Compiled by Shawana A Aziz
Why did Allah call the unjust peace treaty of al-Hudaibiyah, ‘A Manifest Victory’?
What was the Wisdom of Allah behind establishing a peace treaty between the Muslims and the disbelievers?
What were the consequences of this unjust peace treaty?
“Verily, We have given you a manifest victory.”
References: Ar-Raheeq ar-Makhtoom by Safi-ur-Rahmaan Mubarakpuri,
The History of Islam by Akbar Shah Najeebabadi, Tafseer Ibn Katheer, and others
It was about the sixth year after Hijrah, in the month of Shawwal, Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) was shown in a dream that while the Muslims were still living in al-Medina, they had entered the Holy city of Makkah and were performing the rites of Umrah (lesser pilgrimage). Their heads were being shaved and hairs were cut. Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) immediately informed his Companions about the dream. The Sahabah were overwhelmed with happiness because they had been away from the House of Allah for six year and greatly wished to make pilgrimage. Dreams of the Prophets are true visions and revelation from Allah. The Sahabah knew that Allah, the Exalted, had fulfilled their desire to perform Hajj.
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) along with his 1,400 – 1,500 Sahabah left for Makkah in Dhul-Qidah, wearing ihram and taking with them seventy camels for sacrifice. They carried no weapons, except a sheathed sword for protection.
Even though, the Arab Pagans did not possess any Divine Book, neither did they follow any Messenger and were surrounded by polytheist practices; they had immense respect for the House of Allah (Ka’bah). It was part of their culture and tradition to regularly perform Hajj and for the same purpose, people from distant places visited Makkah in the month of Dhul-Hijjah and were greatly welcomed by the Quraysh. However, when the Quraysh heard about the Prophet’s approaching to Makkah, they gathered a large number of people to stop the Muslims, even though they had no right to do, especially since the Muslims showed no desire to harm them.
When the Muslims arrived at a place called, Dhi Hulaifa, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) sent a man towards Makkah to inquire about the situation. The man reported that the road to Makkah was blocked by the slaves of Quraysh and a huge army gathered to stop their way. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) consulted with his Companion and they all decided not to fight except if they were prevented from performing their rites of Umrah. Abu Bakr (radiyallahu anhu) said: “Allah and His Messenger know that we only came to perform Umrah, not to fight anyone. However, anyone who tries to prevent us from reaching the House, we will fight them.” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “Go forth, in the Name of Allah, the Exalted.”
But the Quraysh had already decided to cease the Muslims from entering into Makkah; they dispatched Khalid Ibn Waleed (who was still a disbeliever) with two hundred horsemen to attack the Muslim surprisingly during the Dhuhr (afternoon) Salaat. But Allah, the All Wise, revealed the orders of ‘The Prayer of Fear’ and thus Khalid could not harm the Muslims.
The Muslims proceeded towards Makkah and halted at the well of al-Hudaibiyah. The Quraysh sent delegates to communicate with the Prophet r, all of whom returned saying that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) had come only to perform the pilgrimage and had no intention to fight. Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) had also offered the Quraysh to make a truce, he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “We have not come to fight anyone, but to perform Umrah. No doubt, war has weakened Quraysh and they have suffered great losses. So, if they wish, I will conclude a truce with them, during which they should refrain from interfering between me and others. If I have victory over those infidels, Quraysh will have the option to embrace Islam as the other people do, if they wish. They will at least get strong enough to fight. But if they do not accept the truce, by Allah, in Whose Hands is my soul, I will fight with them defending my cause until I get killed, but (I am sure) Allah will definitely make His cause victorious.”
One of the delegates after returning from the Prophet and witnessing the Sahabah’s love and obedience to Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) expressed: “O people of Quraysh! I have been to the magnificent royal courts of Rome and Persia, but nowhere did I witness any ruler as dear to his people as Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) is to his followers. His Companions have such deep love and high regard for him that when he performs ablution; they struggle to get the water he used and don’t let it fall on the ground. If he speaks, everybody listen to him with complete attention, nobody even dares to look straight into his eyes (due to respect). They can’t leave Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) at any cost. Accept what Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) has explained to you, and strike a peace deal with him.” But the Quraysh thought that allowing the Muslims to enter Makkah would mean disgrace and humiliation for their tribe. Negotiations went on but with no results!
