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The Treaty of Hudaibiyah





Assalamu'alaikum wr wb.,



The Treaty of Hudaibiyah (Perjanjian Hudaibiyah)


The main purpose in focusing on this treaty is the political

significance of it and the essential need for Muslims to understand the

context in which it was drawn up. Six years after the migration (hijrah)

from Mecca, the prophet(saw) was very happy with the army and with the

way the Islamic society was developing in Medina. The Islamic State was

then in a position to command the respect of the neighbouring Arab

tribes. It was from this position that the Prophet (saw) thought about

taking further steps in order to spread the dawa (Islamic call) and to

strengthen the Islamic state and to weaken its enemies. The prophet(saw)

received news that there had been contacts between the people of Khaybar

and the people of Mecca. They were apparently planning to invade the

Muslims. The prophet(saw) therefore drew up a plan in order to establish

a peaceful situation with the people of Mecca, so as to remove any

obstacle between him and the Arabs. The purpose being to enable him to

isolate the people of Khaybar from the Quraysh. The prophet (saw) knew

that the key to his plan was the pilgrimage to the sacred house of Allah

(the Ka'bah in Mecca). The visit would enable him to draw up a peace

plan in order to achieve his aim. The prophet (saw) was also aware that

the Arabs never fought during the sacred month and consequently this

would make his plans easier to implement. He knew also that the unity of

the Quraysh was already broken and that the fear of Muslims was starting

to infiltrate their consciousness. They held the prophet (saw) in high

esteem and respected his powerful position. He therefore wanted to go as

a pilgrim to the sacred house and if the Quraysh attempted to stop him

then he would use this obstruction as a means of spreading the Islamic

dawa to the Arabs and also use it as a way of orchestrating propaganda

against the Quraysh. The prophet (saw) therefore announced to the

Muslims that they should go on pilgrimage to the sacred house in the

holy moth of Dhu al Qi'dah. And he sent messages to the non-Muslim Arab

tribes inviting them to join him in the pilgrimage to the house of Allah

in Mecca peacefully with no mention of fighting. His aim was to make the

Arabs aware that he was attending Mecca as a pilgrim and not as an

invader. And that he wanted to share with the non-Muslim Arabs his

pilgrimage even though they were not Muslims and had no allegiance to

his way of life (deen). By doing this action and this would also gain

public opinion in his favour in case the Quraysh prevented him from

going on Hajj. This was therefore the prophet's (saw) plan for peace and

he consequently did not allow Muslims to carry weapons except for their

swords which were placed in their sheaths. He told them that they were

going on Hajj and not to fight. The prophet (saw) then left Medina

accompanied by 1400 men. He rode ahead of his people on his camel. He

also took with him 70 camels who were to be sacrificed. The prophet

(saw) and his companions prepared themselves in the pilgrim dress

(Ihram) which was required for them to perform Umrah (lesser pilgrimage)

and so that people would clearly know that he was not intending to

fight, rather he was going to visit the sacred house of Allah. They left

Medina and set off for Mecca. After travelling six miles they stopped at

a place called Dhul Hulaybah and there they prepared themselves with the

call for Umrah. "Here I am Lord, here I am,. You have no partner, here I

am." Then they journeyed toward Mecca and the Quraysh became aware that

they were coming and that they were intending to perform Hajj and not to

fight. The Quraysh were frightened that this was a trick which

Mohammed(saw) constructed in order to enter Mecca and then use force

against them. They started to make preparations to stop Mohammed (saw)

from entering Mecca however much it may cost them in terms of loss of

life. They therefore prepared an army to meet the Muslims and to prevent

them from entering Mecca, Khalid Ibn Al-Walid and Ikrim bin Abu Jahal

were appointed by them as leaders of a large army which included a

cavalry force of over two hundred, they were prepared to meet the

Muslims and stop them from entering Mecca. This Mushrik army left Mecca

and advanced towards the Muslims in order to stop them from performing

Hajj. They marched on before searching a place called Dhu Tuwa where

they camped and took up position. The prophet (saw) received the news

that the Quraysh had prepared an army to prevent him from entering

Mecca. The prophet (saw) continued his journey until he reached a

village called Usfan which was roughly two days journey from Mecca,

There he met a man from the tribe of Banu Ka'b and he asked him if he

had any news about the Quraysh. The man told him that the Quraysh had

heard that he was coming to Mecca and that they had prepared an army to

fight him and that they were camping at Dhu Tuwa where they have given a

pledge to Allah that they will stop the Muslims from entering Mecca. He

also told him that Khalid Ibn Al Walid was leading the army and that

they were now close to a place called kara al Ghamim. This place was

about 8 miles from the Muslims camp in Usfan. When the prophet (saw)

