By Stan Goodenough | www.stangoodenough.com | Originally published Feb 2011
My soul has dwelt too long with one who hates peace. I am for peace; But when I speak, they are for war. (Psalm 120:6-7)
How do we pray concerning the Israel-Egypt peace treaty? Do we pray for it to be protected, upheld and perpetuated? For the majority who wish to see Israel live in peace with her neighbors, this question would seem a no brainer.
And yet, I cannot pray so readily for this.
Let me paint a picture:
A friend has contracted cancer that, unless caught in its early stages, will grow progressively more threatening to his life. On learning of the disease, you urge him to have the tumor removed, but he prefers to continue living as normal a life as possible, taking basic medication to numb him to the pain, and even help him forget he was ill.
The more time passes, the more perilous his condition becomes. He would carry on regardless, but a sudden turn of events forces him to reassess. While the attack on his body is set to intensify, he’s not ready to deal with it.
You have the chance to remind him that, had he agreed to it at the start, he would have undergone a painful but relatively straightforward procedure while his body was strong enough to survive. The passage of time and progression of the cancer has weakened him. Although it is still possible to save his life, he must have the surgery now.
Thing is, it’s no longer a small operation. What he requires at this point will be agonizing; the risks far higher. As his friend, you must choose whether to pressure him to go under the knife by telling him some unpleasant home truths, or allow him to continue in self-delusion as he drifts towards his date with doom.
“Everybody’s” pleading with him to, “for heaven’s sake, leave well enough alone! Anything is better than the alternative.”
But do we really believe this?
Let’s take a closer look at what this Israel-Egypt peace treaty really is: how it was drawn up, what it cost Israel to sign, how it has played out, what its effects have been, and where its perpetuation will lead.
The Israeli prime minister, Menachem Begin, and the Egyptian military dictator, Anwar Sadat, signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, known as the Camp David Agreement, in 1978.
In other words, it was signed between an elected representative of the Israeli people on the one side, and a military ruler representing no-one on the other.
The details – or more accurately – the parties to the agreement – were hammered together by the American president, Jimmy Carter.
As close advisor to Begin, the late Shmuel Katz, outlined in his book “The Hollow Peace,” (Dvir Publishing; Israel; 1981), Carter held a gun to Israel’s head and, wielding blackmail and deception, mercilessly pressured Begin into agreeing to the treaty terms – the tangible fruits of which were all in Egypt’s – and America’s – favor.
Sadat, who had his forces launch the aggressive wars of 1967 and 1973 with the intent of obliterating the Jewish state, was rewarded for his belligerence by being given the Sinai Peninsula (which was not Egyptian sovereign territory before), and by being universally applauded as a courageous peacemaker.
By relinquishing the Sinai, Israel lost access to sources of oil that supplied upwards of 60 percent of its oil needs. It lost the ultra-modern military airfields it had built in the Sinai, and the billions of dollars it had to spend building substitute airfields in the Negev.
Israel lost the strategic depth that protected it against another Egyptian onslaught. It lost the only way it had of ensuring Israeli ships retain free access to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea. It lost the Jewish communities it had established in the Sinai – the process of uprooting them leaving deep scars in the Israeli national conscious and sowing seeds for civil disagreement and strife among Israel’s Jews.
And in the agreement Israel forfeited the possibility of annexing Judea, Samaria and Gaza, instead binding itself to negotiate with the Palestinian Arabs to give them self-rule in those areas to which they – the Arabs – had no prior historical claim.
The United States rewarded Egypt richly; over the ensuing years giving the country billions of dollars worth of modern and sophisticated weaponry, and training Egyptian soldiers and security forces. All the while Egypt’s army – twice as large as Israel’s – has been playing yearly war games in which it practices attacking and destroying the Jewish state.
Egypt, first under Sadat and then under Hosni Mubarak, lived up to nothing in return but a pledge not to launch attacks on Israel from Egyptian soil. That did not stop it from pursuing that other, political, war – delegitimizing the Jewish state and fomenting hatred of Israel at home and abroad.
