The Treaty of Hudaybiyah

Six years had passed since the emigration of the Prophet and his companions from Makkah to Madinah. During that time, they were constantly occupied with war and conflict, now with the Quraysh, now with the Jews. All along, Islam was gaining converts as well as power. From the first year of the Hijrah, Muhammad changed his orientation in prayer from al Aqsa Mosque to the Mosque of Makkah. The Muslims turned toward the house of God which Ibrahim had built in Makkah and which was renewed and reconstructed during Muhammad's youth. The reader will remember that it was Muhammad who lifted and placed the Black Stone in its position in the wall of that house, long before he could have ever thought that he was to become the recipient of a revelation from God on High.


Proscription of the Sanctuary to Muslim Entry

For hundreds of years, this Mosque had been the center toward which the Arabs turned in their worship and to which they went in pilgrimage during the holy month of every year. Everybody entering the area of the Mosque was to be safe and secure. The most hostile enemies met on its grounds without anyone ever drawing his sword or shedding the blood of his enemy. Ever since Muhammad had emigrated with the Muslims to Madinah, the Quraysh resolved to prevent them from entering the Mosque. This prohibition applied only to the Muslims among all the Arabs of the Peninsula. To this effect, God said in the Qur'anic verses revealed during the first year of the Hijrah

"They challenge you regarding the sacred month, that there should be no fighting whatsoever during its whole course. Answer, that fighting in the holy month is a great transgression. But to hinder men in their pursuit of God's path, to be blasphemous to Him and to the Holy Mosque, to force the worshippers out of the Mosque-all these are greater transgressions in the eye of God."[Qur'an, 2:217]

Likewise, the following verse was revealed after the Battle of Badr : "And why should they not be punished by God when they prevent men from entering the Holy Mosque for worship? Surely, they are not its guardians. The guardians of the Holy Mosque are only the pious and righteous. But most of them are utterly ignorant. As for their worship in the House of God, it is nothing but whistling and clapping and garbling. They should then be punished for their ungodliness. The unbelievers spend of their wealth for the purpose of hindering men from the path of God. Their expenditure is wasted and will bring about their own ruin. For it is to Hell that they shall finally be assigned [Qur'an, 8:34-36]. During these six years many other verses were revealed centering on the Mosque of Makkah which God had declared to be a place of repentance and of security for mankind. But the Quraysh never saw in Muhammad and his companions who turned their backs on the idols of that house-namely, Hubal, Isaf, Na'ilah and the others-anything but men who ought to be fought and combatted and denied the privilege of pilgrimage to the Ka'bah until they repented and returned to the gods of their ancestors.


Muslim Yearning for Makkah

During the whole time the Muslims were kept from fulfilling their religious duty, they suffered deeply. The Muhajirun especially felt this privation more strongly as it was combined with banishment from their own hometown and people. All the Muslims, however, were convinced that God would soon give victory to His Prophet and to them and would raise Islam high above all other religions. They firmly believed that the day would soon come when God would unlock for them the gates of Makkah that they might perform their pilgrimage to the ancient house and thus fulfill the duty which God had imposed upon all men. If so far the years had passed one after another with frequent campaigns and battles, beginning with Badr, Uhud, the Ditch and others, so too the day of victory which they believed to be necessary must soon come. How strong was their longing for this day! And how intensely did Muhammad himself share their very faith in the proximity of that day of victory!


The Arabs and the Ka'bah

The truth is that the Quraysh had done a great injustice to Muhammad and his companions by forbidding them to `visit the Ka'bah and to perform the duties of pilgrimage and 'umrah. [Pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Makkah at a time other than that prescribed for it by custom and the Qur'an. -Tr.] The ancient sanctuary of Makkah was not a property of the Quraysh but of all the Arabs together. The Quraysh enjoyed only the services attached to the Ka'bah such as the sidanah, siqayah, and other functions pertinent to the sanctuary or to the care for its visitors. The fact that one tribe worshiped one idol rather than another never permitted the Quraysh to forbid any tribe from visiting the Ka'bah, from circumambulating it, or from filling any religious duties or acts of worship demanded by the tribe's loyalty to that god. If Muhammad came to call men to repudiate idol worship, to purify themselves from paganism and associationism, to raise themselves to the worship of God alone, devoid of associates, to conduct themselves for the sake of God in a manner free of all moral flaws, to elevate their spirit to consciousness of the unity of being and the unity of God, and if the new faith imposed on its adherents the duty of pilgrimage and 'umrah to the sanctuary of Makkah, it would be sheer aggression and injustice to prevent the followers of that faith from fulfilling their religious duty. The Quraysh, however, feared that were Muhammad and his Makkan companions to visit Makkah, they might persuade the majority to follow them, especially since they were related to the Makkans with bonds of blood and family and had been separated from them long enough to arouse in them the strongest longing. Such a development would start a civil war in Makkah which the Quraysh wanted to avoid. Moreover, Makkan leaders and noblemen had not forgotten that Muhammad and his companions had destroyed their faith, cut off their trade route to al Sham, and antagonized them so deeply that no common loyalty to the sanctuary and no common feeling that it belonged to God and to all the Arabs could compose their differences. The Quraysh could not be convinced that their relationship to the house was merely one of taking care of it and of its visitors.


