In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation. May Allah extol the mention of the Prophet in the highest company of Angels and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, his Companions and all those who follow him diligently till the Day of Judgement.
Respected Brothers and Sisters! Allah the Almighty said in His Noble Book, Al-Qur’an:
“Help One Another In Virtue, Righteousness And Piety; But Do Not Help One Another In Sin And Transgression.” [Qur’an, 5:2]
In this Qur’anic verse Allah commands His servants to help one another perform any righteous, good deeds, which is the meaning of ‘Al-Birr’, and to avoid any sins, which is the meaning of ‘At-Taqwa.’ Allah forbids His servants from helping one another in sin, `Ithm’ and committing the prohibitions.
Imam Ibn Jarir said that:
“Ithm (Sin) means abandoning what Allah has ordained, while transgression means overstepping the limits that Allah set in your religion, along with overstepping what Allah has ordered concerning yourselves and others.”
Imam Ahmad recorded that one of the Companions of the Prophet narrated the Hadith:
“The believer who mingles with people and is patient with their annoyance, earns more reward than the believer who does not mingle with people and does not observe patience with their annoyance.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters! 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 Makkah. 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 Zubaid!
The last straw was when Al-As Bin Wa’il, a leading figure of the city, extorted the goods of someone from the Zubaid tribe of Yemen. Every door that the Zubaidi tribesman had knocked on for help was being shut on his face. Finally, he went up the Abu Qubais Mountain and attempted to notify the Quraishis 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.
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 behaviour that was taking place. Our Noble Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) uncle, Zubair was the first person who attempted to gather prominent figures and the reputable elderly in one place in respect to this matter.
Hashim, Muttalib, Zuhra, Asad, Harith, and many of leading figures from the sons of Taim met in the home of Abdullah Bin Jud’an, who was considered to be the oldest person in Makkah and one of the wealthiest and influential of men. It was there, in his home, that the “Hilful-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 Makkah 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.
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 Ka’abah. If it cannot be rubbed due to big crowds, then a gesture of greeting should be given from a distance) is removed.”
The name given to this alliance was”Hilful 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 Makkah, two people by the name of Fadl from the Jurhumi tribe, made an oath with someone named Fudail from the Qaturah tribe, to prevent cruelty and rape from taking place in the city.
Because the leading figures of the Quraish had gathered in respect to similar matters and with the intention of making decisions, this association was called “Hilful-Fudul” to remind the “incident that took place between the Fadls.”
The association’s first action was to take back the Zubaidi tribesman’s goods, which he had brought for the purpose of trade, from Al-As Bin Wa’il.
Although our Beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) 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 Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) 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 endeavours 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 endeavour that was a means of upholding high ethics.
As a matter of fact, after he was appointed as a Prophet (Peace be upon him), he expressed his contentment at having joined the association with the following statement:
“I was also there in Abdullah Bin Jud’an’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.”
This word of the Messenger of Allah is also a criterion for the Muslims of today: To help the societies and organisations that struggle against oppression and all kinds of immoralities no matter under what name and how…
Dear Brothers and Sisters! Our great Islam calls for Muslims and non-Muslims to cooperate with one another in any good deeds, justice, and mutual benefit for humanity.
The precedent for this cooperation is the alliance of al-Fudul (Hilful-Fudul), a pre-Islamic pact of justice made by the people of Makkah in which they pledged to support an oppressed person no matter what tribe or religion he was from. The Prophet spoke highly of this pact and made clear that he would support any similar pact with non-Muslims after the advent of Islam.
Talha Ibn Abdullah reported that:
“The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said: “Certainly, I had witnessed a pact of justice in the house of Abdullah Ibn Jud’an that was more beloved to me than a herd of red camels. If I were called to it now in the time of Islam, I would respond.” [See Sunan Al-Kubrah of Imam Al-Baihaqi]
In another narration, the Prophet said:
“Certainly, I had witnessed a pact of justice in the house of Abdullah Ibn Jud’an which, if I were called to it now in the time of Islam, I would respond. Make such alliances in order to return rights to their people, that no oppressor should have power over the oppressed.” [See Al-Dala’il Fi Gharib al-Hadith]
Imam Ibn Hisham describes the nature of this pact, saying:
“They promised and pledged that they would not find any oppressed person among their people or among anyone else who entered Makkah except that they would support him. They would stand against whoever oppressed him until the rights of the oppressed were returned.” [See Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyyah]
Beloved Servants of Allah! In Islam, justice is the universal right of all human beings regardless of their race, tribe, religion, gender or region. It is one of the most fundamental purposes and objectives of Islamic law (Maqasid Al-Shari’ah).
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said:
“Allah the Exalted has made clear in his law that the objective is the establishment of justice between His servants and fairness among the people, so whichever path leads to justice and fairness is part of the religion and can never oppose it.” [See Al-Turuq Al-Hikmiyyah]
My People! Since justice is a universal right, Islam encourages Muslims to cooperate with non-Muslims in agreements like the Hilful Fudul in order to protect people from injustice, return the rights of the oppressed, and perform any kind of charitable work that benefits humanity as a whole.
Allah the Most High said:
“Cooperate with one another in righteousness and piety, and do not cooperate with one another in sin and aggression.” [Qur’an, 5:2]
Imam Ibn Kathir comments on this verse, saying:
“Allah the Exalted commands his faithful servants to cooperate in any good deeds, which is righteousness (Birr), and to avoid evil deeds, which is piety (Taqwa). He prohibits them from supporting one another in falsehood and cooperating in sinfulness and unlawfulness.” [See Tafsirul Qur?anil Karim]
Some of the pre-Islamic alliances were nullified by Islam, such as those that were based upon vulgar tribalism, sin, and transgression. However, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) continued to make pacts based upon justice well after the emigration to Madinah.
