The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came to Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) and told him that God had given him permission to migrate from Mecca. Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) exclaimed, “Together, O Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) of God?”; for he was anxious to keep him company.” Then Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) presented two dromedaries he had been keeping in time for the purpose. ‘Abdallah Ibn Urayqit was hired by Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) to act as a guide.
THE STRANGE INCONSISTENCY
The unbelieving Quraysh of Mecca were bitterly set against the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Yet they were absolutely convinced of his truthfulness and trustworthiness, nobility and magnanimity. If anybody in Mecca apprehended loss or misappropriation of his property, he usually deposited it with the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had thus a number of things committed to his care. He, therefore, charged ‘Ali to return these to their owners before leaving Mecca. Of a fact, such a square dealing at this critical moment is a strange commentary on the nobility of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as well as the callousness thus clarified by God.
“We know well how their talk grieveth thee, though in truth they deny not thee (Muhammad) but evil-doers flout the revelations of Allah.” [Qur’an 6:33]
MORAL LESSON DERIVED FROM MIGRATION
The migration of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) illustrates the principle that everything howsoever coveted by one, ought to be sacrificed for the sake of one’s faith or ideal. Worldly estate and effects or any other thing that a man is disposed to value can never take the place of his faith nor can the faith be bartered away for the entire world. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his own soul.
Mecca was the birthplace of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). As the homeland of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) of God and his companions, it must have had an attraction for all of them. Then, it had also the house of God, loved and adored by them like the light of one’s eye but nothing stood in the way of bidding farewell to their hearts and homes, families and kinsmen. This was due to the fact that the pagans of Mecca would not allow them the freedom of conscience and liberty to practice their faith.
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) loved Mecca but he valued his faith more. One was a natural feeling of affection and the other an insatiable thirst of soul. We find the two tenderest feelings of human nature articulately expressed by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) while leaving Mecca.
“What a nice city thou art and how ardently I love thee. Had my people not exiled me, I would have never settled anywhere save in the city.” (Tirmidhi, Chap. Fadl Mecca)
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had, in truth and reality, to leave his homeland in quest of the divine command.
“O my bondmen who believe! Lo! My earth is spacious. Therefore serve Me only.” [Qur’an 29:56]
TOWARDS THE CAVE OF “MT. THAWR”
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) stealthily proceeded to the cave of Mt. Thawr. Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) instructed his son ‘Abdallah to find out the hostile plans and conversations of the Meccans concerning them and then relay these to him. Furthermore, he asked Amir Ibn Fuhayrah, his slave, to feed his flocks of milch ewe by the day and bring food for them in the evening. Asma, his daughter, used to bring food for them at night.
MIRACLE OF LOVE
The flame of love is the light of Heaven that illuminates the soul. It has been, ever since the creation of this world, the most ardent passion of human heart, advising, directing and guiding man along the right path in moments of danger. It is like the worried expression of one mad about something, for the innermost instinct of such a man is never remiss and is able to perceived even the slightest danger to his greedily desired object. Such were the feelings of Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) about the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) of God during this journey. It is related that when the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) set out for the cave on Mt. Thawr, Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) sometimes went ahead of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and then behind him, until the prophet noticed his restlessness and asked, Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu), what’s the matter? Often you come behind me and sometimes you go ahead!” Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) replied, “O Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) of God, when I think of those pursuing you, I come behind you but then I apprehend an ambuscade so that I go in front of you.” (25)
When the two arrived at the cave in Mt. Thawr, Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) requested the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to wait until he had searched and cleaned up the cave. So, he went in, explored it and came out after cleaning up. Then he remembered that he had not properly searched one hole. He again asked the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to wait a bit so he can check it for the second time around. Only then did he allow the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to enter the cave after he had fully convinced himself that it did not harbor wild beasts or reptiles anymore.
THE CELESTIAL ASSISTANCE
After the two companions had entered the cave, a spider spinned its w eb across the mouthof the cave on a bush at t he entrance, concealing the Apostle from those who might look into it. Thereafter came two doves which fluttered over the cave for some time and then sat down to lay eggs there – Allah’s are host of the heaven and the earth. [Qur’an 48:7]
THE MOST CRITICAL MOMENT OF HUMAN HISTORY
The most critical moment of the world’s history, when the fate of mankind hanged by a thread, drew near as the Qurayshite horsemen on the look out for the two fugitives galloping over the desert came to the cave where the two had secluded themselves. The world was on a standstill, holding its breath in suspense: would a dark and disastrous future lie ahead for humanity or was it to take the most favorable turn? The pursuers, who stood debating among themselves at the mouth of the cave, resolved that nobody could be inside it.