While Israeli leaders frequently visited Egypt for consultations with Mubarak and his officials, the Egyptian ruler absolutely refused to reciprocate. His solo trip to Jerusalem was for the funeral of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Israeli tourists flocked with their money to Egypt, but Egyptians basically never came to tour Israel. The Mubarak-controlled media in Egypt regularly vilified the Jewish state and its Jewish citizens, while Israel’s free media almost always related to their southern neighbor in terms of being a partner in peace.
Meanwhile, included in the Carter-sanctioned agreement, with the American president’s full awareness and in fact collusion, was Egypt’s right to declare war on Israel if Israel should get into another conflict with any other Arab state.
As The Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick told an audience in the Israeli capital last week, what has existed between Israel and Egypt for the last 32 years has been not a state of peace but a readily reversible ceasefire.
Apart from badly compromising Israel’s security at the start, when it was formulated and signed, the agreement led Israel to further weaken itself as the years, then the decades, went by.
Glick pointed out that Israel, lulled into sleepiness by the exciting ‘peace agreement,’ long ago stopped training its forces for desert warfare. It also stopped collecting intelligence on the Egyptian military. All the while, Cairo was building up its war machine – with a billion dollars in aid from the United States every year.
“Egypt received massive military assistance from the United States. Those forces – which are trained by the US military – have been training for war against Israel for the last 32 years… The Egyptian army is twice the size of the IDF. Nearly a million Egyptian boys come of call-up age every year.”
Egypt is not “just” anti-Israel; it is one of the most antisemitic countries in the world, warned the Post reporter.
It must be noted, Glick added, that the new military junta ruling Egypt, despite being under intense pressure from the United States to commit itself to honoring the Israel-Egypt treat, was willing to go no further than make a general commitment to all its international treaties.
This should not be overlooked.
So what do we have? Israel signed a treaty with an Egyptian strongman which, yes, helped keep the southern border quiet for 32 years, and enabled millions of Israeli tourists to visit the Sinai and enjoy its beautiful coastline. But it also led to Israel weakening itself strategically, relaxing its guard and effectively rendering itself less able to deal with a future Egyptian assault.
Meanwhile the Egyptian side massively modernized its military while uninterruptedly fuelling hatred of the Jews and their state. Egypt used its “credentials” (influential Arab state with Western-backing) to keep itself in the center of the “peace process.” From Cairo, Hosni Mubarak edged ahead with his anti-Israel agenda, encouraging American administrations and Israeli leftists to work against Israel’s security interests.
Many, mostly liberal, experts are decrying the “scaremongers” who believe that the Muslim Brotherhood will soon ascend to power in Egypt. The revolution there has been widely described as the birthing of democracy in the Arab world and therefore promising a better future for Israel-Egypt relations. But democracy and Islam are oil and water – they cannot be mixed, and Israel’s presence in the Arab’s Muslim midst can never be tolerated. It must be expunged.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while calling Israel-Egyptian peace a “cornerstone of Mideast stability” and “hoping for the best” has said that Israel must “prepare for the worst” in its relations with its southern neighbor. Leftist Israelis have torn strips off him for doing so, calling instead for an appeasing approach that would not risk heightening tensions between the two countries during this transition period.
What is best for Israel? What should we pray for? The survival of a peace treaty that strengthens Egypt – whose political future is at best uncertain – and keeps Israel weak – making its future survival uncertain?
Or do we pray for Israel to prepare for the possibility that Egypt will tear up the treaty and throw it away – even if Israel’s very act of preparation is used as a justification by Egypt to abrogate Camp David?
Should we pray for God to help Israel prepare for what the Bible foretells and Middle East geo-political reality confirms is on the way – a war the Jewish people don’t want, but which will be unleashed against her? And if, as the IDF is bolstered in the south and Israel moves to make up its deficit in intelligence on Egypt, the Egyptian side reacts by scrapping the treaty, so be it?