heard this news he said: "Woe to Quraysh, their hostility is undoing

them. What if they left the issue between me and the tribes. If the

Arabs defeat me then it would fulfil what they wanted to happen. And if

Allah gives me the victory then the people of Mecca would be able to

enter Islam safely without being touched and if they did not want to

enter Islam then they can fight me while they are strong; what does

Quraysh think. I make a pledge to Allah that I will continue struggling

(jihad) in this issue which Allah has sent me with until Allah gives me

the victory or I lose my neck" What the prophet meant by this statement

is that he would continue making Jihad until victory comes his way or he

dies. At that particular point, the prophet(saw) began to ponder about

his objective, which was a peaceful plan in order to spread the call

(da'wa) of Islam. He had not in fact prepared himself from fighting but

he was faced with a situation where the Quraysh had sent their

army to fight him and he did not want to engage in combat. What should

he do? Should he return back or should he change his peaceful plan to

one which involves fighting? He was fully aware that the Muslims with

their firm faith would not have any difficulty in engaging in battle

with their enemy. But he had not prepared for war. He had come to

perform hajj and he had come peacefully. It so happened that he was

prevented from performing hajj and he was prevented from performing hajj

then he preferred that it was done peacefully and not through fighting;

nor did he want to enter Mecca by force. The peaceful plan as we have

said, that the prophet (saw) adopted was aimed at trying to establish

public opinion about Islam in the minds of all the Arabs so that they

would become aware of Islam's high values and principles. He also wanted

this public opinion about Islam in the minds of all of the Arabs. The

intention being to create public opinion against the falsehood of the

Quraysh's enmity towards Islam in order to make the atmosphere from the

Da'wa favourable. This was very important because to create such a

favourable climate was the most vital element necessary for the da'wa to

spread and to succeed. This was the reason why he decided to continue

with the plan for peace and not to resort to war. If he had fought, then

his plan would severally disrupted and he would have lost sight of the

aims he had when he set out from Medina. He considered for a

considerable time about what he was to do and his decision demonstrated

that he was much more of a farsighted and experienced politician than

any ordinary human being. That is why he decided to continue with his

peace plan for which he left Medina and to ensure that the Quraysh would

not find an excuse to present to the Arab tribes and thereby gain the

public opinion in their favour. The Prophet (saw) therefore asked if

anyone among his party could show him an alternate route to Mecca other

than the one blocked by the Quraysh. A man was found and he led them to

a different route. This route they travelled was very rough and

contained narrow valleys. It was an extremely tiresome journey in which

they experienced a great deal of hardship until finally they reached a

plain area. Soon they were on the edge of Mecca and they camped at a

place called Hudaybiya. When Khalid Ibn Al-Walid and Ikrima saw them,

they were extremely

frightened, and they quickly set wind to Mecca in order to defend it

from what they thought was a muslim invasion. They were afraid that the

muslims would overtake their army and attack the Meccan boarders.

Consequently the Mushrik army camped inside Mecca and the army of the

prophet (saw) were encamped at Hudaybia. Each camp was pondering on

their plans to face each other. Some of the muslims began to think that

it was virtually impossible for them to go to hajj without having to

fight Quraysh. So they felt that there was no way of them performing

hajj unless they defeated Quraysh and completely eliminated them.

