The Peace Treaty of Hudaybiyyah
THE MESSENGER(SAW) OF ALLAH’S DREAM
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah dreamt that he entered Makkah and did tawaf around the Ka’bah. His Companions in Madinah were delighted when he told them about it. They all revered Makkah and the Ka’bah and they yearned to do tawaf there.
The Muhajirun had even greater affection for Makkah. They had been born there and had grown up in the city. They loved it deeply but had been driven away from it. When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah told them of his dream, they started to prepare for the journey to Makkah. Hardly anyone wanted to stay behind.
MAKKAH VISITED AT LAST
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah left Madinah for al-Hudaybiyyah in Dhu’l-Qa’dah, 6 A.H. He intended to perform ‘umrah in peace. He was accompanied by fifteen hundred Muslims dressed as pilgrims for ‘umrah in order to show people that they had come to visit the Ka’bah out of respect for it. They took with them animals for the sacrifice.
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah sent out a scout in advance to inform him about the reaction of the Quraysh. When he was near ‘Usfan the scout returned and reported, ‘I left Ka’b ibn Lu’ayy gathering an army against you to prevent you from reaching the Ka’bah.’
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah continued to travel until he reached the furthest part of al-Hudaybiyyah. He pitched camp although there was little water. The people started to complain to him of thirst. He took an arrow from his quiver and told them to put it in the waterhole. Immediately it began to gush with water and continued to flow until they had all quenched their thirst.
The Quraysh were extremely alarmed when they heard that the Muslims were at al-Hudaybiyyah, The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah decided to send one of his Companions to them and summoned Uthman ibn Affan. He was sent to inform the Quraysh that they had not come to fight but had come for ‘umrah, and that he should call them to Islam. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah instructed him to visit the believing men and women of Makkah, to give them the good news of victory and tell them that Allah, the Mighty and Exalted, would make His religion victorious in Makkah and it would no longer be necessary for them to conceal their belief.
Uthman went to Makkah and conveyed the message to Abu Sufyan and the Quraysh noblemen.
When Uthman had finished delivering the message, they said, ‘If you yourself wish to do tawaf of the House, go ahead.’
‘I will not do it,’ he said, ‘until the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah has done tawaf.’
Uthman was in Makkah longer than the Muslims had expected and the rumour spread that he had been killed. Then the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah called for a pledge of allegiance. He sat beneath a tree and the Muslims promised that they would fight with him to the last man. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah took his own hand and said, ‘This is for Uthman.’ Later they heard that Uthman had not been murdered and he came back safely.
The Pledge took place under an acacia tree in al-Hudaybiyyah and is referred to in the Qur’an Allah revealed, ‘Allah was pleased with the believers when they were pledging their allegiance under the tree.'(48: 181
The deadlock between the Quraysh and the Muslims continued until four envoys came to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who said to each one, ‘We did not come to fight anyone. Rather we came to perform ‘umrah.’
But the Quraysh remained stubborn and refused to allow them to proceed.
One of the envoys, ‘Urwah ibn Mas’ud ath-Thaqafi, went back to his people and said, ‘O people! By Allah, I have been in the presence of kings – from Chosroes, and Caesar to the Negus – and by Allah, I have never seen any king whose people respected him as much as the companions of Muhammad respect Muhammad.’ He described to them what he had seen.
TREATY AND TRUCE; WISDOM AND FORBEARANCE
The Quraysh then sent Suhayl ibn Amr. When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah saw him coming, he remarked, ‘It is clear that they want peace since they have sent this man.’ He told his Companions to prepare a draft agreement.
He called for Ali ibn Abi Talib and told him, ‘Write: In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.’
‘By Allah,’ Suhayl said, ‘we do not know who this “Merciful” is. Rather write, “in Your name, O Allah” as you used to write.’
The Muslims said, ‘By Allah, we will only write, “in the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.” ‘ The Prophet said, ‘Write, “In Your name, O Allah.” ‘
Then he said, ‘Write, “This is what Muhammad, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah has agreed.” ‘
‘By Allah,’ retorted Suhayl, ‘if we accepted that you were the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, we would not have prevented you from reaching the House of Allah nor fought you. Rather write, “Muhammad ibn Abdullah.”‘
The Prophet said, ‘I am the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah even though you do not believe me. Write, “Muhammad ibn Abdullah.” ‘
He asked Ali to erase what he had written but Ali Said, ‘By Allah no, I will not erase it.’
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, ‘Show me the place,’ and he erased it himself. Then he said, ‘This is what the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah agrees provided that you give us leave to perform tawaf of the Ka’bah.’
Suhayl Said, ‘By Allah, we will not allow the Arabs to say that we submitted to pressure. It will have to be next year.’ It was also written: ‘On the condition that if any of our men, even if he has your religion, comes to you, you will return him to us.’
