The Polytheists Prostration to Allah and the Return of the Emigrants
in ramadan of the same year (5th. year of prophethood), the prophet [pbuh] went into the holy sanctuary where there was a large host of quraish polytheists, including some notables and celebrities. suddenly he began reciting sûrah an-najm (chapter 41 — the star). the awe-inspiring words of allâh descended unawares upon them and they immediately got stunned by them. it was the first time for them to be shocked by the truthful revelation. it had formerly been the favourite trick of those people who wished to dishonour revelation, not only not to listen to it themselves but also to talk loudly and insolently when it was being read, so that even the true listeners may not be able to hear. they used to think that they were drowning the voice of allâh; in fact, they were piling up misery for themselves, for allâh’s voice can never be silenced, "and those who disbelieve say:
"listen not to this qur’ân, and make noise in the midst of its (recitation) that you may overcome." [al-qur'an 41:26].
when the unspeakably fascinating words of allâh came into direct contact with their hearts, they were entranced and got oblivious of the materialistic world around them and were caught in a state of full attentiveness to the divine words to such an extent that when the prophet [pbuh] reached the stormy heart-beating ending:
"so fall you down in prostration to allâh and worship him (alone)." [al-qur'an 53:62]
the idolaters, unconsciously and with full compliance, prostrated themselves in absolute god-fearing and stainless devotion. it was in fact the wonderful moment of the truth that cleaved through the obdurate souls of the haughty and the attitude of the scoffers. they stood aghast when they perceived that allâh’s words had conquered their hearts and done the same thing that they had been trying hard to annihilate and exterminate. their co-polytheists who had not been present on the scene reproached and blamed them severely; consequently they began to fabricate lies and calumniate the prophet [pbuh] alleging that he had attached to their idols great veneration and ascribed to them the power of desirable intercession. all of these were desperate attempts made to establish an excusable justification for their prostrating themselves with the prophet [pbuh] on that day. of course, this foolish and iniquitous slanderous behaviour was in line with their life-consecrated practice of telling lies and plot hatching.
news of this incident was misreported to the muslim emigrants in abyssinia (ethiopia). they were informed that the whole of quraish had embraced islam so they made their way back home. they arrived in makkah in shawwal of the same year. when they were only an hour’s travel from makkah, the reality of the situation was discovered. some of them returned to abyssinia (ethiopia), others sneaked secretly into the city or went in publicly but under the tutelage of a local notable. however, due to the news that transpired to the makkans about the good hospitality and warm welcome that the muslims were accorded in abyssinia (ethiopia), the polytheists got terribly indignant and started to mete out severer and more horrible maltreatment and tortures to the muslims. thereupon the messenger of allâh [pbuh] deemed it imperative to permit the helpless creatures to seek asylum in abyssinia (ethiopia) for the second time. migration this time was not as easy as it was the previous time, for quraish was on the alert to the least suspicious moves of the muslims. in due course, however, the muslims managed their affairs too fast for the quraishites to thwart their attempt of escape. the group of emigrants this time comprised eighty three men and nineteen or, in some versions, eighteen women. whether or not ‘ammar was included is still a matter of doubt. [tafheem-ul-qur'an 5/188; za'd al-ma'ad 1/24; ibn hisham 1/364; rahmat-ul-lil'alameen 1/61]