Username : Password :
  New User?   Forgot Password?  
 Home | Learn | FAQ | Participate |
  :: Letter & Treattes
  Letters to Monarchs
  The Treaties
  The Treaties  
The Prophet Muhammad made many treaties with the local tribes and the chiefs of states the surrounding the Arabian Peninsula and very strictly adhered to the terms of his treaties. When once he entered into any with anyone he was never first to break the treaty. This was one of the cardinal principles of his policy. He always honoured his promises and pacts with other people and advised his followers to do the same. He always enjoined upon his commanders not to break their trust. The Qur'an commands:

"O you who believe! Fulfil all your obligations (and trusts)." [Qur'an 5:1]

The obligations of treaties and pacts are of far more significance than promises made to individuals. The Qur'an therefore lays great emphasis on the believers to honour them:

"You should not take friends from among them (the hypocrites) unless they migrate in the Way of Allah; and if they do not migrate, then seize them wherever you find them and slay them and do not take any of them as friends and helpers. However, those hypocrites are excepted who join a people who are allied to you by treaty." [Qur'an 4:89-90]

When Muhammad came to Medinah, he found himself confronted with many problems, internally as well as externally. He was faced with aggression from the Quraish and subversion and revolt from the hypocrites and the Jews of Medinah. Shortly thereafter, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) got a written document, which bound the Muhaajirun and the Ansaars to a friendly agreement. The covenant made the Jews a party to the treaty that guarantees them the freedom of their rights and obligations. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. p. 501). He mice pacts and treaties of diverse natures with the Jews, but the most significant agreement which the Prophet signed was with the Jews of Medinah. It was not only an agreement with them but a proclamation on the part of the Prophet. It permanently established the central authority of the Islamic State of Medinah as well as that of Muhammad as the chief administrator and ruler. It also established the rule of law in the country with one legal authority and one law for all people. The main provisions of this agreement are as follows. (Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, pp231-235).

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Gracious.

  1. This is a document from Muhammad the Prophet governing the relations between the believers and Muslims of the Quraish and Yathrib and those who followed them and joined them and laboured (fought) with them.

  2. They are one community (Ummah) to the exclusion of all other people.

  3. The muhajirun of the Quraish, according to their present custom, shall pay the blood-money within their own number and shall redeem their prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers (ma'ruf).

  4. The Banu Auf, according to their present custom, shall pay the blood money they paid in times of ignorance; every section shall redeem its prisoners with the kindness and justice common among believers.

  5. The Banu Sa'idah, the Banu Harithah, the Banu Jusham and the Banu Najjar likewise.

  6. The Banu Amr bin Auf, the Banu al-Nabit and the Banu al-Aus likewise.

  7. Believers shall not leave anyone destitute among them by not paying his redemption money or blood money in kindness.

  8. A believer shall not take away the c freedom of another Muslim against his will.

  9. The God-fearing believers shall be, against the rebellious or him who seeks to spread injustice, or sin or enmity, or corruption between believers; the hand of every man shall be against him even if he be a son of one of them.

  10. A believer shall not slay a believer for the sake of an unbeliever nor shall he aid an unbeliever against a believer.

  11. Allah's protection (dhimmah) is one; the least (adna) of them may give protection to a stranger on their behalf. The believers are friends (mawali) one to the other to the exclusion of other people.

  12. To the Jew who follows us belong help and equality. He shall not be wronged nor shall his enemies be aided.

  13. The peace of the believers is indivisible. No separate peace shall be made when believers are fighting in the Way of Allah.

  14. Conditions must be fair and equitable to all (in all peace treaties).

  15. In every party, a rider must take another behind him (while doing military duties).

  16. The believers must avenge the blood of one another shed in the Way of Allah. The God-fearing believers enjoy the best and most upright guidance.

  17. No polytheist shall take the property or person of a Quraish under his protection nor shall he intervene against a believer.

  18. Whoever is convicted of killing a believer without just cause shall be subject to retaliation, unless the next of kin is satisfied (with blood-money), and the believers shall be against him as one man, and they are bound to take action against him.

  19. It shall not be lawful for a believer who has agreed to what is in this document and believes in Allah and the Last Day to help an evil-doer or to shelter him. The curse of Allah and His Anger on the Day of Resurrection will be upon him if he does, and neither repentance nor ransom will be accepted from him.

  20. Whenever there is a difference of opinion about anything, it must be referred to Allah and Muhammad for a final decision.

  21. The Jews shall contribute to the cost of war as long as they are fighting alongside the believers.

  22. The Jews of the Banu Auf are one community with the believers (the Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs'), their freedmen and their persons except those who behave unjustly or sinfully, for they hurt but themselves and their families.

