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Bayʿa (Arabic: البيعة) denotes pledging allegiance to the Prophet (s), an Imam, ruler, or caliph. In Islamic tradition, the first bay'a was declared by 'Ali (a) and Lady Khadija (a), with the Prophet (s) after accepting Islam as their religion. The first and second al-'Aqaba allegiances are bay'as that took place in Mecca, and these two, particularly the second al-'Aqaba alleginace, paved the Prophet's (s) path to migrate to Medina. Muslims swore allegiance to the Prophet (s) when setting off to the Battle of Badr in Medina. The Bay'at al-Ridwan or Bay'at al-Shajara, happened in 6/628, in Hudaybiyya. Men and women pledged allegiance to the Prophet (s) after the Conquest of Mecca in 8/630. The last bay'a which occurred at the presence of the Prophet of Islam (s) was Muslims' allegiance to 'Ali (a) in Dhu l-Hijja 18, 10/March 19, 632 in a place called Ghadir Khumm. The subject of this bay'a was the leadership and succession of Imam 'Ali (a) after the Prophet (s).

Bay'a was common before Islam, in Prophet's (s) era, after the Prophet (s), and in all the governments claiming to represent Islamic governments.


Literal and Idiomatic Meaning

Bay'a is an Arabic word (root: ب ی ع) that means "shaking and pressing hands and striking your right hand to the right hand of another person in order to establish allegiance".

Before Islam, it was traditional among Arabs to shake each others' right hands when buying and selling, that meant to determine and finalize the deal and making themselves faithful to its terms. This act of handshake was called "bay'a" or "safqa" by which the deal was made. Furthermore, to obey the leader of the tribe, the members swore allegiance by shaking hands (Musafaha). Because of its similarity with deal, this action was named bay'a as well.

Accordingly, most researchers suggest that the idiomatic meaning of bay'a in Islamic sources and texts is putting your right hand in one's right hand, representing obedience and leadership of him. Gradually, with evolution and variation in the form of bay'a, presently this word also denotes the allegiance and loyalty which this action is a sign of it. Afterwards, it became more ordinary in its second meaning.

In Islam

The popular meaning of bay'a in the Holy Qur'an, history, sunna, kalam, and Islamic political fiqh is the al