Articles Qur'an Translation Glossary
  Are You ...  

  Sources of Information  
  Selections from ayats
  Selections from hadith
  Miscellenious topics
  Daily wisdom

Untitled Document
8. The Treaty of Al-Hudaibia and the Opening of Makkah

In the sixth year after the emigration, Muhammad (pbuh) saw a vision wherein he entered Makkah and circumambulated (circled) the Kaaba. This vision did not specify a date but he realized that he would soon capture Makkah. Muhammad (pbuh) commanded his men to prepare for "Umrah" (minor pilgrimage) to Makkah. In the eleventh month of the sixth year, (the month of Thul-Qida), Muhammad departed for Makkah with approximately one thousand and five hundred men. He had no intention of waging war but only to perform pilgrimage. The people of Makkah heard that he was coming and feared for their lives. When he reached Al-Hudaibiyya, his camel stopped and sat down. The Muslims said "Al-Qaswa (the name of his camel) has refused to advance!" Muhammad (pbuh) replied "No! it has not refused, nor is that fitting conduct for it. But the bar that prevented the elephant (in "The year of the elephant" above) has held it back"


He then said: "Quraish shall not come to me requesting a treaty that raises the name of God and reverences the bonds of kinship but I shall accept it from them" He then poked his camel and rebuked it and it arose and continued onwards.


Quraish came to Muhammad and made a pact with him stipulating that the Muslims shall not perform their pilgrimage this year but shall wait till next year. And no man shall come from Quraish without the authorization of his master seeking refuge with the Muslims but he shall be returned to Quraish. And that no man from the Muslims shall come to Quraish seeking refuge but he shall be allowed to stay with Quraish. They also agreed to refrain from fighting for ten years and that whosoever wished to enter into Muhammad's pact and treaty could do so, and whosoever wished to enter into Quraish's pact and treaty could do so. Muhammad (pbuh) agreed to this truce which was named "The Truce of Al-Hudaibiyya".


When the Muslims saw Muhammad accept this pact they were dumb-struck. How could he possible accept such a one-sided and unjust treaty (in their estimation)? However, Muhammad (pbuh) commanded them to return and they did.


During the course of the next year, Muhammad (pbuh) abided by his promise and anyone who came to him seeking refuge without the consent of his master was returned to Quraish. Eventually, these men escaped from Quraish and became bandits, holding up Quraish's caravans and terrifying their people. Finally, Quraish begged Muhammad (pbuh) to please accept those who sought his protection and he did.


One of the outcomes of this treaty was that the people of Arabia were finally able to enter into the religion of Islam without the fear of persecution or death. The Muslims were finally able to travel to the tribes and recite the Qur'an to them freely and without hindrance. In this one year (after the start of the truce) more people entered into Islam than had entered into it in all the fifteen years prior to that combined. One of the signs of this was that in the first attempt at pilgrimage (when Muhammad accepted the truce) 1500 Muslims traveled with him. The next year, over ten thousand Muslims returned with him to perform the pilgrimage.


Allah said in the Qur'an:


"But it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows, and you know not." (Qur'an 2:216)


It is estimated that Muhammad's letters to the kings of the surrounding nations were sent out around the end of the sixth year after the emigration. Muhammad (pbuh) sent messengers to the leaders of Rome, Persia, Egypt, and Ethiopia among others. This was the beginning of the global call to Islam. Allah says in the Qur'an:

"We have not sent you but as a universal [Messenger] to mankind, giving them glad tidings, and warning them, but most of mankind understand not." (Qur'an 24:38)


and also:


"Say: O mankind! I am [sent] to you only as a plain warner." (Qur'an 22:49)


When Muhammad (pbuh) was about to send these letters, it was said to him: "They do not accept a letter except with a seal," so a metal ring was made for him with the words "Muhammad, the messenger of Allah" engraved in it. This became his official seal.


