The Prophet’s Efforts to Remove The Obstacles Before His Call

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What is the prophets efforts to remove the obstacles?

“And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline)…” (al-Hajj 22; 18)

In our life it is impossible to make a lasting achievement without paying its price first. The greater the reward, the greater the price that will be paid. Just like the worldly gains the situation is same for the spiritual rewards. The price for the spiritual rewards might even be greater. Paradise and the manifestation of Allah are the greatest rewards a servant can attain. And their price is stated in the following verse:

“Allah has purchased of the Believers their persons and their goods; for their (in return) is the Garden (of Paradise): they fight in His Cause, and slay and are slain…” (al-Tawba 9; 111)

It is normal to have obstacles before any task needed to be done. One who intends to do a good deed should also take this fact into consideration. The obstacles will be great to the extent of the greatness of the deed.

The highest spiritual rank a human being can attain in this world is the rank of prophethood. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) who was divinely appointed to this task overcame these obstacles with the help of Allah the Almighty. His greatest task was to take all the obstacles away and deliver Allah’s Will to human beings. When performing this task, many fierce enemies that did not want people’s welfare appeared before the prophets. This is stated in a verse:

“Likewise did we make for every Messenger an enemy- evil ones among men and Jinns, inspiring each other with flowery discourses by way of deception. If your Lord had so planned, they would not have done it: so leave them and their inventions alone.” (al-An’am 6; 112)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) used the most appropriate methods to overcome the obstacles before his mission. First he endured all the tortures and oppressions of his and his followers’ enemies with patience and perseverance. After believers were permitted to fight against their enemies during the Medinan period, he began to employ struggle along with patience as a method for removing obstacles.

A. A Period of Patience and Perseverance

Obeying the following divine command:

“So proclaim that which thou art commanded, and withdraw from the idolaters.” (al-Hijr 15; 94) Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) began to invite people openly to believe in the Oneness of Allah. He knew no obstruction and presented no excuse in this matter. (Ibn Hisham, I, 275-276; Ibn Sa’d, I, 119)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was told that fighting was not allowed and councelled those who could not stand the oppression and asked permission from the Prophet (pbuh) to fight back with patience and perseverance. Below are some of the remarkable examples of oppressions that the Prophet and his followers faced during the Meccan period:

When the pilgrimage season was getting close, polytheists looked for ways to prevent the Prophet (pbuh) from conveying his message. They gathered in the house of Nadwa to decide what kind of slanderous lies they were going to tell about the Prophet. There were proposals to call him a soothsayer, lunatic, poet, or magician.

Walid b. Mughirah whom they consulted did not accept any one of the above and said:

“Calling him a magician is probably the most rational one because his words are like magic. It separates a person from his father, his brother, his wife, and his people.

Upon which the polytheists of Quraish called to the people of Mecca and tried to convince them that the Messenger of Allah was a magician. They insistently enjoined everybody they met not to meet and talk to the Prophet under any circumstances. (Ibn Hisham, I, 283-285)

The Prophet’s house was located between the houses of his worst enemies, i.e. Abu Lahab and Uqba b. Abi Muayt. They used to bring animal intestines and throw them in front of the Prophet’s house. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) would be saddened by what they were doing and reproach them saying:

“O Sons of Abdi Manaf! What kind of neighborliness is this?” and he pushed the animal parts away with his bow.

Abu Lahab would not be satisfied with this and he would throw stones at the Prophet (pbuh) from his house and from the house of his neighbor Adiy b. Hamra al-Thaqafi. (Ibn Sa’d, I, 201; Ibn al-Athir, Kamil, II, 70)

Abu Lahab’s wife Umm Jamil was among the fiercest enemies of the Prophet. She supported and helped her husband in his disbelief, denial and obstinacy. Umm Jamil used to collect thorny tree branches and make a pile from them. Then she would disperse these branches on the paths on which the Prophet used to walk in order to hurt him. Allah the Exalted revealed the surat Tabbat (111) about Abu Lahab and his wife Umm Jamila. When Umm Jamila heard about this Qur’anic chapter, she immediately went to the Ka’bah to see the Prophet and Abu Bakr. She had a stone in her hand.

