Al-Hudaibiyah Treaty (Dhul-Qa’dah 6 A.H.)
The Circumstances of the ‘Umrah of Al-Hudaibiyah When Arabia began to witness the large impressive sweep in favour of the Muslims, the forerunners of the great conquest and success of the Islamic Call started gradually to become visible on the demographic horizon. It was about the sixth year of Al-Hijra in Madinah when the Prophetﷺ had dream that 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 cut off. As soon as he informed some of his Companions about the dream, they became very happy.
The Muslims mobilize
The Prophet ﷺ content had his clothes washed, mounted his camel named Al-Qaswa’, left Ibn Umm Maktum or according to some, Numailah Al-Laithi in charge of Madinah, and marched out towards Makkah on a Monday at the beginning of DhulQa’dah, at the head of fourteen or fifteen hundred Muslims including his wife Umm Salamah . 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 travellers since they had no intention of fighting
Heading for Makkah
As they approached Makkah, and reached a place called DhulHulaifah, he ordered that the sacrificial animals be garlanded, and all believers entered into the state of Al-Ihram, with the pilgrim’s dress making them safe against any attacks. He dispatched a surveyor to hunt around for news of the enemy. The man came
back to tell the Prophet ﷺ that a large number of people from a variety of tribes.” were gathered with Ka’b bin Lu’at to oppose him, and that the road to Makkah was completely blocked. The Prophet ﷺ consulted with his Companions, who were of the opinion that they would fight none unless they were stopped from performing their pilgrimage.
The Quraish attempt to block the Muslims from reaching the Ka’bah
The Quraishites, on their part, held a meeting during which they considered the whole situation and decided to resist the Prophet’s ﷺ mission at all costs. Two hundred horsemen led by Khalid bin Al Walid were dispatched to take the Muslims by surprise during Zuhr (the Noon) prayer. However, the rules of Fear prayer were revealed meanwhile and thus Khalid and his men missed the chance. The Muslims avoided marching on that way and decided to follow a rugged rocky one. Here, Khalid ran back to Quraish to brief them on the latest situation.
Changing the Direction
When the Muslims reached a spot called Thaniyatul-Murar. the Prophet’s ﷺcamel stumbled and knelt down and was too stubborn to move. Hazrat Muhammadﷺ swore he would willingly agree to any plan the enemy proposed that would revere Allâh’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 AlHudaibiyah beside a well with little water. The Muslims reported thirst to the Prophetﷺ who took an arrow out of his quiver, and placed it in the ditch. Water immediately gushed forth, and his followers drank to their fill.
Budail mediates between Allâh’s Messengerﷺ and the Quraish
After the Prophet ﷺ was at ease, Budail bin Warqa’ Al-Khuza’i came with some people of the Khuza’ah tribe, to advise the Prophet ﷺ They asked him what he had come for. The Prophet ﷺ replied that it was not for war that he had come forth: “I have no other design,” he said, “but to perform ‘Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage) in the Sacred Sanctuary. Should 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 pilgrimage, I will surely fight them to the last man, and Allâh’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 Prophetﷺ. On seeing him, the Prophetﷺ said that he was a treacherous man. He was given the same message to communicate to his people.
The messengers of Quraish
He was followed by another messenger known as Al-Hulais bin ‘Alqamah. He was very much impressed by the spirit of devotion and love toward Nabi Pakﷺ that the Muslims have. He went back to his men and warned them against stopping Nabi Pakﷺ and his Companions from revering Allâh’s house at the risk of breaking his alliance with them. Hulais was succeeded by ‘Urwah bin Mas’ud Ath-Thaqafi to negotiate with Nabi Pakﷺ . Meanwhile, ‘Urwah, during his stay in the Muslim camp, had been closely watching the immeasurable love and great respect that the followers of Nabi Pakﷺ showed him. He returned and conveyed to the Quraish his impression that those people could not leave the Prophetﷺ under any circumstances. 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 Hazrat Muhammadﷺ among his Companions. If he performs his ablution, they would not let the water thereof fall on the ground; if he expectorates, they would have the mucus to rub their faces with; if he speaks, they would lower their voices. They will not abandon him for anything in any case. He, now offers you a reasonable plan, so do what you please.”
