Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Treaty of Hudaibiyyah

The Treaty of Hudaibiyyah

Banu Salleh

 In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger 

Description: The hidden importance and victory of a non-aggression Treaty Hudaibiyah between the Muslims and the Makkans.

After the Battle of the Trench and the judgement againnst the Banu Quraizah, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)  had a vision that he entered Makkah and circumambulated (tawaf) the sacred House of God. It was a true dream from God, as it would later come true, although the period, month or year of the pilgrimage had not been indicated in the vision. The companions (radiyallahu’anhum)  were overjoyed when the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) told them about it.

Everybody esteemed and revered Makkah and the holy sanctuary there. The opportunity of paying a visit to it had been denied to them for a very long time, but nobody ever ceased to think of the holy city. They had been longing to go on a pilgrimage to Makkah all those years and were looking forward to the day when their hearts’ desire would be fulfilled. The Muhajirun were especially consumed with such desire since Makkah had been their birthplace and they had lived and grown up there but they were forced to abandon it.

As soon as the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) informed the companions of the vision, all of them started making preparations for the journey while their over enthusiasm at the prospect of realizing the ambition of their life convinced them that they were going to call upon the house of God that very year. Almost all of them promptly agreed to accompany the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) with hardly anyone opting to be left behind.

Trip To Mekah

It was the month of Dzul-Qa’edah, the 6th year of Hijrah, when the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) traveled to Makkah with the intention of performing ‘Umrah [the lesser pilgrimage]. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had no intention of performing the Hajj, however. He had with him 1400 companions as pilgrims, along with the sacrificial animals so that everybody would know that he was going not for war but for paying homage to the Ka’bah. [Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 380, Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 308].

When he neared Makkah, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent ahead a man from Khuza’ah to find out the reaction of the Quraish. When the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) reached Usfan, a village between Makkah and Madinah, the informer came back to tell him that the tribesman of Ka’ab bin Luai had assembled a strong force of nomad warriors to check his advance to Makkah. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), continued to proceed ahead.

Upon reaching a depression in the valley of Makkah, his dromedary called Qaswa knelt down and would not get up. The men around the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) started exclaiming, “Qaswa won’t get up, Qaswa won’t get up!”

But the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Qaswa has not refused, for such is not her nature. The One who restrained the elephants is keeping her back.” He was referring to how Allah witheld the Ethiopian army from entering Makkah many years before. The prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) continued: “I swear by Him who holds my life that if they propose anything to me pertinent with the regard due to Allah and asked me to show kindness, I will certainly accede to their request.”

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)then spurred the camel to move. The camel immediately sprang up on her legs, but changed her direction and started off towards Hudaybiyah. She came to a halt in a place at which end there was a ditch that had but little water. Certain persons complained to the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that they were thirsty. He took out an arrow from his sheath and asked them to throw it in the ditch. Thereupon, water started gushing out quenching everyone’s thirst. [Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. p. 381].

Irritation Of The Quraish

The Quraish were in a dither when they learned that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had pitched his camp so near to Makkah. But as the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had no intention of fighting the Quraishites, he thought it fit to send one of his companions to remove their apprehensions. He sent for 'Umar bin Al-Khattab (radiyallahu’anhu) to deputised him to Makkah, but 'Umar bin Al-Khattab (radiyallahu’anhu)  said, "O Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), there is none of Bani 'Adiy bin Ka'ab in Makkah who may protect me in case the Quraish decided to lay hands on me." 'Umar also suggested that 'Uthman bin ‘Affan (radiyallahu’anhu) might be sent as his entire clan was there and he could very well deliver the message. 'Uthman was then summoned by the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and sent to the Quraish to tell them that he had not come for war but merely for performing the 'Umrah. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also asked 'Uthman to invite the Quraish to Islam and to cheer the believing men and women still in Makkah with the glad tidings that God was about to make their religion victorious when they would not be required to conceal their faith. [Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. I, p. 381].

Love Put To Trial.

