At the end of the third day the Meccans returned.
“Thy time is outrun: depart thou out of our city.”
Mahomet answered: “What can it matter if ye allow me to celebrate my marriage here and make a feast as is the custom?”
But they replied with anger, “We need not thy feasts; depart thou hence.”
And Mahomet was reluctantly forced to comply. He had been not without hope that the Kureisch would be won over to his cause in such great numbers that he might be suffered to remain as head of a converted Mecca, and he was loth to see such an unrivalled opportunity slip by without trying his utmost to gain some kind of permanent foothold in the city of his desires. But his faith weighed not so well with the Kureisch, and, having within himself the strength which knows when to desist from importunity, he quitted the city and retired to Sarif, eight miles away, where he rested together with his host of believers, now content and reverent towards the master who had made their dreams incarnate, their ideals tangible.
At Sarif Mahomet received what was perhaps the best fortune that had come to him outside his own powerful volition. Khalid, the skilful leader at Ohod and the greatest warrior the Kureisch possessed, together with Amru, poet and scholar as well as future warrior and conqueror of Egypt, were won over to the faith they had so obstinately opposed. They joined Mahomet at Sarif, and were forthwith appointed among the Companions, the equals of Ali, Othman and Omar. Following their adherence to the winning cause came the allegiance to Mahomet of Othman ibn Talha, custodian of the Kaaba. With these men of weight and influence ranged upon his side, the chief in war, the supreme in song, and the representative of Meccan ritualistic life, Mahomet had indeed justification for rejoicing. They were the first of the famous men and rulers in Mecca to range themselves with him, and they marked the turn of the tide, which came to its full flowing with the occupation of the sacred city and the conversion of Abu Sofian and Abbas.
Slowly, with pain and striving, Mahomet was overcoming the measureless opposition to things new. Six years of ceaseless effort, warfare and exhortation, compulsion and rewards were needed to secure for him the undisputed exercise of his religion in the place that was its sanctuary. Faith, backed by the strength and wealth of his armies, now gathered in the choicest of his opponents. The time was come when he was beginning to taste the wine of success. He had scarcely penetrated the borderland of that delectable garden, but the first meagre fruit thereof was sweet. It spurred him on to the perpetual renewal of alertness that he might keep what he had won and pursue his way to the innermost far-off enclosure, around the portal of which was written, as a mandate for all the world: “Bear witness, there is no God but God, and Mahomet is His Prophet.”