According to Umdat as-Salik, a medieval summary of Shafi'i jurisprudence, hudnas with a non-Muslim enemy should be limited to 10 years: "if Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet made a truce with the Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud" ('Umdat as-Salik, o9.16).The key to understanding the significance of the "Hudna" is in the phrase "if Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary."
You have understood the "Hudna" when you realize that the problem it solves is not a problem for both parties in a conflict, but a problem unique to Muslims engaging in jihad. If jihad is truly a religious obligation incumbent on all Muslim believers, than to desist from continuing a jihad war, once commenced, would be a significant offense.
But what can the mujaheddin do, if the jihadis are in a weak military situation, and carrying the battle forwards would mean their destruction? Why, offer a "Hudna," of course! Once a "Hudna" is agreed upon by both parties, the jihadis are relieved of their pressing and immediate obligation to engage in warfare, and can rebuild their military strength while using diplomatic and propagandistic means to undermine their enemies. When that strength is renewed, and after a duration of no more than ten years, the jihad must be started up again.
The "Hudna" is not a cease-fire to which both parties agree, with the intention of ultimately and eventually resolving their differences in peaceful and binding negotiations. The "Hudna" is a one-sided cease-fire, the only purpose of which is to relieve military pressure on the jihad, when the jihad is in an untenable situation.
When Islamist fanatics such as Hamas offer a "Hudna" you can be certain that they understand that they are losing the war, and that they intend to regroup and re-arm while gulling their enemies into a false sense of security.
Hamas previously offered a "Hudna" in 2003, during which some 180 terrorist attacks occurred anyway. [The cartoon to the left is from 2003.]
In a recent op-ed in the New Duranty Times, a Hamas spokesman claimed that "a hudna extends beyond the Western concept of a cease-fire and obliges the parties to use the period to seek a permanent, nonviolent resolution to their differences."
That is clearly an example of taqqiya, or dissimulation.
As the moderate Muslim commentator Dr. Tashbih Sayyed points out:
Those who understand the Islamist ethos know that for political Islam, disengagement, a cease-fire, or a pull back on the part of the "enemy" is a sign of its weakness.That is so because:
Political Islam finds a number of examples in the life of Prophet Muhammad that sanction the use of treaties as a tactical necessity. In explaining why he signed the Oslo Accord, Yasser Arafat cited a truce signed by Prophet Muhammad with the Meccan tribe Quraish at Hudaybiyah in 628 C.E. According to the PLO leader, Prophet Muhammad had signed the truce when he was not strong enough to win a war and it was to last for ten years. But when, within two years of the signing, the Muslims felt that they have gained enough strength to defeat the Quraish, they broke the truce, attacked the Quraish and captured Mecca.
A prominent Saudi sheikh, 'Abd Al-Muhsin Al-'Obikan, also referred to the same treaty while condemning Hezbollah's actions in Lebanon. He issued the edict against Hezbollah's actions not because he considered them wrong but because in his view Muslims, at the moment, are not strong enough to defeat Israel. He said that since the Muslims have no chance of winning this campaign against the Jews, a temporary solution is necessary - a truce similar to the temporary truce of Hudaybiyya.
According to the Saudi Sheikh, Islamic laws (Shari'a) also "place preconditions and constraints on the declaring of jihad, which must be considered in order to ensure the greatest gain for the nation and spare it loss - [that is,] in order to ensure the minimum possible damage and avoid greater damage.
One of the preconditions regarding jihad [states] that the [the jihad fighters] must have [sufficient] capability to inflict harm on the enemy and to repulse its evil, so as to ensure the lives, the property, and the honor of the Muslims and to safeguard them from aggression or harm, that is, [from] destruction of property, from violation of honor, and from bloodshed."
Reliapundit adds: According to TIME, Hizballah (with the help of Syria and Iran) is using the HUDNA they received (courtesy of Bush and Rice and the UN) to rearm. As the song says: "WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN? WHEN WE WILL EVER LEARN?"