VISION OF THE PROPHET (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam)
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) had a vision that he had entered Makkah and circumambulated the sacred House of God. It was a true dream from on High, as it later came out, although the period, month or year of the pilgrimage had not been indicated in the vision.(50) The companions of the Prophet (radiallahu ‘anhum) were overjoyed when the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) told them about it.
Everybody esteemed and revered Makkah including the holy sanctuary there. The opportunity of paying a visit to it had been denied to them for a long time but nobody ever ceased to think of the holy city. They had been longing to go on a pilgrimage to Makkah all those years and were looking forward to the day when their hearts’ desire would be fulfilled. The Muhaajirun were especially consumed with such desire since Makkah had been their birthplace and they had lived and matured from there but it’s just that they were forced to abandon it. As soon as the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) informed the companions of the vision, all of them started making preparations for the journey while their over-enthusiasm at the prospect of realizing the ambition of their life convinced them that they were going to call upon the house of God that very year. Almost all of them promptly agreed to accompany the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) with hardly anyone opting to be left behind.
TRIP TO MAKKAH
It was the month of Dhul-Q’adah, in the sixth year of Hijrah, when the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) traveled to Makkah with the intention of performing ‘Umra or the lesser pilgrimage. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) had no intention of performing the Hajj, however. Making a detour through gullies of the hills he came near Makkah and encamped at al-Hudaybiyah. He had with him fourteen hundred companions as pilgrims, along with the sacrificial animals so that everybody would know that he was going not for war but for paying homage to the Ka’bah. (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 380, Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 308).
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) sent ahead a man from Khuza’a to find out the reaction of the Quraysh. When the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) reached Usfan (a village between Makkah and Madeenah), the informer came back to tell him that the tribesman of K’ab b. Luayy had assembled a strong force of nomad warriors to check his advance to Makkah. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), however, continued to drive ahead but upon reaching a depression in the valley of Makkah, his dromedary called Qaswa knelt down and would not get up. The man around the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) started babbling, “Qaswa won’t get up, Qaswa won’t get up!” But the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, Qaswa has not refused for such is not her nature. The One who restrained the elephants(51) is keeping her back. I swear by Him who holds my life that if they propose anything to me pertinent with the regard due to Allah and asked me to show kindness, I will certainly accede to their request.” The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) then triggered the camel to move which immediately sprang up on her legs, but changed her direction and started off towards Hudaybiyah. She came to a halt in a place at which end there was a ditch that had but little water. Certain persons complained to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) that they were thirsty. He took out an arrow from his sheath and asked them to throw it in the ditch. Thereupon, water started gushing out quenching everyone’s thirst. (Zad al-Ma;ad, Vol. p. 381)
IRRITATION OF THE QURAYSH
The Quraysh were in a dither when they learnt that the Apostle had pitched his camp so near Makkah. But as the Prophet had no intention of fighting the Qurayshites, he though if fit to send one of his companions to remove their apprehensions. He sent for ‘Umar to depute him to Makkah, but ‘Umar said, “O Apostle of God, there is none of Bani ‘Adiy b. K’ab in Makkah who amy protect e in case the Quraysh decided to lay hands on me.” ‘Umar also suggested that ‘Uthman might be sent as his entire clan was there and he could very well deliver the message. ‘Uthman was then summoned by the Apostle and sent to the Quraysh to tell them that he had not come for war but merely for performing the ‘Umra. The Prophet also asked ‘Uthman to invite the Quraysh to Islam and to cheer the believing men and women still in Makkah with the glad tidings that God was about to make their religion victorious when they would not be required to conceal their faith. (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 381)
LOVE PUT TO TRIAL
‘Uthman went to Makkah and delivered the message of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) to Abu Sufyan and other leaders of the Quraysh. After the Makkahns had heard the message brought by ‘Uthman they said. “If you want to go round the holy sanctuary, you may do so.” ‘Uthman, however, replied, “I won’t do so until the Prophet has gone round the K’aba.” (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 135) After his return from Makkah certain Muslims said to him, “Abu ‘Abdullah, you have been fortunate enough to fulfill your heart’s desire by going round the K’aba.” “Don’t be unfair to me,” replied ‘Uthman. “I declare by Him who holds my life that if I were detained there for a whole year and the Prophet were to remain in Hudaybiyah, I would not have gone round the K’aba until the Prophet had done so. Frankly speaking, the Quraysh did invite me to circumambulate the House of God, but I declined.” (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 382)
