History of Islam

Treaty of Hudaybiyah

Performance of the pilgrimage

Early in 628 C.E., the Holy Prophet decided to proceed to Makkah to perform the pilgrimage. He was accompanied by 1,400 companions including Uthman. When the Quraish of Makkah came to know that the Muslims were coming to Makkah, they sent Khalid and Ikramah bin Abu Jahl with two hundred horsemen to intercept the Muslims and prevent their advance to Makkah. Finding the main route to Makkah barred, the Muslims turned aside, and took an alternative unfrequented route to Makkah. The way led through rough rocks and ravines. After a weary march, the Muslims reached Hudaibiyah on the lower side of Makkah within the sacred precincts.

Urwah b Masud

The Muslims encamped at Hudaibiyah, and here Urwa b Masud came to see the Holy Prophet on behalf of the Quraish. He talked in diplomatic terms and tried to create the impression that the Quraish were strong and would not permit the Muslims to visit Makkah except by agreement. He insinuated that at the time of the crisis, the companions of the Holy Prophet were likely to leave him. Thereupon the companions of the Holy Prophet said, "May God curse you; how dare you think that we will abandon the Holy Prophet. Rest assured we will sacrifice our lives for him". The discussions with Urwa proved inconclusive, but when he returned to the Quraish, he reported about the Holy Prophet and the Muslims in the followine terms:  

"O people of the Quraish, I have seen kings but, by God, I have never seen a king as I have seen Muhammad amongst his followers. If he makes his ablutions they would not let the water fall on the ground; if a hair of his body falls they pick it up. They will not surrender him for anything in any case, do what you may".

Khirash b Umayyah

On the departure of Urwa, the Holy Prophet sent Khirash b Umayyah as an emissary to the Quraish. When he arrived in Makkah he was mar-treated by the Quraish, and the camel on which he rode was hamstrung. In turn the Quraish sent a detachment with the object of killing the Holy Prophet, and some of the prominent Muslims. These persons were taken captive by the Muslims. The companions wanted to kill them, but the Holy Prophet forbade the shedding of blood within the precincts of the sacred territory.

Uthman b Affan

Thereafter the Holy Prophet decided to send another emissary to the Quraish to negotiate terms of agreement with them. For such mission, a person had to be chosen who commanded influence with the Quraish. The choice fell on Uthman b Affan. Uthman b Affan accompanied by ten companions left for Makkah. Uthman went to Aban b Saeed b Aas an old friend. He welcomed Uthman, and gave him the necessary protection. Thereafter Uthman saw the principal Quraish leaders, and explained to them that the Muslims were on a mission of peace; their object was merely to perform the pilgrimage; and they wanted to extend the hand of friendship to the Quraish. The Quraish leaders said that if he wanted to perform the pilgrimage he was free to do so, but they could not allow the Muslims an entry in Makkah until an agreement was reached with them. Uthman said that he could not perform the pilgrimage unless the Holy Prophet performed the pilgrimage first. They said that they would send another emissary to the Muslim camp to arrive at some agreement with the Muslims. The Quraish took some time in nominating their emissary and during this period they detained Uthman at Makkah.



When there was a delay in the returning of Uthman from Makkah, a rumor spread in the Muslim camp that Uthman had been killed by the Quraish of Makkah. That considerably upset the Muslims. At this juncture the Holy Prophet asked his followers to make a pledge with him to fight in the way of Allah to the bitter end. All the Muslims responded enthusiastically to the call. The Holy Prophet sat under a tree and all the Muslims in the camp took the pledge one by one. After every body had taken the pledge, the Holy Prophet placed his own right hand on his left hand, and took the pledge on behalf of Uthman. Uthman thus secured the unique honor that the Holy Prophet himself took the pledge on his behalf. About his ceremony of oath taking at Hudaibiyah, it was revealed in the Holy Quran: 

"Surely, Allah was pleased with the believers when they took the pledge under the tree. Allah knew what was in their hearts. He sent down tranquillity upon them, and rewarded them with near victory".  

In view of Allah's pleasure at the pledge taking., the pledge came to be known as "Baiy'at-ur-Ridwan".  

Uthman returned from Makkah in the company of an emissary from the Quraish. On coming to know that in his absence the Muslims in the camp had taken the pledge, and the Holy Prophet had taken the pledge on his behalf, he took the pledge in person as well.

The treaty of Hudaibiyah

The Quraish sent Suhail b Amr as their emissary. After considerable discussion an agreement was arrived at, and this came to be known as the Hudaibiyah pact. According to the pact there was to be truce between the Quraish and the Muslims for a period of ten years. Each party was free to make its own alliances, but they were not to resort to war. Any person who deserted the Muslims and sought refuge with the Quraish was not to be returned, but any person who escaped from the Quraish to the Muslims was to be returned to the Quraish. It was stipulated that the Muslims were to return to Madina that year without performing the pilgrimage, but they could come to Makkah the following year for performing the pilgrimage when the Quraish would vacate the city for them for three days.  

After the pact had been signed, the Muslims sacrificed the animals they had brought with them; broke the camp and started on the return journey to Madina.

Reaction to the Hudaibiyah pact

On the fact of it the Hudaibiyah pact appeared to be loaded in favor of the Quraish. Some of the Muslims, particularly Umar felt dissatisfied with the terms of the pact and gave expression to their dissatisfaction. Uthman, however, felt satisfied with the terms of the agreement. He was confident that the pact though apparently in favor of the Quraish would ultimately turn out to be against them. He said that the Quraish were fast losing their will to resist Islam, and when in pursuance of the pact the Muslims and the Quraish would come in contact, most of the Quraish were likely to accept Islam. While on the way to Madina, Allah revealed to the Holy Prophet that the Hudaibiyah pact was indeed a victory for the Muslims, as it would work to their advantage and the disadvantage of the Quraish. When the Holy Prophet told of these tidings to Umar and his other followers, all of them felt happy.  

The assessment of Uthman also proved correct, for, in the period following the Hudaibiyah pact, many Quraish including such stalwarts as Khalid b Walid and Amr b Al Aas accepted Islam.

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