Suhayl Ibn Amr

Suhayl Ibn AmrSuhayl Ibn Amr

At the Battle of Badr, when Suhayl fell into the hands of the Muslims as a prisoner, Umar ibn al-Khattab came up to the Prophet and said: “Messenger of God! Let me pull out the two middle incisors of Suhayl ibn Amr so that he would not stand up and be able to speak out against you after this day.”

“Certainly not, Umar,” cautioned the Prophet. “I would not mutilate anyone lest God mutilate me even though I am a Prophet.” And calling Umar closer to him, the blessed Prophet said:

“Umar, perhaps Suhayl will do something in the future which will please you.”

Suhayl ibn Amr was a prominent person among the Quraysh. He was clever and articulate and his opinion carried weight among his people. He was known as the khatib or spokesman and orator of the Quraysh. He was to play a major role in concluding the famous truce of Hudaybiyyah.

Towards the end of the sixth year after the Hijrah, the Prophet and about fifteen hundred of his Sahabah left Madinah for Makkah to perform Umrah. To make it known that they were coming in peace, the Muslims were not armed for battle and carried only their travellers swords. They also took with them animals for sacrifice to let it be known that they were really coming on pilgrimage.

The Quraysh learnt of their approach and immediately prepared to do battle with them. They vowed to themselves that they would never allow the Muslims to enter Makkah. Khalid ibn al-Walid was despatched at the head of a Quraysh cavalry force to cut off the approaching Muslims. Khalids army stood waiting for them at a place called Kara al-Ghamim.

The Prophet learnt in advance of Khalid’s position. Although committed to the struggle against them, he was keen not to have any encounter then with the Quraysh forces. He asked: “Is there any man who could take us (to Makkah) on a different route to avoid the Quraysh?”

A man from the Aslam tribe said he could and took the Muslims through the difficult terrain of Warah and then on fairly easy marches, finally approaching Makkah from the south. Khalid realized what the Muslims had done and returned frustrated to Makkah.

The Prophet camped near Hudaybiyyah and indicated that if the Quraysh would give any hint of a truce out of veneration for the sacred time and place, he would respond. The Quraysh sent Badil ibn Warqa with a group of men from the Khuzaah tribe to find out why the Muslims had come. Badil met the Prophet and when he returned to the Quraysh and informed them of the peaceful intentions of the Prophet and his companions, they did not believe him because they said he was from the Khuzaah who were allies of Muhammad. “Does Muhammad intend,” they asked, “to come upon us with his soldiers (in the guise of) performing Umrah? The Arabs would hear that he moved against us and entered Makkah by force white a state of war existed between us. By God this will never happen with our approval.”

The Quraysh then sent Halis ibn Alqamah, the chieftain of the Ahabish who were allies of the Quraysh. When the Prophet, peace be on him, saw Halis he said, “This man is from a people who think greatly of animal sacrifice. Drive the sacrificial animals in full view of him so that he can see them. This was done and Halis was greeted by the Muslims chanting the talbiyyah: “Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk.” On his return, Halis exclaimed: “Subhana Allah – Glory be to God. These people should not be prevented from entering Makkah. Can lepers and donkeys perform the Hajj while the son of alMuttaIib (Muhammad) be prevented from (visiting) the House of God? By the Lord of the Kabah, may the Quraysh be destroyed. These people have come to perform Umrah.”

When the Quraysh heard these words, they scoffed at him: “Sit down! You are only a nomad Arab. You have no knowledge of plots and intrigues.”

Urwah ibn Masud, the Thaqafi chieftain from Tail, was then sent out to assess the situation. He said to the Prophet: “O Muhammad! You have gathered all these people and have come back to your birthplace. The Quraysh have come out and pledged to God that you would not enter Makkah against them by force. By God, all these people might well desert you.” At that Abu Bakr went up to Urwah and said with disdain: “We desert him (Muhammad)? Woe to you.”

As Urwah was speaking, he touched the Prophet’s

beard and Mughirah ibn Shubah rapped his hand saying, “Take away your hand,” and Urwah retorted: “Woe to you! How crude and coarse you are.” The Prophet smiled. “Who is this man, O Muhammad?” asked Urwah. “This is your cousin, Al-Mughirah ibn Shubah.” “What perfidy!” Urwah hissed at Al-Mughirah and continued to insult him.

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