When Abu Bakr saw her coming, he told the Prophet (pbuh):

“O Messenger of Allah! Umm Jamil is an evil woman. She is coming towards you. I fear she will do you harm I wish you would leave before she does something to you.”

Allah’s Messenger said that:

“She cannot see me.” Indeed Umm Jamil could not see the Prophet (pbuh). (Ibn Hisham, I, 378-379)

Non-believers of Quraish who did not like the Prophet used try to insult the Prophet (pbuh) by changing his name from Muhammad, meaning the praised one, to Mudhammam or the disparaged one. (Ibn Hanbal, II, 244; Ibn Hisham, I, 379)

When Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) went back to his home depressed by the insults of the disbelievers, Allah the Almighty diminished his pain through the comforting and consoling words of Khadijah (r. anha). (Ibn Hisham, I, 259)

Believers, too, had to endure troubles and show patience. Polytheists used to catch them and force them to wear extremely hot iron shirts, and lay them down under the burning sun and thus melting their body fat. By means of these tortures they were trying to make the believers say the things they wanted.

Every tribe from Quraish tried to force the believers to turn away from their religion by means of keeping them hungry and thirsty, beating them and throwing them into prison, and holding them under the burning sun during the hottest hours of the day. Some believers could not stand the tortures and left their religion. Some others resisted and Allah the Almighty protected them from abandoning Islam. Some of them gave their lives under such torture like Ammar b. Yasir’s father, mother, and sister.

Quraish’s idol worshipping population used to practice various kinds of torture depending on the person that they were torturing. Whenever Abu Jahl heard that a wealthy and strong person converted to Islam, he insulted, and threatened the man saying:

“Have you left your father’s religion? However, he was better than you. Do you disregard his views and dishonor him? We will not respect your view anymore and thus we will reveal its falsity and we will destroy your reputation.”

If the person who converted to Islam was a merchant, he would say to him:

“I swear we will ruin your trade and make you bankrupt.”

If the convert was a weak and poor person, he would beat him and try to deceive and draw him out of Islam.”

Once Abdullah b. Abbas (r. anhuma) was asked:

“Were the Companions of the Prophet ever tortured so much that they were allowed to deny their religion?” He replied:

“Yes, they were. By Allah, sometimes the polytheists beat the Companions and left them without food and water so much that they could not sit for a while and they would say whatever the polytheists wanted them to say. As soon as they recovered, they would return to the faith of Unity. The exception in the following verse is about those Companions:

“Anyone who, after accepting Faith in Allah, utters unbelief, except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith but such as open their breast to unbelief, on them is wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful penalty.” (al-Nahl 16; 106) (Ibn Hanbal, I, 404; Ibn Hisham, I, 339-343; Ibn Sa’d, III, 233)

When the torture in Mecca became unbearable, Muslims came to the Prophet (pbuh) and asked for a way to escape through migration. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) showed them Medina. Then they set off on a journey to Medina. (Ibn Sa’d, I, 226)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) and his Companions endured such torture and torment by patience and perseverance. They continued to live the Islamic faith and call everyone to live it, and conveyed the message of Islam without fighting by the sword.

B. The Period of Battles

The Polytheists of Quraish increased their attacks and denied the Messenger of Allah’s prophethood. They forced the Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions to leave their lands and migrate. Upon this Allah the Almighty had given the believers the ability to fight against them, and had also promised to help them in their fight against their oppressors. The first verse which permitted believers to fight reads as follows:

“To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged; and verily, Allah is Most Powerful for their aid; Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said: Our Lord is Allah…” (al-Hajj 22; 39-40)

In other verses, in addition to permission to fight, when believers need it, they are ordered to continue to fight until there is no oppression left on earth and until the only religion on earth becomes the religion of Allah:

“And fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.” (al-Baqara 2; 193)

“And fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere…” (al-Anfal 8; 39)

After the revelation of these Divine statements, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) organized military expeditions upon his enemies who prevented him from delivering Allah’s message to the people.