Quraysh were also prepared to fight against the muslims with every

possible means until they were forced back to Medina, even if it meant

they themselves were completely eliminated. Quraysh felt that they had a

higher reputation than the muslims,and so they decided to see what the

muslims would do. The prophet (saw) maintained the peace for a plan

which he initiated in Madina when he prepared himself in Ihram in order

to go to Umrah. He therefore remained in the camp waiting to see what

moves Quraysh would make. He was fully aware that Quraysh was afraid of

him, and that they would send a delegation to negotiate with him about

his trip to hajj; that is why he chose to wait until they sent their

delegation. Quraysh, in fact, sent Budayl Ibn Warqa together with some

men from Khuzah as a delegation in order to negotiate with the prophet

(saw). They asked the prophet (saw) the reason for his visit to Mecca,

and after a short period of negotiations they came away convinced that

the muslims had not come to fight, rather they came to visit the home of

Allah in order to express their respect. The negotiators therefore went

back and tried to convince Quraysh of the prophets (saw) peaceful

intention. They tried to such an extent to convince them that Quraysh

actually accused them of taking the side of Muhammed (saw), and they

therefore, did not trust their word. Quraysh subsequently sent another

delegation who returned like the previous one with a similar report of

the peaceful intention of the muslims. They then sent Al Hulays who was

the leader of the Ahabish (the people who lived in Mecca and originated

from Abysinnia) to negotiate with the prophet (saw). It used to be Al

Hulays and his peoples responsibility to fight against the prophet

(saw). Quraysh's intention behind sending Al Hulays was to incite him

against muslims. If he had returned unsuccessfully from negotiating then

his anger and

hatred towards the prophet (saw) would be very high. And he would have

become very strong in his determination to defend Mecca. When the

prophet (saw) saw him coming he ordered that the sacrificial camel

should be displayed in front of him so that he would see tangible

evidence that the intention of the muslims was to perform hajj and not

war. When Al Hulays walked towards the camp all he saw was the camels

shaved and ready for sacrifice, and muslims preparing for umrah and not

for fighting. He also witnessed in their camp an atmosphere of worship,

and he was very impressed with these scenes. He was completely convinced

that the muslims were seeking to worship and not to fight. He was so

convinced that he returned to Mecca without even meeting the prophet

(saw). Al Hulays informed Quraysh of his opinion and asked them to

permit muslims to enter Mecca. He became very angry against Quraysh when

they refused, and he warned them that he would leave them and take the

Abyssinians away from Mecca if they did not allow Muhammed (saw) to go

to the ka'ba. They attempted to appease him by asking him to give them

some more time, and he, therefore, held off his threat to leave. They

then sent Urwah Ibn Masud Al-Thaqafi to negotiate with the muslims.

Before he left they assured him that they trusted his opinion and had

confidence in him. So he went off to negotiate with the prophet (saw) in

order to persuade him to turn away from Mecca. He used in his

negotiations with the prophet (saw) every possible means of persuasion,

but he was not successful. He returned to Quraysh convinced that the

prophet (saw) had not come to wage war. He said to Quraysh "O people of

Quraysh, I have visited Chosroes, Caesar and Negus in their respective

courts: by Allah I have never seen a king attaching himself to his

people as Muhammed (saw) does. His companions love him and honour him

and revere him so much that they carefully lift every hair that falls

off his body, and they save the water with which he performs ablutions,

they will never allow any hand to fall on him, so decide whatever you

want." This served to increase the hostility of Quraysh and their enmity

was very strong. The negotiations went on for a long time without

reaching any conclusions. The prophet (saw) decided that he himself

should send a delegation to Quraysh for negotiations, because he thought

that maybe the negotiators who came from Quraysh were probably too

frightened to report the truth to Quraysh, so maybe his negotiator would

be more convincing. He sent a delegate but Quraysh killed his camel and

were about to kill him but he was protected by the Ahabish (the

abyssinians). Quraysh's enmity was now even more stronger, and they

started to send some people at night to throw stones on the muslim's

camp. The muslims were very angry about this and wanted to fight against

Quraysh, but the prophet (saw) was able to control their anger. It so

happened that 50 men from Quraysh went out one night with the intention

of continuing their stone throwing campaign, but they were captured by

the muslims and brought before the prophet (saw). The prophet (saw),

however, forgave them and allowed them to go free. This action had a

powerful effect in Mecca and this was convincing proof that the prophet

(saw) was telling the truth, that he had come for hajj and not to fight.

