One of the most important elements that Islam provides among believers is the fact that all believers are brothers. The most beautiful examples of Islamic brotherhood were seen in the Age of Bliss (of our Prophet). Islam is a religion that reveals the beautiful feelings that exist in people’s nature. Values such as helping, sharing, self-sacrifice and forgiveness are beautiful traits that Allah has placed in human nature. And brotherhood is a general concept that includes these virtues.
Our beloved Prophet (PBUH) is a true prophet sent to all mankind. Therefore, the religion of Islam established by the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) is a universal religion. The principles of such an encompassing religion can only be built on unity, cooperation and solidarity. Here, the Ansar-Muhajir brotherhood, which has become a monument of self-sacrifice, is a practical example of the fact that “all believers are brothers”, which is a principle of Islam. It is not possible to come across a similar muakhat system in history. The Muhajir and Ansar, who have become brothers in this system which is based on volunteerism, have exhibited a self-sacrifice that was beyond brotherhood, although they were not related by blood.
What is the Muakhat System?
The word muakhat means an entering into a brotherhood. 1 Brother, on the other hand, is a person’s sincere friend. 2 In the history of Islam, the incident of our Beloved Prophet (PBUH) making the Muslims of Mecca who emigrated and the Muslims of Madina who embraced them as brothers is called the muakhat system. The first making brothers took place mainly in Mecca. Therefore, Muslims were declared brothers by our beloved Prophet (PBUH) twice, first in Mecca before the migration and the then in Madina after the migration. 3
The example of brotherhood declared in the Meccan period is very meaningful for new Muslims. This muakhat makes no difference between an Abyssinian slave and a Qurayshi nobleman. 4 The fact that some Muslims belonging to Quraysh were declared brothers to freed slaves broke the taboos of the Age of Ignorance (before Islam). For people who are very attached to their traditions, this event is a social and communal revolution. The truth that “No one can be superior to another because of his race and lineage” has repaired the sad and the broken hearts that have been oppressed and excluded from society for years. It also interlocked the Muslims, who were few in number and weak according to the standard of judgment of the society.
This muakhat event that took place in Mecca paved the way for the Ansar-Muhajir brotherhood to be made after the migration. Our beloved Prophet (PBUH) has bound Muslims together with ties of brotherhood in difficult times and times of torture. They managed to spend these sad years of Islamic history together with his companions in a sense of unity and togetherness in brotherhood and sincerity.
Elements that Set the Ground for the Muakhat System
The Companions, who migrated from Mecca to Madina in order to live their religion freely, could not bring anything with them. While the Companions, who were immigrants, were burning with longing for Mecca, they also tried to get used to Madina. Yes, the greatest calamity is the calamity that befalls the religion. This great calamity was averted with the migration and the emigrant Companions had the opportunity to worship freely. However, this did not mean that Muslims were completely relaxed. Both the Muhajirin and the Ansar who embraced them were now the targets of the polytheists. Before long, the Meccan polytheists began to threaten the Muslims of Madina with letters. They clearly wanted the Meccan Muslims to be returned. The most effective and powerful weapon of Muslims against the tricks of the enemies of Islam who try to cause strife is brotherhood. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) responded to these threats of the polytheists by making a brotherhood covenant between Muhajir and Ansar. Because the greatest cure for the disease of controversy caused by the polytheists is alliance.
How was the Muakhat System Put into Practice?
The muakhat system was announced at a meeting held at Enes b. Malik’s house five months after our beloved Prophet (PBUH) came to Madina. Our Beloved Prophet (PBUH) led the meeting, and Muslims from Mecca and Madina attended the meeting. 5 A bowl containing the scent of camphor was brought to our beloved Prophet (PBUH) and Companions took an oath of brotherhood by dipping their hands in the bowl. Thus, the Muhajir-Ansar community became brothers with each other. 6 So much so that the Ansar competed with each other in order to be brothers with the Muhajir. In the end, it was determined by drawing lots. The Ansar also practiced this brotherhood in their homes, belongings, possessions, weapons and horses, and preferred the Muhajirin over their own selves. 7 On that day, Muhajir and Ansar made a fraternity agreement based on matters such as helping each other materially and morally and being an heir. 8 Thus, the foundations of a system that would set an example for Muslims for centuries were laid among the Companions who were the pinnacle of self-sacrifice.
