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The Journey for `Umrah

The Journey for `Umrah

The Journey for `Umrah

In the 6th year of Hegira, the Holy Prophet decided to go to Mecca for `Umrah (minor pilgrimage). Muslims could not go on such rituals since the emigration. This journey, besides spiritual phases, was a kind of religious demonstration. It attracted the Meccan pilgrims and showed the increasing number of the Holy Prophet’s followers. It also showed that the ceremonies of °ajj and `Umrah, which were significant religious events for the infidels, were also accepted by Mu¦ammad’s religion and was among its acts of worship. This fact had tremendous effects on their hearts and affections. If Quraysh tried to stop the ceremony of `Umrah, it would have a bad effect on the public opinion and this would be a disadvantage for them. Quraysh had always encouraged pilgrimage; they used to entertain the pilgrims—an act that they always recognized as point of honor. Now if they stopped the Muslim participants, this would bring forth people’s hatred.[1]

In Dh¢’l-Qa`dah, the Holy Prophet entered Mecca with eighteen hundred followers.[2] During this journey, he ordered his men to carry only one sword as weapon and take the sacrificial camels from Medina so that everybody could see that they did not intend to fight.

Quraysh became aware of the Holy Prophet’s decision to enter Mecca. For this purpose, they left the city with their military troops. The Holy Prophet unwillingly had to stop at the land of °udaybiyah. Quraysh sent several couriers to find out his intention. Each time, he informed them, “We have no intention to fight; we have come here to perform the ceremony of `Umrah.” However, Quraysh still made trouble for their entrance into Mecca.

The Ri¤w¡n Allegiance

Ultimately, the Holy Prophet sent `Uthm¡n ibn `Aff¡n to explain to Quraysh the Holy Prophet’s aims. It took long for `Uthm¡n to return. Rumors had it that he was killed.[3] Now, the Holy Prophet asked his men to gather under a tree to convene an allegiance for perseverance.[4] After this ceremony, it turned out that the rumor of `Uthm¡n’s death was not true. Since this allegiance was held under a tree and God was pleased with the believers who participated in it, this pledge of allegiance was called Ri¤w¡n (Pleasure) Allegiance or the Pledge of the Tree.[5]

The °udaybiyah Truce

After the fruitless return of `Uthm¡n, Suhayl ibn `Amr was sent to the Holy Prophet on the part of Quraysh for negotiation. He specified as a pre-condition of a conclusion of a truce that Muslims would not perform `Umrah that year.[6] This negotiation terminated in the convention of the famous °udaybiyah Truce that contained the following paragraphs:

(1) The two parties agree on ten-year ceasefire, protection of people’s security, refraining from molesting one another.

(2) Mu¦ammad and Muslims should not enter Mecca that year. The next year, Quraysh would leave Mecca for three days during which Muslims would enter there to perform `Umrah on condition that each Muslim could carry one sword only.[7]

(3) If an individual from Quraysh joins Mu¦ammad without his father’s consent, Mu¦ammad shall send him back to Mecca; but if one of Mu¦ammad’s followers joins Quraysh, he will never be sent back.

(4) Every tribe is free to enter into treaties with Mu¦ammad or Quraysh.[8]

(5) No party will betray the other or enter in a truce with the other party’s enemy and no party will practice any act of aggression against the other.

(6) Following the faith of Islam is free in Mecca and nobody is persecuted because of his belief.[9]

(7) Anyone of Mu¦ammad’s followers who enters Mecca for °ajj or `Umrah or for trade shall have his or her life and property protected.[10]

The Prophet’s Prediction

After reaching an agreement over the principles of truce, Imam `Al¢ wrote down the written form of the truce beginning with, ‘bismill¡hir-ra¦m¡nir-ra¦¢m (In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful)’. The representative of Quraysh objected to this statement and to the title of ‘ras£l all¡h (the Messenger of God)’ given to the Holy Prophet. It took them a long time to settle this dispute. Finally, the Holy Prophet consented to it after realizing its benefits. While Imam `Al¢ was erasing the statement, the Holy Prophet foretold him, “One day, this will happen to you and you will have to accept.”[11]

This prediction came true when Imam `Al¢ had to erase the title of ‘am¢r al-mu'min¢n (the Commander of the Believers)’ during the truce he had to sign with Mu`¡wiyah immediately after the Battle of ¯iff¢n.[12]

Bearings of the °udaybiyah Truce

Because they could not foresee the results, Muslims regarded this truce as loss.[13] Some of them insisted on the Holy Prophet not to sign it.[14] However, he predicted that this truce would carry numerous political and social benefits for Muslims some of which were the following:

(1) The enemy recognized Muslims and their creed through signing the truce. Before that, the unbelievers had never confessed Islam as an independent religion. Moreover, they always worked and wished for destroying this religion.

(2) The invulnerable wall between Muslims was broken by this truce. Due to opening a free passage between Mecca and Medina and the communications between the two parties, many unbelievers became Muslims after they had listened to the reasoning of Islam. The number of converts was more than the number of Muslims up to that point.[15] It is worth noting that the Holy Prophet’s followers during this journey numbered no more than 1800, but two years later and during the conquest of Mecca, the number was more than ten thousand. Considering this favorable situation for Muslims, Imam al-¯¡diq says,

“Two years after the °udaybiyah Truce, Islam was almost the prevailing religion of Mecca.”[16]

(3) Before the °udaybiyah Truce, the enmity and aggressions of Quraysh had not given a chance to the Holy Prophet to propagate his ideology inside and out side the Arabian Peninsula. After that, the Holy Prophet could liquidate the surroundings of Medina and dispatch several missionaries to different territories. Inviting the world leaders to Islam could take place only after the °udaybiyah Truce.

