Al-Hudaibiyah Treaty (Dhul-Qa`dah 6 A.H.)

The Circumstances of the `Umrah of AlHudaibiyah

Arabia began to witness the large impressive sweep in favor of the Muslims, and the forerunners of the great conquest and success of the Islamic call began to gradually become more visible on the demographic horizon.

It was in the 6 A.H. that the Prophet in Madinah had a dream in which he had entered the sacred sanctuary in Makkah in security with his followers, and was performing the ceremonies of `Umrah (lesser pilgrimage). Their heads were being shaved and hair was being removed. As soon as he informed some of his Companions about the dream, to which they became extremely happy.

The Muslims Mobilize

The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had his clothes washed, mounted his camel named Al-Qaswa’, left Ibn Umm Maktum (May Allah be Pleased with him), and according to some others, Numailah Al-Laithi (May Allah be Pleased with him), in charge of Madinah, and marched out towards Makkah on a Monday in the beginning of Dhul-Qa`dah, at the head of fourteen or fifteen hundred Muslims including his wife Umm Salamah (May Allah be Pleased with her). He was also accompanied by some of the desert Bedouins in the area, although many of them stayed behind. They carried no weapons with them except the sheathed swords of travelers, since they had no intention of fighting.

Heading for Makkah

As they approached Makkah, they stopped at a place called Dhul-Hulaifah, where he ordered that the sacrificial animals be garlanded, and all the believers enter into the state of Ihram, with the pilgrim’s dress would afford them safety from any attacks. He dispatched a surveyor to collect any news of the enemy. The man came back and informed the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that a large number of people from a number of tribes, were gathered with Ka`b bin Lu’ai to oppose him, and that the road to Makkah was completely blocked.

The Prophet consulted his Companions, who were of the opinion that they would not fight anyone unless they were stopped from performing the pilgrimage.

The Quraish Attempt to Block the Muslims from Reaching the Ka`bah

The Quraish, on their part, held a meeting in which they discussed the entire situation, and they decided on resisting the Prophet’s mission at all costs. Two hundred horsemen led by Khalid bin Al-Walid were dispatched to take the Muslims by surprise during Dhuhr (the Noon) prayer. However, the rules concerning the Fear prayer were revealed. Khalid and his men missed their opportunity, because the Muslims avoided marching on that route and decided to follow a rugged rocky one. Khalid hurried back to Quraish to brief them on the latest situation.

Changing Direction

When the Muslims reached an area called Thaniyatul-Murar, the Prophet’s camel stumbled and knelt down and was too stubborn to move, so the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) swore that he would willingly agree to any plan the enemy proposed that would revere Allah’s sanctuary. He then reprovingly spurred his camel and it leapt up. They resumed their march and came to pitch their tents at the furthest part of Al-Hudaibiyah beside a well that contained little water. The Muslims reported their thirst to the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who took an arrow out of his quiver, and placed it in the ditch. Water immediately began to gush forth, and his followers drank to their fill.

Budail Mediates Between Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the Quraish

After the Prophet was at ease, Budail bin Warqa’ al-Khuza’i came with some people of the Khuza`ah tribe, to advise the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). They asked him for what reason he had come for. The Prophet replied that his intention was not for war. He (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I have no other design but to perform `Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage) in the Sacred Sanctuary. Should the Quraish embrace the new religion, as some people have done, they are most welcome, but if they stand in my way or stop the Muslims from performing the pilgrimage, I will surely fight them to the last man, and Allah’s Order must be fulfilled.’’ Budail carried the message to the Quraish, who were hesitant to accept the unwanted news. They then dispatched Mikraz bin Hafs to meet the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). On seeing him, the Prophet said that he was a treacherous man. He was given the same message to communicate to his people.

