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The Meccans, fearing the consequence of this new alliance, began to think seriously of preventing Muhammad from escaping to Yathrib. They met in all haste. After several milder expedients had been rejected, they decided that he should be killed. They agreed that one man should be chosen out of every tribe and that each man should strike a blow at him with his sword so that responsibility of the guilt would rest equally on all tribes. The Bani Hashim, Muhammad's own tribe, were much inferior and therefore would not be able to revenge their kinsman's death.

A number of noble youths were selected for the bloody deed. As the night advanced, the assassins posted themselves round the Prophet's dwelling. They watched all night long, waiting to murder Muhammad when he should leave his house at the early dawn. By some means the Prophet had been warned of the danger, and he directed 'Ali to lie down in his place and wrap himself up in his green cloak, which he did. The Prophet miraculously escaped through the window and he repaired to the house of Abu Bakr, unperceived by the conspirators who had already assembled at the Prophet's door. These, in the meantime, looking through a crevice and seeing Ali, whom they mistook for Muhammad himself, asleep, continued watching there until morning. When 'Ali arose, they found themselves deceived. The fury of the Quraish was now unbounded. The news that the would-be assassins had returned unsuccessful and that Muhammad had escaped aroused their whole energy. A price of a hundred camels was set upon Muhammad's head.