by Silas





            During 628 A.D. Muhammad attempted to make a pilgrimage to the Kaba in Mecca.  As he neared Meccan troops opposed him and forbid him to proceed to Mecca.  However, the Meccans entered into negotiations with him.  About ten miles outside of Mecca, by the spring of Hudaybiyya, Muhammad and the Meccans concluded a treaty known as the Treaty of Hudaybiyya.  This treaty humiliated the Muslims and Muhammad.  Later as he journeyed home, Muhammad told his followers that the affair at Hudaybiyya was in fact a "victory".  As proof of the victory Muhammad promised his followers that they would have the "booty" of the Jewish settlement of Khaibar.  Weeks later Muhammad attacked and plundered Khaibar.





            In March of 628 A.D., (6 A.H.), Muhammad attempted to make the lesser pilgrimage to Mecca. Muhammad had had a vision of going to Mecca and venerating at the Kaba.[1]. The Arabs in charge of Mecca refused to allow Muhammad to enter Mecca and sent their army out to stop him. They did not want it to appear that they were weak and Muhammad had done something against their will. Instead of entering Mecca, Muhammad and the Meccans made a treaty known as the Treaty of Hudaybiyya. This treaty was humiliating to the Muslims. Both Umar and Abu Bakr complained about the treaty's provisions.


            Surprisingly, as he returned to Medina, he proclaimed the Meccan rejection of his pilgrimage, and the humiliating treaty, a "victory".  Muhammad attempted to mask his degrading compromise with the Meccans by claiming to have a revelation found in Sura 48:1 -


            "We have given you a glorious victory so that God may forgive you your past and future sins".


              To insure his followers that he had indeed won a victory Muhammad even found a source for the spoils of war.  Muhammad promised them the booty of Khaibar.  Six weeks later Muhammad attacked Khaibar, conquered the Jews there, and distributed the spoils of war.



Note [1]  - I did not find any reference to this vision at the beginning of the story of Hudaybiyya, however, this vision is referred to twice in source material.  Further, the Quran mentions the dream Muhammad had to go to the Kaba in 48:27 (given later).







NOTE:  comments in brackets [  ] are mine.




            "Then the apostle stayed in Medina during the months of Ramadan and Shawwal and went out on the little pilgrimage in Dhul-Qada with no intention of making war.  He called together the Arabs and neighboring Bedouin to march with him, fearing that Quraysh [the people of Mecca] would oppose him with arms or prevent him from visiting the temple, as they actually did."  - Sirat Rasul Allah, page 499.



            "Then he [Muhammad] marched till he reached al-Hudaybiyya which lies at the limit of the Haram [sacred territory of Mecca], area at a distance of nine miles from Mecca." - Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, page 118.



            Bukhari in 5.495 states that Muhammad intended to enter Mecca when he left, and that he would fight to enter it:

            "Narrated Al-Miswar bin Makhrama and Marwan bin Al-Hakam:  (one of them said more than his friend): The Prophet set out in the company of more than one-thousand of his companions in the year of Al-Hudaibiya, and when he reached Dhul-Hulaifa, he garlanded his Hadi (i.e. sacrificing animal), assumed the state of Ihram for 'Umra from that place and sent a spy of his from Khuzi'a (tribe). The Prophet proceeded on till he reached (a village called) Ghadir-al-Ashtat. There his spy came and said, "The Quraish (infidels) have collected a great number of people against you, and they have collected against you the Ethiopians, and they will fight with you, and will stop you from entering the Ka'ba and prevent you." The Prophet said, "O people! Give me your opinion. Do you recommend that I should destroy the families and offspring of those who want to stop us from the Ka'ba? If they should come to us (for peace) then Allah will destroy a spy from the pagans, or otherwise we will leave them in a miserable state." On that Abu Bakr said, "O Allah Apostle! You have come with the intention of visiting this House (i.e. Ka'ba) and you do not want to kill or fight anybody. So proceed to it, and whoever should stop us from it, we will fight him." On that the Prophet said, "Proceed on, in the Name of Allah !"






            Muhammad proceeded a little further.  Then, Muhammad's camel unexpectedly stopped and knelt.  Muhammad took that as a sign from God.



