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Say, I betake me for refuge to the Lord of men,
The King of men,
The God of men,
Against the mischief of the stealthily withdrawing whisperer,
Who whispereth in men's breast
Against jinn and men. Sura An-Nas (cxiv) 1-6.

These Suras are called the al-Ma'udhatain (المعوذتين ), or preservative chapters, and are engraved on amulets as charms against evil.

Still, the promised allurements of Paradise and all the threatened terrors of hell and all this alleged supernatural power over witchcraft failed to win over the Quraish, and the Prophet, being then unable to protect his poorer followers1 and unwilling to run the risk of their perversion, recommended them to emigrate to Abyssinia, a country at that time in close commercial relations with Arabia. The emigrants were few in number, but it was an evidence to the Meccans that their faith was real and that exile was preferable to possibly forced recantation. Some of the exiles joined the Christian Church in Abyssinia, for the antagonism of Islam to Christianity came at a much later period than

1 At this time Islam was accepted as their religion by slaves who had either been carried away from Christian lands, or had been born of Christian parents at Mecca. They saw in Muhammad a liberator and so they believed in his teaching and some died as martyrs to it. Noldeke considers that verse ten of Sura Al-'Alaq (xcvi), 'A slave of God when he prayeth,' refers to a slave convert; but the ordinary interpretation of it is 'A servant of God when he prayeth,' and it is said to refer to Muhammad himself, in connexion with the threat made by Abu Jahl (ante, p. 13) that he would put his foot on the Prophet's neck when at prayer. Noldeke, Geschichte des Qorans p. 66 ; Tafsir-i-Husaini, vol. ii., p. 468 ; and also Baidawi, vol. ii., p. 410.

this.1 Had Muhammad not found a few years later a home at Madina, he too might have gone to Abyssinia and some form of Christian heresy might have taken the place of Islam.

In three months the emigrants returned, for now there seemed to them a prospect of peace with the Quraish. The Meccans had no desire to lose a large number of citizens and the patronage of the King of Abyssinia seemed likely to give political power to Muhammad's cause. On the other hand, Abyssinian influence might grow too strong even for him. Thus, there was a prospect of danger both to Meccans and to Muslims. If a compromise between the two parties could be arrived at, it would obviously be to their mutual advantage. Negotiations were opened and one of the leading men of Mecca was deputed to visit Muhammad in order to induce him to come to some terms and to make some compromise. He said: I' Thou knowest, my cousin, that thou occupiest a high rank in our tribe and that thou hast brought before us a grave matter by which thou hast divided our community. Thou hast called us fools, hast blasphemed our gods, reviled our religion and charged our departed fathers with unbelief. Now, listen to me whilst I submit to thee proposals which, after reflecting

1 In Sura Al-Ma'idah (v) 85, we read:

Of all men thou wilt certainly find the Jews, and those who join other gods with God, to be the most intense in hatred of those who believe ; and thou shalt certainly find those to be nearest in affection to them who say, ' We are Christians.'

This Sura, though a late one, is composite and this verse, evidently recorded in grateful recollection of the kindness shown to the exiles, must have been written after A. H. 3, when the enmity to the Jews was marked and before A. H. 8, by which time both Jews and Christians were denounced.

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