By this action a strong public opinion existed in Mecca in favour of the

prophet (saw). At that particular moment he could have entered Mecca,

and if there were attempts to stop him by Quraysh, the people of Mecca

and all the arabs would have been against them. Quraysh then abandoned

all the provocative acts and adopted a more conciliatory stance by

looking for a more peaceful method of resolving the crisis. The prophet

(saw) therefore decided to send another delegation to negotiate with

them. He asked Omar Ibn Al-Khattab to go and meet them, but he said to

the prophet (saw); "O prophet of Allah, I am afraid to go to Quraysh

unprotected, and there is no people in Mecca from the Banu Adiyy Ibn

Ka'b (his tribe) to protect me and Quraysh are aware of my harshness

against them. But I will tell you of someone who has a more stronger

position with Quraysh than me, he is Uthman Ibn Affan" So the prophet

(saw) called Uthman, and sent him to see Abu Sufiyan one of the leaders

of Quraysh, in order to convey the prophets (saw) message. Quraysh told

Uthman that they would allow him to stay and make Ta'waf (circumambulate

around the Ka'ba). But he declined and told them "I would never do so

until the prophet (saw) had done so himself." He continued to negotiate

with them, but Quraysh rejected his proposals. These negotiations went

on for a long time, when Quraysh shifted their position from one of

complete rejection to an alternative plan whereby they suggested to them

the possibility of a compromise between their demands and the muslims

demands. They talked to him in order to try and find some common ground

in the relationship between themselves and Muhammed (saw). They also

trusted Uthman and were hopeful that he would find a way around the

stalemate and their continued enmity towards Muhammed (saw). Uthman had

been away on his mission for quite along time, and there was no sign of

his appearing from Mecca. Consequently a rumour spread amongst the

muslims that Uthman had been murdered. The muslims anxiety began to

increase, even the prophet (saw) thought that he had been killed by

Quraysh. The tension in the muslims camp was high and they all reached

for their swords and were prepared for war and fighting. At that moment

the prophet (saw) rethought his peaceful plan, because he felt that

Quraysh had violated Uthman's blood in the holy month after he had been

sent on peaceful negotiations. The prophet (saw) therefore said "We will

not leave this place until we fight against them." He called his

companions and stood under a tree and asked them to give him a pledge

(bai'a). They all gave him a pledge that they would not run away rather

fight till the death. They were very determined, their conviction was

strong and their faith was certain. When the pledge had been completed

the prophet (saw) clasped his hands together to indicate that he was

making the pledge for Uthman, as if he was still present with them. This

pledge was called the Covenant of Al Ridwan (the pledge of acceptance).

The following verse was revealed by Allah to coincide with the pledge:

"Allah is pleased with the believers, who have covenanted with you under

the tree. Allah knows what is in their hearts and, therefore he has

granted them his peace and will soon give them a great victory." After

the conclusion of the pledge (bai'a) the muslims began to prepare for

fighting, then received the news that Uthman was alive and well. He

returned and informed the prophet (saw) of Quraysh's position. The

peaceful negotiations between both sides resumed until Quraysh sent

Suhail Ibn Amr to negotiate with the prophet (saw). These negotiations

had now extended beyond the question of hajj and umrah, it was now

focusing on peace which should be kept by both sides. The basis of this

peace would be that the prophet (saw) would not enter Mecca that

particular year. The prophet (saw) accepted the terms of this peaceful

negotiations because it had achieved the aims which he had desired when

he instigated his plan to visit the house of Allah that year. Also there

was no harm in him visiting the house of Allah the following year. He

had wanted to isolate the people of Kharbar from Quraysh, and to leave

the field open between him and the arabs in order to spread the Islamic

dawa. He was therefore keen to have this treaty between him and Quraysh

in order to stop the continuous threat of fighting between them. On the

question of hajj, it did not matter whether he performed it then or a

future date. The discussions he entered with Suhail Ibn Amr were

extremely long and involved the conditions for the peace treaty. At many

stages in their discussion they were close to ending in failure to reach

an agreement, but it was saved by the wisdom and the accuracy of the

prophet's (saw) policy and his experience. The muslims who were near the

prophet (saw) and listening to the negotiations thought that the

discussions were about umrah, when in fact the prophet (saw) used it as

talks about preventing the threat of war. The muslims as a consequence

were impatient and fed up of the talks, whilst the prophet (saw) in

contrast was optimistic of the talks and he had managed to direct them

towards his aims, irrespective of the temporary details and the

immediate benefits until the final agreement between both sides on

certain conditions were finally achieved. The conditions that were

agreed had the effect of angering and inciting the muslims, and they

tried to convince the prophet (saw) that he should reject the

conditions. As a consequence Umar Ibn Al- Khattab approached Abu Bakr

and said to him "Why should we give in to the disbelievers in a matter

vital to our deen." He tried to make him accept his point of view so

that Abu Bakr would try and convince the

prophet (saw) to reject some of the conditions in the agreement. Abu

Bakr tried unsuccessfully to convince Umar to accept what the prophet

(saw) accented. Umar subsequently went to see the prophet (saw) and

complained to him angrily, but he was unable to alter the prophets (saw)

