Did The Treaty Of Hudaybiyyah Include Women?

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Kaleef K. Karim

Recently we published two piece articles on the Hadith report, which says,

“I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah…”

We showed from some of the earliest sources available to us that these words were uttered in connection with Quraysh idolaters who broke the treaty with the Prophet Muhammed and his non-Muslim ally the Banu Khuza’a. We showed that it was the Quraysh idolaters with Banu Bakr who broke the treaty first. They attacked and murdered members of Muhammed’s non-Muslim ally the Banu Khuza’a tribe. As such, this led to Prophet Muhammed to engage the enemy, which led to the conquest of Makkah. We showed from the Sirah and Maghazi literature that no one was forcefully converted. The Hadith itself refuted this very claim when we investigated it. If any reader would like to know more information about this incident, please click on the following articles: “The Hadith ‘…Fight Until They Say There Is No god But Allah’ Explained”, and here: “Revisiting ‘I Have Been Commanded To Fight…’ Hadith

As the articles on the above Hadith were published, we had some critics point out to us, that it was actually Prophet Muhammed (p) who broke the treaty, not the Quraysh idolaters, they claimed. The tone of some of the individuals to put the blame on the Prophet (p) and his non-Muslim ally is a feature among online critics to paint the Muslims as evil, bad and the persecutor as the victims. This is a common feature among online critics and orientalists to paint the persecutors, and warmongers as victims, while at the same time the Muslims defending themselves and the lives of others as the bad party.

For example, when the Quraysh persecuted Muslims for over ten years, critics try to bypass this by saying that Muhammed and the Muslims should have just kept their mouths shut and accept that they are not allowed to speak about Monotheism or criticise polytheistic beliefs. As such, they say that Muhammed and his followers being persecuted, tortured, imprisoned and even murdered was justified by their logic because Muhammed should not have exercised his free speech. Yes according to some critics, writers, merely criticising a belief system justifies the Muslims, 1300 years ago being persecuted, tortured, imprisoned and even murdered. Even when the Muslims left Madinah to find safe sanctuary, they were pursued once more, persecuted and attacked: “Did Quraysh Persecute Muslims When They Fled To Madinah?

Coming back to the topic at hand, so did the Muslims break the treaty on this occasion? The answer to this is a categorical no. But let’s see the evidence some critics rely on:

“Umm Kulthum Uqba Muayt migrated to the apostle during this period. Her two brothers Umara and Walid sons of Uqba came and asked the apostle to return her to them in accordance with the agreement between him and Quraysh at Hudaybiyya, but he would not. God forbade it. ….. Sirat page 509.

The Sunan of Abu Dawud in volume 2, #2759 says:
“… Thereafter some believing women who were immigrants came. (Allah sent down: O ye who believe when believing women come to you as emigrants). Allah most high forbade them to send them back, but ordered them to restore the dower.”

The above two sources are used to claim that the treaty was broken by the Muslims. Here is some basic information about this incident for some of our readers who may not be well acquainted with this story. The Prophet (p) wanted to go on pilgrimage to Makkah, to the Ka’bah. The polytheists did not allow him or his followers’ entry. Even though the Muslims said to them that they came for peace, they were barred from entry. However, a treaty was at the end signed stipulating that both sides will cease fighting, and if any of the Quraysh’s men were coming over to the Muslims, they had to send them back. And if a Muslim man came to the Quraysh’s side, they would not be sent back to Muhammed. In this, all parties agreed.

The first source used is from Ibn Ishaq. Here readers should be aware that the critic deceptively hid some important part of the information on this incident. A page or two before Umm Kulthum incident, the treaty states that only men were part of the agreement. This is what Ibn Ishaq says (pay close attention to the words “HE” and “HIM”):