The Muslims and the Ka'bah

Six whole years had passed since the Hijrah, during which the Muslims longed to visit the Ka'bah and perform the pilgrimage and `umrah. One day, while they congregated in the mosque in the morning, the Prophet informed them of a vision he had seen that they should enter the holy sanctuary of Makkah secure, shaven, and unarmed, and without fear for their safety. As soon as the Muslims heard of the news, they praised God for His grace and spread the tidings all over Madinah. No one, however, could imagine how this was going to be accomplished. Would they fight and enter Makkah after battle? Would they force the evacuation of Quraysh and pull down its guardianship of the Ka'bah? Or would Quraysh open the road to them in humiliation and acquiescence?


Muhammad's Proclamation Concerning Pilgrimage

No! There was to be neither war nor fighting. Muhammad proclaimed to the people that pilgrimage to Makkah would take place in the holy month of Dhu al Qi'dah. He had sent his messengers to the tribes, whether Muslim or otherwise, inviting them to participate with the Muslims in a visit to the sanctuary of God in security and peace. Apparently, he sought to make the group performing the pilgrimage the largest possible. His objective was to let the whole Peninsula know that this expedition of his during the holy month was intended purely for pilgrimage and not for conquest, as well as to proclaim the fact that Islam had imposed pilgrimage to Makkah just as preIslamic Arab religion had done and, finally, that he had actually invited even the Arabs who were not Muslims to join in the performance of this sacred duty. If, despite all this, the Quraysh insisted on fighting him during the holy month and preventing him from the performance of a duty commonly held by all Arabs regardless of their personal faith, the Quraysh would surely find themselves isolated and condemned by all. In that eventuality, the Quraysh would find the Arabs unwilling to help them in fighting the Muslims. In the eyes of all the tribes, the Quraysh would have indicted themselves. They would have to appear as stopping men from visiting the sanctuary, as combating the religion of Isma'il and of his father, Ibrahim. By this means, the Muslims would guarantee that the Arab tribes would not rally against them under Makkan leadership as they did hitherto in the campaign of the Ditch, and their religion would itself gain some credit among the tribes who had not yet been converted to it. What would the Quraysh say to a people who came to their doors armless except for their undrawn swords, and in a state of ritualistic purity, accompanied by the cattle which they planned to sacrifice near the Ka'bah and whose every care was simply to circumambulate the House, the duty common to all the tribes of the Peninsula?

Muhammad publicly proclaimed that the pilgrimage had started and asked the tribes, including the non-Muslim, to accompany him on that holy mission. Some of the tribes rejected his invitation and others accepted. His procession set forth on the first of Dhu al Qi'dah, one of the holy months; and it included al Muhajirun, al Ansar, and a number of other tribes. He led the procession riding on his she-camel, al Qaswa'. Their total number was about one thousand four hundred men. They took with them seventy camels and donned the garb demanded by the ritual of `umrah that the people might know that this was no military campaign but a pilgrimage to the holy sanctuary and a fulfillment of religious duty. When he reached Dhu al Hulayfah, the pilgrims shaved their heads, purified themselves as the ritual demanded, and isolated their sacrificial cattle by placing them to their left. The sacrificial cattle included the camels of Abu Jahl which were seized in the Battle of Badr. No man in the whole group carried any arms except the undrawn sword usually worn by all travelers. Umm Salamah, the wife of the Prophet, accompanied him on this trip.