Muakhat was not made by bringing together two randomly chosen people. On the contrary, during a period of more than six months from the hijra, it should be noted that the Prophet (PBUH) did this by getting to know Muslims well, examining their situation, and finding common characteristics between each pair. 9 The number of Muslims who were declared brothers in Anas b. Malik’s house was 90, 45 from Meccan Muhajir and 45 from Ansar of Madina. There are also those who say that they are 100 people, 50 of them from the Muhajirin and 50 from the Ansar. In some sources, the number reaches 124. Ibn Hisham announced the companions, who were brothers, with their names one by one. 10
Providing Accommodation for Immigrants (Muhajirs)
The hospitable Ansar donated their surplus land in Madina to the Prophet (PBUH) to give to the immigrant Companions. They even said that if the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) wished, they could give away their houses. However, our beloved Prophet (PBUH) refused the Ansar’s request by saying “Enjoy the benefit of your houses”. Immigrants were settled in unclaimed territories and lands donated by Ansar, and certain places were allocated to tribes and individuals. Some immigrants, on the other hand, continued to stay in the places where they were guests. 11
The Material Principles the Muakhat System is based on
Although Ansar and Muhajir have no blood-relation, they were legally heirs to each other because they were brothers and sisters through muakhat. 12 “Those who believed, and emigrated, and struggled in Allah’s cause with their possessions and their persons, and those who provided shelter and support—these are allies of one another.” (Anfal, 72) This verse validated the inheritance, which constitutes the material dimension of the muakhat system, between the brothers. However, when the immigrants no longer needed help after the Battle of Badr, the following verse was revealed: “But family members are nearer to one another – to be heirs – in the Book of Allah.” Thus, the provision of being an heir arising from the brotherhood was abolished with the 75th verse of Surah Anfal, which was revealed after the Battle of Badr; this brotherhood has been limited to helping, providing food and drink, and giving advice. 13
Gains of the Muakhat System
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) built the newly established society not on the basis of class such as tribe, nation, race, slavery-freedom, wealth-poverty, but only on the basis of Islamic brotherhood. Thus, he built the Islamic society by almost melting groups of people with great differences in terms of social structure in a pot. 14
The Muslim community, which the Prophet (PBUH) established as faith-centred in Madina, became the most powerful and organized element of the city over time. This unity increased its strength even more under the leadership of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). 15 So much so that in a short time all Arabia had to submit to them entirely.
Aid and solidarity, which constitutes the basis of the society, was provided through the muakhat system, which was established to support the immigrants who left their homeland for the sake of their religion by leaving everything in Mecca, to try to alleviate their financial problems to some extent, and to eliminate the awkwardness and sadness caused by being separated from their homeland.
The most essential needs of immigrants, such as accommodation, food and work problems have been resolved. Everyone got a job, everyone got rid of their problems. The ties of ancestry and tribe have been replaced by ties of religion. The tribal brotherhood has given way to the brotherhood of faith and Islam. Talented ones among Companions got a start in business, made a great fortune and spent their earnings in the way of Allah.
The blood feuds that had been going on for years between the tribes of Aws and Khazraj in Madina before Islam were abolished, and a stronger brotherhood than the brotherhood by blood was established. In fact, it has become such that they look forward to morning in order to see each other. This brotherly relationship, which the society had not known before, provided an unexpected benefit after a short time. During the military expeditions, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) took only one of the brothers into his army, and the other, on the other hand, stayed behind and took over the affairs of two families. 16
The help, support and sacrifice of the Ansar for the Muhajir by means of the muakhat led the Muslims to have a say in the economic life of Madina. The values that Islam brought to economic and commercial life were applied in the Muslim bazaar and market established through the immigrants. As a result, the economic influence of the Jews on the Ansar began to decline. 17