            "The Muslims said "Pass on! Pass on! to chide it [Muhammad's camel], But it did not rise.  .... Thereupon the prophet said, "It has not stopped but it has been prevented (from moving forward) by Him who had prevented the people of elephants.  By Allah, if they ask me for anything that retains the sanctity of Allah, I shall grant.  - Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, page 119.



            But the Sirat records Muhammad's words slightly different:


            "Today whatever condition Quraysh make in which they ask me to show kindness to kindred I shall agree to".  - Sirat Rasul Allah, page 501.



            Bukhari adds in 3.891:

            "Narrated Al-Miswar bin Makhrama and Marwan:  (whose narrations attest each other)  Allah's Apostle set out at the time of Al-Hudaibiya (treaty), ... The Prophet went on advancing till he reached the Thaniya (i.e. a mountainous way) through which one would go to them (i.e. people of Quraish).  The she-camel of the Prophet sat down. The people tried their best to cause the she-camel to get up but in vain, so they said, "Al-Qaswa' (i.e. the she-camel's name) has become stubborn! Al-Qaswa' has become stubborn!" The Prophet said, "Al-Qaswa' has not become stubborn, for stubbornness is not her habit, but she was stopped by Him Who stopped the elephant." Then he said, "By the Name of Him in Whose Hands my soul is, if they (i.e. the Quraish infidels) ask me anything which will respect the ordinances of Allah, I will grant it to them."


            "I left Kab bin Luai and 'Amir bin Luai residing at the profuse water of Al-Hudaibiya and they had milch camels (or their women and children) with them, and will wage war against you, and will prevent you from visiting the Kaba."  Allah's Apostle said, "We have not come to fight anyone, but to perform the 'Umra. No doubt, the war has weakened Quraish and they have suffered great losses, so if they wish, I will conclude a truce with them, during which they should refrain from interfering between me and the people (i.e. the 'Arab infidels other than Quraish), and if I have victory over those infidels, Quraish will have the option to embrace Islam as the other people do, if they wish; they will at least get strong enough to fight. But if they do not accept the truce, by Allah in Whose Hands my life is, I will fight with them defending my Cause till I get killed, but (I am sure) Allah will definitely make His Cause victorious."






            Although Muhammad did not set out to make war upon the Quraysh, the Quraysh opposed his coming to Mecca.  As they found out about Muhammad's approach, they sent their troops out to stop him.  He sent word to the Quraysh about his peaceful intentions, but they replied,



            "He may have come not wanting war but by Allah he shall never come in here against our will, nor shall the Arabs ever say that we have allowed it."  - Sirat, page 501.



            The two groups parleyed, finally, the Quraysh sent a man to work out a treaty with Muhammad.



            "Then the Quraysh sent Suhayl brother of Luayy to the apostle with instructions to make peace with him on condition that he went back this year, so that none of the Arabs could say that he made a forcible entry...After a long discussion peace was made and nothing remained but to write an agreement." - Sirat, page 504.



            Bukhari adds in 5.496:

            Suhail refused to conclude the truce with Allah's Apostle except on this condition. The believers disliked this condition and got disgusted with it and argued about it. But when Suhail refused to conclude the truce with Allah's Apostle except on that condition, Allah's Apostle concluded it. Accordingly, Allah's Apostle then returned Abu Jandal bin Suhail to his father, Suhail bin 'Amr, and returned every man coming to him from them during that period even if he was a Muslim. The believing women Emigrants came (to Medina) and Um Kulthum, the daughter of 'Uqba bin Abi Mu'ait was one of those who came to Allah's Apostle and she was an adult at that time. Her relatives came, asking Allah's Apostle to return her to them, and in this connection, Allah revealed the Verses dealing with the believing (women). Aisha said, "Allah's Apostle used to test all the believing women who migrated to him, with the following Verse:--  "O Prophet! When the believing Women come to you, to give the pledge of allegiance to you." (60.12)


'Urwa's uncle said, "We were informed when Allah ordered His Apostle to return to the pagans what they had given to their wives who lately migrated (to Medina) and we were informed that Abu Basir..." relating the whole narration.









