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Masters in Education from Nottingham University in the UK. Also studied Masters in Islamic Studies and Islamic Banking & Finance. Political activist with interests in Geopolitics, History and Phil ...
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In a Nutshell:
The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah (صُلْح الحُدَيْبِيَّة) took place between the Prophet Muhammad, representing Medina, and the Quraysh of Mecca in 628 AD (6 AH). It created a 10-year peace agreement with the enemies of the Muslims, allowing the Muslims to return the following year to complete their pilgrimage.


The prophet (saw) had a premonition the Muslims entered Mecca and did tawaf around the Ka'bah. In 628, around 1,400 Muslims marched peacefully towards Mecca, to perform the Umrah (a minor pilgrimage).

They brought sacrificial animals and were adorned in sacrificial dress hoping Quraysh would allow them to enter the city as pilgrims. They camped outside Mecca whilst the prophet (saw) met with Meccan emissaries who tried to prevent the pilgrims from entering.

After negotiations, a treaty was drawn up for a period of 10 years where the Muslims could perform the pilgrimage the following year.

Contents of the Treaty

After considerable debate, the following key terms were agreed:

  • The Muslims would return to Medina and come back next year to complete their pilgrimage - they would not stay in Mecca beyond three days.
  • The Muslims would not return armed but could bring swords sheathed in scabbards kept in bags.
  • War would be suspended for ten years - both parties would live in full security, neither raising the sword against the other.
  • Anyone from Quraysh joining the Muslims without their guardian's permission would be returned - anyone from the Muslims joining Quraysh would not be returned.
  • Anyone could join or enter into a treaty with the Muslims or Quraysh.


Controversy amongst the Companions

The treaty was controversial with the companions as the Muslims had to concede most points to Quraysh, including not writing the name of Allah nor calling himself the Messenger of God on the treaty.

Umar Ibn Khattab (ra) exemplifies this well with his confusion and surprise. He narrates:

فَقَالَ عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ : وَاللَّهِ مَا شَكَكْتُ مُنْذُ أَسْلَمْتُ إِلَّا يَوْمَئِذٍ
قَالَ : فَأَتَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، فَقُلْتُ : أَلَسْتَ نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ حَقًّا ؟
قَالَ : بَلَى قَالَ : قُلْتُ أَلَسْنَا عَلَى الْحَقِّ ؟ وَعَدُوُّنَا عَلَى الْبَاطِلِ ؟
قَالَ : بَلَى قُلْتُ : فَلِمَ نُعْطَى الدَّنِيَّةَ فِي دِينِنَا ؟ فَقَالَ : إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَلَسْتُ أَعْصِيهِ ، وَهُوَ نَاصِرِي
قُلْتُ : أَوَ لَسْتَ كُنْتَ تُحَدِّثُنَا أَنَّا سَنَأْتِي الْبَيْتَ فَنَطُوفُ بِهِ ؟ قَالَ : بَلَى ، فَأَخْبَرْتُكَ أَنَّكَ تَأْتِيهِ الْعَامَ قُلْتُ : لَا
قَالَ : فَإِنَّكَ آتِيهِ وَمُطَوِّفٌ بِهِ
"I never doubted my Islam except on that day."
I came to the Prophet (saw) and asked, "Are you not truly the Messenger of Allah (saw)?"
The Prophet (saw) said, "Yes, indeed."
I asked, "Is not our cause just and the cause of the enemy unjust?"
The Prophet (saw) said, "Yes."
I asked, "Then why should we be humiliated in our religion?"
He (saw) said, "I am Allah's Messenger; I do not disobey Him and He will make me victorious."
I asked, "Did you not tell us that we would go to the Ka'bah and perform Tawaf around it?"
He (saw) said, "Yes, but did I tell you that we would visit the Ka'bah this year?"
I replied, "No."
He (saw) said, "So you will visit it and perform Tawaf around it!" (Musanaf Abd al-Razaq Hdith 9419)

Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) was the scribe responsible for drafting the treaty. He too was unhappy with Quraysh's unreasonable demands.

ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏"‏ هَذَا مَا قَاضَى عَلَيْهِ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ‏"‏‏.‏ فَقَالَ سُهَيْلٌ وَاللَّهِ لَوْ كُنَّا نَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ مَا صَدَدْنَاكَ عَنِ الْبَيْتِ وَلاَ قَاتَلْنَاكَ، وَلَكِنِ اكْتُبْ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ‏.‏ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏"‏ وَاللَّهِ إِنِّي لَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَإِنْ كَذَّبْتُمُونِي‏.‏ اكْتُبْ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ‏"‏‏.
He wrote: "this peace treaty is between Muhammad the messenger of Allah…" Suhail Ibn Amr , the representative of Quraysh objected saying: 'had we witnessed you as the Messenger of Allah, we would not have turned you away from the House of Allah, nor fought with you. You should write Muhammad Ibn Abdullah.' The prophet (saw) replied: "I am Allah's Messenger, even if you disbelieve in me." (Bukhari, 2731, 2732)

فَأَمَرَ عَلِيًّا أَنْ يَمْحَاهَا فَقَالَ عَلِيٌّ لاَ وَاللَّهِ لاَ أَمْحَاهَا ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏"‏ أَرِنِي مَكَانَهَا ‏"‏ ‏.‏ فَأَرَاهُ مَكَانَهَا فَمَحَاهَا‏.
He then asked Ali (ra) to rub out what he had written. 'By Allah, I cannot do it' replied Ali (ra). The Prophet (saw) asked Ali, show me where it is written and he wiped it off himself. (Sahih Muslim 1783)

For the rest of the companions, they performed a kind of unconscious collective refusal of the Prophet (saw) order to shave their heads and slaughter their sacrifice as if they performed the ritual. All the companions unusually did not move by the Prophet's order.

The Qur'an acknowledged and appreciated their feelings and love of the victory of Islam with the apparent defeat of this treaty and its so-called unfair terms that the Prophet (saw) approved. Allah, in Surat al-Fath (the victory), clarifies the point behind this treaty and how it is a great victory to Muslims. Allah then concluded telling them that He (swt) is satisfied with them and they don't have to worry.

Allah says:

فَأَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَلْزَمَهُمْ كَلِمَةَ التَّقْوَىٰ وَكَانُوا أَحَقَّ بِهَا وَأَهْلَهَا ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا ... مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللَّهِ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا
"But Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers and imposed upon them the word of righteousness, and they were more deserving of it and worthy of it. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing.

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating (in prayer), seeking bounty from Allah and (His) pleasure." (Qur'an 48:26-29)


Consequences

As the struggle between the Muslims and polytheists subsided, many tribes accepted Islam and many other tribes concluded treaties with the Muslims.

A Qur'anic verse was revealed, commenting on the treaty, saying:

إِنَّا فَتَحْنَا لَكَ فَتْحًا مُّبِينًا، لِّيَغْفِرَ لَكَ اللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ وَيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكَ وَيَهْدِيَكَ صِرَاطًا مُّسْتَقِيمًا، وَيَنصُرَكَ اللَّهُ نَصْرًا عَزِيزًا
"Surely We have given you a manifest victory. That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and future, and complete His blessing on you and guide you on a straight path. And that Allah may help you with a mighty help." (Quran 48:1-3)


The Shafi'i jurist Ibn Al-Hajar summarised the event by quoting Zuhari:

فَمَا فُتِحَ فِي الْإِسْلَامِ فَتْحٌ قَبْلَهُ كَانَ أَعْظَمَ مِنْ فَتْحِ الْحُدَيْبِيَةِ
"No victory in Islam was greater than Al-Hudaybiyyah." (Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, Vol. 6, p. 646)

After two years, one of the tribes allied with Quraysh breached the treaty by killing some Muslims. Muslims defeated Mecca and it submitted to Islam confirming the manifest victory.

Conclusion

The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah created a 10-year peace agreement with the enemies of the Muslims. It allowed the Muslims to return the following year to complete their pilgrimage, form alliances with various tribes whilst spreading the Islamic call further into the Arabian peninsula without the threat of warfare.


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