The 'Aqaba pledge: a reconsideration of the 'Anṣār’s subscription to the pledge
Vanauker, Matthew Lee
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The ‘Aqaba pledge was a pivotal moment for early Islamic history. Often, however, it is read and understood in the context of Muhammad’s life. Consequently, much remains unanswered concerning the other party to the pledge, viz. the ‘Anṣār. Traditionally, it has been understood that the ‘Anṣār subscribed to the pledge in the context of their ongoing intertribal wars and that out of a desire to bring an end to those wars, seeing Muhammad as the means for that, they accepted the terms of the pledge. This paper expands on this traditional understanding. It begins by expanding on the traditionally understood sociopolitical context that surrounded the ‘Anṣār on the eve of the pledge, looking closely at the Perso-Byzantine war in the early seventh century. It then points to a hitherto unidentified cause that forced the ‘Anṣār to desire reconciliation and to accept the terms of the pledge.