Allâh 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 could hold back the peace treaty. They decided to creep into the camp of the Muslims and produce intentional clash that might trigger the fuse of war. Seventy or eighty of them left at night for the Muslim camp and descended from the mountain Tan’im Muhammad bin Maslamah chief of the Muslim guards was able to have them all captured, but in view of the farreaching imminent results about to be achieved, the Prophetﷺ them free. In this context Allâh 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 Negotiations went on but with no results. Then the Prophet ﷺ desired ‘Umar Radiallahu anhoo to see the nobles of Quraish on his behalf. ‘Umar Radiallahu anhoo excused himself on account of the personal enmity of Quraish; moreover, he had no influential relatives in the city who could shield him from danger; and he advised sending ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan it 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 do worship there, and that they had 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 was surely to prevail because Allâh would verily establish His religion in Makkah. ‘Uthman also assured them that after the performance of ceremonies they would soon depart peacefully, but the Quraishites were inflexible and did not prepare to grant them the permission to visit Al-Ka’bah. They, however, offered ‘Uthman permission to perform ‘Umrah, if he so desired himsel:, but ‘Uthman Radiallahu anhoo declined the offer saying: “How is it possible that I avail myself of this opportunity, while the Prophet ﷺ is denied of it?” The Muslims anxiously waited for the arrival of ‘Uthman evening 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 ﷺ that they would not flee, and a group of them pledged to the death. The first to take the pledge were Abu Sinan Al-Asadi and Salamah bin Al-Akwaren 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 ﷺ 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. Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ took this pledge under a tree while ‘Umar was holding his hand, and Ma’qil bin Yasar holding a branch out of the Prophet’s way. This was the Bai’at-ur-Ridwan mentioned by Allâh:
“Indeed, Allâh 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’sﷺ followers could not be frightened by these tactics. After some further interchange of messages, 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, but they shall not stay in Makkah for more than three days. They shall not come back armed but can bring with them swords only sheathed in scabbards and these shall be kept in bags. 2. War activities shall be suspended for ten years, during which both parties will live in full security and neither will raise sword against the other. 3. Whosoever wishes to join Muhammad ﷺenter into treaty with him, should have the liberty to do so; and likewise whosoever wishes to join Quraish, or enter into treaty with them, should be allowed to do so. 4. If anyone from Quraish goes over to Muhammadﷺ at without his guardian’s permission, meaning a fugitive, he should be sent
back to the Quraish; but should any of Muhammad’s ﷺfollowers 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 AlaihisSalam , who acted as a scribe, began with the words: Bismillâh ir-Rahman ir-Raheem, i.e., “In the Name of Allâh, 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 Allâhumma, i.e., “In Your Name, O Allâh!” The Muslims grumbled with uneasiness but the Prophet ﷺagreed. He then went on to dictate: “This is what Muhammad, ﷺthe Messenger of Allâh, has agreed to with Suhail bin ‘Amr.” Upon this Suhail again protested: “Had we acknowledged you as Allâh’s Messenger, we would not 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 ﷺ
, however, in the larger interest of Islam, erased the words himself, and dictated instead: “Muhammad, the son of ‘Abdullah.” Soon after this treaty, the Khuza’ah clan, a former ally of Banu Hashim, joined the ranks of Muhammadﷺ
The Return of Abu Jandal
It was during this time while the treaty was being written that Abu Jandal Radiallahu anhoo, Suhail’s son, appeared on the scene. He was brutally chained and was staggering with hardship and exhaustion. The Prophetﷺ 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 Prophetﷺ 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 Radiallahu anhoo was lamenting at the top of his voice, “Am I to be returned to the polytheists that they might
entice me from my religion, O Muslims!” But on the other hand, the faithful engagement was also considered to be necessary, above all other considerations. The Prophet’s ﷺheart was filled with sympathy, but he wanted to honor his word at all costs. He consoled Abu Jandal Radiallahu anhoo and said, “Be patient, resign yourself to the will of Allâh. Allâh is going to 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 the Name of Allâh. We are, therefore, under no circumstances prepared to break it.” ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab could not help giving vent to the deep-seated anguish of his heart. He rose to his feet uttering words implying deep hatred and extreme anger, and provided chance to Abu Jandal to grab his sword and kill Suhail, but the son spared his father. However, in silent resignation, Abu Jandal centre was taken away with his chains.
