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The Hudaybiyah Pact

By: Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
1. Quraysh and the Muslims agree that they will not fight or commit aggression against each other for a period of ten years so that social security and general peace may be established at various places in Arabia.
2. If a person from amongst Quraysh leaves Makkah without the permission of his elder and embraces Islam and joins the Muslims, Muhammad must return him to Quraysh. However, if one of the Muslims goes away to Quraysh they will be under no obligation to surrender him to the Muslims.
3. The Muslims and Quraysh will be at liberty to conclude pacts with any tribes they like.
4. This year Muhammad and his companions will return to Madina from this very spot. However, in the coming years they will be at liberty to visit Makkah and perform the pilgrimage of the Ka'bah, subject to the condition that they will not stay in Makkah for more than three days and will not carry with them any weapon other than that usually carried by a traveller.[ Seerah-i Halabi, vol. III, page 24; and other sources]
5. According to this pact the Muslims residing in Makkah are free to perform their religious rites and Quraysh will not be entitled to torture them or compel them to abjure their religion or to ridicule their religion. [Biharul Anwar, vol. XX, page 353; and other sources]
6. The signatories to the pact agree to respect the property of each other and to abandon deceit and artifice against each other and to keep their hearts free from mutual grudge.
7. The life and property of the Muslims who arrive in Makkah from Madina will be respected.[ Majma'ul Bayan, vol. IX, page 117]
This is the text of the Peace Pact of Hudaybiyah, which has been collected from different sources. The pact was drawn up in duplicate. Some persons from amongst Quraysh and the Muslims witnessed the pact whereafter one copy was given to Suhayl and the other to the Prophet.[ Seerah-i Halabi, vol. III, pp. 25-26]

Glad tidings of freedom as contained in this pact reached every person. Although every clause of this pact deserves discussion, the delicate point which demands very serious consideration is the second clause which aroused the indignation of some persons on that day. Notwithstanding the fact that the companions of the Prophet felt very uneasy on account of this discrimination and uttered words which should not have been uttered regarding the decision taken by a leader like the Prophet of Islam, this clause still brilliant, shows the way of thinking of the Prophet in the matter of the propagation of Islam. It fully shows the great respect which that great leader accorded to the principles of freedom.
In reply to the objection raised by some of the companions of the Prophet as to why they should surrender the refugees from Quraysh whereas Quraysh should be under no obligation to surrender their men, he replied: "If a Muslim who adopts polytheism and runs away from the standard of Islam, and prefers the environments of idolatry and anti-human religion to the environments of Islam and monotheism, it shows that he has not embraced Islam wholeheartedly and his faith has not acquired the proper base which should satisfy his nature and such a Muslim is of no use to us. And if we surrender the refugees from Quraysh it is on this account that we are satisfied that Allah will provide the means of their deliverance''.[ Seerah-i Halabi, vol. III, p.12 and Biharul Anwar, vol. XX, p. 312]
The future proved that the prediction of the Prophet about this matter (that Allah will provide the means of their deliverance) was absolutely correct, because soon afterwards Quraysh themselves requested the cancellation of this clause on account of the various unpleasant events which they had to face owing to this clause.
This clause is a silencing reply to the partiality of most of the orientalists who insist that the cause of the advancement of Islam was the use of sword. They cannot afford to see that the glory of Islam lies in the fact that within a very short time it spread in many regions of the world. On account of personal motives and with a view to poison the minds, therefore, they are obliged to say that the cause of the advancement of Islam was material force. This Peace Pact was concluded in the early days of Islam in the presence of the great leader of Islam, as it fully reflects the spirit of Islam and the sublime teachings and human principles which are contained in all its laws, it is quite unfair that we should say that Islam has been spread with the force of the sword.
In the light of the third clause, the tribe of Khuza'ah concluded a defence pact with the Muslims and the tribe of Bani Kananah, who were old enemies of Bani Khuza'ah, declared their alliance with Quraysh.