'Uthman bin ‘Affan (radiyallahu’anhu) went to Makkah and delivered the message of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)  to Abu Sufian Sakhaar and other leaders of the Quraish. After the Makkans had heard the message brought by ‘Uthman they said. “If you want to go round the Holy Sanctuary, you may do so.” 'Uthman bin ‘Affan (radiyallahu’anhu), however, replied, “I won’t do so until the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has gone round the Ka’bah” [Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 135]

Later, after his return from Makkah, certain Muslims said to him, “Abu ‘Abdullah also known as 'Uthman, you have been fortunate enough to fulfill your heart’s desire by going round the Ka’bah.” Don’t be unfair to me,’ replied ‘Uthman. “I declare by Him who holds my life that if I were detained there for a whole year and the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) were to remain in Hudaibiyah, I would not have gone round the Ka’bah until the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had done so. Frankly speaking, the Quraish did invite me to circumambulate the House of God, but I declined.” [Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 382]. This reflects the loyalty of 'Uthman bin ‘Affan (radiyallahu’anhu) to the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

The Pledge of Ridwan.

In the meantime, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was informed that 'Uthman bin ‘Affan (radiyallahu’anhu) had been killed. He summoned the people to vow in avenging ‘Uthman’s death. Everybody gathered round the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) impatiently. Standing under the shade of a tree, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) took one person at a time from the 1400 standing around him to get their assurance. And after everyone had obliged to the oath, he struck one of his hands on the other, saying. “This is the pledge on behalf of ‘Uthman.” [Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. p. 382] Thus was the pledge of Ridwan [the pledge that earned God's pleasure] taken under an Acacia tree. It is mentioned in the Qur’ān:

“Allah was well pleased with believers when they swore allegiance unto thee beneath the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down peace of reassurance on them, and hath rewarded them with a near victory.” [Surah Al-Fath, 48:18]

Parley , Conciliation and Accord.

The deadlock still lingered on when Budail bin Warqa’ of the tribe of Khuza’ah suddenly appeared with a few of his clansmen to resolve the impasse. He asked the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), “What have you come for?”

“We have come to perform the ‘Umrah replied the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), The Quraish are already wrecked by war. If they agree I will make peace with them for a specified period and they should give way to my companions and me. If they want, they may merge with the group that others have joined and this would give them a respite. But if nothing is acceptable to them except war, then by Him who holds my life, I would fight them until I lose my head or Allah makes His religion victorious.”

Budail bin Warqa conveyed to the Quraish what he had heard from the Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) . Urwa bin Masud al-Thaqafi, who happened to be present on the occasion, advised the Quraish that they ought to accept the terms proposed by the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) for they were absolutely reasonable. He also suggested that he might personally see the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to which the Quraish agreed. And so, ‘Urwa went to the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)to discuss the matter with him but he also kept his eyes open to closely monitor the Muslims’ treatment of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He saw that if he asked for anything, they vied for complying with his order; and if he spoke, everybody listened with full attention. Nobody even dared to look straight into his eyes. When ‘Urwa went back to the Quraish, he said, “I have been to the courts of the kings and have seen the splendor of the Caesar, the Chosroes and the Negus. But never have I seen any king as revered as Muhammed was by his companions.” [Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. p. 382] He gave the details of his assessment of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and again advised the Quraish to accept the terms offered to them.

The Treaty of Peace.

In the meantime another man of Bani Kinanah, Mikraz bin Hafs, arrived in Makkah. He agreed with what the earlier emissaries had advised the Quraish and so they decided to send Suhail bin ‘Amr to negotiate the terms of the treaty. As soon as the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saw him coming, he murmured,  “That they have sent this man, it seems that they want peace.” The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also asked to prepare the agreement. [Ibn Hisham, Vol. Ii, p. 316; Bukhari].

Exemplary Moderation And Prudence.

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) summoned ‘Ali bin Abu Talib (radiyallāhu’anhu) and told him to write: “In the name of Allah, Ar-Rahman ‘the beneficent’, Ar-Raheem ‘the Merciful.” Suhail protested, “I do not recognize Ar-Rahman, but write as is customary upon us.” The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then directed ‘Ali, “Write: In Your name, O Allah.” Certain Muslims objected, ‘No We must write: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.” But the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said again, “Let it be: In Your name, O Allah.”

