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Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Story of An Najashi, the Good Christian King of Ethiopia

This is a record of how the Good Christian King of Ethiopia, An Najashi @ the Negus helped the early Muslims, refugees who fled from Makkah to escape the persecution of the Qureishi Arabs!

When the people of Quraysh intensified their harsh treatment of the Messenger of Allah and his Companions, he ordered some of his Companions to migrate to Abyssinia.

He delegated Ja'far son of Abu Talib to take charge of them, and he set out with seventy men until they took to sea.

When the people of Quraysh knew of their departure, they sent 'Amr ibn al-'As as-Sahmi and 'Umarah ibn al-Walid to an-Najashi (Negus) of Abyssinia, requesting him to return the men to the people of Quraysh.

They were also instructed to tell the King that these men had gone against the wishes and traditions of their people.

'Umarah was a handsome and wealthy man. 'Amr ibn al-'As set out with his wife. When they boarded the ship, they became intoxicated with wine.

'Umarah then said to 'Amr ibn al-'As: "Tell your wife to kiss me!"

The latter answered: "Glorified be Allah! Is this possible?" 'Umarah waited until 'Amr got drunk, then he pushed him overboard.

'Amr was on the edge of the ship; thus he held on to the edge, and people rushed to his rescue.

When 'Amr saw what 'Umarah had done to him, he said to his wife, "Kiss him!", which she did.

When they reached Abyssinia, they went straight to an-Najashi bearing presents for him.

'Amr addressed him saying: "O King, these people have gone against our religion and sought refuge with you. Return them, therefore, to us!"

The King sent for Ja'far and said to him: "These men are requesting that I return you all to them."

He answered: "O King, ask them, are we their slaves?"

"No", answered 'Amr, "rather they are free and noble men."

"Ask them," Ja'far continued, "do we then owe them debts which they have come to claim from us?"

'Amr answered: "They owe us no debts which we have come to claim."

Ja'far continued: "Have they come then to avenge any blood of theirs that we had wrongfully shed?"

'Amr answered: "They have shed no blood for which we come to exact vengeance or blood money."

Ja'far asked: "What then do you want from us?"

'Amr said: "They have opposed us in our religion and the religion of our forefathers and insulted our gods. They have corrupted our youths and spread dissension among us. Return them to us, therefore, that our unity might be restored."

Ja'far then addressed the King saying: "O King, we have opposed them in order to follow a prophet whom Allah has raised among us.

He commands us to repudiate equals to Allah, and that we abandon chance games by means of arrows.

He enjoins prayers and almsgiving upon us.

He has prohibited wrongdoing, oppression and the unlawful shedding of blood.

He has prohibited adultery, usury, and eating the flesh of dead animals which have not been properly slaughtered, as well as eating blood.

He has enjoined decency and good works upon us, and that we show kindness to near relatives.

He forbids grave immorality, indecency and insolence.

" The King said: "It is with such (teachings) that Allah also sent Jesus son of Mary!"

Then addressing Ja'far, he continued: "Do you know by heart any of the revelations which Allah sent down to your prophet?"

"Yes", he answered. "Recite then!" the King demanded.

Ja'far recited the surah of Maryam (surah 19).

When he reached the words - Shake down towards you the branch of the palm-tree, and it shall drop down before you ripened dates ready to be picked. Eat and drink, therefore, and be of good cheer [Qur. 19:25-26] - an-Najashi wept and exclaimed: "By Allah this is the truth!"

'Amr protested: "O King, this man has abandoned our religion; give him to us that we may take him back to our country!"

an-Najashi lifted his hand and slapped him saying: "If you utter any evil against him, I will kill you!"

'Amr finally said: "O King, if this is what you say, then we shall not interfere with him."

A young maid stood by an-Najashi keeping flies away from him. She kept her eyes on 'Umarah ibn al-Walid, as he was a handsome young man.

When they went to their lodgings, 'Amr said to him: "Why do you not send a message to the King's maid?"

'Umarah sent a message to her, and she answered him.

'Amr said: "Tell her to bring you with her some of the King's perfumes.

She did so, and 'Amr ibn al-'As took the perfume.

He had kept in his heart what 'Umarah had done to him when he attempted to throw him overboard.

Thus, he took the perfume and went to an-Najashi, and said to him: "O King, it is fitting that we take cognition of the King's honor and magnanimity toward us, and that we do not betray him in his own realm.

Yet, my companion who is with me has sent messages to your maid and tempted her. She even brought him some of your performes."

He then showed the King the perfume. an-Najashi was exceedingly angry and was about to kill 'Umarah.

But he changed his mind and said: "It is not right that I kill him, for they entered our realm under a pledge of protection."

He thus called his magicians and said to them: "Do some thing to him that would be worse than death!"

