When Prophet Muhammad first started to tell people about the message of Islam, he was talking to people who knew him and his good and honest character.
We might think that knowing the piety of the Prophet would urge them to believe in the message and follow him but the people were living in an environment of many evils. They were engulfed in idol worship, racism, tribal and family pride and many types of injustice.
It took great faith and courage for the Prophet to trust in Allah and proclaim the message, knowing very well the negative response that would likely follow. But this was not the only act of faith that the Prophet exemplified; in fact, making Hijrah to Madina took enormous reliance on Allah and fortitude to face fierce enemies while laying the foundation of a solid Muslim community.
The disbelievers of Makkah were angry when the Prophet proclaimed that they should not worship idols. These idols were made of stone and all sorts of materials (some were even made of dates).The Prophet told them that they should only worship the One true Lord of all Creation who had sent many prophets and messengers throughout time to guide humankind.
Devotion to the stone gods was one reason why many insisted on disbelieving in the Prophet, but another important aspect was based on pride, as the Quraysh (the main leading tribe in Makkah at that time) had been, for generations, responsible for providing for the pilgrims who came to Makkah every year at the time of Hajj.At that time the Kabah was filled with idols and Quraysh thought that if they believed in the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and followed him, they would lose respect among the other tribes and this important role that had been given to them by their forefathers would be removed from them.
Moreover, with the pilgrims every year, also came much economic wealth. In following the Prophet the people of Quraysh felt they had a lot to lose in worldly terms. Little did they know how much they would lose in the Hereafter if they insisted on their disbelief!
While the Prophet was patiently, gently and persistently proclaiming the message of Islam, his followers suffered under the harshness and severity of Quraysh who did their very best to persecute and torture the believers, hoping they could force them to give up their faith and return to the worship of idols and immorality.
But the faith and firmness of the believers were exemplary and they were prepared to face death if they had to in order to remain faithful to Allah Almighty.
After all efforts had been made to change the hearts of the obstinate Quraysh, the time had come for the Muslims to settle elsewhere and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) chose Madinah.
Slowly and secretly the Muslims started to travel to Madinah, trying to keep their movement away from the keen eyes of Quraysh. The Prophet was waiting for Allah Almighty to order him to leave and travel to Madinah.
It was a sensitive time because Quraysh had reached the peak of anger and frustration at the growing number of Muslims and the fact that Islam was still continuing to spread despite their many efforts to thwart it. Abu Bakr remained behind in Makkah, waiting for the Prophet to receive the order from Allah Almighty to leave. He prepared two camels and provisions for the journey and waited patiently.
Unaware of the Prophet’s plans, the Quraysh had devised a plot to kill the Prophet but Allah Almighty is the Best of Planners and He did not allow the disbelievers to succeed in their evil scheme. A group of young men, each one representing a tribe of Makkah, stood outside the Prophet’s home, intending to strike him (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) one by one when he emerged and kill him.
The Quraysh were proud of their wicked plan, thinking it would rid them of Islam once and for all without them having to answer to the tribe of the Prophet who could not retaliate against every tribe! Allah the All-Knowing Knew of their plot and guided the Prophet to safety.
The Prophet asked Ali to sleep in his blessed bed that night and then under the protection of Allah Almighty, the Prophet left his house and walked past the waiting men. They did not see him!
And when Ali emerged from the Prophet’s house the next morning they were astonished! They had no idea how that could have happened. Because they were without true faith, they could not comprehend how it is so easy for Allah Almighty to make such a miracle happen.
When the Prophet left his house, he went to Abu Bakr and told him it was time for them to leave. Abu Bakr was ready! The greatest manhunt was underway!
The Quraysh offered a great reward to anyone who would bring the Prophet back, dead or alive. How evil they were, and how great is the mercy, guidance and protection of Allah Almighty.
Quraysh expected the Prophet would head to Madinah, but he (and Abu Bakr headed off in the opposite direction at first to mislead their enemies. They camped out in a cave for some time and during this time a great lesson along with an ayat of Quran was revealed.
When first entering the cave Abu Bakr was so concerned about the Prophet’s safety and wellbeing that he insisted on entering first to rid it of any dangerous creatures, like scorpions. When he was satisfied that it was safe he and the Prophet entered it and stayed quietly there.
Asma, a daughter of Abu Bakr, used to bring them food and news from Makkah. She showed great courage in doing this and she used to hide the food in her clothing and creep out of the city going into the desert. At one time, one of the disbelievers thought she knew where the Prophet was and struck her harshly, trying to get her to talk, but she said nothing!
At one point, when the Prophet and Abu Bakrwere in the cave a group of men, eager to get the reward money, stepped very close to the entrance of the cave. Abu Bakr could see their feet and was very afraid the Prophet would be found. He did not care for his own safety; all his thoughts and concern were with the Prophet and the great responsibility he felt in accompanying him on this very important journey.
Abu Bakr whispered his fears to the Prophet who comforted him saying (what means): “What do you think of two, whose third is Allah?” The Prophet was telling his great friend Abu Bakr (that they should not fear as Allah was with them.
And Indeed, Allah Almighty protected them because He caused a bird to build a nest and lay eggs at the entrance of the cave and a spider to spin its web across the cave entrance. In this way, the enemies of the Prophet were convinced that he could not possible be in the cave.
When the time was right, the Prophet and Abu Bakr left the cave and continued on their journey to Madinah. If was a long and difficult journey and the Muslims were in Madinah, eagerly awaiting their arrival. Every day men would go to the outskirts of the town, climb tall trees and try to see if the blessed Prophet was approaching.
Many days passed and still there was no sign of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). There was no way for them to know that the Prophet was safe; they just had to trust in Allah and wait. They had left their homes, undergone much difficulty and faced many dangers. Without the Prophet to lead them, what would they do? It was a test of their faith and patience.
At last, the happy day arrived! The men, who were watching the desert every day, looking for signs of the travellers, saw dust rising in the distance! As the figures drew closer, it became clear there were two of them! And then when they drew even closer it was clear that finally the blessed Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had arrived!
News spread quickly throughout the town. People in their shops, in the market, and in their homes heard the news that the Prophet had arrived. Everyone rushed to welcome the Prophet!
They sang songs of joy, prayed and followed him as he entered the city. The Prophet humbly allowed his camel to be guided by Allah Almighty to the place where he would stay.
Everyone wanted the blessing of having the Prophet stay with them, so letting the camel stop where it chose showed the Prophet’s great mercy and wisdom.
There were many more trials to come but the Muslims, now in Madinah, had the Prophet with them. He was teaching them, advising them, and guiding them. Living in his midst was a great blessing and they knew it. They attended to their duties, gathered with him and grew in faith. The Prophet had left the city he loved so well, seeking the pleasure of Allah. And now, in Madinah, he (continued to seek His pleasure and proclaim the message of Islam.