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"Muhammad and the Treaty of Hudaybiyya" Revisited

By
Bassam Zawadi

 

 

 

Answering Islam originally wrote an article about the Prophet Muhammad breaking the Treaty of Hudaybiyya here http://www.answering-islam.org/Muhammad/hudaybiyya.html and I responded back here http://www.answering-christianity.com/bassam_zawadi/treaty_of_hudaybiya.htm. Now Sam Shamoun, an author of Answering Islam has attempted to respond back here http://www.answeringislam.org/Responses/Osama/zawadi_hudaybiyya.htm. I advise everyone to first read all of these articles fully and then come and read this article. 

I will be posting only parts of Shamoun's response to me. I am not excluding anything important. You can verify this by going to the link your self  http://www.answeringislam.org/Responses/Osama/zawadi_hudaybiyya.htm and be assured.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

More importantly, Zawadi is not entirely forthcoming regarding why the Banu Bakr tribe attacked Khuza’ah. Here is what renowned Muslim commentator and historian al-Tabari wrote:

According to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Ibn Ishaq, who said: After sending his expedition to Mut’ah, the Messenger of God stayed in Medina during Jumada II and Rajab. Then the Banu Bakr b. ‘Abd Manat b. Kinanah assaulted [the tribe of] Khuza’ah while the latter were at a watering place called al-Watir belonging to Khuza’ah in Lower Mecca. The cause of the strife between Banu Bakr and the Banu Khuza’ah was a man from the Banu al-Hadrami named Malik b. ‘Abbad. This man of the Banu al-Hadrami had a covenant of protection at that time with al-Aswad b. Razn. Malik set out on a journey as a merchant. When he was in the middle of Khuza’ah territory, THE KHUZA’AH ASSAULTED HIM, KILLED HIM, AND TOOK HIS PROPERTY. The Banu Bakr therefore attacked and killed a man from Khuza’ah. Just before Islam, the Khuza’ah in turn assaulted Salma, Kulthum, and Dhu’ayb, the sons of al-Aswad b. Razn al-Dili – they were the leading men and dignitaries of the Banu Bakr – and killed them at ‘Arafah, by the border markers of the sacred territory.

According to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Muhammad b. Ishaq – a man from the Banu al-Dil, who said: In pagan times two payments of blood money would be paid for each of the sons of al-Aswad, while a single payment of blood money would be paid for us; and that because of their excellence [compared with us].

Matters stood thus between the Banu Bakr and Khuza’ah when Islam intervened to separate them and occupy people’s minds. When the peace of al-Hudaybiyah was concluded between the Messenger of God and Quraysh (this information is according to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Muhammad b. Ishaq – Muhammad b. Muslim b. ‘Abdallah b. Shihab al-Zuhri – ‘Urwah b. al-Zubayr – al-Miswar b. Makhramah, Marwan b. al-Hakam, and other learned men of ours), among the terms they imposed on the Messenger of God and that he granted to them was that whoever wanted to enter into a treaty and pact with the Messenger of God might do so, and whoever wanted to enter into a treaty with Quraysh might do so. The Banu Bakr entered into a pact with Quraysh, and Khuza’ah entered into a pact with the Messenger of God.

The truce having been concluded, the Banu al-Dil of the Banu Bakr took advantage of it against Khuza’ah. To RETALIATE for the sons of al-Aswad b. Razn they wanted to kill the persons from Khuza’ah WHO HAD KILLED THEIR MEN. Nawfal b. Mu’awiyah al-Dili set out with the Banu al-Dil (at that time he was a leader of the Banu al-Dil, though not all the Banu Bakr followed him). He made a night raid on the Khuza’ah while the latter were at their watering place of al-Watir, and they killed a man [of the Khuza’ah]. They tried to drive each other away and fought. Quraysh aided the Banu Bakr with weapons, and some members of Quraysh fought on their side under cover of darkness until they drove Khuza’ah into the sacred territory.

According to al-Waqidi: Among the members of Quraysh who helped the Banu Bakr against Khuza’ah that night, concealing their identity, were Safwan b. Umayyah, ‘Ikrimah b. Abi Jahl, Suhayl b. ‘Amr, and others, along with their slaves.

Resumption of the account of Ibn Ishaq, who said: When they reached the sacred territory, the Banu Bakr said: "Nawfal, we have entered the sacred territory. Be mindful of your God! Be mindful of your God!" To which he replied blasphemously: "Today he has no God! Banu Bakr, TAKE YOUR REVENGE! By my life you steal in the sacred territory; WILL YOU NOT TAKE YOUR REVENGE IN IT?"

