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Hudaybiyyah Peace Treaty

The battle against the allies at Khandiq, was virtually the last of the Quraish's attempts to confront Islam and the great Messenger (s.a.w.). Afterwards they began to fear the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).

The Jews of Bani Quraidah were actually got rid of after the siege that lasted 15 days. In its wake, the Messenger began, to think of suitable ways of consolidating the power of the state, strengthening the pillars of the Islamic community, weakening enemies and spreading the call of Islam to larger areas.

It was during this time, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) heard of a fresh attempt being prepared secretly by the Quraish and the Jews of Khaibar to invade Madinah. Thus, he made up his mind to make a truce with the Quraish in order to wean them away from the Jews. He also moved to convey Islam among the Arabs other than the Quraish.

To carry this out, he thought the season of hajj (pilgrimage) was the appropriate time, for the Arabs greatly respected holy months, including that of hajj.

When the hajj season arrived, the Messenger (s.a.w.), accompanied by 15000 of his followers, set out for Mecca. From a place called Dhul-Halifah, he and his followers raised their voices in a special recitation for pilgrims, Here I am, my Lord, here I am. Praise and grace and the worlds are Yours. No partner is set with You....

Any passer-by would have understood that the Prophet came along only to perform hajj and not to fight. Swords were kept in their scabbards and prior to his departure for Mecca, he had made it clear to the other Arabs, other than the Quraish, that he would go to perform hajj and called on them to follow suit.

It was evident that he wanted the Arabs to know of his peaceful intention, otherwise, there was no point in going out in broad daylight and calling other Arabs to join him in the march to Mecca, particularly when they were among his enemies. It was a bid, made by the Messenger, to convince public opinion, if the Quraish blocked his way to visit the Holy House of Allah. This is why he informed the Arabs of his march towards Mecca.

Fearing it was a scheme made by the Messenger (s.a.w.) merely to enter Mecca, the Quraish mobilized a great army, led by Khalid bin al-Walid, to stop his way. The army covered along distance going towards Mecca to confront the Muslims, but even such extraordinary preparations to challenge them, did not discourage the Messenger. He decided to keep to his peaceful plan. He, consequently, turned off the main road and took a coarse one that led to the southern part of Mecca at a place called Hudaibiyyah.

When Khalid bin al-Walid heard of the Messenger's diversion, he rapidly retreated to Mecca with fear and uncertainty hanging over the army. 77 He entered Mecca with the purpose of keeping the Muslims out. The two armies faced each other, with the Quraish avoiding to engage the Muslims in a new battle, but refusing to allow them to enter the city any cost.

After only a few days passed, the Quraish sent a delegation to hold talks with the Messenger (s.a.w.) to know specifically his real intention. The delegation became convinced, shortly after the talks started, that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and the Muslims came only to perform hajj.

But when the delegation returned and informed the Quraish of their impression, they were accused of being cowards and sympathizers with the Muslims.

Another delegation then was sent. This time it was headed by the leader of the Abyssinians. The Quraish plan was to pit him against the Messenger (s.a.w.) if the talks failed so that he would side with them.

No sooner had the Messenger (s.a.w.) heard of the advent of the Abyssinian leader, then he proceeded with the ritual offerings where animals are brought in the valley to be slaughtered during the hajj. When the leader of the Abyssinians saw garlands hanging from the animal necks - it was an Arab tradition to put garlands around the necks of the offerings - and that the Muslims were arrayed in hajj robes, dutifully remembering the Lord, he went back without meeting the Messenger out of awe and respect.

On his return, he addressed the Quraish in the following words, By Allah, we will never ally ourselves with you in preventing people from visiting the House of Allah who have come to glorify it, and pay due respects 78 He then advised them to permit the Messenger (s.a.w.) and his followers to perform their hajj. If not, he warned them that he would fight them.

For the same purpose, the Quraish then sent Urwah bin Mas'ud al-Thaqafi, whom the Messenger (s.a.w.) told he had not come to wage a war against them but to visit the House of Allah. Urwah noticed how the Muslims dearly loved the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and how eagerly they obeyed him.

When he returned, he explained what he saw:

O people! I waited on the kings and visited Qaisar (Caesar), Kusra (Chosroes) and al-Najashi. By Allah I have never seen people extol their King as greatly as the followers of Muhammad do. If he orders them they hurry to obey him. If he does his ablutions, they virtually fight one another to get some of the water he used. If they talk, they only talk with low voices in his presence. They do not look him sharply in the eye out of respect and awe. He has offered you a reasonable proposal, so accept it ... 79

The Messenger (s.a.w.) then sent, an envoy whose name was Kharrash al-Khiza'i. But, the Quraish hamstrung his camel and wanted to kill him if the Abyssinian leader had not interfered and saved him.