            However, this Treaty was not to the Companions liking:


            "Umar jumped up and went to Abu Bakr saying, "Is he not God's apostle, and are we not Muslims, and are they not polytheists?" to which Abu Bakr agreed, and he went on:  "They why should we agree to what is demeaning to our religion?" - Sirat page 504.



            Bukhari writes in 3.891:

            Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "I went to the Prophet and said, 'Aren't you truly the Apostle of Allah?' The Prophet said, 'Yes, indeed.' I said, 'Isn't our Cause just and the cause of the enemy unjust?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Then why should we be humble in our religion?' He said, 'I am Allah's Apostle and I do not disobey Him, and He will make me victorious.' I said, 'Didn't you tell us that we would go to the Ka'ba and perform Tawaf around it?' He said, 'Yes, but did I tell you that we would visit the Ka'ba this year?' I said, 'No.' He said, 'So you will visit it and perform Tawaf around it?' " Umar further said, "I went to Abu Bakr and said, 'O Abu Bakr! Isn't he truly Allah's Prophet?' He replied, 'Yes.' I said, 'Then why should we be humble in our religion?' He said, 'Indeed, he is Allah's Apostle and he does not disobey his Lord, and He will make him victorious. Adhere to him as, by Allah, he is on the right.' I said, 'Was he not telling us that we would go to the Kaba and perform Tawaf around it?' He said, 'Yes, but did he tell you that you would go to the Ka'ba this year?' I said, 'No.' He said, "You will go to Ka'ba and perform Tawaf around it." (Az-Zuhri said, " 'Umar said, 'I performed many good deeds as expiation for the improper questions I asked them.' ")



            Bukhari in 6.367:

            "At that time 'Umar came (to the Prophet) and said, "Aren't we on the right (path) and they (pagans) in the wrong? Won't our killed persons go to Paradise, and theirs in the Fire?" The Prophet replied, "Yes." Umar further said, "Then why should we let our religion be degraded and return before Allah has settled the matter between us?""



            Sahih Muslim in volume 3, #4405:

            "....Umar b. Khattab came, approached the messenger of Allah and said:  "Messenger of Allah, aren't we fighting for truth and they for falsehood?"  He replied, "By all means."  He asked, "Are not those killed from our side in Paradise and those killed from their side in the Fire?"  He replied, "Yes."  He said, "They why should we put a blot upon our religion and return, while Allah has not decided the issue between them and ourselves?"  He said, "Son of Khattab, I am the messenger of Allah.  Allah will never ruin me.  (The narrator said), "Umar went away, but he could not contain himself with rage.  So he approached Abu Bakr and said, "Abu Bakr, aren't we fighting for truth and they for falsehood?"  He replied, "Yes."  He asked, "Aren't those killed form our side in Paradise and those killed form their side in the Fire?"  He replied, "Why not?"  He said, "Why should we then disgrace our religion and return while God has not yet decided the issue between them and ourselves?"


            Despite their dislike of the agreement, they went along with it, keeping faith in Muhammad.



            Now the terms of the treaty were written, and further humiliation was suffered by Muhammad and the Muslims:


            "Then the Apostle summoned Ali and told him to write "In the name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful."  Suhayl said, "I do not recognize this; but write, "In they name, O Allah"".  The apostle told him to write the latter and he did so.  Then he said:  "Write "This is what Muhammad the apostle of God has agreed with Suhayl b. Amr.""  Suhayl said, "If I witnessed that you were God's apostle I would not have fought you. Write your own name and the name of your father."  The apostle said:  "Write "This is what Muhammad b. Abdullah has agreed with Suhayl v. Amr:  they have agreed to lay aside war for ten years during which men can be safe and refrain from hostilities on condition that if anyone comes to Muhammad without the permission of his guardian he will return him to them; and if anyone of those with Muhammad comes to Quraysh they will not return him to him.  We will not show enmity one to another and there shall be no secret reservation of bad faith.... - Sirat page 504.