The night that the Banu Bakr attacked the Khuza’ah at al-Watir, they killed a man of Khuza’ah named Munabbih. Munabbih was a man with a weak heart. He had gone out with a tribesman of his named Tamim b. Asad. Munabbih said to him: "Tamim, save yourself! As for me, by God, I am a dead man whether they kill me or spare me, for my heart has ceased beating." Tamim ran away and escaped; Munabbih they caught and killed. When the Khuza’ah entered Mecca, they took refuge in the house of Budayl b. Waqa’ al-Khuza’i and the house of one of their mawlas named Rafi‘.

When Quraysh leaguered together [with Banu Bakr] against Khuza’ah and killed some of their men, breaking the treaty and covenant that existed between them and the Messenger of God by violating the Khuza’ah, who had a pact and treaty with him. ‘Amr b. Salim al-Khuza’i, one of the Banu Ka‘b, went to the Messenger of God in Medina. This was one of the things that prompted the conquest of Mecca… (The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany, 1997], Volume VIII, pp. 160-163; capital emphasis ours; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Notice the treacherous acts which the Khuza’ah committed against the Banu Bakr. As if killing someone under their protection wasn’t bad enough, they go on to kill some of the leaders of Banu Bakr for having killed one of their own, even though this was the custom of the Arabs that a person would have to be killed for murdering a member of another tribe or at least pay blood money. So it isn’t like the Banu Bakr simply attacked Khuza’ah for no reason. They sought revenge for what Muhammad’s allies had done to their men. Yet by entering into a treaty with a tribe that antagonized Banu Bakr Muhammad indirectly contributed to the friction and bad blood. Basically, Muhammad had entered into a pact with a group of bloodthirsty treacherous deceivers who had no respect for the customs and rules of the Arabs, such as not attacking someone who was under a covenant of protection or the necessity of making restitution for committing such treachery. The Banu Bakr had every right to seek vengeance for what Khuza’ah had done, and yet Muhammad had now put the former in a difficult predicament because of his treaty with their enemies. In other words, Banu Bakr’s attack on the Khuza’ah is not as one-sided as Zawadi makes it to be.

 

My Response:

I want to thank Sam Shamoun for doing the research for me and even strengthening my arguments by providing more sources of information to back up my claims.

First of all if Banu Bakr had to avenge for their leader's deaths caused by Banu Khuza'ah, they should have refused to enter the treaty. They should have said, "no we will not enter this treaty because that would mean that we would have to have peace with Banu Khuza'ah and we don't want that because we want to avenge our leader's deaths". They should have known that the treaty stated that anyone siding with the Meccans should not be attacking anyone siding with the Muslims.

Secondly, notice what Tabari said:

They tried to drive each other away and fought. Quraysh aided the Banu Bakr with weapons, and some members of Quraysh fought on their side under cover of darkness until they drove Khuza’ah into the sacred territory.

According to al-Waqidi: Among the members of Quraysh who helped the Banu Bakr against Khuza’ah that night, concealing their identity, were Safwan b. Umayyah, ‘Ikrimah b. Abi Jahl, Suhayl b. ‘Amr, and others, along with their slaves.

When Quraysh leaguered together [with Banu Bakr] against Khuza’ah and killed some of their men, breaking the treaty and covenant that existed between them and the Messenger of God by violating the Khuza’ah, who had a pact and treaty with him.

So this even goes to show that the Quraysh did help Banu Bakr in attacking the Banu Khuza'ah and this went against the truce they made with the Muslims.

So the Quraysh did break the treaty by helping in the attack on the allies of the Muslims.

Shamoun goes on to criticize that the Prophet let Banu Khuza'ah to enter into a treaty with the Muslims. However, some one's past does not necessarily mean that they would do the same in the future. The Prophet would never have allowed them to do what they did if he was in a treaty with them. Plus, notice that ever since Khuza'ah entered into a treaty with the Prophet they did not break it, but it was the Banu Bakr that did.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Zawadi quotes al-Qurtubi who says that women were not included within the conditions stipulated by the treaty, and further presumes that the use of singular masculine pronouns (i.e., "he," "his," and "him") excludes women. On the contrary, these pronouns do not in and of themselves exclude women, since they do not always refer exclusively to men. Arabic, much like English, sometimes uses masculine pronouns to refer to both genders collectively. Note for instance the following Surahs:

