The Myth: The Meccans were the First to Break Their Treaty with Muhammad, a post from TheReligionofPeace.com

“Our Prophet (peace be upon him) was forced into war when the polytheists broke their treaty.” 

The Truth:

Less than two years after making a treaty with the people of Mecca, Muhammad returned with an army and took the city by surprise.  Although this has been a traditional source of pride for Muslims down through the centuries, contemporary scholars are more apt to construct excuses for Muhammad’s action, since it contrasts with the claim that Islam is a religion of peace.

Rather than making the case that Muhammad was forced into war, which the historical account clearly does not support, today’s apologists argue that he was justified in taking Mecca on the basis that the other party had violated the treaty between them.  Of particular interest are the technicalities concerning alliances.

After the treaty of Hudaibiya was made, two feuding tribes aligned themselves on opposite sides of the Meccan-Muslim divide.  The tribe allied with the Meccans had suffered a series of murders at the hands of the other prior to the alliance, which they sought to avenge.

Rather than get bogged down with names for the moment, let’s summarize it as follows:

  1. A member of Tribe A (later allied with Mecca) is murdered by members of Tribe B (later allied with Muhammad).
  2. Tribe A murders a member of Tribe B in revenge.
  3. Tribe B then murders three members of Tribe A in revenge.
  4. After committing these murders, Tribe B joins the Muslim alliance.
  5. In response, Tribe A joins the Meccans.
  6. Tribe A then seeks revenge for the last murders by killing members of Tribe B.

This is detailed in Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 803, in which Tribe A is called the Banu Bakr and Tribe B is the Khuza’a.  Although the Khuza’a had started the original chain of murder, the fact that they were attacked by the tribe allied with the Meccans after allying with the Muslims constituted a technical breach of the treaty – which Muhammad then capitalized on by marching his superior forces into Mecca and establishing the authority of Islam by force.

On the surface then, it would appear that the Meccans were the first to violate the treaty.  Even though most Muslims admit that the Meccans did not want a war, they still insist that Muhammad was justified in taking Mecca because of the treaty violation.

But, in fact, Muhammad was the first to violate the Treaty of Hudaibiya.  Even the Qur’an acknowledges this, which means any knowledgeable Muslim must as well.

The terms of the treaty specified that any Muslim who flees Mecca for Medina (where Muhammad resided) must be returned.  But when a group of Muslims did exactly that a few weeks after the treaty signing, Muhammad did not return all of them, but kept the women.  A verse from Allah arrived conveniently to justify his decision (60:10).

Today’s Muslims have only one answer for this: Allah gave Muhammad His personal permission to break the treaty.  It is an obvious double standard, but one that they are comfortable with, since Muslims believe their religion makes them superior.  (It remains unclear as to why Allah had Muhammad sign on to terms that were intended to be violated).

Eschewing technicalities at this point, the apologists then begin to talk of the seriousness of violations, claiming that the killing of those tribe members allied with the Muslims constituted a graver offense.  They are correct, of course, but there is yet another piece to the story that drives home the double standard all the more:

As it turns out, Muslims were murdering Meccans after the treaty signing and prior to the revenge killings between the allied tribes!

Bukhari 50:891 tells of a man named Abu Basir who embraced Islam and then killed a Meccan.  Muhammad sends the man to live on the coast, where he forms a group of seventy Muslims who support themselves by attacking Meccan caravans.  According to the Hadith, he and the other Muslims “killed them and took their property.”  Muir words it as follows, “They waylaid every caravan from Mecca (for since the truce, traffic with Syria had again sprung up) and spared the life of no one.”

Attacking and killing Meccans was an obvious violation of the treaty of Hudaibiya, but the victims did not want war with Muhammad and thus did not march against him.  Yet, Muhammad jumped on the first excuse to attack the Meccans, even though they were not threatening him.  His adversaries wanted peace, but he wanted power.  Needless to say, they had little choice but to surrender to him without a fight.