            Bukhari adds in 3.862:

            "Narrated Al-Bara bin 'Azib:  When Allah's Apostle concluded a peace treaty with the people of Hudaibiya, Ali bin Abu Talib wrote the document and he mentioned in it, "Muhammad, Allah's Apostle ." The pagans said, "Don't write: 'Muhammad, Allah's Apostle', for if you were an apostle we would not fight with you." Allah's Apostle asked Ali to rub it out, but Ali said, "I will not be the person to rub it out." Allah's Apostle rubbed it out and made peace with them on the condition that the Prophet and his companions would enter Mecca and stay there for three days, and that they would enter with their weapons in cases."







            During the making of the Treaty an event occured that tested it.  A Meccan who had just joined Muhammad and the Muslims was demanded by the Meccans and then forcibly taken back to Mecca:



            "While the apostle and Suhayl were writing the document, suddenly Abu Jandal appeared walking in fetters, having escaped to the apostle.  The apostle's companions had gone out without any doubt of occupying Mecca because of the vision which the apostle had seen, and when they saw the negotiations for peace and a withdrawal going on and what the apostle had taken on himself they felt depressed almost to the point of death.  When Suhayl saw Abu Jandal he got up and hit him in the face and took hold of his collar, saying, "Muhammad, the agreement between us was concluded before this man came to you."  He replied "You are right".  He began to pull him roughly by his collar and to drag him away to return him to Quraysh, while Abu Jandal shrieked at the top of his voice, "Am I to be returned to the polytheists that they may entice me from my religion O Muslims?" and that increased the people's dejection. - Sirat page 505.



            Bukhari says in 3.891:

            "Abu Jandal said, "O Muslims! Will I be returned to the pagans though I have come as a Muslim? Don't you see how much I have suffered?"  Abu Jandal had been [previously] tortured severely for the Cause of Allah.



            Bukhari adds in 3.874:

            "Narrated Marwan and al-Miswar bin Makhrama:  (from the companions of Allah's Apostle) When Suhail bin Amr agreed to the Treaty (of Hudaibiya), one of the things he stipulated then, was that the Prophet should return to them (i.e. the pagans) anyone coming to him from their side, even if he was a Muslim; and would not interfere between them and that person.  The Muslims did not like this condition and got disgusted with it.  Suhail did not agree except with that condition.  So, the Prophet agreed to that condition and returned Abu Jandal to his father Suhail bin 'Amr.  Thenceforward the Prophet returned everyone in that period (of truce) even if he was a Muslim.


            Later, other Muslims were also returned.


            All in all, Muhammad and the Muslims were humiliated at Hudaybiyya.  They were stopped from entering Mecca to worship Allah, they agreed to a one-sided treaty, Muhammad was forced to re-write parts of the treaty that the Quraysh didn't like, and some of their fellow Muslims were forcibly taken back to Mecca.







            Now, another curious part of the affair occurred.  About half way back to Medina, Muhammad received a "revelation" supposedly from God:


            "The apostle then went on his way back and when he was half way back the Sura al-Fath came down:  "We have given you a plain victory that God may forgive you your past sin and the sin which is to come and may complete his favor upon you and guide you on an upright path." - Sura 48:1,2. - Sirat page 506.


            Another "revelation" Muhammad had with regard to the event, is found in Sura 48:27 -


            "Now hath God in truth made good to His apostle the dream in which He said 'Ye shall surely enter the sacred Mosque [Kaba], if God will, in full security, having your heads shaved and your hair cut:  ye shall not fear; for He knoweth what ye know not; and He hath ordained you, besides this, a speedy victory."



            Bukhari adds in 6.358:

            "Narrated Anas:  "Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad) a manifest victory.' refers to Al-Hudaibiya Peace treaty)."



            Here, a number of days after the repulse at Hudaybiyya, Muhammad attempted to extract victory from failure, and proclaimed that Hudaybiyya was a real victory.  Somehow, forgiveness of sins was attached to this victory.



            But, Muhammad's followers questioned if it were a real victory.



            Bukhari states in 4.406: -

            On that 'Umar asked, 'O Allah's Apostle! Was it (i.e. the Hudaibiya Treaty) a victory?' Allah's Apostle said, "Yes".



            In order to prove to his followers that they really did have a true victory, booty was promised.