“Then the apostle summoned Ali and and told him to write ‘In the name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful.’ Suhayl said ‘I do not recognize this; but write ‘In thy name, O Allah.’ ‘Write ‘This is what Muhammad the apostle of God has agreed with Suhayl b. Amr.’ Suhayl said, ‘If I witnessed that you were God’s apostle I would not have fought you. Write your own name and the name of your father.’ The apostle said: ‘Write your name and the name of your father.’ The apostle said: ‘This is what Muhammad b. Abdullah has agreed with Suhayl b. Amr: they have agreed to lay aside war for ten years during which men can be safe and refrain from hostilities on condition that if anyone comes to Muhammad without the permission of his guardian HE will return HIM to them; and if anyone of those with Muhammad comes to Quraysh they will not return HIM to him. We will not show enmity one to another and there shall be no secret reservation or bad faith. He who wishes to enter into a bond and agreement with Muhammad may do so and he who wishes to enter into a bond and agreement with Quraysh may do so.’ Here Khuza’a leapt up and said, ‘We are in a bond and agreement with Muhammad,’ and B. Bakr leapt up and said the same with regard to Quraysh, adding ‘You must retire from us this year and not enter Mecca against our will, and next year we will make way for you and you can enter it with your companions, and stay there three nights. You may carry a rider’s weapons, the swords in their sheaths. You can bring in nothing more.’” (The Life Of Muhammad – A Translation Of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah [With Introduction And Notes by A. Guillaume – Oxford University Press, Seventeenth Impression, 2004], page 504)

Here is a screenshot for the above quotation:


As the evidence from Ibn Ishaq shows, the Quraysh specified in the treaty that it was binding on men only. Women were not part of this. Bare in mind that the incident of Umm Kulthum and treaty happened hours or days from each other. This is one of the reasons the Quraysh did not make a big fuss because the treaty agreement specified men only. They continued the treaty agreement for nearly two years. If the Quraysh did believe that the Prophet (p) broke the treaty, they would not have continued the treaty agreement for two years.

The second source used by critics is the following:

The Sunan of Abu Dawud in volume 2, #2759 says:

“… Thereafter some believing women who were immigrants came. (Allah sent down: O ye who believe when believing women come to you as emigrants). Allah most high forbade them to send them back, but ordered them to restore the dower.”

When we consult the actual and complete Abu Dawud Hadith, we find that the agreement of the treaty was in regards to men. Women were not part of this. Notice also how the above Hadith is deceptively quoted, compare that with the authentic full version below which clearly refers to “man” being part of the treaty only:

“…In pre-Islamic days Al-Mughirah bin Shu’bah accompanied some people and murdered them, and took their property. He then came (to the Prophet) and embraced Islam. The Prophet said: As for Islam we accepted it, but as to the property, as it has been taken by treachery, we have no need of it. He went on with the tradition the Prophet said: Write down: This is what Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, has decided. He then narrated the tradition. Suhail then said: And that a MAN WILL NOT COME TO YOU FROM US, even if HE follows your religion, without you sending him back to us. When he finished drawing up the document, the Prophet said to his Companions: Get up and sacrifice and then shave. Thereafter some BELIEVING WOMEN WHO WERE IMMIGRANTS CAME. (Allah sent down: O yea who believe, when believing women come to you as emigrants). Allah most high forbade them to send them back, but ordered them to restore the dower. He then returned to Medina. ABU BASIR A MAN FROM THE QURAISH (WHO WAS A MUSLIM), CAME TO HIM. AND THEY (QURAYSH) SENT (TWO MEN) TO LOOK FOR HIM; SO HE HANDED HIM OVER TO THE TWO MEN. THEY TOOK HIM AWAY, and when they reached Dhu Al Hulaifah and alighted to eat some dates which they had, Abu Basir said to one of the men : I swear by Allah so-and-so, that I think this sword of yours is a fine one; the other drew the sword and said : Yes I have tried it. Abu Basir said: Let me look at it. He let him have it and he struck him till he died, whereupon the other fled and came to Medina, and running entered the mosque. The Prophet said: This man has seen something frightful. He said: I swear by Allah that my Companion has been killed, and im as good as dead. Abu Basir then arrived and said: Allah has fulfilled your covenant. You returned me to them, but Allah saved me from them. The Prophet said: Woe to his mother, stirrer up of war! Would that he had someone (i.e. some kinsfolk). WHEN HE HEARD THAT HE KNEW THAT HE WOULD SEND HIM BACK TO THEM, so he went out and came to the seashore. Abu Jandal escaped and joined Abu Basir till a band of them collected.” (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 14, Hadith 2759 (Sahih Al-Albani) https://sunnah.com/abudawud/15/289)

Here is a screenshot for the book of Abu Dawud (zoom in to see the following screenshot):


So as we see the part of the treaty was in in regards to men. This authentic Hadith proves without a shadow of a doubt that women were not part of this treaty. This is one of the reasons, as we explained earlier that Quraysh continued to abide by the treaty for nearly two more years until the incident of Khuza’a.