Surely the Safa and the Marwa are among the signs appointed by Allah; so WHOEVER makes a pilgrimage to the House or pays a visit (to it), there is no blame on HIM if HE goes round them both; and WHOEVER does good spontaneously, then surely Allah is Grateful, Knowing. S. 2:158 Shakir

who do not appeal to any other deity besides God [Alone]; nor kill any soul whom God has forbidden [them to] except through [due process of] law; nor misbehave sexually. Anyone who does so will incur a penalty. Torment will be doubled for HIM on Resurrection Day and HE will remain disgraced for ever in it, except for someone who repents and believes, and acts in a honorable manner. God will replace their evil deeds with fine ones, since God is Forgiving, Merciful. Anyone who repents and acts honorably should turn to God in repentance, and those who will not bear false witness, and when they pass by [people] gossiping, pass by in a dignified manner, who whenever they are reminded of their Lord's signs, do not fall down deaf and blind [when reminded] of them; and [rather] who say: "Our Lord, bestow the comfort of our eyes on us in our spouses (min azwajina) and our offspring. Make us a model for those who do their duty." Those will be rewarded with the Mansion because they have been so patient, and welcomed there with greetings as well as "Peace [be on you]!", to live there for ever. How fine is such a residence and status! S. 25:68-76 T.B. Irving

As for HIM who giveth and is dutiful (toward Allah) And believeth in goodness; Surely We will ease HIS way unto the state of ease. But as for HIM who hoardeth and deemeth HIMSELF independent, And disbelieveth in goodness; Surely We will ease HIS way unto adversity. HIS riches will not save HIM when HE perisheth. Lo! Ours it is (to give) the guidance And lo! unto Us belong the latter portion and the former. Therefore have I warned you of the flaming Fire Which only the most wretched must endure, HE who denieth and turneth away. Far removed from it will be the RIGHTEOUS Who giveth HIS wealth that HE may grow (in goodness). And none hath with HIM any favour for reward, Except as seeking (to fulfill) the purpose of HIS Lord Most High. HE verily will be content. S. 92:5-21 Pickthall

Unless Zawadi wishes to argue that the above promises and warnings are directed ONLY to men, it is quite obvious that the use of masculine pronouns in no way rules out women; unless of course the context demands it.

This explains why this next translation rendered the stipulations of the treaty in the following manner, to account for the fact that part of the deal included returning back any woman who had defected to the Muslims:

… So the Messenger of God said, "Write: This is that whereon Muhammad b. ‘Abdallah has made peace with Suhayl b. ‘Amr. The two have agreed on these terms: that warfare shall be laid aside by the people for ten years, during which the people shall be safe and refrain from [attacking] each other; that, WHOEVER shall come to the Messenger of God from Quraysh WITHOUT THE PERMISSION of his guardian, [Muhammad] shall return him to them; that WHOEVER shall come to Quraysh from those who are with the Messenger of God, they shall not return him to [Muhammad] …" (The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, Volume VIII, p. 86; capital emphasis ours)

A more recent Muslim writer, the late Muhammad Asad, in his notes to Sura 60:10, basically agreed that women were included within the agreement between Muhammad and the pagans:

11 Under the terms of the Truce of Hudaybiyyah, concluded in the year 6 H. between the Prophet and the pagan Quraysh of Mecca, any Meccan minor or other person under guardianship who went over to the Muslims without the permission of his or HER guardian was to be returned to the Quraysh (see introductory note to surah 48). The Quraysh took this stipulation to include ALSO MARRIED WOMEN, whom they considered to be under the "guardianship" of their husbands. Accordingly, when several Meccan women embraced Islam against the will of their husbands and fled to Medina, the Quraysh demanded their forcible return to Mecca. This the Prophet refused on the grounds that married women did not fall within the category of "persons under guardianship". However, since there was always the possibility that some of these women had gone over to the Muslims not for reasons of faith but out of purely worldly considerations, the believers were enjoined to make sure of their sincerity; and so, the Prophet asked each of them: "Swear before God that thou didst not leave because of hatred of thy husband, or out of desire to go to another country, or in the hope of attaining to worldly advantages: swear before God that thou didst not leave for any reason save the love of God and His Apostle" (Tabari). Since God alone knows what is in the heart of a human being, a positive response of the woman concerned was to be regarded as the only humanly attainable - and, therefore, legally sufficient - proof of her sincerity. The fact that God alone is really aware of what is in a human being's heart is incorporated in the shar’i principle that any adult person's declaration of faith, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, makes it mandatory upon the community to accept that person - whether man or woman - as a Muslim on the basis of this declaration alone. (Source; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Notice the contradiction between Asad’s comments and that of al-Qurtubi’s. Al-Qurtubi asserted that women were not part of the deal, whereas Asad says that the only women exempted from the treaty were those that were married, which basically means that all other women were included! Asad even admits that according to the Quraysh the stipulations of the pact included all of the women, not just some. This shows that the people of Muhammad’s time clearly understood that women were included within the treaty.