            "Then he said, "God was pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree and He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down the Sakina (tranquillity) upon them and rewarded them with a recent victory and much spoil which they will take.  God is mighty, wise.  God has promised you much spoil which you will capture and has given you this in advance, and kept men's hands from you, that it may be a sign to the believers and that He may guide you on an upright path, and other (things) which you have not been able to get."



            Note here that Muhammad claims that God promised them "much spoil which you will capture"



            Finally, Ibn Hisham spells out what the victory really was:


            "...He (God) has wrought a near victory, the peace of al-Hudaybiyya.

No previous victory in Islam was greater than this.  There was nothing but battle when men met; but when there was an armistice and war was abolished and men met in safety and consulted together none talked about Islam intelligently without entering it.  In those two years double as many or more than double as many entered Islam as ever before."  - Sirat page 507.


            In short, the Sirat asserts that Muhammad proclaimed he really won a victory at Hudaybiyya, the victory of a truce between the Muslims and the Meccans.


            On the other hand, the Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir gives a different viewpoint:


            "A revelation has dawned upon the apostle of Allah.... When those of the people whom he wanted had assembled, he recited:  "We have given thee (O Muhammad a signal victory".  A person from the Companions of Muhammad said, "O apostle of Allah, is it a victory?"  He replied, "By Him in whose hand is my soul, it is surely a victory."  Then (the booty of) Khaibar was allotted to the participants of al-Hudaybiyya in eighteen shares.



            Muhammad’s victory was that he was going to attack non-Muslims and plunder them without interference by the Meccans.








1)            Muhammad had a vision to venerate the Kaba.


2)         He fully prepared for the pilgrimage to Mecca and left, determined to go to the Kaba, but was stopped by the camel and the Meccans.


3)         There he was humiliated and signed onto the treaty.  But peace was established between the Muslims and the Meccans.


4)         On his way back to Medina, he claims that the experience at Hudaybiyya was really a victory.  The Muslims were perplexed at this and asked him about it.  He assured them it a real victory and told them that God promised them the booty of Khaibar.







            Later, other Meccans came to Muhammad and according to the Treaty asked Muhammad to return some women.  Muhammad refused to honor his word and the Treaty.  Instead he had the Muslims return any dowries that were given to the women.


            "Umm Kulthum Uqba Muayt migrated to the apostle during this period.  Her two brothers Umara and Walid sons of Uqba came and asked the apostle to return her to them in accordance with the agreement between him and Quraysh at Hudaybiyya, but he would not.  God forbade it......Sirat page 509.



            The Sunan of Abu Dawud in volume 2, #2759 says:


            "....Thereafter some believing women who were immigrants came.  (Allah sent down:  O ye who believe when believing women come to you as emigrants).  Allah most high forbade them to send them back, but ordered them to restore the dower."



            Muhammad claimed that now God allowed him to break the Treaty, stating the conditions were only a test of the Muslim women's faith.  Once again, Muhammad has a convenient "revelation" justifying his actions [see Sura 60:10].  Once again, Muhammad puts the responsibility on God's shoulders for his sin, i.e., allowing him to break his word.







            I've written this level of detail to provide the context and background for Muhammad's attack and conquest of Khaibar.  Initially, I did not intend to study this event, but it proved to be so interesting that I felt that a paper should be written on it.  Thereby I am able to show how Muhammad's mind really worked.


            First of all, because Muhammad proclaimed himself to be a prophet of God, we are allowed to hold Muhammad up to scrutiny.  He exalted himself as God's last prophet.  We have the right to examine his actions and judge them against a high standard.



1)         Ibn Hisham (Sirat) states that the victory was one of peace, and that many people became Muslims thereafter.  This is just apologetic work on Hisham's part.  If the victory of Hudaybiyya were really a victory of peace between the Meccans and Muslims, then there would have been no need of booty.  The rewards of peace would have been sufficient.  After all, as Hisham states, people began to become Muslims more frequently now.


            Remember, booty is taken in war.  To the Muslims of that day, real victory was real victory, i.e., your foe was vanquished, you held the field, and you got plunder.  Your foe didn't watch you ride out of town eating humble pie.  That is why they questioned Muhammad about it being a real victory.  They had left Hudaybiyya with their tails between their legs.  To assure his followers that indeed it was a victory, Muhammad promises them the physical aspects of victory:  booty:  -  booty taken by force.  This booty was what they naturally expected to receive if they had won a real victory, not a metaphysical one.