Muakhat brought great ease to the realization of integration in the Islamic society and to the solution of the socio-cultural and economic problems of that day. The Muhajir, who gained experience in the harsh conditions they lived until then, acted as a kind of mentor to the Ansar. They exchanged ideas with each other on how to fight against the enemies. 18
There is a lofty intention and a grand purpose in the foundation of the muakhat system. The unity, solidarity and cooperation of Muslims is only possible with such a brotherhood system. Islam is a religion that establishes high morality and social virtue. The muakhat system brought together various layers of the society. In this way, a high society with same goals and an ummah with high virtues emerged. This brotherhood, which created a social group that shared each other’s sorrows and joys, was also an education movement. In this way, cultural cohesion became faster and easier. 19
The most important unifying factor in the brotherhood between Ansar and Muhajir is Islam. Believing in the same religion, approving the same Prophet (PBUH) and worshiping by facing the same qiblah constitute the most important foundations of this brotherhood. Because if this unity is built on solid foundations, its continuation is possible. Umar (ra) stated that they even shared their time with the person to whom he was declared a brother. This is a sacrifice that only people with the same thought and the same cause can make. He said that while he was going to work to collect dates one day, his brother was with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), the next day it was his turn to work, and in the evenings they told each other what he had done or learned. 20
To Sum Up
Our beloved Prophet (PBUH) took vital steps to form a new society after the Hijrah to Madina. Undoubtedly, the biggest of these steps is the “muakhat” system. The Ansar-Muhacir brotherhood was based on a spiritual basis rather than blood ties. The muakhat system revealed a belief and faith alliance and a unity far beyond the unity formed by small tribes among themselves. Thus, the understanding of ummah and nation took the place of clan and tribe. The muakhat system is an event full of messages in the person of the Ansar of Madina and the Muhajir from Makka. This incident, while ensuring that the material and spiritual needs of the Muhajir are met, is an upright stance against the oppression and threats of the Meccan polytheists, and an act of solidarity against the intrigue and mischief of Jewish tribes such as Bani Qurayza. It is extremely important that our beloved Prophet (PBUH) established such a system within his society before he expanded to other countries after Madina and became a large-scale state. Because the people of Madina, who have come together and become brothers with each other, would be able to defeat both the Jews and the Meccan polytheists. It would have a spiritual infrastructure that can shake and destroy great states such as Sassanid and Rome. This brotherhood system has been a strong move and a solid social movement in the beginning of the development phase of Islam.
1. Mütercim Asım Efendi, El-Okyanusu’l-Basît Fî Tercemeti’l-Kâmûsi’l-Muhît, Kâmûsu’l-Muhît Tercümesi, Türkiye Yazma Eserler Kurumu Başkanlığı, İstanbul, 2014, v. 6, p. 5625
2. ibid. 5626
3. SARIÇAM, İbrahim, Hz. Muhammed ve Evrensel Mesajı, DİB Yayınları, Ankara, 2011, p.139. EL-BUTİ, M.Said Ramazan, Fıkhu’s-Siyre Hz. Muhammed’in Uyguladığı İslam, İslami Edebiyat Yayınları, İstanbul, 2003, p. 220.
4. SARIÇAM,ibid.p. 139.
5. KÖKSAL, Mustafa Asım, İslam Tarihi, Hz. Muhammed (sav) Ve İslamiyet, Medine Devri, Şamil Yayınevi, İstanbul, 1987, v. 8, p. 110.
6. KÖKSAL, ibid. p. 110
7. EN-NEDVİ, Ebu’l-Hasen Ali, Rahmet Peygamberi, İz Yayıncılık, İstanbul, 2012, p. 166.
8. HAMİDULLAH, Muhammed, İslam Peygamberi, Beyan Yayınları, İstanbul, 2011 p. 160.
9. SARIÇAM, ibid.p.139
10. İBN-İ HİŞAM, İslam Tarihi Siret-i İbn-i Hişam Tercemesi, Kahraman Yayınları, v. 2, p.177
11. SARIÇAM,ibid.p. 142
12. SARIÇAM,ibid. p. 139
13. KÖKSAL,ibid. p. 109
14. TOPBAŞ, Osman Nuri, Kur’an-ı Kerim Işığında Nebiler Silsilesi Hazret-i Muhammed Mustafa Sallallahu Aleyhi ve Sellem, Erkam Yayınları, İstanbul, 2005, v. 2, p. 15
15. APAK, Adem, Anahatlarıyla İslam Tarihi (1) (Hz. Muhammed (sav) Dönemi), Ensar Neşriyat, 2006, İstanbul, p.195
16. Doğuştan Günümüze Büyük İslam Tarihi, Çağ Yayınları, 1986, İstanbul, v. 13, p. 261
17. HAMİDULLAH,ibid. p. 161
18. DİA, “MUÂHÂT Maddesi”
19. BERKİ, Ali Himmet, KESKİOĞLU Osman, Hatemü’l Enbiya Hazret-İ Muhammed ve hayatı, DİB Yayınları, Ankara, 2010, p. 210.
20. HAMİDULLAH,ibid. p. 161