  23. The same applies to the Jews of the Banu al-Najjar, Banu al-Harith, Banu Sa'idah, Banu Jusham, Banu al-Aus, Banu Thalabah and the Jafnah, a clan of the Thalabah and the Banu al-Shutaibah.

  24. Loyalty is a protection against treachery. The freedmen of Thalabah are as themselves. The close friends of the Jews are as themselves.

  25. None of (the believers)? shall go to war, except with the permission of Muhammad, but he shall not be prevented from taking revenge for a wound.

  26. He who slays a man without warning slays himself and his household, unless it be one who has wronged him, for Allah will accept that.

  27. The Jews must bear their expenses and the Muslims their expenses.

  28. Each must help the other against anyone who attacks the people of this document.

  29. They must seek mutual advice and consultation, and loyalty is a protection against treachery.

  30. A man is not liable for his ally's misdeeds.

  31. The wronged must be helped.

  32. The Jews must bear expenses along with the believers so long as war lasts.

  33. The valley of Yathrib shall be a sanctuary for the people of this document.

  34. A stranger under protection (jar) shall be as his host so long as he does no harm and commits no crime. A woman shall only be given protection with the consent of her family.

  35. If any dispute or controversy likely to cause trouble should arise it must be referred to Allah and to Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah. Allah accepts what is nearest to piety and goodness in this document.

  36. Quraish and their helpers shall not be given protection,

  37. The contracting parties are bound to help one another against any attack on Yathrib.

  38. If they are called to make peace and maintain it, they must do so; and if they make a similar demand on the Muslims, it must be carried out, except in the case of the Jihad.

  39. Everyone shall have his portion from the side to which he belongs; the Jews of al Aus, their freedmen and themselves have the same standing with the people of this document in pure loyalty from the people of this document. Loyalty is a protection against treachery. He who acquires anything acquires it for himself.

  40. Allah approves of this document. This deed will not protect the unjust and the sinner. The man who goes forth to fight or the man who stays at home in the city is safe unless he has been unjust and a sinner. Allah is the Protector of the good and the Cod-man and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

This was a historic, which brought revolutionary changes in the body politic of the City of Medinah and gave it new status. The main achievements of the document are summarized below.

  1. It gave definite rights and duties to the participants in the document. The Muslims (the ansar and the muhajirun) and the Jews and their allies and helpers were all given these rights equally. Thus it was truly a Charter of Rights and Duties of the people of Medinah and the surrounding areas.

  2. It established the authority of the central government of Medinah over Medinah and the surrounding areas.

  3. Muhammad was now recognised as the undisputed ruler and leader of the people, including the Jews. He was established as the head of the legislative, executive and judicial powers and the final authority in all matters.

  4. The Jews not only accepted Muhammad as sovereign but also recognised Medinah as a sanctuary (a sacred city) like Makkah. They also accepted him as the final authority in all judicial matters and his decisions were to be accepted by all.

  5. This document introduced a novel idea into politics. It brought morality into politics against all material and secular attitudes. Allah was recognized as the source of all Authority and Law and Muhammad was recognised as the Messenger of Allah and as His agent.

  6. It established the rule of law in the country. One Jaw was applied to all, irrespective of caste, creed, colour or race, and even Muhammad himself was not excluded. And interference with law in any form was strictly forbidden. Muslims and Jews and others were treated in the same manner before the law and no distinction was made in such matters.

  7. Another revolutionary step was the establishment of one community {Ummah) out of the heterogeneous nature and structure of the multiracial society. The Muslims, the Jews and their allies were knit together into one community with one authority and one law for all as against the rest of the world. Thus the idea of oneness infused a spirit of unity and solidarity among the peoples of Medinah and made them one solid cemented structure against their enemies.

  8. It also established Muhammad as commander of the allied forces in case of war.

  9. It gave everybody equality and freedom of action and joined them together in the ties of human brother hood. Thus it brought them all onto an equal level: the ansar and the muhajirun, the Jews and their allies and helpers were now politically and culturally equal.

  10. It also made the matter of war and peace the exclusive concern of the central authority of Medinah. In other words, Muhammad was given the absolute right and power to declare war against, or make peace with, any tribe or power. The Jews and others had no right or power to declare war against, or make peace with, any outside power.

  11. Military service was made compulsory and every citizen was required to take part in it.

  12. It also made it obligatory for all Muslims and Jews to help one another in war and peace as well as in adversity and plenty.

  13. In all judicial matters, the decision of the Prophet was final.

  14. The right of seeking revenge was transferred from individuals to the central authority. The individual could no longer take the law into his own hands, and had to go to the central authority.

  15. It clearly forbade all participants in this document to give any kind of help or protection to the Quraish of Makkah. The Jews did not honour this clause of the document.