This Hadith is also mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari (Bewley Translation):

“3945. Part of what ‘Urwa reported from Marwan ibn al-Hakam and al-Miswar ibn Makhrama, reporting about what happened with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in the ‘umra of al-Hudaybiyya, “When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, wrote out the truce treaty with Suhayl ibn ‘Amr on the Day of al-Hudaybiya, one of the preconditions of that Suhayl ibn ‘Amr made was: ‘IF ANY OF US (MEN) comes to you, even if HE has your religion, you will return HIM TO US and you will not come between US AND HIM.’ Suhayl refused to conclude the truce with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, except on that basis. The believers disliked that and were grieved by it and spoke against it. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, signed it and then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, returned Abu Jandal ibn Suhayl on that very day to his father, Suhayl ibn ‘Amr, When any man came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he returned him in that period, even if he was a Muslim. Believing emigrant women came. and Umm Kulthum bint ‘Uqba ibn Abi Mu’ayt was one of those who went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. She was a young woman. Her family came to ask the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to return her when Allah Almighty revealed what He revealed about believing women.” [i.e. 60:12] (The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 67. Book of Expeditions – XXXIII: The expedition of al-Hudaybiyya, (Bewley Translation), online source http://bewley.virtualave.net/bukhari29.html#maghazi)

And here is Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan’s translation for Sahih al-Bukhari:

