The Journey to Al Madienah
someone called ‘abdullah bin uraiquit, who had as yet not embraced islam, but was trusted by abu bakr, and had been hired by him as a guide, reached the cave after three nights according to a plan bringing with him abu bakr’s two camels. his report satisfied the noble ‘fugitives’ that the search had slackened. the opportunity to depart was come. here abu bakr offered the prophet [pbuh] the swift animal to ride on. the latter agreed provided that he would pay its price. they took with them the food provisions that asma’, daughter of abu bakr, brought and tied in a bundle of her waistband, after tearing it into two parts, hence the appellation attached to her: "asma’ of the two waistbands." the prophet [pbuh], abu bakr and ‘amir bin fuhairah departed, and their guide ‘abdullah bin uraiquit led them on hardly ever trodden ways along the coastal route. that was in rabi‘ al-awwal, 1st year a.h., i.e. september 622 a.d. the little caravan travelled through many villages on their way to quba’. in this context, it is relevant to introduce some interesting incidents that featured their wearying journey:
- one day they could find no shelter from the scorching heat so abu bakr [r] cast a glance and found a little shade beside a rock. he cleaned the ground, spread his mantle for the prophet [pbuh] to lie on and himself went off in search of food. he came across a shepherd, a bedouin boy, who was also seeking a shelter. abu bakr asked him for some milk and took it to the prophet [pbuh], cooled it with some water and waited till the prophet [pbuh] woke up and quenched his thirst.[bukhari 1/510]
- whoever asked abu bakr [r] about the identity of his honourable companion, he would reply that he was a man who guided him on his way. the questioner would think that muhammad [pbuh] was a guide, in terms of roads, whereas abu bakr used to mean guide to the way of righteousness.[bukhari 1/556]
- quraish, as we have already mentioned, had declared that whoever would seize muhammad [pbuh] would receive a hundred camels as reward. this had spurred many persons to try their luck. among those who were on the lookout for the prophet [pbuh] and his companion in order to win the reward was suraqah, the son of malik. he, on receiving information that a party of four, had been spotted on a certain route, decided to pursue it secretly so that he alone should be the winner of the reward. he mounted a swift horse and went in hot pursuit of them. on the way the horse stumbled and he fell on the ground. on drawing a lot so as to divine whether he should continue the chase or not, as the arabs used to do in such circumstances, he found the omens unpropitious. but the lust for material wealth blinded him altogether and he resumed the chase. once more he met with the same fate but paid no heed to it. again he jumped onto the saddle and galloped at a break-neck speed till he came quite close to the prophet [pbuh]. abu bakr’s heart agitated and he kept looking back while the prophet [pbuh] remained steadfast and continued reciting verses of the qur’ân.
the repeated stumbling of suraqah’s horse and his falling off awakened him to the situation, and he realized that it was a constant warning of allâh for his evil design which he contemplated against the prophet [pbuh]. he approached the travelling group with a penitent heart and begged of the prophet [pbuh] forgiveness in all humility. he addressed the prophet [pbuh] and his companion, saying: "your people (the quraishites) have promised a generous reward to anyone who captures you." he added that he offered them provision but they declined his offer. they only asked him to screen off their departure and blind the polytheists to their hiding place. then the prophet [pbuh] forgave him and confirmed it with a token written by ‘amir bin fuhairah on a piece of parchment. suraqah hurried back to makkah and tried to foil the attempts of those who were in pursuit of muhammad [pbuh] and his noble companions. the sworn enemy was converted into an honest believer.[bukhari 1/516, 1/554; za'd al-ma'ad 2/53]
in a version by abu bakr [r], he said: "we emigrated while the makkans were in pursuit of us. none caught up with us except suraqah bin malik bin ju‘sham on a horse. i said: ‘o messenger of allâh, this one has caught up with us.’ the prophet [pbuh] replied:
‘don’t be cast down, verily, allâh is with us.’"
- the party continued its journey until it reached to solitary tents belonging to a woman called umm ma‘bad al-khuza‘iyah. she was a gracious lady who sat at her tent-door with a mat spread out for any chance traveller that might pass by the way. fatigued and thirsty, the prophet [pbuh] and his companions wanted to refresh themselves with food and some milk. the lady told them that the flock was out in the pasture and the goat standing nearby was almost dry. it was a rainless year. the prophet [pbuh], with her permission, touched its udders, reciting over them the name of allâh, and to their great joy, there flowed plenty of milk out of them. the prophet [pbuh] first offered that to the lady of the house, and he shared what was left with the members of the party. before he left, he milked the goat, filled the container and gave it to umm ma‘bad. later on, her husband arrived with slender goats hardly having any milk in their udders. he was astonished to see milk in the house. his wife told him that a blessed man passed by the way, and then she gave details about his physical appearance and manner of talk. here abu ma‘bad realized on the spot that the man was the one whom quraish were searching for and asked her to give full description of him. she gave a wonderful account of his physique and manners, to which we will go in detail later in the process of talking about his attributes and merits.
abu ma‘bad, after listening to his wife’s account, expressed a sincere wish to accompany the prophet [pbuh] whenever that was possible, and reiterated his admiration in verses of poetry that echoed all over makkah to such an extent that the people therein thought it was a jinn inculcating words in their ears. asma’, daughter of abu bakr, on hearing those lines, got to know that the two companions were heading for madinah .[za'd al-ma'ad 2/54] the short poem opened with thanks giving to allâh having given them (the ma‘bads) the chance to host the prophet [pbuh] for a while. it then gave an account of the bliss that would settle in the heart of the prophet’s companion whosoever he was; it closed with an invitation to all mankind to come and see by themselves umm ma‘bad, her goat and the container of milk that would all testify to the truthfulness of the prophet [pbuh] .
- on his way to madinah , the prophet [pbuh] met abu buraidah, one of those driven by their lust for the reward of quraish. no sooner did he face the prophet [pbuh] and talk with him, than he embraced islam along with seventy of his men. he took off his turban, tied it round his lance and took it as a banner bearing witness that the angel of security and peace had come to imbue the whole world with justice and fairness.[rahmat-al-lil'alameen 1/101]
- the two emigrants resumed their journey. it was during this time that they met az-zubair at the head of a caravan returning from syria. there was warm greeting and az-zubair presented to them two white garments which they thankfully accepted.[bukhari 1/554]