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Hijrat and the conspiracy to murder Muhammad


The Quraish, beholding with alarm the exodus of the followers of the Prophet and dreading the consequences of the new alliance of Muhammad and his followers with the people of Yathrib, formed a strong conspiracy to prevent his escape to Yathrib, under any circumstances. They kept close watch over the movements of the Prophet and took measures to secure his person in order to put him to death. They held council to discuss how they should do away with Muhammad. One opined that he should be imprisoned in a cell having but a little hole, through which he should be given scanty food till he dies.

Another suggested that he should be banished. These proposals were rejected by others as too mild lest he should find means to escape and seek revenge. At length they decided to kill him by forcing into his dwelling in the night; they appointed one man from each of their families to join in the murderous attack upon Muhammad. This was a ruse to trap the Hashimites into avenging themselves on at least one family which would give their enemies enough provocation and justification for a fight.

This conspiracy was hardly at work when the angel Gabriel appeared to the Prophet, informed him of the scheme against him, and communicated to him the permission of Allah to his Hijrat or emigration from Mecca to Yathrib 1 that very night. This is mentioned in the Quran thus:

"And when the Infidels plotted against thee, that they might detain thee (as prisoner) or put thee to death, or turn thee out; and they plotted (against thee) but God laid a plot (against them); and God is the best layer of plots. (i. e. God's watchfulness outwits the wicked in frustrating their designs against the virtuous)." Sura VIII-30.

1 Yathrib changed its ancient name, and was henceforth styled Med inat un-Nabi, the City of the Prophet, or shortly, Medina, the city par excellence.

Adapted from: "Ali, The Magnificent" by: "Yousuf N. Lalljee"

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