The Al-Hudaybiyah Peace Treaty
When news of the Ridhwaan Pledge reached the Quraysh, and its chiefs realized the determination of the Messenger of Allah to fight, they delegated Suhayl bin ‘Amr along with a group of their men to negotiate with the Prophet . As he saw him approach, the Prophet remarked: “The people [Quraysh] wanted reconciliation when they sent that man [Suhayl].”
Suhayl bin ‘Amr was one of the prominent Qurayshi chiefs who was known for his political wisdom and cunning. Moreover, he was an eloquent speaker and enjoyed a sound mind, sobriety and sound judgment.
After the return of ‘Uthmaan bin ‘Affaan, may Allah be pleased with him, the two parties began studying the terms and conditions of the treaty. They discussed the points that should be included in the peace treaty and tackled the different issues that were subject to differences among them. They principally agreed on some points and differed regarding others. There was a long examination, argument and dispute over these terms. After reviews and negotiations, the views of the two parties converged.
Also, at the time of phrasing the final wording of the treaty and recording it to be officially effective, both parties differed regarding some points and this was about to preclude the treaty from being concluded.
When the Prophet started to dictate the agreed-upon wording of the treaty, he commanded the scribe, who was ‘Ali bin Abi Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him, to start with, “In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Ever Merciful”. However, Suhayl bin ‘Amr, the Qurayshi delegate's chief, objected, saying, “I do not know of ‘The Most Merciful’. Write, ‘In your name, O Allah’.” This angered the Companions and they said, “He is the Most Merciful, and we shall not write anything else but this.” However, the Prophet out of wisdom, compassion and tolerance, said to the scribe, “Write: ‘In your name, O Allah’.”
Then he continued dictating the wording of the treaty. He commanded the scribe to write: “The following is the text of a treaty concluded by the Messenger of Allah…” Before he could complete the sentence, however, Suhayl again objected to, “the Messenger of Allah” arguing, “If I thought that you were the Messenger of Allah, I would not have contradicted you; rather, I would have followed you. Are you abandoning your name as well as that of your father, Muhammad bin ‘Abdullaah? Write your name and that of your father.”
The Muslims objected again. However, out of his wisdom, compassion and far-sightedness, the Prophet settled the dispute and commanded the scribe to erase, “the Messenger of Allah” from the document. Thereupon, the Companions remained silent.
The Prophet agreed on not writing “In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Ever Merciful,” and instead he wrote, “In your name, O Allah,” and likewise he agreed on erasing “the Messenger of Allah” and replacing it with, “Muhammad bin ‘Abdullaah”. Moreover, he agreed to return to the Quraysh every person who had embraced Islam and fled from them to him – and agreed that the Quraysh would not have to return anybody. He agreed on these terms seeking the important interests that would result from this reconciliation. Additionally, abandoning these matters would not bring about any harm because both, “In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Ever Merciful” and “In your name, O Allah” have the same meaning. Likewise, “Muhammad bin ‘Abdullaah” is in fact none other than “The Messenger of Allah,” . Not mentioning, “The Most Merciful” and, “The Ever Merciful” in the text in no way negates them being attributes of Allah. Likewise, not mentioning “The Messenger of Allah” certainly does not mean that Muhammad was not a Messenger. Consequently, there was no harm in responding to their requests. However, there would have been harm if they had requested to write down what is impermissible such as exalting their idols.
As for the condition that any person from the Quraysh emigrating to the Muslims' camp should be returned to Makkah, whereas any Muslim reneging on his faith and emigrating from the Muslims' camp to Makkah would not be returned, the Prophet clarified the argument and wisdom that justified his acceptance of this condition. It was narrated that he said in this regard: “The one who will join them from among us, Allah has indeed abandoned him; and the one who wants to join us from among them, Allah will provide him with relief and a way out.” What the Prophet said in this Hadeeth indeed occurred.
The treaty was concluded and its phrasing included ten terms as follows:
1- In your name, O Allah.
2- The following is the text of a treaty concluded by Muhammad bin ‘Abdullaah and Suhayl bin ‘Amr.
3- They (both parties) agree to halt the war between the two parties for ten years, during which time the people shall be secure and withhold their harm from one another.
4- One who comes to Makkah from among the Companions of Muhammad to perform Hajj (pilgrimage), ‘Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) or seeking the Providence of Allah, his blood and wealth shall be inviolable; and the one who comes to Madeenah from among the Quraysh on his way to either Egypt or Ash-Shaam (greater Syria) seeking the Providence of Allah The Almighty, his blood and wealth shall also be inviolable.
5- Any person from the Quraysh emigrating to Muhammad without his guardian's permission shall be returned to Makkah, whereas any Muslim emigrating from Muhammad's camp to Makkah will not be returned.
6- We shall be safe from each other regarding our blood and wealth and there shall be neither transgression nor betrayal.
7- Any tribe is free to join Muhammad or the Quraysh. (Thereupon, the tribe of the Khuzaa‘ah declared its allegiance to Muhammad and the tribe of the Banu Bakr declared its allegiance to the Quraysh.)
8- This year, you (Muhammad) must return without entering Makkah. The following year, however, we will allow you to enter Makkah along with your Companions, and stay there for three days for this purpose while carrying no more than your swords in their sheaths. You are not permitted to have any other kind of arms.
9- The sheep of this year (you brought for Hajj) are to be slaughtered in their place (without entering Makkah).
10- Muslim and polytheistic men will stand as witnesses to this treaty.
Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattaab, ‘Abdul-Rahmaan bin ‘Awf, ‘Abdullaah bin Suhayl bin ‘Amr, Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqaas, Muhammad bin Maslamah, and ‘Ali bin Abi Taalib (the scribe of the treaty), may Allah be pleased with them, were the Muslim witnesses who signed the treaty.
On the other hand, Mikraz bin Hafs and Suhayl bin ‘Amr were the polytheist witnesses who signed the treaty.
This treaty is considered a basis for all Islamic treaties and a unique model for international treaties and agreements by virtue of the preceding negotiations, the conditions that were included, the conduct adopted by the Prophet in terms of satisfying the other party, and finally the manner of phrasing the text and being committed to it. This treaty was preceded by negotiations on the part of the polytheists as well as the Muslims. Before concluding this treaty, some representatives failed to reach an agreement and various negotiations occurred between the two parties. In the end, the two parties managed to reach agreement through the polytheists' representative, Suhayl bin ‘Amr, as well as the Muslim representative, the Messenger of Allah and this took place before a large number of the Muslims.
This treaty was concluded at a time when the Muslims were strong and were able to reject its terms, which dissatisfied many of the Companions. However, they were not to contradict the Messenger of Allah, who did not speak from his own inclination. The messenger of the Quraysh went to extremes in negotiating with the Messenger of Allah even though he was a single person among the Muslim army. Nevertheless, he was not afflicted with harm and the Muslims did not kill him because messengers are not to be killed. Rather, the Messenger of Allah was keen on satisfying him and containing him with his compassion and leniency to reach the end sought by Islam, which was to prevent bloodshed and spread peace, hoping that people would realize the truth, change their attitudes and hear the words of Allah, and in the hope that the Islamic Da‘wah (call) would move to a new stage in a different form in terms of spreading and communicating with people.