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The First Hijrah (Migration) to Abyssinia (Ethiopia): Ethiopia is a country that most of us know very little about. You might recognize the name but do you know that it is one of the countries in the region known as the Horn of Africa?
#Migration #Hijrah #Islam
It is the second-most populous nation in Africa. The region that we now call Ethiopia was once, in English, and most commonly outside Ethiopia, known as Abyssinia. It was also previously known as the Kingdom of Axum and named by Mani (216–276 CE) as one of the four great powers
of his time along with Persia, Rome, and China.

Mani was the founder of Manichaeism, a gnostic religion of late antiquity which was once widespread but is now extinct.

In the early years of Islam, the Muslims were persecuted & tortured by the ruling families of Mecca, slowly at
first, but steadily accelerated &worsened day by day & month by month until the situation got so extremely grave & no longer tolerable in the middle of the 5th year, that the Muslims began to seriously think of feasible ways liable to avert the painful tortures meted out to them.
It was at that gloomy & desperate time that Surah Al-Kahf (Chapter 18 —The Cave) was revealed comprising definite answers to the questions with which the polytheists of Makkah constantly pestered the Prophet pbuh. It comprises three stories that include highly suggestive parables
for the believers to assimilate.
The story of the Companions of the Cave implies implicit guidance for the believers.
Next, there is the story of Al-Khidr (The Teacher of Arabia) and Moses pbuh in a clear and delicate reference to the vicissitudes of life. Future circumstances of
life are not necessarily the products of the prevalent
conditions, they might be categorically the opposite. In other words, the war waged against the Muslims would in the future assume a different turn, and
the tyrannous oppressors would one day come to suffer & be subjected to
the same tortures to which the Muslims were then put.
Furthermore, there is the story of Dhul-Qarnain (The Two Horned One), the powerful ruler of
the west and east.

Surah Az-Zumar(Chapter 39 —The Crowds) was then revealed pointing directly to migration and stating that the earth
is spacious enough and the believers must not consider themselves constrained by the forces of tyranny
and evil: "Good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world, and
Allah's earth is spacious (so if you cannot worship Allah at a place, then go to another)! Only those
who are patient shall receive their rewards in full without reckoning." [39:10].
The Prophet pbuh had already known that Ashamah Negus, king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), was a fair ruler who would not wrong any of his subordinates, so he permitted some of his followers to seek asylum
there in Abyssinia. In Rajab of the fifth year of Prophethood, a group of twelve men and four
women left for Abyssinia. Among the emigrants were Uthman bin Affan and his wife Ruqaiyah (the daughter of the Prophet pbuh)
With respect to these two emigrants, the Prophet pbuh said:
"They are the first people to migrate in the cause of Allah after Abraham and Lot pbut."
They sneaked out of Makkah under the heavy curtain of a dark night&headed for the sea where two boats happened to be sailing for Abyssinia, their destination. News of their intended departure
reached the ears of Quraish, so some men were despatched in their pursuit, but the
believers had already left Shuaibah Port towards their secure haven where they were received warmly and accorded due hospitality.
In Ramadan of the same year, the Prophet pbuh went into the
Holy Sanctuary where there was a large host of Quraish polytheists, including some notables and celebrities. Suddenly he began reciting Surah An-Najm
(Chapter 41 — The Star). The awe-inspiring Words of Allah descended unawares upon them and they immediately got stunned by them.
It was the first time for them to be shocked by the truthful Revelation. It had formerly
been the favorite trick of those people who wished to dishonor
Revelation, not only not to listen to it themselves but also to talk loudly and
insolently when it was being read, so that even
the true listeners may not be able to hear. They used to think that they were drowning the Voice of God;
in fact, they were piling up misery for themselves, for God's Voice can never be silenced, "And those who disbelieve say:
"Listen not to this Quran, and make noise in the midst of its (recitation) that you may overcome." [41 :26].

