cave. Abu Bakr looked at Suraqa: his horse’s hooves were stuck in the sand. He was freed and started following them again. Then again the horse became transfixed, and something like smoke was rising from where its hooves were stuck. At that point he understood that it was beyond his power and anyone else’s power to harm God’s Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace). He cried for mercy. The Messenger (UWBP) freed him, but said: “Go back, but make sure no one else comes after us.”1
In connection with this incident, we should also mention that a shepherd spotted them and immediately set off for Mecca to inform the Quraysh. But on arriving at the city, he forgot why he had come. No matter how much he tried, he could not remember. He was obliged to return. Then later he understood that he had been made to forget it.2
The Third Event: The leading scholars of Hadith relate through many chains of transmission that at the Battle of Ghatafan and Anmar, a bold tribal chief called Ghurath got close to the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) without anyone seeing him, his sword ready in his hand. He said to God’s Messenger (UWBP): “Who will save you from me?” God’s Messenger (UWBP) replied: “God!” Then he prayed: “O God, save me from him, if You thus will!” Suddenly, Ghurath received a blow from the Unseen between the shoulders and his sword fell to the ground. The Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) picked up the sword and said: “Now who will save you from me?” Then he forgave him. The man returned to his tribe. Everyone was astonished at the bold, valiant fighter, and asked him what had happened to him and why he had done nothing. He replied to them: “That’s the way it happened. I have come now from the best of men.”3
In an incident similar to this at the Battle of Badr, a dissembler approached the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) from behind when no one was aware of it. Just as he was raising his sword to strike, God’s Messenger (UWBP) turned and looked at him; the man trembled and his sword slipped to the ground.4
The Fourth Event: This is well-known almost to the degree of ‘consensus in meaning,’ and is given by most Qur’anic commentators as the immediate reason for the revelation of the verse, “Indeed We have put yokes
Bukhari, Manaqib, 25; Muslim, Zuhd, 75; Ibn Hibban, Sahih 65; 9:11.
Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’, i, 351; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’, i, 715.
Bukhari, Jihad, 84, 87; Maghazi, 31-2; Muslim, Salat al-Musafirin, 311, no: 843; Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’, i, 347-8; al-Haythami, Majma’ al-Zawa’id, ix, 7-8; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, iii, 29-30.
Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’, i, 347; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’, i, 710.