Hudaybiyyah

The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah (Arabic: صلح الحديبية) was an important event that took place during the formation of Islam. It was a pivotal treaty between Muhammad, representing the state of Medina, and the Quraish tribe of Mecca in March 628 (corresponding to Dhu al-Qi'dah, 6 AH). It helped to decrease tension between the two cities, affirmed a 10-year peace, and authorized Muhammad's followers to return the following year in a peaceful pilgrimage, The First Pilgrimage.[1][2][3]

Background

Muhammad, a Meccan, stated that from the age of 40, he was receiving revelations from God. He and his followers were persecuted by the other Meccans, primarily the powerful tribe of the Quraish, and eventually forced to flee to the city of Medina, 250 kilometres (160 mi) to the north. Armed hostilities ensued, at events such as the Battle of Badr and the Battle of the Trench.

Attempted pilgrimage

Muhammad had a dream that he entered Makkah and did tawaf around the Ka'bah. His Companions in Madinah were delighted when he told them about it. They all revered Makkah and the Ka'bah and they yearned to do tawaf there. In 628, Muhammad and a group of 1,400 Muslims marched peacefully towards Mecca, in an attempt to perform the Umrah (pilgrimage). They were dressed as pilgrims, and brought sacrificial animals, hoping that the Quraish would honor the Arabian custom of allowing converts to enter the city. The Muslims had left Medina in a state of ihram, a premeditated spiritual and physical state which restricted their freedom of action and prohibited fighting. This, along with the paucity of arms carried, indicated that the pilgrimage was always intended to be peaceful.[4]

Muhammad's people camped outside of Mecca, and Muhammad met with a Meccan emissary. He said:

We have not come to fight anyone, but to perform the 'Umra. No doubt, the war has weakened Quraish and they have suffered great losses, so if they wish, I will conclude a truce with them, during which they should refrain from interfering between me and the people, and if I have victory over those infidels, Quraish will have the option to embrace Islam as the other people do, if they wish; they will at least get strong enough to fight. But if they do not accept the truce, by Allah in Whose Hands my life is, I will fight with them defending my Cause till I get killed, but (I am sure) Allah will definitely make His Cause victorious.

The two parties decided to resolve the matter through diplomacy rather than warfare, and a treaty was drawn up.

Treaty

The outline of the treaty was as follows:

In the name of almighty Allah who is the most Rehman and Rahim. These are the conditions of Peace between Muhammad, son of Abdullah and Suhayl ibn Amr the envoy of Mecca. There will be no fighting for ten years. Anyone who wishes to join Muhammad and to enter into any agreement with him is free to do so. Anyone who wishes to join the Quraish and to enter into any agreement with them is free to do so. A young man, or one whose father is alive, if he goes to Muhammad without permission from his father or guardian, will be returned to his father or guardian. But if anyone goes to the Quraish, he will not be returned. This year the muslims will go back without entering Mecca. But next year Muhammed and his followers can enter Mecca, spend three days, perform the tawaaf. During these three days the Quraish will withdraw to the surrounding hills. When Muhammad and his followers enter into Mecca, they will be unarmed except for sheathed swords.

Controversy

The treaty was quite controversial for many reasons. Originally, the treaty referred to Muhammad as the Messenger of God, but this was unacceptable to the Quraish ambassador 19:4404).

Another point of contention, was that the Muslims objected over a clause of the treaty that said that any citizen from Mecca entering Medina was eligible to be returned to Mecca (if they wanted), while the reverse was not true, and any Muslim from Medina entering Mecca was not eligible to be returned to the Muslims, even if Muhammad himself requested. (3:50:874)

A condition was also placed that the Muslims could not enter for their pilgrimage at that time, but could return the following year. The treaty also assured a 10-year peace.

After the signing of the treaty, there was still great resentment and fury among the Muslims because they did not like its stipulations. Muhammad, binding onto the Islamic ethic "fulfill every promise" ordered that Muslims do exactly as the treaty says. Umar bin Al-Khattab asked improper questions by questioning prophethood, actions and objectives of Muhammad. Also, many Muslims thereafter objected, when Muhammad told them (thrice) to perform their rites there and then. (3:50:891)

Muhammad insisted that Muslims had been victorious and was supported in this by new revelation: "Verily we have granted thee a manifest victory" (Qur'an 48:1). He promised much spoils in the near future: "...and He sent down peace of reassurance on them, and hath rewarded them with a near victory, and much booty that they will capture". (Qur'an 48:18-19)

The treaty's stipulations on the movement of persons gave rise to later controversy, when the Quraysh woman Umm Kulthum went to Medina and joined the Muslims, and her brothers demanded her return from Muhammad, as they interpreted the treaty to mean. Muslim commentator Abdullah Yusuf Ali considers that the treaty had already been violated, probably by an attack by the Quraysh-allied tribe of Banu Bakr upon the Muslim tribe of Banu Khuza'a. Thus he believed that divine instruction was needed on what was to be done with migrants from Mecca.[5] Other Muslim sources state that the treaty's restrictions only applied to free men, and not to slaves or women.[6] Ultimately, Muhammad refused on the basis of revelation from God: "When there come to you believing women refugees, examine and test them... if ye ascertain they are believers, send them not to the unbelievers" (Qur'an 60:10). If the woman married a Muslim, the Muslims would pay the Meccan refugee's ex-husband a sum equal to the dower he had paid upon marriage to her". (Qur'an 60:10)

Aftermath

In 629, the Muslims returned as promised in the treaty, and made The first pilgrimage. The next year, the clan of the Banu Bakr, allied with the Quraish, attacked the Bedouin Khuza'a, Muhammad's allies. Muhammed considered the Banu Bakr attack a breach of the treaty, citing one of the clauses of the treaty: "an attack on an ally of the party, will be considered an attack on the party itself", and offered the Quraish three alternatives:

  1. Dissolve their alliance with the Banu Bakr
  2. Compensate by paying money
  3. Dissolve the treaty

The Quraish chose the third alternative, to dissolve the treaty, and Muhammad decided to march on to Mecca with an army of 10,000, leading to the Conquest of Mecca.

See also

References

  • The Oxford History of Islam by John Esposito (Oxford U. Press, 1999)
  • Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir
  • Sirat Rasul Allah
  • Bukhari

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