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) then sent Uthman Ibn Affan (radiyallahu anhu) to consult with the chiefs of the Quraysh. Uthman (radiyallahu anhu) met Abu Sufyan and other chiefs of the Quraysh and assured them that they would peacefully leave Makkah after they have performed Umrah but the Quraysh refused. They instead offered Uthman to perform Tawaaf around the Ka’bah; “We give you the permission to go around Ka’bah.” “How is it possible that I circumambulate while the Prophet is denied of it,” replied Uthman rejecting their offer. The Quraysh became furious and kept him waiting in Makkah. However, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and the Muslims were told that Uthman was martyred. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “We shall not leave this place without avenging the murder of Uthman.” The Muslims were also enraged because one of their brothers in Faith was unjustly martyred by the disbelievers, they took an oath upon the hands of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) to avenge the death of Uthman and not turn away from the battlefield even if death arrived. This pledge is known ‘Bait ar-Ridhwan’ (The Oath of Loyalty).
Allah said being pleased with the Sahabah: “Verily, those who give pledge to you (O Muhammad r), they are giving pledge to Allah. The Hand of Allah is over their hands. Then whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks it only to his own harm; and whosoever fulfills what he has the covenants he makes with Allah, He will bestow on him a great reward.” [Soorah al-Fath (48): 10]
Jabir (radiyallahu anhu) said: “On the day of Hudaibiyah, we were one thousand and four hundred and the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said to us, “Today, you are the best people on the earth.” [Saheeh Muslim (no. 4811)] Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “None among those who gave the pledge under the tree shall enter Hell-Fire.” [Musnad Ahmad (vol. 3, no. 350)]
Additional Benefit: Scholars mention the incident of ‘Bayt ar-Ridhwan’, to refute the false belief that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) knew the Unseen (Ghayb). If Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) had the knowledge of the unseen ‘Bayt ar-Ridhwan’ would not have taken place since Uthman was neither killed nor harmed but only kept waiting in Makkah by the disbelievers to fool the Muslims.
When the Quraysh saw the firm determination of the Muslims to die for the revenge of their brother and their love and loyalty to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam); they realized that the Muslims could not be frightened or driven back by these tricks. Uthman returned back and the Quraysh agreed to make a peace treaty with the Muslims.
Allah says: “And if those who disbelieve fight against you, they certainly would have turned their backs; then they would have found neither a protector nor a helper.”
Imam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) writes, ‘Allah gives glad tidings to His believing slaves that had the idolaters fought them, Allah would have given victory to His Messenger, and His faithful servants. Then the army of the disbelievers would have been defeated and would have deserted the battlefield and fled. They would not have found any helper or supporter, because they were fighting Allah, His Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and his faithful party.
Allah said: “That has been the way of Allah already with those who passed away before. And you will not find any change in the way of Allah.” Means this is the way Allah deals with His creation. Whenever faith and disbelief meet any distinguishing junction, Allah gives victory to faith over disbelief, raises high truth and destroys falsehood. For instance, Allah helped His loyal faithful supporters during the battle of Badr and they defeated the idolaters, even though the Muslims were few in number and had very less weapon and the idolaters were large in number and were loaded with weaponry.” Thus, even today, when the disbelievers seek to harm the Muslims and cause destruction; the Muslims are required to harbor strong faith in Allah, and trust in Him. Allah will certainly triumph the faith over disbelief.Suhail Ibn Amr was sent as the next delegate to discuss the terms of peace treaty. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) called Ali (radiyallahu anhu) to prepare a draft of agreement. Ali started with the words, ‘Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem’ (In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful), upon which Suhail objected: ‘We do not recognize Rahmaan, write ‘Bismika Allahumma’ (In Your Name, O Allah!).’ as was their custom.
