The Vanguard of Migration (in the Cause of Allâh)
After the endorsement of the Second 'Aqabah Pledge and the establishment of a petite Muslim state in a vast desert surging with disbelief and ignorance — the most serious gain in terms of Islam —, the Prophet [PBUH] gave his leave for the Muslims to migrate to Madinah, the nascent Muslim state.
Migration to Madinah, in terms of personal interests, was no more than material waste and sacrifice of wealth, all in return for personal safety only. Even here, the migrant could not expect full security; he was liable to be robbed or even killed either at the beginning or end of his departure. The future was foggy, pregnant with various unpredictable sorts of sorrows and crises.
Bearing all this in mind, the Muslims began to migrate, while the polytheists spared no effort in hindering and debarring them, knowing beforehand that such a move implied unimaginable threats and unthinkable destructive dangers to their whole society:
Shortly afterwards Abu Jahl, and his brother Al-Harith came to Madinah to see their third brother ‘Ayyash. They cunningly tried to touch the most sensitive area in man, i.e. his relation with his mother. They addressed him claiming that his mother had sworn she would never comb her hair, nor shade herself off the sun unless she had seen him. ‘Ayyash took pity on his mother, but ‘Umar was intelligent enough to understand that they wanted to entice ‘Ayyash away from Islam so he cautioned him against their tricks, and added "your mother would comb her hair if lice pestered her, and would shade herself off if the sun of Makkah got too hot for her." These words notwithstanding, 'Ayyash was determined to go and see his mother, so ‘Umar gave him his manageable docile camel advising him to stick to its back because it would provide rescue for him if he perceived anything suspicious on their part. The party of three then set forth towards Makkah. As soon as they covered part of the distance, Abu Jahl complained about his camel and requested ‘Ayyash to allow him to ride behind him on his camel. When they knelt down to the level of the ground, the two polytheists fell upon ‘Ayyash and tied him. They rode on into Makkah shouting at people to follow their example with respect to ‘fools’. [Ibn Hisham 1/474; Bukhari 1/558]
These are just three self-explanatory models of the Makkans’ reaction towards anyone intending to migrate. Nevertheless, the believers still managed to escape in successive groups and so rapidly that within two months of the Second 'Aqabah Pledge, entire quarters of Makkah were deserted. Almost all the followers of Muhammad had migrated to their new abode, except Abu Bakr, 'Ali, the Prophet [PBUH] himself, and those helpless noble souls who had been detained in confinement or were unable to escape. The Prophet [PBUH], together with Abu Bakr and 'Ali, had made all the necessary preparations for migration but was waiting for leave from his Lord. [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/52]
It is noteworthy that most of the Muslims who had migrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), came back to Madinah to join the rest of the Muslims there.
The situation was no doubt critical in Makkah but Muhammad [PBUH] was not at all perturbed. Abu Bakr was, however, urging the Prophet to depart from that town. He was also eagerly waiting for an opportunity to accompany Muhammad [PBUH] on this eventful journey. But the Prophet told him that the time had not yet come; the Lord had not given him the command to migrate. In anticipation of the Command of Allâh, Abu Bakr had made preparations for the journey. He had purchased two swift camels and had fed them properly for four months so that they could successively stand the ordeals of the long desert journey. [Bukhari 1/553]