In the sixth year after his migration to Medina (March 628), Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) decided to perform the Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage). Fourteen hundred of the companions joined the Prophet for Mecca. He ordered them not to carry any weapons of war, but allowed a sword which was customary for the travelers to carry for protection against caravan raids.
The Quraish (Pagans) intent upon not allowing the prophet to enter Mecca closed all access to the city. The Prophet then reached a place called Hudaibiya, on the precincts of the sacred territory of Mecca, and halted there. The Quraysh tried to provoke the Prophet’s companions to fighting. Upon finding the pilgrims in their Ihram (pilgrim’s garb) and their intention not to fight, the fears and anxieties of the Quraysh were abated; and they were forced to think of the consequences if the pilgrims were turned back without performing the rites. The Quraysh sent Urwah bin Mas’ud to the Prophet as their spokesman. The Prophet’s delegation and that of the Quraysh negotiated back and forth. In these deliberations, the Quraysh made some unpleasant remarks about the Prophet and his companions. At this Urwah, the Meccan representative, felt that he was led to be misguided and protested to Quraysh that he had not made a pact with them for such a behavior and stated:
“I have been sent as envoy to the courts of Kesra (Chosroes), Qaisar (Caeser), and the Negus but I have not seen a king whose men so honor him as the companions of Muhammad honor Muhammad. If he commands anything they almost outstrip his words in fulfilling it....When he speaks, their voices are hushed in his presence and they lower their eyes in reverence for him. He has made you a good offer, therefore accept it from him.”
The Quraysh realizing their mistake and the risk of losing important allies, came to an agreement with the Prophet. The terms of the treaty were written down and is known as the "Treaty of Hudaibiyah.” It included:
“In your name, O Allah. These are the terms of the truce between Muhammad, the son of Abdullah and Suhayl, the son of Amr (of Mecca).
Both parties have agreed to lay down the burden of war for ten years. During this time, each party shall be safe, and neither shall injure the other; no secret damage shall be inflicted, but uprightness and honor shall prevail between them.
The Muslims shall return this year without performing Umrah (the pilgrimage). In the coming year, you may enter it with your companions, staying therein for three days, bearing no arms except the arms of the traveler, with swords remaining in their sheaths.
If a Quraysh person comes to Muhammad (i.e., after accepting Islam) without the permission of his guardian, Muhammad shall return him to them, but if one of the Muhammad’s people come to the Quraysh, he shall not be returned.
Whoever wishes to enter into covenant with Muhammad can do so, and whoever wishes to enter into covenant with the Quraysh can do so.”
Many of the Muslims were not satisfied with the terms of the treaty and they regarded it to be humiliating to themselves, considering the behavior of the Quraish against the Prophet during the negotiations. The Prophet declared the treaty a victory and they accepted it on the conviction that Allah and His messenger know best.
On their way back to Medina, Allah (The One God) revealed to the Prophet (pbuh) a chapter of the Qur’an known as “Al-Fath” (The Victory, XLVIII). The chapter begins with: “Verily We have given thee a victory, a very clear victory.”
Allah: Allah is the Arabic word for The One and Only God, The Creator and Sustainer of the universe. It is used by the Arab Christians and Jews for the God (Eloh-im in Hebrew; 'Allaha' in Aramaic, the mother tongue of Jesus, pbuh). The word Allah does not have a plural or gender.
pbuh: Peace Be Upon Him. This expression is used for all prophets of Allah.
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