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Verily We have granted thee a manifest Victory:

Surah Al-Fath
(The Victory)

Preliminary Remarks

According to the consensus of scholarly opinion of Sahabah
(Companions of the Holy Prophet #2), Tabi‘in (Pupils of sahabah) and the
leading authorities on Qur’anic commentary, the Surah was revealed
when, after signing the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, the Holy Prophet a was
on his way back to Madinah, in the 6th year of Hijrah in the month of
Dhul Qa‘dah. In other words, the Holy Prophet Me with a party of his
Companions set out for Makkah with the intention of performing the
‘Umrah. When he approached the sanctuary of Makkah he halted at a
place called Hudaibiyah.

The Quraish, however, debarred his entry into Makkah. Later they
were willing to compromise that he must go back home that year and
make up for the missed ‘Umrah the following year. Many companions,
especially Sayyidna ‘Umar 4%, were greatly upset but the Holy Prophet
é accepted it under Divine direction because he felt that this would pave
the way to Muslim success. The details are set out later in the Surah,
When the Holy Prophet Me put off his Ihram, this Surah was revealed on
his return journey from Hudaibiyah in which it is pointed out that his
vision is true which will most certainly be fulfilled at the appropriate time.
But this is not the right time for it. It will happen after the conquest of
Makkah. The Treaty of Hudaibiyah in this Surah is described as “an open
victory” because this Treaty was in fact the forerunner of the conquest of
Makkah. Sayyidna ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas‘tid <4 and some other Companions
say “you think the conquest of Makkah is ‘Victory'” but we regard “The
very Treaty of Hudaibiyah as the real ‘Victory'”. Likewise Sayyidna Jabir
&% says “We think the Treaty of Hudaibiyah is ‘Victory””. Bara’ Ibn ‘Azib
says “You think ‘Victory’ refers to the conquest of Makkah. No doubt, it
does, but we think the Pledge of Ridwan on the occasion of Hudaibiyah is
the real ‘Victory’ where the Companions [some 1400] were asked by the
Holy Prophet ue under an acacia tree to declare on solemn cath that they
would stand by him at all costs and would fight under his banner to the
bitter end. The Pledge of Jihad is referred to later on in this Surah. (Ibn
Kathir) As mentioned earlier, this Surah was revealed on the occasion of
Hudaibiyah, and since some parts of this incident are referred to in this
Surah, it seems pertinent to first give details of this incident. Tafsir Ibn
Kathir elaborates on the event and gives many small details. Tafsir
Mazhari develops it even more elaborately. He has, on this occasion,
written about fourteen pages, narrating the story from the beginning to
the end with reference to authentic collections of Hadith. The narrative
comprises many miracles, pieces of advice, and educational, religious and
political points of wisdom. We intend to give the details of those parts of
the narrative which are referred to in the Surah itself, or are profoundly
relevant to the Surah, so that it may facilitate the understanding of those
verses which are related to the incident. The details given below are
mainly adopted from Tafsir Mazhari, and reference is made to other
commentaries from where other details are taken.

The Event of Hudaibiyah:

Hudaibiyah is a plain situated outside Makkah on the way to Jeddah
which is very close to the boundaries of Haram. It is now called
Shumaisiyy. This is the site where the incident took place.

Part [1]: The Prophet’s Vision

It is reported by Ibn Jarir, ‘Abd Ibn Humaid, Baihaqi, and others that
the Holy Prophet (S) saw in a dream in Madinah that he had gone to
Makkah with his Companions, entered it peacefully and performed the
‘Umrah (shorter pilgrimage). He and his Companions put off their
pilgrim-garb and, according to the rule, some had their heads shaven and
others had their hair cut short. The Holy Prophet Me then entered the
House of Allah, and the key of the House fell into his hand. This part of
the event is referred to later on in this Surah [48:27]. The dream of the
Prophets (AS)is not a mere dream or fiction. It is a Divine revelation,
acting upon which is necessary. Therefore, this vision of the Holy Prophet
4 was not merely a dream, but a Divine inspiration which he had to
strictly obey and follow. However, no time or date was specified for this.
In fact, this vision was to be fulfilled at the time of the conquest of
Makkah. But when the Holy Prophet Ae narrated this vision to his
companions, they in their enthusiasm to visit Makkah and perform the
tawaf (circumambulation) of the House, started preparations forthwith.
When a party of the Companions was in full readiness to depart, the Holy
Prophet we too made up his mind to accomplish his vision, since no time or
date was specified, it is possible, he thought, that this purpose could be
achieved instantly (Bayan-ul-Qur’an, citing from RUh-ul-Ma‘ani).

Part [2]: The Prophet ue Invites his Companions and Bedouins to
Join him: Some refused

It is reported on the authority of Ibn Sa’d and others that when the
Holy Prophet te and his Companions made up their mind to perform
‘umrah, the Holy Prophet te had the apprehension that the pagans of
Makkah might hinder them from performing ‘umrah, and it was possible
also that an armed clash might ensue. Therefore, he invited people from
the neighbouring villages to join him for the pilgrimage. Many of the
village bedouins refused to join him claiming that Muhammad we and his
Companions wanted to push them into the jaws of death. They said that
Muhammad and his Companions wanted to get them into an armed clash
with Makkans who were superior to them in terms of weapons and power,
They felt that as a result of this superiority, the Muslims would not come
back alive (Mazhari).

