16.3 Qurayshi Caravan
There was a rumor that a caravan belonging to Quraysh would pass near Medina on its return journey. Mohamed sent out two men to find out all they could about it, but, while they were gone, he learnt that it was a great caravan that nearly everyone in Quraysh had a share in, worth at least fifty thousand dinars (an enormous sum of money at that time). He did not wait for the two scouts' return but called the Muslims together and told them that perhaps Allah would let it fall into their hands and that they should get ready to intercept it. Some of those who did not believe wanted to join in for the sake of the booty, but the Messenger rejected their help even though he was short of men and weapons. As the battle was between the Muslims and those who had wronged them, Allah would decide the issue, and Mohamed wanted no aid from polytheists.
Just as Mohamed received warning of the caravan's approach, so had Abu Sufyan, who led the caravan, heard that the Muslims intended to intercept it. Only thirty men from the Quraysh guarded this great caravan and, after having gained so much in trade, Abu Sufyan feared for its safety, so he hired a man called Damdam to go and warn Quraysh and call them to his assistance.
Arriving in Mecca, Damdam cut his camel's ears and tore open his shirt front, then stood on a prominence and cried,
"Help, help, Quraysh! Mohamed and his followers are going to attack your caravan, but you may be able to prevent them yet."
He did not have to cry for long, Abu Jahl heard him. Abu Jahl was a man of sharp features, sharp eyesight, and sharp tongue. He began to call the people of Quraysh to come out and fight for their caravan. Quraysh needed no urging each of them had a stake in this caravan. But some of them, who felt how cruel they had been to their Muslim kin, hesitated, hoping that the caravan might come in safely without their having to fight those they had already wronged. They pointed out that there was a feud between them and the tribe of Kinda. What guarantee had they that, should they all go out to war as Abu Jahl desired, Kinda would not take this opportunity to attack Mecca in their absence?
Sometimes the fate of men hangs on seemingly unimportant coincidences. For at that moment, Malik ibn Jushum, one of the leaders of Kinda, was visiting Quraysh and hearing the dispute, he gave his word that he would stand surety against Kinda attacking them. Because of the words of Malik, Abu Jahl and his party prevailed.