When the unspeakably fascinating Words of Allah came into direct contact with their hearts, they were entranced & got oblivious of the
materialistic world around them and
were caught in a state of full attentiveness to the Divine Words to such an extent that when the Prophet pbuh
reached the stormy heart-beating ending:
"So fall you down in prostration to Allah and worship Him
(Alone)." [53:62]
The idolaters, unconsciously & with full compliance,
prostrated themselves in absolute god-fearing and stainless devotion. It was, in fact, the wonderful moment of the Truth that cleaved through the obdurate souls of the haughty and the attitude of the scoffers. They stood aghast when they
perceived that Allah's Words had conquered
their hearts and did the same thing that they had been trying hard to annihilate and exterminate. Their co-polytheists who had not been present on the scene reproached and blamed
them severely; consequently they began to fabricate lies & calumniate the Prophet pbuh, alleging that
he had attached to their idols great
veneration and ascribed to them the power of desirable intercession. All of these were desperate attempts made to establish an excusable justification for their prostrating themselves with the Prophet pbuh on that day. Of
course, this foolish
and iniquitous slanderous behavior was in line with
their life-consecrated practice of telling lies & plot hatching. News of this incident was misreported to the Muslim emigrants in Abyssinia. They were informed that the whole of Quraish had
embraced Islam so they made their way
back home. They arrived in Makkah in Shawwal(10th month in the Islamic calendar) of the same year. When they were only an hour's travel from
Makkah, the reality of the situation was discovered. Some of them returned
to Abyssinia, others sneaked secretly into the city or went in
publicly but under the tutelage of a local notable. However, due to the news
that transpired to the Makkans about the good hospitality & warm
welcome that the Muslims were accorded in Abyssinia, the
polytheists got terribly indignant & started to mete out severer & more
horrible
maltreatment and tortures to the Muslims. Thereupon the
Messenger of Allah pbuh deemed it imperative to permit the helpless creatures to seek asylum in Abyssinia for the second time. Migration this time was not as easy as it was the previous time, for Quraish was on the alert to
the least suspicious moves of the Muslims. In due course, however, the Muslims managed their affairs too fast for the Quraishites to thwart their attempt of escape. The group of emigrants this time comprised
eighty-three, men and nineteen or, in some versions, eighteen women.
Quraish's Machination against the Emigrants:
Quraish could not tolerate the prospect of a secure haven available for the Muslims in Abyssinia, so they despatched two staunch
envoys to demand their extradition. They were Amr bin Al- As &Abdullah bin AbiRabia-before embracingIslam.
They had taken with
them valuable gifts to the king & his clergy, & had been able to win some of the courtiers over to their side. The pagan envoys claimed that the
Muslim refugees should be expelled from Abyssinia and made over to them, on the ground that they had abandoned the
religion of their forefathers and their leader was preaching a religion different from theirs and from that of the king.
The king summoned the Muslims to the court and asked them to explain the teachings of their religion.
The Muslim emigrants had decided to tell the whole truth
whatever the consequences were.
Ja'far bin Abi Talib stood up and addressed the king in the following words:
"O King! we were plunged in the depth of ignorance and barbarism; we adored idols, we lived in unchastity, ate dead bodies, committed great sins, severed family relations,
we spoke abominations, we disregarded every feeling of humanity, and the duties of hospitality and
neighborhood were neglected; we knew no law but that of the strong, the strong among us abused the weak. We were like that until God sent from among us a Prophet who was known for
his noble descent, honesty, trustworthiness, and decency. He invited us to worship God alone and abstain from worshipping stones and idols. He enjoined us to speak the truth and to render back our trusts to those to whom they are due. Moreover, he ordered us to be merciful
and to
keep our ties of kinship intact, be good to our neighbors, and abstain from what is forbidden. He also ordered us not to commit evil, nor to say false statements, nor to eat up the property of orphans, he forbade us to speak evil of women. He has commanded us to worship God alone
and not to associate anything with Him, to offer prayers, to render alms, and to observe fast.
Hence, we believed in him and in God's message to him. We worshipped God alone. We rejected that which we used to associate with Him as His partners. We consider unlawful what he has
told us is unlawful and lawful what he has told us is lawful. For this reason, our people have risen against us, have
persecuted us in order to make us forsake the worship of One God & return to the worship of idols and other abominations. They want us to consider lawful the evil
actions which we used to do in the past. They have tortured and injured us, and came between us and our religion, until finding no safety among them, we have come to your Kingdom, and
we hope that we would be treated fairly while we are with you, O King!"
The King listened to this exchange with patience and attention, he was very much impressed by these words. When both the Meccans and the Muslims had spoken, the king turned to Jafar and said, “Do you have with you anything sent down from God to your Prophet?”
King asked the
Muslims to recite some of Allah's Revelation. Ja'far recited the opening
verses of Surah Maryam (Chapter 19 —Mary) wherein is told the story of
the birth of Jesus Christ, down to the account of Mary having
been fed with the food miraculously.
The following is a small portion of Surah Maryam.

