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(56)

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.