Al-Fudul: An Alliance Praised by the Prophet

Al-Fudul: An Alliance Praised by the Prophet
Madinah Mosque
The Fudul Alliance was formed after the Quraysh returned from the Fijar War.

By Dr. `Ali Al-Salabi

The Fijar war pitted the Quraysh, along with their allies from the Kinanah tribe, against the Hawazin tribe. Like most Arab wars that were fought during the p

re-Islamic days of ignorance, the Fijar War began with a trifling dispute and escalated into an all-out war.

A man named `Urwah Ar-Rahhal ibn `Utbah ibn Hawazin granted his protection to Nu`man ibn Al-Mundhir and his trading caravan, which was travelling to the marketplace of Ukazh. Al-Barrad ibn Qays ibn Kinanah said to `Urwah, “Will you protect him against the Kinanah tribe?” `Urwah said, “Yes, and for that matter, I will protect him against all of mankind.” When `Urwah set out with Nu`man and his trading caravan, Al-Barrad followed close behind, waiting for an opportune moment to ambush `Urwah and kill him by surprise.

Al-Barrad’s tribe, the Kinanah, found out about what was happening, and so they too followed in close pursuit, hoping to take their stronger adversaries from the Hawazin tribe by surprise. When `Urwah and the Hawazin found out that they were being followed, they turned around and headed towards the Kinanah tribe, now becoming the hunters instead of the hunted.

They overtook the Kinanah tribe before they were able to enter the inviolable city of Makkah, and the two tribes fought until nightfall, at which time the members of the Kinanah tribe were able to enter Makkah. Since Arabs considered Makkah to be holy,

the Hawazin tribe did not pursue their enemy. But on the following day, the fighting began anew, except that this time around, the Quraysh entered into the fray, lending their support to the Kinanah tribe. In the battles that ensued, the Messenger of Allah participated alongside the Quraysh, albeit playing a very minor role. The word Fijar means wickedness. The reason why the war was given this name is that the inviolability of Makkah was being defiled, and Arabs considered any defilement of Makkah’s sanctity to be a wicked and heinous crime. When he mentioned the war later on his life, the Prophet said, “I used to hand arrows to my uncles.”

The Fudul Alliance

The Fudul Alliance was formed after the Quraysh returned from the Fijar War. It began when a man from Zubayd -a region in Yemen- went to Makkah with some merchandise. Al-`As ibn Wa’il purchased the merchandise from him, took possession of the merchandise, but refused to pay for it. The man from Zubayd pleaded with Quraysh’s chieftains to help him, but they refused, simply because, like them, Al-`As was a nobleman and a chieftain and was therefore not to be opposed.

The Zubaydi man didn’t give up hope; instead, he stood beside the Ka`bah and called out, asking for help from the descendants of Fihr (the Quraysh) and reproaching them for their refusal to help him against the man who had wronged him. Zubayr ibn `Abdul-Muttalib, one of the Prophet’s uncles, stood up and exclaimed, “Will no one help him!”

As a result of Zubayr’s display of anger, a meeting was convened at the house of `Abdullah ibn Jud`an; present at the meeting were the clans of Banu Hashim, Zuhrah, and Banu Taym ibn Murrah. The meeting occurred in Dhul Qi`dah, one of the four inviolable months, and those who were present pledged and swore by Allah that they would be as one hand in their support of any victim against his wrongdoer. They then went together to Al- `As ibn Wa’il, seized from him the merchandise he had wrongfully taken, and returned it to its rightful owner.

The Quraysh referred to what happened in the house of Ibn Jud`an as the Fudul Alliance. Fudul was an appropriate name for the alliance since Fudul comes from the word Fadl, which means nobility, superiority, and virtue. The Prophet (peace be upon him) who was present at the above-mentioned meeting, said later on in his life, “When I was a boy, I attended the Al-Mutibin Alliance (i.e., the Fudul Alliance) with my uncles. I would not love to have even red camels as a recompense for me breaking (the terms) of that alliance.”[1] The owner of red camels during those times would today be equivalent to a millionaire. The Prophet said in another hadith, “I was present in the house of `Abdullah ibn Jud’an when an alliance (i.e., the Fudul Alliance) was formed, and I would not love to have in place of that alliance red camels. And if I were invited by it in Islam, I would answer it.”[2]

Morals and Lessons

1) The Messenger of Allah felt honored for being able to participate in an alliance that was formed on the basis of establishing justice, which shows that justice has an absolute and not a relative value; or in other words, no matter who it is that is carrying out justice, the act itself deserves to be praised.

2) The Fudul Alliance was like an oasis within the darkness of pre-Islamic ignorance. That the Fudul alliance was formed proves that, just because evil pervades a given society, it does not mean that that society is completely void of virtuous acts and deeds. Makkan society was an ignorant society; within it, all of the following evils were rampant: the worship of idols, base manners, wrongdoing, fornication, and usury.

Nonetheless, within the ranks of Makkan society were some men of noble breeding and character, men who despised evil and wrongdoing. This reality should provide an important lesson for Du`ah (callers to Islam) who live in societies wherein Islam is not applied or is being fought against.

3) No matter what form it takes, wrongdoing is unacceptable. It doesn’t matter whether the person being wronged is a Muslim or a non-Muslim, a pious man or a sinner, a rich man or a poor man; whoever he is, others in society must come to his help.

4) It is permissible to form an alliance with non-Muslims if justice is being served in the process; in fact, doing so is a part of enjoining good and forbidding evil.

5) It is permissible for Muslims to form alliances that are similar in intent and content to the Fudul Alliance because they establish a goal that is recognized by and encouraged in the Shar`iah; however, in doing so, Muslims must take into consideration what is best for Islam and for Muslims in the short term and in the long run.

6) A Muslim must strive to have a positive effect on society, to be a person who is remembered for the positive influence he has on the events that take place during his lifetime. Even prior to receiving revelation for the first time, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was known for his many positive contributions to society, to the degree that everyone in the Quraysh called him by the name Al Amin (The Trustworthy One). People’s hearts were attracted to him when he was still at a very young age, and that attraction, in addition to love, continued to grow throughout his entire life, but especially during the years of his Prophethood.


[1] Sahih As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah by Ibrahim Al-`Ali (pg. 59), and Al- Albani (may Allah have mercy on him) ruled it to be authentic.

[2] As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah by Ibn Hisham (1/134), and Fiqh As-Sirah by Al-Ghadban (p. 102).


Source: Taken with modifications from the author’s “The Noble Life of the Prophet Muhammad”.

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