Part [3]: Setting out for Makkah

According to the versions of Imam Ahmad, Bukhari, Abi’ Dawud,
Nasa’i and others the Holy Prophet we before setting out for the journey,
took a bath, put on his new clothes and mounted his camel Qaswa’. He
was accompanied by his blessed wife “Umm Salamah ne A large number
of the Muhajirin, Ansar and the village folks was with him. This
constituted, according to most versions, 1400 people altogether. No one
doubted that Makkah will be conquered on that day on account of the
Holy Prophet’s 42 vision, whereas they did not have any weapons except
swords. The Holy Prophet Bo and his Companions set out for this journey
on Monday at the beginning of Dhul-Qa‘dah. He reached Dhul-Hulaifah
and donned the pilgrim-robe with the intention of ‘Umrah (Shorterned from
Mazhari).

Part [4]: Preparing for Confrontation with Makkans

When the people of Makkah received news about the Prophet’s Ae
journey to Makkah with a large number of his Companions, they
gathered together, and expressed their concern that if Muhammad was
allowed entry into Makkah, the entire Arabia would be under the
impression that the Makkans were subdued by him, while several battles
had been fought between them and Muhammad. As such, they were not
willing to allow him entry into the city. Thus they dispatched an advance
cavalry towards Kura‘-ul-Ghamim under the command of Khalid Ibn
Walid % [who until then was not a Muslim] to intercept him. The
neighboring villagers were also attached to the cavalry, and the tribe of
Banu Thagif from Ta’if joined them as well. They pitched their tents in a
place called Baldah. They pledged to debar the Holy Prophet Me from
entering into Makkah and to declare war against him.

A Strange and Simple Network of Communication

The enemies set up a network of communication from Baldah to the
place where the Holy Prophet we had reached. They placed a few men on
the top of each mountain to observe the movement, activity and position
of the Holy Prophet #2 and inform the people on the adjacent mountain
in a loud voice, they in turn relayed the message to the people on the next
mountain, they would then convey the information to the third mountain,
and so on. In this way they communicated the details of the Holy
Prophet’s 5B activities to the people of Baldah within a few minutes.

The Informants of Holy Prophet (S)

The Holy Prophet ee dispatched Bishr Ibn Sufyan «& to Makkah in
advance as a secret informer, so that he may secretly observe the
activities and movements of the Quraish and keep him fully informed of
their intentions and activities. When he returned from Makkah, he
informed the Holy Prophet. de that the Makkans were preparing for an
all-out war. The Holy Prophet de expressed his regret that several wars
had already weakened the strength of Quraish, and yet they would not
give up fighting. The Prophet #E said: “This was an ideal opportunity for
them to leave me.and the other Arabs alone. If these Arabs had
vanquished me, they would have accomplished their objective without
any pain; and if I had vanquished them, one of two things could have
happened – either they would have embraced Islam or if they intended to
fight me they would have braced themselves to face me. But nobody
knows what is wrong with them! By Him who has sent me with His
commands, I shall never cease to fight them until my neck is separated
from the rest of my body.”

Part [5]: The Camel of the Holy Prophet ue Refuses to Move

After that the Holy Prophet ae gathered the people and delivered a
sermon in which he consulted them whether they should start the fight
against the enemies then and there, or press forward and make forced
entry into Makkah, and “if they debar us we shall fight them.” Sayyidna
Abu Bakr 4% and other companions said, ” You have come out on a
peaceful mission with the intention of visiting the House of Allah, not
with the belligerent intention of fighting. Therefore, adhere to your
peaceful intention. However, if anyone bars us from entering Makkah,
then we shall fight.” Sayyidna Miqdad Ibn Aswad % stood up and said:
“O Allah’s Messenger! We are not like the children of Israel who would
Bay Sydetd pr ti GU 55 Ci) Cail – {5:24} ‘So go, you and your Lord, and
fight. As for us, we are sitting here’. We shall fight with you at all costs.”
Having seen the Companions’ determination, Allah’s Messenger ae
responded that they should press forward in the direction of Makkah in
the name of Allah. When the Holy Prophet ae approached the Holy City,
and Khalid Ibn Walid 4 and his cavalry noticed them moving forward in
the direction of giblah, he arrayed his army into regiments and stood up
there like adamantine walls. Allah’s Messenger be appointed ‘Abbad Ibn
Bishr 48 as the commander of a unit that was arrayed in oppositionto
Khalid Ibn Walid. In the meanwhile it was time for Zuhr Salah,
Sayyidna Bilal & called the adhan, and the Holy Prophet ue led the
congregation in prayer. Khalid and his cavalry looked on. Later on Khaliq
Ibn Walid said: “We lost a golden opportunity to wipe them out whilst
they were praying. It does not matter, wait for another time, because soon
they will be praying again.” But in the meantime Jibra’ll Se) brought
down the injunction of Salat-ul-Khawf. Having made Allah’s Messenger
we aware of their intentions, he was shown how the army should be
divided into two groups in times of danger. Allah’s Messenger #E followed
the direction of the Qur’an. Each group performed the prayer in
alternation. (When one group prayed, it was guarded and protected by
the armed regiment who remained on the alert for a possible attack by the
enemy. It took its turn when the praying group had finished.)

