At the time of the Hijra (the migration from Mecca to Medina), the Prophet (saws) and Abu Bakr were being chased across the desert. The Quraysh were pursuing them and had a bounty of 100 camels placed on the Prophet’s head. In one gathering around Mecca, a man came in and said he had seen two men walking through the desert and it was possible that they were Muhammad and Abu Bakr. Suraqa ibn Malik, one of the Bedouins in the gathering, deceptively denied that this could be the case, but secretly left the gathering and prepared his horse to pursue the two men. He wanted to gain the reward of 100 camels.
Abu Bakr would constantly be looking back and he was very worried about being caught, whereas the Prophet (saws) was completely calm and reciting Quran. When Suraqa ibn Malik came close to them, the front legs of his horse sank into the sand and he fell. He thought this odd because his horse never did this before. So he got back onto his horse and continued pursuing them. The same thing happened again! The third time it happened, he saw a wall of dust in front of him. So after this, when he approached the Prophet he came to beg for peace. Initially he had come to kill the Prophet but now he was asking the Prophet for a pledge of protection!
So the Prophet (saws) gave him the promise of protection from any future violence in writing, and he said to Suraqa ibn Malik: “What about a day when you will be wearing the Bracelets of Kisra.” There was only one Kisra and everyone knew who this was, but this statement was so shocking that Suraqa ibn Malik had to clarify again: “Kisra!?” The Prophet (saws) said “Yes, Kisra the son of Hermuz.”
Now these Bracelets were very famous, the equivalent to the Crown Jewels in our days. These large bracelets were worn by the Persian Kings, who would simply rest their hands in them as a show of power. For a man who was fleeing persecution and on the brink of assassination, this promise seemed hardly appropriate!
Years later, when the Muslims came to the land where Suraqa ibn Malik lived, they were going to kill him. But he pulled out this piece of paper which had the Prophet’s promise on it, and this paper saved his life. He then became Muslim, and during the time of Umar he joined the army that one day conquered Persia. The treasures of Persia were brought back to Umar, and amongst the booty were these famous bracelets. Umar called Suraqa ibn Malik and told him to wear the bracelets and tell the story to the people. So on that day, a Bedouin man from the Arabs was wearing the Bracelets of Kisra, the most famous at the time – a promise given to him by the Messenger of Allah (saws) decades before.
(Narrated by Anwar al-Awlaki)