Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty

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Ḥudaybīyya Peace Treaty (Arabic: صلح الحديبية) was a treaty which was signed in Hudaybiyya region in 6/628 between the Prophet (s) and the polytheists of Mecca and was addressed in Sura al-Fath in the Qur'an. This treaty was signed when Muslims went to Mecca to perform Hajj rituals but encountered the prevention of polytheists of Quraysh. Tensions and negotiations following this event finally led to signing a ten year treaty between Muslims and the people of Mecca.

The Story in Detail

Muslims' Determination to Perform Hajj

In the month of Dhu l-Qa'da of 6/628, the Prophet (s) saw in the dream that he (s) had gone to Mecca and was performing circumambulation and hajj rituals. This dream of the Prophet (s) has been mentioned in the Qur'an as well,

The Prophet (s) narrated this dream for his companions and promised them about it and called the companions for going to Mecca and performing 'Umra and since he (s) was concerned about the hatred of Quraysh and their possible prevention, called the Arab neighbors of Medina for this trip as well. The mentioned tribes except few did not accept the call of the Prophet (s) and only the Muhajirun (Immigrants) and Ansar (Helpers) of Medina prepared for moving and went out of Medina accompanying the Prophet (s).

The caravan of Muslims consisting of the immigrants, the Helpers and those Arabs who joined them left Medina towards Mecca on Monday Dhu l-Qa'da 1, 6/March 16, 628. There are different reports regarding the number of the companions of the Prophet (s) in this journey, but seemingly, the report of Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari saying that, "We, the companions of Hudaybiyya, were 1400" is more famous. Four women were in this crowd as well, one of whom was Umm Salama, a wife of the Prophet (s). The Prophet (s) appointed 'Abd Allah b. Umm Maktum or Numayla b. 'Abd Allah Laythi as his vicegerent in Medina.

Wearing Ihram by Muslims

By the order of the Prophet (s), Muslims took no weapons except travelers' weapons (sheathed swords). After they went away Medina for a distance and arrived at Dhu l-Hulayfa – where now a mosque is built there called Masjid al-Shajara, the Prophet (s) put on Ihram and marked the seventy camels which he (s) had brought with himself and directed them in front so that he (s) shows those who would take the message of his movement to Quraysh that he (s) did not exit Medina for war, but that he (s) just meant to perform 'Umra and circumambulation of Ka'ba. It is said that the camel of Abu Jahl which the Prophet (s) had taken in the Battle of Badr as a booty, as a symbol was among other camels for sacrifice.

The Prophet's (s) Path towards Hudaybiyya

The Prophet (s) and his companions, saying Labbayk proceeded up to 'Usfan, a place two stations away from Mecca, and there the Prophet (s) was informed that the polytheists of Mecca were informed of the movement of the Muslims and had sworn that they would prevent Muslims from entering Mecca. Quraysh stationed their warriors outside Mecca and sent Khalid b. Walid with two hundred horsemen up to Kara' al-Ghamim to stand against Muslims.

With the guidance of some people from Banu Aslam, the Prophet (s) continued his way towards Mecca taking a detour so that he (s) would not encounter the warriors of Quraysh. In that path, Muslims performed the Prayer of Khawf for the first time so that they could be alarmed about any possible attack of the enemy from around.

Entering Hudaybiyya Area

When the caravan of Muslims arrived at Hudaybiyya, suddenly the Prophet's (s) camel (Qaswa') sat down. By the order of the Prophet (s), Muslims camped there. After camping of the Prophet (s) in Hudaybiyya, Budayl b. Warqa' al-Khuza'i and a group from Khuza'a tribe came to the Prophet (s). The Prophet (s) told them that he (s) did not mean to make war and had just come to visit the Ka'ba. Khuza'is gave the message to Quraysh, but they said that even if Muhammad (s) does not want to make war, we would not allow him enter Mecca by force so that Arabs criticize us.

Then, Quraysh sent some people to the camp of Muslims, but they did not reach any agreement. In fact, chiefs of Quraysh (including Abu Sufyan who did not achieve any success in the Battle of Ahzab against Muslims and were embarrassed before Arabs) considered entrance of Muslims to Mecca, a humiliation for themselves and a cause of further Arabs' criticism.