The preliminaries of the Peace Pact and its text show clearly that a large part of it had an educational aspect, and the reason for the Prophet accepting this pact, and agreeing to the deletion of the phrase 'Messenger of Allah' and to its commencing with the words "In your name, O' Allah" (as it was in vogue during the Days of Ignorance) was that be was desirous of maintaining peace in Arabia. And when he agreed that the Muslim refugees from amongst Quraysh might be surrendered to the authorities of the idolatrous government, it was due to the acute obstinacy of Suhayl. In case, therefore, the Prophet had not agreed with Suhayl on this point with a view to protect the rights of this group (i.e. the Muslim refugees from amongst Quraysh) and had respected the general thinking which was opposed to discrimination in the matter of surrender of refugees, the general peace would certainly have fallen in jeopardy and this great blessing would have been lost. Hence, with a view to achieve a higher and nobler object, the Prophet bore up against all these pressures and requests so that the great opportunity of ensuring peace, in the face of which all these inconveniences were insignificant, might not be lost. And if he had shown regard for the general opinion and the rights of the said group, Suhayl, on account of his being very obstinate, would have sparked off war and the following incident is a clear proof of this fact: Negotiations with regards to the contents of the Peace Pact ended and Ali was busy writing it when suddenly Abu Jandal bin Suhayl, the representative of Quraysh, for the conclusion of the Peace Pact, appeared on the scene with chains in his feet. Ali wondered on his arrival, for he had been imprisoned and chained by his father since long. He was an innocent prisoner and his only offence was that he had embraced Islam and was considered to be one of the devotees of the Prophet. Abu Jandal had learned from the conversation which took place around his prison that the Muslims had arrived in Hudaybiyah.[ Hudaybiyah is at a distance of six to nine miles from Makkah and most of its lands are a part of the Haram] He therefore, managed to escape from the prison by some special contrivance and arrived in the midst of the Muslims by adopting a deviated path through the mountains.
When the eyes of Suhayl fell on his son he was so much displeased that, filled with acute anger, he gave him a hard slap in the face. Then he turned to the Prophet and said: "This is the first person who should return to Makkah in accordance with the second clause of the pact". He meant to say that Abu Jandal being a Quraysh who had fled Makkah should be surrendered to them.
There is no denying the fact that the demand of Suhayl was unjustified and baseless, because the pact had not yet been finally recorded and signed by the parties. How could a party rely on a pact which had not yet passed through its final stages? For this reason the Prophet said to Suhayl: "Our pact hasn't been signed yet". Suhayl replied: "In that case I ignore all these proceedings and render them null and void". He was so stubborn in the matter that Mikraz and Huwaytab, two big personalities of Quraysh were very much displeased with his severity. They at once extracting Abu Jandal from his father, made him enter a tent and said to the Prophet: "O Muhammad! Abu Jandal is now under your protection".
They wanted to settle the dispute in this manner but Suhayl's insistence frustrated their plan. He stuck to his words and said: "From the point of view of negotiations the pact has been concluded".
The Prophet was obliged to make the last effort for the preservation of the basis of peace which was extremely valuable for the propagation of Islam. He, therefore, agreed to the return of Abu Jandal to Makkah along with his father. To console the chained Muslim who was to be surrendered to the infidels in the presence of hundreds of brave Muslims he said: "O Abu Jandal! Be patient. We wished that your father should hand you over to us by way of love and affection. Now that he hasn't agreed to do so you should be patient and forbearing and should know that Allah will open a path of relief for you as well as for others who are under arrest".
The meeting came to an end. The copies of the pact were signed. Suhayl and his friends left for Makkah and Abu Jandal, too, proceeded to Makkah under the protection of Mikraz and Huwaytab. With a view to put an end to the state of ehram the Prophet slaughtered his camel and got his head shaved and others also followed suit.[ Tarikh-i Tabari, vol. II, page 281; Biharul Anwar, vol. II, page 353 and Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 318]