Latin scholar Vegetius said: Si vis pacem, para bellum (If you want peace, prepare for war).
With the Israel-Egypt treaty, Israel has prepared for peace, but Egypt has has used it to gear up for war.
Stan Goodenough is a journalist and commentator, and 23-year resident of the State of Israel.
Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People, News, Philosophy & Science Tagged with: Camp David, egypt, Guest Writer: Stan Goodenough, Indian Ocean, israel, Jerusalem, Jimmy Carter, Peace, political revolution, Red Sea, Stan Goodenough, treaty, United States, War
“…. and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us…. ” -Acts 17.26-27
There are times in the life of a saint when the Lord will bring him into transition and move him from one place to another, one function to another, or one occupation to another. Often the minds of believers are occupied with searching for the next transition, hoping for another position, looking over the horizon to some idyllic destiny. We hope for a picturesque scenario, where there is no turbulence or trial, no uncertainty or mystery, and where all the pieces of the puzzle seem to fit together effortlessly and without thought.
God, in dealing with His children, will have none of this. He is bent on establishing reality, and His reality is ever and always opposed to our idealistic wish-dreams, particularly those aspirations that are not grounded in a jealousy for His glory. He has “determined” our appointed times and boundaries, which is to say, it is in His calculated purpose for us to live in the specific generation that we live in. It is in His design for us to abide within the physical boundaries wherein He has placed us. If we are willing to follow Him wheresoever He calls us, and we have yet to hear a word of some great transition, we must conclude that He has us where we are for a significant reason. And that reason is supremely this:
“…. that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him…. “
The current press and trial of life, whatever it may be, is most likely a “determined” tool meant for the refinery of the saint, and it has been initiated by the great Potter Himself. Have we been vessels of pliable clay, or are we hardening our hearts towards His dealings? We are too often looking for the greener grass on the other side, when the real purpose of being on this side is that we “would seek God,” “grope for Him and find Him,” exactly as He is.
If you are gripped with anxiety about the future, about entering ministry, or pursuing some higher position of occupation, you are missing the point of your present location and orientation. The real key for transitioning rightly is not in seeking all the options set before you in your own wisdom and rationale, but in seeking God Himself. He will permit the most exquisite and painstaking sufferings in our lives, if they are necessary to bring us to the place where we are quickened to seek and grope for Him.
We may see others advancing in areas where we feel we should be advancing, but the word of the Lord to us is the same as it was to Peter, when he coveted John’s long life in light of his own foreseen martyrdom:
“…. what is that to you? You follow Me!” (Jn. 21.22)
Often the seasons in which He seems most absent are the seasons when He is present and at His greatest work in our souls. His silence is not evidence of His standoffishness, as much as it is a Fatherly kind of waiting upon us, to see if we will respond as His sons in the test that He has permitted. When that press and turmoil is upon our hearts, do we turn inwardly, looking for an answer within our own shoddy logic? Do we look to flesh and blood, or do we “seek God”, “grope for Him and find Him?”
The promise holds true for us all, “He is not far from each one of us.”
Look not to that idyllic world of your own contrived destiny. Look not to what men say you are entitled to by virtue of any worldly accomplishment. Look not to despair or fear or bewilderment in the face of the weighty trial. Seek God. Grope for Him, right from the ground He has placed you upon in the here and now. That is the central issue. He is the central issue. Your transition, position, and destiny are totally secondary to seeking and beholding the Lord of History. And if He knows how to oversee the whole of history, He is wise enough to lead His sheep through the hills and valleys of our lives.
He is trustworthy, dear saint, and when we seek His face on “less-than-green” grounds, all things work together for our conformity to the image of His Son.
Posted in Featured Articles, The Kingdom of God Tagged with: calling, contentment, destiny, direction, listening to God, Peace, seeking God, trusting God
Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org
I like to strike up conversations with people I meet while traveling. Last Tuesday, on the way back to San Francisco airport, I asked the driver where he was from. “Jordan,” he replied.