Muhammad's letter to the king of Persia, Khosru (590-628AD), was as follows:


"In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. From Muhammad the messenger of God to Khosru the great one of Persia. Peace be unto he who follows [true] guidance, believes in God and his messenger, and bears witness that there is no god but Allah, and I am the messenger of Allah to all of mankind that I may warn [all] those who live. Embrace Islam and yours shall be peace and safety. But if you refuse then upon you shall be the sin of the Zoroastrians"


His message to the king of Ethiopia (the successor of the king to whom the Muslims had previously emigrated) was as follows:


"In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. From Muhammad the messenger of Allah to Negashi the great one of Ethiopia. Peace be unto he who follows [true] guidance. [Further], I thank God on your behalf, the One who there is no god but He. The King, the Holy, the Source of Peace and Perfection, the Giver of security, the Guardian. And I bear witness that Jesus the son of Mary was the spirit of Allah and His word which He sent down unto Mary, the virgin (and devoted), the pure, the chaste. So she bore him from His spirit and His blowing, just as He created Adam with His Hand. I invite you to God, the One. No partners has He. And [I invite you] to Friendship and consistency in His obedience, to follow me, and believe in that which has come unto me. For I am the messenger of God, and I invite you and your soldiers to God, the Noble, the Supreme. [Indeed,] I have delivered [the message] and advised, so accept my advice. And peace be unto he who follows [true] guidance"


Muhammad's message to the ruler of the Coptics, "Al-Muqokas":


"In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. From Muhammad the slave and messenger of Allah to 'Al-Muqokas' the great one of the Coptics. Peace be unto he who follows [true] guidance. [Further,] I greet you with the greeting of Islam. Embrace Islam and yours shall be peace and safety. Embrace Islam and God shall double your reward. But if you turn away then upon you shall be the sin of the Coptics. {Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a word that is just between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. But if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered [unto Him]}1"


Muhammad's message to Hercules (610-641AD), Emperor of Rome:


"In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. From Muhammad the slave and messenger of Allah to Hercules the great one of Rome. Peace be unto he who follows [true] guidance. [Further,] I greet you with the greeting of Islam. Embrace Islam and yours shall be peace and safety, and God shall double your reward. But if you turn away then upon you shall be the sin of the 'Ariusins'* . {Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a word that is just between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. But if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered [unto Him]}"


Delving into the details of the responses of these kings to Muhammad's messages is beyond the scope of this book. For more see any of the many books available at one of the bookstores listed at the back of this book. However, one response in particular bears a short mention. It is the response of the Caesar of Rome (Hercules) to Muhammad's message. Abdullah ibn Abbas narrates for us this story in Sahih Al-Bukhari. He says:


"Allah's Messenger (pbuh) wrote to Caesar and invited him to Islam. Allah's Messenger (pbuh) sent Dihyah al-Kalbi with his letter and ordered him to hand it over to the Governor of Busrah who would forward it to Caesar, who as a sign of gratitude to Allah, had walked from Hims to Ilya (i.e. Jerusalem) when Allah had granted him victory over the Persian forces.


So when the letter of Allah's Messenger (pbuh) reached Caesar, he said after reading it, "Seek for me any one of his people, if at present here, in order to ask him about Muhammad" At that time AbuSufyan ibn Harb* was in Sha'm with some men from Quraysh who had come (to Sha'm) as merchants during the truce that had been concluded between Allah's Messenger (pbuh) and the pagans of Quraysh.


AbuSufyan said, "Caesar's messenger found us somewhere in Sha'm so he took me and my companions to Ilya (Jerusalem). We were admitted into Caesar's court, to find him sitting in his royal court wearing a crown and surrounded by the senior dignitaries of the Byzantines.


He said to his interpreter, 'Ask them who among them is a close relation to the man who claims to be a prophet.'" AbuSufyan said, "I replied, 'I am the nearest relative to him.' He asked, 'What degree of relationship do you have with him?' I replied, 'He is my cousin,' and there was none of Banu Abdul Manaf* in the caravan except myself. Caesar said, 'Let him come nearer.' He then ordered my companions to stand behind me near my shoulder and said to his interpreter, 'Tell his companions that I am going to ask this man about the man who claims to be a prophet. If he tells a lie, they should give me a sign.'"