It has become obligatory upon believers to fight against tyrants who impede them from the path of Allah the Almighty. There are many verses and traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) commanding it. Allah the Almighty even describes fighting for His cause when it is necessary as the most profitable trade:

“O you who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous Penalty? That you believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that you strive (your utmost) in the cause of Allah, with your property and your persons: that will be best for you, if you but knew!” (al-Saff 61; 10-11)

When we examine the issue of jihad for the cause of Allah, we see that there are many other things which are considered its subcatogories. Purification of one’s soul and disciplining it is considered one type of jihad. (Tirmidhi, Jihad, 2) Fulfilling Allah’s commands and abstaining from His prohibitions is considered another type. (Nasai, Hajj, 4) Giving advice to a Muslim and conveying the rules of Islam to non-believers and persuading them through evidences are also among the types of fighting for the cause of Allah. (Ibn Hanbal, III, 456) Believers’ struggle to remove the obstacle before spreading Islam and protecting their religion, chastity, country, and property are also counted as part of striving for the sake of Allah.[1]

Therefore, jihad refers to all kinds of individual and social efforts to live according to the principles of Islam, to purify one’s soul and to exalt the Word of Allah. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Prophet’s twenty-three-year long prophethood was spent in order to realize this goal.

Islam means to submit oneself to Allah and to live in peace. Therefore, peace is the primary aim of our religion. If Muslims are able to achieve their goals without a fight, then they do not choose to fight. They even stop a war which is about to begin, if their opponent offers a peace agreement; because Allah the Almighty said in the Qur’an that:

“But if the enemy inclines towards peace, do you (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for he is the one that hears and knows (all things).” (al-Anfal 8; 61)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) also said:

“O people! Do not wish to meet the enemy, and ask Allah for safety, but when you face the enemy, be patient, and remember that Paradise is under the shades of swords.” (Bukhari, Jihad, 112)

The following speech given by the Prophet at Hudaibiya clearly shows that his aim was not to fight but to remove the temporary obstacles between people and guidance:

“Allah’s Apostle said, “We have not come to fight anyone, but to perform Umra. No doubt, the war has weakened Quraish and they have suffered great losses, so if they wish, I will conclude a truce with them, during which they should refrain from interfering between me and the people, and if I achieve victory over those people, Quraish will have the option of embracing Islam as the other people do, if they wish; they will at least get strong enough to fight. But if they do not accept the truce, by Allah in Whose hand my life is, I will fight with them defending my Cause till I am killed, but (I am sure) Allah will definitely make His Cause victorious…” (Bukhari, Shurut, 15)

These words which manifest the Prophet’s understanding of war shows that peace should be the constant state for humanity. Nevertheless, it is impossible to realize this goal because of the Divine laws established by Allah the Almighty in human and social life. Countries and nations begin to fight each other for different reasons and goals.

We can enumerate the reasons for believers to fight in the light of verses and traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) as follows.

Defense is the main reason to fight. The following verse attracts our attention to this point:

“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors.” (al-Baqarah 2; 190)

The second reason is to help weak Muslims who are being submitted to the non-believer’s attacks. This is also stated in a verse:

“And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill treated (and oppressed)? Whose cry is: our Lord rescues us from this town, whose people are oppressors! Oh, give us from Your presence some protecting friend! Oh, give us from Your presence some defender!” (al-Nisa 4; 75)

And the third one is to fight against those who defame Islam and create obstacles before believers to perform the requirements of their religion on earth. The following verses are about this matter:

“And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.” (al-Baqarah 2; 193)

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (al-Tawbah 9; 29)

The object of Islam in jihad is not to kill the enemies of Islam and cause people to hate the religion. In fact, the total amount of deaths in the battles of the Prophet (pbuh) was around 250 people. (Hamîdullah, Hz. Peygamber’in Savaşları, p. 21) The believer’s only goal is to exalt the Word of Allah and to guide people to the straight path by obtaining the rule and domination. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) expresses this goal on various occasions.