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) agreed for that and said: ‘Let it be (as he says).’ Then he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) dictated, ‘this is a peace treaty, which Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), the Messenger of Allah has agreed with Suhail Ibn Amr.’Suhail again 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 (Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), the son of Abdullah).’“I am Allah’s Messenger, even if you disbelieve in me,” replied the Prophet and asked Ali (radiyallahu anhu) to rub out what he had written.‘By Allah, I cannot do it.’ replied Ali (radiyallahu anhu). The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) in the larger interest of Islam, gave no importance to trivial details, he erased the words himself and dictated, “Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), the son of Abdullah.”Imam Bukharee (rahimahullah) recorded in his Saheeh in ‘The Book of Conditions,’ the terms of the peace treaty, “…The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said to Suhail, “On the condition that you allow us to visit the House so that we may perform Tawaaf around it.”Suhail said: ‘By Allah, we will not, so as not to give the Arabs a chance to say that we yielded to your pressure, but we will allow you next year.” So, the Prophet had that written.Then Suhail said: ‘We also lay down the condition that you should return to us whoever comes to you from us, even if he embraced your religion.’The Muslims protested, ‘Glorified by Allah! How can a person be returned to the idolaters after he has become a Muslim?’ At this time, Abu Jandal, the son of Suhail himself, who was put in chains and severely tortured for accepting Islam, came from the valley of Makkah and fell down among the Muslims. He showed great desire to be taken to al-Medina. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and the Sahabah felt pity and tried to take Abu Jandal with them, but Suhail cried: “To signify that you are faithful to your contract, an opportunity has just arrived.” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “But the treaty was not signed when your son entered the camp.” Suhail burst out saying: “but the terms of treaty were agreed upon.’On one side, Abu Jandal was shouting and crying: ‘O Muslims! Will I be returned to the polytheists although I have come as a Muslim?’ but on the other hand, the faithful engagement was also necessary. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) wanted to release Abu Jandal but he also had to honor his words. He consoled Abu Jandal and said: “Be patient, submit yourself to the Will of Allah. Allah will provide 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 Allah. We, therefore, cannot break the treaty.”The following were the full terms of the treaty:
(a) The Muslims shall return this year and come back next year to perform the pilgrimage, and they will not stay in Makkah for more than 3 days.
(b) The Muslims shall not carry any weapons, except a sheathed sword.
(c) War activities will be suspended for ten years, during which both will live in security and not raise sword against the other.
(d) If anyone from the Quraysh goes over to Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) without his guardian’s permission, he should be returned back to the Quraysh, but anybody of Muhammad’s (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) followers returns to Quraysh, he will not be sent back.
(e) Any tribe of Arabia is free to join the treaty with Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) or with the Quraysh.
The conditions were unjust but the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) accepted them all, even though the Sahabah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) disliked it. Umar Ibn Khattab said: “I went to the Prophet and said: ‘Are you not truly the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)?’ The Prophet said: ‘Yes, indeed.’ I said: ‘Is not our cause just and the cause of the enemy unjust?’ The Prophet said: ‘Yes.‘ I said: ‘Then why should we be humble in our religion?’ He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “I am Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and I do not disobey Him, and He will make me victorious.” I said: ‘Did you not tell us that we would go to the Ka’bah and perform Tawaaf around it?’ He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “Yes, but did I tell you that we would visit the Ka’bah this year?’ I said: ‘No.’ He said: “So you will visit it and perform Tawaaf around it.” Umar further said: “I went to Abu Bakr and said: ‘O Abu Bakr! Is not he truly the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)?’ He replied: ‘Yes.’ I said: ‘Is not our cause just and the cause of the enemy unjust?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ I said: ‘Then why should we be humble in our religion?’ He said: “O you man! Indeed, he is Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and he does not disobey Allah, he is on the right path.” I said: ‘Did he not tell us that we would go to the Ka’bah and perform Tawaaf around it?’ He said: “Yes, but did he tell you that you would visit the Ka’bah this year?’ I said: ‘No.’ He said: “You will go to the Ka’bah and perform Tawaaf around it.” Umar says: “I performed many good deeds as expiation for the improper questions I asked them.’When the peace treaty was written down, Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said to his companions: “Get up and slaughter your sacrifices and have you heads shaved.” One of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) relates: ‘By Allah none of them got up, and the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) repeated his order thrice. When none of them got up, he left them and went to Umm Salamah (radhi allahu anha) (the Prophet’s wife) and told her of the people’s attitude towards him. Umm Salamah said: ‘O Prophet of Allah! Do you want your order to be carried out? Go out and don’t say a word to anybody until you have slaughtered your sacrifice and call your barber to shave your head.’ The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) did as Umm Salamah suggested. Seeing the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), the Companions got up, slaughtered their sacrifices and started shaving the heads of one another. There was so much of a rush and sadness that there was a danger of killing each other…”Allah fulfilled the Prophet’s Vision