Quraysh and Muslim Pilgrimage

When the Quraysh learned that Muhammad and his companions were approaching Makkah for purposes of pilgrimage, they were filled with fear and pondered whether or not Muhammad was now playing a war game against them in order to enter Makkah after they and their allies had failed to enter Madinah. Their fear was not dissipated when they learned that the pilgrims had actually donned the ritual garb demanded by 'umrah, nor by Muslim proclamation across the Peninsula that they were coming solely to fulfill a religious duty approved and accepted by all the Arabs. None of this prevented them from resolving to stop Muhammad from entering Makkah at whatever cost. Quickly, they mobilized an army, including a cavalry force of two hundred. They gave the command to Khalid ibn al Walid and 'Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl. This army advanced to Dhu Tuwa and took up position to prevent the Muslims' religious march to Makkah.



Muhammad and the Muslims continued their march. At 'Usfan, they met a tribesman of Banu Ka'b whom the Prophet questioned regarding the Quraysh. The man answered: "They heard about your march; so they marched too. But they wore their tiger skins, their traditional war apparel, pledging that they will never let you enter Makkah. Their general, Khalid ibn al Walid, set up camp for his cavalry at Kara' al Ghamim." Upon learning this, Muhammad said: "Woe to Quraysh ! Their hostility is undoing them. Why should they object to letting me settle this affair with all the tribes without intervention? If the Arab tribes destroy me, that will be the realization of their objective. If, on the other hand, God gives me victory, then they can enter into Islam with dignity; and if they resist, they can then fight with good cause. What does the Quraysh think? By God, I shall continue to serve that for which God has commissioned me until the divine message has become supreme or I lose my neck in the process." Pondering over the issue, he thought that, whereas he did not come thither as a conquerer but as a Muslim pilgrim seeking the sanctuary as a religious duty, he might be compelled to fight and perhaps lose unless he should take the precaution of arming his people. Should he lose in such an engagement, the Quraysh would parade their victory throughout the Peninsula and thus deal a tragic blow to the Muslim position. Indeed, it is perhaps for that reason that the Quraysh delegated the command of their army to Khalid ibn al Walid and 'Ikrimah, their most illustrious generals, that they might attain this very objective, knowing that Muhammad was not prepared to fight on this occasion.


Muhammad's Caution to Safeguard the Peace

While Muhammad pondered these issues, Makkan cavalry was looming on the horizon. The presence of the enemy prepared for war showed the Muslims that it was impossible for them to reach their objective without going through these lines and engaging in a battle in which the Quraysh had come prepared to repulse the threat to their dignity, honor, and homeland. Such would have been a battle undesired and uncalled for by Muhammad and forced upon him. The Muslims were not afraid of battle. With the high morale they enjoyed, their swords alone would be sufficient to stop this new aggression of the Makkans. But if they did fight the Makkans, the peaceful purpose of the whole affair would not be realized. On the contrary, the Quraysh would use such fighting as proof of Muhammad's guilt before the tribes. Muhammad was too farsighted to allow such a course to be followed. He therefore asked his party to find someone who could show them a road to Makkah other than the main one which was blocked by the Quraysh. Apparently, he was still of the same mind as before he started out from Madinah. A man was found to lead the procession by a different route which was yet more desolate and full of hardships. That road led them to a valley at the end of which a turn by al Murar brought them to the locality of al Hudaybiyah, south of Makkah. When the Quraysh discovered the movement of Muhammad and his companions, they returned quickly to Makkah in order to defend it against what they thought to be a Muslim invasion from the south. Upon arrival at the plain of al Hudaybiyah, al Qaswa', she-camel of the Prophet, stopped. The Muslims thought the she-camel was exhausted; but the Prophet explained that it was stopped by the same power which stopped the elephant from entering Makkah. He continued, "If only the Quraysh would ask us for guarantees of Muslim intentions based upon our blood relationship to them, we should be happy to give them the same." He then called upon the Muslims to encamp. When they complained that the place was waterless, he sent a man with a stick to one of the wells of the area and asked him to verify the existence of water. When the man plunged his stick into the bottom of the well, water sprang up; the people felt reassured, and they put up camp.


