How the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah tested the faith of companions

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The companions including the future rulers were truly tested by the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah. While in the battles (Uhud, Khyber, Hunain), they were for fleeing, in the peace treaty of Hudaibiyyah, they were for battle! They wanted the exact opposite of what Allah and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) decreed for the Muslims.

The Treaty of Hudaibiyyah, particularly, was a huge test for the companions in which the big names failed woefully.

What the Hudaibiyyah Treaty was all about

When the Muslims set out for pilgrimage to Mecca, they were stopped by the Meccans outside the city at a place called Hudaibiyyah. After a prolonged discussion both parties agreed it was best to avoid battle and sign a treaty on mutually beneficial terms.

A 10-year treaty was signed by Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) with the Meccans under the following terms:

  • Over the period of treaty the two parties will leave each other alone, will not plunder each other, nor practice fraud against each other,
  • Any Meccan who takes shelter with the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), shall be handed over, but if any Muslim deserts likewise will not be handed over by the Meccans.
  • Islam may be professed at Mecca and no one shall be disgraced annoyed or persecuted on account of his religion.
  • The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his companions will return this year, yet may come the next year and remain three days at Mecca
  • The treaty was witnessed by Ali bin Abi Talib and the Muhajireen and Ansar.
  • Behar al-Anwar v 20 p 317 under ‘Battle of Hudaibiyyah and Pledge of Rizwan and Lapsed Umrah and other events

Even this simple treaty which did not make big demands from the Muslims, proved difficult for the companions.

In particular, the second ruler did not take the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah very well.

Reportedly, he confessed:

I did not doubt the prophethood of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) like I did on the Day of Hudaibiyyah.

  • Nail al-Awtaar v 8 p 200
  • Fath al-Baari v 5 p 254
  • Al-Maghazi v 2 p 606-607

Not only did he doubt prophethood, he was ready to take up arms against Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) as he says:

If I had forty supporters with me that day, I would certainly have rebelled against Muhammad (s.a.w.a.).

  • Tafseer al-Qummi (r.a.) v 2 p 312
  • Tafseer al-Safi v 5 p 35
  • Al-Burhan v 5 p 70
  • Tafseer Kanz al-Daqaiq v 12 p 260
  • Behar al-Anwar v 20 p 350

The dissent of the second ruler over Hudaibiyyah Treaty is widely reported in Muslim sources. Even Sahih al-Bukhari which mostly records positive reports on the Sahabah / rulers, has made mention of the dissent in this narration:

He (second ruler) narrates:
I went to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and said:
Aren’t you truly the Messenger of Allah?
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) 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 (s.a.w.a.) said: I am Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.a.) 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 Kaaba and perform Tawaf around it?

He (s.a.w.a.) said: Yes, but did I tell you that we would visit the Kaaba this year?

I said: No.

He (s.a.w.a.) said: So you will visit it and perform tawaf around it

Then the second ruler continued:

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 Messenger (s.a.w.a.) 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 Kaaba and perform tawaf around it?

He said: Yes, but did he tell you that you would go to the Kaaba this year?

I said: No.

He said: You will go to Kaaba and perform tawaf around it.
(Az-Zuhri said: The second ruler said: I performed many good deeds as expiation for the improper questions I asked them.)

  • Sahih al-Bukhari trad 2,731, 2,732 under Chapter: The conditions of Jihad and peace treaties

Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) stands out in Hudaibiyyah

Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) was the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) scribe in penning the historic treaty. This shows Ali’s (a.s.) superiority vis-à-vis others who proved themselves unworthy by casting doubt on prophethood of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

And the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) praised Ali (a.s.) for his role in Hudaibiyyah as widely documented:

Jabir Ibn Abdillah informed – I heard the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on the Day of Hudaibiyyah while holding Ali’s (a.s.) hand:

I am the City of Knowledge and Ali (a.s.) is its Gate. Then one who wants to enter the House, must come through the Gate.

  • Tarikh al-Baghdadi v 2 p 377, v 4 p 219
  • Mustadrak al-Hakim v 3 p 129, v 3 p 140
  • Firdaus al-Akhbaar v 1 p 44 trad 107
  • Kashf al-Khifa v 1 p 204 trad 618
  • Al-Ghadeer v 6 p 115, v 8 p 131

Hudaibiyyah was but one of the many instances when Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) towered over the companions in stature. While the companions were exposed for blaming the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) for signing the treaty and doubting his prophethood, Ali’s (a.s.) faith and certainty shone bright underlining to the Muslim nation why he (a.s.) is the one worthy for caliphate.

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