Allah says: “Indeed, Allah shall fulfill the true vision which He showed to His Messenger in very truth. Certainly, you shall enter al-Masjid al-Haraam, if Allah Wills, secure, (some) having your heads shaved, and (some) having you hair cut short, having no fear.” [Soorah al-Fath (48): 27]When the month of Dhul-Hijjah came, the seventh year of Hijrah, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) accompanied by those who were with him at al-Hudaibiyah went to Makkah for Umrah. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and the Companions approached al-Makkah reciting the Talbiyah aloud. The leaders of the disbelievers left Makkah so that they would not have to look at the Prophet and his Companions, out of rage and anger; rest of the people sat on the pathways and house roofs watching the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and his Companions.Abdullah Ibn Abbas said: “When Allah’s Messenger and his companions came to Makkah, the fever of Yathrib (al-Medina) had weakened and bothered them. The idolaters circulated the news that a group of people were coming to them and that they had been weakened and bothered by the fever of Yathrib… Allah conveyed to His Prophet what the idolaters said, so he ordered his companions to do Ramal (run) in the first three rounds, so that the idolaters witness their strength. The companions did Ramal in the first three rounds. He also ordered them to walk normally between the two corners, for from there the idolaters would not be able to see them. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) did not order them to do Ramal in all the rounds of Tawaaf out of pity for them. The idolaters commented, ‘Are these the people who you claimed were weakened by the fever. They are stronger than so and so!” [Saheeh Muslim]A MANIFEST VICTORY
When Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) was on his way back to al-Medina after the peace treaty, Allah, the Exalted, declared the peace treaty of al-Hudaibiyah, ‘A Manifest Victory,’ “Verily, We have given you a manifest victory.” [Soorah al-Fath (48): 1]
Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said upon its revelation, “Tonight, an Ayah, that is dearer to me than all the earth carries, was revealed to me.’ [Musnad Ahmad]Imam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) writes in the Tafseer of the verse, “Indeed, Allah was pleased with the believers when they gave the pledge to you under the tree, He know what was in their hearts, and He sent down As-Sakinah upon them, and He rewarded them with a near victory.” [Soorah al-Fath (48): 18] “(the above verse is) in reference to the goodness that Allah, the Exalted, and Most Honored caused to happened to the Companions on account of the peace treaty between them and the disbelieving enemies. Ever after that, the Companions gained abundant, general and continuous benefits and accomplishments, leading to the conquest of Khaibar and Makkah, and then the various surrounding provinces and areas. They earned tremendous glory, triumphs and an elevated and honorable status in this life and in the Hereafter…”The wisdom of Allah behind the peace treaty of al-Hudaibiyah and Allah’s calling it, ‘A Manifest Victory’ revealed shortly after the truce. According to the terms of the treaty, the Quraysh showed no interest in the religion of people outside Makkah. So, the Muslims now had the opportunity to openly and freely call people to Islam and preach the faith. And within two years double the number of people entered Islam ever before. When Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) returned back from al-Hudaibiyah, he had only 1,400-1,500 companions but when he returned back to liberate Makkah after two years, he had with him 10,000 men.The unjust condition laid down by the Quraysh that the Muslims should return back whoever comes to them from the Quraysh, even if he has embraced Islam, which was most objectionable by the Muslims and was seemingly in the favor of the Quraysh was later on terminated by the Quraysh themselves!!
Allah, the Exalted, caused the Muslims in Makkah to escape the disbelieving pagans, just as Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) had consoled Abu Jandal saying: “Be patient, submit yourself to the Will of Allah. Allah will provide you and your helpless companions’ relief and means of escape…”
It was impossible that the Muslims who were sent back to al-Medina would leave the blessing of Islam or become apostates after suffering hardships and openly declaring Islam. After the Muslims returned back to al-Medina, Abu Bashir, who had already professed Islam in Makkah escaped and reached al-Medina for shelter. The Quraysh sent two men to bring him back and the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) sent him back. On the way back, Abu Bashir said to one of the men, ‘Your sword appears to be of the highest quality.’ Hearing this, another guard unsheathed the sword and began to admire it. Abu Bashir said: ‘Let me see the sword.’ He gave it to Abu Bashir without the least concern. Abu Bashir struck him with the sword so hard that his head fell on the ground. The other guard fled towards al-Medina and Abu Bashir followed him. When he reached the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), he said: ‘Your obligation is over and Allah has freed you from it. You duly handed me over to the men and Allah has rescued me from them.” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “He would have kindled a war if there had been others with him.”
