As Sherah and her mother walked home, the last remnant of the fearful storm that had visited Medina passed over Mecca. They saw the ragged clouds borne wildly over the northern hills; they saw the stunted aloes bending low beneath the sweep of the wind. Yet to them there was a grandeur in it, for there was still upon them the influence of the Divine presence, and they thought of Him who “walketh upon the wings of the wind.”
And as they went on, bowing their heads before its spent fury, Asru, Amzi, and Yusuf, far to the northward, struggled on with the fugitive army, wondering at the continued triumph of the false prophet, yet serene in the confidence that in the Divine Hands all was well, and that in the far-distant end, however blurred to human vision, all must work for good to those who love God, even though the reason of his working, the seeming mystery of the fortunes of the great conflict, might not be unravelled until in the bright hereafter, when all things will at last be made plain.
MANASSEH AND ASRU AT KHAIBAR.
“Spirit of purity and
Our weakness, pitying, see!
O make our hearts thy dwelling-place,
And worthier Thee.”
The Koreish, after their disastrous defeat at the Battle of the Ditch, returned in bitter disappointment to Mecca. Many even of the bravest of the tribe felt that it was hopeless to strive against the prophet, whose phenomenal success seemed to render his troops invincible. Many, too, with the superstition at all times common to the Arabs, were in deadly dread of his “enchantments,” and were only too ready to listen to his bold assertions that the momentous storm at the siege of Medina had been caused in his favor by heavenly agency; that a great host of angels had been in invisible co-operation with the Moslems and had drawn their legions about the ill-fated company, crying, “God is great!” and striking panic to the hearts of the besiegers.
Because of these superstitions the hearts of the Arabs failed them, and they day after day lessened in their hostility, and increased in their spirit of submission to the now famous prophet of El Islam.
The Jews, however, held out to the last, and against them the reeking blades of Mohammed’s army were turned. The Jewish tribes of the Koraidha, Kainoka, and the Nadhirites, in the vicinity of Medina, were speedily overthrown, and their goods taken possession of by the Moslems. Then, before the blood cooled on the scimitars, these conquests were followed by the dastardly assassination of the few Jews who were still in Medina, and, being possessed of considerable property, were a tempting bait to the avaricious prophet, who now, making religion a cloak to cover his greed and ambition, went to the wildest excesses in attaining his objects.
Many of the Jews, escaping dearly with their lives, fled to the city of Khaibar, five days’ journey to the northeast of Medina, a city inhabited by Jews, who, living in the midst of a luxuriant farming district, had grown rich in the peaceful arts of agriculture and commerce. Others hastened thither in the hope that Khaibar might become the nucleus of a successful resistance of Mohammed’s power in the near future; and among the latter class was Manasseh.