Lest Zawadi thinks that Asad is alone in his position, we now quote what the late Abdullah Yusuf Ali said regarding this same issue:

Under the treaty of Hudaibiya [see Introduction to S. lxviii, paragraph 4, condition (3)], women under guardianship (INCLUDING MARRIED WOMEN), who fled from the Quraish in Makkah to the Prophet’s protection at Madinah WERE TO BE SENT BACK. But before this Ayat was issued, the Quraysh had already broken the treaty, and some instruction was necessary as to what the Madinah Muslims should do in those circumstances… (Ali, The Holy Qur’an: Translation and Commentary, p. 1534, fn. 5422 on Sura 60:10; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

And here is what he wrote regarding the conditions of the treaty:

4. A peaceful Treaty was therefore concluded, known as the Treaty of Hudaibiya. It stipulated: (1) that there was to be peace between the parties for ten years; (2) that any tribe or person was free to join either party or make an alliance with it; (3) that if a Quraish person from Mecca, under guardianship, should join the prophet without the guardian’s permission, he (OR SHE) should be sent back to the guardian, but in the contrary case, they should not be sent back; and (4) that the Prophet and his party were not to enter Mecca that year, but that they could enter unarmed the following year. (Ibid., introduction to Sura XLVIII (Fat-h), p. 1389; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Note the confusion. Ali says that the reason Muhammad refused to return the women is because the Quraysh had broken the treaty! So now which position is one to adopt, the one that says returning women that defected was not part of the conditions, or the one which claims that married women were exempted from the terms of the agreement, or this one which says that the Quraysh had broken the treaty and Muhammad was therefore no longer bound to keep the stipulations of the pact?

Yet, unfortunately for Zawadi, the foregoing does show that returning women to the pagans was part of the agreement. In fact, even Zawadi’s own quotations confirm this point. Let us repeat what Zawadi quoted, this time with added emphasis:

You see that what happened was that a woman from the tribe of Mecca came to Madinah. Her relatives came to take her back AND THEY TOLD THE PROPHET TO STICK WITH THE TREATY. However, the Prophet replied back saying that the treaty only said that escaping MEN should be returned and the treaty mentions nothing about women who escape.

Why would Umm Kulthum’s brothers demand that Muhammad return their sister in accord with the treaty if women were not included? The answer should be rather obvious, these men knew that the women were part of the agreement since they realized that there was nothing stated by the Arabic which ruled them out. They clearly understood from the language of the treaty that Muhammad had to return to the pagans any woman who had defected to the Muslim camp. Hence, Muhammad’s response was another example of his deceptive schemes against the pagans.

Moreover, another renowned Muslim commentator proposes a different reason why Muhammad refused to return the women back to their families, one which fully agrees with what Silas had written. Ibn Kathir wrote regarding Surah 60:10 that:

After Al-Hudaybiyyah, Emigrant Muslim Women may not be returned to the Disbelievers

In Surat Al-Fath, we related the story of the treaty at Al-Hudaybiyyah that was conducted between the Messenger of Allah and the disbelievers of Quraysh. In that treaty, there were these words, "Everyman (in another narration, EVERY PERSON) who reverts from our side to your side, should be returned to us, even if he is a follower of your religion." This was said by `Urwah, Ad-Dahhak, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd, Az-Zuhri, Muqatil bin Hayyan and As-Suddi.

So according to this narration, this Ayah specifies and explains the Sunnah. And this is the best case of understanding. Yet according to another view of some of the Salaf, it abrogates it.

