After the endorsement of the Second `Aqabah Pledge and the establishment of a small Muslim state in a vast desert surging with disbelief and ignorance, the most serious gain in terms of Islam was that the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave his leave for the Muslims to migrate to Madinah, the emerging Muslim state.
Migration to Madinah, in terms of personal interests, was no more than giving up material things and sacrifice of wealth, all in return for personal safety. Even here, the migrant could not expect full security; he was liable to be robbed or even killed either at the beginning or end of his departure. The future was hazy, clouded with various unpredictable sorrows and crises.
Bearing all this in mind, the Muslims began to migrate, while the polytheists spared no effort in hindering and debarring them, knowing beforehand that such a move implied unimaginable threats and unthinkable danger to their whole society:
The first one to migrate was Abu Salamah (May Allah be Pleased with him), a year before the Great `Aqabah Pledge, according to Ibn Ishaq. When he had made up his mind to leave Makkah, his in-laws, in a desperate attempt to raise obstacles, detained his wife and snatched his son and dislocated his hand. Umm Salamah, after the departure of her husband and the loss of her son spent a year by herself weeping and lamenting. A relative of hers eventually had pity on her and exhorted the others to release her son and let her join her husband. She then set out on a journey of 500 kilometers with no help whatsoever. At a spot called At-Tan’im, `Uthman bin Talhah came across her and offered to accompany her to Madinah. She, along with her son, joined Abu Salamah in the village of Quba’, a suburb of Madinah.
Another instance of the atrocities perpetrated by the polytheist Makkans on the migrating Muslims is the incident of Suhaib bin Sinan Ar-Rumi. This man expressed his wish to migrate and naturally, this was offensive to the disbelievers. They began to insult him claiming that he had come into Makkah as a worthless beggar, but thanks to the generosity of their town he had managed to make a lot of money and become wealthy. They issued orders that he could not leave. Seeing this, he offered to give away all his wealth to them. They eventually agreed to release him on that condition. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) heard this story and commented on it saying:
``Suhaib has profited, Suhaib has profited.’’
Then, there was the story of `Umar bin Al-Khattab, `Aiyash bin Abi Rabi’ah and Hisham bin Al-`Asi bin Wa’il (May Allah be Pleased with all of them), who agreed to meet at a certain place one morning in order to leave for Madinah; `Umar (May Allah be Pleased with him) and `Aiyash (May Allah be Pleased with him) came but Hisham was detained by the Makkans.
Shortly afterwards Abu Jahl and his brother Al-Harith came to Madinah to see their third brother `Aiyash (May Allah be Pleased with him). They cunningly tried to stir his emotions by invoking the most sensitive area in man, i.e., his relationship with his mother. They addressed him claiming that his mother had sworn she would never comb her hair, nor shade herself from the sun unless she saw him. `Aiyash (May Allah be Pleased with him) took pity on his mother, but `Umar (May Allah be Pleased with him) was intelligent enough to understand that they wanted to entice `Aiyash (May Allah be Pleased with him) away from Islam so he cautioned him against their tricks, and added, “Your mother would comb her hair if lice pester her, and would shade herself if the sun of Makkah becomes too hot for her.’’ In spite of these words, `Aiyash (May Allah be Pleased with him) was determined to go and see his mother, so `Umar (May Allah be Pleased with him) gave him his own camel which was manageable and tame, advising him to stick to its back because it would rescue him if he perceived anything suspicious on their part. The party of three then set off towards Makkah. As soon as they covered part of the distance, Abu Jahl complained about his camel and requested `Aiyash (May Allah be Pleased with him) to allow him to ride behind him on his camel. When they knelt down to the level of the ground, the two polytheists fell upon `Aiyash (May Allah be Pleased with him) and tied him. They rode into Makkah shouting to the people to follow their example with respect to `fools’.
These are just three self-explanatory examples of the Makkans’ reaction towards anyone intending to migrate. The believers still managed to escape in successive groups so rapidly that within two months of the Second `Aqabah Pledge, entire quarters of Makkah were deserted. Almost all the followers of Muhammad had migrated to their new abode, except Abu Bakr (May Allah be Pleased with him), `Ali (May Allah be Pleased with him), the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself, and those helpless souls who had been detained in confinement or were unable to escape. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), together with Abu Bakr(May Allah be Pleased with him) and `Ali, made all the necessary preparations for migration but was waiting for the order from his Lord.
Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of `Aishah that Allah’s Messenger informed the Muslims:
“In a dream I have been shown the place of your emigration, a land of datepalm trees between two mountains.’’
Thus, some people emigrated to Madinah, and most of those people who previously emigrated to the land of Ethiopia migrated to Madinah. Abu Bakr(May Allah be Pleased with him) also prepared to leave for Madinah but Allah’s Messenger said to him:
“Wait for a while, because I hope that I will be allowed to emigrate also.’’
Abu Bakr (May Allah be Pleased with him) asked, “Do you hope for that…?”
He replied in the affirmative. So Abu Bakr (May Allah be Pleased with him) did not emigrate for the sake of Allah’s Messenger in order to accompany him. He fed two she-camels for four months with leaves from a Samur tree that had fallen.’’