“(Az-Zuhri said, “The Prophet accepted all those things, as he had already said that he would accept everything they would demand if it respects the ordinance of Allah, (i.e. by letting him and his companions perform `Umra.)” The Prophet said to Suhail, “On the condition that you allow us to visit the House (i.e. Ka`ba) so that we may perform Tawaf around it.” Suhail said, “By Allah, we will not (allow you this year) so as not to give chance to the ‘Arabs to say that we have yielded to you, but we will allow you next year.” So, the Prophet got that written. Then Suhail said, “We also stipulate that you should return to us whoever COMES TO YOU FROM US (MEN), even if HE embraced your religion.” The Muslims said, “Glorified be Allah! How will such a person be returned to the pagans after he has become a Muslim? While they were in this state Abu- Jandal bin Suhail bin `Amr came from the valley of Mecca staggering with his fetters and fell down amongst the Muslims. Suhail said, “O Muhammad! This is the very first term with which we make peace with you, i.e. you shall return Abu Jandal to me.” The Prophet said, “The peace treaty has not been written yet.” Suhail said, “I will never allow you to keep him.” The Prophet said, “Yes, do.” He said, “I won’t do.: Mikraz said, “We allow you (to keep him).” Abu Jandal said, “O Muslims! Will I be returned to the pagans though I have come as a Muslim? Don’t you see how much I have suffered?” (continued…) (continuing… 1): -3.891:… … Abu Jandal had been tortured severely for the Cause of Allah. `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “I went to the Prophet and said, ‘Aren’t you truly the Messenger of Allah?’ The Prophet said, ‘Yes, indeed.’ I said, ‘Isn’t our Cause just and the cause of the enemy unjust?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Then why should we be humble in our religion?’ He said, ‘I am Allah’s Messenger and I do not disobey Him, and He will make me victorious.’ I said, ‘Didn’t you tell us that we would go to the Ka`ba and perform Tawaf around it?’ He said, ‘Yes, but did I tell you that we would visit the Ka`ba this year?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘So you will visit it and perform Tawaf around it?’ ” `Umar further said, “I went to Abu Bakr and said, ‘O Abu Bakr! Isn’t he truly Allah’s Prophet?’ He replied, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Then why should we be humble in our religion?’ He said, ‘Indeed, he is Allah’s Messenger and he does not disobey his Lord, and He will make him victorious. Adhere to him as, by Allah, he is on the right.’ I said, ‘Was he not telling us that we would go to the Ka`ba and perform Tawaf around it?’ He said, ‘Yes, but did he tell you that you would go to the Ka`ba this year?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, “You will go to Ka`ba and perform Tawaf around it.” (Az-Zuhri said, ” `Umar said, ‘I performed many good deeds as expiation for the improper questions I asked them.’ “) When the writing of the peace treaty was concluded, Allah’s Messenger said to his companions, “Get up and’ slaughter your sacrifices and get your head shaved.” By Allah none of them got up, and the Prophet repeated his order thrice. When none of them got up, he left them and went to Um Salama and told her of the people’s attitudes towards him. Um Salama said, “O the Prophet of Allah! Do you want your order to be carried out? Go out and don’t say a word to anybody till you have slaughtered your sacrifice and call your barber to shave your head.” So, the Prophet went out and did not talk to anyone of them till he did that, i.e. slaughtered the sacrifice and called his barber who shaved his head. Seeing that, the companions of the Prophet got up, slaughtered their sacrifices, and started shaving the heads of one another, and there was so much rush that there was a danger of killing each other. THEN SOME BELIEVING WOMEN CAME (TO THE PROPHET); AND ALLAH REVEALED THE FOLLOWING DIVINE VERSES:– “O YOU WHO BELIEVE, WHEN THE BELIEVING WOMEN COME TO YOU AS EMIGRANTS EXAMINE THEM . . .” (60.10) `Umar then divorced two wives of his who were infidels. Later on Muawiya bin Abu Sufyan married one of them, and Safwan bin Umaiya married the other. When the Prophet returned to Medina, ABU BASIR, a new Muslim convert from Quraish came to him. THE INFIDELS SENT IN HIS PURSUIT TWO MEN WHO SAID (TO THE PROPHET, “ABIDE BY THE PROMISE YOU GAVE US.” SO, THE PROPHET HANDED HIM OVER TO THEM. They took him out (of the City) till they reached Dhul-Hulaifa where they dismounted to eat some dates they had with them. ABU BASIR said to one of them, “By Allah, O so-and-so, I see you have a fine sword.” The other drew it out (of the scabbard) and said, “By Allah, it is very fine and I have tried it many times.”ABU BASIR said, “Let me have a look at it.” When the other gave it to him, he hit him with it till he died, and his companion ran away till he came to Medina and entered the Mosque running. When Allah’s Messenger saw him he said, “This man appears to have been frightened.” When he reached the Prophet he said, “My companion has been murdered and I would have been murdered too.”ABU BASIR came and said, “O Allah’s Messenger, by Allah, Allah has made you fulfill your obligations by your returning me to them (i.e. the Infidels), but Allah has saved me from them.” The Prophet said, “Woe to his mother! what excellent war kindler he would be, should he only have supporters.” When ABU BASIR heard that he understood that the Prophet would return him to them again, so he set off till he reached the seashore. Abu Jandal bin Suhail got himself released from them (i.e. infidels) and joined Abu Basir. So, whenever a man from Quraish embraced Islam he would follow Abu Basir till they formed a strong group. By Allah, whenever they heard about a caravan of Quraish heading towards Sham, they stopped it and attacked and killed them (i.e. infidels) and took their properties. The people of Quraish sent a message to the Prophet requesting him for the Sake of Allah and Kith and kin to send for (i.e. Abu Basir and his companions) promising that whoever (amongst them) came to the Prophet would be secure. So the Prophet sent for them (i.e. Abu Basir’s companions) and Allah I revealed the following Divine Verses: “And it is He Who Has withheld their hands from you and your hands From them in the midst of Mecca, After He made you the victorious over them. … the unbelievers had pride and haughtiness, in their hearts … the pride and haughtiness of the time of ignorance.” (48.24-26) And their pride and haughtiness was that they did not confess (write in the treaty) that he (i.e. Muhammad) was the Prophet of Allah and refused to write: “In the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the Most Merciful,” and they (the mushriks) prevented them (the Muslims) from visiting the House (the Ka`bah).” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 3, Book 50, Hadith 891 https://sunnah.com/bukhari/54/19)

I apologise for these long narrations, we had to present them in full form in order for readers to understand this story.

With these authentic narrations presented, it is clear that only men were part of the agreement. Thus showing that the Prophet (p) did not break the treaty in any way.

With the narration of Abu Dawud, and Sahih Bukhari, we can gather the following facts:

1. The agreement was in regards to men only.
2. The treaty agreement and Umm Kulthum incident happened at the same time, (few hours apart or the next day) in the 6th year of Hijri.
3. The Prophet (p) rejected returning believing woman on grounds that they were not part of the treaty.
4. Silence – Quraysh says nothing against the Prophet’s refusal on grounds that only men were included. The treaty agreement continues.
5. Straight after this, Abu Basir is wanted by the Quraysh. They ask the Prophet to send him back to them, the Prophet sends the man Abu Basir back to the Quraysh, as it was part of the treaty agreement.