When the peace treaty had been concluded, the Prophet ﷺordered his Companions to slaughter their sacrificial animals, but they were too depressed to do that. The Prophet ﷺ gave instructions in this regard three times but with negative response. He told his wife Umm Salamah about this attitude of his Companions. She advised that he himself 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 ﷺ 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 Prophetﷺ sacrificed a camel which once belonged to Abu Jahl and which the Muslims had seized as booty at Badr, thus enraging the polytheists.
During Al-Hudaibiyah campaign, the Prophet permitted Ka’b bin ‘Ujrah dari kesan who was in a state of Ihram (the sacred state of pilgrimage) for ‘Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) to shave his head due to illness, on the condition that he will pay compensation by sacrificing a sheep or 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 ﷺfor 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, Allâh 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 the terms of the treaty, which mentioned only men, or because the Qur’ân 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 within 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 confirmed the profound wisdom and splendid results of the peace treaty which Allâh called “a manifest victory”. How could it be otherwise when the Quraish recognized the Muslims’ legitimate existence on the scene of political life in 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 did not have in mind to seize people’s property or kill them through bloody wars, nor did they ever think of using any compulsive approaches in their efforts to propagate Islam, on the contrary, their sole target 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 over areas not then explored. When there was peace agreement, war was abolished, and men met and consulted together, none talked about Islam intelligently
without entering it within two years following the conclusion of the treaty, twice as many people entered Islam than ever before. This is supported by the fact that the Prophet ﷺwent out to AlHudaibiyah 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 war instigator. 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, i.e., 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 Allâh and His Messenger ﷺ and none would flee except for an obvious apostate, for whom the Muslims had no need as indicated by the saying of the Prophet ﷺ
“Whoever leaves us for them, he has been removed by Allâh.”
As for those in Makkah who embraced Islam, although the route to Madinah was temporarily closed for them, Allâh’s earth is 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 Prophetﷺ “And whoever comes to us from them, indeed Allâh will make an opening and a way out for him.:12]
The Muslims’ Grief and ‘Umar’s Expression of that
These are the realities of the clauses of the truce treaty and as it seems they all function in favor of the growing Islamic state. However, two points in the treaty made it distasteful to some Muslims, namely they were not given access to the Holy Sanctuary that year, and the seemingly degrading attitude as regards reconciliation with the pagans of Quraish. ‘Umar Radiallahu anhoo unable to hold himself for the distress was taking full grasp of his heart, went to the Prophet ﷺsaid: “Aren’t you the true Messenger of Allâh?” The Prophetﷺ replied calmly, “Why not?” ‘Umar again spoke and asked, “Aren’t we on the path of righteousness and our enemies in the wrong?” Without showing any resentment, the Prophetﷺ the 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 ﷺwas firm and with perfect confidence said, “I am the true Messenger of Allâh, I never disobey Him, He shall help me.” “Did you not tell us,” rejoined ‘Umar , “that we shall perform pilgrimage?” “But I have never told you,” replied the Prophet ﷺ “that we shall do so this very year.” ‘Umar was silenced. But his mind was disturbed. He went to Abu Bakr and expressed his feelings before him. Abu Bakr a who had never been in doubt as regards the Prophet’s truthfulness and sincerity, confirmed what the Prophet ﷺ had told him. In due course, the Chapter of Victory (48th) was revealed saying:Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad ise) a manifest victory” [48:1]
Allâh’s Messengerﷺ summoned ‘Umar and conveyed to him the happy tidings. ‘Umar 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 Prophetﷺ then had reached Madinah, Abu Baseer iswho had escaped from the Quraish, came to him as a Muslim. The Quraish sent two men demanding his return, so the Prophetﷺ handed him over to them. On the way to Makkah, Abu Baseer clients managed to kill one of them, and the other one fled to Madinah with Abu Baseer is in pursuit. When he reached the Prophetﷺ he said, “Your obligation is over and Allâh has freed you from it. You duly handed me over to the men, and Allâh has rescued me from them.” The Prophet ﷺ 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 Saiful-Bahr. The other Muslims who were oppressed in Makkah began to escape to Abu Baseer . He was joined by Abu Jandal and others until a fair-sized colony was formed and soon sought revenge on the Quraish and started to intercept their caravans. The pagans of Makkah finding themselves unable to control those exiled colonists, begged the Prophet ﷺto do away with the clause which governed the return of these persons. They begged him by Allâh, 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 Prophetﷺ 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 AlWalid and ‘Uthman bin Talhah. On their arrival and entrance into the fold of Islam, the Prophet ﷺ said, “The Quraish have given us their own blood.”