The Envoys of Quraish

He was followed by another envoy named Al-Hulais bin `Alqamah. He was very much impressed by the spirit and devotion that the Muslims had for the Sacred Ka`bah. He went back to his men and warned them against stopping Muhammad and his Companions from revering Allah’s House at the risk of breaking his alliance with them. Hulais was succeeded by `Urwah bin Mas’ud Ath-Thaqafi to negotiate with Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). In the course of the discussion, he said to the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “Muhammad, have you gathered around yourself mixed people and then brought them against your kith and kin in order to destroy them. By Allah, I think I will see you deserted by these people tomorrow.’’ At this point Abu Bakr (May Allah be Pleased with him) stood up and expressed his resentment. While he was speaking to the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), he grabbed the Prophet’s beard. AlMughirah bin Shu`bah, was standing besides the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who was wearing a helmet with a sword at his side. He hit ‘Urwah’s hand with the scabbard of his sword and warned him not to touch the Prophet’s beard. Here, the envoy of the Quraish remarked in annoyance and referred to the latter’s treacherous act of killing his companions and looting them before he embraced Islam.

Meanwhile, `Urwah, during his visit to the Muslim camp, closely watched the immeasurable love and respect that the followers of Muhammad showed toward him. He returned to the Quraish and conveyed to them his impression that those people could not leave the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) under any circumstance. He expressed his feelings in the following words: “I have been to Chosroes, Caesar and Negus in their kingdoms, but never have I seen a king among a people like Muhammad among his Companions. If he performs ablution, they would not let the water from it fall to the ground; if he expectorates, they compete for the mucus which they would rub on their faces; if he speaks, they would lower their voices. They will not abandon him for anything in any case. He offers you a reasonable plan, so do what you please.’’

Allah (Might and majesty belong to Him!) Prevented Them From Treachery

Seeing a great tendency towards reconciliation among their chiefs, some younger, irresponsible, and hot tempered Quraish devised a wicked plan that would hold back the peace treaty. They decided to enter into the camp of the Muslims and intentionally begin a clash which would be the fuse to trigger a war. Seventy or eighty of them left at night for the Muslim camp and descended from the mountain Tan`im. Muhammad bin Maslamah (May Allah be Pleased with him), chief of the Muslim guards was able to capture them, but in view of the far-reaching imminent results about to be achieved, the Prophet set them free. In this context Allah says:

“And He it is Who has withheld their hands from you and your hands from them in the midst of Makkah, after He had made you victors over them.’’ [48:24]

`Uthman bin `Affan is sent as a Messenger to the Quraish

Time passed and negotiations continued but with no results. The Prophet asked `Umar (May Allah be Pleased with him) to go, on his behalf, to the nobles of Quraish, however `Umar excused himself on account of the personal enmity of Quraish toward him; additionally, he had no influential relatives in the city who could shield him from danger. He advised sending `Uthman bin `Affan (May Allah be Pleased with him), who belonged to one of the most powerful families in Makkah. `Uthman went to Abu Sufyan and other chiefs and told them that the Muslims had come only to visit and pay their homage to the Sacred House; to worship there with no intention to fight. He was also asked to call them to Islam, and give glad tidings to the believers in Makkah, women and men, that the conquest was approaching and Islam would surely prevail, because Allah would truly establish His religion in Makkah. `Uthman also assured them that after the performance of the ceremonies they would depart peacefully, but the Quraish were inflexible and were not prepared to grant them permission to visit the Ka`bah. They, however, offered `Uthman (May Allah be Pleased with him) the permission to perform `Umrah, if he so desired, but `Uthman (May Allah be Pleased with him) declined the offer saying: “How is it possible that I avail myself of this opportunity, while the Prophet is denied of it?’’ The Muslims anxiously waited for the arrival of `Uthman (May Allah be Pleased with him) with mixed feelings of fear and anxiety. But his arrival was considerably delayed and foul play was suspected on the part of the Quraish.

The Rumor of `Uthman’s Death and the Pledge of Ridwan

The Muslims were very worried and took a solemn pledge at the hand of the Prophet that they would not flee, and a group of them pledged death. The first to take the pledge were Abu Sinan Al-Asadi and Salamah bin AlAkwa’ (May Allah be Pleased with him), who gave a solemn promise to die in the cause of Truth three times, in the beginning, in the middle, and in the last of the process. The Prophet even held out his own hand and said: “This is for `Uthman.’’ After the pledge had been complete, `Uthman arrived and gave the pledge himself. Every person present pledged except for one man who was of the hypocrites, named Jad bin Qais. Allah’s Messenger took this pledge under a tree while `Umar (May Allah be Pleased with him) was holding his hand, and Ma’qil bin Yasar (May Allah be Pleased with him) was holding a branch out of the Prophet’s way.

