The conversion from Pagan and other Arabia's religions to Islam had taken place first among the Prophet's Muhammad's immediate family and close friends and the underdogs. Among the underdogs was a slave by the name of Bilal bin Rabah, a former Ethiopian slave before becoming Muslim. Bilal's destiny after he accepted Islam was,and still is,a fascinating one, since he had/has become a hero among all Muslims till present time. In fact, many Muslim mothers have nmed their male babies Bilal, honoring that Ethiopian former slave who was number seven in the early converts to Islam. More about Bilal later on.
As more and more people had accepted Islam, as their new religion, there was no way out for the Messenger of God, (yes, that is the title I personally prefer to call him, since he had never called himself a prophet but a Messenger of God, but to avoid confusion, I would go along, for the moment and call him the Prophet Muhammad), not to practice his new religion in the open. The more Muslims practiced their religion in the open, the more resentments and rejections were publiclly expressed by the most powerful members of the Quraysh tribe who controlled Mecca and its three goddesses mentioned in an earlier topic already covered. Who had suffered the most were those Muslims who had no powerful men to protect them against hostility, ( remember the meaning of " murowah. " ) In this sense, Muhammad was protected by his uncle Abu Talib who took care of him while he was still a lad and after the death of his powerful grandfather, Abdul Mutalib. After Muhammad's uncle Abu Talib died, he had no one as powerful as his uncle to provide him with any protection. The Prophet Muhammad had become all on his own. He had to depend on his God given guidance to survive in Mecca whose Quraysh, the most powerful tribe, wanted to kill him and kill all his followers of Muslims. The hostility became unbearable for the Muslims in Mecca. The Prophet had to do something to save his own life and the lives of his fellow Muslims. He persuaded some of his followers to migrate to Ethiopia, the first African country to accept Christianity and became a Christian country before the appearance of Islam. Ethiopia had acted nobly by accepting those Muslims who fled from persecution in Mecca and gave them the religious asylum needed as protection to save their lives.
Just to show how bad the situation had become for Muslims in Mecca, the following two stories will make that point abundantly clear:
The Story Of Bilal, The Former Ethiopian Slave:
Bilal heard about the Prophet Muhammad, but never met him. Bilal knew Abu Bukr Al-Sideeq,the closest friend to the Prophet Muhammad. Through Abu Bukr, Bilal met with and listened to, Muhammad's new message. He immediately accepted Islam and became a good Muslim by the examplary role he played in the way he conducted himself as a Muslim. But, Bilal ended up having more terrible time with his master than he had before the conversion to Islam. His master was Umayyah ibn Khalaf, a notorious man who enjoyed torturing his slaves:
When Umayyah ibn Khalaf heard that Bilal, his slave, had become a Muslim he and his helpers started punishing Bilal every day to force him to repent and reject Islam and curse Muhammad: A huge rock used to be placed on Bilal's chest and demanded from him to reject Islam and Bilal kept responding under torture,"Ahad,Ahad,Ahad" meaning "God Is One, God Is One, God Is One", which in the final analysis, explicitly meant rejection not Islam, but the three goddesses most Arabs worshipped in the Kab'a in Mecca. The more Bilal defied his master, the more daily torture he was subjected to. One day,Abu Bukr Al-Sideeq was passing by and saw what Umayyah ibn Khalaf was doing to Bilal. He immediately intervened and offered to buy Bilal from Umayyah by asking for a price. Umayyah named his price and Abu Bukr accepted the high price and bought Bilal and immediately freed him from slavery. When the Prophet Muhammad heard what had Abu Bukr done, he was very pleased.
Because Bilal had a beautiful voice, he was, later on, appointed to be the first "Muadhin" in Islam. "Muadhin" also " Muazen " in Arabic means " the man who calls Muslims for the prayer ." That appointment took place in Medina, not in Mecca where Muslims were trying to spare their lives.
The Story Of Omar,(also Umar)Ibn Al-Khattab, His Sister,(Fatima), And Her Husband:
The story shows how a powerful and highly respectable Meccan, Omar ibn Al-Khattab, a former enemy of Islam and its Prophet, willingly accepted Islam after an unpleasant confrontation with his sister, (Fatima), and her husband who became Muslims secretly. It is a telling story about the power of the language of the Qur'an, since Omar was highly respected in Mecca for his implaccable integrity and for being well known as a Man of letters, for his profound knowledge of the Arabic language. He was one of the judges who selected the best ten poems called "Al-Mualaqat Al-Asharah" that were hung in Souk Okaz for all Arabs of letters to enjoy reading. "Al-Mualaqat" means in Arabic "The Hung" . Al-Asharah means "The Ten". The net result in English is "The Hung Ten" of the best poems the Arab poets of ancient Arabia could produce.
How Omar turned from strongly anti-Islam and its Prophet to a devoted Muslim was,(and will remain), an attestation to the uniqueness of the Qur'anic Language that impressed Omar so profoundly to a point of accepting Islam immediately after reading some Qur'anic verses,his sister and her husband had and eventually showed them to Omar to read, after unpleasant verbal confrontation. After reading the verses Omar ibn Al-Khattab asked: "who wrote such a beautiful Arabic ?". It seems that,Omar the Man of Letters had prevailed.
Googling Omar or Umar ibn Al-Khattab will tell the readers every thing they care to know about Omar ibn Al-Khattab who once wanted to slay The Prophet Muhammad because he adhered firmly to his Paganism through which he and most Arabs worshiped the three goddesses, namely: Al-L'at, Al-Uza, and Manat that were kept in the Ka'aba in Mecca, briefly mentioned in topic (3) of this series of topics about Islam.
Although Omar's acceptance of Islam was a big plus and in many ways a historical event for Islam as the future events from then on would prove, still the Muslims in Mecca were undesirable elements and remained a threatened minority that were subject to slaughter en masse, any time.
In order to save the Muslims lives, the Prophet had accepted the invitation from some tribes in Yathrib, (Medina now), including the Jewish Arab tribes there, to migrate with his followers of Islam to Medina. So it was and the migration began or rather the escape from the threatening Mecca to Medina began in earnest.
How the escape of Muslims from Mecca to Yathrib, ( Medina now), had begun was, and still is, interesting story:
Some of the most powerful men of the Qurayish tribe, in Mecca, had decided to kill Muhammad, as he left his residence. So, they selected the actual killers who started watching the house in which Muhammad lived. Words about the murderous plot had, somehow, reached Muhammad. Before the killers could fulfill their murderous plot, Muhammad took a flight on camel to Medina, accompanied with a single companion. That single companion was his closest friend, Abu-Bukr Al-Sideeq. It was Ali ibn Abi-Talib, Muhammad's first cousin, who stayed in Muhammad's residence in Mecca, while Muhammad and Abu-Bukr Al-Sideeq fled to Medina. Eventually, the potential killers realized that the man who was staying in Muhammad residence was not Muhammad, but someone else. Hence, the murderous plot had failed. Later on, all Muslims in Mecca fled the city to Medina, leaving all their positions behind, to save their lives from the Pagans of Mecca.