It was narrated by Abdullah b. Amr b. al-As (r.a.):

“When I asked:

“O Apostle of Allah, tell me about jihad and fighting.” He replied:

“O Abdullah! If you fight with endurance seeking your reward from Allah, Allah will resurrect you showing endurance and seeking your reward from Him, but, if you fight for showing off and pride seeking to acquire much, Allah will resurrect you in that state. In whatever state you fight or are killed, Abdullah ibn Amr, in that state Allah will resurrect you.” (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 24)

A bedouin came to the Prophet and asked,

“O Allah’s Apostle! What kind of fighting is for Allah’s cause?” I ask this, because some of us fight because of anger and some for the sake of pride and haughtiness.” The Prophet raised his head and said,

“He who fights so that Allah’s Word (Islam) should be superior, then he fights for Allah’s cause.” (Bukhari, Ilm, 45; Muslim, Imarah, 149-150)

In another instance a man asked the Prophet (pbuh):

“O Apostle of Allah! What do you say about a man who wishes to take part in jihad in Allah’s path desiring some worldly advantage?” The Prophet (pbuh) said:

“He will have no reward.” The people thought this was a harsh consequence, and they said to the man:

“Go back to the Apostle of Allah (pbuh), for you might not have made him understand well.” He, therefore, went and asked again:

“O Apostle of Allah! What do you say about a man who wishes to take part in jihad in Allah’s path desiring some worldly advantage? He replied:

“There is no reward for him.” The people again said to the man:

“Return to the Apostle of Allah. “He, therefore, asked the Prophet (pbuh) a third time. He replied:

“There is no reward for him.” (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 24)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) explained the goal of his efforts and his battles as follows:

“I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.” (Bukhari, Iman, 17)

This was why Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) would not attack the countries where adhan was called. (Bukhari, Adhan, 6) He also gave an order to his army:

“If you see a mosque or hear adhan in a place, do not touch anybody from its residents.” (Ibn Hanbal, III, 448-449)

Since his aim was to have people attain eternal salvation and give them a new life. An incident that reflecting this goal was narrated by Muslim b. Harith al-Tamimi as follows:

“The Apostle of Allah (pbuh) sent us on an expedition. When we reached the place of attack, I galloped my horse and outstripped my Companions. I saw women and children crying. I asked them:

“Would you like to save your lives?” They responded affirmatively. Then I said:

“Say “There is no god but Allah,” and you will be protected.” And they said it.

My Companions blamed me, saying:

“You deprived us of the booty.” When we came to the Apostle of Allah (pbuh), they told him what I had done.

So he called me, appreciating what I had done, and said:

“Allah has recorded for you so and so (a reward) for every man of them.” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 100-101)

When Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was going to send his army to battle, he would advise the commander of the army to be pious towards Allah and to treat the believers nicely. He would then tell them:

“Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war, do not embezzle the spoils; do not break your pledge; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children. When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withold yourself from doing them any harm.

1) Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them.

2) Then invite them to migrate from their lands to the land of Muhairs and inform them that, if they do so, they shall have all the privileges and obligations of the Muhajirs. If they refuse to migrate, tell them that they will have the status of Bedouin Muslims and will be subjected to the Commands of Allah like other Muslims, but they will not get any share from the spoils of war or Fai’ except when they actually fight with the Muslims (against the disbelievers). If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and do not touch them.

3) If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.” (Muslim, Jihad, 3; Ibn Hanbal, V, 352, 358)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) and his Companions presented the best way for the removal of obstacles before conveying the message of Islam. The Prophet (pbuh) attended twenty seven battles and organized thirty seven military expeditions in the ten-year-long Medinan period. (Hamidullah, Hz. Peygamber’in Savaşları, p. 21) In every battle and expedition he (pbuh) put up a struggle with his life and everything he had. He became the embodiment of bravery and solidity on the battlefield. He even became a shelter on the battlefield for his fearing Companions. Ali (r.a.) said that:

“When the battle intensified on the day of Badr, we hid behind the Prophet (pbuh). On that day he was the bravest one of all of us. There was not anybody who got closer to the enemy lines than him.” (Ibn Hanbal, I, 86)

On the day of Uhud believers were dispersed. Allah the Almighty had honored some of the Companions with martyrdom. Enemy soldiers got very close to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). The Prophet’s tooth was broken, his lips and face were bleeding. He fell into a hole which had been dug by Abu Amir as a trap for the Muslims. Ali (r.a.) held the Prophet’s hand and Talha b. Ubaidullah (r.a.) helped him to stand up, by this means they took the Prophet (pbuh) out of the hole.

