19.3 Quraysh's Trade Problem
Quraysh were in a dilemma. Their main source of income was commerce, and their main trade route was past Medina to the sea coast. Many of the coastal tribes had made pacts and treaties with Mohamed, so they no longer protected the trade of Quraysh from attacks by the Muslims. If they did not trade, they would eat up their capital; if they did, Mohamed was sure to threaten their caravans on their way to AI-Sham. After holding council among themselves, they decided to try another route, through Najd and Iraq. So they prepared a caravan carrying gold and silver to trade with in Al-Sham.
One of them chanced to tell this to a Muslim, who went in turn and related it to Mohamed who sent Zayd ibn Al-Haritha at the head of one hundred men. They intercepted the caravan and brought back the gold and silver. Mohamed divided it equitably among them after allotting one fifth to the needy (the poor, orphans, widows, those in debt for Allah's sake, relatives, and in freeing slaves).
The leader of the caravan was brought to the Messenger who spoke to him of Islam. The man liked what he heard and became a Muslim.