In an effort to make a connection, I mentioned that I haven’t gotten to Jordan, but I went to Iran in 2006 and served in Saudi Arabia with the Navy twenty years ago.
“What do you do?” he asked.
“I’m a writer and a speaker. I co-authored a book defending the truth of Christianity called I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.”
“I’m a Christian too,” he said. Then, just as we were pulling into the terminal, he asked, “What do you think about the Iraq war?”
With less than 90 seconds left in the ride, I quickly said, “I think it was the least bad choice we had. Saddam used WMD, invaded Kuwait, and then violated 17 straight UN resolutions and the cease fire. What other choice did we have in a post 9-11 world?”
He didn’t answer the question. Instead, he claimed that Iraq had nothing to with 9-11, and that we just should have gone after the bad guys in Afghanistan. He then said, “Jesus told us to love our enemies.”
Leaving the issue of 9-11 aside, was his inference correct? In light of what Jesus said about loving our enemies, should Christians be pacifists?
I don’t think so. In fact, sometimes the use of force is not only justified, it can be a dereliction of duty not to use force.
First, “loving your enemies,” like “turn the other cheek,” is a command for individuals in personal relationships. It is not a command for governments or for individuals put in grave bodily harm. As individuals we should pray for our enemies and “turn the other cheek” instead of returning insult for insult. Such behavior demonstrates supernatural love aimed at securing the offender’s conversion to Christ. But those commands do not mean that we have no right to personal self defense, nor do they mean that a nation shouldn’t protect its people from other hostile nations.
With regard to self defense, not only does the Old Testament affirm the right to self defense (Ex. 22:2), Jesus himself told his disciples to sell their cloak and buy a sword (Luke 22:36). Jesus later told Peter “put your sword away” so Christ’s sacrifice would go forward and the scriptures would be fulfilled (Mt. 26:54). But the very fact that Jesus told Peter and the other disciples to buy a sword shows that its use for personal protection is appropriate. (By the way, Jesus never condoned the use of the sword as a means of religious conversion. It’s impossible anyway. Genuine conversion, by definition, is freely accepted. It cannot be coerced.)
With regard to war, the New Testament does not order newly baptized soldiers to get out of the military. Instead, John the Baptist told them not to abuse their power and to be content with their pay (Luke 3:14). Soldiers are needed because, as Paul pointed out in Romans 13, governments have a God-given responsibility to use “the sword” to protect their people from harm. In fact, Paul himself accepted military protection when he was in danger (Acts 22:25f), and Jesus affirmed the right of governments to impose capital punishment, saying that such a right was given by God (Jn. 19:11).
Second, “love your enemies” cannot mean that all use of force is prohibited because such an interpretation would contradict the passages just cited and result in absurd conclusions. It would be absurd to say that “love your enemies” means “allow them to kill your family.” How would that be loving to your family?
It would be absurd to say that “love your enemies” prohibits all wars. What about the war against Hitler? Not justified? Please. How would that be loving to the Jews or the countries overrun? (Notice that even my driver friend isn’t against all wars. He thinks that the war in Afghanistan is justified. But if “love your enemies” meant you could never use force, then how can Afghanistan be justified?)
With such an absurd interpretation, we couldn’t even have police protection, a court system, or prisons. Why believe that police can use force but not Armies? There’s not much of a difference. Police use force to protect people from enemies inside a country. Armies use force to protect people from enemies outside a country.
Without the proper use of force, we’d have anarchy, and innocent people would be hurt or killed. That’s why complete pacifism is not only unbiblical, it is a dereliction of duty. Individuals have a responsibility to protect themselves and their families from harm, and governments have a similar responsibility to protect their citizens.
Christians can and should, of course, oppose specific wars that don’t meet what theologians call “just-war theory.” As I mentioned in my last column, I believe the Iraq war is just. But I didn’t get enough time with my driver friend to hear his complete case against the Iraq war. Maybe he knows something I don’t, but it didn’t seem so.
