The Treaty of Al-Hudaibia:
Prophet Muhammad and the people who believed in his message were forced to leave Makkah (their homeland). This was done by the rich people of the tribe of Quraish in order to prevent the spread of the message of Islam by the hands of Muhammad peace be upon him and his companions.
Six full years have passed and they were not allowed to visit their homeland nor perform Pilgrimage.
The power of non Muslims to eliminate or restrict the spread of the message of the prophet got weaker and weaker each day. So the prophet decided to take his companions and travel to Makkah and give it a try to enter it to perform pilgrimage (after a vision he saw), carrying no weapons whatsoever to make it clear for their enemies that they are not here for war!
But again his enemies refused to let him in, although he took all the ways to convince them that they only want to enter Makkah for the purpose of worship and not for war.
He and his companions stopped at “Al-Hudiabiah” which is 50-60 kilos away from Makkah.
He could fight them, but he chose not to, and he preferred peace and patience over war and blood; although he had the power and the weapons to go through a war and win it.
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”. While writing down this treaty non Muslims made sure to have the upper hand in each word, and they insisted to write down the name of Muhammad peace be upon him without confession that he is a prophet.
Why did he accept that?
When the Muslims saw Muhammad accept this pact they were dumb-struck. How could he possibly accept such a one-sided and unjust treaty (in their estimation)? However, Muhammad (pbuh) commanded them to return and they did. He preferred peace over war, and he knew that the outcomes will be greater, in addition to saving lives.
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. (1)
However, some people of Quraish betrayed the treaty and they fought those who chose to follow the religion of Muhammad peace be upon him, the prophet knew about that, he sent Quraish to make them choose between saying that what happened is wrong and make sure they have nothing to do with that or fight; but they chose to fight !
They fought, and the prophet and his companions won. He entered Makkah, but this time as an opener, a winner and with the upper hand. Yet, he entered Makkah not in the manners of kings, he was so humble and looked down when he was on his camel to the extent that his body was so close to reach the back of the camel.
The tribe of Quraish they were arch enemies of Islam and, for a period of thirteen years while he was still in Mecca, they would rebuke the Prophet, taunt and mock him, beat him and abuse him, both physically and mentally. They boycotted him and his tribe until the social sanctions became unbearable. They plotted and attempted to kill him on more than one occasion, and when the Prophet escaped to Medina, they rallied the majority of the Arab tribes and waged many wars against him. Yet, when he entered Makkah victorious with an army of 10,000, he did not take revenge on anyone. The Prophet said to the Quraish:
“O people of Quraish! What do you think I will do to you?
Hoping for a good response, they said: “You will do good. You are a noble brother, son of a noble brother.”
The Prophet then said:
“Then I say to you what Joseph said to his brothers: ‘There is no blame upon you.’ Go! For you all free!.”* (2)
Islam was not spread by the sword, Islam has spread with the nobility of the prophet and the manners that he taught the humanity, to leave the world amazed of his mercy at the very time he reached the peak of his power!
*“Mukhtasar Seeratur Rasool”, Muhammad ibn Sulayman at-Tameemi.