abu sufyan's messenger to quraysh
on the other side, abu sufyan had also heard of muhammad's sortie to intercept his caravan on its way north to al sham, and he was equally apprehensive that the muslims would again attempt to do so on his return. he therefore sought to learn of their movements as assiduously as the muslims sought to learn of his. he was especially apprehensive of the return trip because his trade, so far, had been particularly successful. the same al juhaniy who played host to muhammad's messengers at al hawra' was asked by abu sufyan concerning the muslims. a1 juhaniy did not tell the truth to abu sufyan; but this did not matter inasmuch as abu sufyan already knew as much about the muslims as the muslims knew about him. he feared a catastrophe because his caravan had but thirty or forty men to guard it. anticipating danger, he decided to send damdam ibn `amr al ghifari in haste to quraysh with the message that muhammad and his companions had set out to intercept the caravan and to appeal to them to send men for escort. as instructed by abu sufyan, just before he entered makkah, damdam cut off the ears of his camel, broke its nose, turned its saddle sideways, tore his own robe in front and in back, and entered the city standing on the back of his camel shouting
"o people of quraysh, your wealth and trade are being lost. abu sufyan and the caravan are being intercepted by muhammad and his companions. perhaps you may still catch them. help! help!" as soon as he heard the news, abu jahl called upon all makkans to join in the rescue operation. he, a man of acid temper, eloquent speech, and strong insight, could inflame any audience. the quraysh, however, were not in need of eloquent speeches to rise against muhammad. every one of them had a share in the trade this caravan carried.