Quraysh's Delegates to the Muslims

The Muslims encamped and the Quraysh observed their moves. The Makkans had resolved to prevent the Muslims by force from entering their city. To them, this was a clear and final commitment. The Muslims, on the other hand, did not know whether or not they were heading for an all-out war with the Quraysh which would decide the matter between them once and for all. Undoubtedly, some people on both sides preferred a settlement by the sword. The Muslims who approved of this course thought their victory would bring about a final destruction of the Quraysh. The Quraysh's reputation throughout the Peninsula as well as their sidanah and Siqayah functions in pilgrimage-indeed, their pride and religious distinction-would be eliminated. The two camps were poised seeking an answer. Muhammad did not change his original plan to perform the `umrah in peace and to avoid war unless attacked. In case of attack, there would be no escape from recourse to the sword. As for the Quraysh, while hesitant, they decided to send some delegates to the Muslim camp, partly to reconnoiter Muslim strength and partly to dissuade Muhammad from executing his plan. For this purpose, Budayl ibn Warqa' arrived at the Muslim camp, together with some tribesmen from Khuza`ah. Inquiry into Muhammad's objectives convinced them that he did not come to fight but to honor the sanctuary and pay to it the homage due. The delegation returned to the Quraysh and counseled that the Muslims be permitted to fulfill their religious wish. The Quraysh, however, remained unconvinced. Indeed, they accused their own delegates of conniving with Muhammad. They argued that even though Muhammad might not have come to make war, he should not be allowed to enter Makkah against their will and with such preponderant numbers. Otherwise, the Quraysh would become the mockery of Arabia. In order to make sure that their first delegates told them the truth, the Quraysh sent another delegation which returned with exactly the same reports, which the Quraysh now believed. The Quraysh were depending for their war against Muhammad upon their Ahabish allies. [A group of strong bowmen from Arabia-i.e. Abyssinians-so called for their dark complexion. Another possible explanation for their name is that it refers to Hubshi, a mountain south of Makkah.] They thought of sending the Ahabish leader to talk to Muhammad with the hope that the two leaders would misunderstand each other and the Quraysh ally would become increasingly committed to fight on Makkah's side against Muhammad. A1 Hulays, as the leader of the Ahabish was called, went to the Muslim camp to see for himself. When the Prophet saw him arriving, he ordered the sacrificial cattle paraded in front of him as material proof of Muslim intention to perform the pilgrimage and to honor the sanctuary. A1 Hulays saw the seventy sacrificial camels shaved and readied for sacrifice and was moved by the view of this display of Arab religiosity. He soon became convinced that the Quraysh were doing an injustice to those people who had come neither for war nor for hostility. Without bothering to meet Muhammad and converse with him, he returned to Makkah and told the Quraysh of his opinion. Full of resentment, the Quraysh slighted al Hulays as a Bedouin and neglected his advice as that of one uninstructed. Al Hulays was naturally angered, and he threatened them that he had not allied himself with them in order to stop pilgrims from performing their religious duties. He even threatened that unless they allowed Muhammad and his party into the sanctuary, he would remove himself and his tribe from Makkah. The Quraysh feared the consequences of such a move and begged him to give them time to reconsider.


The Delegation of `Urwah ibn Mas'ud al Thaqafi

The Quraysh then thought of sending somebody whom they could trust and whose judgment stood beyond suspicion. They approached `Urwah ibn Mas'ud al Thaqafi and apologized to him for having slighted the delegate whom they had sent before him to negotiate with Muhammad. When they assured him of their respect and pledged their compliance with his advice, he agreed to meet with Muhammad. He proposed to the latter that since Makkah was his own hometown whose honor it was his duty to safeguard, it would be opprobrious for him to prefer the commonplace people he brought with him to the noblemen of Quraysh who were none other than his own people. `Urwah stressed the point that such opprobrium would attach to Muhammad as well as to the Quraysh even though the two had been at war with each other. On hearing this, Abu Bakr objected loudly to `Urwah's request that the Prophet of God separate himself from the people. While talking to Muhammad, `Urwah touched Muhammad's beard in supplication, and al Mughirah ibn Shu'bah, standing on the side of the Prophet, struck the hand of `Urwah every time it was stretched toward Muhammad's beard despite the fact that `Urwah had ransomed al Mughirah by paying the bloodwit of the thirteen men whom all Mughirah had killed prior to his conversion to Islam. Accordingly, `Urwah returned to Makkah after convincing himself that Muhammad had not come to wage war but to honor the holy sanctuary in fulfillment of a divine imperative. Upon return to the Quraysh, he said to them: "O Men of Quraysh, I have visited Chosroes, Caesar, and the Negus in their respective courts. By God, I have never seen a king attaching himself to his people as Muhammad does. His companions love him and honor 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 his ablutions. They will never allow any hand to fall on him. Judge then accordingly."



