Treaty of Hudaibiyya by the Holy Prophet Muhammad

· Islam
RVC Bodley, a Christian biographer of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, brings out the diplomacy and the peaceful vision of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, as he writes about the treaty of Hudaibiyya:
“In point of fact, that treaty was Mohammed’s masterpiece of diplomacy. It was a triumph. No one, except perhaps Soheil, had thought back as had Mohammed when the Koreishite stood before him. No one, except those two, recollected the beatings, the stonings, the escape by night, the hiding in the cave. No one thought of the hazardous exile with the seventy followers. The contrast between now and then was unbelievable, miraculous. That the Quraishites were willing to treat with Mohammed at all, to recognize him as someone worthy of their attention, to admit him as the ruler of an Arab community, was beyond the bounds of all expectations. But, apart from his personal triumph over men who had vowed to capture him, alive or dead, Muhammad saw what no other Muslim did, the far reaching effects of the treaty.
He (Muhammad) was not a man to quibble over small details. … If Soheil’s limited mentality could not reconcile itself to calling someone who had been a traveling salesman by a grandiloquent title, it did not really matter. If a Muslim phrase in referring to God was upsetting to a Quraish ear, it was not important enough to break off negotiations.
What was important was to have free access to Makkah. Muhammad knew that the day he and his men could set foot in the Holy City, it would not be long before they would be there permanently. …
What, however, Muhammad chiefly saw in having this peace treaty with Makkah was the effect it would produce on the local tribes. He was right in this too. Within a few days of signing the document which had caused so much stir among his own people, chiefs from all around were coming to swear allegiance. Umar was confounded. During the space of one week there had been more converts to Islam than in the six preceding years.”[1]
Francesco Gabrieli, a historian of the Arabs, writes about the treaty of Hudaibiyya:
“The struggle with Makkah, after the unsuccessful siege of the ‘war of the ditch,’ moved into a new and surprising phase with the episode of Hudaibiya, which shows us a pliant, opportunist Muhammad, open to negotiation and compromise. … At the edge of the sacred ground of Makkah, the Prophet halted his armed advance and stooped to bargain with his enemies, to the astonishment and discomfiture of his own companions. … This episode will serve to give the measure of the Prophet’s tactical ability, of the absolute obedience he was able to command from his followers, and of the situation, by now seriously weakened, of the Quraysh.”[2]
According to William Montgomery Watt:
“The terms of the treaty are given as follows:
‘In Thy name, O God. This is the treaty which Muhammad b. ‘Abdallah made with Suhayl b. Amr. They agreed to remove war from the people for ten years. During this time the people are to be in security and no one is to lay hands on another. Whoever of Quraysh comes to Muhammad without permission of his protector (or guardian), Muhammad is to send back to them; whoever of those with Muhammad comes to Quraysh is not to be sent back to him. Between us evil is to be abstained from, and there is to be no raiding or spoliation. Whoever wants to enter into a covenant and alliance with Muhammad is to do so; and whoever wants to enter into a covenant and alliance with Quraysh is to do so. … You are to withdraw from us this year and not enter
Mecca against us; and when next year comes we shall go out in front of you and you shall enter it (Mecca) with your companions and remain in it three days; you shall have the arms of the rider, swords in scabbards ; you shall not enter it bearing anything else.’
This is probably not an exact reproduction of the original text of the treaty, in view of the abrupt changes of person, but it may be accepted as an adequate account of the provisions. It gives some satisfaction to both parties. The abandonment of hostilities for ten years expresses Muhammad’s peaceful intentions towards Mecca, and gives Quraysh a respite from tne desperate struggle against his growing power.”[3]
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