Muslim rulers could make truce agreement with their enemies to cease fighting for specific duration if it is in favor of Muslim community. They also can make peace treaty which must be respected by both parties.
A truce refers to an agreement made by the Muslim ruler or his deputy with the enemy to cease fighting for a specified period, whether short or long, as may be needed. This is perfectly permissible if it is of benefit to the Muslim community, as in the case when the Muslim community is in a state of weakness or unpreparedness to fight, or for some other valid reason such as the hope to be able to advocate Islam among unbelievers, etc.
‘If they incline to peace, then incline you to it as well’
The Prophet (peace be upon him) made a peace treaty with the idolaters in Makkah, which is known as the al-Hudaybiyah peace treaty, specifying that it lasted for 10 years, and he concluded a peace agreement with the Jews in Madinah.
A truce agreement made by the Muslim ruler or his deputy is binding on the Muslim community and cannot be revoked or cancelled as long as the other party observes its commitments and the Muslim community fears no betrayal from them.
‘So long as they are true to you, be true to them’
‘Believers, be true to your contracts’
If the other party violates the truce agreement or treaty, resorting to fighting us or supporting our enemy against us, or killing a Muslim or taking our property, the agreement or treaty becomes invalid, as Allah makes clear:
‘And if they break their oaths their treaty and defame your religion, then fight the leaders of disbelief, for indeed, there are no oaths [sacred] to them; [fight them that] they might cease.’
If we have reason to believe that they are preparing to violate the treaty, we may give them notice of ending the treaty between us. We are not bound to honour it in full.
‘If you [have reason to] fear from [people betrayal, throw [their treaty] back to them [putting you] on equal terms. Indeed, Allah does not like traitors.’
The verse means that the other party should be aware that the treaty has been abrogated, so that the two sides are equally aware of the new fact. It is not permissible for Muslims to fight the other party before they have been notified of the abrogation of the treaty.
- Al-Nadawi, Al-Fiqh al-Muyassar, p. 208.