Then, in the sixth year of the Hijrah, the peace of Hudaibiyah was signed between the Prophet and the Quraish on the following terms.
  1. They agreed to suspend war for ten years during which time people will keep the peace and will not obstruct others. The Quraish will not wage war against the Muslims nor help others against them, but wal remain neutral in case of Muslims fighting a third party.

  2. There will be no secret stealing and misappropriation.

  3. Whoever wants to enter into a pact with Muhammad and conclude a treaty with him can do so. And whoever wants to enter into a pact with the Quraish and conclude a treaty with them can do so.

  4. Whoever comes to Muhammad without permission of his guardian will be returned and whoever comes to the Quraish from the companions of the Prophet will not be returned.

  5. Muhammad will go back this year with his companions and will enter the Ka'bah next year with his companions. He will stay there for three days and he will not enter with arms except the arms carried by travelers-swords in sheaths.

The terms of the treaty were apparently favourable to Quraish and many of the Companions did not like it but the Prophet was satisfied that it would open new horizons for the Muslims to spread their Message among Quraish and other Arabs. And it truly proved to be the greatest political victory of Muhammad, which was not won by fighting but by peaceful means. It is confirmed by the Qur'an in these words:

"Truly We have given you (O Muhammad) a signal victory." [Qur'an 48 :1]

The events that followed proved that the truce of Hudaybia was decisive step in gaining victory after victory for Islam. The trader-statement of Mecca had gloated over their part, had been led accept the seemingly inglorious terms of the treaty simply because of their faith in the Apostle. Both the parties oversoon found Islam found Islam making rapid strides in the Arabian Peninsula. It opened the door to the occupation of Mecca and, before long, it became possible to send deputation of Mecca for inviting the Caesar and the Chosroes and the Negus to accept Islam. The revelation of God had come true.

"Though it is hateful unto you; but it may be happen that ye hate a thin which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not." [Qur'an 2:216]

One of the advantages issuing from the truce was that the Muslims were no longer reckoned as exiles and outlaws, but regarded as a community worthy of the attention of the Quraysh with whom they had made a treaty as equals. The alliance conceded the rightful place to the Muslims they deserved in the Arabian body politic. And, perhaps, even more important was the atmosphere of peace and tranquility. The unending war of attrition so long carried on by the Muslims for their existence, had been dissipating their vigour and strength which could now be availed of for taking the message of Islam to the unhostile or rather ambivalent tribes of the desert. The truce provided an opportunity to the Muslims to meet and indulge in conversation and discussion with the tribes thus far hostile and beauties and virtues of Islam. They now began to discover how people who ate their food, wore their dresses and spoke their language, and were born and brought up in Mecca like them, had, in a few years, been changed into new class of people disdaining the corruption of polytheism and idol worship, hating tribal pride, vengeance and lust for blood and rapine and had begun to take the path of virtue and justice. They could now clearly see that his change of heart had been brought about by the teachings of Islam and the guidance of the Apostle of God.

Thus, within a year of the truce, as many Arabs embraced the faith of the Prophet as had not entered Islam during the last fifteen years.

"There was never a victory in Islam," says Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri," greater than this. When the armistice came and war laid down its burdens, people began to meet in safety and converse together. And no intelligent man was apprised of Islam who did not enter it. Within two years of the truce as many as those, as had entered it before, embraced Islam, or even more." (Ibn Hisham, Vol. 2, pp.322)

Ibn Hisham says, "al-Zuhri's assertion is demonstrated by the fact that the Apostle went to Hudaybia with 1, 400 men according to jabir b. 'Abdallah but two years later the Apostle marched with 10, 000 men for the conquest of Mecca." (Ibid)

Those Muslims who had been left behind in Mecca for one reason or thother were harassed and persecuted by the Quraysh, but now they succeeded, after the conclusion of the , to convert a considerable number of youngmen to their faith until the Quraysh began to consider them as a new menace. These youngmen joined the band of Abu Basir which proved himself to be a new sword-arm of Islam, even more dangerous to Quraysh were forced to beg the Apostle to call these men back to Medina. To this the Apostle agreed, and thus ended the distress of these poor men. All this came to happen as a result of the treaty of Hudaybia. (Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. 1, pp. 388-389)

The Attitude of peace and amicableness displayed by the Apostle on this occasion, which demonstrated his exemplary patience and moderation, did not fail to impress the tribes which joined their faith to Islam. They were led to hold a high opinion of Islam and to love and revere it, which by itself, created a wholesome atmosphere for its rapid expansion without any conscious effort on the part of the Prophet or the Muslims.