Part [6]: A Miracle at Hudaibiyah

When Allah’s Messenger Me was nearing Hudaibiyah, the forelegs of
his she-camel (named Qaswa) slipped and it sat down. The Companions
tried to urge it up, but in vain. The Companions thought that Qaswa was
enraged, but Allah’s Messenger Eo said that it was no fault of Qaswa nor
is it its usual habit to do this. In fact, it has been stopped by the same One
who had blocked the men of elephant. [Probably Allah’s Messenger te by
then had discerned that the time was not up for the fulfillment of his
vision.] With this discernment, Allah’s Messenger te declared: “By Him in
whose hand is Muhammad’s life, today I shall accept all the demands of
the Quraish in which the Symbols sanctified by Allah are held in full
esteem.” Then he called out the she-camel and it stood up. Allah’s
Messenger He moved away from the spot where Khalid Ibn Walid & was
staying, and stationed himself on the other side of Hudaibiyah where
there was very little water. Khalid Ibn Walid and the people of Baldah
had occupied the places where water was available in abundance. Here a
miracle of Allah’s Messenger #% shown by Allah Ta‘ala. At this place there
was a well in which very little water trickled. He rinsed his mouth in it,
and got one of his arrows pitched therein. As soon as this happened, its
water bubbled almost up to the brim of the well. People on the upper side
of the well drew water and quenched their thirst.

Part [7]: Negotiation with the Deputations of the People of
M ah
In this way all the Companions were satisfied and settled there, and
Started negotiations with the people of Makkah through their
deputations. First, Budail Ibn Warqa’ [who later on embraced Islam]
along with his companions paid a visit to Allah’s Messenger te and
informed him, as a well-wisher, that the entire Makkah had come out in
full force to confront him. They have occupied all the water spots. “They
will never allow you to enter into Makkah.” He said. Allah’s Messenger de
replied, “We have not come to fight anyone. However, if they block us
from performing ‘umrah, we will fight”. Then he repeated what he had
said to his spy Bishr 4: “Several wars have weakened the Quraish. If
they wish, a peace treaty could be arranged for a specified period of time,
so that they may peacefully prepare themselves. In the meantime they
should leave us and the rest of the Arabs alone. If these Arabs vanquish
me, they would have accomplished their objective without any pain; and
if! vanquish them, and they started entering into the fold of Islam, then
the Quraish will have two options: either they too will embrace Islam, or if
they will intend to fight me, they will have braced themselves to face me.
But if they refuse this, then I swear by Him who has sent me with His
commands, I shall never cease to fight them until my neck is left
separated from the rest of my body.” Budail, saying that he will convey
the message to the Quraish leaders, went back. When he returned to the
Quraish and communicated the Holy Prophet’s response, some of them
did not want to even hear him, and were in a fit of war, while others, like
‘Urwah Ibn Mas‘id, the leader of his tribe, advised them to at least hear
him. Then when Budail conveyed the message of the Holy Prophet Me
‘Urwah said to the leaders of Quraish that Muhammad’s suggestions were
fair and satisfactory, and therefore, they should be accepted. He opted to
negotiate and asked for their permission to confer with the Holy Prophet
with the aim of reaching an agreement of peace. Thus the second
person to pay a visit to the Holy Prophet we in an attempt to negotiate
was ‘Urwah who said to the Holy Prophet #8: “If you wipe out your own
people, the Quraish, will it be good for you? Have you ever heard anyone
destroying his own people?” Then there was a heated and protracted
parleys between ‘Urwah and the Companions, and while this was going
on, ‘Urwah observed that when the Holy Prophet dye performed his
ablutions, his companions would not allow the water to fall on the ground
but would rub it on their bodies and clothes. When the Holy Prophet 2
spoke, they would lower their voices. ‘Urwah went back to the Quraish
leaders, and described the whole scenario to them, adding that “I have
been to the courts of the Caesar and Khosroes, and the Negus also, but
by God, never have I seen any people so devoted to a king as are the
Companions of Muhammad to him. He is suggesting a correct proposal,
and I suggest that you accept it.” But the people replied that they could
not accept it; “Muhammad must go back this year, and may come again
the following year.” When ‘Urwah’s suggestion was not accepted, he
returned with his people. After him a person by the name of Jalis Ibn
‘Algamah, the leader of the bedouins, visited the Holy Prophet ae . He
saw the Companions in pilgrim-robes with sacrificial animals. He too
returned and explained to his people that these people had come to
perform their ‘Umrah in the House of Allah. “It is not proper in any way
to debar them.” The people did not pay heed to his suggestion either. He
too went away back with his deputation. A fourth person arrived to confer
with the Holy Prophet @ and persuade him to give up his intention to
enter Makkah. But the Holy Prophet we repeated the same reply to this
deputation that he had made to Budail and ‘Urwah. He went back to
Quraish and communicated the Holy Prophet’s Me reply to them.

