the miracle of the cave
the cobwebs, the two wild pigeons, and the tree and its branches these are the miracles which the biography books relate concerning the hiding in the cave of thawr. the miracle is that none of these things were there when the prophet and his companion entered the cave, and that thereafter, the spider hurried to weave its cobwebs, the two pigeons to build their nest and to lay their eggs, and the tree to grow its branches around the door. in this connection the orientalist dermenghem wrote, "these three things are the only miracles recorded in authentic mussulman history: the web of a spider, the love of a dove, the sprouting of a flower three miracles accomplished daily on god's earth."[e. dermenghem, op. cit., p. 149]
some biographers omit the story
this miracle received no mention in ibn hisham's biography. his version of the story of the cave ran as follows: "they [muhammad and abu bakr] went to the cave of thawr, on the south side of makkah. abu bakr ordered his son `abdullah to stay in makkah during the day, listen to the news of the quraysh and bring them knowledge thereof in the evening. he ordered his servant, `amir ibn fuhayrah, to continue to graze his sheep and to come by the cave at night. asma', daughter of abu bakr, brought them provisions of food in the evening, also. the prophet of god-may god's peace and blessing is upon him stayed in the cave three days. the quraysh had announced a prize of one hundred camels to whosoever would bring back muhammad to makkah. `abdullah, son of abu bakr, used to spend his day in makkah listening well to the plotting and gossip of the quraysh, and when visiting the pair in the evening, related the news to them. `amir ibn fuhayrah, servant of abu bakr, used to graze the flock of sheep around makkah and, in the evening, passed by the cave and gave milk and meat to the pair. when `abdullah, son of abu bakr, returned home to makkah, he was followed by `amir ibn fuhayrah and his sheep in order to cover over his footprints. three days later, when the interest of the quraysh in this search had subsided, the man whom abu bakr had appointed to graze the two camels for the trip came with the three camels, two for muhammad and abu bakr, and a third for himself . . . ." that is all that ibn hisham says concerning the story of the cave.
in the same connection, the following verses of the qur'an were revealed
"when the unbelievers plotted to imprison you, to kill you or to banish you, god planned on your behalf, and he is the best of planners. . . if you [the people] do not help muhammad, then know that god will. for god helped him when the unbelievers drove him out, and he and his companion hid in the cave. at that time, the prophet said to his companion, `grieve not for god is with us.' it was then that god sent down his peace upon him and assisted him with hosts invisible that the word of god might be supreme and that of the unbelievers might be repudiated. god is almighty and all wise."[qur'an, 8:30; 9:40]