The Spread of Islam in the Prophetic Era

It was evident since the early days of Islam that the Prophet, , spent in Makkah, that its message was universal and not just for Quraysh or the Arabs alone. This fact is confirmed by the verse revealed in that very city (which means): {And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.} [Quran 21:107]

Hence, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, had planned to propagate Islam beyond his city from the very beginning. That is why when Abu Tharr Al-Ghifaari embraced Islam, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, asked him to stay among his people of Banu Ghifaar and invite them towards Islam. Likewise, when At-Tufayl ibn ‘Amr Ad-Dawsi became a Muslim, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, proposed that he live and preach Islam among his Daws tribe, which resided in the area between At-Taa‘if and Yemen. This decision bore fruit, when eighty families of his tribe accepted Islam and met the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, at Khaybar, after the establishment of the Islamic state in Madeenah.

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, also endeavored to spread Islam in At-Taa’if, but the tribe of Thaqeef violently and mockingly rejected his call to Islam well until 9 A.H., when, after facing a siege, they decided to accept Islam.

As for Makkah itself, it is well known that the efforts of Da‘wah (propagation to Islam) there failed to convince most of Quraysh of its truth until the conquest of their city, when nearly all of them came into the fold of the religion.

Although these two tribes – the Quraysh in Makkah and the Thaqeef in At-Taa’if – adopted Islam late, their staunch backing and firm faith turned them into the most zealous supporters and enthusiastic followers of Islam. This was evident in their active roles later in the wars against Riddah (apostasy) and in subsequent battles.

After the establishment of the Islamic state in Madeenah, Islam expanded throughout Al-Hijaaz, on the road connecting Makkah and Madeenah, among the tribes of Muzaynah, Juhaynah, Ashja‘, Balyy, Aslam and Ka‘b. Perhaps the most sympathetic tribe to Muslims was the Khuzaa’ah, as indicated by the formers’ defense of them when they were attacked after the treaty of Al-Hudaybiyah. It was only Banu Al-Mustaliq in the region that adopted a hostile attitude towards Islam, until they were subjugated in the battle of Al-Muraysee’, in 4 A.H.

Further south of Madeenah, the propagation of Islam yielded good results when ‘Ali ibn Abu Taalib went to Yemen in the ninth year after Hijrah (emigration from Makkah to Madeenah) and brought back news of the conversion to Islam of the large tribe of Hamdaan.

It seems that in the year following the conquest of Makkah in 8 AH, Islam spread quickly as many delegations of Yemeni tribes, such as Kindah, Al- Ash‘ariyyoon, Hamdaan and Daws, went to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to give their oath of allegiance.

After his, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, demise, the Riddah (apostasy) wars in various regions revealed the geographical reach of Islam to tribes like Thu Marraan, Thul-Kalaa‘, Thu Thulaym, Bajeelah, Zabeed, An-Nakha‘, Ju‘fi, Al-Abnaa’, As-Sakoon, and As-Sakaasik.

The spread of Islam in Hadhramawt, where some from the tribe of Kindah lived, was limited in comparison to the rest of the clan that resided elsewhere in Yemen.

Islam spread to the east, in districts of Najd, after the battle of the Al-Khandaq (the trench), although earlier on, callers to Islam in Ar-Rajee‘ and Bi‘r Ma‘oonah, were annihilated at the hands of the Bedouins.

The religion of Islam also extended to the tribes of Banu Sulaym, Tayyi’, Huthayl and Tameem and its phratries ‘Awf, Al-Anbaa’, Ar-Ribaab. However, others clans within their tribes, such as Banu Hanthalah, Muqaa’is and Al-Butoon, could not be strengthened in Islamic faith and culture.

To the northern region of the Arabian Peninsula, two tribes – Shaybaan and Banu ‘Uthrah – embraced Islam, whereas the most immediate response to Islam was in Bahrain, to the east. There, in the area called Juwaatha, where the tribe of ‘Abdul-Qays resided, the first-ever Friday prayers outside the Prophetic Mosque were performed.

Dispatching messengers to rulers and kings during the seventh year after Hijrah was the Islamic state’s first contact with the major powers of the world at the time. As for the Sassanid emperor, his reaction was very aggressive to the message urging him to accept Islam, whereas the Byzantine emperor Heraclius in the Levant and Al-Muqawqis in Egypt were more understanding and empathetic, although they did not embrace Islam.

In conclusion, it is evident that the propagation of Islam far and wide, succeeded during the Prophetic era, enabling it to defy the apostates and preparing it to confront the great powers of the world. Thus, Islam spread by means of its guiding Book and through confronting, by force if necessary, obstacles that hindered its propagation.

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