They took him and injected mercury into his generative organ. He lost his mind, so that he lived with the wild beasts and shunned human company.

The people of Quraysh sent men to bring 'Umarah back home. The men lay in wait for him until he came with wild beasts to drink at a spring. Thus they caught him, but he continued to struggle and scream in their hands until he expired.

'Amr, however, returned to the people of Quraysh and recounted to them his story.

As for Ja'far, he remained in Abyssinia enjoying the best of hospitality and honor.

He remained there until he heard that the Messenger of Allah had established a truce with the people of Quraysh and that peace had prevailed between them and the Muslims.

He then returned with a large company of people. He arrived to find that the Messenger of Allah had conquered Khaybar (a Jewish settlement near Medina).

A son was born to Ja'far by Asma', daughter of 'Umays. an-Najashi also had a son, whom he called Muhammad.

Asma' gave an-Najashi's son of her own milk to drink (thus making him a nursing brother of her own son).

Abu Talib recited these verses urging an-Najashi to support the Prophet and his followers:

Know, O King of the Ethiopians, that Muhammad is a prophet like Moses and Jesus son of Mary.

He came with guidance such as they brought,for each of them was by Allah's command well protected.

Concerning him, you recite verses in your own scriptures;a true account it is, not a fantastic tale.
Do not, therefore, set up equals with Allah; rather become Muslims,for the way of truth is not obscured in darkness.

The traditionist Abu 'Abdillah (al-Bayhaqi) transmitted on the authority of Muhammad ibn Ishaq that the Messenger of Allah sent 'Amr ibn Umayyah ad-Damri to an-Najashi regarding Ja'far ibn Abi Talib and his Companions.

He sent a letter with him which read thus:

"In the name of Allah, the All-merciful, the Compassionate - From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah to the Negus, the King of Abyssinia -

I convey to you the praises of Allah the King, the Holy, the Accepter of Faith, the Guardian [Qur. 59:23].

I furthermore bear witness that Jesus son of Mary is the Spirit of Allah and His Word, which He sent down to Mary [Qur. 4:171], the pure and chaste virgin who then conceived Jesus, whom Allah created of His Spirit which he breathed into him - just as he created Adam with His Hand and breathed of His Spirit into him.

I thus call you to the worship of the One and only Allah alone Who has no associate, and that you obey Him, follow me and believe in me and the message which was vouchsafed me.

For I indeed am the Messenger of Allah.

I have, moreover, sent to you my cousin Ja'far with a company of the Muslims.

When they come to you, show hospitality to them and do not be arrogant.

I call you and your hosts to Allah!

I have conveyed my message to you and given good counsel.

Peace be with those who follow true guidance."

an-Najashi wrote in answer to the Messenger of Allah:

"In the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Compassionate -

To Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah - from the Negus al-Ashamah ibn Abhar.

Peace be upon you O Prophet of Allah and Allah's mercy and blessings -

There is no god but He Who guided me to Islam.

I have received your letter, O Messenger of Allah, concerning the importance you give in the case of Jesus.

By the Lord of the Heaven and Earth, Jesus does not exceed what you have mentioned concerning him.

We acknowledge what you have written to us, and have thus shown hospitality to your cousin and Companions.

I bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah truly and that you tell the truth.

I have, therefore, given allegiance (bay'ah ) to you and your cousin.

I have accepted Islam to Allah, the Lord of all beings at his hands.

I have sent to you, O Messenger of Allah, Arijan ibn Ashamah ibn Abhar, I have indeed no authority except over myself alone.

If, therefore, you wish that I come to you, I would come, O Messenger of Allah.

For I bear witness that what you say is the truth."

an-Najashi then sent presents to the Prophet.

He sent him also Mariyah the Copt Christian, the mother of the Prophet's son Ibrahim.

He sent him much clothing and aromatics, and a mare.

He also sent him thirty learned men to hear his words and observe his conduct.

When they arrived in Medina, the Messenger of Allah called them to Islam, and they accepted Islam and returned to the Negus.

Jabir ibn 'Abdillah al-Ansari reported that, "When an-Najashi died, the Messenger of Allah prayed over Ashamah, the Negus." ~

Such is the record of An-Najashi @ the Negus of Ethiopia who gave shelter to the refugees amongst the early Muslims who fled from Makkah to Ethiopia to seek the protection of the good Christian King of Ethiopia, during the times of the Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam.

To Good Christians of the world, take the example of the Negus of Ethiopia and return to the fold of Allah, God Almighty and be as Jesus Christ @ Eesa Al Masih Alaihi Salam , a mighty and noble Messenger of Allah, nothing more, nothing less.

May Almighty Allah open up your hearts to Al-Islam, your birthright to Allah's Peace and Salvation, Ameen.

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