Allah the Exalted and Most High ordered His faithful servants to test the faith of women who emigrate to them. When they are sure that they are faithful, they should not send them back to the disbelievers, for the disbelievers are not allowed for them and they are not allowed for the disbelievers. In the biography of `Abdullah bin Abi Ahmad bin Jahsh in Al-Musnad Al-Kabir, we also mentioned that `Abdullah bin Abi Ahmad said, "Umm Kulthum bint `Uqbah bin Abi Mu`ayt emigrated and her brothers, `Umarah and Al-Walid, went after her. They came to Allah’s Messenger and talked to him about Umm Kulthum and asked that she be returned to them. ALLAH ABOLISHED THE PART OF THE TREATY BETWEEN THE PROPHET AND THE IDOLATORS ABOUT THE WOMEN PARTICULARLY. So He forbade returning Muslim women to the idolators and revealed the Ayah about testing them" …

<Likewise do not keep disbelieving women,>

Then `Umar bin Al-Khattab divorced two of his wives, who were idolatresses, and one of them got married to Mu`awiyah bin Abi Sufyan, while the other got married to Safwan bin Umayyah.

Ibn Thawr narrated that Ma`mar said that Az-Zuhri said, "This Ayah was revealed to Allah's Messenger while he was in the area of Al-Hudaybiyyah, after making peace. He agreed that WHOEVER COMES from the Quraysh to his side, WILL BE RETURNED TO MAKKAH. When some women came, this Ayah was revealed. Allah commanded that the dowery that was paid to these women be returned to their husbands. Allah also ordered that if some Muslim women revert to the side of the idolators, the idolators should return their dowery to their Muslim husbands ... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) (Surat Al-Jathiyah to the end of Surat Al-Munafiqun), Volume 9, pp. 599-600, 602; online edition; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Notice that Ibn Kathir didn’t say that the stipulations agreed upon by the pagans and Muhammad did not include women. What he does say is THAT ALLAH ABOLISHED THAT PART OF THE TREATY! In other words, returning the women was part of the agreement that the pagans made with Muhammad, but what Muhammad did was deliberately break that stipulation on the grounds that Allah made him do it! Ibn Kathir even quotes another narration which says every person must be returned, not just every man, which confirms the point that by the word "man" the pagans meant everyone, not simply those of the male gender.

So, to correct Zawadi’s distortion, Allah did not reaffirm that the pact of Hudaibiyah did not include women. He actually abolished it! In the words of al-Tabari:

Ibn Ishaq added in his account: Umm Kulthum bt. ‘Uqbah b. Abi Mu‘ayt emigrated to the Messenger of God during that period. Her brothers, ‘Umarah and al-Walid b. ‘Uqbah, went to the Messenger of God to ask him to return her to them ACCORDING TO THE TREATY BETWEEN HIM AND QURAYSH AT AL-HUDAYBIYAH, BUT HE DID NOT DO SO: GOD HAD REJECTED IT. (Ibid., p. 92; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

 

My Response:

Notice when Sam quotes Ibn Kathir. Notice what is said:

 Surat Al-Fath, we related the story of the treaty at Al-Hudaybiyyah that was conducted between the Messenger of Allah and the disbelievers of Quraysh. In that treaty, there were these words, "Everyman (in another narration, EVERY PERSON) who reverts from....

Notice that there are narrations that state that the truce said, "Every MAN".

Even commentator Yusuf Ali states that the whole ordeal started after the Quraysh already broke the treaty.

Others such as Ibn Kathir and Asad might say otherwise.

Everyone has conflicting views and we cannot tell which one is correct. Even Sam Shamoun indirectly admits this when he says:

Note the confusion. Ali says that the reason Muhammad refused to return the women is because the Quraysh had broken the treaty! So now which position is one to adopt, the one that says returning women that defected was not part of the conditions, or the one which claims that married women were exempted from the terms of the agreement, or this one which says that the Quraysh had broken the treaty and Muhammad was therefore no longer bound to keep the stipulations of the pact?

So even according to Sam we cannot be sure about what truly did happen. This is all contradictory evidence. If evidence is contradictory then it is unreliable. Can unreliable evidence be sufficient enough to convict some body of a crime in a reliable court of law? No! So then it cannot be used in this case as well.

MAYBE Prophet Muhammad did not break the treaty and just MAYBE he did. But MAYBEs do not do and are not sufficient and hold absolutely no value.

Therefore, I await to see strong and reasonable evidence to convict the glorious Prophet Muhammad of such a crime.

 

 

Sam Shamoun replied back to this article and I replied back here 

 

Back to Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.

Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's section.

Bassam Zawadi's Rebuttals section.


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