(The angel) said: “I am only a messenger from your Lord, (to announce) to you the gift of a righteous son.” She said: “How can I have a son, when no man has touched me, nor am I unchaste?” He said: “So it will be, your Lord said:
‘That is easy for Me (God): And We wish to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us (God), and it is a matter already decreed.’ “So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place (i.e. Bethlehem valley).” (Quran 19:19-22)
Thereupon the king, along with
the bishops of his realm were moved to tears that rolled down his cheeks and even wet his beard. The sublime words of the Quran melted their hearts, as it had already begun to do in Mecca. Interestingly most of the people at the Ethiopian court would not have understood Arabic,
yet the eloquence and subtly of the Quran moved them. The words were then translated for them. At this point in the story, it is fascinating to realize that God described the Christians as those whose tears overflow when they hear the truth.
"And when they who call themselves Christians listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognized. They say: “Our Lord! We believe; so write us down among the witnesses”.(Quran 5:83)
The King was overcome, and exclaimed, "It seems as if these words & those which were revealed to Jesus are the rays of the light which have
radiated from the same source."
Turning to the crest-fallen envoys of
Quraish, he said, "I am afraid, I cannot give you back these refugees.
They are free to live and worship in my realm as they please."
This did not please/satisfy the Meccans. Their mission was to discredit the Muslims and thus the religion of Islam. The Meccans moved forward with another plan to destroy the fledgling religion, in a pathetic attempt
to influence the King they declared that the Muslims spoke disrespectfully about Jesus. After hearing Quran it is unlikely that the King gave their assertion very much credit, however, he called the Muslims back into his presence and asked about their belief in Jesus.
Jafar again stood up and replied truthfully, and immediately:
"We speak about Jesus as we have been taught by our prophet pbuh; that is, he is the servant of God, His
Messenger, His spirit and His Word breathed into the Virgin Mary."
On hearing this, the King at once remarked
This description of Jesus did not differ from their own beliefs. Blessed be you, and blessed be
your master." Then turning to the frowning envoys who
got angry, he said: "You may fret and fume as you like but Jesus is nothing more than what Jafar has said about him."
He then assured the Muslims of full protection. He returned to the envoys of Quraish, the gifts they had
brought with them and sent them away. The result was that the Meccans left Ethiopia in disgrace, and the Muslims lived in Abyssinia unmolested in peace & security for a number
of years till they returned to Madinah. In this way, Quraish's malicious intentions recoiled on them and their machination met with utter failure. They came to fully realize that the
grudge they nursed against the Muslims would not operate but within their realm of Makkah.
Several years later Prophet Muhammad pbuh wrote letters to different rulers throughout the world inviting them to accept Islam as their religion. Among the first leaders to receive the letter was the King of Ethiopia. What follows is an approximate translation of that letter.
"I begin with the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Gracious.
From Muhammad, the Messenger of God, to Negus, the King of Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance.
Salutations, I entertain Allah’s praise, there is no god
but He, the Sovereign,
the Holy, the Source of peace, the Giver
of peace, the Guardian of faith, the Preserver of safety. I bear witness that Jesus, the son of Mary, is the spirit of God and
His Word which He cast into Mary, the virgin, the good, the
pure, so that she conceived Jesus.
God created him from His
spirit and His breathing as He created Adam by His Hand. I
call you to God Alone with no associate and to His obedience
and to follow me and to believe in that which came to me, for I
am the Messenger of God. I invite you & your men to God,
the Glorious,
the All-Mighty. I hereby bear witness that I have
communicated my message and advice. I invite you to listen
& accept my advice. Peace be upon him who follows true
guidance." [Zad Al-Maad3/60]

