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Sirat Rasoul Allah

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7- Hijra

The apostle of Allah remained in Mecca after his companions emigrated, awaiting divine permission to depart. None of his followers remained ‑ except such as were forcibly prevented by the Quraysh or who had apostasized ‑ but Ali, son of Abu Talib, and Abu Bakr, may Allah reward them both. Abu Bakr often asked the apostle for permission to emigrate, but he always received the answer, ‘Be not in such haste; perchance Allah may give thee a companion’, and Abu Bakr hoped that the companion might be Muhammad himself.

When the Quraysh saw that the apostle of Allah had gathered a united group and had gained adherents in another country, and when they saw his companions emigrating to that country, they realized that he had found shelter and protection. Accordingly they began to fear that the apostle of Allah might join his followers, and they knew that he was now determined to fight if necessary. They therefore met to consult on what they should do.

Satan himself greeted them at the door of their meeting‑place in the guise of an aged sheikh, dressed in a cloak. When they asked him who he was, he replied, ‘A sheikh who has heard of  your intended discussion and has come to listen to what you say; and perhaps my opinion and advice will not be lost upon you.’ So he entered with them.

When they all began to discuss the problem of Muhammad, one of them said, ‘Put him in irons, imprison him, and wait till he dies as has happened to other poets before him.’ Then the sheikh exclaimed, ‘No, by Allah! If you incarcerate him as you propose, the news will leak out to his companions and they will undoubtedly attack you and liberate him. Then, through his agency they will so increase in number as to conquer you. This is not the thing to do; you must devise another plan !’ They consulted further, and another man said, ‘We shall expel him from our midst, and exile him from our country. After he departs, we care not where he goes nor what happens to him as long as we can arrange our affairs and re‑establish peace amongst us.’ ikh said again, ‘No, by Allah! Do you not realize that by his fine conversation, his sweetness of speech, and his power over the hearts of men, he could conquer any Arab encampment in which he might settle; then the people would follow him, march against you, and deprive you of your supremacy. After that he could deal with you just as he liked. Therefore think of another plan.’

Abu Jahl at last exclaimed, ‘By Allah I I have a plan which none of you has yet thought of’, and they asked, ‘What is it, o father of wisdom?’ He said, ‘I propose that from every tribe we should take one young, powerful, well‑born man. To each of these, we should give a good sword with which to strike Muham­mad. So we shall be delivered of him, his blood will be divided among all the tribes, and his followers will not have the strength to make war on so many.’ The sheikh said, ‘I see no other plan and the people adopted the proposal and then dispersed.

But Gabriel came to the apostle of Allah and said to him, ‘Do not spend this night in thy accustomed bed.’

When a part of the night had elapsed the conspirators assembled at ­Muhammad’s door to watch him, intending to fall upon lie he was asleep. When the apostle of Allah saw them he said to Ali, ‘Sleep on my bed and cover thyself with my green cloak, and they will do thee no harm.’ It was the custom of the apostle to sleep in that cloak. Meanwhile Abu Jah1jeeringly told the waiting conspirators, ‘Muhammad says that if you follow him you will become princes both of the Arabs and the non-Arabs, that you will be resurrected after death, and given gardens like the gardens of Jordan; but if you do not follow him, he will kill you and after death you will be resurrected and burn in the fires of hell.’

The apostle went out to them and said, ‘Yes! That is thc truth’, and Allah blinded them so that they could not see him. Then Muhammad scattered dust on their heads, recited a verse from the Koran, and went about his business.

After a while, a man came along and asked the still waiting conspirators, ‘What are you waiting for?’ and they replied, ‘Muhammad.’ ‘May Allah confound you!’ the man exclaimed.  ‘Muhammad came out to you, and scattered dust on the head of every man among you, and then went his way. Can you not see what has happened to you?’ Every man placed his hand on his head, and found that dust was on it, and then they began to search around. Finding Ali on the bed, wrapped in the cloak of the apostle, they said, ‘Here is Muhammad still sleeping in his mantle!’ ‑ and so they did not move until morning. But it was Ali who rose from the bed, and they realized that the man who had spoken to them had told the truth.