This was the Bai’at-ur-Ridwan which is mentioned by Allah:

``Indeed, Allah was pleased with the believers when they gave their Bai’ah (pledge) to you (O Muhammad) under the tree.’’ [48:18]

The Treaty and its Clauses

When Quraish saw the firm determination of the Muslims to shed the last drop of blood for the defense of their Faith, they came to their senses and realized that Muhammad’s followers could not be frightened by these tactics.

After some further exchange of correspondences, they agreed to conclude a treaty of reconciliation and peace with the Muslims. The clauses of the said treaty go as follows:

  1. The Muslims shall return this time and come back next year. They shallnot stay in Makkah for more than three days. They shall not come back armed but can bring with them only sheathed swords in scabbards and these shall be kept in bags.
  2. War activities shall be suspended for ten years, during which both partieswill live in full security and neither will raise the sword against the other.
  3. Whoever wishes to join Muhammad (May the peace and blessings ofAllah be upon him), or enter into treaty with him, should have the liberty to do so; likewise, whosoever wishes to join the Quraish, or enter into treaty with them, should be allowed to do so.
  4. If anyone from the Quraish goes over to Muhammad without his guardian’s permission, referring to a fugitive, should be returned to the Quraish; however, if any of Muhammad’s followers return to the Quraish, he shall not be sent back.

Some dispute arose when finalizing the treaty. When the agreement was to be committed to writing, `Ali bin Abi Talib (May Allah be Pleased with him), who acted as the scribe, began with the words: Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Raheem, i.e., “In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,’’ but the Makkan Suhail bin `Amr declared that he knew nothing about Ar-Rahman and insisted upon the customary formula Bi-ismika Allahumma, i.e., “In Your Name, O Allah!’’ The Muslims grumbled with uneasiness but the Prophet agreed. He then went on to dictate: “This is what Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, has agreed to with Suhail bin `Amr.’’ Upon this Suhail again protested: “Had we acknowledged you as Allah’s Messenger, we would neither have prevented you from the Sacred House, nor fought against you. Write your own name and the name of your father.’’ The Muslims grumbled as before and refused to consent to the change. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) however, in the greater interest of Islam, erased the words himself, and instead dictated: “Muhammad, the son of `Abdullah.’’ Soon after this treaty, the tribe of Khuza`ah, a former ally of Banu Hashim, joined the ranks of Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

The Return of Abu Jandal

It was during this time, while the treaty was being written, that Abu Jandal(May Allah be Pleased with him), the son of Suhail, appeared on the scene. He was brutally chained and was staggering with hardship and exhaustion. The Prophet and his Companions were moved to pity and tried to secure his release but Suhail was unyielding and said: “To signify that you are faithful to your contract, an opportunity has just arrived.’’ The Prophet said: “But the treaty is not signed when your son entered the camp.’’ Upon this, he burst forth and said, “But the terms of the treaty were agreed upon.’’ It was indeed an anxious moment.

On the one hand, Abu Jandal was lamenting at the top of his voice, “O Muslims, am I to be returned to the polytheists that they might turn me away from my religion!’’ On the other hand, the faithful engagement was also considered to be necessary, above all other considerations. The Prophet’s (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) heart was filled with sympathy, but he wanted to honor his words at all cost. He consoled Abu Jandal and said, “Be patient, resign yourself to the Will of Allah. Allah will provide for you and your helpless companions relief and means of escape. We have concluded a treaty of peace with them and we have taken the pledge in Allah’s Name. We are, therefore, under no circumstances prepared to break it.’’ `Umar bin Al-Khattab(May Allah be Pleased with him)could not help venting the deep-seated anguish of his heart. He rose to his feet and uttered words of deep hatred and extreme anger, and provided the chance for Abu Jandal to grab his sword and kill Suhail; however, the son spared his father. However, in silent resignation, Abu Jandal(May Allah be Pleased with him) was taken away in chains.