patience and resolution. He said to Umar "I am the slave of Allah and I

am his messenger and I would not disagree with His command and He would

not lead me astray." He then called Ali Ibn Abey Talib and said to him

"Write in the name of Allah, the merciful the compassionate." Suhail the

non-muslim delegate of Quraysh interrupted. "Stop," he said, "I do not

know either 'the merciful' or 'the compassionate'. Write in your name O

Allah." The prophet (saw) said "Write in your name O Allah," and he

continued by telling Ali to write after that, "The following is the text

of a pact reached by Muhammed prophet of Allah and Suhail Ibn Amr."

Suhail said "Stop, if I accepted you as a prophet of Allah I would not

have been hostile to you, you should write only your name and the name

of your father." The prophet (saw) agreed and told Ali to rewrite:"This

is what Muhammed Ibn Abdullah made peace on ," The treaty was then

finalised and agreed between the two sides, and it consisted of the

following points: (a)The treaty would be a peace treaty in which the two

sides would be in a state of armistice so that there would be no war or


(b)Any member of Quraysh who became a muslim and came to Muhammed

without the permission of his father or his guardian then the prophet

(saw) would send him back to Mecca. And any muslim who left Islam to

join Quraysh would not be sent back.

(c)Any of the Arab tribes who wanted to enter an alliance with Muhammed

should be allowed to do so. And any tribe who wished to ally with

Quraysh was also free to do so.

(d)Muhammed and his companions would leave Mecca that year without

performing their religious duties on condition that they would return

the following year, and stay in Mecca for 3 days keeping their swords in

their sheaths and carrying no other weapons.

(e)The treaty would be a temporary one with a certain time limit. The

period was 10 years and started from the date of the signatures. The

prophet (saw) and Suhail signed the treaty amidst the anger and the

resentment of the muslims. Suhail went back to Mecca, and the prophet

(saw) was puzzled when he saw the anger of the muslims who were very

keen to fight. He entered his tent and spoke with his wife Umm Salamah

who had accompanied him on the journey. He talked to her about how the

muslims were feeling. She said to him "O prophet of Allah muslims would

not disagree with you and they are enthusiastic for their deen and their

faith in Allah and in your message. So share and remove your Ihram and

you will find that muslims will follow you, then return back with them

to Medina." So the prophet (saw) went out to the muslims and shared and

his mind felt at ease. When the muslims saw him looking so calm and

relaxed they started to slaughter their camels and to shave their hairs.

The prophet (saw) and the muslims returned to Medina, and while they

were on their way back the prophet (saw) received the revelation of Sura

Al Fatha (the opening) which he recited to the muslims from start to

end. All the muslims now felt confident that the treaty was a great


for the muslims. When they arrived in Medina the prophet (saw) used his

stay there to prepare for his plan to completely eliminate the entity of

Khaybar and to spread the dawa (the call) of Islam outside the Arab

Peninsula and to establish it inside Arabia. He was also using the

armistice with Quraysh to focus on eliminating the other packets of

resistance inside Medina and to make outside contacts. Thus the prophet

(saw) managed to accomplish in a very accurate way a plan which he had

drawn up when he decided to go to hajj, in spite of all the obstacles

and difficulties he was confronted with. He achieved all the political

aims which he had hoped for. So clearly without a doubt Hudaybia was a

'Great Opening': the following are some of the results: (1)He managed to

gain a general public opinion in support of the Islamic dawa (call)

amongst the arabs and particularly among Quraysh in Mecca. This

increased the power and reputation of the muslims and weakened the

influence and reputation of Quraysh.

(2)It revealed the confidence in muslims in the prophet (saw) and it

indicated the strength of faith of the muslims, and this great

willingness to face dangers and bear hardships, and that they were not

afraid of death.

(3)The muslims were made aware that political manoeuvres are part and

parcel of the styles and means of the Islamic dawa. This treaty really

showed muslims that to engage in political tactics is an essential part

of the dawa. (4)The muslims who remained in Mecca among the mushriks

were like a thorn in the side of the enemy camp.

(5)This treaty demonstrated that the political method should be

consistent with the thought i.e., in respecting and fulfilling the

covenant. But the means should contain ingenuity and subtlety which

means distinguishing one's real intentions from the enemy.