The move from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE signals a pivotal moment in the life of Muh.ammad, and it is during this period that the dual storyline of mundane versus supernatural is best laid out. Upon his arrival at Medina, Muh.ammad has to deal not only with the increasingly hostile Meccans, but also with those groups and individuals within Medina who refuse to accept his authority. Slowly, he consolidates his power, eventually defeating both the Meccans and the Medinan Jewish tribes, and begins to make treaty agreements with the various Bedouin groups in the area. By the end of this period, he has gained total mastery over Medina, Mecca, Yemen, and an increasingly large portion of the Arabian Peninsula. At the same time that Muh. ammad the leader is gaining ground against his human enemies, Muh. ammad the Prophet is gaining an increasing amount of control over the world of the supernatural, including over his supernatural enemies – namely Satan and the jinn – whose appearances decrease dramatically over the course of this period.1 Muh.ammad’s residence in Medina begins with the intervention of the supernatural in the choice of locations for his mosque, as he allows his camel – or rather divine guidance of it – to choose the building’s location. Most of the miracles for this period are connected to the various battles fought between the Muslims and their enemies, thus revealing that the story told is not just one of military prowess, but of divine aid – angels actively participate in the Battle of Badr, the dead of Uh.ud do not decay, and Muh. ammad miraculously feeds the multitudes before the Battle of the Ditch. In his dealings with the Jewish tribes of Medina, the Prophet receives a warning from heaven of the assassination attempt by the Banu-al-Nad. ı-r and it is Gabriel who tells him that he must do battle against the Banu-al-Qurayz.a. It is only during this period that Muh.ammad is able to miraculously heal his followers; however, it is never explained why he is able to heal some but not others, or why nearly all of these events focus on wounds rather than illnesses. Most significantly, throughout his time in Medina, Muh.ammad is in almost constant communication with the divine. He continues to receive regular Qurʾa-n revelations, but he also receives numerous warnings and messages that help him in his cause, sometimes

saving his life outright. Thus, his supernatural success serves as an otherworldly mirror of his material success. The eight-year period between the hijra and the conquest of Mecca contains

numerous reports of miraculous events, more so than the entirety of the Meccan period. The type of incident that clearly outnumbers the rest is Muh.ammad’s clairvoyance – revealing the increasing interconnection between the Prophet’s knowledge and God’s knowledge. One particularly vivid account is the story of H. a-t.ib b. Abı-Baltaʿa and the letter he sends to the Quraysh, warning them of Muh.ammad’s impending attack on Mecca. The sı-ra accounts of al-T.abarı-

and Ibn Kathı-r relate the story as follows – while making his preparations for battle, Muh.ammad prays to God, requesting that the Quraysh remain unaware of his plans. One of Muh. ammad’s companions, H. a-t.ib b. Abı-Baltaʿa, sends a letter of warning to the Quraysh in Mecca with a woman who hides the letter in her hair. Muh.ammad receives a supernatural warning – ostensibly in response to his prayer – and is able to send men to intercept it. ʿAlı-b. Abı-T.a-lib and a varying number of companions are sent after the woman, and it is only after ʿAlı-threatens to strip-search her that she produces the letter from its hiding place. H. a-t.ib does not deny sending the letter when he is brought before Muh.ammad, but argues in his defense that he is still a Muslim and that his actions were taken only to protect his family who had remained in Mecca. ʿUmar asks Muh.ammad for permission to kill the man, but Muh. ammad forestalls him, stating that, perhaps, since H. a-t.ib had fought at Badr, God had already forgiven him and the other veterans of that battle for any future sins they might commit. The reports then state that a varying number of Qurʾa-n verses – all from the beginning of Su-ra 60 – were revealed in connection to this event. The story is unfinished, however, since we do not know what became of H. a-t.ib immediately after the revelation of these verses, nor do we later hear of Muh.ammad forgiving other veterans of Badr for the same reason. Instead, the story ends with the revelation of Qurʾa-n verses that have nothing to do with Badr or its veterans, but that rather liken the situation to that of Abraham. In the Abrahamic example, the patriarch’s followers are praised for their “enmity and hatred” toward those who do not believe in God, while the earlier prophet himself is criticized for agreeing to pray for his polytheistic father. Muh.ammad’s comments regarding Badr imply that he favors forgiveness of H. a-t.ib, but the Qurʾa-nic story takes us in the opposite direction. It would seem, then, that the supernatural warning of H. a-t.ib’s betrayal did not come with instructions about what to do with him, and these had to be delivered after the fact in the form of a Qurʾa-n revelation. Whereas the sı-ra accounts of al-T.abarı-and Ibn Kathı-r appear torn between

forgiveness and condemnation, their exegetical works provide three separate areas of variation for this incident. First, al-T.abarı-and Ibn Kathı-r each relate a multitude of reports in their tafsı-r works that question this story’s status as an occasion of revelation. Instead, these reports are worded in such a way that it seems a later narrator added this information to the story. If the revelation of these verses was added later, then the contradiction between Muh.ammad’s

desire to forgive H. a-t.ib and God’s insistence on enmity is an indication of how the perception of the story may have changed over time and how it was interpreted by later generations of Muslim scholars. Second, both al-T.abarı-

and Ibn Kathı-r relate a differing number of verses in association with this event, with some reports naming only the first verse, while others relate that it was the first three, four, or seven verses of this su-ra that were revealed.2