One may think it is fantastic or miraculous but it was how God helped His Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
“Then Allah caused His peace of reassurance to descend upon him and supported him with hosts ye cannot see.” [Qur’an 9:40]
LO! ALLAH IS WITH US
Peeringly, Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) looked over his head. He saw the blood-thirsty warriors of the Quraysh standing at the mouth of the cave. Then he said to his companion with a trembling heart, “O Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) of God, they will see us if anybody steps forward.” “What misgivings have you,” replied the Prophet, “about the two with whom the third is Allah?” (Al-Bukhaari, Kitab-ul-Tafsir) It was as if to remind that at this event, the revelation came down from God:
“When they two were in the cave, when he said to his comrade: Grieve not, Lo! Allah is with us.” [Qur’an 9:40]
SURAQA FOLLOWS UP THE PROPHET (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)
The Quraysh offered a reward of one hundred camels to anyone who brought back the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), dead or alive. On the other hand, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) spent three nights in the cave and then guided by ‘Amir Ibn Fuhayrah went along the road by the sea-coast. Suraqa Ibn Malik Ibn Ju’shum heard of the price set by the Quraysh on the head of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and hurried after him. The reward of hundred camels was too tempting for him that he got up on his mare and went after fugitives tracking their footstep. He let his mare run swiftly until he nearly over-took the fugitives. But, lo, his mare stumbled abruptly, and hitherto, he was thrown off. He rose up, composed himself, and remounted the mare, and let her go ahead. Once more, the mare stumbled and he was again thrown off, but nevertheless continued the chase until he could see the three men going ahead. Suddenly, his mare stumbled for the third time, its fore-legs sinking up to the knees on the ground, and he was thrown off once again. He also saw dust rising from the ground like a sandstorm.
Suraqa was now convinced that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was protected against him and he would not in any case triumph over the latter. He called out saying that he was Suraqa Ibn Ju’shum and that he would not inflict any harm to them. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ordered Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) to ask him what he wants from them. Suraqa replied, “Write for me a warrant of security.” Thereupon the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ordered ‘Amir Ibn Fuhayrah to write the warrant which he wrote on a piece of tanned leather or bone. Suraqa preserved the document forever long as a memento of sorts. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, pp. 489-90; Al-Bukhari, Chap. Hijratun Nabi)
The Prophet of God (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had been driven out of his homeland and the enemy pursuing him was after his blood, but his mind’s eye was envisioning the day when his followers would be trampling upon the realms of Ceasars and Chosroes. In those adverse circumstances, in the darkest hour of his life, he made a prediction of the bright times ahead. To Suraqa he said, “Suraqa, how would you feel when you would put on Chosroes’ bracelets?”
God has indeed promised succor, victory and prosperity to His Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the triumphant ascendancy of His Religion of Truth.
“He it is who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religions, however much the disbelievers may averse.” [Qur’an 9:33]
Those who cannot see beyond the material agency of causes and effects would shrug their shoulders at this prediction: the Quraysh discarded the forebodings of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as incredulous and inconceivable, but the foreseeing Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was peeping into the future:
“Lo! Allah faileth not to keep the tryst.” [Qur’an 13:31]
And the events took shape exactly in the same way as the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had foretold Suraqa. When Persia was conquered and the tiara, robe and the bracelets of Chosroes were brought to ‘Umar, he sent for Suraqa and asked him to put on the royal dress. (Al-Isti’ah, Vol. II, p. 597)
Suraqa took the warrant of security for he was by then convinced of the victory of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He offered some provisions and utensils, but the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) accepted nothifrom him. He simply said to Suraqa, “Keep our whereabouts secret.”
THE BLESSED HOST
Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) and the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) passed by the tent of Umm M’abad, a woman of Khuza’a, who had milk ewe but its udder had dried up owing to drought. God’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) wiped its udder with his hand and mentioning the name of God the most High, he prayed that Umm M’abad might have a blessing in her ewe. It then gave a flow of milk. He first gave Umm M’abad and others a drink until all of them were fully satisfied, then he drank knowing everyone was thru. He milked it the second time around and when the vessel was full, left it with her. When Abu M’abad came back and his wife told him about the prodigious happening and the angelic stranger, he replied, “By God, he appears to be the same man of the Quraysh whom they are prowling after.”
They continued their journey with the guide until they reached Quba in the vicinity of Madinah. This was Monday, the 12th day of Rabi ul-Awwal. (24th September, 622 A.D.) A new era was indeed commencing, because it was from the start of this year that the Islamic calendar of Hijrah took its humble beginnings!