The Hudaibiyya Treaty gets its name from Hudaibiyya, a place on the way to Makka, where the treaty was signed.
Six years after the Hijra the Prophet and 1,400 Companions set out for Makka to perform 'Umre (lesser Pilgrimage). This was risky because the Makkan Quraish were still after the blood of the Muslims. But in spite of the dangers the Muslims had rallied round the Prophet (SM) and decided to make the Pilgrimage. They were dressed in pilgrims' c1othes, had sacrificial camels with them, and carried no arms. But the Quraish decided to prevent the Muslims, at all costs, from performing the Pilgrimage. They asked the neighbouring Arab tribes to help them.
The Muslims broke their journey at Hudaibiyya, where talks were held with the Quraish. First the Quraish sent Budayl, a tribal chief, to them. The Prophet (SM) told him that the Muslim party had no plans for war. Although this same message was repeated many times, it had no effect on the Quraish. Finally, 'Uthman ibn Affan was sent to Makka to convince them that the Muslims wanted only to perforrn the Pilgrimage.
When 'Uthman did not return from Makka, a rumour spread that he had been killed by the Quraish. This would mean a battle. The Muslims then vowed to fight to the death to defend Islam. This oath is known as Bay'at al-Ridwan. The Qur'an praises this oath and those who made it. Since 'Uthman was not present, the Prophet (SM) conducted the oath on his behalf.
On learning of the oath and the determination of the Muslims, the Quraish relented. They released 'Uthman and agreed to a ten-year treaty with the Prophet (SM), which contained the following conditions:
1. The Muslims would return to Madina without performing 'Umra.
2. They would visit Makka the next year for Pilgrimage but stay far only three days.
3. On their visit they would not carry arms, except sheathed swords.
4. If any Muslim should flee to Makka, the Quraish would not be bound to return him. However, if any Makkan, even if he was a Muslim, should take shelter in Madina, he would be returned to the Quraish.
5. Arab tribes would be free to enter into a pact with either the Quraish or the Muslims.
The treaty did not seem to contain many benefits for the Muslims but the Qur'an describes it as a 'manifest victory'. Laterevents proved how the treaty had really been a c1ear victory for the Muslims. The Muslims had not been free to preach Islam befare. Now they could move about freely. As a result, thousands of Arabs embraced Islam which stood far peace and itsoon became a strongforce.
The Prophet (SM) also sent letters to many rulers, calling upon them to accept Islam.
The Negus of Habasha (Abyssinia, now called Ethiopia) was deeply moved by his letter. He replied that he was already a Muslim and that he considered Muhammad (SM) to be the Prophet of Allah (SWT).
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