One of the copies of the letter that was sent to Negus(Najashi), the King of Ethiopia.
When ‘Amr bin Omaiyah Ad-Damari communicated the prophet’s letter to Negus (Najashi), the latter received the letter with great honor, touched it with his eyes, came down from the throne and sat on the ground to show his humbleness and high respect for the Prophet of Allah.
Later he asked the letter to be preserved in an ivory casket. He confessed his faith in Islam and wrote the following reply to the Prophet pbuh:

"In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
From Negus Ashama to Muhammad, the Messenger of God.
Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah! and mercy and
blessing from Allah beside Whom there is no god. I have
received your letter in which you have mentioned about Jesus
and by the Lord of heaven and earth, Jesus is not more than
what you say. We fully acknowledge that with
which you have
been sent to us and we have entertained your cousin and his
companions. I bear witness that you are the Messenger of
Allah, true and confirming (those who have gone before you), I
pledge to you through your cousin and surrender myself
through him to the
Lord of the worlds."[Za'd Al-Ma'ad 3/61]

None of the other kings believed except for the first Negus, the king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), and the king of Ammaan and his brother.

Heraclius would have become Muslim, were it not that he feared what his people would do to him.
He was afraid that he would lose his kingdom. The same was true of the others, who preferred the life of this world to the Hereafter.

It is narrated in al-Bukhaari and Muslim, in the hadeeth referred to above, that when Heraclius asked Abu Sufyaan about the attributes of
the Prophet pbuh and the message to which he was calling people, he acknowledged that he was indeed the Messenger of Allah. He said: “If what you say is true, then he is a Prophet, and he will soon occupy the place beneath these two feet of mine. I knew that he would emerge, but
I did not think that he would be from among you. If I knew that I could reach him definitely, I would have done my utmost to go to meet him, and if I were with him, I would wash his feet.”
It was narrated that he said: “I know that (i.e., what they said about the Prophet pbuh) is
correct, but I cannot do anything. If I do anything my kingdom will be lost and the Romans (Byzantines) will kill me.”
And it was also narrated that he said: “By Allah, I know that he is a Prophet who has been sent, but I fear the Byzantines and what they will do to me.
Were it not for that, I would follow him.”

Ibn al-Qayyim mentions in Zaad al-Ma’aad (3/694) that when Heraclius heard news of the Negus becoming Muslim, he said: “By Allaah, were it not for the sake of holding on to my kingdom, I would have done what he has done.”
But guidance is in the hand of Allah. The Negus, the king of Abyssinia, became Muslim and remained in power, Byzantines were unable to harm him.

According to Sahih Muslim, the Prophet pbuh had asked Najashi to send Jafar and his companions, the emigrants to Abyssinia (Ethiopia),
back home. They came back to see the Prophet pbuh in Khaibar. Najashi later died in Rajab 9 A.H. The Prophet pbuh
announced his death and observed prayer in absentia for him. He is buried at a place called Najash in Ethiopia.
Al-Nejashi mosque, the tomb of the Abyssinian King
Ahmed Nejashi, and 15 tombs of the companions of Prophet Muhammed phut.
Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) completed the restoration of the Al-Nejashi mosque, Located in the town of Wukro, 790 kilometers (over 490 miles) north of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa,
Al-Nejashi is said to be the first mosque in Africa. It is named after Nejashi, who hosted companions of the Prophet who escaped persecution in Mecca. The path leading to the tombs in the backyard of the mosque is called "Companions street".

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