Part [8] : Sayyidna Uthman Despatched as a Special Envoy

Imam Baihagqi reports on the authority of ‘Urwah Ibn Zubair & that
when Allah’s Messenger ae settled in Hudaibiyah, it unnerved the
Quraish. He decided to send an envoy with the message that he had not
come to fight, but to perform ‘Umrah. Therefore, they should not block his
way. He called upon Sayyidna ‘Umar 4% for this task. He said, “Quraish
are my implacable enemy, because they are fully aware of my ardent
support for Islam, and there is not a single member of my tribe in Makkah
that will support me. As a result, I will not be able to change their mind. I
propose the name of ‘Uthman for this task. He is the most appropriate
person who, because of his tribe, holds a special power and honour in the
whole of Makkah.” Allah’s Messenger te accepted the proposal and sent
off Sayyidna ‘Uthman (RA) for the task. He also advised him to visit the
socially and economically disabled Muslim men and women who were not
able to migrate from Makkah and were suffering hardships. He was to
console them that they should not be distressed. Soon, Allah willing,
Makkah will be conquered and their difficulties will end. First, Sayyidna
Uthman #&% went to those people who had gathered in Baldah to block
the way of the Holy Prophet Me and confront him. He communicated to
them the same message that was conveyed to them by Budail and
‘Urwah. They replied that they had heard the message and that it was
not acceptable. Having received their reply, he attempted to get into
Makkah. Aban Ibn Sa‘id [who later on embraced Islam] met him and
welcomed him warmly. He took him into his refuge and allowed him to
convey his message anywhere in Makkah without any fear of hindrance.
Then he gave his mount to Sayyidna ‘Uthman 4 which he rode and
entered Makkah, because his tribe Banu Sa‘id was eminently powerful.

Sayyidna ‘Uthman (RA) met each one of the Quraish leaders, and
conveyed the Holy Prophet’s (S) message: “We have not come to fight, but
to perform ‘umrah. After completing the rites of pilgrimage we shall
return home. Indeed, if the road is blocked, we shall fight. Quraish
themselves have been debilitated by several wars. Therefore it. would be
to their advantage to leave us and other Arabs alone. Then we shall see
who overpowers the other. If the Arabs overpower us, then their objective
would be accomplished. If we overpower them, then too they will have a
choice to fight at that stage. During this time they will have the
opportunity to improve and preserve their strength.” But they rejected his
proposal. Then ‘Uthman (RA) visited the helpless Muslims and conveyed to
them the Holy Prophet’s 82 message. This communication pleased them
immensely, and they asked him to convey their salam to the Holy Prophet
a Having communicated the Holy Prophet’s de message, the Makkans
allowed Sayyidna ‘Uthman “ to perform the tawaf of the House if he
wished. But he refused saying he would not do that unless the Holy
Prophet ue would have first performed it. ‘Uthman RA stayed in Makkah
for three nights, and continued to invite the Quraish leaders to accept the
Holy Prophet’s (S) message.

Part [9] : Tension between Quraish and Muslims: Seventy
Makkans Captured
In the meanwhile Quraish selected fifty men and asked them to be on
the look-out for the Holy Prophet we As soon as they find an opportunity,
their task was to assassinate him. Whilst the men were on the look-out for
the Holy Prophet ae Muhammad Ibn Maslamah 4, the Holy Prophet’s
ae body-guard, captured them and brought them to the Holy Prophet Ae
On the other hand, Sayyidna ‘Uthman 4% was already in Makkah and
ten more Muslims joined him in the Holy City. When the Quraish heard
that fifty of their men have been captured, they detained ‘Uthman &%
and other Muslims. A cavalry of Quraish marched towards the Muslim
caravan and shot arrows and threw stones at them. One Companion – Ibn
Zanim by name – was martyred. The Muslims captured ten of the Quraish
horse-riders. In the meantime a rumour reached the Holy Prophet ME that
‘Uthman 4 has been assassinated.

Part [10] : The Pledge of Ridwan

Having received this rumour, the Holy Prophet te gathered his
Companions under an acacia tree and took a solemn pledge from them
that they would fight the Quraish to the last breath of their lives. This
pledge came to be known as bai‘at-ur-Ridwan, which signified those
lucky people who had taken the oath had obtained Allah’s pleasure. This
is referred to later on in the Surah. Authentic Prophetic Traditions speak
eminently of the people who participated in this pledge. Since ‘Uthman
4% was on a mission to Makkah under the direction of the Holy Prophet
we he was absent at the time of the solemn pledge. So the Holy Prophet
ae placed one of his own hands on the other hand of his and said, “This is
‘Uthman’s pledge.” This illustrates the distinction of Sayyidna ‘Uthman
AB.
Part [11]: Peace Treaty at Hudaibiyah

