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Medina and Its Northern Regions

The efforts of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to convert six members of the Khazraj tribe who had traveled to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage in the 11th year after his divine appointment (620 AD) bore concrete results, which led to the wide-spread allegiances given to him by the people of Medina. The subsequent trip by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to `Aqabah and the further allegiances offered him by the Khazrajites and certain branches of the Aws tribe resulted in the conversion of vast regions of western Yathrib to the new religion. 

Through the dispatching of Mus`ab b. `Umayr, in the capacity of a religious teacher and instructor of the Qur`an, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) paved the way for the consolidation of Islam in Yathrib. This resulted in the allegiance of the majority of the population of the city of Yathrib except a few households of the tribe of Aws and the Jewish inhabitants of the southeastern section.

In the second year after the hijrah (623 AD), the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Muslims of Mecca came to the conclusion that the city was no longer safe enough for them to stay and decided to emigrate to Yathrib, thus a fresh page was opened in the history of Islam. Soon after the consolidation of Muslims’ position in Yathrib, which was now referred to as Madinat al-Nabi (the city of the prophet), two factors led to the adoption of a new strategy for the expansion of Islam: first, the aggressive approach taken up by the Meccans, in the face of the peaceful stance of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), and, second, the divine sanction to engage the infidels in armed struggle. 

The next step in the spread of Islam in the region was its diffusion among the tribes residing in the vicinity of the city of Medina, both those of the southern parts, such as the Kinani branches of Dumrah, Madlij and Ghaffar, and those of the northern regions of Hijaz, such as `Abas, Dhubyan, Bala and Juhaynah. Though, these did not exhibit any strong enthusiasm for embracing the new religion, they, none the less, were extremely reluctant in terms of engaging Muslims in military conflict. The acceptance of Islam by these tribes was mainly as a result of negotiations conducted by delegations (sing. wafd) which continued to stream into Medina in the period of 5th – 10th AH (626 – 631 AD). However, the cultural influence of Islam among these new converts was less than profound, a fact that caused some of them, such as the tribes of Kinanah, `Abas and Dhubyan, to join the insurgents during the Talihah rebellion in Najd. 

The above circumstances are equally applicable to the two prominent `Aylani tribes of Bani `Amir and Bani Salim, residing in the border areas of Najd and Medina. Among these two, the Bani `Amir were the more reluctant to embrace Islam and until the time of their conversion, as a consequence of a delegation sent to the Holy Prophet (PBUH), they repeatedly joined in battles against the Islamic forces. The Bani Salim were also part of the army of the infidels during the battle of Ahzab, in addition to another clash in 7 AH, however, they were converted, just before the conquest of Mecca by the Muslims, as a result of the efforts of a Muslim commander and expressed a desire to join the forces of Islam. Thus, they were part of the operations which led to the fall of Mecca. 

The Jews of Medina, including those of Bani Qaynaqaq, Bani Nadir and Bani Qurayzah, in spite of having been granted the status of the People of the Book (ahl al-kitab) and its concomitant protections, threw their open support behind those bent on checking the further expansion of the new religion, a situation that in the 2nd, 4th and 5th years after the hijrah led to the wholesale expulsion of those residing in the region of Hijaz, as well as a de facto evacuation of the Jewish population from the adjacent regions of Medina. The areas lying in the north of Medina, such as Wadi al-Qura, Tayma and Fadak, which were regions of strong Jewish influence, were either conquered or capitulated by 7 AH and turned into the satellites of Medina. 

The march of the Islamic armies to the northern regions in 9 AH, as a means of staving off the allies of the Byzantium, resulted in the forging of alliances with the Christian tribes of Tabuk and Dumat al-Jandal. Thus, the regions of Hijaz up to the Syrian border fell into the de facto dominion of Muslim forces. As a consequence of the conquest of Mecca and the successful encounter with the Byzantine forces, which appeared as an incredible development at the time, the tribes throughout the Arabian Peninsula came to realize the true extent of Muslim power. Throughout the 10th year after the hijrah Medina was the scene of a string of delegations from various tribes seeking to join the new Muslim community.

 source: Hajmanoochehri , Faramarz "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 , pp. 501

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