Abu Bashir knew he would be again handed over to the disbeliever so he fled from al-Medina and went to the seacoast. When Abu Jandal Ibn Suhail knew about him, he too escaped from al-Medina and joined Abu Bashir. Similarly, whoever embraced Islam would join them until they grew so strong that they soon began to intercept the Quraysh caravans as revenge. The situation got so worse and out of control that the Quraysh requested Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) to terminate the condition, and asked him to send for the group to join the Muslims in al-Medina. The unjust condition was thus proved to be a source of destruction for the disbelievers and a blessing for the Muslims.Also, the conquest of Makkah (two years after the truce) was the fruit of the peace treaty of al-Hudaibiyah. The Quraysh did not keep up with the terms of the peace treaty and along with Banu Bakr (who had joined the Quraysh in the peace treaty) in attacked Banu Khuza’ah (who had joined Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) in the peace treaty). When Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) was informed, he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) gathered the Muslims and approached Makkah. Allah, the Exalted, granted Fath al-Makkah (Conquest of Makkah) to the Muslims.Thus we understand the words of Abdullah Ibn Mas’oud (radiyallahu anhu) and other companions, who said: “You consider the conquering of Makkah to be al-Fath (the victory), while to us, al-Fath is the treaty conducted at al-Hudaibiyah.’ [Ibn Katheer]Lessons from ‘A MANIFEST VICTORY’
The treaty of al-Hudaibiyah teaches us an important lesson that Allah only chooses the best for his believing slaves, even though they might look unfavorable outwardly. Allah says in the Qur’aan: “…it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows (what is best for you) and you do not.”[Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 216]The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, Allah does not ordain a Decree for a believer but for his good; and this merit is for no one except a believer…” [Saheeh Muslim]The treaty of al-Hudaibiyah resulted in great goodness, even though Sahabah disliked the treaty but they obeyed Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam). Allah said: “He knew what you knew not, and He granted besides that a near victory.” [Soorah al-Fath (48): 27] meaning Allah knew the benefits and goodness of turning you away from Makkah and preventing you from entering it in the year of al-Hudaibiyah, He knew that which you had no knowledge of, “…and He granted besides that a near victory.” [See Ibn Katheer]If Allah had willed, he would have defeated the disbelievers as Allah says next, “…to Allah belong the armies of the Heavens and the earth…” but for His Great Wisdom, Allah willed peace treaty to be established. “Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.” Allah further mentions some reasons behind the peace treaty, He said: “That He may admit the believing men and the believing women to Gardens under which rivers flow to abide therein forever. And He may expiate from them their sins… And that He may punish the hypocrite men and women, and also the idolaters’ men and women, who think evil thoughts about Allah, for them is a disgraceful torment”
Imam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) writes, “…(He might those) who question the wisdom of Allah’s Decision and think that the Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and his companions (radiyallahu anhu) might be killed and exterminated. This is why Allah, the Exalted said, “for them is a disgraceful torment. And the Anger of Allah is upon them, and He has cursed them.”So, one must always have good expectations in Allah and trust His Decision and Judgment with regard to everything what He Decrees for the slave. Allah explains that if human beings put their complete trust in Allah, then Allah will suffice them, “Whoever trusts in Allah, will find Him sufficient. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose.” [Soorah at-Talaq (65): 3] The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) explained that the believer should always be satisfied with the Decree of Allah. He should be pleased and thankful to Allah when he is granted ease and pleasure of life. Likewise, he should become patient when calamities afflict him. He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “…If he (the believer) is granted ease of living, he is thankful; and this is best for him. And if he is afflicted with a hardship, he perseveres; and this is best for him.” [Saheeh Muslim]