A distinct event or episode of the scenario of Hudaibiyah is that
through, the grace of Allah, the Quraish were overawed and subdued by
the Muslims. As a result, they themselves were then willing to make
peace. Thus they sent three of their men as representatives, namely,
Suhail Ibn ‘Amr, Huwaitib Ibn ‘Abdul ‘Uzza and Mikraz Ibn Hafs. (Later
the first two of the representatives embraced Islam.) They apologised to
the Holy Prophet te on behalf of their people. Suhail Ibn ‘Amr said to the
Holy Prophet 2 “The report that ‘Uthman 4% and his companions have
been killed is absolutely false. They are being sent to you. Set free our
men you have captured.” The Holy Prophet ae set them free. It is
recorded in Musnad of Ahmad and Sahih of Muslim on the authority of
Sayyidna Anas & that verse 24 of this Surah wae eel wie ceillh refers to
this episode. Then Suhail and his deputation went to Quraish and
described to them the amazing scene of bat‘at-ur-Ridwan where the
sahabah showed their readiness to lay down their lives and willingness to
make the supreme sacrifice. The opinion-makers of Quraish suggested
that nothing would be better for them than they would compromise on
Muslims’ retiring that year without entering Makkah, but the Holy
Prophet ie and his Companions may visit Makkah the following year
only for three days to perform ‘Umrah. On that occasion they may
slaughter the sacrificial animals and put off their pilgrim-robes, otherwise
the impression created would be that attempts were made to block the
Holy Prophet’s ue way, but he forced his entry into Makkah, which would
be tantamount to a humiliating defeat for them. When Suhail arrived
again with message, the Holy Prophet Me said, “It seems that Quraish has
decided to make peace. That is why they have sent Suhail again.” The
Holy Prophet ee sat up cross-legged. Two of his Companions, ‘Abbad Ibn
Bishr and Salamah, g.->! <ul 2) armed themselves with weapons
‘and stood on his sides to guard him. Suhail came, whilst sitting
courteously in front of him, delivered the message of Quraish. The
Companions generally were not happy to put off the pilgrim-garb without
performing ‘Umrah. They spoke harshly to Suhail – the voices sometimes
became loud and at other times low. ‘Abbad Ibn Bishr 4% reprimanded
Suhail for raising his voice in the presence of the Holy Prophet 82. After
heated and protracted parleys, the Holy Prophet we agreed to enter into
Peace Treaty. Suhail wanted to have the Peace Treaty reduced to writing.
The Holy Prophet Me called Sayyidna ‘Ali 5 and dictated to him to write
the words, m3! +5 AUN ny bismil- lahir-rahmanir-rahim. Suhail
objected to this – saying that the words rahman and rahim do not exist in
our idiom. He said they should write the words that used to be written
before, that is, cai Kul bismika- allahumma. The Holy Prophet ee
agreed to this and asked Sayyidna ‘Ali 4 to erase the mez! el abi
bismil-lahir- rahmanir-rahim and insert pal Sei bismika- allahumma.
Then the Holy Prophet ae asked Sayyidna ‘Ali 4% to write “This is the
Peace Treaty into which Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah entered.”
Suhail objected to this as well, and argued that they did not recognise him
as the ‘Messenger of Allah’. If they had, they would never have prevented
him from visiting Allah’s House. There should be no such expression in
the Treaty that would be in defiance of any party’s belief system.
Therefore, it should read Muhammad, the son of ‘Abdullah. The
Messenger of Allah ee granted this and dictated to Sayyidna ‘Ali % to
erase the words, ‘the Messenger ofAllah’ and replace it with ‘the Son of
‘Abdullah.’ Sayyidna ‘Ali 4%, despite being an embodiment of obedience,
said he could not erase the attributive title rasu/ [Messenger] of Allah
from his name. Sayyidna ‘Usaid Ibn Hudair and Sa‘d Ibn ‘Ubadah (RA)
withheld Sayyidna ‘Ali’s 4 hand so that he might not rub the attributive
title out. He should not write any appellation with his name other than
the rasul [Messenger] of Allah. “If they do not accept it, then the sword
will decide the matter” they said. Voices arose all around. Despite the fact
that the Messenger of Allah was an Ummi who had never written
before, took the document in his hand and wrote with his own pen the
following preamble:

“This is the Treaty into which Muhammad the Son of ‘Abdullah
and Suhail Ibn ‘Amr entered. They agree that war shall be
suspended for ten years, during which time people would be able
to live peacefully and no party would indulge in any hostility
against the other.”

The Messenger of Allah dee wanted that the treaty should have a
clause to the effect that the Muslims would not be hindered from
performing tawaf that year, but Suhail swore by God to say that it was
not possible. The Messenger of Allah 8 conceded that to him. Suhail then
inserted his own clause: if a Makkan [even if he is a believer] were to go
over to Muhammad ee without his guardian’s permission, he shall be sent
back to his guardian; but should any of Muhammad’s followers return to
the Quraish, he shall not be sent back. At this, the common Muslims
raised their voices and exclaimed that it was not tolerable to send one of
their own Muslim brethren back to the pagans. However, the Messenger
of Allah we accepted this clause as well, and explained that if any of the
believers is gone over to the Quraish of his own accord, Allah has
distanced him from the Muslims, and they should not bother about him. If
any of their men comes over to the Muslims and they send him back to
the pagans, Allah will pave the way for him.