The Muslims said, ‘Glory be to Allah! How can we return someone to the idol-worshippers after he has become a Muslim’
While they were thus engaged, Abu Jandal ibn Suhayl came on the scene fettered by chains. He had escaped from Makkah, and threw himself down among the Muslims.
Suhayl looked at his son and commented, ‘Muhammad, here is the first man that you have to return under this treaty.’
‘We have not finished the document yet,’ countered the Prophet.
‘Then, by Allah, I will never agree to anything.’ ‘Let me keep him,’ said the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. ‘I will not allow you to keep him.’
‘Let him go for my sake.’
‘I will not.’
‘O Muslims!’ said Abu Jandal, Am I to be returned to the idol-worshippers when I have come to you as a Muslim? Do you not see what I have suffered?’ He had been severely tortured for his beliefs. However, the Prophet returned him as his father had demanded.
The two parties agreed to abandon war for ten years. During that period everyone would live in peace. Both sides would be safe and would refrain from fighting one another. Whoever came to Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) from the Quraysh without obtaining the permission of his guardian would be returned to them, but whoever came to the Quraysh from those with Muhammad need not be returned to him. Whoever wanted to enter into an alliance and agreement with Muhammad could do so and whoever wanted to enter into an alliance and agreement with the Quraysh would also be free to do so.
THE MUSLIMS’ DISTRESS
When the Muslims saw the terms of the truce and what it meant to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, they were very distressed. The effect on them was so great that Umar ibn al-Khattab asked Abu Bakr angrily, ‘Did not the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah say to us that we were going to go to the Ka’bah and perform tawaf?’
‘Yes. But did he tell you that it was going to be this very year!’
Abu Bakr assured him, ‘You will go there and you will do tawaf.’
When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had finished drawing up the treaty, he sacrificed a camel and then shaved his head. This was a difficult time for the Muslims because all their hopes had been dashed. They had left Madinah with the firm intention of entering Makkah and doing ‘umrah. Now they felt beaten and crushed. However, when they saw that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had made the sacrifice and shaved his head, they rushed to follow his example.
A HUMILIATING PEACE OR A CLEAR VICTORY?
Then the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah broke camp and returned to Madinah. On his journey back, Allah confirmed that the truce of Hudaybiyyah was not a set-back but a victory:
Surely We have given you a clear victory, that Allah may forgive you your former and later sins, and complete His blessing on you and guide you on a straight path and that Allah may help you with a mighty help. (48: 1-3)
Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘Is this a victory then, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah!’
He replied, ‘Yes’.
OUTCOME OF THE TREATY
Not long after the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had returned to Madinah, a man named Abu Basir Utbah ibn Usayd came from Makkah to join the Muslims. The Quraysh sent emissaries to fetch him back. They said, ‘Under the terms of the treaty which you made with us you must hand him over.’ So the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah allowed them to take Abu Basir with them. But on the way back to Makkah, he escaped from them and fled to the coast. Abu Jandal ibn Suhayl also escaped and joined Abu Basir. Then everyone who had become a Muslim and who had suffered persecution from the Quraysh joined Abu Basir until they comprised a group numbering seventy. They set themselves up on a trade route. Whenever they heard that a caravan of the Quraysh had left for Syria, they way laid it, killed the merchants and took the goods they were carrying.
The Hudaybiyyah treaty gave the idol-worshippers and Muslims an opportunity to mix. The idol-worshippers soon came to appreciate the good qualities of the Muslims. Before a year had passed, many of them had become Muslims, and the Quraysh leaders were worried about their influence.
They sent to the Prophet, begging him by Allah and by kinship, not to return the men to Makkah but to keep them in Madinah. From then on whoever of them came to him from Makkah was safe.
These moves indicated that the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyyah in which the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had accepted all the Quraysh conditions had been beneficial after all. The treaty had been a decisive step in gaining further victories for Islam and in spreading the faith throughout the Arabian peninsula with great speed. It led to the conquest of Makkah and the opportunity to invite the kings of the world – Caesar, Chosroes, Muqawqis and the Arabian princes – to accept Islam. Allah the Great revealed:
Yet it may happen that you will hate a thing which is better for you; and it may happen that you will love a thing which is worse for you. Allah knows, and you know not. (2: 216)
KHALID IBN AL-WALID AND AMR IBN AL-AS ACCEPT ISLAM
Khalid ibn al-Walid, general of the Quraysh cavalry and the hero of great battles, was among those who accepted Islam. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah called him the ‘Sword of Allah’. He fought bravely in the way of Allah and was the conqueror of Syria. Amr ibn al-As, another great commander and subsequently the conqueror of Egypt, also became a Muslim. Both of these strong leaders came to Madinah after the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyyah.