Early in A.D. 628 the Holy Prophet decided to proceed to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage. He was accompanied 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 Prophet. 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 king 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 specialized 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 pilgrimage.
When three days passed away, and Usman did not return from Mecca a rumor got afloat that he had been killed by the 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 Jihad 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:
Prima facie these terms favored the Quraish and Umar felt very bitter about them. He waited on the Holy Prophet and submitted:
"O Prophet of God! Are you not the Messenger of God?"
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 Hudaibiya 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."
In the wake of the Hudaibiya pact there took place developments which affected Umar personally.
At the time of Hudaibiya pact it was undertaken that if any person from the Quraish accepted Islam such a person was to be returned to the Quraish. Some men from among the Quraish accepted Islam and sought shelter with the Muslims. In accordance with the terms of the pact these persons were returned to the Quraish.
Later a crisis developed when some Quraish women accepted Islam against the wishes of their parents and husbands and sought refuge with the Muslims. The Quraish wanted such women to be returned to them. The Holy Prophet refused to return such women to the Quraish as in the meantime God had revealed:
"Believers, when believing women came to you as refugees, examine them. Allah knows the state of their faith. If you find them to be true believers do not return them to the unbelievers. They are not lawful to the unbelievers, nor are the unbelievers lawful to them You shall, however, give to their former husbands what they have spent on them. And you will be doing nothing unlawful after you have given them dowries." 60: 10
Another verse on the same subject provided:
"Do not marry idolatresses until they embrace the faith.
Umar had three wives, namely:
Out of these three, only Zainab bint Mazaun had accepted Islam and migrated to Madina. The other two ladies did not accept Islam and did not choose to migrate. After the Hudaibiya pact, Umar divorced Malaika as well as Qariba. After being divorced by Umar, Malaika married Abu Jahm bin Hazifa while Qariba married Abdur Rahman son of Abu Bakr who was still an infidel.
After the Hudaibiya pact the first Muslim woman who fled from the Quraish and sought refuge with the Muslims was Sabiha bint al-Haris. Her husband did not accept Islam. When the Quraish came to demand the restoration of Sabiha, the Holy Prophet refused to return her to the Quraish saying that the condition in the pact applied to men only and not to women. The Holy Prophet had Sabiha married to Umar.
In Madina, Umar married an Ansar lady Asiah bint Sabat Ansari. On marriage Umar changed her name to Jamila. Umar resided with her at Quba. It is reported that for some years she was Umar's favorite wife. A few years later, Umar divorced her and shifted to Madina. The reason why Umar divorced her is not known.
Some time in A.D. 628, news was brought to the Holy Prophet that the Banu Al-Mustaliq were gathering together against the Muslims. The Holy Prophet decided that before the enemy could gather strength the Muslims should fall upon and break their power.
The Holy Prophet led the campaign personally. The Muslim force that accompanied the Holy Prophet included Umar. It also included Abdullah bin Ubayy, an Ansar chief whose loyalties to Islam and the Holy Prophet were doubtful.
A confrontation with the Banu al-Mustaliq took place at Muraysi on the road to the sea. The Banu-Mustaliq were defeated with heavy losses, and the Muslims captured considerable booty including many captives both men and women.
After the Banu al-Mustaliq were overpowered and put to flight, the Muslim force halted at a watering place. Here Jahja bin Masud a servant of Umar led his horse to the watering place. There a quarrel arose between him and Sinan b. Wabar al-Juhani, an Ansari. In the quarrel Sinan called the men of the Ansar to his aid, while Jabja invoked the assistance of the Muhajreen.
The incident was exploited by Abdullah b. Ubayy, and he spoke unbecoming words against the Muhajreen. He said:
"The Muhajreen dispute our priority. They want to overpower us in our own city. Nothing fits us and the vagabonds of Quraish as the ancient saying 'Feed a dog and it will devour you'."
Zaid b. Arqam an Ansar boy who heard Abdullah bin Ubayy indulge in such talk reported to the Holy Prophet what he had said. Umar who was sitting with the Holy Prophet asked for the Holy Prophet's permission to kill Abdullah bin Ubayy. The Holy Prophet said:
"Umar be calm and patient. If I permit you to kill Abdullah, will not the people say that Muhammad kills his own followers?"
The Holy Prophet immediately ordered a march to Madina. It was noon, an unusual time to travel, but all concerned complied with the order thinking that something unusual had happened and the Prophet of Allah knew what was best.
Abdullah bin Ubayy saw the Holy Prophet, and denied having said what had been reported against him. There were others even among the Ansars who held that Abdullah bin Ubayy had said what he should not have said. The Holy Prophet, however, chose to be silent.
When the party reached Madina, the unfortunate episode became the talk of the town. According to the consensus of opinion, Abdullah b. Ubayy was to blamed. When the son of Abdullah b. Ubayy came to know of what his father had said, he waited on the Holy Prophet and said:
"I have heard that you want to kill my father for what you have heard about him. If you intend to kill him, then order me to do so, and I will bring you his head. I am afraid that if you order some one else to kill him, my soul will not permit me to see his murderer walking among men, and I shall kill him thus killing a believer for an unbeliever and so I would go to hell."
The Holy Prophet said, "Thank God there are persons among the Muslims who would be prepared to kill their fathers for the sake of Islam."
Turning to the son of Abdullah b. Ubayy the Holy Prophet said:
"Thank you for your offer. I do not contemplate any such action against your father."
The son of Abdullah praised the Holy Prophet for his magnanimity. After he had left, the Holy Prophet turned to Umar and said:
"Now Umar what do you think. Had I allowed you to kill him on the day you wanted me to permit you, his people would have risen in his support. Today you see, his own son is prepared to kill him." Thereupon Umar replied: "Verily I know not what you know. Your vision is certainly penetrating and blessed."