Seeing the signs
Surat al-Fath is one of the very special surahs. Allah starts this surah by saying:
‘Indeed, We have granted you a clear triumph.’ [48:1]
The majority of scholars have said that this refers to the Treaty of Hudaybiyah.
A minority of scholars of tafseer say it refers to the Conquest of Makkah, but we go with the majority opinion.
The Treaty of Hudaybiyah
The Treaty of Hudaybiyah was the most important turning point in Rasul Allah’s (peace be on him) life for his da’wah. Everything changed after the treaty.
It was an acknowledgement by the Quraysh of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) as an equal, which was a very important paradigm shift from a political perspective.
It meant that in the international and local arenas, Rasul Allah (peace be on him) was recognised as a new rising power.
In fact this treaty was the preparation for the Conquest of Makkah. Without it, he probably would not have been able to achieve that.
It all started when Rasul Allah (peace be on him) saw a vision, and decided to go for umrah.
This was after the Battle of Ahzab (Battle of the Trench) where the enemies of Islam lost and were humiliated. So it was an insult for them to see the Prophet (peace be on him) wanting to enter Makkah with 1400 companions, and they refused to allow him in, even though that was against even the Arab traditions.
Eventually, they came to an agreement and signed the treaty, and this was the big shift.
People came to Islam in huge numbers, and many more people accepted Islam in the few years after the treaty than during the eighteen years of da’wah before it.
The Companions weren’t happy with the treaty
When Rasul Allah (peace be on him) was not allowed entry to Makkah, he was already in his ihram. As we know, if you are in ihram, you can’t just stop being in it and go home.
You need to do tahallul – i.e. sacrificing an animal and shaving your head. So he asked the Companions to slaughter the camels they had brought, and shave their heads. No one responded – the first time ever that the Companions did not respond to Rasul Allah (peace be on him).
So he went to his wife, Umm Salamah angry that the people had not listened to him. She calmed him down, and said that they were angry because they felt that they had had to compromise. She said he should go and do his tahallul, and the rest would follow. So he did, and when the Companions saw him, this was their wake-up call.
When the writing of the peace treaty was concluded, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) 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 Umm Salamah and told her of the people’s attitudes towards him. Umm Salamah said, “O Prophet (ﷺ) 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 (ﷺ) 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 (ﷺ) got up, slaughtered their sacrifices, and started shaving the heads of one another. [Bukhari].
Recognising signs from Allah
Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was against treaty, and many of the Companions wanted to fight instead of compromise. But one event made Rasul Allah (peace be on him) sign the treaty. When they were going to Makkah, his camel, al-Qaswa, stopped when they got close. The companions started to swear at her and push and kick her, but she just sat down and refused to move.
The she-camel of the Prophet (ﷺ) sat down. The people tried their best to cause the she-camel to get up but in vain, so they said, “Al-Qaswa’ (i.e. the she-camel’s name) has become stubborn! Al-Qaswa’ has become stubborn!” The Prophet (ﷺ) said,
‘Al-Qaswa has not become stubborn, for stubbornness is not her habit, but she was stopped by Him Who stopped the elephant. By the Name of Him in Whose Hands my soul is, if [the Quraysh] ask me anything which will respect the ordinances of Allah, I will grant it to them.’ [Bukhari].
Just like this, he understood (ﷺ) the sign from Allah Almighty, and this turned out to be the major turning point in his da’wah.
وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
But it may be that you dislike something while it is good for you, and it may be that you like something while it is bad for you. God knows, and you do not know.(2:216).
Sometimes in our life, Allah sends us signs, to tell us that this is the time to stop something or change direction.
We ask Allah to open our hearts to be able to understand the signs which He sends us, and act upon them. Ameen.
Shaykh Haytham Tamim – Ramadan Night 18
Transcribed by Hana Khan
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