A look on the Vocabulary of Fatah in the Holy Quran:
Terminologies and vocabularies of the Holy Quran should be analyzed carefully and deeply. It is the case of the word Fatah, which has been repeated sometimes in the Holy Quran. The Holy prophet (PBUH) signed a peace pact in 6,Hijra, Performed Umraratul-Qadha in 7,Hijra and conquered Mecca in 8, Hijra. The opening verses of chapter 48 were revealed in 6, Hijra when our Prophet was on His way back to Medina in which he was informed that he had been given a bright victory in the past, then it could never refer to the conquest of Mecca, an event that took two years. Hence we should have a look over the verses and the events that were pointing:
Fatah Al-Mobin (1:48) refers to peace in 6, Hijra.
Fatah Al-Qareeb (18: 48) refers to the victory of Khyber.
Fatah wal Nasr (1: 110) refers to the Yemenies who were the last ones to embrace Islam in 10, Hijra.
Sultan-e-Naseer (superiority and authority) (82: 17) refers to the conquest of Mecca in 8, Hijra.
Analysis of the latter verses of Chapter 48
These verses explain the effects and results of the peace pact of Hodaibiyah and Allah states that He won a manifesting victory for His prophet Mohammed PBUH in the form of peace for the following four reasons:
1- He wanted to forgive all His prophet’s sins.
2- He wanted to increase His bounties upon His prophet.
3- He wanted to guide His Prophet PBUH to the right path.
4- He wanted to provide help and assistance to His prophet.
If you will read these verses you will ask that what is the relationship between peace and sins of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)? How will you dare to say that the sins of the Holy Prophet were forgiven when he made peace with the infidels? You must be aware that all the Prophets were Sinless and obviously so was our Prophet, who was the last and the best of them, with the seal of the Prophets. Now the question that arises is why was Allah saying that He would forgive all of His Prophets’ sins after the peace of Hodaibiyah?
Learned Scholars seem quite worried when answering these questions. One commentator said that this verse resembled another one in which the Holy prophet PBUH was commanded By God to ask forgiveness from him and his followers. Another one Tabari, was of the view that this was a command just like the commands of describing Glory to Allah SWT. Qortobi, a famous commentator admitted that there were many differences regarding these verses. Mujahid, another commentator said the preceding sins mentioned in the verse, referred to the sins of the Holy Prophet PBUH before Prophethood. Wahidi, another scholar said it denoted small sins. Atta khorasani said that the previous sins referred to the sins of Adam and the following sins referred to the sins of followers. Another assumption was, that the previous sins were the sins of the battle of Badr, which was fought in the second year after the migration of the Holy prophet PBUH to the city
of Medina; while the rest of the sins were the sins of the Battle of Honain, which was fought after the conquest of Mecca in 8, Hijra, two years after the peace of Hodaibiyah.( See Qortobi and Thalabi)
In my opinion, all these explanations are irrelevant, as you can easily prove, in the light of Quran and Sunna, that your Holy Prophet PBUH was sinless. And if you accepted any of the above given explanations then how can you prove the relationship between the sins that were forgiven and the peace of Hodaibiyah?
And if you say that the sins, referred in the verse, were the sins of the Holy prophet PBUH before Prophethood then it would never be true as the Holy prophet PBUH was always the man of character, even before His prophecy. The people would regard him a true and faithful person. And even the people of that time always found honesty and truth in Him.
Imam Ali has stated in one of his sermons in Nahj al-Balagha:
Allah made an arrangement when he (Prophet Mohammed PBUH) was about two years old that one angel of great value and position was with him all the time and he would teach Him all the manners and take him on the way of virtues and pure deeds. (Nahj-al-Balagha, Sermon No: 190, Qasea)
Hence, it was proved that the Prophet Mohammed did not commit any mistake and was never seen corrupt in anyway, even before he was officially announced as a Prophet at the age of forty.
Sheikh Toosi, a prominent Shia scholar, was aware of this problem that all of the prophets were sinless and he could solve it by saying that the sins were of the Prophet’s followers. So, this problem would be solved, however, another one that how can you relate the issue of forgiveness to the peace pact, remains unsolved. However, Allamah Tabatabi, gave a good explanation in this regard. He first admitted that the word ZANB in these verses often referred to sin but sometimes it might be used for something, which does have good results. Giving the example of Moses he said that the murder He committed by mistake in Egypt was not a sin but the word ZANB has been used for it.
Allama Tabatabi is true. If a single murder could be a sin in the eyes of the people of Egypt at the time of Moses then the continuation of war and unrest in Arabian land was naturally a bigger sin! Undoubtedly, the infidels of Mecca started this unrest but Muslims were held responsible for it. After the peace pact of Hodaibiyah in 6, Hijra, the after effects of all the previous wars were washed away and it was proved that the Muslims were not violent rather they were more peaceful. And this was the real meaning of the forgiveness of the prophet’s previous stands about continuation of war and jihad. Now the world would respect him more would love him and his religion more, and would see him as a messenger of peace and not as a commander of war. Hence the reconciliation of Hodaibiyah created such a peaceful and favorable condition that Our Holy prophet PBUH sent his message to four big powers of that time, inviting them towards Islam. This was the right path because as a messenger His first and foremost duty was to deliver the message and not to win a war in the battlefield. It was also evident from the coming verse No: 8, Indeed we have sent you as a witness and as a bearer of good news and as a Warner. (8:48).
Indeed, He was sent as a messenger and not as a commander of war. This was the second prime result of the peace pact of Hodaibiyah. The delegations from all over the world started coming and within two years whole of the Arab world embraced Islam and a day came when Allah SWT announced:
Today! I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed my bounties upon you, and I have approved Islam as your religion. (3:5)
This was the great day of Ghadir when the Holy Prophet PBUH announced Imam Ali A.S. as His next leader to lead the Ummah after Him. And if there was no peace then this day would never come.
We could further summarize the results of the peace pact of Hodaibiyah as:
1- If the war would have been continued then the principles of Morality would not have been completed and so is true for Islam and the right path would have been blurred by the smoke and fire of war. The real mission of a messenger was to deliver the message and to communicate what Allah SWT has sent Him down for. God did not send Mohammed PBUH to conquer the cities, to capture the property and land of people and to make them slaves but to free them from the bondage and to fill their hearts with the light of faith. This goal could never have achieved with war not even with jihad, but it was possible only with peace. Basically delivery and acceptance of the message of God was possible only in favorable conditions of peace.
2- Although Allah helped Muslims in some of their battles with infidels but the guarantee that He would help them more in the future was when they would make peace. But if they did not submit to peace and even exceeded the defined limits in defensive jihad and were aggressive to innocents, he would never help them.
3- The Holy prophet PBUH did not shed a single drop of blood in the conquest of Mecca when He brought forward a massive army of 10,000 and took the hold of Mecca in His hand in 8, Hijra and made free all of His enemies. It showed His struggle for peace and that there is no concept of revenge in Islam.
The Muslims at the time of the Holy prophet PBUH might have learnt lessons from the peace of Hodaibiyah and submitted to peace, but is the turn of the Muslims of 21st century to submit to peace and learn lessons from the above defined verses of the 48th chapter of the Holy Quran.