Episode 28: A most critical moment of human history
The most critical moment of the world’s history, when the fate of mankind hanged by a thread, drew near as the Qurayshite horsemen on the lookout for the two fugitives galloping over the desert and came to the cave where the two had secluded themselves. The world was as if at a standstill, holding its breath in suspense: The pursuers, who stood debating among themselves at the mouth of the cave, resolved that nobody could be inside it. One may think it is fantastic or miraculous but it was how God helped His Prophet peace be and blessings upon him.
“Then Allah caused His peace of reassurance to descend upon him and supported him with hosts ye cannot see.” [Qur'an 9:40]
Peering, Abu Bakr looked over his head. He saw the blood-thirsty warriors of the Quraysh standing at the mouth of the cave. Then he said to his companion with a trembling heart, “O Prophet of God, they will see us if anybody steps forward.” “What misgivings have you,” replied the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him, “about the two with whom the third is Allah?” It was as if to remind that at this event, the revelation came down from God:
“When they two were in the cave, when he said to his comrade: Grieve not, Lo! Allah is with us.” [Qur'an 9:40]
Suraqa follows the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him
The Quraysh offered a reward of one hundred camels to anyone who brought back the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him, dead or alive. The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him spent three nights in the cave and then guided by ‘Amir Ibn Fuhayrah went along the road by the sea-coast. Suraqa Ibn Malik Ibn Ju’shum heard of the price set by the Quraysh on the head of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him and hurried after him. The reward of hundred camels was too tempting for him that he got up on his mare and went after the fugitives tracking their footsteps. He let his mare run swiftly until he nearly over-took the fugitives. But, lo, his mare stumbled abruptly, and hitherto, he was thrown off. He rose up, composed himself, and remounted the mare, and let her go ahead. Once more, the mare stumbled and he was again thrown off, but nevertheless continued the chase until he could see the three men going ahead. Suddenly, his mare stumbled for the third time, its forelegs sinking up to the knees on the ground, and he was thrown off once again. He also saw dust rising from the ground like a sandstorm. Suraqa was now convinced that the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him was protected against him and he would not in any case triumph over the latter. He called out saying that he was Suraqa Ibn Ju’shum and that he would not inflict any harm to them. The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him ordered Abu Bakr to ask him what he wants from them. Suraqa replied, “Write for me a warrant of security.” Thereupon the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him ordered ‘Amir Ibn Fuhayrah to write the warrant which he wrote on a piece of tanned leather or bone. Suraqa preserved the document as a memento of sorts. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, pp. 489-90; Al-Bukhaari, Chap. Hijratun Nabi).
The Prophet of God peace be and blessings upon him had been driven out of his homeland and the enemy pursuing him was after his blood, but his mind’s eye was envisioning the day when his followers would be ascendant upon the realms of the Caesars and Chosroes. In those adverse circumstances, in the darkest hour of his life, he made a prediction of the bright times ahead. To Suraqa he said, “Suraqa, how will you feel when you will put on Chosroes’ bracelets?” God has indeed promised succor, victory and prosperity to His Prophet peace be and blessings upon him and the triumphant ascendancy of His Religion of Truth.
“He it is who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religions, however much the disbelievers may be averse.” [Qur'an 9:33].
Those who cannot see beyond the material agency of causes and effects would shrug their shoulders at this prediction: the Quraysh discarded the forebodings of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him as incredulous and inconceivable, but the foreseeing Prophet peace be and blessings upon him was peeping into the future:
“Lo! Allah faileth not to keep the tryst.” [Qur'an 13:31].
And the events took shape exactly in the same way as the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him had foretold to Suraqa. When Persia was conquered and the tiara, robe and the bracelets of Chosroes were brought to ‘Umar, he sent for Suraqa and asked him to put on the royal dress. (Al-Isti'ab, Vol. II, p. 597).
Suraqa took the warrant of security for he was by then convinced of the victory of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him. He offered some provisions and utensils, but the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him accepted nothing from him. He simply said to Suraqa, “Keep our whereabouts secret.