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Migration of the Prophet from Mecca

By the time the murderers began to assemble before the dwelling of the Prophet, he apprised his favourite cousin, Ali, of the impending danger, and of his intention to leave the house at once for good. He directed Ali to lie down on the bed in his place and cover himself with his (the Prophet's) well known green mantle. Unhesitatingly Ali carried out the instructions and Muhammad, repeating the ninth verse of Sura Ya Seen of the Holy Book, sallied forth unobserved by the assailants as if they were stricken with blindness.

 

"And We have set a barrier before them, and a barrier behind them; and We have covered them with darkness; wherefore they shall not see." Sura XXXVI-9.

 

His heart swelling with love and gratitude at being selected for such a dangerous task, Ali asked his Master,

"If I sleep here in your bed in your stead, will you be safe?" "Yes," said the Holy Prophet. He then instructed Ali to remain behind at Mecca for some time in order to discharge for him certain trusts and charges and bequests which were incumbent on the Prophet. He instructed Ali to look after the women and children and send them to Medina quietly.

The task Muhammad entrusted to Ali was a major one, and no small an undertaking for a youth of hardly twenty three years; but the way in which he carried it out, showed Ali's astonishing capacity. He was called upon to deputise for Muhammad at the risk of his own life, for it was highly probable that the mob would kill Ali taking him to be Muhammad, or else would get furious at being foiled of their chief objective, and in that case would also kill him instead of the Prophet.

 

When all the assassins had been assembled, they (in the words of W. Irving) paused at the door and looking through a crevice, beheld, as they thought, Muhammad wrapped in his green mantle, and lying asleep on his couch. They waited for a while consulting whether to fall on him while sleeping or wait until he should go forth. At length they burst open the door and rushed towards the couch. The sleeper started up, but instead of Muhammad, Ali, son of Abu Talib stood before them. Amazed and confounded they demanded, "Where is Muhammad?" "I know not," replied Ali sternly, and walked forth, nor did any one venture to molest him.

 

John Davenport describes the incident in the following words : "After surrounding the house, the assassins then forcibly entered it, but finding instead of their purposed victim, the youthful Ali, calmly and resignedly awaiting the death intended for his Chief. So much devotedness excited the pity even of those men of blood, and Ali was left unharmed."

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