One thing is for certain: Christians contradict scripture and common sense when they say no war or use of force can ever be justified. As terrible as it is, War is sometimes the least bad choice available. In other words, it’s not that Christians are for war; it’s that we’re against the alternative—the oppression and death of the innocent. And in a fallen world like this, sometimes the use of force is necessary to protect the innocent. Without it, we wouldn’t even be able to love our friends.
Posted in Scripture Tagged with: Frank Turek, Iraq, Jesus, Jordan, military, Paul, Peace, TownHall, turn the other cheek, War
Editor’s Note: A guest article from author Joel Richardson. Learn more at his website www.JoelsTrumpet.com.
The Covenant with Death & the Treaty of Hudaibiyah
In war, one of the greatest mistakes that one can make is to not know your enemy. Just recently, I was enjoying breakfast with one of my daughters at a local Pancake House managed by a family from Saudi Arabia. The owner and I are very friendly and always strike up a conversation whenever I visit. The other day I asked him how many languages he spoke. I was surprised when he said that he is presently studying Hebrew. “Hebrew, really? Why are you learning Hebrew?” I asked. At this point, he leaned over to me and lowered his voice. Scanning the room before he spoke, he whispered to me, “You know… always know your enemy.” I didn’t push my friend as to why a Saudi immigrant in the Midwest of the United States would feel as though Jews or Israelis were his enemies, but it made for an enlightening episode into my Muslim host’s mindset.
Today the Nation of Israel, more than ever is being pushed from all sides to come to the negotiating table and agree to allow the Palestinian people a state of their own side by side with the State of Israel. Many from among the Israeli-leadership in fact believe that such an agreement is their only solution for long-term “peace and security.” But do these Israeli leaders truly know with whom they are dealing? Have these Israeli leaders ever truly taken the time to really study the tenants and history of Islam in order to understand the system that guides every aspect of those who they will someday trust as “peace-partners?”
Beyond the general fact that lying and deceitfulness find a rich seed-bed in the religion of Islam, there is also a very specific piece of Islamic history that must be fully understood by anyone who thinks that peace between Jews and radical Muslims is possible. Specifically within Islamic history, I am referring to what is known as the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. One cannot even begin to approach understanding modern day Middle East politics until one first understands the history and meaning of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah.
The Treaty of Hudaibiyah
While Islam was still in its infancy, Muhammad’s small but growing band of followers found themselves living in Medina after being driven out of Mecca due to a conflict with Muhammad’s former tribe of Quraysh. At the time, the various surrounding Arab tribes would make religious pilgrimages to the pagan shrine in Mecca known as the Ka’ba, but because the tribe of Quraysh was the guardian and custodian of the shrine, the followers of Muhammad were not allowed to make such pilgrimages.
One night, Muhammad claimed to have received a revelation from Allah in a dream. He claimed that Allah told him that he and his followers would make the pilgrimage to Mecca. Following this alleged revelation Muhammad prepared his people to travel to Mecca for the pilgrimage. However, while attempting to sneak into the city, at a place called the Spring of Hudaibiyah, they were intercepted by Meccan / Qurayashi troops. It was here that the men of Quraysh disrespected Muhammad in front of his followers, and did not allow them to go forward to make pilgrimage. However, they did negotiate with the Islamic believers and struck a deal that became known as the Treaty of Hudaibiyah which reads as follows:
In your name, O Allah. These are the terms of the truce between Muhammad, the son of Abdullah and Suhayl, the son of Amr (of Mecca). Both parties have agreed to lay down the burden of war for ten years. During this time, each party shall be safe, and neither shall injure the other; no secret damage shall be inflicted, but uprightness and honor shall prevail between them. The Muslims shall return (to Medina) this year without performing Umrah (the pilgrimage). In the coming year, you may enter it (Mecca) with your companions, staying therein for three days, bearing no arms except the arms of the traveler, with swords remaining in their sheaths. If a Quraysh person comes to Muhammad (i.e., after accepting Islam) without the permission of his guardian, Muhammad shall return him to them, but if one of Muhammad’s people come to the Quraysh, he shall not be returned. Whoever wishes to enter into covenant with Muhammad can do so, and whoever wishes to enter into covenant with the Quraysh can do so.”