With the conclusion of the peace treaty, the Prophet ordered his Companions to slaughter their sacrificial animals, but they were too depressed to do so. The Prophet gave instructions in this regard three times but received no response. He told his wife Umm Salamah about this attitude of his Companions, so she advised him to take the initiative, slaughter his animal and have his head shaved. Seeing that, the Muslims, with hearts full of grief, started to slaughter their animals and shave their heads. The

Prophet prayed three times for those who shaved their heads and once for those who cut their hair. A camel was sacrificed on behalf of seven men and a cow on behalf of the same number of people. The Prophet sacrificed a camel that once belonged to Abu Jahl and which the Muslims had seized as booty at Badr, thus enraging the polytheists.

During the campaign of al-Hudaibiyah, the Prophet permitted Ka`b bin `Ujrah(May Allah be Pleased with him), who was in a state of Ihram for `Umrah to shave his head due to an illness, on the condition that he will pay compensation by sacrificing a sheep, fasting for three days, or feeding six needy persons. Concerning this, the following Verse was revealed:

``And whosoever of you is ill or has an ailment in his scalp (necessitating shaving), he must pay a Fidyah (ransom) of either fasting (three days) or giving Sadaqah (feeding six poor persons) or offering sacrifice (one sheep).’’ [2:196]

Refusing the Return of Emigrant Women

Meanwhile some believing women emigrated to Madinah and asked the Prophet for refuge, which they were granted. When their families demanded their return, he would not hand them back because the following Verse was revealed:

``O you who believe! When believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them, Allah knows best as to their Faith, then if you know them for true believers, send them not back to the disbelievers, they are not lawful (wives) for the disbelievers nor are the disbelievers lawful (husbands) for them. But give the disbelievers that (amount of money) which they have spent [as their Mahr (bridal money)] to them. And there will be no sin on you to marry them if you have paid their Mahr to them. Likewise hold not the disbelieving women as wives...’’ [60:10]

The reason why the believing women were not handed back was either because they were not originally included in terms of the treaty, which mentioned only men or because the Qur’an abrogated any terms dealing with women in the Verse:

``O Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you the Bai`ah (pledge), that they will not associate anything in worship with Allah...’’ [60:12]

This is the Verse which forbade Muslim women from marrying disbelieving men. Likewise, Muslim men were commanded to terminate their marriages to disbelieving women.

In compliance with this injunction, `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be

Pleased with him) divorced two wives he had married before he embraced Islam; Mu`awiyah married the first woman, and Safwan bin Umaiyah married the second.

Impact of the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyah

A series of events would confirm the profound wisdom and splendid result of the peace treaty which Allah termed “a manifest victory”.

How could it be otherwise when the Quraish recognized the Muslims’ legitimate existence on the scene the political life of Arabia, and began to deal with the believers on equal terms?

The Quraish, in the light of the articles of the treaty, had indirectly given up their claim to religious leadership, and admitted that they were no longer interested in people other than the Quraish, and washed their hands of any sort of intervention in the religious future of the Arabian Peninsula.

The Muslims never had any intention to seize the wealth and property of people, or to kill them through bloody wars; they never had any desire to employ compulsion in their approach to propagating Islam; on the contrary, their sole purpose was to provide an atmosphere of freedom in ideology or religion:

``Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve.’’ [18:29]

The Muslims, on the other hand, had the opportunity to spread Islam to areas that were not explored.

With the establishment of the peace agreement, war was abolished, and men met and consulted together, none talked about Islam intelligently without entering it. Within two years, after the commencement of the treaty, twice as many people entered Islam than ever before. This is supported by the fact that the Prophet went out to al-Hudaibiyah with only 1,400 men, but when he set out to liberate Makkah, two years later, he had 10,000 men with him.

The article of the treaty about ceasing the hostilities for ten years, points directly to the utter failure of political pride exercised by the Quraish and its allies, and functions as evidence of the collapse and powerlessness of the instigators of war.

The Quraish had been obliged to give up those advantages in return for one that seemed in its favor, but did not actually bear any harm against the Muslims; referring to the article that speaks of handing over to the Quraish those believing men who seek refuge with the Muslims without their guardians’ consent. At first glance, it was a most distressing clause and was considered objectionable in the Muslim camp.

