So talked Amzi and the priest until the gray dawn shone in, and the voice of Bilal, the muezzin, was heard calling from the mosque:
“God is great! There is no God but God! Mohammed is the prophet of God! Come to prayers! God is great!”
THE PERSECUTION BEGINS.
“In doing good we are
generally cold and languid and
sluggish.... But the works of Malice and Injustice are quite in
Among those left dead on the field of Bedr were the father, uncle and brother of Henda, the wife of Abu Sofian. Fierce and savage as was her nature, she was yet capable of deep feeling, and her love for her kindred was one of the ruling passions of her life.
When the caravan at last reached Mecca in safety, she rushed to meet Abu Sofian, weeping wildly, wringing her hands in grief, and throwing dust on her long hair. She besought him frantically to avenge their death, and he, knowing that the debt of “blood revenge” was now upon him, and that blood alone would wipe the stain from his honor, gathered two hundred swift horsemen and set out almost immediately for Medina.
On the way he ravaged the whole country, burning the villages and date-groves of Mohammed’s followers.
When within three miles of Medina the prophet sallied out to meet him. A brief contest took place, and Abu Sofian was once more defeated in what was jestingly called the Battle of the Meal Sacks.
The Moslems were exultant over their success, but Abu Sofian returned to Mecca, the blood-dues still unpaid, and with bitter enmity gnawing at his heart.
In the meantime Mohammed began to assume all the airs of an independent sovereign. He married a beautiful maiden, Hafza, to whom he entrusted the care of the Koran, according as it was revealed; and shortly afterwards he issued a decree by which all true believers were ordered to face Mecca when praying. Thus early in his career of conquest he had fixed upon Mecca as the future holy city of the Moslems. As usual, the Koran was called in to authorize him in thus fixing the Kebla, or point of prayer.
“Unto God belongeth the East and the West. He directeth whom he pleaseth in the right way. Turn, therefore, thy face towards the holy temple of Mecca; and wherever ye be, turn your faces towards that place.”
At this time also he sanctioned the retaining of the holy fast of Ramadhan and the pilgrimages connected therewith. As he was well aware that the doing away with the great bazar upon which the prosperity of Mecca so largely depended would loose a host of enemies upon him, he declared:
“O true believers, a fast is ordained you, as it was ordained unto them before you, that ye may fear God. The month of Ramadhan shall ye fast, in which the Koran was sent down from heaven, a direction unto men.”