It is obvious as one reads the treaty that the Quraysh were the ones in a position of strength and were in fact being quite generous to the relatively smaller band of Islamic believers, which numbered only a little over a thousand men. While Muhammad and his band were prepared to enter Mecca (according to Muhammad’s alleged revelation from Allah), they ended up being turned away until the following year, though they were allowed to return to Medina unharmed and recruit as many others from outside the Quraysh tribe as they wished. With the Islamic believers being the weaker and smaller group, the agreement not to attack each other for ten years was a generous concession on the Quraysh’s part.
The result of this humiliating encounter and treaty was that the Islamic believers were covered with shame and began to grumble against Muhammad. They were terribly embarrassed that their great leader had been treated so poorly and did nothing to respond other than to roll over and agree to the treaty. They were also a bit disillusioned because Muhammad had obviously prophesied falsely regarding his followers making the pilgrimage. But above all, regarding the treaty, there were whines of “no fair” heard throughout the Islamic camp. How could the greatest people on the earth (as Muhammad was in the habit of classifying them) be so humiliated? A Hadith of Bukhari records the arrogance and the offense of the Islamic camp:
At that time ‘Umar came (to the Prophet) and said, “Aren’t we on the right (path) and they (pagans) in the wrong? Won’t our killed persons go to Paradise, and theirs in the Fire?” The Prophet replied, “Yes.” Umar further said, “Then why should we let our religion be degraded and return before Allah has settled the matter between us?”
— Sahih Bukhari 6.367
Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul records another conversation that broke out among two of Muhammad’s closet friends, Umar, and Abu Bakr, the very men who would later become the first and second Caliphs after Muhammad:
Umar jumped up and went to Abu Bakr saying, “Is he not God’s apostle, and are we not Muslims, and are they not polytheists?” to which Abu Bakr agreed, and he went on: “Then why should we agree to what is demeaning to our religion?”
— Sirat Rasul page 504
But Muhammad’s response to his followers was typical of other false prophets whose prophecies fail-he simply painted a new bulls-eye around their arrow. Muhammad argued that Allah had never said that they would make pilgrimage “this year” but that they would simply make it someday. Al-Bukhari records this rather humorous event:
Umar said, “I went to the Prophet and said, ‘Aren’t you truly the Apostle of Allah?’ The Prophet said, ‘Yes, indeed.’ I said, ‘Isn’t our cause just and the cause of the enemy unjust?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Then why should we be humble in our religion?’ He said, ‘I am Allah’s Apostle and I do not disobey Him, and He will make me victorious.’ I said, ‘Didn’t you tell us that we would go to the Ka’ba?’ He said, ‘Yes, but did I tell you that we would visit the Ka’ba this year?’
— Sahih Bukhari 3.891
After hearing all of the grumbling within his camp, Muhammad awoke the following morning claiming that Allah had “sent down” another revelation explaining that what had happened was in fact a “great victory” for the Islamic believers. This “revelation” which reads much like a desperate defense can be found in Surah 48 of the Quran. It begins with “Surely We (Allah) have given to you a clear victory.” And so after a dismal failure, Muhammad declared “clear victory.” The pattern displayed here by Muhammad can be seen in many Muslims even today.
What may have been Muhammad’s greatest genius was also contained in this “revelation.” His men, many angry and less than enthusiastic, assembled to hear him out. It was at this time that Muhammad suddenly announced glad tidings: The booty from the Jewish village of Khaibar would soon belong to them. Muhammad announced that the majority of the booty from plundered villages and cities would belong to the soldiers in his camp, as well as the women and children that they took as slaves. Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir narrates this event:
When those of the people whom he wanted had assembled, he recited: “We have given thee (O Muhammad) a signal victory.” A person from the Companions of Muhammad said, “O apostle of Allah, is it a victory?” He replied, “By Him in whose hand is my soul, it is surely a victory.” Then (the booty of) Khaibar was allotted to the participants of al-Hudaybiyya in eighteen shares.
