12.1 The New Horizon
The oath of Al-Aqaba marked an opening for the new religion enabling it to grow unmolested in a city where people could worship Allah in hope and freedom and without fear. To worship openly before all men, whether believer or not, without being tortured, persecuted, or molested had been the dream of the Muslims of Mecca and after thirteen years of patient struggle Allah made their dream a reality.
Mohamed gave his followers permission to emigrate to Yathrib. They were to emigrate discreetly in twos and threes so as not to attract the attention of Quraysh, but Quraysh, always suspicious and alert, tried to prevent anyone they could from emigrating. They tortured them, imprisoned them, seized their money and possessions, or they flattered them, plied them with goods and money and beautiful slave girls. They used every method and means to stop those who wanted to emigrate from leaving. They tempted them in every possible way. They told one man,
You came to us a pauper and now you are a rich man. You will never leave this city."
"If I give you all my money will you let me emigrate?" he said
"Yes," they answered.
So he left all his money to them and emigrated with only his religion to sustain him. Mohamed met him with a hearty welcome and the words,
"Well done, well done."
All the deterrents of Quraysh did not stop a steady stream of Muslims from emigrating to Yathrib. Their religion was dearer to them than their wealth, their homes, their families, and their motherland. They were content, happy to escape with their religion, to flee to Allah, leaving their city and its strife behind them.
No one knew for sure whether Mohamed intended to emigrate to Yathrib or to remain in Mecca. He remained, calm and dauntless, in Mecca as the number of Muslims there began to dwindle. One day Abu Bakr asked permission to emigrate to Yathrib. All Mohamed said was,
"Be patient! Perchance Allah will give you a companion."