The Fudool Alliance

fudool alliance

The Fijaar War

The Fijaar war pitted the Quraish, along with their allies from the Kinaanah tribe, against the Hawaazin tribe. Like most Arab wars that were fought during the pre Islamic days of ignorance, the Fijaar War began with a trifling dispute and escalated into an all out war. A man named Urwah Ar-Rahhaal ibn ‘Utbah ibn Hawaazin granted his protection to Nu’maan ibn Al-Mundhir and his trading caravan, which was travelling to the marketplace of Ukaadh. Al-Barraadh ibn Qais ibn Kinaanah said to Urwah, “Will you protect him against the Kinaanah tribe?” Urwah said, “Yes, and for that matter, I will protect him against all of mankind.”

When Urwah set out with Nu’maan and his trading caravan, Al-Barraadh followed close behind, waiting for an opportune moment to ambush Urwah and kill him by surprise. Al-Barraadh’s tribe, the Kinaanah, found out about what was happening, and so they too followed in close pursuit, hoping to take their stronger adversaries from the Hawaazin tribe by surprise. When Urwah and the Hawaazin found out that they were being followed, they turned around and headed towards the Kinaanah tribe, now becoming the hunters instead of the hunted. They overtook the Kinaanah tribe before they were able to enter the inviolable city of Makkah, and the two tribes fought until nightfall, at which time the members of the Kinaanah tribe were able to enter Makkah.

Since Arabs considered Makkah to be holy, the Hawaazin tribe did not pursue their enemy. But on the following day, the fighting began anew, except that this time around, the Quraish entered into the fray, lending their support to the Kinaanah tribe. In the battles that ensued, the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) participated alongside the Quraish, albeit playing a very minor role. The word Fijaar means wickedness. The reason why the war was given this name is that the inviolability of Makkah was being defiled, and Arabs considered any defilement of Makkah’s sanctity to be a wicked and heinous crime.

When he mentioned the war later on his life, the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said, “I used to hand arrows to my uncles.” What this means is that the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) would pick up stray arrows fired by the enemies and hand them to his uncles. [As-Seerah An-Nabawiyyah by Ibn Hishaam (1/221-224), and As-Seerah Al-Halabiyyah (1/127-129)]

At the time, the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) was either fourteen or fifteen years old; however, it has been said that he was twenty years old. That the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) only handed arrows to his uncles without fighting strengthens the former view – that he was fourteen or fifteen years old. For had he (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) been twenty years old, he probably would have been required to fully participate in the battle, and not play the minor, secondary role that he had in fact played.

The Fudool Alliance

The Fudool Alliance was formed after the Quraish returned from the Fijaar War. It began when a man from Zubaid — a region in Yemen – went to Makkah with some merchandise. Al-‘Aas ibn Waail purchased the merchandise from him, took possession of the merchandise, but refused to pay for it. The man from Zubaid pleaded with Quraish’s chieftains to help him, but they refused, simply because, like them, Al-‘Aas was a nobleman and a chieftain and was therefore not to be opposed.

The Zubaidi man didn’t give up hope; instead, he stood beside the Kaaba and called out, asking for help from the descendants of Faihr (the Quraish) and reproaching them for their refusal to help him against the man who had wronged him. Zubair ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib, one of the Prophet’s uncles, stood up and exclaimed, “Will no one help him!” As a result of Zubair’s display of anger, a meeting was convened at the house of Abdullah ibn Jud’aan; present at the meeting were the clans of Banu Haashim, Zuhrah, and Banu Taim ibn Murrah. The meeting occurred in Dhul-Qai’dah, one of the four inviolable months, and those who were present pledged and swore by Allah that they would be as one hand in their support of any victim against his wrongdoer. They then went together to Al-‘Aas ibn Waail, seized from him the merchandise he had wrongfully taken, and returned it to it’s rightful owner. The Quraish referred to what happened in the house of Ibn Jud’aan as the Fudool Alliance.

Fudool was an appropriate name for the alliance since Fudool comes from the word Fadl, which means nobility, superiority, and virtue. The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) who was present at the above-mentioned meeting, said later on in his life, “When I was a boy, I attended the Al-Muteebeen Alliance (i.e., the Fudool Alliance) with my uncles. I would not love to have even red camels as a recompense for me breaking (the terms) of that alliance “ [Saheeh As-Seerah An-Nabawiyyah by Ibraaheem Al-‘Alee (pg. 59), and Al-Albaanee, may Allah have mercy on him, ruled it to be authentic.]

The owner of red camels during those times would today be equivalent to a millionaire. The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam), said in another Hadeeth, “I was present in the house of Abdullah ibn Jud’aan when an alliance (i.e., the Fudool Alliance) was formed, and I would not love to have in place of that alliance red camels. And if I were invited by it in Islam, I would answer it.” [As-Seerah An-Nabawiyyah by Ibn Hishaam (1/134), and Fiqh-us-Seerah by Al-Ghadbaan (pg. 102).]

Morals and Lessons

l) The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) felt honoured for being able to participate in an alliance that was formed on the basis of establishing justice, which shows that justice has an absolute and not a relative value; or in other words, no matter who it is that is carrying out justice, the act itself deserves to be praised.

2) The Fudool Alliance was like an oasis within the darkness of pre-Islamic ignorance. That the Fudool alliance was formed proves that, just because evil pervades a given society, it does not mean that that society is completely void of virtuous acts and deeds. Makkan society was an ignorant society; within it, all of the following evils were rampant: the worship of idols, base manners, wrongdoing, fornication, and usury. Nonetheless, within the ranks of Makkan society were some men of noble breeding and character, men who despised evil and wrongdoing. This reality should provide an important lesson for Du’aat (callers to Islam) who live in societies wherein Islam is not applied or is being fought against.

3) No matter what form it takes, wrongdoing is unacceptable. It doesn’t matter whether the person being wronged is a Muslim or a non-Muslim, a pious man or a sinner, a rich man or a poor man; whoever he is, others in society must come to his help.

4) It is permissible to form an alliance with non-Muslims if justice is being served in the process; in fact, doing so is a part of enjoining good and forbidding evil. Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) says:

“O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allah, nor of the Sacred Month, nor of the animals brought for the sacrifice, nor the garlanded people of animals, etc. [Marked by the garlands on their necks made from the outer part of the tree-stems (of Makkah) for their security], nor the people coming to the Sacred House (Makkah), seeking the Bounty and good pleasure of their Lord. But when you finish the Ihram (of Hajj or ‘Umrah), you may hunt, and let not the hatred of some people in (once) stopping you from Al-Masjid-al-Haraam (at Makkah) lead you to transgression (and hostility on your part). Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.” [Quran 5:2]

5) It is permissible for Muslims to form alliances that are similar in intent and content to the Fudool Alliance because they establish a goal that is recognized by and encouraged in the Shariah; however, in doing so, Muslims must take into consideration what is best for Islam and for Muslims in the short term and in the long run. The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said, “And were I to be invited by it in Islam, I would answer it,” which means that even after the advent of Islam, the Prophet was prepared to participate in the Fudool Alliance or one that had similar aims and objectives.

6) A Muslim must strive to have a positive effect on society, to be a person who is remembered for the positive influence he has on the events that take place during his lifetime. Even prior to receiving revelation for the first time, the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) was known for his many positive contributions to society, to the degree that everyone in the Quraish called him by the name, ‘Al Ameen’“The Trustworthy One.” People’s hearts were attracted to him when he was still at a very young age, and that attraction, in addition to love, continued to grow throughout his entire life, but especially during the years of his Prophethood.

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