The Qur’an holds interaction to be of great importance. Interaction should definitely be engaged in, whatever the situation. This principle is laid down in the chapter Al-Fath (Victory). The translation of the relevant verses is as follows: Truly, We have granted you a clear victory, so that God may forgive you your past and future sins and complete His favor to you and guide you to a straight path, and so that God might bestow on you His mighty help. (48:1-3)
These Qur’anic verses have a historical background. The Prophet of Islam started a mission in Arabia, which was completely peaceful. But at that time people did not have the religious freedom that we have today. They were, therefore, greatly angered by his initiatives and ultimately started a war against him. A war-like situation did not favor the Prophet. He wanted to convey his message to everyone but, with such adverse circumstances, all normal contacts were almost totally severed. This was particularly acute on the occasion of the confrontation between the Prophet and his companions and the non-Muslim forces at Hudaybiyyah.
The Prophet and his followers wanted to proceed to Makkah from Hudaybiyyah to perform their religious rites at the Kaaba. But the other party stopped them from doing so. The Prophet, wanting quite naturally to normalize the situation, initiated peace talks between the two parties, which lasted two weeks. These have been recorded in history as the Hudaybiyyah Treaty. The Prophet discovered that the other party, with their negative mindset, was in no way ready to halt their militancy. He offered, therefore, to accept all their conditions unilaterally, provided that they agreed to end the hostilities. This offer was accepted, resulting in a ten-year no-war pact between the two parties.
When this peace treaty was finalized, God revealed the verses given above in the Qur’an. At face value, the Hudaybiyyah Treaty was like a defeat, for the price paid by the Prophet was his unilateral acceptance of all the conditions laid down by the other party. But the Qur’an, in the above verses, declared it as a ‘clear victory. In what sense was it a clear victory? The answer is quite obvious. The Hudaybiyyah Treaty successfully removed the deadlock and opened the door to peaceful interaction between the two parties.
Interaction should definitely be engaged in, whatever the situation. The result showed that this had been a piece of masterstrategy. Where the war-time situation had suspended all kinds of interaction, after the peace treaty the door to interaction was thrown wide open. It is a fact that where there is an interaction there is discussion, and where there is discussion, there is an ideological exchange, and where there is an ideological exchange, there is every opportunity to establish one’s ideological supremacy over the other party. And that is exactly what happened.
A few years after the signing of this treaty, almost the whole of Arabia accepted the ideology of the Prophet of Islam. Peaceful combat through ideology proves to be far more effective than the might of the sword. The Hudaybiyyah experience was not simply a matter of religion. It is relevant to all the affairs of human life. It gives us a master formula to manage all controversial matters, within the family and in society, as well as at the national level. If you are facing violent extremism from opponents, make them ready to establish peace, even if it means accepting their conditions unilaterally. In the long run, due to the ensuing peaceful relationship, you will be a success.