By using his teeth Abu Ubaidah b. Jarrah extracted the piece of helmet sticking into Prophet’s face. One of his front teeth got broken, when he was doing this. It was an unbearable scene for the Companions so they asked the Prophet (pbuh):

“Why do you not curse the polytheists of Quraish?” Instead Allah’s Messenger prayed for them saying:

“I am not sent to curse. By contrast I am sent to invite all to the straight path and be a mercy for humankind. O Allah! Guide my people for they do not know.” (Bukhari, Maghazi, 20; In Hanbal, III, 201; Ibn Sa’d. III, 410)

Just like the Prophet (pbuh) his Companions also manifested many examples of bravery and sacrifice. Some of them were as follows:

Amr b. Jamuh (r.a.) was a crippled. His four sons used to attend the battles with the Prophet (pbuh). When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was going to Uhud, Amr wanted to go with him. He told his sons:

“Get me ready for the battle.” They replied:

“You are not obliged to fight. Allah the Almighty has excused you and we are going on behalf of you.” Amr told them:

“On the day of Badr you prevented me entering Paradise. By Allah even if I come back alive today, one day I will certainly become a martyr and enter Paradise.”

Then he turned to his wife and said:

“While everybody becomes a martyr and enters Paradise, am I going to sit here with you?” he picked up his shield and prayed:

“O Allah! Do not let me come back to my family.” Then he went to the Prophet (pbuh) and said:

“My sons want me to leave in Medina and prevent me to go with you and fight. By Allah I desire to be a martyr.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) told him:

“Allah the Almighty has excused you. It is not obligatory for you to fight.” Amr b. Jamuh (r.a.) responded:

“O Messenger of Allah (pbuh)! Do you not deem it suitable for me to fight and become a martyr?” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) told him:

“Yes, it is suitable for you.” then he turned to Amr’s sons:

“Do not hold him back. Hopefully Allah will bestow martyrdom on him.” Amr b. Jamuh faced the direction of the Qiblah and prayed:

“O Allah! Bestow martyrdom upon me. Do not make me return to my family sad and destitute.” He attended the battle and became a martyr. Later the Prophet (pbuh) told about him:

“By Allah in Whose hand is my existence, I saw Amr walking lame in Paradise.” (Waqidi, I, 264; Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah, IV, 208)

Once again Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) inspected the army on the way to Uhud. He allowed the young Companions, who were old enough to attend the war, to come and sent back those who were too young. Samura b. Jundab and Rafi’ b. Khadij were among those who were not allowed to participate.

Zuhair b. Rafi’ asked the Prophet (pbuh) to let Rafi’ stay in the army saying:

“O Messenger of Allah! Rafi’ is a good archer.” Rafi’ b. Khadij narrates the rest of the incident as follows:

“I had mast (inner shoes) on my feet. I tried to look longer by standing on tip of my toes. And so the Prophet (pbuh) allowed me to join the army. When Samura b. Jundab heard that I was allowed to stay, he told his step-father Murai b. Sinan:

“Father, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) let Rafi’ join the army, and he sent me back; but I can beat him at wrestling. Mutai (r.a.) talked to the Prophet (pbuh):

“O Messenger of Allah! You rejected my son but let Raf’’ stay although my son can defeat him at wrestling.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) turned to Rafi’ and Samura and said:

“Wrestle then.” They did and Samura won. After which the Prophet (pbuh) also let him join the army. (Tabari, Tarikh, II, 505-06; Waqidi, I, 216)

After the battle of Uhud ended, the enemies needed to be followed to make sure that they did not return. Jabir b. Abdullah told the Prophet (pbuh):

“O Allah’s Apostle! Someone announced that those who did not attend the battle yesterday are not allowed to join the following expedition, but I really want to attend. My father held me back to take care of my seven sisters and told me:

“O my son! None of us have any male relatives to whom to entrust your sisters. If we had, I would not prefer myself over you to go to fight. Why do not you stay with your sisters and take care of them?” Then Jabir continued:

“This is why I stayed back, please let me join the expedition this time.”

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) let nobody but him attend. (Waqidi, I, 336)

Despite their hardships, the Companions’ efforts to remove the obstacles before Islam had reached such high level that Allah the Almighty praised them in his sacred Book. During the preparations for the battle of Tabuk on the one hand there were believers crying because they were not able to attend the expedition due to their poverty and lack of an animal on which to ride. On the other hand, there were hypocrites making simple excuses in order to escape from it.

The poor believers asked for rides from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to join the expedition. When the Prophet (pbuh) told them:

“Unfortunately I cannot find any mount to give you” they went back crying. Then Allah the Almighty revealed the following verse about them:

“Nor (is there blame) on those who came to thee to be provided with mounts, and when you said, I can find no mounts for you, turned back, their eyes streaming with tears of grief that they had no resources wherewith to provide the expenses.” (al-Tawbah 9; 92)

When Abdurrahman b. Ka’b and Abdullah b. Mughaffal (r. anhum), two of the Companions who were praised by this verse, returned crying, Ibn Yamin (r.a.) asked them:

“Why are you crying?” They said:

“Hoping to get a ride, we went to the Messenger of Allah, but he could not find anything to give us. And we do not have any animals to ride and go on the expedition.” Ibn Yamin gave them a camel and some dates as provisions. Abbas (r.a.) also provided mounts for two of the crying Companions and Uthman (r.a.) gave mounts to three of them. Thus, they found the means to go to the expedition. (Ibn Hisham, IV, 172; Waqidi, III, 994) Later Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) provided mounts for some of them. (Bukhari, Maghazi, 78)

C. The Period of Peace

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) demonstrated patience and perseverance during the Meccan period and fought in battles during the early years of the Medinan period. Finally, in the sixth year of the Medinan period he got the opportunity to make peace with the treaty of Hudaibiyah. The climate of peace generated by the treaty was a turning point for Islam. Due to that Allah the Almighty called this treaty a “fath mubin or a clear victory.” (al-Fath 48; 1) When the Meccans did not allow the believers to circumambulate the Ka’bah at Hudaibiyah, believers got upset and wanted to fight them, but the Messenger of Allah told them to be patient and wait for the following year. When he called Hudaibiyah a great victory, one of his Companions grumbled:

“We were prevented from circumambulating the Ka’bah and slaughtering our animals in the Haram. The Messenger of Allah gave two new converts back to them. What kind of a victory is this?”

When the Prophet (pbuh) heard his complains, he explained how the peace would help Islam to spread saying:

“Yes, this treaty is a victory. The polytheists are content with you to come to their lands and to take care of your works and to be safe while coming and going back. They will learn Islam from you whom they did not want and did not like so far. Allah will make you victorious and you will come back safe and sound. This is the greatest of all victories.” (Halabi, II, 715)

Abu Bakr (r.a.) made the following evaluation about the treaty of Hudaibiyah:

“There had never been a greater victory in Islam than the treaty of Hudaibiyah, but the narrow- minded people opposed it. People were impatient about the matters between Allah and His Messenger (pbuh), but Allah the Almighty is not hasty in His actions and He does not do anything until it becomes the right time.” (Waqidi, II, 610; Halabi, II, 274)

Peace is always better and blessed. This is stated by Allah the Almighty as:

“…Peace is better…” (al-Nisa 4; 128) The climate of peace that emerged out of the treaty of Hudaibiyah brought many advantages for the spread of Islam just as the statement of this verse.

First of all, by this means the people of Quraish, who saw Muslims as minorities and hoped to erase them from the pages of history, had to formally acknowledge the Islamic state.

