12.5 Suraqa ibn Jusham
While the Prophet and his party were proceeding at this slow pace, a desert Arab went back to his tribe and said that he had seen three men on camel-back by the Red Sea whom he believed to be Mohamed and his friends, for whom Quraysh offered a reward. A warrior, called Suraqa ibn Jusham, wanting the prize for himself said that he knew who these were, they were so-and-so from such-and-such a tribe and not Mohamed and his party.
Suraqa was a powerful warrior skilled in the use of weapons and he knew the Messenger and those with him were unarmed. Appearing nonchalant, he went back to his house, saddled his horse without the aid of his groom, armed himself to the teeth, and rode secretly out of the encampment.
He rode furiously in order to catch up with them. On the way his horse jolted him badly. It was a pure Arab steed that normally would not have behaved in this way to its master, but Suraqa had his eye on the prize and drove it on. Again it gave him a bad jolt, but Suraqa galloped on until he could see them at a distance.
At that moment Mohamed and his party had rested from the noon-day heat and with the cool of the late afternoon they were about to get on their camels and continue their journey. With a triumphant cry, Suraqa drove his horse closer to them, but as he approached within hailing distance his horse fell into quicksand. The earth began to suck up both man and horse. A strange awe fell upon Suraqa. He felt that all nature, including his beloved horse, were the allies of the Prophet. The great mountains, the hard rocks, and the sands seemed to stand sentinels for Mohamed's safety. Woe unto any who approached him! Suraqa cried for forgiveness, swearing that no harm would ever come to them through him. The Prophet, kind and forgiving, forgave him immediately. The earth began to be more solid under him and the horse started to extricate its legs from the sand. Suraqa asked for a word from Mohamed, a token of security and peace. With the Messenger's permission, the guide wrote something for him on a piece of parchment and the Messenger asked Suraqa to stay where he was and not allow anybody to reach them.