Muhammad’s companions) narrated that Allah’s Messenger PBUH has said:
“I have been sent (as an Apostle) in the best of all the generations of Adam’s offspring since their Creation.” [Sahih al-Bukhari](3)
And Abdullah b. Mas’ud (another companion) reported Allah’s Messenger PBUH as saying:
“The best people are those of my generation, and then those who will come after them (the next generation), and then those who will come after them (i.e. the next generation), and then after them, there will come people whose witness will precede their oaths, and whose oaths will precede their witness.“ [Sahih al-Bukhari] (4)
To illustrate, some people after those early three generations would perjure themselves easily. Also, some take oaths that they have no intention to keep. This is out of their indifference to the gravity of that as a major sin.
To conclude, women’s pledge of allegiance to Muhammad PBUH was one of two rock-solid bases that Muhammad PBUH built upon his new sprouting Muslim society in Medina; “the only real almost Utopian community that ever existed.” It took strong believing and faithful people, both men and women, a lot of effort to build their new and righteous community. While the other was the constitution of Medina also known as the Charter of Medina, but that’s another story.
Share your thoughts on the subject with us and how reasonable those things are from your point of view.