The Peace Pact was concluded between the Prophet of Islam and the leaders of polytheism and after staying at Hudaybiyah for nineteen days, the Muslims returned to Madina and the idolaters went back to Makkah.
Differences and disputes cropped up between the companions of the Prophet at the time of writing the pact as well as after that. One group of them considered it to be beneficial for Islam and another group, whose members could be counted on fingers, assessed it to be against its interests. Now that fourteen centuries have passed since the conclusion of this pact we proposed to evaluate it in an unbiased and realistic manner and shall conclude this chapter after alluding to the differences mentioned above.
We are of the view that this Peace Pact proved to be perfectly beneficial to Islam and made its victory final. Here are the arguments which we should like to offer:
1. The continuous battles and attacks of Quraysh and their internal and external instigations which have been mentioned briefly in connection with the accounts of the Battles of Uhud and Ahzab did not leave any time at the disposal of the Prophet to resort to propagation of Islam amongst the various tribes, as well as in areas beyond Arabia, and his valuable time was mostly spent in defence and in neutralizing the dangerous plots of the enemy. After the conclusion of the Peace Pact, however, the Muslims and their great leader were relieved of the danger from the south, and ground was prepared for the propagation of lslam in other areas. The effects of the peace came to light after two years, because when the Hudaybiyah pact was concluded the Prophet was accompanied by 1400 persons, but, two years later, when he proceeded formally to conquer Makkah, as many as ten thousand persons marched along with him under the shadow of the standard of Islam and this clear contrast in the number of persons accompanying him was the direct consequence of the Hudaybiyah pact. It was due to the fact that previously many people did not join the Muslims owing to fear of Quraysh, but when Quraysh themselves formally recognized the presence of Islam and left the tribes free to associate themselves with it, the fear in the minds of most of the tribe disappeared and the Muslims became in a position to propagate Islam freely.
2. The second thing which the Muslims achieved from the pact was that the iron-curtain which the idolaters had placed between the common man and the religion of Islam was removed and consequently the traffic to Madina became free. The people had more contacts with the Muslims during their journeys to Madina and they became acquainted with the sublime teachings of Islam.
They were wonder struck when they saw the discipline and order amongst the Muslims and their sincere devotion and obedience to the Prophet of Islam. The cleanliness of the Muslims and their performing wuzu at the time of prayers, their organized rows, the effective and enthusiastic sermons of the Prophet and the sweet verses of the Holy Qur'an, with their simplicity and eloquence, attracted them automatically towards Islam. The Muslims, who travelled to Makkah and its suburbs for different purposes, after the conclusion of the pact, came in contact with their relatives and old friends, propagated Islam amongst them and informed them of the merits, laws and regulations, and the permissible and unpermissible things of this religion. And this thing in itself became the cause of a large number of the leaders of polytheism like Khalid bin Walid and 'Amr bin As joining the Muslims before the conquest of Makkah. In fact this sort of acquaintance of the people with Islam laid the foundation of the conquest of Makkah and became the cause of this great base of the world of idolatry coming under the control of the Muslims. ConsequentIy the people embraced Islam in large numbers. This great victory was the result of close contacts, removal of fear from the hearts and propagation of Islam among the idolaters without any let or hinderance.
3. Close contact with the Prophet at the time of the conclusion of the pact removed many misunderstandings from the minds of the leaders of polytheism, because the sublime morality of the Prophet and his softness and forbearance as against the stubbornness of the other party proved him to be the fountain of greatest human virtues.
Notwithstanding the fact that he had suffered a great deal at the hands of Quraysh, his heart was still full of sentiments of human love. Quraysh witnessed that in concluding the pact and accepting its forced clauses, he differed with the views of a large number of his own companions and preferred the honour of the Haram and the Ka'bah, and of his own birth-place (Makkah) to the inclinations of a group of his.
This behaviour neutralized the adverse propaganda which had been carried on about the temperament of the Prophet and proved that he was a friend of humanity and a peaceable person, who would not show grudge and enmity to his enemies, even if he happened to gain control over Arabia one day. There is no denying the fact, however, that if the Prophet had engaged himself in battle on that day he would have been victorious and as stated by the Holy Qur'an his enemies would have fled: Had the disbelievers fought against you they would run away from the battle and would have found no friend or helper. (Surah al-Fath, 48:22)
However, he displayed kind sentiments and love for humanity by his mildness and neutralized the adverse propaganda against him.
The readers should realize, in the light of these arguments, the grandeur of the remark of Imam Ja'far Sadiq about this Peace Pact. He says: "No event during the life of the Prophet of Islam was more useful than the Peace Pact of Hudaybiyah".
The future events proved that the objections raised by a few companions of the Prophet (whose ring leader was Umar bin Khattab) to this pact and its contents were totally baseless. The historians have given complete particulars of the remarks of the objectors.[ Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 316]
The value of the pact becomes evident from the fact that the Prophet had not yet reached Madina when Surah al-Fath, which gave good tidings to the Muslims, was revealed and it treated this act (conclusion of the Peace Pact of Hudaybiyah) to be a victory in jihad. It says: "Surely, we have granted you (O' Muhammad

a manifest victory".