The Covenant of al Ridwan

Whatever the reason, 'Uthman's failure to return quickly caused the Muslims at Hudaybiyah no little anxiety. They began to give vent to their imagination by picturing the Quraysh treacherously attacking them in the holy month despite the sanctity of the occasion and of the purpose for which they came. They feared that the Quraysh would violate the religious conscience of all Arabia with impudence, even within the holy sanctuary or on the holy grounds of Makkah. With tension rising in the Muslim camp, and everybody reaching for his sword, Muhammad assured them that he would not allow them to return without challenging their enemies. He called his companions to him under a large tree in the middle of that valley, and there they covenanted with him to fight to the last man. Their faith was certain, their conviction was strong, and their will was determined to avenge the blood of `Uthman whom they thought the Quraysh had murdered in Makkah. This covenant was called the Covenant of al Ridwan ; and in its regard, the following verse was revealed: "God is pleased with the believers who have covenanted with you under the tree. God knows what is in their hearts and, therefore, He has granted them His peace and will soon give them great victory. [Qur'an, 48:18], When the Muslims concluded their covenant, Muhammad-May God's peace and blessing be upon him-pledged the same covenant on behalf of `Uthman, and the latter was regarded as if he were present. Thereupon, swords shook in their scabbards and the Muslims realized that war was now inevitable. Everybody looked forward to the day of victory or martyrdom with a mind convinced and satisfied, and a heart reassured and at peace. While in this state, the news reached them that `Uthman had not been murdered, and soon the man himself returned safe and sound. The Covenant of al Ridwan, however, like the great Covenant of al `Aqabah, remained a great landmark in Muslim history. Muhammad was particularly pleased with this covenant for the evidence it furnished of the strength of the bonds which tied him and his companions together, and for the readiness of the Muslims to face the greatest dangers without fear. For whoever is willing to face death will find that death itself shies away from him, life itself surrenders to him, and victory is always his own to reach.


The Quraysh's Response

Upon return, `Uthman conveyed to Muhammad the message of the Quraysh. They entertained no more doubt that the Muslims had come to Makkah for anything but the religious purpose of pilgrimage to the Holy House, and they realized that they had no right to prevent any Arab from performing his pilgrimage or `umrah during the holy month. Nonetheless, they had mobilized their army under the leadership of Khalid ibn al Walid to prevent Muhammad and his companions from entering Makkah, and some skirmishes had taken place between the two parties. After all this had happened, to let Muhammad enter Makkah would allow the tribes to conclude that the Quraysh had been defeated and, as a result, their position in the Peninsula would suffer greatly. Therefore, the Quraysh argued, they must insist on maintaining this decision of theirs in order to preserve their reputation and prestige. They invited Muhammad to think out with them both his and their position that together they might find an outlet from this difficulty. By themselves they saw no escape from a war which they would have to wage whether they wanted to or not. Rather, they wished they might not have to fight during the holy months because of their religious sanctity and out of fear that should those months be violated, then the tribes would never feel secure that they would not be violated again in the future. The result of a present conflict would be that the security of passage to Makkah and to its market, of the religious rites and of the prosperity of the Makkans and Arabs alike would all go aground.



Another round of negotiations between the two parties followed. The Quraysh sent Suhayl ibn `Amr to reconcile Muhammad and to ask him to return for the same purpose the following year. They argued that in such an arrangement the tribes would not claim that Muhammad had entered Makkah in defiance of the Quraysh. Suhayl began his negotiations with the Prophet, and these lasted a long time during which they were interrupted and resumed again by both parties, anxious as they were for the negotiations to succeed. In the Muslim camp the Muslims listened in on these negotiations and often lost patience at their involvement and length, the obstinacy with which Suhayl refused to make any concessions, and the leniency with which the Prophet made his. Were it not for the absolute conf dence the Muslims had in their Prophet, they would have never accepted the terms reached by those negotiations. They would have fought with the Makkans and either entered Makkah victorious or perished in the process. Even such a great man as `Umar ibn al Khattab lost patience and said to Abu Bakr, "O Abu Bakr, isn't Muhammad the Prophet of God and aren't we Muslims?" Abu Bakr answered in the affirmative. 'Umar then said, "Why then should we give in to the unbelievers in a matter vital to our faith?" Abu Bakr replied, "O 'Umar, do not trespass one inch where you ought not to go. Remember that I witness that our leader is the Prophet of God." Angrily, 'Umar acquiesced by replying: "I, too, witness that our leader is the Prophet of God."


