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to effect a decent retreat, and to arrive safely at Mecca, with the, greater part of the caravan. The spoils, however, arising from the ransom of the prisoners, and the partial plunder of the caravan, amounted to a considerable sum, the division of which very nearly proved fatal to the victors themselves . . . . A furious altercation ensued, etc. (pp. 60-63).

The facts are these. While still in Syria, Abu Sofiân heard of Mohammed's design to attack the returning caravan as it passed Medina, and despatched Dham Dham (not Omar, as Irving has it) to rouse the Coreish and bring an army to his succour. Approaching Bedr, Abu Sofiân rode forward to reconnoitre the spot, and by the fountain came upon traces of Mohammed's scouts, whom he recognised as such by the peculiar shape of the date-stones in the dung left by their camels.1 In dismay he hurried back to his caravan, left the main road, and by forced marching along the seacoast was soon out of danger. He then sent back a messenger to the Coreish army, by this time on its way to Bedr, to inform them of his safety, and recall them; but they preferred to try the issue with Mohammed. On the other hand, when the Medina army arrived at Bedr, Mohammed was still ignorant that the caravan had passed, or even that the Coreish were advancing to attack him; and their watering party was seized and beaten in the vain hope of finding that they belonged to the caravan. It was after this that the battle occurred.

We see thus how grossly inaccurate is the account of Mohammed's army "being posted between the caravan and the approaching succour"; of "partial plunder of the caravan"; and of Abu Sofiân, "notwithstanding the defeat, managing to effect a decent retreat, and arriving at Mecca with the greater part of the caravan." The notices of a "rivulet" at Bedr, where there were

1 Irving's inaccuracy here deserves notice. "At length he came upon the track of the little army of Mohammed. He knew it from the size of the kernels of the dates, which the troops had thrown by the wayside as they marched." Mohammed's army, in point of fact, had hardly yet left Medina. The date-kernels were not thrown by the way, but were found by Abu Sofiân in the camels' dung; and the traditions are particular in describing how he took up the dung and crumbled it to scrutinise the kernels.


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