Soon after that, however, bitter events obliged Quraysh to request the Prophet to cancel the second clause of the Peace Pact. It was the same clause, which had annoyed the companions of the Prophet and which he had accepted on account of unusual stubbornness on the part of Suhayl. It says: "If a person from amongst Quraysh leaves Makkah without the permission of his elder and embraces Islam and joins the Muslims, Muhammad must return him to Quraysh. However, if one of the Muslims goes away to Quraysh they will be under no obligation to surrender him to the Muslims". This clause roused the indignation of some persons on that day, but the Prophet accepted it from his heart and said: "Allah will open a path for the relief of the weak Muslims who are prisoners in the hands of Quraysh"
The path of such relief and the reasons for the cancellation of this clause were as follows: A Muslim named Abu Basir who had been imprisoned by the idolaters for a long time somehow managed to escape to Madina. Two big personalities named Azhar and Akhnas wrote to the Prophet and reminded him that according to the second clause of the pact Abu Basir should be returned to them. They gave their letter to a man belonging to the tribe of Bani 'Amir, who was accompanied by a slave of theirs, and asked him to deliver it to the Prophet.
In accordance with the pact concluded by the Prophet he said to Abu Basir: "You should return to your people and it is not at all proper that we should practise cunning against them. I am sure that the Almighty Allah will provide means of relief to you as well as to others". Abu Basir said: "Are you handing me over to the idolaters so that they may make me abjure the religion of Allah?" The Prophet, however, repeated the said sentence and handed him over to the representatives of Quraysh. The three men then left for Makkah. When they reached Zil Hulayfah[lt is a place six or seven miles away from Madina. People put on ehram there while going to Makkah] Abu Basir leant on a wall on account of fatigue. He then asked the man belonging to Bani 'Amir in a friendly way to give him his sword so that he might have a look at it. When the sword came in his hand he immediately killed the 'Amiri. The slave ran away on account of fear. He came to Madina and said to the Prophet: "Abu Basir has killed my companion". Soon thereafter Abu Basir also came up and related his story and said: "O Prophet of Allah! You have acted according to the agreement made by you. However, I am not prepared to join the people who ridicule my religion".
Having said these words he proceeded to the coast of the sea which was the route of the caravans of Quraysh and settled at a place named 'Eis. The Muslims of Makkah came to know about the story of Abu Basir and about seventy of them somehow got rid of Quraysh and joined him. These seventy Muslims, whose lives had been made miserable by Quraysh, decided to loot the trade caravans of Quraysh or to kill anyone on whom they could lay their hands. They carried out their programme so skilfully that Quraysh were put out of patience by harassment. So much so that they wrote to the Prophet to cancel the clause in question by mutual agreement and to call back Abu Basir and his companions to Madina.
The Prophet cancelled the said clause by mutual agreement and directed the fugitives who had settled in 'Eis to return to Madina.[ Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. II, p. 624; Tarikh-i Tabari, vol. II, p. 284] This provided a great relief to the people at large and Quraysh realized that a true believer could not be kept in captivity for ever and it was more dangerous to keep such a person as a captive, because whenever he escaped he would resort to taking revenge.

Hudaybiyah pact was signed. Umme Kulsum, daughter of 'Uqbah bin Abi Mu'ayt, came to Madina from Makkah. Her brothers named 'Ammarah and Walid requested the Prophet to return her to them in accordance with the second clause of the pact. The Prophet replied to them: "Women are not covered by the said clause as that clause applies to men only".[ Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 323] And Surah al-Mumtahinah made the position clear with regard to women. It says: Believers, when believing immigrant women come to you as fugitives, test them. Allah knows best about their faith. If you know that they are believers, do not return them to the disbelievers. They are not lawful for the disbelievers, nor are the disbelievers lawful for them. And give the disbelievers whatever they have spent (upon them as dowry). (Surah al-Mumtahinah, 60:10)
This was the story of Hudaybiyah. As a consequence of the peace provided by this pact, the Prophet was in a position to correspond with the kings and rulers of the world and to extend his call and Prophethood to the humanity at large.

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