Miracle at Hudaybiyyah: Prophet's Visionary Decision

Masjid al-Hudaibiyah (Arabic: مسجد الحديبية) is a mosque which marks the location of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, a peace agreement between the Prophet ﷺ and the Quraysh tribe of Makkah (photo credit: republika.co.id).

The Prophet (PBUH) saw a dream that he was performing ‘Hajj. When he mentioned this to his companions, they (around 1400 of them) gladly agreed to join the Prophet for ‘Umrah. This was the sixth year after Prophet’s migration to Medina.

The Prophet (PBUH) and his companions started on this long journey from Medina to Makkah and camped near the town of Hudaybiyyah on the outskirts of Makkah. The Prophet (PBUH) sent an emissary to Quraysh to let them know that they have come just to perform ‘Umrah; that there was no other intention behind this visit; so, the Quraysh should let them do the ‘Umrah peacefully and should not create any hindrance in this pilgrimage. The Prophet (PBUH) did this despite the fact that there was established tradition among the Arabs that people can freely come to perform ‘Umrah or ‘Hajj during the sacred months and they do not have to inform the Quraysh about it.

But the Quraysh, instead, sent an army to Hudaybiyyah. The companions of the Prophet (PBUH) told them that we have not come to fight but only to do ‘Umrah peacefully, and return to Medina. The Prophet (PBUH) dispatched Othman (R) to Makkah to tell the Quraysh that they should let the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions perform ‘Umrah peacefully. But then the news spread that the Quraysh had taken Othman (R) into custody.

The Prophet (PBUH) told his companions: This is now the moment to renew the agreement with Allah for being a Momin as the Quran clearly spells out:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ اشْتَرَىٰ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُم بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ

(9:111) – BEHOLD, God has bought of the believers their lives and their possessions, promising them paradise in return [Asad].

Accordingly, the companions gladly started renewing their contract with Allah. Meanwhile the news came that the Quraysh had released Othman (R); and that they are coming to negotiate a treaty with the Prophet (PBUH) and not to start a war. The Quraysh asked the Prophet (PBUH) to agree to their demands. The gist of the treaty was: The Muslims shall return this year without performing ‘Umrah; that in the coming year, the Prophet (PBUH) may come with his companions; that if a Quraysh’s person comes to Muhammad (i.e., after accepting Islam) without the permission of his guardian, then Muhammad shall return him to them, but if one of the Muhammad’s persons come to the Quraysh, he shall not be returned to Medina.

The Prophet (PBUH) accepted the demands of the Quraysh, which is commonly referred to as the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah. If we think about this agreement, it appears to be in favor of Quraysh, but, in reality, it proved that the Prophet (PBUH) was an extraordinary visionary and a great statesman. The agreement – that a Quraysh’s person who goes to Medina must be returned to the Meccans while the Quraysh will not return a Muslim from Medina who comes to Mecca – sounds in favor of the Quraysh but it actually turned out to be in favor of the Prophet (PBUH). Some of the companions even thought that this was a weak agreement executed by the Prophet (PBUH). But history proved that this agreement, in fact, was not weak but it was strong for the Prophet (PBUH) in the long run because it opened the door for further victories.

This event happened in year sixth Hijrah. After this the Prophet (PBUH) led the expedition of Khyber and finished the machinations of internal rebellion by the hypocrites of Medina. Then Muslims progressed further and grew stronger and the Prophet (PBUH) gathered an army of ten thousand volunteers in the eighth Hijrah to march on Mecca. When this army reached the outskirts of Mecca, the Meccans surrendered before any fighting. Thus, the treaty of Hudaibiyyah became the precursor and a pillar for the victory of Mecca. The Quran says:

إِنَّا فَتَحْنَا لَكَ فَتْحًا مُّبِينً

(48:1) – VERILY, [O Muhammad,] We have laid open before thee a manifest victory. [Asad]

A decisive revolution took place after this. When the Prophet (PBUH) went to do Hajj then there were more than hundred thousand Muslims in ‘Arafat. This was a manifest victory for the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions.

An incident in the life of the Prophet (PBUH) is quite instructive. The Prophet (PBUH) wanted to do Tawaaf (circumambulation) of Kaaba before he started on his night journey of migration to Medina. He went to Othman Ibn Talha Shaibi and asked him to open the gates of Kaaba but Shaibi refused. The Prophet (PBUH) told Shaibi: You didn’t open the gate, but a time will come when I will have its key in my hand and whomever I will give the key it will remain in his family until the Day of Judgment.

Although the Prophet had firm conviction on the truth of his message, but the Meccans used to make fun of him and attach derogatory labels on him – that he was crazy; that he was poet, etc.

However, after the manifest victory people saw the result. All the derogatory labels that they used to attach to the Prophet (PBUH) were cast away by the victory and conquest of Mecca. They accepted the fact that he was neither illusionist, nor crazy, nor soothsayer, nor poet. Every success and every victory provided the proof that all the claims made by the Prophet (PBUH) were true. The elites of Mecca were standing before the Prophet (PBUH) in submission after the victory of Mecca. These were the same people who made the life of the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions a living hell. They did not leave any stone unturned, in order to inflict every possible harm and hardship in the path of the Prophet (PUBH) and his companions.

Othman Ibn Talha Shaibi was also standing among the crowd of Quraysh before the Prophet (PBUH). Everyone was waiting eagerly to find out who will be the lucky person whom the Prophet (PBUH) will give the key of Kaaba. The Prophet (PBUH) went to Shaibi and handed over to him the key of Kaaba. The world has seen many victories but where has it seen such a miraculous victory? The Prophet (PBUH) gave the key to Othman Ibn Talha Shaibi and the key is continuing to be in his family because the Prophet (PBUH) said that no one can take it away from his family until the Day of Judgment.

Enemies of the Prophet (PBUH) were standing in front of him. He asked them what punishment you deserve. They said: We know you are a just and moral person. So, do justice with us; punish us accordingly.

But the Prophet said:

لَا تَثْرِيبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْيَوْمَ

(12:92) – No reproach shall be uttered today against you. [Asad]

This was not a struggle for acquiring power and authority. This was a struggle for winning hearts and minds. This was an unparalleled victory achieved by exemplary personality and high moral character. This was a victory of Truth over Falsehood:

وَقُلْ جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ ۚ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا

(17:81) – And say: “The truth has now come [to light], and falsehood has withered away: for, behold, all falsehood is bound to wither away!” [Asad]

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ۚ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

(33:56) – Verily, God and His angels bless the Prophet: [hence,] O you who have attained to faith, bless him and give yourselves up [to his guidance] in utter self-surrender!


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