During the period of peace Islam found new opportunities and area to spread to. By this means, Muslims began to get together with polytheists, recite from the Qur’an to them, and talk to them about Islam. Moreover, those who kept their conversion secret were able to fearlessly announce it. (Ibn Qayyim, III, 309-310)

However, before then, the two parties were not able to see each other easily. After the treaty, the polytheists began to visit Medina and the believers were able to go to Mecca freely. They had the chance to visit their relatives and old friends. Thus, people were able to see the Prophet’s good manners, miracles, and the beauty of his path. They began to listen to the principles of Islam and advice from Muslims. The polytheists’ hearts softened and began to tend towards Islam and the desert bedouins waited for the people of Quraish to convert to Islam. (Qastallani, I, 168)

During this period, Islam spread all around Arabia and prominent polytheists, such as Amr b. al-As, Khalid b. Walid (r. anhum) and others, converted to Islam. (Waqidi, II, 624)

Representatives of Islam were able to go to different places in safety and found the opportunity to tell people about Islam. During this period the number of Muslims multiplied. Imam Zuhri explains the consequences of the Hudaibiyah treaty on the basis of the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) as follows:

“Before, Muslims and polytheists were fighting everywhere they met. After the treaty of Hudaibiyah they ceased to fight. A state of trust was established between the parties. They got the chance to meet and socialize and they even began to cooperate in various matters.

At the time, to whomever Islam was related they realized the Truth and embraced Islam after a short period of reflection. The number of those who converted to Islam in two years after the agreement reached and even surpassed the number of converts during the previous nineteen years.”

As Ibn Hisham noted:

“According to the narration of Jabir b. Abdullah, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) went to Hudaibiyah together with 1400 men. Two years later, during the conquest of Mecca, he had 10000 men with him. According to another report, the number was 12000 Muslims with 2000 men joining them on their way to Mecca. These numbers prove how exact Zuhri had been in his evaluation.” (Haythami, VI, 170; Ibn Hisham, III, 372)

Even though Meccans broke the agreement two years later, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) exerted great effort to keep the peace agreement. Even though he wanted to go for an expedition to Mecca, upon their violation of the agreement, he waited and took some strategic precautions to resolve the issue without shedding blood. First he told his Companions to get ready for an expedition but did not reveal his intentions and tell them where he was going to be. (Ibn Sa’d, II, 134)

Even Abu Bakr (r.a.), his best friend and partaker to his secrets, did not realize they were going to Mecca. He asked Aisha (r. anha), his daughter and the Prophet’s wife, where the campaign was going to be and she said:

“I do not know. Maybe he (the Holy Prophet) wants to go to Bani Sulaim, maybe to the people of Saqif, or maybe to the people of Hawazin.” (Ibn Hisham, IV, 14)

Once again Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) held the passages to prevent Meccans from making preparations to fight and thus to make possible a peaceful conquest. He did not let any news or agent go in and out of Mecca. Indeed, his following prayer also manifests this intention:

“O Allah! Hold the agents and messengers of Quraish and make them blind and deaf until we suddenly arrive at their lands. Blindfold the eyes of Quraish so that they may find us suddenly in front of them.” (Ibn Hisham, IV, 14)

After departing from Medina, the Muslim army stopped by some allied tribes on its way to deceive the people of Quraish. It traveled on a circle-shape route in order to hide its real destination. When it came close to Mecca, every soldier was ordered to light a separate fire in order to look larger. (Hamidullah, İslâm Peygamberi, I, 264-265)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) struggled for nineteen years to provide peace for Islam and Muslims. After gaining enough strength and power, he did not use them to destroy people and capture their lands but to open their hearts to Islam. Of course, this is what was expected from a Prophet who was sent as a mercy to the universe. Allah the Almighty emphasizes believers’ idea of war and peace as follows:

“Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish worship and pay the poor-due and enjoin kindness and forbid iniquity. And Allah’s is the sequel of events.” (al-Hajj 22; 41)

Even though Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) had the power to enter Mecca by force, his efforts to enter it peacefully is the most apparent proof in this matter, because his greatest wish was that all people, without exception, embrace Islam. Announcing a general amnesty after the conquest of Mecca, when he was at the peak of his military strength, was also another magnificent manifestation of this.

[1] See for the verses in this context al-Nisa (4; 95); al-Anfal (8; 72); al-Tawbah 9; 20, 41, 44, 81, 88. And see for the traditions Bukhari, Mazalim, 33; Muslim, Iman, 226; Abu Dawud, Sunnah, 29.

Source: The History of Prophets in Light of The Qur’an, THE CHAIN OF PROPHETS II, Osman Nuri TOPBAŞ, Erkam Publications

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