With new Muslims making their first personal pilgrimage each year, it is good to reflect upon the Umrah Dhu’l-Qada, or the first pilgrimage. The first pilgrimage took place in the year 629 CE, on the morning of the fourth day of Dhu al-Qi’dah. Muhammad and the Muslims made this journey together after the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah was agreed upon in 6 AH (628 CE).
The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah came about after the prophet Muhammad and his followers were forced to flee from Mecca to the city of Medina in the north. This persecution came from the Quraysh, a mercantile tribe who at that time held complete control over Mecca.
The conflict between Muhammad and his followers, and the Quraysh tribe, led to many violent fights in which innocent lives were lost. When the Muslims tried to return for a pilgrimage to Mecca in 628, as directed by one of the revelations, the Quraysh did not permit them entry. Eventually, the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah was put forward as an agreement between the Meccans and the Muslim people, allowing for a peaceful pilgrimage the following year in 629.
This first Umrah in the year 629 consisted of 2,000 men, as well as some women and children. There were also 60 camels brought on the journey, who had been prepared for sacrifice. Even though they had been assured a peaceful pilgrimage, many of the Muslim men were still concerned for their safety. However, they left their weapons eight miles from Mecca, when it became apparent that there would be no treachery from the Quraishites. As the first Umrah pilgrims entered the city, they kept their swords sheathed, and followed after the prophet Muhammad who was riding his she-camel.
Upon entering Mecca, Muhammad and his followers found that the Quraishites had moved to tents far away from the Holy Sanctuary. Although they were weak after the exhausting journey, Muhammad’s followers ran the first three rounds and walked at a brisk pace for the second three. While the circumambulation was performed, the people of Mecca watched from atop the Qu‘aiqa‘an Mount and found themselves humbled by the evident strength of the Muslims.
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