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SUHAIL IBN `AMR
From Liberation to Martyrdom
When he was captured into the hands of the Muslims in the Battle of Badr, `Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab
approached the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and said, "O Messenger of Allah, let me extract the teeth of
Suhail Ibn `Amr until no speaker stands against you after today."
The great Messenger responded, "No, `Umar. I do not treat anyone harshly so Allah will not harm
me, even though I am a Prophet." Then `Umar came nearer to him and the Prophet said, "Perhaps Suhail
will take a stand tomorrow that will make you happy."
So the prophecy of the Messenger came true. The greatest orator of the Quraish, Suhail Ibn `Amr,
changed into a brilliant and dazzling speaker of Islam. This polytheist who was always against Islam
changed into an obedient believer. His eyes never stopped crying out of fear of Allah. One of the senior
chiefs of the Quraish and a leader of its army changed into a very hard fighter in the path of Islam, a
fighter who vowed to himself to be persistent and to persevere in courage, self-control, and fighting until
he died on that path, so that perhaps Allah would forgive his previous sins.
So who was that obstinate polytheist ? He was Suhail Ibn `Amr, one of the prominent leaders of the
Quraish, and one of its wise men and people of intelligence and discernment.
He was the one whom the Quraish appointed to convince the Messenger to change his mind and
refrain from entering Makkah in the year of Hudaibiyah. At the end of A.H. 6, the Messenger and his
Companions went out to Makkah to visit the Sacred House and to perform `Umrah. They did not want
war and they were not prepared to fight.
The Quraish knew they were on their way to Makkah, so they went out to block the way and stop
them from achieving their objective. The situation became critical and hearts became tense. The
Messenger said to his Companions, "The Quraish do not call me today to a plan but ask me instead about
the bonds of kinship. So I gave them to them."
The Quraish began to send their messengers and representatives to the Prophet, so he informed all
of them that he did not come to fight but to visit the Sacred House and glorify its sacredness. Each time
one of their representatives returned, they sent another after him more vigorous and unyielding and
stronger in persuasion, until they chose `Urwah Ibn Mas'uud Ath-Thaqafiy. He was among the strongest
and cleverest of them. The Quraish thought that `Urwah would be able to convince the Messenger to go
back; however, he quickly came back to them saying, "O people of Quraish, indeed I went to the Persian
emperor in his kingdom and Caesar in his kingdom and the Negus in his kingdom, but, by Allah, I swear
I never saw a king whose people magnify him as the Companions of Muhammad magnify him. I saw
around him a people that shall never surrender to evil. So, what will you do and what is your opinion?"
At that time the Quraish believed that there was no way for their attempts to succeed, so they
decided to resort to negotiation and reconciliation. They chose for this task the most suitable of their
chiefs. He was Suhail Ibn `Amr.
The Muslims saw Suhail coming towards them and recognized him and realized that the Quraish
preferred the way of peace making and mutual understanding when at last they sent Suhail. Suhail sat in
front of the Messenger, and a long dialogue took place ending with a peace treaty. Suhail attempted to
gain much for the Quraish. The tolerant leniency, noble-mindedness, and excellent manner in which the
Messenger managed the negotiations and peace making helped him in achieving that.