Seeing their unmanly reaction to his envoy, the Messenger (s.a.w.) sent Uthman bin Affan, who entered Mecca under the protection of his cousin Ibban bin Sa'id bin al-As. He assured the Quraish that the Messenger (s.a.w.) had come only to perform the hajj. But the Quraish showed unlimited hastiness, for they imprisoned Uthman for three days during which time it was rumored he was put to death. The Messenger (s.a.w.) the decided to call upon his followers to make a covenant with him to fight the Quraish. They responded positively, vied with each other to swear their allegiance, put on their military outfits and prepared themselves for war. This was called the pledge of al-Ridwan (mercy) 80, the participants of which were praised by Allah in the Holy Book of the Qur'an:

Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility on them and rewarded them with a near victory.

Holy Qur'an (48:18)

The Quraish feared grave consequences when they heard of the pledge between the Messenger (s.a.w.) and his followers. The bravery of the Muslims was not a secret to them, and the Quraish were acquainted with the steadfastness during the wars they had fought with them.

Seeking a peaceful solution to the matter, the Quraish sent a delegation headed by Suhail bin Amru. A long dialogue ensued between the Messenger (s.a.w.) and Suhail at the 2nd of which an agreement was arrived at to make a peaceful treaty between the Muslims and the infidels in Mecca.

The Messenger (s.a.w.) ordered Ali(a.s.) to write down the text of the agreement between the two sides. He dictated to him the following:

Write in the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful, said the Messenger (s.a.w.).

Suhail, the representative of Quraish, protested at that, and said: stop! I do not know the Compassionate, the Merciful!

Write, in Your Name, our Lord.

Write in Your Name, our Lord, the Messenger (s.a.w.) told Ali (a.s.). Then he said, Write this is what Muhammad the Messenger of Allah had agreed upon with Suhail bin Amru.

Stop said Suhail. Had I witnessed that you are the Messenger of Allah I would not have fought you. So, write only your name and your fathers.

Write, the Messenger (s.a.w.) said, This is on which Muhammad bin Abdullah made peace with... and dictated the articles of the agreement, which stated that: 81

1. The agreement is essentially a truce between the two parties for a period of 10 years.

2. Whoever embraces Islam and joins the Messenger (s.a.w.) without the consent of the Quraish is returned to the Quraish by the Messenger (s.a.w.). But whoever renounces Islam, among the followers of Muhammad (s.a.w.), and rejoins the Quraish, can remain there without any molestation.

3. Any Arab tribe that tends to ally with Muhammad (s.a.w.) can freely do so and they are similarly free to ally with the Quraish.

4. Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his followers have to return to the place from where they came. But, next year, during the season of hajj, they can visit the Holy House of Allah on condition that they stay only three days in Mecca with sheathed swords.

On behalf of the Muslims, the Messenger (s.a.w.) signed the agreement while Suhail bin Amru signed it on behalf of the Quraish. Shortly afterwards, the tribe of Khuza'ah allied themselves with the Messenger (s.a.w.) and the tribe of Bani Bakr allied themselves with the Quraish.

Many Muslims protested at the conclusion of the agreement. Among the protestors was Umar bin al-Khattab, for what, he thought, the toleration and resilience on the part of the Messenger (s.a.w.). Not grasping the hidden meaning of the agreement was the cause of the protests. The protestors found fault with the agreement till the revelation of the Qura'nic Surah of al-Fath (the victory) which after its signing disclosed the philosophy of the agreement. It was a sweeping victory for the Muslims and their Message.

So great was the positive effects of the agreement on the historical movement of Islam that it opened closed doors for the Muslims to convey their da'wah to non-Quraishi Arabs, building and solidifying their state and strengthening their nascent community against the pressures being exerted by the Quraish on the Muslims, including their wars.

The Divine da'wah, began to win over the public support of the Arabs after the signing of the agreement. The faithful took the liberty of contacting the Arabs in their own house to convey Islam to them. Another advantageous outcome of the agreement was that the Muslims, now turned their attention to the Jews with whom they were engaged for 15 days after the return of the Messenger (s.a.w.) from Hudaibiyyah.

These are some of the fruits of Hudaibiyyah Pact which was a significant turning point in the movement of the da'wah.


77 See Suwar min Hayat Muhammad, p.453 and al-Sirah, Dahlan, vol. 2, p.8, and al-Sirah, Ibn Husham, and other books.

78. Sirat al-Rasul, Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin al-Amili, Truce of al-Hudaibiyyah.

79. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 20, expedition of al-Hudaibiyyah and the pledge of al-Ridwan.

80. Majma' al-Bayan (Qur'anic Exegesis ), Allama al-Tabarsi, commentary of the sura of al-Fath.

81. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 2, p.357; Suwar min Hayat Muhammad, al-Hudaibiyyah pact.

Adapted from the book: "Muhammad; The Messenger of Allah"

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