We previously discussed the Prophet Muhammed’s (pbuh) ‘Flight to Medina’ also known as the ‘Hijra’ or ‘The Prophet’s Emigration’ and we also touched on the massive manhunt Qureish(the leading tribe of Mecca) launched in order to capture Muhammed (pbuh) dead or alive and, consequently, bring an end to Islam.
But what impact did Islam have on the people of Medina particularly? How did they receive Muhammed (pbuh) and that which he brought to the world?
Before we look at that aspect of Islam, let us continue where we left off earlier, i.e. with the trackers of Qureish following the trail of Muhammed (pbuh) and his companion, Abu Bakr, and the subsequent discovery of the cave where the two were hiding.
We discussed previously how Abu Bakr became convinced that it was the end of both him and the Prophet (pbuh) since there was only one way into the cave, and the baying of the mob outside had sounded very ominous indeed. The Prophet (pbuh) had told him not to worry—that Allah was with them, and that the Almighty would not allow any harm to come to them.
We spoke about how the leaders of Qureish—when they arrived at the cave, which was situated on Mount Tuhr—refrained from entering the hideout, especially since a spider had spun its web across the mouth, and a bird’s egg was entangled in the center of the web as well! The Prophet (pbuh) and his Companion didn’t know about this.
Qureish had felt that no human being or even an animal could have entered the cave without disturbing the web or the egg, and so it was senseless wasting time searching inside, while the two were probably making their getaway. They (Qureish) then left in ‘hot pursuit’ of the fugitives, whom they knew couldn’t have been too far ahead since the two had no means of transport, either by camel or horseback.
History records that a reward of one hundred camels was offered for the capture of Muhammed (pbuh) and Abu Bakr, his friend, dead or alive. Thus one can imagine what this must have meant to the ordinary citizens of not only Mecca, but all the outlying areas as well. One hundred camels! Here was the one chance, perhaps the only chance, of becoming rich and powerful overnight, and to say good-bye to the life of abject poverty and strife that so many of these Arabs were subjected to.
For three days, the Prophet (pbuh) and Abu Bakr remained inside the cave, and as per prior arrangement, Abu Bakr’s son Abdullah came to visit and brought them food. He also brought them three camels.
After the three days, the two then prepared for the journey to Medina, which was known as Yathrib at the time, led by a guide by the name of Abdullah bin Uraiqit, who knew the back roads very well. He was also a trusted friend of Abu Bakr.
The hunt for the Prophet (pbuh) had by now somewhat abated.
Nonetheless, caution remained the watchword—opportunists and bounty-hunters were roaming the hills, and, as has been recorded, one such bounty hunter, a warrior by the name of Suraqah bin Malik, acting upon a rumor that the Prophet (pbuh) and his party had been seen in the vicinity of the Red Sea, came upon the three as they made their way through lesser-known territory towards Yathrib.
Suraqah was an absolute killer with a bow and arrow. And no one escaped his aim!
It is said that the Prophet (pbuh) and his friends had their backs to the killer when Suraqah bin Malik prepared to strike. He was a good distance away from them, but he was an expert—he could already see the hundred camels grazing on his ground. Muhammed (pbuh) was as good as dead.
Suraqah pulled back the arrow and his horse’s knees buckled.
He swore, and took aim once again. Muhammed (pbuh) was lucky!
The horse stumbled a second time just as Suraqah prepared to let fly. He cursed vilely.
What was going on? he thought to himself as he calmed the animal. There were no potholes or rocks that he could see lying in his path.
He took aim a third time and suddenly the horse reared so violently that Suraqah was unceremoniously dumped to the ground.
History records that after Suraqah bin Malik regained his composure and managed to get himself back on his horse again, he hastened after the Prophet (pbuh) and his party and called out to them to wait for him.
Suraqah had never been so shaken in all his life.
And when he caught up with them, he told the Prophet (pbuh) what his intentions had been and that he was convinced that the Prophet (pbuh) had the protection of his god.
Suraqah returned to Mecca and told everyone that Muhammed (pbuh) was nowhere to be found. Thus Qureish called off the search and Muhammed (pbuh) and his party could continue to Medina in safety.