2)         I find that it was Muhammad who first broke the Treaty of Hudaybiyya, not the Meccans who are usually blamed via for the event years later.  Muhammad ended up not honoring his word.  The fact that he did return some dowry money does not mitigate his actions of not returning the women and not keeping his word.  Once again, Muhammad has another convenient "revelation", and God gets stuck with the blame.



3)         I also find that Muhammad is guilty of duplicity.  The sources say that he believed that he had had a vision from God to go on the pilgrimage.  He made extensive preparations to go and he said he was prepared to fight to be able to complete the pilgrimage.  However, once threatened, he changed his tune:


            a) - At first, when the camel stops, he says he will agree to a Treaty if it doesn't harm his people or the ordinances of God.  Later, he pledges to return Muslims to the polytheists.  It is obvious that this was harmful for the Muslims, they suffered for it.  And, it is obvious that it was against the ordinances of God, because Muhammad later claimed that God stopped him from returning the women.


            b) - When he was challenged by his Companions, Muhammad plays another one of his games.  This is similar to the Jon Lovitt character on Saturday Night Live.  When questioned about his vision to go and venerate the Kaba, Muhammad replies, "Yes, I said I would go, but I didn't say which year I would go"! 


            I can hear the Jon Lovitt character saying now, "I didn't say which YEAR I'd go!  That's it, yeah, that's the ticket!  I didn't say which "year" I would go.  See, I'll go later, yeah, later!"


            It was obvious he intended to do it this year, and that initially he was willing to fight to go to the Kaba.  Later, for whatever reason, he changed his mind.  Instead of leveling with his Companions, he gave them a song and dance.  Fortunately for Muhammad, his followers were devoted to him, and very gullible.





            I found a short but concise, write up concerning the Treaty in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Vol. III, 1971, H - IRAM, Brill, Leiden, under "Hudaybiya", page 539.  It basically supports what I've written.  The reader can verify this for himself.








1)            Muhammad played the shuck and jive.  First of all, he claims to have a vision to go, and fully prepares to go, then, once near, he claims he has a sign to stay.


            Then he says he's going to make a treaty with the pagans, if the conditions don't hurt the Muslims or go against God's ordinances, then he makes a treaty that hurts the Muslims and goes against God's ordinances.


            Then he claims God told him not to honor his word but break the Treaty.  Like the old cliché "The Devil made me do it", Muhammad basically says "God forbid me to keep my word".



            Is this the type of "prophet" that can be trusted?




2)         If the "victory" of Hudaybiyya were one of peace being maintained with the polytheists in Mecca, couldn't have Islam prospered by making and maintaining peace with other neighbors?  In effect, via the Hudaybiyya treaty, Muhammad was allowed a more free hand in attacking the other non-Qurayshi tribes living nearer Medina.  We know that the Jews of Khaibar were not a warrior people, but they were very prosperous. 


            Couldn't making peace, instead of making war, between other non-Muslim tribes been a victory as well?



3)         Was it necessary to attack a neighboring tribe (Khaibar) and plunder them to assure his followers of the "victory"?  Even though the Jews disliked him, could he not have worked out a peace treaty with them as well?  Certainly they disliked him no more than the Qurayshi did.


4)         How is his "victory" attack on Khaibar justified, since many people were killed, others after capture were executed, women and children were enslaved, and at least one man was tortured just for Muhammad to attain money?  (See my article on Kinana).







            This event clearly portrays the real Muhammad; unable to make up his mind, and shucking his Companions to hide his humiliation.  Later he makes up "revelations" to turn the sting of failure around in his followers hearts, and even promises a weaker neighbor's property as "victory booty", taken a few weeks later.  Further, he claimed that God told him to break the very treaty God told him to make.  These are the actions of a man who was not following the instructions of a righteous God, but the actions of a man now set out on his own, willful, mission in life.  Muhammad proved false to his word, and false to the people who followed him.


          Jesus said that false prophets would arise and mislead many (Matthew 24:11).



Rev A: 12-28-97, Rev B: 2-24-98

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