Early in A.D. 628 the Holy Prophet decided to proceed to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage. He was accompained by companions about fourteen hundred in number. Umar also accompanied the Holy Prophet. In order to convince the Quraish that the Muslims had no war-like intentions against them, the Holy Prophet decided that they would carry no arms.
When the Muslims halted at Zul Hulaifah six miles from Madina Umar waited on the Holy Prophet and submitted that no reliance could be placed on the Quraish and accordingly it was unsafe to proceed to Mecca without arms. Umar urged that for self-defense the Muslims should be armed. The Holy Prophet accepted the advice of Umar, and some persons were sent to Madina to bring in arms.
When the Quraish of Mecca came to know that the Muslims were coming to Mecca they sent Khalid bin Walid and Ikramah bin Abu Jahl with two hundred horsemen to intercept the Muslims, and prevent their advance to Mecca. Finding the way to Mecca barred the Holy Prophet consulted his companions as to what course of action they should adopt. The consensus of opinion was that they should go ahead. If they were stopped they would fight; otherwise not.
The Holy Prophet enquired of his companions whether any one out of them could lead the Muslims to Mecca by a path other than the main route barred by the enemy. One of the companions volunteered to show an alternative way. He led the Muslims on a way full of rough rocks through the ravines of Mudniya. After a weary march the Muslims reached Hudaibiya on the lower side of Mecca and within the sacred territory.
The Muslims encamped at Hudaibiya, and here Urwa bin Masud came to see the Holy Prophet on behalf of the Quraish. He talked in diplomatic language, and tried to impress that the Quraish were strong and would not allow the Muslims to visit Mecca. He also insinuated that at the time of crisis the followers of the Holy Prophet were likely to leave him. Thereupon the companions of the Holy Prophet said, "May God curse you; how dare you think that we will abandon the Holy Propbet. Rest assured we will fight to the last for him".
When Urwa returned to the Quraish, he gave his impressions about the Holy Prophet and the Muslims in the following terms:
"O people of the Quraish! I have seen kings but by God I have never seen a klng as I have seen Muhammad amongst his companions. If he makes his ablutions they would not let the water fall on the ground; if a hair of his body falls they pick it up. They will not surrender him for anything in any case, do what you may."
As among the Quraish, the Adis specialised in diplomatic skill the Holy Prophet wanted Umar to go to the Quraish to negotiate. Umar submitted that he was a persona non grata with the Quraish, and his mission was not likely to be successful. He advised that Usman who was soft spoken and was popular with the Quraish should be sent on the mission. The advice was accepted and Usman was accordingly sent to the Quraish to negotiate regarding the Muslim's entry into Mecca and performing the pi]grimage.
When three days passed away, and Usman did not return from Mecca a rumour got afloat that he had been killed by thc Quraish. Umar donned his arms and accoutrements and waited on the Holy Prophet. He submitted that if the Quraish had killed Usman, the Muslims should fight the Meccans to the bitter end. The Holy Prophet asked all his Companions about 1,400 in number to assemble and take a vow binding themselves to Jibad against the infidels. The Holy Prophet sat under a tree, and all the Companions took the oath turn by turn. God approved of this measure, and the following verse was revealed to the Holy Prophet:
"Verily Allah was pleased with the faithful that they swore allegiance to thee under the tree."
In view of the pleasure of God, this oath later came to be called 'the Bait-ul-Rizwan'-the oath that pleased God.
A little later Usman returned from Mecca along with some emissaries from the Quraish. After some further negotiations the terms of a pact between the Muslims and the Quraish were hammered out. These terms were:
(1) There was to be a truce between the Muslims and the Quraish for a period of ten years.
(2) If any tribe wanted to enter into treaty with the Muslims it could do so, and whoever wished to enter a covenant with the Quraish was likewise free to do so.
(3) If any one from the Quraish came to the Muslims without the permission of his guardian, he was to be returned to the Quraish. On the other hand if a Muslim sought refuge with the Quraish, he was not to be delivered to the Muslims.
(4) The Muslims were to withdraw that year without performing the pilgrimage. They were free to perform the Hajj the following year when they could stay in Mecea for three days.
Prima facie these terms favoured the Quraish and Umar felt very bitter ahout them. He waited on the Holy Prophet and submitted:
"O Prophet of God! Are you not the Messenger of God?"
"Certainly I am", said the Holy Prophet.
"Are not our enemies idolatrous polytheists?" asked Umar.
"Undoubtedly they are", rejoined the Holy Prophet.
"Why should then we disgrace our religion?" added Umar.
The Holy Prophet said, "I am the Messenger of God, and I do not act in contravention of His commandments."
This silenced Umar, but he felt these terms to be humiliating to the Muslims. He saw Abu Bakr, and wanted him to persuade the Holy Prophet to revise the terms. Abu Bakr said:
"The Holy Prophet knows things better than we do. What the Holy Prophet has done is in the interests of the Muslims. Have faith in God. Do not be critical and hold fast to the stirrup of the Holy Prophet."
Thereafter the pact which came to be known as the Hudaibiya pact was duly signed between the Muslims and the Meccans. On behalf of the Muslims, the pact was among others signed by Umar.
After the pact had been signed Suhail's son Abu Jandal who had accepted Islam and was a captive with the Meccans escaped from the captivity and came to seek refuge in the Muslim camp. Suhail followed his son and demanded that in accordance with the Hudaibiya pact his son should be returned to him. Umar advocated that as Abu Jandal did not want to return, it was unfair to force him to return. The Holy Prophet said that they had entered into a pact with the Meccans and as Muslims they could not go back upon their word. He allowed Suhail to take away his son. Turning to Abu Jandal the Holy Prophet said, "Abu Jandal be patient. God in His bounty will Himself devise some way to facilitate your return to the Muslims". Umar went some distance with Abu Jandal and Suhail. He kept goading Abu Jandal with his sword, and the idea was that he should take the sword and kill his father. Abu Jandal was too depressed and confused to follow the clue. When Suhail and his son rode off to Mecca, Umar returned to the Muslim camp crest fallen.
The Muslims struck camp, and started on the return journey to Madina. Umar felt unhappy. He was bitter that in this deal the Quraish had had the upper hand. In the way, Surah Al-Fath was revealed to the Holy Prophet.
"Verily, We have opened wide for thee the gates of victory." The Holy Prophet called for Umar and told him that God had that day revealed to him that the Hudaibiya pact would lead to the victory of the Muslims. That made Umar rejoice.
Abu Bakr assessed the treaty of Hudaiblya in the following terms:
"No victory of Islam has more importance than the treaty of Hudaibiya. Men are always for hurrying things on, but God lets them ripen. Previously there had subsisted a wall of partition between the Muslims and the rest of the men; they never spoke to each other, and wherever they met they began to fight. Subsequently hostility died down, and security and mutual confidence took its place. Every man of even moderate intelligence who heard of Islam joined it, and the twenty-two months in which the truce subsisted the number of conversions was greater than throughout the whole of the previous period, and the faith of Islam diffused itself in all directions among the people."