Prima facie the pact was loaded in favor of the Quraish and most of the Muslims were critical of its terms. Abu Bakr and Ali, however felt that the Holy Prophet knew things better than what his followers could comprehend, and that what appeared to be disadvantageous to the Muslims might ultimately turn to their advantage. Umar waited on the Holy Prophet, and gave expression to his dissatisfaction with the terms of the treaty. The Holy Prophet assured him that whatever he had done was under the command of God, and that the terms which appeared to he against the interest of the Muslims would turn out to their favor. While on the way back to Madina, God sent a revelation that the treaty was a victory for the Muslims. As subsequent events showed this treaty was in fact a prelude to the conquest of Makkah. In later years some one asked Ali as to how the treaty of Hudaibiya was a victory for the Muslims when the terms thereof were apparently in favor of the Quraish. Ali pointed out that during the previous seventeen years the Quraish had been waging a war against the Muslims sometimes cold, sometimes hot. Their aim was to crush Islam. When by the treaty of Hudaibiya the Quraish agreed to a truce for a period of ten years, it amounted to a confession of their failure. Heretofore the Quraish had exercised a pressure on the tribes of the desert not to ally themselves with the Muslims. By the treaty both the Muslims and the Quraish could have allies from amongst the tribes. This was a subtle point fraught with grave consequences. As things took shape later, it was such alliances that paved the way for the conquest of Makkah by the Muslims. It was stipulated that a Muslim who sought refuge with the Quraish was not to be returned to the Muslims, but someone from the Quraish who sought refuge with the Muslims was to be returned to the Quraish. Apparently the stipulation was against the Muslims, but it was really not so. When a Muslim were to seek refuge with the Quraish, it would obviously be a case of apostasy, and there was no advantage in pressing for the return of a person who had ceased to be a Muslim. When a man from the Quraish sought refuge with the Muslims, and was later returned to Quraish, there were two possibilities. If his faith in Islam was strong, he would still remain a Muslim, and was likely to cause the conversion of other people to Islam.
If on the other hand his faith was not strong, it would be a good riddance for the Muslims. Moreover by this time the stage of the conversion of individuals was over. The Holy Prophet was now looking forward to mass conversions, and in this context there were not likely to be many cases of individuals seeking shelter with the Muslims or the Muslims seeking shelter with the Quraish. The treaty of Hudaibiya indeed set the stage for the expansion of Islam to the peninsula of Arabia.