Suhayl Ibn Amr

Urwah then surveyed the companions of the Prophet. He saw that whenever he gave them an order, they hastened to carry it out. When he made ablutions they vied with one another to help him. When they spoke in his presence, they lowered their voices, and they did not look him in the eye out of respect for him.

Back with the Quraysh, Urwah showed that he was obviously impressed: “By God, O people of the Quraysh, I have been to Chosroes in his kingdom and I have seen Caesar the Byzantine emperor in the plenitude of his power, but never have I seen a king among his people like Muhammad among his companions. I have seen a people who would not abandon him for anything. Reconsider your position. He is presenting you with right guidance. Accept what he has presented to you. I advise you sincerely… I fear that you will never gain victory over him.”

“Don’t speak like that,” said the Quraysh. “We will have him go back this year and he can return in the future.” Meanwhile, the Prophet summoned Uthman ibn Affan and sent him to the Quraysh leaders to inform them of his purpose in coming to Makkah and to ask their permission for the MusIims to visit their relatives. Uthman was also to cheer up the Mustadafin among the Muslims who still lived in Makkah and inform them that liberation would not be long in coming…

Uthman delivered the Prophet’s message to the Quraysh and they repeated their determination not to allow the Prophet to enter Makkah. They suggested that Uthman could make tawaf around the Kabah but he replied that he would not make tawaf while the Messenger of God was prevented from doing so. They then took Uthman into custody and a rumor spread that he was killed. When the Prophet heard this, his attitude changed.

“We shall not depart,” he said, “until we fight.” He summoned the Muslims to take bayah, an oath of allegiance, to fight. The herald cried out: “O people, al-bayah, al-bayah.” They flocked to the Prophet as he sat under a tree and swore allegiance to him that they would fight. Soon after however, the Prophet ascertained that the rumor was false.

It was at this point that the Quraysh sent Suhayl ibn Amr to the Messenger of God with the brief to negotiate and persuade the Prophet to return to Madinah without entering Makkah. Suhayl was chosen no doubt because of his persuasiveness, his toughness and his alertness major qualities of a good negotiator. When the Prophet saw Suhayl approaching, he immediately guessed the change in the position of the Quraysh. “The people want reconciliation. That’s why they have sent this man.”

The talks between the Prophet and Suhayl continued for long until finally agreement was reached in principle. Umar and others were very upset with the terms of the agreement which they considered to be harmful to the cause of Islam and a defeat for the Muslims. The Prophet assured them that this was not the case and that he would never go against the command of God and that God would not neglect him. He then called Ali ibn Abi Talib to write down the terms of the treaty: “Write: Bismillahi-r Rahmani-r Rahim.” “I don’t know this (phrase)”, interjected Suhayl. “Write instead ‘Bismika Allahumma – In Your name, O Allah.”

The Prophet conceded and instructed Ali to write ‘Bismika Allahumma.’ He then said: “Write: ‘This is what has been agreed between Muhammad the Messenger of God and Suhayl ibn Amr…” Suhayl objected: “If I had testified that you were indeed the Messenger of God, I would not be fighting you. Write instead you name and the name of your father.” So the Prophet again conceded this and instructed Ali to write: ‘This is what has been agreed upon by Muhammad the son of Abdullah and Suhayl ibn Amr. They have agreed to suspend war for ten years in which people would enjoy security and would refrain from (harming) one another. Also, that whoever from among the Quraysh should come to Muhammad without the permission of his wali (legal guardian), Muhammad would send him back to them and that if any who is with Muhammad should come to the Quraysh, they would not send him back to him.

Suhayl had managed to save the Makkans face. He had attempted to and got as much as possible for the Quraysh in the negotiations. Of course he was assisted in this by the noble tolerance of the Prophet.

Two years of the Hudaybiyyah treaty elapsed during which the Muslims enjoyed a respite from the Quraysh and were freed to concentrate on other matters. In the eighth year after the Hijrah however the Quraysh broke the terms of the treaty by supporting the Banu Bakr in a bloody aggression against the Khuzaah who had chosen to be allies of the Prophet.

Page 2 of 4 | Previous page | Next page