Then the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked ‘Ali bin Abu Talib (radiyallāhu’anhu) to write: “This is what Muhammed the Messenger of God (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)has decided.’ Suhail again objected, “I swear by God, if we had believed that you were God’s messenger we would not have driven you away from the House of God nor fought with you; you shall write: Muhammed bin ‘Abdullah.” “I am God’s Messenger even if you disbelieve me”, replied the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ; but still asked ‘Ali to erase out what he had written earlier. “By God, I cannot do it”, replied ‘Ali bin Abu Talib (radiyallāhu’anhu). The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), however, asked ‘Ali to point out the area to be effaced. ‘Ali obliged and so the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) deleted it himself. [Muslim, Kitaab-ul-Jihad-was-siyar, Chap. Sulh Hudaibiyah].

Treaty or Trial

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) resumed in dictating the clause; “The agreement is made that the Quraish shall not obstruct the passage of Muslims to the House of God and shall allow them to circumumbulate it.”

Suhail again raised an objection; ‘I fear the Arabs would say that we have been too lenient to you in making this agreement. You can visit the Ka’abah next year.” The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) agreed to include the clause in the agreement.

Suhail then bravely suggested, “If one of us joins you, he shall be returned to us even if he professes your religion.”The Muslims were irked saying, “What? How can we return a man who seeks our shelter and approval as a Muslim?’ The deliberation was still going on when Abu Jandal bin Suhail appeared in chains. He had escaped from Makkah and had come to the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) by a rugged, rocky track between the passess still weighed down in fetters. Suhail lost no time to assert, “Muhammad, this is the first man I demand from you under the Treaty.”

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, “But the Treaty is still being written and has not become final.” Suhail was irritated. He cried in a huff, “If it is so, then I am not prepared to make any agreement with you.”

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) begged again, “Let him go for my sake.” But Suhail refused. He said, “I will not allow him to go even for your sake.” Now, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, “Then do as you please.” Suhail was still growling at the mouth when he retorted, “I can do nothing.” Grieved to hear it, Abu Jandal said plaintively, “I have come as a Muslim to you, and I am being returned again to the polytheists. Do you not see what they are doing to me?” Abu Jandal had been put to severe torture for the sake of his faith. [Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 383;Al- Bukhari, Bab as-Shurut fil-Jihad].

The Prophet(Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)returned Abu Jandal as demanded by his father. The treaty concluded between the Muslim and the Quraish assured that both the parties would observe a ten-year truce so that men might live in peace and that no party would lift its hand against the other during the specified period. Another condition of the Treaty was that if anyone from the Quraish came over to the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)without obtaining the permission of his guardian he would be returned to them, but if anyone of those with the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) escaped to the Quraish, they would not be bound to return him. Yet another provision stipulated that any clan that wished to enter a bond and security with the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), would be permitted to do so. Likewise, any tribe could resort to a similar agreement with the Quraish. [Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 317-18].

Faith Put to Trial

The terms of the agreement and the obligation to return without performing ‘Umrah reduced the Muslims to the most profound depression.It seemed incredible to them how the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had agreed to those biased stipulations. So dismayed were they that ‘Umar Al-Khattab (radiyallahu’anhu) went as far as speaking his mind out. He went to Abu Bakar As-Siddiq (radiyallahu’anhu) and asked him: “Had the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) not told us that we would travel to the house of God and circumbulate around it?” “Yes”, replied Abu Bakar As-Siddiq (radiyallahu’anhu) looking calmly at the sorrowful face of his friend, “But did he tell you that you would go to the House of God and go around it this very year?” [Al-Bukhari].

Having concluded the treaty, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sacrificed the animals and had his head shaved. The Muslims sat dejected for they were feeling beaten and crushed at not being able to visit Makkah and circumbulate the Ka’bah at such a time, but when they saw the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) performing the rites, they rushed to follow him in sacrificing the animals and shaving their heads. [Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 383].

Ignominious Peace or Signal of Victory.

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then broke camp to return to Madinah. He was still on his way back to Madinah when God confirmed that the truce of al-Hudaibiyah was not a setback but rather a signal of victory.