Sayyidna Bara’ (RA) summarises that the Treaty contained three
clauses: [1] If anyone during that period from among the Quraish went
over to the Holy Prophet we without his guardian’s permission, he would
return him to them; [2] if a Companion of the Holy Prophet SE came over
to the Quraish, they would not return him; and [3] the Holy Prophet ee
together with his men, should retire that year, and visit Makkah the
following year only for three days to perform ‘Umrah, but they shall carry
no arms save sheathed swords. Towards the end of the Treaty, the
concluding statement was appended: “This Agreement between the people
of Makkah and the Messenger of Allah ue is a guarded document which
none shall violate. Whosoever would like te join the Holy Prophet ME and
make himself a party to the Treaty from his side, shall have the liberty to
do so; and likewise whosoever would like to join the Quraish and make
himself a party to the Treaty from their side, shall have the liberty to do
so.

As soon as this proclamation was made, Banu Khuza’ah jumped at
the opportunity, and entered into alliance with the Holy Praphet a, but
Banu Bakr, on the other hand, sided with the Quraish and allied
themselves with them.

Terms and Provisions of the Treaty Upset the Companions

The Muslims were noticeably perturbed over the terms of the Treaty
that were apparently tilted against their interests. Sayyidna ‘Umar
exclaimed in extreme grief and indignation: “O Messenger of Aliah! are
you not the True Prophet of Allah?” He replied: “Why not!” Then
Sayyidna ‘Umar 4% asked: “Are we not on the right path and they on the
wrong?” He replied: “Why not!” Sayyidna ‘Umar & asked: “Is it not a fact
that our martyrs are in the Paradise and their slain ones in the Fire?” He
replied: “Why not!” Sayyidna ‘Umar 48 then said: “Why should we submit
to this humiliation and return without observing ‘Umrah or Allah decides
the matter through war?” The Messenger of Allah Me replied: “I am the
servant of Allah and His Messenger. I can never violate His command. He
will never destroy me. He is my Helper. Sayyidna ‘Umar 4% posed more
questions to the Prophet Me. ‘O Messenger of Allah! did you not promise
us that we would visit Allah’s House and perform tawaf?” He replied:
“Yes, indeed, I did promise, but did I promise that it will happen this
year?” Sayyidna ‘Umar 4 replied: “No, you did not promise that.” The
Messenger of Allah we responded: “The event will definitely happen as I
promised. You will visit the House and perform the tawaf.”

Sayyidna ‘Umar Ibn Khattab 4% kept quiet, but his grief and
indignation did not subside. After the Messenger of Allah ae he went to
Sayyidna Abu Bakr #% and repeated his questions to him as he had
posed them to the Holy Prophet 42 He replied that the Prophet EA is the
servant of Allah and His Messenger. He is not at liberty to violdte any
Divine decree. Allah is his Helper. Therefore, hold on to his stirrup until
the last breath of your life. By Allah! he is on the path of Truth. In short,
Sayyidna ‘Umar (RA) was in intense grief and pain because of the
seemingly unfavourable terms and provisions of the Treaty. In fact, he is
reported to have said: “I never gave way to doubt since I embraced Islam,
but on this occasion I could not avoid it.” (Transmitted by Bukhari) Sayyidna
Abt ‘Ubaidah allayed his misgivings and suggested to seek refuge
with Allah from the evils of Shaitan. Sayyidna ‘Umar (RA) said: “I seek
refuge in Allah from the evils of the Shaitan.” He says that since he
realised his misgivings, he continued to observe voluntary prayers, keep
voluntary fasts, emancipate slaves and give alms, so that Allah may
pardon his error.

The Case of Abu Jandal: The Prophet’s Commitment to the
Treaty

The terms and provisions of the Treaty had just been concluded, and
Companions were still grieving over them. Suhail Ibn ‘Amr was the chief
negotiator on behalf of Quraish. Abu Jandal was Suhail’s son. He
embraced Islam and was imprisoned by his father. He used to persecute
him harshly; fetters were put about his ankles; and there were signs of
violence on his body. He could not bear the persecution, so somehow he
managed to escape to the Holy Prophet ie and sought asylum. Some of
the Muslims went forward and granted him the asylum. Suhail yelled
out: “This is the first instance of the viclation of a proviso of the Treaty. If
he is not returned, I shall never accept any of the other provisions in the
document”. The Holy Prophet we had already entered into the Treaty and
was bound by its terms and provisions, therefore he called Abu Jandal
and asked him to be patient for a little while longer. Soon Allah will pave
the way for him and other helpless Muslims, who are detained in
Makkah, to live in easier circumstances and in a peaceful atmosphere.
This case of Abu Jandai really rubbed salt into the wound or added fuel to
the fire. The Companions were sure that Makkah will be conquered
instantaneously, but when they experienced the apparently unfavourable
situation, their grief and disappointment knew no bounds. They were on
the brink of disaster and ruination. However, the Treaty was concluded,
and on behalf of the Muslims Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Abdur-Rahman Ibn
‘Awf, ‘Abdullah Ibn Suhail Ibn ‘Umar, Sa‘d Ibn Abi Waqaas, Muhammad
Ibn Maslamah, ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib and others cater pgs al ou) had
appended their signatures. Likewise on behalf of the idolaters, Suhail and
a few others appended their signatures.