AbuSufyan added, 'By Allah! Had it not been shameful that my companions label me a liar, I should not have spoken the truth about Muhammad when Caesar asked me. But I considered it shameful to be labeled a liar by my companions. So I told the truth.*'


Caesar then said to his interpreter, 'Ask him what kind of family does Muhammad belong to.' I replied, 'He belongs to a noble family among us.' He said, 'Has anybody else among you ever claimed the same before him?' I replied, 'No.' He said, 'Had you ever known him to tell lies before he claimed that which he claimed?' I replied, 'No.' He said, 'Was anybody amongst his ancestors a king?' I replied, 'No.' He said, 'Do the noble or the poor follow him?' I replied, 'It is the poor who follow him.' He said, 'Are they increasing or decreasing?' I replied, 'They are increasing.' He said, 'Does anybody among those who embrace his religion become displeased and then renounce his religion?.' I replied, 'No.' He said, 'Does he break his promises?' I replied, 'No, but we have now a truce with him and we are afraid that he may betray us.'" AbuSufyan added, "Other than the last sentence, I could not work in a single word against him. Caesar then asked, 'Have you ever waged war with him?' I replied, 'Yes.' He said, 'What was the outcome of your battles against him?' I replied, 'The result varied; sometimes he was victorious and sometimes we were.' He said, 'What does he order you to do?' I said, 'He tells us to worship Allah alone, not to worship others with Him, and to discard all that our forefathers used to worship. He orders us to pray, give in charity, be chaste, keep our promises and return that which is entrusted to us.'

When I had said that, Caesar said to his interpreter, 'Say to him: I asked you about his lineage and your reply was that he belonged to a noble family. In fact, all messengers of God came from the noblest lineage of their nations. Then I questioned you whether anybody else among you had claimed such a thing, and your reply was in the negative. If the answer had been in the affirmative, I should have thought that this man was following a claim that had been made before him. When I asked you whether he was ever known to tell lies, your reply was in the negative, so I took it for granted that a person who did not tell a lie about people could never tell a lie about God. Then I asked you whether any of his ancestors was a king. Your reply was in the negative, and if it had been in the affirmative, I should have thought that this man sought the return of his ancestral kingdom.


When I asked you whether the rich or the poor people followed him, you replied that it was the poor who followed him. In fact, such are the followers of the messengers of God. Then I asked you whether his followers were increasing or decreasing. You replied that they were increasing. In fact, this is the result of true faith until it is complete (in all respects). I asked you whether there was anybody who, after embracing his religion, became displeased and renounced his religion; your reply was in the negative. In fact, this is the sign of true faith, for when its blessedness enters and mixes in the hearts completely, nobody will be displeased with it.


I asked you whether he had ever broken his promise. You replied in the negative. And such are the messengers of God; they never break their promises. When I asked you whether you fought with him and he fought with you, you replied that he did, and that sometimes he was victorious and sometimes you. Indeed, such are the messengers of God; they are put to trials and the final victory is always theirs.


Then I asked you what he commanded of you. You replied that he ordered you to worship Allah alone and not to worship others along with Him, to leave all that your fore-fathers used to worship, to offer prayers, to speak the truth, to be chaste, to keep promises, and to return what is entrusted to you. These are the qualities of a prophet who I knew (from the previous Scriptures) would appear, but I did not know that he would be from amongst you. If what you say is true, he will very soon capture the land under my feet, and if I knew that I would reach him definitely, I would go immediately to meet Him; and were I with him, then I would have certainly washed his feet.'"


Caesar then collected his nobles and military leaders and asked them what would be their response if he were to accept Muhammad's request. The whole court was thrown into a great uproar, the officers became extremely restless raising their voices in objection and their eyes grew wild. When he saw this he quickly interjected and claimed that he had only asked that question in order to test their resolve and their firm stance. So he renounced his previous resolve and refused Muhammad's message.


Jabir ibn Samurah narrated in Sahih Al-Bukhari:


Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said:


"When Khusraw (Chosroes) is ruined, there will be no Khusraw after him; and when Caesar is ruined, their will be no Caesar after him. By Him in Whose Hands my life is, you will spend their treasures in Allah's Cause."