A Turn of Events
The story continues with what turned out to be a very poor turn of events for the tribe of Quraysh. Within only weeks of being humiliated, Muhammad began attacking and pillaging several wealthy Jewish villages and cities. The Islamic believers who participated in these attacks were promised and received a large portion of the booty that they seized as well as the women and children, which they took as slaves. This incentive became a powerful motivating force in gaining new recruits to the Islamic movement, resulting in staggering growth in the period immediately following these events. The Sirat Rasul (early biography of Muhammad) records the benefits of this treaty:
…He (Allah) has wrought a near victory, the peace of al-Hudaybiyya. No previous victory in Islam was greater than this. There was nothing but battle when men met; but when there was an armistice and war was abolished and men met in safety and consulted together none talked about Islam intelligently without entering it. In those two years double as many or more than double as many entered Islam as ever before.”
— Sirat Rasul page 507
Muhammad Breaks the Treaty
Soon thereafter, the Treaty was tested for the first time. Some Qurayshi Meccan women had married some of the followers of Muhammad. Therefore, according to the tenants of the Treaty, the Qurayshi family members of the women came to Muhammad and asked him to return the women. But Muhammad refused this request. He broke his end of the deal. Instead, Muhammad only had the dowries returned but not the women.
“Umm Kulthum migrated to the apostle during this period. Her two brothers Umara and Walid, sons of Uqba came and asked the apostle to return her to them in accordance with the agreement between him and Quraysh at Hudaybiyya, but he would not. Allah forbade it…
— Sirat Rasul page 509
Muhammad’s reason for violating the Treaty of course was another convenient revelation from Allah.
Thereafter some believing women who were immigrants came. (Allah sent down: O ye who believe when believing women come to you as emigrants). Allah most high forbade them to send them back, but ordered them to restore the dowry.”
— Sunan Abu Dawud volume 2, #2759
Once again, Muhammad placed the responsibility for his inability to keep his word on Allah. This fact is important because when one surveys the various Muslim apologists’ version of events, they never mention the fact that Muhammad was the one who broke the Treaty.
When the Treaty was made, Muhammad’s followers numbered under 1,500 men, but within two years, after destroying the seven Jewish villages and assuming all of their wealth and wives, the movement had grown to over 10,000 men. They were no longer the weaker of the two parties to the Treaty. It was at this time that Muhammad exploited a minor infraction in the Treaty-forgetting of course his earlier blatant violation-and the Muslims attacked Mecca and destroyed the power of the Quraysh. Muhammad and his followers were now the undisputed rulers of Mecca.
Hudaibiyah as a Modern Muslim Political Tool
The point of course in recalling all of this history is to demonstrate the fact that Muhammad was a brazen opportunist. But remember, he is also the supreme example for all Muslims today, thus many in the Islamic world do not view peace treaties in the same way that non-Muslims would. Muslims do not understand treaties as binding agreements, but rather as opportunities to grow stronger or buy time or to look peaceful. But the purpose is never to simply make peace with the infidels. Some may claim that this is a bigoted and unfair claim. My response is that such objections are ignorant and based on propaganda or wishful thinking concerning the nature and goals of Islam. In Islam, concepts such as honor, ethics, or obligations are only afforded a secondary importance against the imperial importance that is given to establishing the supremacy and domination of Islam throughout the whole world. Muslims today clearly understand “Hudaibiya” to be a code-word, which in brief, means “kiss the hand of your enemy until you have the opportunity to cut it off.” Do not be deceived.