THE PLEDGE OF RIDHWAN
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) was informed that ‘Uthman had been killed. He summoned the people to vow in avenging ‘Uthman’s death. Everybody gathered round the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) impatiently. Standing under the shade of a tree, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) took one person at a time from the fourteen hundred standing around him to get their assurance. And after everyone had obliged to the oath, he struck one of his hands on the other, saying. “This is the pledge on behalf of ‘Uthman.” (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. p. 382) Thus was the pledge of Ridhwan taken under an acacia tree which found its way through the Qur’an:
“Allah was well pleased with believers when they swore allegiance unto thee beneath the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down peace of reassurance on them, and hath rewarded them with a near victory.” [Qur’an 48:18]
PARLEYS, CONCILIATION AND ACCORD
The deadlock still lingered on when Buday b. Warqa’ of the tribe of Khuza’a suddenly appeared with a few of his clansmen to resolve the impasse. He asked the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), “What have you come for?” “We have come to perform the ‘Umra’, replied the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), “The Quraysh are already wrecked by war. If they agree I will make peace with them for a specified period and they should give way to my companions and me. If they want they may coalesce with the group that others have joined and this would give them a respite. But if nothing is acceptable to them except war, then by Him who holds my life, I would fight them until I lose my head or Allah makes His religion victorious.”
Budayl b. Warqa conveyed to the Quraysh what he had heard from the Messenger of God (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). Urwa b. Masud al-Thaqafi, who happened to be present on the occasion, advised the Quraysh that they ought to accept the terms proposed by the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) for they were absolutely reasonable. He also suggested that he might personally see the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) to which the Quraysh agreed. And so, ‘Urwa went to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) to discuss the matter with him but he also kept his eyes open to closely monitor the Muslims’ treatment of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). He saw that if the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) spat, his companions ran to get it on their hands and rubbed it on their faces. If he asked for anything, they vied for complying with his order; if he performed ablution, they struggled to get the water he had used and if he spoke, everybody listened with enormous attention. Nobody even dared to look straight into his eyes. When ‘Urwa went back to the Quraysh, he said, “I have been to the courts of the kings and have seen the splendor of the Caesar, the Chosroes and the Negus. But never have I seen any king as revered as Muhammad (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) was by his companions.” (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. p. 382) He gave the details of his assessment of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and again advised the Quraysh to accept the terms offered to them.
THE TREATY OF PEACE
In the meantime another man of Bani Kinana, Mikraz b. Hafs, arrived in Makkah. He agreed with what the earlier emissaries had advised the Quraysh and so they decided to send Suhayl b. ‘Amr to negotiate the terms of the treaty. As soon as the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) saw him coming, he murmured, “That they have sent this man, it seems that they want peace.” The Prophet also asked to prepare the agreement. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. Ii, p. 316; Bukhaari).
EXEMPLARY MODERATION AND PRUDENCE
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) summoned ‘Ali and told him to write: “In the name of Allah, Ar-Rahman ‘the beneficent’, Ar-Raheem ‘the Merciful.” Suhayl protested, “I do not recognize Ar-Rahman, but write as is customary upon us.” The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) then directed ‘Ali, “Write: In thy name, O Allah.” Certain Muslims objected, ‘No We must write: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.” But the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said again, “Let it be: In Thy name, O Allah.”
Then the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) asked ‘Ali to write: “This is what Muhammad the Messenger of God has decided.’ Suhayl again objected, “I swear by God, if we had believed that you were God’s messenger we would not have driven you away from the House of God nor fought with you; you shall write: Muhammad b. ‘Abdullah.”
“I am God’s Messenger even if you disbelieve me,” replied the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam); but still asked ‘Ali to erase out what he had written earlier. “By God, I cannot do it”, replied ‘Ali. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), however, asked ‘Ali to point out the area to be effaced. ‘Ali obliged and so the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) deleted it himself. (Muslim, Kitaab-ul-Jihad-was-siyar, Chap. Sulh Hudaybiyah)
TREATY OR TRIAL
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) resumed in dictating the clause; “The agreement is made that the Quraysh shall not obstruct the passage of Muslims to the House of God and shall allow them to circumumbulate it.” Suhayl again raised an objection; ‘I fear the Arabs would say that we have been pliant to you in making this agreement. You can visit K’aba next year.” The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) agreed to include the clause in the agreement.