(4) This truce indirectly led to the seizure of Mecca because, in accordance with its forth paragraph, the alliance of tribes with Quraysh or Muslims was a matter of free choice and the tribe of Khuz¡`ah allied with Muslims. However, Quraysh attacked this tribe and thus breached the truce causing the Holy Prophet to seize Mecca.

Regarding such bright results, the °udaybiyah Truce can be seen as a great victory for Muslims. S£rah al-Fat¦ was revealed to the Holy Prophet when he was on his way to sign on this truce.[17] God called this treaty as a clear victory.[18]

[1] When Quraysh stopped the entrance of Muslims to Mecca, a great man of Mecca, named °ulays ibn `Alqamah, threatened that if they continued in this way, he would mobilize his tribe against them. See Ibn Hush¡m, Al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah 3:326; T¡r¢kh al-±abar¢  3:75; Mu¦ammad Ibn Sa`d, Al-±abaq¡t al-Kubr¡ 2:96; °alab¢, al-S¢rah al-°alabiyyah 2:696.

[2] Shaykh al-Kulayn¢, al-Raw¤ah min al-K¡f¢, pp. 322. The number of the Holy Prophet’s companions is said to have been seven hundred, or one thousand and three hundred, or four hundred and twenty-five, or six hundred. See al-S¢rah al-°alabiyyah 2:689; al-Magh¡z¢ 2:614; Al-±abaq¡t al-Kubr¡ 2:95, 98; T¡r¢kh al-±abar¢ 3:72; Ibn Hush¡m, al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah 3:332; Majma` al-Bay¡n 9:110.

[3] al-Magh¡z¢ 2:602.

[4] Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, pp. 330; ±abar¢, op cit, pp. 78; Ibn Sa`d, op cit, pp. 97, 99; al-Bul¡dhar¢, Ans¡b al-Ashr¡f 1:350; ±abars¢, I`l¡m al-War¡, pp. 96.

[5] The Holy Qur'¡n reads, “Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility on them and rewarded them with a near victory. (48:18)”

[6] ±abar¢, op cit, pp. 78; Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, pp. 331.

[7] On the basis of this paragraph, the Holy Prophet and Muslims had to perform the `Umrah ceremony in the seventh year of Hegira. It is thus called `Umrat al-Qa¤¡'.

[8] The tribe of Khuz¡`ah announced paid homage to the Muslims; while Ban£-Bakr convened a contract with Quraysh.

[9] ±abars¢, op cit, pp. 97; al-Bul¡dhar¢, op cit, pp. 350-351; Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, pp. 332; ±abars¢, I`l¡m al-War¡, pp. 97; al-Majlis¢, Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r 20:352; and see Al-±abaq¡t al-Kubr¡ 2:97, 101, 102.

[10] ±abars¢, I`l¡m al-War¡, pp. 97; °alab¢, al-S¢rah al-°alabiyyah, 2:77; al-Majlis¢, Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r 20:350, 352.

[11] ±abars¢, Majma` al-Bay¡n 9:118; al-Majlis¢, op cit, 20:334, 350.

For further information regarding the °udaybiyah Truce, see A¦mad Miy¡nj¢, Mak¡t¢b al-Ras£l 1:275, 287; Mu¦ammad °am¢dull¡h, Wath¡’iq, pp. 66, 68.

[12] Na¥r ibn Muz¡¦im, Waq`at ¯iff¢n, pp. 508-509; ±abars¢, op cit, pp. 97; Ibn W¡¤i¦, T¡r¢kh al-Ya`q£b¢ 2:179; al-Daynawar¢, al-Akhb¡r al-±iw¡l, pp. 194; Ibn al-Ath¢r, al-K¡mil f¢’l-T¡r¢kh 3:32; °alab¢, op cit, pp. 708.

[13] al-Majlis¢, op cit, 20:350.

[14] al-W¡qid¢, al-Magh¡z¢ 2:607; Ibn Hush¡m, al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah 3:331; T¡r¢kh al-±abar¢ 3:97; °alab¢, al-S¢rah al-°alabiyyah 2:706. The explicit opposition of some Muslims to the Holy Prophet's resolution was a sign of obstinacy on their part towards him. This issue was repeated several times by some of them and this was the source of many bitter events in the history of Islam. This is in contrast with the view that Muslims should be obedient to God's commands. God says in this regard: “And it behooves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Apostle have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Apostle, he surely strays off a manifest straying.” (Qur’¡n 33:36)

[15] Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 3:336; ±abar¢, op cit, 3:81; °alab¢, op cit, 2:721.

[16] ±abars¢, I`l¡m al-War¡, pp. 98; al-Majlis¢, Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r 20:363.

[17] Ibn Sa`d, op cit, 2:104, 105; Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 3:334; ±abars¢, I`l¡m al-War¡, pp. 98; °alab¢, op cit, pp. 714.

[18] “Surely, we have given to you a clear victory. (48:1)

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