("Be not grieved, for surely Allah is with us." — The Holy Quran 9:40)
We find spiritual strength, courage and comfort, in the times of trials and
hardships, from this Divine Quranic revelation that descended upon the pure
heart of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon
him), so as to console and compose him during one of the most perilous moments
of his life.
Taken from: 'Muhammad the Prophet' by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Chapter 5, pp. 68-70).
Chapter 5: The Flight to Madinah:
"If you help him not, Allah certainly helped him when those who disbelieved expelled him — he being the second of the two; when they were both in the cave, when he said to his companion: 'Grieve not, surely Allah is with us'." (The Holy Quran — 9:40).
Council of the Quraish:
The fourteenth year of the Call set in, and the Holy Prophet, with Abu Bakr and 'Ali for his only companions, was left in Makkah surrounded by his enemies. All the rest of his comrades, bidding farewell to their homes, had taken shelter either in Abyssinia or Madinah. But the moment of the Prophet's utter helplessness was yet to come. Abu Bakr would often ask him to emigrate to Madinah; but God, he replied, had not yet commanded him to do so. In this too there was at work a Divine purpose which was made manifest by the final decision of the Quraish. Up till then, individual efforts to make away with him had been made, and all had failed. Bitter opposition had been offered and severe persecution inflicted. But the last drop was yet needed to fill the cup of the Makkan's crimes to the brim. At last the hour came. Finding the Holy Prophet almost alone, they held a big conference in the Dar-al-Nadwah (House of Assembly), where national affairs were discussed and settled. The chiefs of the Quraish met there to deliberate on what might be done with the Holy Prophet. Some thought he should be fettered, thrown into a cellar, and starved to death. But this was open to the objection that his companions, gaining strength, might find an occasion to effect his release. Another proposed that he should be exiled. But it was apprehended that wherever he might be sent, he might win over the people there with his impressive teachings and might some day overcome the Quraish. Abu Jahl at length came forward with the proposal that strong and stout youths of noble lineage should be selected, one form each of the Quraishite clans and armed with sharp swords, they should fall upon the Holy Prophet in a body. Thus no particular clan would be held accountable for his murder. The Banu Hashim would therefore have to content themselves with blood-money instead of vengeance. This was unanimously agreed upon.
In the cave of Thaur:
While the Quraish were thus maturing their plans, Divine revelation informed the Holy Prophet of their foul intent, warning him not to remain in his bed that night. Sending for 'Ali, he informed him of the Divine command, and told him to sleep in his (the Holy Prophet's) bed; for he himself had charge of many a trust which 'Ali should duly make over to the respective owners the following morning, and then follow him to Madinah. What a tribute to his integrity that, notwithstanding such strong opposition public trusts were still placed in his charge! And for this express purpose he commissioned 'Ali to stay behind, whereas Abu Bakr was told to make the necessary preparation for flight; for the Divine behest had been received. Abu Bakr eagerly enquired if he might accompany the Holy Prophet and, on being told that he should, he burst into tears of joy. Why such intense pleasure at the prospect of hardships and troubles? Only because he would be in the company of him for whom he was prepared to sacrifice his all. Abu Bakr had already arranged for two camels in anticipation of this hour. All other necessaries being forthwith provided, a meeting place was arranged between him and the Holy Prophet. Just after dusk, the body of armed men drawn from among the Quraishite tribes laid siege to the Holy Prophet's house, ready to fall upon him as soon as he ventured out. (It was against the Arab sense of chivalry to kill anyone within the four walls of his house.) 'Ali, however, was lying in the Holy Prophet's bed and this gave the Quraish the impression that the Holy Prophet was there and fostered the belief that their intended victim was in their hands. Meanwhile, the Holy Prophet, trusting in the protecting hand of Allah who had all these thirteen years preserved him in the midst of his enemies, waited for darkness and then calmly walked out through the midst of his would-be assassins and went to Abu Bakr's house as prearranged. Together they set out for Madinah and reached a certain cave known as the Cave of Thaur, three miles from Makkah. Abu Bakr went in first, cleaned it and closed the holes that he could feel in the dark cave. Then the Holy Prophet followed.
The names of the caves figure prominently in the history of Islam. It was in the Cave of Hira that the Divine Call first came to the Holy Prophet. Now it was in the Cave of Thaur that Islam was taking a new birth. The Flight is a red-letter day in the annals of Islam, so much so that the Muslim calendar begins from that time.
Next morning, at daybreak, the Quraish were amazed to find 'Ali rising from the Holy Prophet's bed. Careful search was made on all sides and large rewards were offered. A tracking party, following the footprints of the fugitives, reached the mouth of the Cave. Hearing the sound of their footsteps, Abu Bakr grieved within himself, not on his own account, but for one whose life was dearer to him than his own. It was indeed a critical moment. The sword of the blood-thirsty enemy was almost at their throats. A glance into the Cave and the inmates would be cut to pieces. In such a situation the bravest heart might sink, the calmest mind might be dismayed. Death was staring them in the face and there was no way to escape, nor any earthly protection. Yet, even in this extreme hour of uttermost helplessness the Holy Prophet's heart was at perfect peace and knew no fear. With supreme and matchless faith and perfect trust in the protecting arm of God, the All-Mighty, the All-Protecting, he quieted the anxiety and fears of his friend, with the words: "Be not grieved, for surely Allah is with us." Surely this could not have been a voice from within. For the heart of a mortal human being, as the Holy Prophet was, could not have remained so imperturbed in circumstances so imminently perilous. It was not a voice from within, but the voice from above, from Allah, the Lord of all, came to console and compose a heart afflicted for His sake. And who but the All-Knowing God could tell that, on the very point of succeeding in their foul designs, the enemy would be frustrated.