Putting Off the Pilgrim-Garb and Slaughtering the Sacrificial
Animals

When the document was finalised , the Holy Prophet (S) addressed the
Companions, and asked them to slaughter their sacrificial animals in that
very place, shave their heads and put off the pilgrim-robes, but they were
so overwhelmed by grief that no one moved from his position to comply.
This depressed the Holy Prophet #2, and he went up to his blessed wife
Umm Salamah tes abi is*, and expressed his grief to her. She gave him
the most apt advice, saying: “Do not reprimand them at this time, because
they are acutely grieved by the terms of the Treaty and by returning
without observing ‘Umrah. Call the barber in the presence of all, and get
your own head shaved, put off your pilgrim-garb and slaughter your own
camel.” He followed her advice. When the Companions saw this, they
followed suit. They started shaving each other’s head, slaughtered their
animals and put off their pilgrim-robes. The Holy Prophet We earnestly
supplicated for all.

The Holy Prophet we stayed on the plain of Hudaibiyah for nineteen
days and, according to other versions, twenty days. He then started his
return journey. With his Companions he first went to Marr Zahran, and
then arrived in ‘Usfan. When they reached here, their provisions were
depleted: very little food and water had been left for them. The Holy
Prophet ee spread a dining-sheet and asked everyone to put the little
they had on the sheet. In this way the left-overs were collected on the
sheet. There were 1400 people: they all sat around the sheet, the Holy
Prophet supplicated and asked them to eat. The noble Companions
report that 1400 people ate to the full and in addition they filled their
bowls – yet nothing had diminished. This was the Holy Prophet’s second
miracle that appeared on this plain. The Holy Prophet Me, seeing this, was
highly delighted.

The Noble Companions’ Strength of Faith and Obedience of the
Holy Prophet (S) Tested Once Again

It was noticed in the foregoing sections that the Companions were
extremely unhappy at the terms and provisions of the Treaty. They found
it even more difficult and painful to return without performing ‘Umrah or
fighting a war. It was their strength of faith that despite all odds and the
awkward situation; they persisted in their faith in and obedience of the
Holy Prophet #£. On his way back from Hudaibiyah, at Kura’-ul-Ghamim
Surah Al-Fath was revealed which the Prophet ee recited to the blessed
Companions. Despite the terms and provisions of the Treaty and
returning home without ‘Umrah wounding their hearts, this Surah calls
the trip “a manifest Victory”. Sayyidna ‘Umar 4% could hardly contain
himself and inquired: “Messenger of Allah! is this ‘victory’?” He replied:
“By Him in whose Hand is my life, this is indeed ‘a manifest Victory’!” The
noble Companions submitted to him and thus were assured that it was “a
manifest Victory”.

The Effects and Advantages of the Treaty

One immediate effect of this Treaty was that the misplaced obstinacy
of Quraish and their followers became manifest, and a schism arose
among themselves, and they were divided into different groups as a result
of differences in thinking and attitudes. Budail Ibn Warqa’ separated
himself with his comrades from the Quraish. Following his example,
‘Urwah Ibn Mas‘ud separated with his group.

Secondly, the Quraish of Makkah were highly impressed by the
unparalleled self-sacrifice of the noble Companions. They were also
profoundly touched by the unwavering obedience of, and love and
reverence for, the Holy Prophet Be This inclined them to make peace.
This was an ideal opportunity for them to wipe out the Muslims, because
they were at home with all its conveniences, and the Muslims were on a
journey with all its inconveniences. The Quraish had captured all the
water spots, whereas the Muslims had to occupy waterless spots – lacking
in foodstuffs. They were in full force, whereas the Musims were ill-equipped in weaponry. Allah infused terror into their hearts. Many
members of their group had the opportunity to meet and mingle with the
Holy Prophet #8, as a result the cheerfulness of Islamic faith was infused
gnto their hearts. Later on they embraced it.