“Lo! We have given thee [O Muhammed] a signal victory, “That Allah may forgive thee of Your sin that which is past and that which is to come, and may perfect His favor unto thee, and may guide thee on a right path, “And that Allah may help thee with strong help.” [Surah Al-Fath, 48:1-3]

‘Umar Al-Khattab (radiyallahu’anhu) asked the Prophet  (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)  , “Is it a victory, O Prophet of God?” The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)  replied, “Yes” [Muslim]

Failure or Success

Not long after the Prophet(Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)had arrived in Madinah, Abu Basir ‘Utbah bin Usaid  broke away from the Quraish and escaped to him. He was followed by two emissaries of the Quraish to bring him back. They reminded the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) of the treaty given by him and he promptly handed over Abu Basir to them. However, on his way back to Makkah, Abu Basir managed to escape from his guards and fled to the seacoast. Later on, Abu Jandal and some seventy Muslims persecuted by the Makkans also succeeded to escape from Makkah on their own and joined Abu Basir at the seashore where they established themselves along the road taken by the Quraish for their trade with Syria. The group of Abu Basir ‘Utbah now sought out the caravans of the Quraish, confiscatedtheir property and threatened the trade route. Once again the trade of Makkah was endangered. The things got so bad that the Quraish wrote to the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), begging him by the ties of their kinship to him, to summon those highwaymen to Medinah and pledge to demand back no more of those who escape to him in future. [Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 384].

The Treaty Turns To Victory

The events that followed proved that the truce of Hudaibiyah was a decisive step in gaining victory after victory for Islam. The Makkans had gloated over their biased treaty. The Muslims, for their part, had accepted the seemingly inglorious terms of the treaty simply because of their faith in the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Both parties found Islam making rapid strides soon thereafter in the Arabian Peninsula. It put an end to the muslims pre-occupation with the threat from Makkah and before long, it became possible to send deputation out to invite the Caesar and the Chosroes and the Negus to accept Islam. The revelation of God had come true.

“...though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not.” [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:216]

One of the benefits derived from the truce was that the Muslims were no longer perceived as exiles and outlaws, but regarded as a community worthy of Quraish’s attention with whom they had entered into a treaty as equals. The alliance offered Muslims the rightful place they deserved in the Arabian body politics. And, perhaps, even more important was the atmosphere of peace and tranquility it engendered. The unending war of attrition that had up to now been waged by the Muslims for their very existence, which had been dissipating their vigour and strength , was over. The Muslims could now avail their energies in taking the message of Islam to the unhostile or rather ambivalent tribes of the desert. The truce provided the Muslims an opportunity to to meet with other tribes and discuss Islam with the tribes thus far hostile to the Islam. They now began to discover how people who ate their food, wore their dress, spoke their language and were born and brought up in Makkah, a city like theirs, had, in a few years, been changed into a new class of people - disdaining corruption, polytheism and idol-worship, and rejecting tribal pride, vengeance and bloodlust - a people treading the path of virtue and justice. They could now clearly see that the teachings of Islam and the guidance of the Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had brought about this change of heart.

Thus, within a year of the truce, as many Arabs embraced the faith of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as had not entered Islam during the last fifteen years. Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri says, “There was never a victory in Islam greater than this. When the armistice came and war laid down its burdens, people began to meet in safety and converse together. And no intelligent man was apprised of Islam who did not enter it. Within two years of the truce as many as those, as had entered it before, embraced Islam, or even more.” [Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 322]

Ibn Hisham says, “Az-Zuhri’s assertion is demonstrated by the fact that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went to Hudaibiyah with 1, 400 men according to Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (radiyallahu’anhu) but two years later the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) marched with 10, 000 men for the conquest of Makkah.” [Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 322].

Those Muslims who had been left behind in Makkah for one reason or the other, who were harassed and persecuted by the Quraish, succeeded, after the conclusion of the treaty, to convert a considerable number of young men to their fold until the Quraish began to consider them as a new menace. These young men joined the band of Abu Basir, which proved to be a new sword-arm of Islam, more dangerous in fact. The Quraish were forced to request the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)  to summon these men to Medinah. To this, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) agreed, ending the distress of these poor men. All this came to happen as a result of the treaty of Hudaibiyah. [Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, pp. 388-89].

The attitude of peace and amiability displayed by the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) on this occasion which demonstrated his exemplary patience and moderation, did not fail to impress the tribes which surrendered their faith to Islam. This led them to hold Islam in high esteem and to love and revere it, evoking a wholesome atmosphere for its rapid expansion without any conscious effort on the part of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) or the Muslims themselves.

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[ Excerpted from The Islamtoday.]

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