After exactly one year, in the eleventh month of the seventh year after the emigration, Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers set out for Makkah once more and this time were allowed to enter it and perform the minor-pilgrimage that they were bared from performing the year before.

One of the conditions of the treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya was that anyone who wished to enter into Muhammad's pact could do so, and anyone who wished to enter into Quraish's pack could do so. Of those who later entered into Muhammad's pact was the tribe of Khuza'a. And of those who later entered into Quraish's pact was the tribe of Banu-Bikr.


The two tribes of Khuza'a and Banu-Bikr were ancient enemies. This hatred and animosity was handed down through the generations, father to son. When Islam came, it put an end to this matter and everyone moved on with their lives. After the two tribes had entered into the treaty between Quraish and the Muslims, the tribe of Banu-Bikr attacked some men from the tribe of Khuza'a at night while they were at one of their wells and killed many of them. Some men from Quraish had assisted Banu-Bikr in their attack with weapons and men. Those men of Khuza'a who escaped fled to the sanctity of holy masjid (mosque) in Makkah (wherein the Kaaba resides). Once they were inside the holy masjid, the men of Banu-Bikr said: "They have entered the sanctity of the holy mosque. Your Lord! Your Lord!." Some of the party responded: "There is no Lord today! If you allow them to escape from you now then you shall never again find such a chance as this."


Amr ibn Salim of the tribe of Khuza'a immediately went to the messenger of Allah (pbuh) and recited before him some verses of poetry wherein he called upon him to uphold the pact between the Muslims and Khuza'a. Muhammad (pbuh) replied: "Receive our aid [then] O Amr the son of Salim!."


Muslims are commanded in the Qur'an to verify all claims before acting upon them lest they inflict retribution upon an innocent unjustly. For this reason, Muhammad (pbuh) sent a messenger named Dhamrah to Quraish to verify this news and to give them notice. This messenger was told to give them a choice between three matters:


1) Either pay the "Diya" (Blood money) incumbent upon all murderers towards their victims, or

2) To renounce the treaty between Quraish and the group of men who had perpetrated this act, and they were the men of "Nufasa" of the tribe of Banu-Bikr, or

3) For Quraish to "throw back" (annul) the treaty between the Muslims and Quraish.

The Qur'an says:


"If you fear treachery from any people throw back [their covenant] to them [so as to be] on equal terms. Certainly, Allah likes not the treacherous" (Qur'an 8:58)


Quraish chose the third alternative and chose to annul the treaty. However, soon after the messenger of Muhammad (pbuh) had departed, the nobles of Quraish regretted their annulment of the treaty and feared the consequences of this act. So they sent one of their most respected nobles, Abu-Sufyan, in person to renew the treaty and to increase in it's term, however, Muhammad (pbuh) refused to meet with him and he returned to Quraish empty handed.


Muhammad (pbuh) prepared himself and the Muslims to march upon Makkah. At first he kept their objective a secret. However, before their departure for Makkah he informed them of their goal. As he did this he supplicated to God:


 "O my Lord, bar the spies and the news from Quraish so that we might surprise them in their land."


Hatib ibn Abi Balta'a was a Muslim in Yethrib who had kin in Makkah. When he learned of Muhammad's intent he wrote a letter of warning to Quraish and paid a woman to deliver it to Quraish with great urgency.


No sooner had this woman set out than angel Gabriel came to Muhammad (pbuh) informing him of what Hatib had done. So he sent Ali ibn Abi-Talib and Al-Zubair ibn Al-Awwam to retrieve it before she reached Quraish. Ali and Al-Zubair set out on their horses in great haste and caught up with her before she reached Makka. They then ordered her to get down off of her camel and asked her to hand over the letter. She replied that she had no letter, so they searched her belongings thoroughly but did not find the message. At this point Ali said: "I swear by Allah that the messenger of Allah did not lie nor have we lied! You shall hand over the letter or we shall strip you [till we find it]!." When she saw their resolve she told them to turn away. When they did so she removed it from her braids and handed it over to them.