Conclusion of the Treaty (March, 628 C.E.)

'Umar turned to Muhammad and complained to him with the same anger and resentment, but could not alter the Prophet's determination and patience. Their talk was concluded with the Prophet's statement that he was the servant of God and His Prophet and that he would not deviate from the divine commandment nor entertain any doubt of divine support. So patient was Muhammad in these negotiations that many Muslims remembered anecdotes which speak most eloquently to this effect. It is reported, for instance; that Muhammad called 'Ali ibn Abu Talib and said to him: "Write, 'In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.'" Suhayl, the non-Muslim delegate of Quraysh interrupted. "Stop," he said, "I do not know either 'the Merciful' or 'the Compassionate.' Write, 'In your name, 0 God.'" The Prophet of God instructed 'Ali to write accordingly and continued: "Write, 'Following is the text of a pact reached by Muhammad, the Prophet of God and Suhayl ibn 'Amr.' " Suhayl again interrupted. "Stop it. If I accepted you as a Prophet of God I would not have been hostile to you. You should write only your name and the name of your father." The Prophet of God instructed 'Ali to write accordingly, referring to himself as Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah. The text of the treaty was redacted and agreed upon. In the opinion of most biographers, the treaty specified that the peace was to last for ten years. According to al Waqidi, the peace was stipulated for only two years. The pact also specified that any person from Quraysh emigrating to Muhammad's camp without permission from his guardian would have to be returned to Makkah, whereas any Muslim emigrating from Muhammad's camp to Makkah would not have to be returned. It also specified that any tribe was free to ally itself to Muhammad without incurring any guilt or censure from Quraysh, and likewise, any tribe seeking an alliance with Quraysh could do so without let or hindrance from the Muslims. The pact stipulated that Muhammad and his companions would leave the area of Makkah that year without fulfilling their religious function but that they might return the next year, enter the city and stay therein three days for this purpose while carrying no more than swords in their scabbards.


Promulgation of the Treaty

As soon as this pact was solemnly concluded by the parties concerned, the tribe of Khuza`ah entered into an alliance with Muhammad and that of Band Bakr with Quraysh. Soon after, Abu Jandal ibn Suhayl ibn 'Amr left Makkah forever and came to the Muslim camp seeking to join the Muslims. When Suhayl, the delegate of Quraysh to the Muslim camp, saw his son change loyalties in his presence, he struck him in the face and pulled him by the hair to return to the Quraysh. Abu Jandal was calling upon the Muslims to save him from the fate of being returned to the unbelievers who would persecute him for his faith. This greatly increased the Muslims' resentment and their dissatisfaction with the pact the Prophet had just concluded with Suhayl. But Muhammad spoke to Abu Jandal. "0 Abu Jandal," he said, "have patience and be disciplined; for God will soon provide for you and your other persecuted colleagues a way out of your suffering. We have entered with the Quraysh into a treaty of peace and we have exchanged with them a solemn pledge that none will cheat the other." Abu Jandal returned to Quraysh in compliance with the demand of this treaty and Suhayl returned to Makkah. Muhammad, too, was disconcerted with the resentment and dissatisfaction of the Muslims around him. After reciting his prayers he felt reassured, sought his sacrificial animal, and slaughtered it. Then, he sat down and shaved his head, thus declaring the `umrah, or lesser pilgrimage, complete. His soul was satisfied and his heart full of contentment, as if the peace of God had come upon him. When the people saw what he did and observed the peace of soul shining through his face, they began to slaughter their animals and to shave off their hair. Some of them shaved off their hair completely and others only in part. Muhammad said, "God Bless those who shaved their heads." The people asked him about those who only cut their hair short, and Muhammad repeated his blessing for the benefit of those who shaved their heads. After the people asked him three times and he repeated the same blessing three times, he was asked: "Why, 0 Prophet of God, do you exclude those who cut off their hair short from your blessing?" He answered, "Because the shavers did not doubt, whereas the others did." [It was customary for the pilgrim in pre-Islamic Arabia to shave his head as evidence of desacralization after a complete performance of the religious function of pilgrimage. When the performance of the religious function had been interrupted or any one of its rituals for some reason missed, the pilgrim would only cut his hair short rather than shave it. He thereby gave evidence of his awareness that his religious function had not been completely fulfilled and of the need to repeat the same function in the following season. -Tr.]