Quraish made a peace treaty with Muhammad but were the first to break it and then tried to renew it, but Muhammad refused even to see their envoy, who had quietly come to Medinah for this purpose. There is not a single example where Muhammad made a treaty and then broke it. He made treaties to establish peace in ' the country, for his main aim was peace. It was Quraish who first forced him to leave his hometown and then began war preparations against him. Likewise, he was the one who took the initiative in forming a confederation between the Jews and the ansar against foreign invaders in order to insure peaceful existence between all the people in the city. The Jews were the first to break the terms of the agreement and when Muhammad reminded them of their mutual obligations they insulted him and behaved insolently.

Another thing to remember in such agreements is that when the other party proves treacherous (8:58) or violates the terms of the agreement (9:7-8), then it must be openly thrown back to them and made clear to them that there is no longer a state of peace. According to the verse, if you want to break a treaty for the reasons mentioned above, then you must "throw their treaty openly before them." It is thus "unlawful to make a unilateral decision to terminate an agreement, even if the Muslims feel that the other party is not observing the terms strictly and properly, or if they are afraid that the other party will turn treacherous at the first opportunity." Therefore it forbids them to treat the other party in a way that implies that there has been no treaty with them at all. On the other hand, this verse binds the Muslims to inform the other party in clear words, before taking any steps against it, that the treaty with it has been terminated. This is essential, so that the other party should have no misunderstanding whatsoever that the treaty is still in force.

The Prophet based the international policy of Islam on this verse. He decreed, He who has made a treaty with another party is bound by it until the expiry of its term. Or, if obliged to, he should throw it before the other party, so that both may be set on an equal footing." Then he extended the same principle to all other matters, saying, "Behave not treacherously, even towards those who are treacherous to you." And he impressed this principle so deeply on their minds that it was observed most strictly, both in spirit and in letter." (9) There is, however, an exception to the above principle. "When the enemy has actually violated the treaty openly, the treaty is understood to have been abrogated and cancelled. In such circumstances, there is no need to throw their treaty openly before them," because the other party, by violating its terms, has clearly shown that the treaty is no longer binding unless it is re-negotiated. It may, however, be pointed out that the violation of the treaty on the part of the enemy must be open and glaring, about which there should be no doubt in the minds of the other party.

Muhammad observed this principle very strictly in all his agreements. In the case of the Jews of Medinah, he went himself or sent someone to remind them of their mutual obligations and to confirm their position regarding the agreement. He did this every time they violated the terms of their agreement. When the other party showed openly by their action that they did not care for him or for his agreements, only then was action taken against them. There is only one exception to this. It was in the case of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah with the Quraish. They had openly broken the terms of it by attacking and killing mercilessly men of the Banu Khuza'ah, who were allies of the Muslims, in the Ka'bah. Muhammad, therefore, felt no need to give them any notice of abrogation before attacking them. The following circumstances regarding the Quraish action in violating the pact justified Muhammad's retaliatory action against them.(9)

First, "The violation of the treaty by Quraish was so glaring that there was absolutely no doubt that there had been a breach and they themselves confessed that the treaty had come to an end. That is why they sent Abu Sufyan to al-Medinah to renew it. Though that was a proof that they knew the treaty had come to an end, it does not imply that an exception to the principle is justifiable only if those who violate the treaty know it and confess it. The exception is justifiable if the violation is quite clear to everybody and beyond doubt.

Second, after the violation of the treaty, the Holy Prophet did not indicate in any way whatever by word or by deed or by implication that in spite of the violation of the treaty by them he regarded the treaty to be still in force; nor did he continue such relations with them as might indicate the same. All the traditions show that he rejected the offer of renewal of the treaty made by Abu Sufyan.

Third, he openly took military action against the Quraish and did nothing at all to show an outward display of peace, while harbouring secret intentions of war."

Thus the Prophet set an example by his own action that all treaties are to be observed and respected until violated by the enemy. In that case, it is for the Muslim State to negotiate a new treaty, or take other necessary steps according to the nature of the situation. Thus this verse also outlines the general principles which govern foreign policy in the Islamic state.
  1. Muslims must wage war against people who make treaties with them then break them when it suits their interest. This includes people who make treaties with the Muslims agreeing to obey their law and then rebel against the Muslim State.

  2. People who keep their treaty with the Muslims but have such a hostile and unfriendly attitude that there is always a danger from them to the Muslims and their faith: in such cases, a Muslims must openly break their treaty with them and inform them about this and then take proper action against them.

  3. People who repeatedly break their treaties with the Muslims so that their treaties lose all significance, and who ignore all rules of morality and humanity in damaging the interests of Muslims: Muslims are commanded to declare open war with them until they repent and accept submission to the Islamic State.
Copyright © 2007 Islam Vision
:::| powered by dimakh consultants |:::