Muhammad (pbuh) sent for Hatib and when he arrived he said: "Do not judge me in haste O messenger of Allah. By Allah, I believe in Allah and His messenger and I have not renounced my belief, however, I was a man of no clan in Quraish, and I have among them family, kin, and children. Further, I have no clan among them to protect my family. But those who are with you have clans [with Quraish] to protect [their families]. So I hoped in the absence of that that I might gain their good will in protecting my family."


When Umar ibn Al-Khattab heard these words he said: "Allow me to strike his neck O messenger of Allah, for he has betrayed Allah and His messenger and has apostatized!." Muhammad turned to Umar and said: "He has attended Badr. And how do you know O Umar?, perhaps Allah gazed upon the people of Badr and said to them: 'Do as you will for I have forgiven you [all]'" When Umar heard these words he wept bitterly and said: "God and His messenger know best."


Eight and a half years after the emigration, in the month of Ramadan, Muhammad (pbuh) departed Al-Madinah with ten thousand Muslims and rode towards Makkah. When they reached "Mar Al-Dhahran" they stopped and set up camp. Allah had answered Muhammad's prayer and had kept the news from Quraish. All that they knew was that the treaty had been nullified and they had not yet received news of Muhammad's intentions.


On the way to Makkah, Muhammad's cousin Abu-Sufyan ibn Al-Harith ibn AbdulMuttalib, met him. Muhammad refused to speak to him due to his past abuse and animosity. Finally, Abu-Sufyan gave up trying to speak to him and went to Ali complaining of his situation and asking for his advice.


Ali advised Abu-Sufyan to go and stand directly in front of Muhammad (pbuh) and then say to him the words of the brothers of Joseph to Joseph:


"By Allah, verily Allah has preferred you above us, and we were indeed among the sinners."

Qur'an 12:91


Ali Explained:


"For Muhammad (pbuh) does not love for someone to be better in speech than him (and in all good conduct in general)."


Abu-Sufyan went to Muhammad (pbuh) as he was instructed, stood directly before him and recited this verse. When he did so, Muhammad gazed upon him and responded with the verse directly following it:


"No blame shall be [cast] upon you today. May God forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!."  (Qur'an 12:92)


Abu-Sufyan embraced Islam and from that day forward never again did he gaze upon Muhammad (pbuh) directly, out of shame for his previous actions* .


Before entering into Makkah, Muhammad (pbuh) did his utmost to ensure the safety of everyone in Makkah save those who explicitly refused it. Muhammad addressed the Muslims before they rode into Makkah saying: "He who enters into Abu-Sufyan's home shall be given sanctuary. And he who closes his door shall be given sanctuary. And he who enters the holy masjid shall be given sanctuary" Muhammad then severely cautioned all Muslims against raising their weapons against anyone who did not attack them first. He also severely cautioned them against taking their money, property, or homes, and to not lay their hands upon the citizens.


It is recorded that Muhammad (pbuh) entered Makkah on the Friday the 20th of Ramadan (ninth lunar month) in the eighth year after the emigration. Muhammad (pbuh) directed Al-Abbas to sit Abu-Sufyan somewhere in the city where he shall see the passing of the Muslim army. As the tribes of the Muslims would pass by holding their flags, Abu-Sufyan would ask Al-Abbas "Who is this group?," and Al-Abbas would tell him, until finally Muhammad (pbuh) passed by in the "green" brigade clad in their chain-mail coats and their armor, extending as far as the eye could see. Abu-Sufyan exclaimed "My Lord! who are these?" Al-Abbas replied: "This is the messenger of Allah with the Muhajereen and the Ansar." Abu-Sufyan said: "No force shall ever resist such as these! By Allah O Abbas, the dominion of your nephew (Muhammad) has become immense indeed on this day!" Al-Abbas replied: "It is the prophethood" Abu-Sufyan replied: "How admirable it is!"


As the Muslims entered into Makkah victorious, Muhammad bowed his head down low in humility to God who had bestowed upon him this bloodless triumph. So low did he lower his head in humility and submission that his beard nearly touched his camel's back. As he was in this state he recited the chapter of Al-Fath(48):


"Verily, We have given you [O Muhammad] a manifest victory, that Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future, complete his favor upon you, and guide you on the straight path....." up to the end of the chapter.