The Treaty of Hudaybiyah: A Genuine Victor

Nothing remained for the Muslims to do except to return to Madinah and there await the arrival of the coming season for another trip to Makkah, Most of them accepted this idea grudgingly, and consoled themselves purely on the grounds that the unwelcome compliance therewith was only the command of the Prophet himself. They were not accustomed to acquiesce in a defeat or to surrender without a fight. Moreover, in their faith in God and in the timely assistance that God would grant to His Prophet, his religion and themselves, they could entertain no shadow of a doubt of their ability to storm Makkah if only Muhammad had commanded it. They stayed in al Hudaybiyah a few days questioning one another regarding the wisdom of this pact which the Prophet had concluded. Some of them were inclined to doubt its wisdom. But they bore in patience and then returned home. On their way home between Makkah and Madinah, the surah "al Fath" was revealed to the Prophet, and he recited it to his companions.

"We have granted to you a clear victory that God may forgive you your past and future shortcomings, grant you His blessings, and guide you to the straight path." [Qur'an, 48:1-30]

There was hence no reason to doubt that the Hudaybiyah Treaty was a victory for the Muslims. History has shown that this pact was the product of profound political wisdom and farsightedness and that it brought about consequences of great advantage to Islam and indeed to Arabia as a whole. It was the first time that Quraysh acknowledged that Muhammad was an equal rather than a mere rebel and runaway tribesman. It was the first time that Makkah acknowledged the Islamic state that was rising in Arabia. Makkan acquiescence in the right of the Muslims to visit the sanctuary and to perform the pilgrimage was equally a recognition on her part that Islam was an established and approved religion in the Peninsula. Furthermore, the peace of the following two or ten years gave the Muslims the peace and security they needed on their southern flank without fear of an invasion from Quraysh. The peace also contributed to the spread of Islam. Even Quraysh, the most determined enemy of Islam and its greatest antagonist, had by this pact come to recognize Islam and its community, and to acquiesce in that in which it had never acquiesced before. Indeed, Islam spread after this treaty more widely and quickly than it had ever spread before. While those who accompanied Muhammad to Hudaybiyah counted one thousand and four hundred, those who accompanied him on his conquest of Makkah two years later counted well over ten thousand. The greatest objection to those who doubted the wisdom of the Hudaybiyah pact was directed to the provision that any Quraysh member joining the Muslims without the permission of his guardian would have to be returned to Quraysh, and that any apostate from Islam would not have to be returned to Madinah. Muhammad's opinion in this matter centered on the consideration that the apostate from Islam who seeks the shelter of Quraysh is not really worthy of readmission to the Muslim community; that for the convert who wished to join that community but who was not allowed to at present, God would soon find an outlet. Events have confirmed this judgment of Muhammad far more quickly than his companions anticipated, and given evidence that Islam had actually drawn great advantages. Indeed, the treaty even made it possible two months later for Muhammad to begin to address himself to the kings and chiefs of foreign states and invite them to join Islam.


