Mecca was complete. The Prophet had on his side high family connexions, relationship with the guardians of the Ka'ba, many personal virtues, indomitable patience, uncompromising fearlessness and fervid eloquence, and yet he succeeded in getting only a very small band of followers. His mission at Mecca was a complete failure. The time had come to try elsewhere.

The city of Yathrib was not unknown to Muhammad. His grandfather and his great-grandmother were natives of the place and his father was buried there. There was a good deal of rivalry between Yathrib and Mecca and a man despised in the latter place would not thereby be at a disadvantage in the former. Then, for more than one hundred years there had been a blood feud between the men of the two great tribes who dwelt in Yathrib, and just now there was a disposition to put a stop to these dissensions by selecting some one person as a king or ruler. 'Hence the soil of Yathrib was thoroughly prepared for Islam. In a healthy community like that of Mecca it gained no hold; but in one that

[Footnote continued from previous page]
indicative of a late Meccan origin. Flight from Mecca must have been imminent when Muhammad could write thus.' Rodwell, Qur'an, p. 329.
Husain interprets
اَرْضى وَاسِعَةْ — 'vast earth' as:

زمين كشادة است هجرت كنيد از صوضع خوف بمنزل امن
'The earth is wide, flee from a place of terror to a place of safety'. Tafsir-i-Husaini, vol. ii, p. 173.
'Abbas says that some consider it to be a special reference to Madina, and others say : 'It was given to console the faithful at Mecca at a time when they were oppressed, and the divine command (
فرضيت ) to fight the infidels had not yet been given, and so it is a command to flee.' Khulasatu-t-Tafasir, vol. iii, p 471.
From all this it is clear that Muhammad was now thus preparing his followers for flight.


was ailing from long years of civil strife, it could spread apace.'1 There was also a strong Jewish colony there which prepared the way for religious reform. The people of Mecca were utter materialists and could not rise to the spiritual part of the Prophet's teaching. In Yathrib it was different;2 long intercourse with Jews had made such subjects as the unity of God, revelation through prophets and a future life more or less familiar to the inhabitants of the city. Islam owes much to Yathrib. It saved Muhammad from passing away as a mere enthusiast, rejected and disowned by his own people. It 'became the real birthplace of Islam, the cradle of its political power and the centre of its conquests throughout Arabia.' It is thus justly named al-Madinatu'n-Nabi, the city of the Prophet, and its converts are truly termed the Ansar,3 or helpers of Islam. The state of feeling in Madina and the general position of affairs there presented just the circumstances which were calculated to relieve the despondent mood of the Prophet. He was sad, dispirited and worn out by the failure of all his efforts and the persistent opposition of the

1 Margoliouth, Mohammed, p. 198.
2 'On the other hand, Muhammad had to encounter in Madina difficulties which at Mecca he had never experienced. The ignorance of the Quraish had enabled him to give what account he pleased of the Suras he recited to them. When he asserted that his foolish and extravagant legends about Noah, Abraham and others had been made known to him by the Archangel Gabriel and that they were identical with similar stories in the sacred book of the Jews, the Meccans lacked the knowledge to prove their falseness. At Madina, he was confronted by the very people and the very books to whom he had made appeal to confirm the veracity of his mission.' Osborn, Islam under the Arabs, p. 43.
3 Some authorities say the name refers to (1) those who became Muslims before the change of the Qibla; (2) those who 'took part in the Treaty of Hudaibiya.