Suheil protested, “I know not that title, write, ‘In Thy Name, O God.’”
Mahomet acquiesced, and Ali continued, “The Treaty of Mahomet, Prophet of God, with Suheil ibn Amr,” but Suheil interrupted again:
“If I acknowledged Thee as Prophet of God I should not have made war on thee; write simply thy name and the name of thy father.”
And so the treaty was drawn up. The traditional text of it is simple and clear, and the only point requiring comment is the clause providing for the treatment of those who go over to Islam and those of the Believers who rejoin the Kureisch. Mahomet was sure enough of himself and his magnetism to allow the clause to stand, which allowed any backslider full permission to return to Mecca. He knew there would not be many, who having come under the spell of Islam would return again to idolatry. The text of the treaty stood substantially in these terms:
“In thy Name, O God! These are the conditions of peace between Mahomet, son of Abdallah and Suheil, son of Amr. War shall be suspended for ten years. Whosoever wisheth to join Mahomet or enter into treaty with him shall have liberty to do so; and likewise whoever wisheth to join the Kureisch or enter into treaty with them. If one goeth over to Mahomet without permission of his guardian he shall be sent back to his guardian; but should any of the followers of Mahomet return to the Kureisch they shall not be sent back. Mahomet shall retire this year without entering the city. In the coming year Mahomet may visit Mecca, he and his followers, for three days, during which the Kureisch shall retire and leave the city to them. But they may not enter it with any weapons save those of the traveller, namely, to each a sheathed sword.”
After the solemn pledging of the treaty Mahomet sacrificed his victims, shaved his head and changed his raiment, as a symbol of the completed ceremonial in spirit, if not in fact, and ordered the immediate withdrawal to Medina. His followers were crestfallen, for they had been led to expect his speedy entry into Mecca, and they were disappointed too because their warlike desires had been curbed to stifling point. But the Prophet was firm, and promised them fighting in plenty as soon as they should have reached Medina again. So the host moved back to its city of origin, fortified by the treaty with its hitherto implacable foes, and exulting in the promise that next year the sacred ceremonies would be accomplished by all true Believers.
The depression that at first seized his followers at the conclusion of their enterprise found no reflex in the mind of Mahomet. He was well aware of the significance of the transaction. In the Kuran the episode has a sura inspired directly by it and entitled “Victory,” the burden of which is the goodness of God upon the occasion of the Prophet’s pilgrimage to Hodeibia.
“In truth they who plighted fealty to thee really plighted fealty to God; the hand of God was over their hands! Whoever, therefore, shall break his oath shall only break it to his own hurt; but whoever shall be true to his engagements with God, He will give him a great reward.”