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At the advent of Islam, Najd was a region without a coherent political structure and was dominated by various tribal powers, which included the kingdom of Kindah. Therefore, the people of Najd showed differing attitudes toward the message of Islam. In fact, certain tribes, such as Ghaftan, made common cause with the Quraysh in their opposition to the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Historical sources indicate the existence of a kingdom of Kindah in the central part of the Arabian Peninsula. However, the same sources fail to differentiate among the various reports relating to Kindah and thus it is impossible to determine with certainty the chronology of the Islamization of its various tribes. 

A brief but important note on the subject is by Ibn Sa`d who reports, on the authority of Waqidi, that the leaders of Murad tribe broke away with the kingdom of Kindah, which was on his last legs, by sending a delegation to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and offering their acceptance of Islam. The scare records about Kindah indicate a similar pattern of piecemeal Islamization and the final implosion of its kingdom. Thus, the fall of the kingdom of Kindah was not owing to a military conflict but a gradual winning over of its population by the new religion. 

Among the tribes allied to the kingdom of Kindah, Asad, residing in the northwestern part of Najd, had a longer tradition of acquaintance with Islam. One of the leaders of the Asad, known as Abu Sanan, who played a decisive role in the conclusion of the peace treaty at Hudaybiyyah, presented himself to the Holy Prophet (PBUH), during the visit by the Asad delegation to Medina, as a man with a long history of belief in Islam. None the less, such enthusiasm on the part of certain tribes of the region should not be extended to all the rest, the precariousness of the beliefs of some of whom was divulged in the course of insurrections which followed the death of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). 

Toward the end of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) lifetime, Talihah b. Khuwayld Asadi proclaimed himself as prophet and attracted a following from among the Asad, Ghaftan and Tayy. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) appointed Darar b. Afrur at the head of an army tasked with the suppression of the uprising. However, the situation escalated with the death of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), where the insurgents decided to launch an attack on Medina. Eventually, the insurgent army was defeated by the forces sent by Abu Bakr and disintegrated. 

One of the most extensive and populous tribes in the northwestern part of Najd was that of Tayy, which was reckoned as a regional powerhouse. In 7 AH, the Tughal branch of the Tayy tribe embraced Islam following a string of letters sent to them by the Holy Prophet (PBUH). However, the bulk of the tribe remained faithful to its old creed. The Islamization of the tribe was made possible after the breaking of its centralized power structure presided over by `Udayy b. Hatam. This development was brought about by the might of a Muslim force headed by Imam `Ali (PBUH), during which Fils, the idol worshiped by the members of the tribe, was shattered into pieces. The campaign resulted in the subjugation of the innermost territories of the Tayy. All this was achieved with the least bloodshed, for upon receiving the news of the impending Muslim attack Hatam, and his family, took to flight without offering any resistance. In time, `Udayy b. Hatam himself came to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and converted to Islam, by which the jahili history of the Tayy came to an end. 

Among other major tribes of Najd residing in the vicinity of Medina mention should be made of the Ghaftan branch of the great tribe of Qays `Aylan, certain members of which had converted to Islam by 3 AH. They included Nu`aym b. Mas`ud, a Ghaftan leader from Ashja` family, who had concealed his new faith and who played a crucial role in the Muslim victory achieved in the battle of Ahzab. 

The majority of the members of the Ghaftan tribe clung to their jahili beliefs and sided with the anti-Muslim forces in the battles of Dhat al-Raqa` (4 AH), Ahzab (5 AH), Dhi Qard (6 AH) and Khaybar (7 AH), as well as the one led by Zayd b. Harithah in 6 AH. The wholesale Islamization of the Ghaftan tribe took place in the aftermath of the battle of Tabuk, in 9 AH, when a number of their representatives, such as Fazarah and Marrah, came to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to embrace Islam.

 source: Hajmanoochehri , Faramarz "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 , pp. 504


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