Thursday, 8 March 2007

The Truce of Hudaybiah and The Story of Abu Jandal RA & Abu Basir RA

In the 6th year of Hijrah, the Prophet SAW along with his Companions RA left for Makkah to perform Umrah. The Quraish heard of the news and decided to resist the Prophet SAW's entry into Makkah even as a pilgrim, and so he (SAW) had to encamp at Hudaybiah.

The devoted Sahabah, 1 400 in number, were however determined to enter, even if it involved an open fight; but the Prophet Muhammad SAW viewed the matter differently and in spite of the Sahabah RA's eagerness to fight, Rasulullah SAW entered into a treaty with the Quraish, accepting their conditions in full.

This one-sided and seemingly ungraceful truce was very bitter for the Sahabah RA to swallow, but their devotion to the Prophet Muhammad SAW would not allow them to demur, and even the most valiant man like Umar RA could not but submit to his decision. According to one of the articles of the treaty, converts to Islam during the period of the truce were to be returned, but not so the deserters from Muslims to Quraish.

Abu Jandal RA, a Muslim in Makkah, was suffering great persecution at the hands of Quraish. They kept him constantly in chains. On hearing about the arrival of the Prophet SAW in Hudaybiah, he escaped somehow and managed to reach the Muslim camp at a time when the truce was just about to be signed. His father, Suhayl (till then a non-Muslim) was the envoy of Quraish in the negotiations for the truce. He smote Abu Jandal RA on his face and insisted on taking him back to Makkah.

The Prophet SAW represented that, since the truce had not till then been written, its application in Abu Jandal RA's case was premature. His father Suhail however would not listen to any argument and was not inclined to leave his son with the Muslims even at the personal request of the Prophet SAW, and would have forgone the truce even. Abu Jandal RA counting his hardships remonstrated at the top of his voice but, much to the grief of the Sahabah RA, the Prophet SAW agreed to his return. Rasulullah SAW however enjoined patience on him saying:

"Do not be distressed, Abu Jandal (RA), Allah will shortly open a way for you."

After the truce was signed and the Prophet SAW had returned to Madinah, another person from Makkah - Abu Basir RA escaped to Madinah and besought the Prophet Muhammad SAW's protection. The Prophet SAW refused to accept his implorations and, in deference to the truce condition, handed him over to the two persons who had been deputed by the Quraish to claim him. He, however, advised him as he had advised Abu Jandal RA to be patient and to hope for the help of Allah.

When Abu Basir RA and his escort were on their way back to Makkah, Abu Basir RA said to one of them:

"Friend, your sword is extremely fine."

The man was flattered and took it out from the sheath and said:

"Yes it is really very fine, and I have tried it on so many persons. You can have a look at it."

Most foolishly he made over the sword to Abu Basir RA, who immediately 'tried' it on its owner and killed him. The other man took to his heels and reached Madinah to report to the Prophet SAW. In the meantime Abu Basir RA also arrived. He said to the Prophet SAW:

"O Prophet of Allah, you once returned me and absolved yourself of the truce obligations. I had no obligations to fulfill and I managed my escape from them by this trick, as I was afraid of their forcing me to forsake my faith."

The Prophet SAW remarked: "You are a war-monger. I wish you could be helped."

Abu Basir RA came to understand from this that he would be returned to Quraish again when they demanded him. He therefore left Madinah and fled to a place in the desert on the sea shore. Abu Jandal RA also managed his escape and joined him there. More Muslims of Makkah followed, and in a few days quite a small group of such fugitives gathered in the wilderness. They had to undergo untold sufferings in the desert, where there was neither habitation nor vegetation. They, however, being bound by no treaty proved a great nuisance for the Quraish by dealing blows after blows on their caravans passing that way. This compelled the Quraish to approach the Prophet SAW and beseech him to intervene and call the fugitives to Madinah, so that they might be bound by the terms of the treaty like other Muslims, and the caravans might pass in safety.

It is said that Abu Basir RA was on his deathbed when the letter sent by the Prophet SAW permitting his return to Madinah reached him. He died while holding the Prophet SAW's letter in his hand.

No power on the earth can make a person forsake his faith, provided it is a true faith. Moreover, Allah has given an assurance to help those who are genuine Muslims.

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