As Muhammad and his army strode through the heart of Makkah, the capital of Arabia and it's political and spiritual center, he did so in all peace, humbleness, and justice. A man spoke to him on the that day, trembling with fear. As he did so, Muhammad (pbuh) consoled him saying: "Calm yourself, for I am not a king. I am but the son of a woman from Quraish who eats 'jerked' meat."


As Saad ibn Obadah (one of the leaders of the Ansar) passed by Abu-Sufyan, he called unto him saying: "Today is the day of the great poems (immortalizing this day). Today that which is unlawful is made lawful. Today Allah has dishonored Quraish." When Muhammad (pbuh) passed by Abu-Sufyan he complained to him of what Saad had said to him. Muhammad disliked what he heard and responded: "Rather, today is the day of mercy. Today Allah shall honor Quraish, and shall honor the Kaaba!" Muhammad (pbuh) then commanded that the banner be taken from Saad and given to his son Kais.


Some small scuffles ensued as a few men from Quraish attempted to attack some of the Muslims and put up a token resistance, however, they were quickly quelled. It is recorded that only twelve people were injured in the opening of Makkah.


Muhammad (pbuh) entered into the holy masjid and circled around the Kaaba with his bow in hand. As he did so, he would poke the 360 idols which had been placed around it with his bow and recite:

"And say: Truth has come and has crushed falsehood. Verily, falsehood [by it's nature] was destined to perish."  (Qur'an 17:81)


Muhammad (pbuh) then commanded that all idols and statues be removed from the Kaaba and destroyed.


Muhammad (pbuh) then stood in the door of the Kaaba. The people had collected below him and had filled the masjid, row upon row, waiting for him to issue his decree regarding their fate. Finally he spoke and said:


"There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, no partners has He. He has fulfilled His promise, given victory to his servant, and defeated the confederates by His own Self. [I declare that] every glory, money, or blood has been placed under these, my two feet, except for the "sidanah" (custodianship of the Kaaba), and "siqaya" (watering of the pilgrims)*... O people of Quraish, I relieve you of the false pride of the age of ignorance, and it's pride in it's ancestry. Mankind is from Adam, and Adam was from dust."


He then recited: "O Mankind, We have created you from a male and a female and made you nations and tribes that you may know each other. Verily the noblest among you in the sight of Allah is the most God-fearing among you. Verily, Allah is all-knowing, All-Aware" (Qur’an, 49:13)


Muhammad (pbuh) then asked the people: "O people of Quraish. What do you imagine that I shall do with you?." The people reflected on their twenty one years (13+8) of abuse and open warfare against Muhammad and the Muslims and feared the worst. However, they were completely and utterly at his mercy now and could only respond: "[We hope it shall be] Goodness. [You are] a noble brother, the son of a noble brother" Muhammad (pbuh) replied to them: "Go, for you are [all] free!." He then descended, purified himself and then prayed eight "raka" (cycles) to God.


Muhammad (pbuh) then commanded Bilal the Ethiopian to perform the "adhan" (call to prayer) from the center of the holy masjid. From that day forward, the inhabitants of Arabia began to enter into Islam in droves, wave after wave. Islam had finally succeeded in eradicating paganism from the heart of Arabia, from Makkah.


Makkah was, and is to this day, the capital of Islam in the world. It is the home of the Kaaba, the birthplace of the message of Islam, and the birthplace of Muhammad (pbuh) himself. When Muhammad (pbuh) was finally blessed with the opening of Makkah the Muslims of Al-Madinah (the Ansar) feared that he would leave them and return to his hometown. However, out of loyalty to the Ansar for all they had done and sacrificed for Islam, Muhammad chose to return with them and live in Al-Madinah.


Over the next two years (the eighth and ninth years after the emigration), many more treaties were written, many more battles were fought, many nations sent their messengers to Muhammad (pbuh), and many more letters were sent to neighboring nations. The requirements of Islam were finally completed with the introduction of the fifth and final pillar of Islam, that of Hajj (pilgrimage)


  Contact Form |
Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved. Our materials may be copied, printed and distributed, by referring to this site.