Now, if the claim of critics is true, that women were part of the agreement, and the Prophet did break the treaty – question is, why did the Quraysh and Prophet Muhammed continue the agreement? If the treaty was broken, why did the Prophet (p) after Umm Kulthum and the Quran 60:10 revelation sent back Abu Basir, when he was wanted by the Quraysh? And lastly, if the treaty agreement in the 6th year of Hijri was nullified, why did the Quraysh and Muhammed continue with the peace treaty for nearly two more years, until the incident of Khuza’a and Banu Bakr in the 8th year of Hijri? In Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, Ibn Kathir reports to us that the peace treaty lasted for nearly 17 or 18 months:

“’It was stipulated in the truce of al-Hudaybiyya that whoever wished to enter into an alliance with Muhammad could do so, and that those wishing to ally with Quraysh could also do that. Thereafter Khuza’a stated that they wished to be allied with the Messenger of God (SAAS) while Banu Bakr joined with Quraysh. ‘THE TRUCE REMAINED IN EFFECT FOR SOME 17 OR 18 MONTHS. But then Banu Bakr attacked Khuza’a at night at a well called al-Watir, close to Mecca. Quraysh, thinking that because it was night and that they would not be observed, assisted Banu Bakr by providing horses and weapons, and fought along with them in order to express their hatred for the Messenger of God (SAAS). … Then Budayl b. Warq went with a group of Khuza’a to the Messenger of God (SAAS) and told how they had BEEN ATTACKED AND HOW QURAYSH HAD JOINED WITH BANU BAKR AGAINST THEM.” (The Life of the Prophet Muhammed (‘Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya’) [Translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick, Garnet Publishing – Copyright 2000, The Center for Muslim Contribution To civilisation], by Ibn Kathir, volume 3, page 377 – 399)

Does this not show that the agreement was not broken? It surely shows that the Quraysh agreed with Muhammed (p), that women were not part of the treaty.

If critics try and claim that “he”, “him” or “his” used in the Hadith reports can also refer and include women, then they need to answer the question as to why the Quraysh and the Muslims continued the treaty for two years? Why is there no protest from Quraysh leaders about this supposed treaty breaking?


The two quotes shown by critics that the Prophet (p) broke the treaty between him and the Quraysh, we found that the quotations were deceptively quoted. They had taken snippet quotes from a full report to show the Prophet (p) in negative light i.e., blaming him for breaking a treaty, which in fact showed the contrary. The evidence presented in this article shows that the Prophet (p) did not break the treaty. The treaty agreement was only in regards to men. The women were not part of this treaty. This is one of the reasons Surah 60:10 was revealed to assure the Prophet (p) that women were not part of the truce. Hence why you have a deafening silence from the Quraysh. They did not protest the Prophet’s (p) refusal of returning believing women. Their continued treaty agreement once more shows that even the Quraysh accepted that only men were part of the treaty. This is one of the reasons the Quraysh continued the agreement of the treaty for two more years, until the incident of Banu Bakr, and Banu Khuza’a tribe occurred. [1]


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[1] A report is mentioned by Muqatil Ibn Hayyan that only men were part of the stipulation:
“Su’ayda, whose pedigree was not reported, the wife of Abu Sayfi al-Rahib. She was of the Ansar. Abu Sayfi left Medina, having broken off from the Ansar. Abu Sayfi left Madina, having broken off from her family in enmity when they embraced Islam. He stayed in Makka [i.e., with his wife] for a while, then his wife Su’ayda set out for Madinah in a hijra [she was in fact returing to Madinah] during the truce [of Hudaybiyya]. They the [Quraysh polytheists] asked the Messenger of God to return her to them, since they stipulated that he would give them back those of them who would go to him. But he (the Prophet) said: ‘The stipulation referred to MEN, NOT to women.’ And God revealed the ayat al-Imtihan. This was mentioned by Muqatil b. Hayyan in his Tafsir.” (Isaba, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, volume 7, page 700. See also Usd all-Ghaba, volume 5, page 475)

Related articles:

(1) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam

(2) – “Muhammed A Mercy: Analysing Dogs Killed In Madinah

(3) – “What Happened To The Captive Women In Awtas Incident?

(4) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?

(5) – “Those Who Wage War And Make Mischief’ – Quran 5:33

(6) – “Did Jews Get Expelled From Arabia?

(7) – “Social Conditions: Christians And Jews In Early Period Of Islam

(8) – “The Truth About Jizyah

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1 Response »


  1. The “Whack-a-Scam” Series: The Alleged “False Prophecy” in Surah Al-Fath – The Quran and Bible Blog

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