This is another excerpt from Bill Warner’s book Abridged Koran where the verses of Koran are arranged in their chronological order and provided with facts from prophet Muhammad’s life, giving context for them.
CHAPTER 6 POLITICAL BEGINNINGS (continued)
THE BEGINNING OF POWER AND JIHAD IN MEDINA
Medina was about a ten-day journey from Mecca, but since ancient times the Medinans had come to Mecca for the fairs. Medina was half Jewish and half Arabian, and there was an ongoing tension between the two. The Jews worked as farmers and craftsmen and were literate. They were the wealthy class, but their power was slowly waning. In times past the Arabs had raided and stolen from the Jews who retaliated by saying that one day a prophet would come and lead them to victory over the Arabs. In spite of the tensions, the Arab tribe of Khazraj were allies with them.
So when the members of the Khazraj met Mohammed, they said among themselves, “This is the prophet the Jews spoke of. Let us join ranks with him before the Jews do.” They became Muslims, and their tribe was rancorous and divided. They hoped that Islam could unite them, and soon every house in Medina had heard of Islam.
The next year when the Medinan Muslims returned to Mecca, they took an oath to Mohammed. They returned to Medina, and soon many of Medinans submitted to Islam.
At the next fair in Mecca, many of the new Muslims from Medina showed up. During the early part of the night about seventy of them left the caravan to meet with Mohammed. He recited the Koran and said, “I invite your allegiance on the basis that you protect me as you would your children.” The Medinans gave their oath. After the oath, one of them asked about their now severed ties to the Jews of Medina. If they helped Mohammed with arms and they were successful would he go back to Mecca? Mohammed smiled and said, “No, blood is blood, and blood not to be paid for is blood not to be paid for.” Blood revenge and its obligation were common to them. “I will war against them that war against you and be at peace with those at peace with you.”
One of the Medinans said to those who made the pledge, “Do you realize to what your are committing yourselves in pledging your support to this man? It is war against all. If you think that if you lose your property and your best are killed, and then you would give him up, then quit now. But if you think that you will be loyal to your oath if you lose your property and your best are killed, then take him, for it will profit you now and in Paradise.” They asked what they would receive for their oath, Mohammed promised them Paradise. They all shook hands on the deal.
In the morning the leaders of the Quraysh came to the caravan. They had heard that the Medinans had come to invite Mohammed to Medina and had pledged themselves to war against the Quraysh. The Quraysh wanted no part of war with the Medinans. Those Medinans in the caravan who were not Muslims were puzzled by all of this since they had no idea about the pledge in the night. The Koran is clear that the proper relationship between humanity and Allah is fear.
39:8 When trouble touches a man, he cries to his Lord and repents, yet no sooner does He grant a favor than he forgets what he cried for and praises other gods than Allah and misleads others from Allah’s path. Say: Enjoy your ungratefulness for a little while for surely you will be a companion to the Fire.
39:9 Is he equal to an unbeliever who worships devoutly in the hours of the night, prostrate or standing in devotion, mindful of the life to come, and hoping for the mercy of his Lord? Say: Are those who know equal with those who do not know? Only men of understanding will take the warning.
39:10 Say: Oh, My servants who believe, fear your Lord. For those who do good in this world, good awaits. Allah’s earth is spacious. Those who are patient will be rewarded in full measure.
39:11 Say: I am commanded that I serve Allah with sincere devotion. I am commanded to be the first of those who submit. Say: If I should disobey my Lord, I fear the penalty of a grievous day. Say: I serve Allah being sincere in my obedience.
39:15 Worship what you will besides Him. Say: The losers will be those who will lose their own souls and their families on the day of resurrection. Surely, this is a clear loss. They will be covered by Fire from above and below. With this Allah stirs fear in His servants, so fear Me, My servants.
Back in Medina the Muslims now practiced their new religion openly. But most of the Arabs still practiced their ancient tribal religions. The Muslims would desecrate the old shrines and ritual objects. They would even break into houses and steal the ritual objects and throw them into the latrines. On one occasion they killed a dog and tied the dog’s body to the ritual object and thew it into the latrine.