The Story of Abu Basir

Events succeeded one another very rapidly, all of which confirmed Muhammad's judgment and wisdom. Abu Basir became a Muslim and escaped from Makkah to Madinah. Obviously, the provisions of the Hudaybiyah Treaty applied to him and demanded his return to the Quraysh, for he had not obtained the permission of his master. Azhar ibn `Awf and al Akhnas ibn Shariq wrote to the Prophet to this effect and sent their letter with a tribesman of Banu `Amir and a slave of theirs. When the demand was made, the Prophet called Abu Basir and said to him: "We have covenanted with the Quraysh to honor the Treaty of Hudaybiyah which you well know. In our religion, we are not permitted to cheat. You should therefore return to your people. God will grant to you and to the other persecuted Muslims a means of emancipation in His good time." Abu Basir objected to the Prophet that the unbelievers would force him to apostatize. The Prophet, however, repeated the same judgment to him. Abu Basir had, therefore, to give himself up to the two messengers and accompany them back to Makkah. Once they arrived at Dhu al Hulayfah, Abu Basir asked the Banu `Amir tribesman to show him his sword, and as soon as he laid his hand upon it, he struck the tribesman with it and killed him. The Makkan slave ran toward Madinalf and into the Prophet's presence with obvious signs of fear and panic on his face. When interrogated, the slave told the Prophet that Abu Basir had killed his master. Soon, Abu Basir himself arrived brandishing his sword and addressing Muhammad: "0 Prophet of God, you have fulfilled your duty under the Treaty and God has relieved you of your obligation, for you have in fact surrendered me to my people as the treaty prescribed. But I was not willing to allow myself to be persecuted, enticed away, or forced to abjure my religion." The Prophet did not hide his admiration for him and wished that he had many companions. Later on, Abu Basir went to al `Is on the sea coast, on the road which the Quraysh followed to al Sham and which the Treaty of Hudaybiyah prescribed to keep open for Makkan trade. When his story and that of Muhammad's admiration of him reached Makkah, the Muslims still residing there were elated, and about seventy of them ran away to al `Is to follow him as their chief. Abu Basir and his companions began to cut off the trade route on their own initiative, killing any unbeliever they caught and seizing any camels belonging to Quraysh. Only then did it dawn on the Quraysh what a loss they had incurred by insisting as they did on keeping their Muslim members or slaves in forced residence in Makkah. They realized that the man who is truly committed to Islam was a greater handicap to them than the loss of him altogether to the Muslim camp. Such a man would escape at the first opportunity without entering into the camp of Muhammad and, hence, without becoming an outlaw under the prescriptions of the Hudaybiyah Treaty. He would then wage a terrible war against the Makkans in which the Makkans had everything to lose and nothing to gain. Remembering too well that Muhammad had cut off the caravan road after his emigration to Madinah, the Quraysh feared that Abu Basir would do likewise. They therefore wrote to the Prophet asking him, in violation of the Hudaybiyah Treaty, to accept their fugitives into his camp, in order to keep the caravan route open. In the consequent negotiation, the Quraysh relinquished the privilege emphasized by Suhayl ibn'Amr so strongly, namely, that the Muslims of Quraysh who escape therefrom without approval of their masters or guardians be returned to Quraysh. Thus, the concession criticized by 'Umar ibn al Khattab and for the sake of which he revolted against Abu Bakr was dropped by request of the Quraysh. Muhammad then invited all the Muslims to enter Madinah, and the caravan route to al Sham became once more secure.


Muslim Women Emigrants

As for the Muslim women of Quraysh who escaped to Madinah, Muhammad had a different opinion. Umm Kulthum, daughter of 'Uqbah ibn abu Mu'ayt, escaped from Makkah to Madinah after the Hudaybiyah Treaty, and her two brothers 'Umarah and al Walid came to the Prophet demanding her return under terms of the Treaty. The Prophet refused, judging that the treaty did not apply to women and that if women called for assistance and shelter, their request could not be turned down. Furthermore, when a woman becomes a Muslim, she is no more legally tied to her husband who is an unbeliever. Dissolution of the bond of marriage is then automatic. On this point, the revelation is clear: "O Men who believe, if the women believers come to you for shelter, examine them, remembering that God knows the nature of their faith better than anyone. If you find them to be true believers, do not return them to the polytheists to whom they are no longer legitimate. Return to them that which they have spent and marry them if you wish; for there is no blame upon you if you do so, provided you give them their dowries. Do not hold to your matrimonial ties with women unbelievers, but ask them to return what you have spent and return to them what they have spent and separate yourselves from each other. That is the judgment of God and He wishes to see it observed among you. God is All-Knowing and All-Wise." [Qur'an, 60:10] Thus events confirmed Muhammad's wisdom, foresight, and deep political insight. History has indeed proved that the Treaty of al Hudaybiyah actually laid down a very important foundation for Islam's political career as well as for its spread throughout the world. That is the meaning of the clear victory God had promised.

Relations between Quraysh and Muhammad became quite peaceful and settled after the Treaty of al Hudaybiyah. Both parties felt secure. The Quraysh embarked on enlarging trade, hoping to recapture the losses which had resulted from the war with the Muslims in which the road to al Sham was cut. As for Muhammad, he embarked on a wider policy of mission, seeking to bring his message to all men in all corners of the earth and to lay down the foundations for the happiness and success of the Muslims throughout the Peninsula now that their security was guaranteed. Both these considerations enabled him to send his messengers to the kings in the surrounding empires and, especially after the Battle of Khaybar, to expel the Jews from the Arabian Peninsula altogether