The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah
in the sixth year, the messenger of allah peace be upon him announced his intent to perform `umrah and set out with 1400 men, unarmed except for the sheathed sword normally carried by a traveller. his companions drove with them the sacrificial animals. when the quraysh learned of this, they gathered to prevent them from reaching al-masjid al-haraam.
as they neared makkah, the prophet peace be upon him led his companions in salat al-khawf.1 then, he started toward makkah but his she-camel, al-qaswa, sat down. they said, "she has become obstinate," but he replied,
"she has not become obstinate, but has been prevented as the elephant2 was prevented. by allah, the quraysh will not ask of me anything today which enhances the sanctity of allah's religious rites and symbols but that i will give it to them." (al-bukhari)
then he peace be upon him shouted at his camel and she got up. he peace be upon him returned to a well at hudaybiyyah having little water, and pulled an arrow from his quiver, jabbing it into the well. the water flowed so abundantly that they scooped it up in their hands.
budayl ibn warqaa' al khuza'i informed the quraysh of the prophet's peace be upon him peaceful intent. they then sent `urwah ibn mas`ud-may allah be pleased with him-, who was told something similar. he also noticed how much the companions loved the prophet peace be upon him and obeyed him; he went back and informed the quraysh of what he had seen and heard. then they sent a man from bani kinanah named al-hulays ibn `alqamah, and after him, mikraz ibn hafs. while he was talking to the messenger of allah peace be upon him, suhayl ibn `amr -may allah be pleased with him-approached. the prophet peace be upon him said,
"your matter has now become easy." 3
a peace treaty was drawn up between the two sides. if the muslims had chosen to fight at that time they would have been victorious, but they wanted to uphold the sanctity of the ka`bah. the treaty consisted of the following:
both parties would cease hostilities for a period of ten years.
the parties would not interfere with the free movement of one another.
the prophet peace be upon him would return that year, but the muslims would be permitted to enter makkah the following year.
any muslim man coming from the quraysh to join the muslims would be sent back, but any man going from the muslims to quraysh would not be sent back.
any tribes other than the quraysh that wished to enter an alliance with muhammad peace be upon him were free to do so, and any that wished to enter an alliance with the quraysh were free to do so.4
results of the treaty of hudaybiyyah
many of the companions were opposed to this treaty and considered its clauses unfair and biased against the muslims. but with time they, perceived its positive results and beneficial effects. among them were:
the quraysh's acknowledgement of the muslim state - for an agreement can only be drawn up between two equals. this had its effect on the other tribes.
fear was introduced into the hearts of the polytheists and hypocrites and many of them now expected that islam would triumph. signs of this were apparent in its acceptance by a number of prominent qurayshites such as khalid ibn al-waleed and `amr ibn al-`aas
2-the opportunity was increased to spread islam and make it known to people, which led to its acceptance by many of the tribes.
the muslims were no longer in danger from the quraysh, so they could concentrate on the threat from the jews and other hostile tribes. thus, the battle of khaybar took place after the treaty of hudaybiyyah.
negotiations leading to the treaty allowed the allies of quraysh to understand the position of the muslims and sympathize with it. when al-hulays ibn `alqamah saw them reciting the talbiyah for `umrah, he returned to his associates and said, "i saw the sacrificial animals garlanded and marked, so i do not think they should be prevented from the house of allah."
the treaty of hudaybiyyah enabled the prophet peace be upon him to prepare for the battle of mu'tah, which was a new step in extending the call to islam outside the arabian peninsula.
the treaty of hudaybiyyah enabled the prophet peace be upon him to send letters to the rulers of the persians, byzantines and copts, inviting them to islam.
the treaty of hudaybiyyah led directly to the conquest of makkah.
1 a form of prayer performed at times of fear when facing an enemy.
2 which led the army that had come to destroy the ka`bah in the year of the prophet's birth.
3 he saw optimism in the name "suhayl", which means easy or lenient.
4 see al-wafaa, p.716 and lubaab al-khiyaar, p.81-83.