In the sixth year after his migration to Medina (March 628), Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) decided to perform the Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage). Fourteen hundred of the companions joined the Prophet for Mecca. He ordered them not to carry any weapons of war, but allowed a sword which was customary for the travelers to carry for protection against caravan raids.

The Quraish (Pagans) intent upon not allowing the prophet to enter Mecca closed all access to the city. The Prophet then reached a place called Hudaibiya, on the precincts of the sacred territory of Mecca, and halted there. The Quraysh tried to provoke the Prophet’s companions to fighting. Upon finding the pilgrims in their Ihram (pilgrim’s garb) and their intention not to fight, the fears and anxieties of the Quraysh were abated; and they were forced to think of the consequences if the pilgrims were turned back without performing the rites. The Quraysh sent Urwah bin Mas’ud to the Prophet as their spokesman. The Prophet’s delegation and that of the Quraysh negotiated back and forth. In these deliberations, the Quraysh made some unpleasant remarks about the Prophet and his companions. At this Urwah, the Meccan representative, felt that he was led to be misguided and protested to Quraysh that he had not made a pact with them for such a behavior and stated:

“I have been sent as envoy to the courts of Kesra (Chosroes), Qaisar (Caeser), and the Negus but I have not seen a king whose men so honor him as the companions of Muhammad (pbuh) honor Muhammad (pbuh) . If he commands anything they almost outstrip his words in fulfilling it....When he speaks, their voices are hushed in his presence and they lower their eyes in reverence for him. He has made you a good offer, therefore accept it from him.”
The Quraysh realizing their mistake and the risk of losing important allies, came to an agreement with the Prophet. The terms of the treaty were written down and is known as the "Treaty of Hudaibiyah.” It included:

“In your name, O Allah. These are the terms of the truce between Muhammad (pbuh) , 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 this year without performing Umrah (the pilgrimage). In the coming year, you may enter it 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 (pbuh) (i.e., after accepting Islam) without the permission of his guardian, Muhammad (pbuh) shall return him to them, but if one of the Muhammad (pbuh) ’s people come to the Quraysh, he shall not be returned.

Whoever wishes to enter into covenant with Muhammad (pbuh) can do so, and whoever wishes to enter into covenant with the Quraysh can do so.”

Many of the Muslims were not satisfied with the terms of the treaty and they regarded it to be humiliating to themselves, considering the behavior of the Quraish against the Prophet during the negotiations. The Prophet declared the treaty a victory and they accepted it on the conviction that Allah and His messenger know best.

On their way back to Medina, Allah (The One God) revealed to the Prophet (pbuh) a chapter of the Qur’an known as “Al-Fath” (The Victory, XLVIII). The chapter begins with: “Verily We have given thee a victory, a very clear victory.”

The treaty of Hudaibiyah proved to be a genuine victory for the Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with his convictions and belief in Allah was not looking for a quick victory over the pagans but a long term victory that would last forever. His strategy was a product of profound political wisdom and farsightedness. He commanded the Muslims to accept the treaty in the face of those who questioned the wisdom of the treaty. The historians say that many reluctantly accepted compliance to the treaty.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) ’s vision turned the treaty of Hudaibiyah as a game changer in many ways. The pagans felt they accomplished more than they had bargained for and elevated themselves to higher levels of arrogance, however, they recognized that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was an equal partner rather than the follower of a new religion who was insisting them to accept Islam, his religion. Even though the treaty made the pagans more arrogant but it put a constraint on their hostile attitude. The members of Quraysh and other clans of Makkah started thinking more about Islam, trying to understand it rather than committing acts of aggression against its followers, the Muslims. Many pagans were impressed by the simple, straight forward and humanistic Islamic values displayed by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) . And hearing from Khalid bin Walid, Makkan commander, and other Makkans who visited the Hudaibiyah camp, about the discipline, spirit and unity displayed by fourteen thousand followers of Islam made the pagans look at Islam with a new perspective. Many began to waiver in hostility towards the faith of Islam. This was a game changer.

The treaty proved the importance and future of Islam by putting an end to the perennial warfare between Makkah and Madinah, opened up ways to penetration of Islamic values into the heart of pagans, encouraging their inquisitive feelings to flourish and look at Islam favorably.

The treaty of Hudaibiyah also added a new point as a game changer because it gave the Muslims the peace and security needed without the fear of an invasion from Makkah. It should be noted that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had already established peace in Madinah and the surrounding areas by dealing with Christians and Jews before embarking on his journey to Makkah for umrah that ended in signing of the treaty of Hudaibiyah. He along with the followers, fourteen thousand strong, returned to Madinah without entering the city of Makkah.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a man of truth and fidelity who spoke with sincerity. His treatment of the Christians, Jews, pagans and Quraysh created an atmosphere that ended up in the establishment of peace in the region and gave him time for the propagation of Islam. Within two months of his return to Madinah, after signing the treaty of Hudiabiyah he began to address himself to the kings of surrounding empires and chiefs of foreign states, bringing the message of Islam to all men in all corners of the earth.

The judgment, wisdom and the strong belief in Allah, and the prophetic vision of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) , in signing the treaty of Hudaibiyah, proved to be the game changer that changed the world forever.