Allah now permitted His prophet to emigrate. Abu Bakr, who was a man of property, had in the hope of this eventuality purchased two camels which he had kept stabled and fed in preparation for an emergency. The apostle never failed to visit Abu Bakr either in the morning or in the evening, but on the day when Allah gave him permission to emigrate he arrived unexpectedly at noon. The apostle said to Abu Bakr, ‘Allah has given me permission to depart and to emigrate’, and Abu Bakr asked,’In company, o apostle of Allah?’ He replied, ’In company’. Then Abu Bakr wept for joy and said, ‘I have kept these two camels in readiness for this!’ Then they hired an idolator as guide and left the camels with him until they were ready to depart from the district.

No one knew of the departure of the apostle except Ali, and Abu Bakr and his family. Ali was ordered to remain in Mecca until he had returned all the goods which people had entrusted to the keeping of the apostle; there was not a man in Mecca who had property about which he was anxious who did not deposit it with Muhammad because of his renowned truthfulness and honesty.

When the time for departure came the apostle and Abu Bakr by way of a gap at the rear of Abu Bakr’s house and went to a cave on Mount Thaur , beneath Mecca . Abu Bakr instructed his son Abdullah to listen during the day to what people in Mecca were saying about them, and to bring them the news in the evening. He also ordered Amir, his freedman to pasture the sheep during the day, and bring them to the cave in the ; and he told his daughter, Asma, to bring food at nightfall.

The apostle of Allah remained in the cave with Abu Bakr for three days . When the Quraysh missed him they offered a reward of one hundred camels to anyone who would bring him back; Abdullah, the son of Abu Bakr, brought this news. Amir, the freedman, pastured his sheep among the other shepherds of Mecca , but brought the flock to the cave at nightfall and they milked the flock and slaughtered some. When Abdullah went in the morning to Mecca , Amir followed him with the flock so as to conceal his tracks.

When the three days had elapsed and the people ceased to inquire about them, the hired guide arrived with their two camels, and a third belonging to himself, and Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr came with provisions. But she had forgotten to bring a cord, and they could not tie the provisions to the camels until she removed her girdle and used it for a rope; therefore Asma became known as ‘She of the Girdle’.

Abu Bakr offered the better of the two camels to Muhammad, but the apostle replied, ‘I shall not mount a camel which is not my own’. Abu Bakr said, ‘Then she is thine, for thou art as my father and mother to me.’ The apostle refused the gift and asked what Abu Bakr had paid for the camel, saying, ‘I shall accept her for that.’ So they agreed, and then they mounted and set off, with the freedman Amir sharing Abu Bakr’s camel.

Meanwhile, in Mecca , several Quraysh men paid a visit to the house of Abu Bakr. Asma, ‘She of the Girdle’, went out to them and they asked ‘ “Where is thy father, o daughter of Abu Bakr?” I replied, “I do not know where my father is.” Then Abu Jahl, who was a brutal, wicked fellow, lifted up his hand and struck my cheek so violently that my ear‑ring fell out.

‘We remained three nights without knowing in what direction the apostle of Allah had gone, until a djinn arrived from the lower part of Mecca, reciting verses in the Arab manner. From him we learned where the apostle of Allah had gone, and that his destination was Medina .

‘Abu Bakr took away with him all his property, amounting to five or six thousand dirhams. My grandfather, who was blind came to us and said, “I think Abu Bakr has deprived you of his property as well as his person”, but I replied, “By no means, grandfather. He left us a great deal.” Then I took some stones and placed them in a hole where my father used to keep his valuables, and covered the hole with a cloth; and I took hold of my grandfather’s hand, saying “Lay your hand upon this, father.” When he had done so, he said, “There is nought ill; if he has left you this, he has acted well; it will suffice you.” But in truth, he had left us nothing, and I dissimulated to ease the old man’s mind.’

One man at least, Suraqa by name, determined to earn the promised hundred camels for capturing Muhammad. Having heard a rumour of the apostle’s route, he ordered his horse, then “put on my armour and consulted the arrows which foretell the future. But the one I did not wish to see, that which said “ He will escape”, came out. When I mounted my horse to pursue him it stumbled and I fell to the ground. I said to myself, “What is this? “ and again took out my arrows. They gave me the same reply as before. Nevertheless, I continued to ride in pursuit of him; again my horse stumbled and fell. Once more I consulted my arrows, and once more they gave me the same reply. Nevertheless, I mounted again to pursue him. When the little group of fugitives at last came in sight, my horse stumbled and its sank in the ground so that I fell; and when the horse its forefeet out of the ground they were followed by of dust as if there were a sandstorm. Then I knew that Muhammad was protected from me and that he would conquer.’ The apostle reached Medina eight days after leaving the cave, on a Monday when the sun was near the meridian.  

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