Yathrib, which was later called Madina (the city), is revered world-wide as the Prophet (SM) city. It is about 300 miles from Makka. The weather in Madina is usually better than in Makka. The soil is suitable for agriculture, but because there is so little rain the crops are not very good. The people of Madina were, like the people of Makka, idol-worshippers.
The Aws and the Khazraj were two well-known tribes of Madina. They had once lived in Yemen but after a terrible cyclone they had migrated to Madina. Other tribes also lived around Madina. They were Jews whose ancestors had also migrated to Madina from other lands. Most of the Jews were businessmen and the Aws and the Khazraj were farmers and labourers.
At one time, because of a tribal disagreement, fierce fighting broke out between the Aws and the Khazraj. As a result, the Aws were defeated and most of their bravest men were killed. They then went to Makka to seek help from the Quraish. While their delegation was in Makka, the Prophet Muhammad (SM) met them and told them about Islam. When the delegation returned to Madina, they told other members of their tribe about Islam and the Prophet (SM). In this way Islam was first introduced to the people of Madina.
Another time, a group of people from Madina came to Makka. Among them was a poet and scholar named Suwaid. When this group met the Prophet (SM), Suwaid told him that he had a book which contained many beautiful things. However, when he heard the Prophet (SM) recite verses from the Qur'an, Suwaid admitted that they could not have been written by a man, as they contained Divine words. When this group returned to Madina, they also talked about Islam to their friends.
Ten years had passed since the first revelation when another group of six people came to Makka from Madina. They showed great interest in Islam. Upon hearing verses from the Qur'an they were convinced that it was the Word of Allah (SWT) and they embraced Islam. They returned to Madina as Muslims and preachers.
The following year these six Muslims returned to Makka and brought with them another twelve people, who had already accepted Islam and believed that Muhammad (SM) was the Messenger of Allah (SWT). They embraced Islam at the hands of the Prophet (SM) who entered into an agreement with them. Their pledge was made near a hillock. As the Arabic word for hillock is 'Aqaba', it is known as the Covenant of 'Aqaba'.
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