Asim reported that:
“I said to Anas Ibn Malik people are saying the Prophet (Peace be upon him) declared that there was no pact in Islam. Anas said: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) made a pact between the Quraish and the Ansar in my house.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Imam An-Nawawi comments on this Hadith, saying:
“The inherited pacts and what the law prohibits have been annulled. As for a pact in obedience to Allah, supporting the oppressed, and brotherhood for the sake of Allah, then it is a matter to be desired.” [See Fath al-Bari]
In another Hadith, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) explicitly confirmed that all pre-Islamic and non-Islamic alliances based upon justice and charity, such as the Hilful Fudul, are upheld and strengthened by Islam.
Ibn Abbas reported that:
“The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said: “Every pact from the time of ignorance (Jahiliyyah) is not increased by Islam except in strength and affirmation.” [Musnad of Imam Ahmad]
Imam Zuhrah said:
“It is a pact such as the Hilful Fudul, in which they agreed not to help an oppressor over an oppressed person in Makkah.” [Fath al-Bari]
Dear Brothers and Sisters! The classical scholars held that it is permissible for Muslims to cooperate and seek help from non-Muslims if there is a benefit in it (Maslaha) and it involves no sin. In fact, the Prophet (Peace be be upon him) told us a time would come when the Muslims would make peace with the Romans and cooperate against a common enemy.
Hassan Ibn Atiyah reported that:
“The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“You will make a secure peace with the Romans, and together you will fight an enemy from behind you.” [Sunan Abu Dawud]
Imam An-Nawawi said:
“Imam Ash-Shafi’i and others said that if the unbelievers have good advice for the Muslims and there is a need for their help, then their help may be sought; otherwise it is disapproved.” [See Sharh Sahih Muslim]
And the Islamic scholars relied upon the evidence of many instances in the life of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in which he sought the assistance of non-Muslims.
Imam Ash-Shawkani said:
“Imam Abu Hanifah and his companions held that it is permissible to seek help from the unbelievers and sinners as long as they are adhering to the commands and prohibitions. They used as evidence that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) sought help from some people among the Jews as mentioned, he sought the help of Safwan Ibn Umayyah at the battle of Hunain, and he reported that an alliance would be made between the Muslims and the Romans in which they would together fight an enemy from behind the Muslims.” [See Naylul Autar]
Therefore, my people, there’s no problem, we should investigate many different ways in which we can cooperate with non-Muslims for a good cause. Today, our world is racked by violence from every direction, countless people live in grinding poverty, and our climate is threatened by pollution. These are issues that matter to all human beings regardless of their religion or ideology, as they put our collective future in danger. Hence, by forging national and international alliances to tackle these problems together, we can better serve Allah, our religion, and all of humanity at the same time.
My Respected people! This Fudul Alliance was formed after the Quraish returned from the Fijar War. It began when a man from Zubaid – a region in Yemen, as mentioned earlier – went to Makkah with some merchandise. Al-As Ibn Wa’il 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-As was a nobleman and a leader and was therefore not to be opposed.
The Zubaidi man didn’t give up hope; instead, he stood beside the Ka’abah and called out, asking for help from the descendants of Fihr (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’an; present at the meeting were the clans of Banu Hashim, Zuhrah, and Banu Taim Ibn Murrah. The meeting occurred in Dhul-Qa’adah, 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- As Ibn Wa’il, seized from him the merchandise he had wrongfully taken, and returned it to its rightful owner.
The Quraish referred to what happened in the house of Ibn Jud’an as the Fudul Alliance (Hilful Fudul). Fudul was an appropriate name for the alliance since Fudul comes from the Arabic word Fadl, which means nobility, superiority, and virtue. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) who was present at the above-mentioned meeting, said later on in his life:
“When I was a boy, I attended the Al-Mutibin Alliance (i.e., the Fudul Alliance) with my uncles. I would not love to have even red camels as a recompense for me breaking (the terms) of that alliance.”
The owner of red camels during those times would today be equivalent to a billionaire. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said in another Hadith:
“I was present in the house of Abdullah Ibn Jud’an when an alliance (i.e., the Fudul 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 and attend it.”
* The Lessons in the Fudul Alliance (Hilful Fudul):
1. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) 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 Fudul Alliance was like an oasis within the darkness of pre-Islamic ignorance (Jahiliyyah). That the Fudul 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 (Jahiliyyah); 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 today’s Du’at (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.
5. It is permissible for Muslims to form alliances that are similar in intent and content to the Fudul Alliance because they establish a goal that is recognised by and encouraged in the Shari’ah; 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.
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 (Peace be upon him) was known for his many positive contributions to society, to the degree that everyone in the Quraish called him by the name Al-Amin (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. [See Sahih As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah by Shaykh Ibrahim Al-Ali, page 59, and As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah by Ibn Hisham, vol. 1 page 134, and Fiqh As-Sirah by Al-Ghadban, page 102, and Tabaqat of Ibn Sa’ad, and Al-Bidayatu wan-Nihaya of Imam Ibn Kathir, and Sirah of the Messenger of Allah, by Professor Aliy Muhammad Sallaby]
May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and upon his family and Companions.
Written by your Brother:
Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.