Capturing People of Quraysh

Quraysh who were under pressure, missioned Makraz b. Hafs who was famous for being brave and fearless with a group of about forty or fifty skilled horsemen to parade around the army of Muslims and if they could capture any of the Muslims, take them to Quraysh so that they would have a hostage from Muslims and would be able to force Muslims accept their suggestions. But Makraz and his group could not do anything and were even captured by the guards of the caravan of Muslims. When they were taken to the Prophet (s), he (s) ordered to release them because they were not missioned to fight. Although before being captured, Makraz and his group had shot arrows towards Muslims and hurt them so much and even according to some reports, they had killed a Muslim called Ibn Zanim, they were released by the Prophet (s) and went back to Quraysh safely.

Sending a Representative to Quraysh

The Prophet (s) decided to send a representative to Quraysh. He (s) first chose 'Umar b. al-Khattab, but 'Umar said that he did not have powerful relatives in Mecca to support him and that Quraysh was aware about his enmity towards them, thus they may kill him. He therefore avoided going to Mecca and suggested 'Uthman b. 'Affan to the Prophet (s) because 'Uthman was from Umayyads and had influential relatives among the chiefs of Quraysh.

The Prophet (s) sent 'Uthman to Mecca and for the many times more gave message to Meccan people about his intention (visiting the Ka'ba and returning to Medina) and of course they did not accept it. They did not allow 'Uthman to return and thus a rumor was spread around that Quraysh had killed 'Uthman. Following the spread of this rumor, the Prophet (s) summoned the companions to give an allegiance called the Allegiance of Ridwan. All the companions present in in Hudaybiyya except Jadd b. Qays gave allegiance to the Prophet (s) in order to not leaving the Prophet (s) alone against Quraysh.

The Peace Treaty

After a while, it was disclosed that 'Uthman was not killed and was actually captured in Mecca. Quraysh sent a representative to Muslims to sign a peace treaty with them according to which, Muslims return to Medina without visiting the Ka'ba in that year and the next year they come to Mecca so that Meccans would not be criticized by other Arabs. This representative was Suhayl b. 'Amr. Upon seeing him, the Prophet (s) said, "By sending this man, Quraysh wants peace."

After the agreement between the two parties on the release of the captured ones, the Prophet (s) and the representative of Quraysh signed a peace treaty. Since the Prophet (s) knew about the benefits of this peace treaty, he (s) showed a great tolerance, one example of which was accepting the request of Suhayl b. 'Amr for omitting "Bism-illah al-Rahman al-Rahim" ["In the Name of God, the All Compassionate, the Most Merciful"] from the beginning of the letter and instead writing "Bismik Allahumma" [In Your Name, O God"] and also omitting the title of "Rasul-Allah" ["Messenger of God"] after the name of the Prophet (s) and instead writing Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah.

Objection of Some of the Companions

Tolerance of the Prophet (s) made some companions angry and criticizing and they were even heard saying inappropriate words and asking ironic questions about the Prophet (s). 'Umar b. al-Khattab was among them who objected to the Prophet (s). He thought that peace treaty was making Muslims humiliated and so much insisted on this that Abu 'Ubayda al-Jarrah told him, "Take refuge to God from the evil of Satan and consider your opinion wrong!" 'Umar himself later admitted that he doubted even about the prophethood of the Prophet (s) on that day and that said, "I rejected the Prophet's (s) opinion based on my personal judgment."

Content of the Peace Treaty

After negotiations, the Prophet (s) called Imam 'Ali (a) and told him, "Write 'Bism-illah al-Rahman al-Rahim'." Suhayl b. 'Amr said, "I do not take this name valid, and you should write the name we take valid "Bismik Allahumma" and Imam 'Ali (a) followed the order of the Prophet (s) and wrote so.

Then, the Prophet (s) said, "Write 'this is what Muhammad, Rasul-Allah agreed with Suhayl b. 'Amr.'" Suhayl said, "If we knew you as Rasul-Allah ["Messenger of God"], we would not fight you this much! This title should also be omitted and 'Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah' should be written instead." The Prophet (s) accepted and when he (s) found that it was difficult for 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) to omit the title of Rasul-Allah following the name of the Prophet (s), the Prophet (s) himself stretched his finger and said, "O 'Ali, show me the place and let me omit this title myself."

The content of Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty was as following,

  1. Peace would be made for ten years between the two parties so that people live in security and peace.
  2. Muslims return to Medina without visiting the Ka'ba that year and the next year they enter Mecca for performing 'Umra, conditioned that they do not carry any weapon except a passenger's weapon and do not stay in Mecca more than three days, and that Quraysh would leave the city for the mentioned period.
  3. Muslims will be obliged to return the people who would escape Mecca for Medina, but the other party would not have such an obligation towards who would escape Medina. (However according to Sura al-Mumtahina verse 10, in this peace treaty, returning women believers who would escape Mecca for Medina was prohibited.)
  4. Other tribes should be free in giving allegiance with Quraysh and Muslims.