However, in the course of events, it proved to be a great blessing. For it was obvious that those who had been Muslims would never flee from Allah and His Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and none would flee except for an obvious apostate, for whom the Muslims had no need as indicated by the saying of the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):

“Whoever leaves us for them, has been removed by Allah.’’

As for those in Makkah who embraced Islam, although the route to Madinah was temporarily closed for them, Allah’s earth was wide. Was there not an abode for the believers in Abyssinia at a time when there were no believers in Madinah? This was indicated by the saying of the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):

``And whoever comes to us from them, indeed Allah will make an opening and a way out for him.’’

The Muslims’ Grief and `Umar’s Expression of That

These are the realities of the clauses of the treaty, and they all seemed to work in favor of the growing Islamic state. However, two clauses in the treaty made it distasteful to some Muslims. These clauses were no access to the Holy Sanctuary that year, and the seemingly degrading attitude concerning reconciliation with the pagans of Quraish. `Umar(May Allah be Pleased with him), unable to hold himself for the distress that was grasping his heart, went to the Prophet and said: “Are you not the true Messenger of Allah?’’ The Prophet replied calmly, “Why not?’’ `Umar(May Allah be Pleased with him)again spoke and asked, “Are we not on the path of righteousness and our enemies in the wrong?’’ Without showing any resentment, the Prophet replied that it was so. On getting this reply he further urged, “Then we should not suffer any humiliation in the matter of Faith.’’ The Prophet was firm and with perfect confidence said, “I am the true Messenger of Allah, I never disobey Him, He shall help me.’’ ‘Umar said: “Did you not tell us that we would perform pilgrimage?’’ The Prophet replied: “I never told you that we shall do so this very year.’’ `Umar was silenced. But his mind was disturbed. He went to Abu Bakr(May Allah be Pleased with him)and expressed his feelings before him. Abu Bakr(May Allah be Pleased with him) who had never been in doubt as regards the Prophet’s truthfulness and sincerity, confirmed what the Prophet had told him. In due course, the Chapter of Victory was revealed saying:

``Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)) a manifest victory.’’ [48:1]

Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) summoned `Umar (May Allah be Pleased with him) and conveyed to him the glad tidings. `Umar (May Allah be Pleased with him)was overjoyed, and greatly regretted his former attitude. He used to spend in charity, observe fasting and prayer, and free as many slaves as possible in expiation for that thoughtless attitude he had assumed.

The Problem of Weak Muslims Solved

After the Prophet reached Madinah, Abu Baseer (May Allah be Pleased with him), who had escaped from the Quraish came to him as a Muslim. The Quraish sent two men demanding his return, so the Prophet handed him over to them.

On the way to Makkah, Abu Baseer (May Allah be Pleased with him) managed to kill one of them, and the other one fled to Madinah with Abu Baseer inpursuit. When he reached the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), Abu Baseer said, “Your obligation is over and Allah has freed you from it. You duly handed me over to the men, and Allah has rescued me from them.’’ The Prophet said, “Woe to his mother, he would have kindled a war if there had been others with him.”

When he heard that, he knew that he would be handed back to them, so he fled from Madinah and went as far as Seeful-Bahr.

The other Muslims who were oppressed in Makkah began to escape to Abu Baseer (May Allah be Pleased with him). He was joined by Abu Jandal and others until a fair-sized colony was formed and they soon sought revenge on the Quraish by intercepting their caravans.

The pagans of Makkah, finding themselves unable to control those exiled colonists, begged the Prophet to do away with the clause which governed the return of these persons. They begged him by Allah, and by their ties of kinship to send for the group, saying that whoever joined the Muslims in Madinah would be safe from them. So the Prophet sent for the group and they responded, as expected, positively.

The early part of the year 7 A.H. witnessed the Islamization of three prominent men of Makkah, `Amr bin Al-`As, Khalid bin Al-Walid, and

`Uthman bin Talhah. On their arrival and entrance into the fold of Islam, the

Prophet said, “The Quraish have given us their own blood.’’

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