In May of 1994, Yasser Arafat addressed a group of Muslims in Johannesburg South Africa. However, what Arafat didn’t know was that a journalist by the name of Bruce Whitfield secretly recorded the portion of his speech that was in English. At this time, things were looking good for the Middle East Peace Process. Many felt as though tensions were winding down. However, it was during this speech that Arafat spoke of the ongoing “jihad to liberate Jerusalem.” Those Israelis who had trusted Arafat’s previous promises of peace and good-will were shocked. But even more damaging to the Peace Process were Arafats comments regarding the Treaty of Hudaibyah. Referring to the Peace Agreement that he had only recently made with Israel, Arafat was recorded as saying:
I see this agreement as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh in Mecca… The prophet had been right to insist on the agreement, for it helped him defeat the Quraysh and take over their city of Mecca. In a similar spirit, we now accept the peace agreement, but [only in order] to continue on the road to Jerusalem.
— Lessons from the Prophet Muhammad’s Diplomacy
After this speech, Arafat frequently made mention of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah and clearly expressed that it was a model for his own “diplomacy.” Though this allusion to the Treaty may be obscure to most non-Muslims, many Muslims are familiar with the prophet’s agreement with the Quraysh. Mentioning it in Johannesburg and often afterwards was Arafat’s method of sending a clandestine message about his intentions toward Israel, one intelligible to Muslims but not to the rest of the world. This is in fact a common practice by Muslim leaders, however it is never used when they know that “the enemy is listening,” and rarely are they caught on tape. In 2003 however, the Malaysian Prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad was caught discussing the Treaty of Hudaibiyah model for diplomacy.
At Hudaibiyah [Muhammad] was prepared to accept an unfair treaty, against the wishes of his companions and followers. During the peace that followed he consolidated his strength and eventually he was able to enter Mecca and claim it for Islam… That briefly is the story of the struggle of the Prophet. We talk so much about following the sunnah of the Prophet. We quote the instances and the traditions profusely. But we actually ignore all of them. If we use the faculty to think that Allah has given us then we should know that we are acting irrationally. We fight without any objective, without any goal other than to hurt the enemy because they hurt us. Naively we expect them to surrender. We sacrifice lives unnecessarily, achieving nothing other than to attract more massive retaliation and humiliation. It is surely time that we pause to think. But will this be wasting time? For well over half a century we have fought over Palestine. What have we achieved? Nothing. We are worse off than before. If we had paused to think then we could have devised a plan, a strategy that can win us final victory. Pausing and thinking calmly is not a waste of time. We have a need to make a strategic retreat and to calmly assess our situation.The Quran tells us that when the enemy sues for peace we must react positively. True the treaty offered is not favorable to us. But we can negotiate. The Prophet did, at Hudaibiyah. And in the end he triumphed… The enemy will probably welcome these proposals… Of late because of their power and their apparent success they have become arrogant. And arrogant people, like angry people will make mistakes, will forget to think. They are already beginning to make mistakes. And they will make more mistakes. There may be windows of opportunity for us now and in the future. We must seize these opportunities.
Today, as we open the newspapers, almost daily we read comments made by the Israeli leadership that the Israelis will do “anything possible” to achieve a lasting regional peace. We read that Israel is willing to make “sweeping, painful and difficult concessions” in exchange for peace with its Arab neighbors. The establishment of an official Palestinian State is one step closer to being implemented. But we have seen this kind of thing before. In 1993, the Oslo accords were made. Back then Israel also made “sweeping, painful and difficult decisions.” Where did it get them? Palestinian suicide bombings and attacks have never stopped, nor has the hatred of the surrounding nations ever abated. A proper understanding of peace treaties in Islamic history and thought gives insight into why this is happening… the surrounding Arab nations are proudly following in the footsteps of Muhammad, the prophet and messenger of their god.
About the Author: Joel Richardson is the author of Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, co-editor of Why We Left Islam: Former Muslims Speak Out, and co-author with Walid Shoebat of God’s War on Terror: Islam, Prophecy and the Bible. Joel has been actively involved in outreach to Muslims since the early 1990’s.
Posted in Israel & The Jewish People Tagged with: Guest Writer: Joel Richardson, Islam, israel, Mecca, Medina, Muhammad, Muslims, Peace, Treaty of Hudaibiyah, Yasser Arafat