Suhayl then bravely suggested, “If one of us joins you, he shall be returned to us even if he professes your religion.” The Muslims were irked saying, “What? How can we return a man who seeks our shelter and approval as a Muslim?’ The deliberation was still going on when Abu Jandal b. Suhayl appeared in chains. He had escaped from Makkah and had come to the Prophet strangled in fetters by a rugged, rocky track between the passes.
Suhayl lost no time to assert, “Muhammad, this is the first man I demand from you under the Treaty.” The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) replied, “But the Treaty is still being written and has not become final.” Suhayl was irritated. He cried in a huff, “If it is so, then I am not prepared to make any agreement with you.” The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) begged again, “Let him go for my sake.” But Suhayl refused. He said, “I will not allow him to go even for your sake.” Now, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) replied, “Then do as you please.” Suhayl was still growling at the mouth when he retorted, “I can do nothing.”
Grieved to hear it, Abu Jandal said plaintively, “I have come as a Muslim to you, and I am being returned again to the polytheists. Do you not see what they are doing to me?” Abu Jandal had been put to severe torture for the sake of his faith. (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 383; Bukhaari, Bab as-Shurut fil-Jihad).
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) returned Abu Jandal as demanded by his father. The treaty concluded between the Muslim and the Quraysh assured that both the parties would observe a ten-year truce so that men might live in peace and that no party would lift its hand against the other during the specified period. Another condition of the Treaty was that if anyone from the Quraysh came over to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) without obtaining the permission of his guardian he would be returned to them, but if anyone of those with the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) escaped to the Quraysh, they would not be bound to return him. Yet another provision stipulated that anyone, who wished to enter a bond and security with the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), would be permitted to do so, likewise, anybody could resort to a similar agreement with the Quraysh. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 317-18).
FAITH PUT TO TRIAL
The terms of the agreement and the obligation to return without performing ‘Umra reduced the Muslims into the most profound depression. It seemed incredible to them how the Messenger of God (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) had agreed to those seemingly biased stipulations. So dismayed were they that ‘Umar went as far as speaking his mind out. He went to Abu Bakr and asked him, “Had the Prophet not told us that we would travel to the house of God and go round it?” “Yes”, replied Abu Bakr looking calmly at the distorted face of his friend, “But did he tell you that you would go to the House of God and perambulate it this very year?” (Bukhaari, Bab as-Shurut fil Jihad wal Masaleh)
Having concluded the treaty, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) sacrificed the animals and got his head shaved. The Muslims sat dejected for they were feeling beaten and crushed at not being able to visit Makkah and circumambulate the Ka’bah at such a time , but when they saw the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) performing the rites, they rushed to follow him in sacrificing the animals and shaving their heads. (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 383)
IGNOMINIOUS PEACE OR SIGNAL OF VICTORY
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) then broke the camp to return to Madeenah. He was still on his way back to Madeenah when God confirmed that the truce of al-Hudaybiyah was not a setback but rather a signal of victory.
“Lo! We have given thee (O Muhammad) a signal victory, “That Allah may forgive thee of thy sin that which is past and that which is to come, and may perfect His favor unto thee, and may guide thee on a right path, “And that Allah may help thee with strong help.” [Qur’an 48:1-3]
‘Umar asked the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) , “Is it a victory, O Prophet of God?” The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) replied, “Yes.” (Muslim, Kitaab-ul-Jihad, Treaty of Hudaybiyah)
FAILURE OR SUCCESS
Not long after the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) had arrived in Madeenah, Abu Basir ‘Utba b. Usaid broke away rom the Quraysh and escaped to him. He was followed by two emissaries of the Quraysh to bring him back. They reminded the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) of the treaty given by him and he promptly handed over Abu Basir to them. However, on his way back to Makkah, Abu Basir managed to escape from his guards and fled to the seacoast. Later on, Abu Jandal and some seventy Muslims persecuted by the Makkahns also succeeded to escape themselves and joined Abu Basir at the seashore where they established themselves along the road taken by the Quraysh for their trade with Syria. The group of Abu Basir ‘Utbah now sought out the caravans of the Quraysh, robbed their property and spread fear and terror killing any Qurayshite that threatens him. Once again the trade of Makkah was endangered. The things got so bad that the Quraysh wrote to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), begging him by the ties of their kinship to him, to recall these highway men to Madeenahh and pledging to demand no more of those who escape to him in future. (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 384)
THE TREATY TURNS TO VICTORY
The events that followed proved that the truce of Hudaybiyah was a decisive step in gaining victory after victory for Islam. The trader-statement of Makkah had gloated over their part, had been led to accept the seemingly inglorious terms of the treaty simply because of their faith in the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). Both parties found Islam making rapid strides soon in the Arabian Peninsula. It opened the door to the pre-occupation from Makkah and before long, it became possible to send deputation of Makkah for inviting the Caesar and the Chosroes and the Negus to accept Islam. The revelation of God had come true.
