17.5 The News Reaches Mecca
News of the disastrous defeat reached Mecca. At first the Meccans did not believe it. Surely the Muslims were far too weak to compete with Quraysh; they had fewer weapons and fewer men and they were less experienced in war. When they finally learnt the facts, they were thunderstruck. Abu Lahab, the only one of the Qurayshi nobles who had not gone out in person to fight, but had sent a man who owed him money instead, was so shocked that he was struck down with a high fever, took to bed and never recovered. He died within a week.
The women of Quraysh decided not to mourn their dead in case the Muslim women heard of it and gloated over them. They would not shed tears until they had attained their revenge. The men decided not to begin negotiations with the Muslims concerning ransom for their captives until the right occasion presented itself, in case they asked too high a sum. Then they allotted all the money gained by Abu Sufyan from trade in the caravan that had escaped the Muslims to make preparations for war and buy equipment for the battle that would restore their honor and their prestige - a battle that would give them the revenge they craved.