The dual ethics of Islam are ingrained in the faith, including the disparate treatment of unbelievers.  It should be no surprise that Muhammad held others to standards by which he was personally unwilling to abide.  In this case, he was the first to violate the treaty of Hudaibiya.  Thus did he establish an example for his followers: a promise to non-Muslims is not obligatory for the believer.  As Abu Bakr, himself a military leader, put it:

“If I take an oath to do something and later on I find something else better than the first one, then I do what is better and make expiation for my oath.” (Bukhari 78:618)

Muhammad no doubt would have agreed:

“The Prophet said: ‘War is deceit’.” (Bukhari 52:269)

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4 Responses to The Myth: The Meccans were the First to Break Their Treaty with Muhammad, a post from TheReligionofPeace.com

  1. θ says:

    The invalidation of the contents of Hudaybiyya Treaty.
    The ignorant heathens of Mekkah do not realise or know that the rite of Umra can be performed at Hudaybiyya – in accordance to ordinance of Allah – so that the contents of Hudaybiyya Treaty actually become null and void shortly after they (those heathens of Mekkah) broke the treaty itself by allowing Moslems to do Umra therein.
    Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 50, Hadith 891
    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.

    The 1st Umra of Prophet Muhammad at Hudaybiyya.
    Many Orientalists and the ignorant infidel polemicists argue that Prophet Muhammad may have “lied” to Moslems concerning fulfillment of his promise of whether he really performed Umra or not.
    In fact, Prophet Muhammad truly performed his Umra – in accordance to ordinance of Allah per Q.2, v.196 – at Hudaybiyya wherein he has to offer an animal sacrifice for not completely reaching the Ka’bah, as well as cutting of the hairs.

    Umra at Hudaybiyya means Islam achieved a “victory” of opening of the city of Makkah. By definition, “Umra” is simply a pilgrimage into the Sacred land of Mekkah, and Moslems donned Ihram cloth at the appointed Miqat Dhu’l-Hulayfah – a Miqat 9 km southward Madinah and about 450 km northward Makkah – and therein performed “incomplete” Umra at Hudaybiyya, which was then followed with an animal sacrifice as atonement and substitution (per Q.2, v.196) for not being enable to reach Ka’bah.

    Certain Moslems at that time, such as Umar Ibn Khattab didn’t realise the actual geographical fact of the city of Hudaybiya that already locates inside of the “Sacred land” of Mekkah – even though Hudaybiyya is not within the city boundaries – about 9 miles or 14.5 km westward direction of Mekkah.

    Bukhari, Vol 3, Book 50, 891.
    Allah’s Apostle said, We have not come to fight anyone, but to perform the Umra…Umar bin Al-Khattab said, I went to the Prophet and said, Aren’t you truly the Apostle 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 Apostle 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… Az-Zuhri said, ‘Umar said, I performed many good deeds as expiation for the improper questions I asked them.

    Therefore, Prophet Muhammad and early Moslems really performed the 1st Umra at Hudaybiyya within the Sacred land. What Muslims did at that time was a unique “sacrificial” Umra, because at that time the heathens of Mekkah prevented them to enter and to circumambulate around Ka’bah (the center of the Sacred land).
    It is a “sacrificial” Umra because the animal sacrifice is needed to substitute the failure to reach Ka’bah, and originally both Umra and Hajj don’t make it obligatory the offering of animal sacrifice before cutting the pilgrim’s hairs.

    Bukhari, Vol 3, Book 50, 891.
    When the writing of the peace treaty was concluded, Allah’s Apostle 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.

  2. madmanna says:

    Pagan rituals and superstition. Mohammed was a pagan.

  3. θ says:

    If so, why do the Trinitarians expect the Christ to kill every Non-Christians – including the small ones meaning children – to cause the descent or enter the “New Jerusalem” city made of precious stones literally?

    Why do you think the Lamb, the Elders, the angels, and the souls of martyrs, and multitude of the saints pray round about the Throne?

  4. θ says:

    Why do you think the Lamb, the Elders, the angels, and the souls of martyrs, and multitude of the saints pray round about the sea of glass? By definition the “Glass” is materially the piece of crystalline stone.

    Glass is made from liquid sand. Glass is made by heating ordinary opaque sand (which is mostly made of silicon dioxide) until it melts and turns into a liquid at extremely high temperature of 1700°C (3090°F). Glass is transparent, it behaves like a solid material. When molten sand cools, it doesn’t turn back into the previous state, it just undergoes a complete transformation and gains an entirely different inner structure. But it never returns back into the previous solid element. Instead, it becomes a kind of frozen liquid or what materials scientists refer to as an “amorphous solid”. It’s like a new elemental nature between a solid and a liquid: having some of the crystalline order of a solid one, and some of the molecular randomness of a liquid.

    Rev 4:6
    And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

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