on the authority of at-tabari, the messenger of allâh [pbuh] asked ‘aishah [r], his spouse three days prior to receiving news relating to breaching of covenant, to make preparations peculiar to marching out for war. abu bakr, meanwhile, came in and asked ‘aishah [r] what the matter was, showing surprise at the preparations being made as it was not, as he said, the usual time for war. she replied that she had no idea. on the morning of the third day ‘amr bin sâlim al-khuza‘i arrived in the company of forty horsemen to brief the prophet [pbuh] on the plight of his people and seeking the muslims’ help for retaliation. people of madinah then got to know that quraish had breached the covenant. budail followed ‘amr, and then abu sufyan and the news was unequivocally confirmed.
with view of securing a complete news black-out concerning his military intentions, the prophet [pbuh] despatched an eight-men platoon under the leadership of qatadah bin rab‘i in the direction of edam, a short distance from madinah, in ramadan 8 a.h., in order to divert the attention of people and screen off the main target with which he was preoccupied.
there was so much dread and fear everywhere that hatib, one of the most trusted followers of the prophet [pbuh] secretly despatched a female messenger with a letter to makkah containing intimation of the intended attack. the prophet [pbuh] received news from the heaven of hatib’s action and sent ‘ali and al-miqdad with instructions to go after her. they overtook the messenger, and after a long search discovered the letter carefully hidden in her locks. the prophet [pbuh] summoned hatib and asked him what had induced him to this act. he replied, "o messenger of allâh [pbuh]! i have no affinity of blood with quraish; there is only a kind of friendly relationship between them and myself. my family is at makkah and there is no one to look after it or to offer protection to it. my position stands in striking contrast to that of the refugees whose families are secure due to their blood ties with quraish. i felt that since i am not related to them, i should, for the safety of my children, earn their gratitude by doing good to them. i swear by allâh that i have not done this act as an apostate, forsaking islam. i was prompted only by the considerations i have just explained."
‘umar wanted to cut his head off as a hypocrite, but the prophet [pbuh] accepted his excuse and granted him pardon, then addressed ‘umar saying: "hatib is one of those who fought in the battle of badr. how do you know that he is a hypocrite? allâh is likely to look favourably on those who participated in that battle. turning then, to hatib, he said: "do as you please, for i have forgiven you."