Pledge of the Ridwan (Bay’at al-Ridwan)
Bay’at Al-Ridwan is the pledge taken by the Prophet Muhammad from his companions under a tree at Hudaybiya in the year of 628 to fight the Quraysh tribe in Makka in case of necessity.
At the place called Hudaybiya, Muslims were planning to have some interaction through peaceful and diplomatic means with the Quraysh, the leading tribe in Makka for the first time. The Prophet Muhammad clearly stated that they did not come to fight with anyone and they have undertaken this journey in order to circumambulate the Ka’ba. Their intention was not a fight but only worship, and that is why they only took small daggers with them in order to protect themselves from wild animals.
1400 Muslims were walking towards Makka. They took every precaution that no living being would be hurt. The caravan did not disturb the people of the lands they passed through, they did not confiscate anyone’s property, and even the plantations were left untouched.
The Prophet chose Uthman b. Affan among his companions and sent him to Makka. He wanted to make clear once again that their intention was not war and that they had come with the intention of Umrah, the minor pilgrimage.
Uthman visited every single one of the leading men of the Quraysh and said,
“The Muslims are not coming to fight; they come with sacrificial animals, with only the intention of doing umrah, and the Prophet wanted me to tell you that they will return after they had offered these animals in sacrifice.”
The people of Quraysh were not able to banish Uthman altogether and said to him:
“You can come by yourself and circumambulate the Ka’ba if you’d like.”
But he answered:
“I will not visit the House of Allah unless the Prophet does,”
thus refusing their offer. Uthman’s efforts continued for three whole days in Makka.
On the other hand, the Muslims at Hudaybiya were worried about Uthman who had gone as envoy and had not come back. Several companions came to the Prophet and expressed that they secretly want to go to the Ka’ba, and the Prophet had given them permission upon their insistence. These 10 companions were taken prisoner by the Quraysh.
When the news that Uthman had been killed along with ten other companions on their way back reached him, the Prophet Muhammad said:
“It seems that we will not be able to leave this place without fighting the Quraysh,”
asking his companions to take a pledge. He sat under a tree called Ridwan and said:
“Allah the Almighty orders you to swear allegiance to me.”
The companions started to swear allegiance to the Prophet one by one; saying that, they will not stay away from the battlefield when the fight is necessary, when the war becomes inevitable. At one point the Prophet lifted up one of his hands and took the other in lieu of Uthman’s and said that Uthman had also taken the pledge.
Before long, news would come and Muslims would discover that the intelligence about Uthman and the ten other companions being martyred was false—and therefore the Muslims would rejoice.