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Pledge of the Tree

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Pledge of the Tree' (Arabic: بيعة الشجرة bayʻat al-shajarah) or Pledge of Pleasure (Arabic: بيعة الرضوان bayʻat al-riḍwān) was a pledge that was sworn to Prophet Muhammad by his companions right before the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah (6 AH, 628 AD/CE) under a tree to avenge the rumored death of Uthman ibn Affan.

Background

In March of 628 AD/CE (6 AH) , Prophet Muhammad set for Mecca to perform the ritual pilgrimage of Hajj. The Quraish denied the Muslim entry into the city and posted themselves outside Mecca determined to offer resistance even though the Muslims did not have any intention or preparation for battle. Prophet Muhammad camped outside Mecca at Hudaybiyyah and sent Uthman ibn Affan as his envoy to meet with the leaders of Quraish and negotiate Muslim entry into the city. The Quraish made ʻUthmān to stay longer in Mecca than he originally planned and refused to inform the Muslims of his whereabouts. This caused the Muslims to believe that ʻUthman had been killed by the people of Quraish. On this occasion, Prophet Muhammad gathered his nearly 1400 companions and called them to pledge to fight until death and avenge the death of ʻUthmān. This pledge took place under a tree and was thus known as the Pledge of the Tree. During the process of pledging, each companion came before Prophet Muhammad and pledged with his hand on top of Muhammad's to fight until death and avenge the death of ʻUthmān. It is reported that the Prophet placed his one hand on top of the other and pledged on behalf of Uthman as well.

Aftermath

The pledge was successful in demonstrating to the Quraish the determination of the Muslims. They soon released ʻUthmān and sent down an ambassador of their own, Suhayl ibn ʻAmr to negotiate terms of a treaty that later became known as the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah.

Significance

The people who took the pledge, also known as the People of the Tree (اصحاب الشجرة aṣḥāb al-shajarah) are held in high regard by Muslims in general and Sunnis in particular. After the pledge, verses were revealed in the Qur'an commemorating and appreciating the pledge and those who made it:

Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility on them and rewarded them with a near victory.

[Qur'an 48:18]

Due to this verse, the pledge is also known as the Pledge of Pleasure as it was said to be a cause for God's pleasure.

The Tree

The tree under which the pledge was carried out remained at its site until the second Caliph ʻUmar ibn al-Khattāb cut it down during his reign on the grounds that people had started attaching religious significance to it to the point of reverence.

See also

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