By Adil Salahi
In the sixth year after Hijrah, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) concluded the Treaty of Al-Hudaybiyah with the pagans of Makkah, who were still determinedly opposing Islam. The treaty stipulated that the Prophet and his Companions would not be allowed to enter Makkah that year, even though they intended nothing but to perform worship rituals there. Instead, they were to return to Madinah, guaranteed under the treaty to be allowed entry the following year, provided that they would stay in Makkah for only three days.
This duly took place, and the Prophet entered the Makkan city peacefully with his Companions, where they performed `Umrah. The perceptive among the Makkans realized that Islam was continuing its surge and winning new hearts every day. They felt that each time a Muslim raised his voice declaring the Oneness of Almighty Allah, a blow was leveled at idolatry. The end of that falsehood was seen to be very soon. Therefore, the elders of Makkah wanted the Prophet and the Muslims to leave as soon as possible.
In the meantime, another story was unfolding. Al-`Abbas — the Prophet’s uncle, who was still residing in Makkah, keeping an eye on developments there — spoke to the Prophet about his own sister-in-law, Barrah bint Al-Harith, whose husband had just died. He suggested that the Prophet should marry her. The Prophet agreed. Thereupon, someone rushed to break the news to the prospective bride, who was then riding a camel. Overjoyed with this good news, she jumped off the camel and said, “This camel and its load are [a gift] for the Messenger of Allah.”
Although the whole matter happened very quickly, all preparations were perfectly put in place for the unplanned wedding. By the evening of the third day of the Prophet’s entry into Makkah, two figures from the Quraish tribe came over to him. Putting up a serious and threatening attitude, they said, “The time you have been allowed here is up. Will you and your followers now depart?” The Prophet informed them that he was about to marry, suggesting an alternative: “Let me have my wedding here, and we will throw a party for you and serve you a good dinner.” They said, “We do not need your food. You’d better leave us now.” The Prophet did not argue the matter any further. He ordered his Companions to depart, fulfilling the condition of staying in Makkah for three days only. The marriage took place at some distance from the sacred city.
It is not surprising that the people of Makkah had to take such an uncompromising attitude. They felt that if the Prophet had a chance to have his wedding in their own land and to talk to the people in the friendly atmosphere of a wedding and banquet, their cause would lose its grip on the hearts of those very Makkans. They realized that their own religion could not stand up to the logic of Islam. People were bound to be favorably influenced by the Prophet’s personality and the strength of his argument. They feared that the barriers they had erected to prevent people from going over to him would thus start to collapse. They realized that Muhammad’s visit to Makkah was changing the atmosphere which had previously prevailed between the two camps. They could not realize, however, that the hearts of many Makkans had already softened to the cause of Islam.
The Prophet changed the name of his new wife, calling her Maymunah, which means a blessed woman. He hoped that his trip to Makkah would be instrumental in bringing its people to listen to the voice of Islam and to look at it without prejudice. Maymunah (may Allah be pleased with her) was a very devout woman, of whom `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “By Allah, she was one of the most pious and kindest to relatives among us.”