In Sahih al-Muslim, it is mentioned that when the Sura al-Fath was revealed after Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty, the Prophet (s) sent someone to 'Umar and delivered the revelation to him. 'Umar said, "Truly O Messenger of God, this peace treaty is Fath ["victory"]?!" and the Prophet (s) said, "yes".

Returning to Medina

According to different reports, Muslims stayed in Hudaybiyya for ten days and some, or reported as twenty days. The Prophet (s) had camped outside the sanctuary area but, he prayed in the sanctuary area. When writing the peace treaty was finished and men from Muslims and polytheists testified to it, the Prophet (s) ordered his companions to sacrifice their camels for the sake of Hajj and shave their heads. Most companions rejected the order of the Prophet (s), because they were displeased with not performing Hajj and that they regarded Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty a humiliation, but after the Prophet (s) himself performed these practices, they followed him, then the Prophet (s) and Muslims returned to Medina.

According to Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty, the next year (7/629), the Prophet (s) and Muslims went to Mecca and stayed there for three days in the absence of Quraysh and performed the rituals for 'Umra. This event is known as 'Umrat al-Qada'.

On the back to Medina from Hudaybiyya, Sura al-Fath was revealed to the Prophet (s), in which God called Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty, "Fath al-Mubin" ["Sheer victory"], expressed happiness with those who gave allegiance and promised Muslims victory and abundant booties. As agreed by most exegetes, this promise was about taking Khaybar which happened in 7/628 and Muslims gained many booties, but some exegetes have considered it referring to the Conquest of Mecca.

Breaking the Peace Treaty by Quraysh

Shortly after signing of the treaty, someone from Mecca called Abu Basir who had become Muslim surrendered to the People of Mecca according to Hudaybiyya Treaty, but in the middle of the way, escaped from his guards, but instead of going to Medina, stayed at a place which was on the way of the caravan of Quraysh to Syria. Gradually, some of the Muslims of Mecca joined him and made a serious threat for the caravan of Quraysh. Regarding the trouble emerged for them, Quraysh asked the Prophet (s) to allow Abu Basir and his group to enter Medina, and this way, the article about the return of fugitives requested by Quraysh was cancelled.

Just about two years after the peace treaty that polytheists of Mecca broke the first article of the peace treaty (i.e. abandoning the war); because, Banu Khuza'a tribe were allied with Muslims and Banu Bakr were allied with Quraysh, but in a battle between the two in 8/629-630, some men from Quraysh killed some of Banu Khuza'a. This meant breaking of Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty and even with Abu Sufyan himself went to Medina for apologizing, his apology was not accepted and shortly afterwards, the Prophet (s) moved towards Mecca with a great army which had gathered during the time of peace and expansion of Islam.

Fruits of Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty

Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty had many fruits for Muslims. It led to stopping of the war, call to Islam and its expansion all over Arab Peninsula, so that since the beginning of the peace treaty until its break (22 months), the number of people who became Muslim were more than the total number of Muslims until then, and the army of the Prophet (s) in 8/629-630 and during the Conquest of Mecca reached ten thousand men and the chiefs of Quraysh such as 'Amr b. al-'As and Khalid b. Walid became Muslim during that period, and Abu Sufyan became Muslim exactly after the Conquest of Mecca. Also, the peace achieved after Hudaybiyya Treaty helped the Prophet (s) increase propagational activities in the peninsula and also expand them to neighboring lands so that in 7/628, he (s) called the kings and rulers of the neighboring lands to Islam. However, the most significant benefit of this peace treaty was preparing the ground for the Conquest of Mecca which happened shortly after Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty.

See Also


  1. لَّقَدْ صَدَقَ اللَّـهُ رَسُولَهُ الرُّؤْیا بِالْحَقِّ ۖ لَتَدْخُلُنَّ الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ إِن شَاءَ اللَّـهُ آمِنِینَ مُحَلِّقِینَ رُءُوسَکمْ وَمُقَصِّرِینَ لَا تَخَافُونَ ۖ فَعَلِمَ مَا لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا فَجَعَلَ مِن دُونِ ذَٰلِک فَتْحًا قَرِیبًا


  • The material for writing this article has been mainly taken from صلح حدیبیه in Farsi wikishia.