Thirdly, the Peace Treaty made the road safe and secure. The way
was opened for the Holy Prophet ee and the blessed Companions to call
the people towards Islam. Arab delegations visited the Holy Prophet we.
The blessed Companions, together with the Holy Prophet =, spread Islam
rapidly in every nook and corner. Letters were sent to the rulers of the
world – inviting them to the call of Islam. Some of the prominent rulers
were impressed. On the occasion of Hudaibiyah, there were not more than
1500 Muslims with him, despite the Holy Prophet’s de general invitation
for all Muslims to join him to observe ‘Umrah. But after the Treaty, people
entered Allah’s religion in throngs. In the year 7 Hijri Khaibar was
conquered, and considerable amount of booty fell into the hands of the
Muslims. This strengthened their material power. Hardly two years had
passed during which time an unprecedented large number of people
joined the Islamic camp. When the Quraish violated the terms of the
Treaty, the Holy Prophet Me secretly started preparing for the conquest of
Makkah. The Quraish came to know about this, and were unnerved.
They sent Abu Sufyan to apologise and to negotiate the renewal of the
Treaty, but the Holy Prophet oe refused. As a result of violation by the
Quraish of the terms of the Treaty, the Holy Prophet te within
twenty-one months marched towards Makkah with ten thousand strong
faithful soldiers of Allah. The Quraish were so overwhelmingly subdued
that no fighting took place. There are differing views among the leading
jurists whether Makkah was conquered by force of arms or by peaceful
means. Nevertheless while in Makkah, the Holy Prophet 4 had the
following announcement made: “Whoever shuts his door shall be safe;
whoever enters the mosque shall be safe; whoever enters Abu Sufyan’s
house shall be safe.” This announcement made them concerned about
saving themselves. This, on the part of the Holy Prophet Me was a
master-stroke of political sagacity, strategy and ingenuity. As a result, no
fighting took place. In sum, Makkah was conquered easily and very
comfortably. Thus the Holy Prophet’s ye vision turned into a reality. The
Companions fearlessly performed the tawaf of the House, then had their
heads shaved or cut short, the Holy Prophet ae together with his
Companions, then entered the Ka‘bah where he received its keys. At that
moment, the Holy Prophet we addressed Sayyidna ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab
(RA) in particular and other Companions in general, saying: “This is the
incident that I have been narrating to you.” On the occasion of the
Farewell Pilgrimage, the Holy Prophet a repeated his address to
Sayyidna ‘Umar Ibn Khattab (RA) who replied: “Undoubtedly there is no
better and greater ‘Victory’ than the Treaty of Hudaibiyah.” Sayyidna
Abu Bakr (RA) believed from the very outset that the Treaty of Hudaibiyah
was indeed the ‘Victory’, but people did not have the insight and foresight
to discern the reality that was determined between Allah and His
Messenger. Allah does not do anything because of people’s impatience,
Instead, He does what His wisdom demands that everything should take
place at the right moment. Therefore, ‘a manifest Victory’ in this Surah
refers to the Treaty of Hudaibiyah.

These were the most important elements of the event of Hudaibiyah.
This will facilitate the understanding of forthcoming verses of this Surah.

Analysis of Verses
(so that Allah may forgive you of your
previous and subsequent faults…” – 48:2). If the particle “Jam” (translated
above as ‘so that’) is taken to be for “ta’/il”, it indicates the purpose for
which, and the reason why, such a manifest Victory is given to the Holy
Prophet Me It is mentioned in this verse that the victory was given to him
to bless him with three different bounties. The first bounty is forgiveness
of ali his past and future shortcomings. Attention was drawn in Surah
Muhammad that all Prophets | Ȣle are infallible. Wherever words
like 33 dhanb and oer ‘isyan (‘sin’ or ‘fault’) are attributed to them in
the Qur’an, they are in relation to their lofty status. Works that are
merely unadvisable contrary to the preferred practice are also referred to
as dhanb in relation to the high status of the Prophets by way of
reprimand. ‘Previous’ refers to shortcomings committed before conferment
of prophethood, and ‘subsequent’ refers to shortcomings committed after
the conferment of prophethood (Mazhari). The reason why this victory
caused forgiveness for such shortcomings is that large masses of people
entered the fold of Islam after it, and naturally the credit of spreading the
call of Islam goes to the Holy Prophet ue for which he deserved the divine
reward, and an increase in reward always entails forgiveness of the
shortcomings.

(“…and may guide you to a straight path,” 48:2.)
This is the second bounty which resulted from the manifest victory. Here
arises a question of the highest significance: The Holy Prophet 82 was
established in the right path from the very outset. Not only was he
himself on the right path, but also a source of guidance for the entire
world. His night-and-day preoccupation was to call the people towards the
Straight Path. So what then is the meaning of guidance to the straight
path through manifest victory in the 6% year of Hijrah? A detailed answer
to this question can be found in Ma‘ariful-Qur’an Vol 1/pp 71-81 – particularly
look at the definitions and the three degrees of Hidayah [guidance].

Definition of Hidayah

Hidayah has been defined as to show the path or to lead someone
gently and kindly towards his destination. The real destination of man is
to attain Allah’s pleasure and his proximity. The degrees of pleasure and
proximity are unlimited. Having attained the first degree, man needs to
go for the next one, then he should aim for the third one and so on to no
end. Not any man, Muslim, saint or prophet is above the need of such
spiritual and moral attainment. Therefore, the instruction to pray for
right guidance in the first Surah is not only to the Muslim Community,
but also to the Holy Prophet we. He is to soar higher and higher in the
path of spiritual and moral attainment. Allah has, in this manifest
victory, raised the Holy Prophet we to the highest pinnacles of spiritual
eminence which is described by the clause yahdiyaka.

(and so that Allah may support you with a mighty
support – 48:3.) This is the third bounty which follows naturally from the
preceding circumstance of the manifest victory. The Holy Prophet we has
always had help from Allah, but on this occasion he received a very large
share.

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