Abu Bakr exclaimed, 'In company, Messenger of Allah?'
'In company,' replied the Messenger of Allah, and Abu Bakr wept for joy.
Abu Bakr brought two camels which he had in readiness for the journey and hired 'Abdullah ibn Urayqit to act as their guide. Over the years, the Messenger of Allah had developed such a reputation for honesty that the unbelieving Quraysh would deposit their valuables with him, certain that they would be safe. This day he charged 'Ali with the responsibility for returning all the property to its rightful owners.
The Cave of Thawr
The Messenger of Allah and Abu Bakr left Makkah secretly. Abu Bakr asked his son, 'Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr, to find out what people were saying about them in Makkah and he asked 'Amir ibn Fuhayrah, his freed slave, to graze his milking sheep in the daytime but to bring them to them each night. Asma' bint Abi Bakr would bring them food.
They went to the Cave of Thawr. Abu Bakr went in first to clean it up and to make sure that it was safe so that nothing could harm the Messenger of Allah. Once he was satisfied he called him in.
When they were inside Allah sent a spider to spin a web from a bush across the entrance to the cave. It concealed the fact that the Messenger of Allah and Abu Bakr had only just gone in. Allah also commanded two wild doves to fly down between the spider and the tree. They made a nest there and laid eggs. 'To Allah belong the armies of the heavens and the earth.' (48: 4)
The idolworshippers followed the tracks of the Messenger of Allah's party, but when they reached the mountain they became confused. They climbed up the hillside passing close to the cave. However, when they saw the spider's web they said, 'If anyone had entered here, there would not be a spider's web across the opening." Then, they rode on. Abu Bakr saw the idolworshippers coming. In alarm he said, 'Messenger of Allah, if one of them steps forward, he will see us."
The Messenger of Allah replied, 'Why worry about two when Allah is the third?'
Allah says in the Qur'an, '... the second of the two; when the two were in the Cave, when he said to his companion, "Grieve not. Allah is with us." '(9: 40)
When the Quraysh realized that the Messenger of Allah had escaped, they offered a hundred camels to anyone who handed him over, dead or alive. The Messenger of Allah remained in the cave for three days and then left with 'Amir ibn Fuhayrah who guided him along the coastal route.
Suraqah ibn Malik ibn Ju'sham was eager to get the reward offered for the Messenger of Allah. He was tracking his footsteps when his horse stumbled and he was thrown off. He refused to give up so he mounted again and rode on. His horse stumbled a second time and he fell again. Determined to capture his quarry, he rode on once more. Just as he caught sight of the Messenger of Allah, his horse stumbled a third time. Its feet sank into the sand and Suraqah fell. Then he watched as dust rose from the ground like a sandstorm in front of him.
When Suraqah saw that happen, he knew that the Messenger of Allah was under the protection of Allah. He realized that the Messenger of Allah would certainly have the upper hand over his enemies. He called out, I am Suraqah ibn Ju'sham. Wait for me so that I can speak to you. By Allah, I will not harm you.'
The Messenger of Allah said to Abu Bakr, 'Ask him what he wants from us.'
'Write a document for me which will be a warrant of security.'
The Messenger of Allah asked 'Amir ibn Fuhayrah to write it and Suraqah kept the piece of leather (or bone) on which it was written for many years. The Messenger of Allah, looking ahead to the day when the Persian empire would crumble, said to Suraqah, 'How will you feel when you are wearing the bracelets of Chosroes?'
And indeed that event took place. When Persia was conquered, the bracelets, belt and crown of Chosroes were brought to 'Umar. He summoned Suraqah ibn Malik and put the royal insignia on him.
Although Suraqah offered the Messenger of Allah provisions for his journey to Madinah, they were not accepted. He only asked, 'Conceal our presence.'
A blessed man
During their journey the Messenger of Allah's party passed the tent of Umm Ma'bad al-Khuza'iyyah who had a goat which was giving no milk during the drought. The Messenger of Allah stroked its udder, invoked the name of Allah and prayed for a blessing. Milk flowed. He gave Umm Ma'bad and his Companions milk to drink until they were satisfied. Then he drank last of all. The ewe was milked a second time and her milk filled a vessel. When Abu Ma'bad returned home, his wife told him what had happened, exclaiming, 'By Allah, it could only have been a blessed man who passed by us.'
When she described the angelic stranger, he said, 'By Allah, I think it is the man whom the Quraysh are seeking.'
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