“Though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not.” [Qur’an 2:216]
One of the benefits derived from the truce was that the Muslims were no longer perceived as exiles and outlaws, but regarded as a community worthy of Quraysh’s attention with whom they had made a treaty as equals. The alliance offered Muslims the rightful place they deserved in the Arabian body politics. And, perhaps, even more important was the atmosphere of peace and tranquility. The unending war of attrition ever since waged by the Muslims for their existence, had been dissipating their vigour and strength which could now be availed of in taking the message of Islam to the unhostile or rather ambivalent tribes of the desert. The truce provided the Muslims an opportunity to to meet and indulge in conversation and discussion with the tribes thus far hostile to the norms and virtues and beauties and virtues of Islam. They now began to discover how people who ate their food, wore their dresses, spoke their language and were born and brought up in Makkah like them, had, in a few years, been changed into a new class of people. New persons disdaining corruption, polytheism and idol-worship, tribal pride, vengeance and lust for blood and devastation, finally treading the path of virtue and justice. They could now clearly see that the teachings of Islam and the guidance of the Prophet of God (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) had brought about this change of heart.
Thus, within a year of the truce, as many Arabs embraced the faith of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) as had not entered Islam during the last fifteen years. “There was never a victory in Islam,” says Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri,” greater than this. When the armistice came and war laid down its burdens, people began to meet in safety and converse together. And no intelligent man was apprised of Islam who did not enter it. Within two years of the truce as many as those, as had entered it before, embraced Islam, or even more.” (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 322)
Ibn Hisham says, “Az-Zuhri’s assertion is demonstrated by the fact that the Prophet went to Hudaybiyah with 1, 400 men according to Jabir b. ‘Abdallah but two years later the Prophet marched with 10, 000 men for the conquest of Makkah.” (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 322).
Those Muslims who had been left behind in Makkah for one reason or the other were harassed and persecuted by the Quraysh. But now they succeeded, after the conclusion of the treaty, to convert a considerable number of young men to their fold until the Quraysh began to consider them as a new menace. These young men joined the band of Abu Basir, which proved to be a new sword-arm of Islam, more dangerous in fact. The Quraysh were forced to request the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) to summon these men back to Madeenahh. To this the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) agreed, ending the distress of these poor men. All this came to happen as a result of the treaty of Hudaybiyah. (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, pp. 388-89)
The attitude of peace and amiability displayed by the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) on this occasion which demonstrated his exemplary patience and moderation, did not fail to impress the tribes which surrendered their faith to Islam. This led them to hold Islam in high esteem and to love and revere it, evoking a wholesome atmosphere for its rapid expansion without any conscious effort on the part of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) or the Muslims themselves.
KHALID B. WALID AND ‘AMR B. AL-‘AS
The treaty of Hudaybiyah also won their hearts. Khalid b. Walid was the promising general of the Qurayshite army who handled sword and lance with the same dexterity as he did with the troops. Soon after the truce had been signed at Hudaybiyah he accepted Islam and was conferred the title of the ‘Sword of Allah’ by the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). Khalid proved himself worthy of the title as the conqueror of Syria.
‘Amr b. al-As was another dashing commander who subsequently made a name as the conqueror of Egypt. He, too, accepted Islam along with Khalid b. Walid when both of them called upon the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) at Madeenah shortly after the treaty of Hudaybiyah. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 277-78)
 See the commentary on Surah Fath, Verse 27 by Ibn Kathir.
 The reference is to the elephants Abraha had brought for attack on Makkah.