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Quraysh's delegation to Nagashi, the king of Abyssinia, in 5 BH


Ibn Masoud continued the hadith, saying, «Quraysh sent Amr ibn Al-As and Umarah ibn Al-Waleed with a gift. When they entered upon An-Najashi, they kneeled to him, and then one sat on his right and the other on his left. Next, they said to him, ‘A group of our relatives have arrived at your land, fleeing from us and our religion.’ An-Najashi said, ‘Where are they?’ One of them replied, ‘They are in your land, so call for them.’ Therefore, An-Najashi called for them. At that time, Jafar said [to the Muslims], ‘I am the one who will talk for you today.’ Consequently, they sent him to An-Najashi. Jafar (may Allah be pleased with him) greeted An-Najashi but did not kneel to him. The people asked him, ‘Why did you not kneel to the king?’ Jafar answered, ‘We do not kneel to anyone but Allah.’ An-Najashi said, ‘What is your affair?’ Jafar said, ‘Allah sent a prophet to us from among us. He ordered us to not kneel to anyone but Allah (Glorified is He), and to perform the prayer and pay zakat (obligatory alms).» Ibn Hesham reported that Jafar said, «Oh King, we were a people who worshipped others with Allah and who worshipped idols. We would eat the flesh of dead animals we found, were bad with our neighbours, would unjustly kill others and perform other abominations, and did not care to know what is permitted and what is prohibited. Then Allah (Glorified is He) sent a prophet to us from among us whose loyalty, truthfulness and trustworthiness we knew. He called us to worship only Allah, taking no partners with him, keep good relations with our relatives, be good with our neighbours, pray, fast and not worship other than Him, our Lord (Glorified is He).’ When An-Najashi asked Jafar to read something from what Muhammed had brought, he read the beginning of Surah Mariam. As a result, An-Najashi and his bishops started to cry. He then said, ‘These words have come from the same source as the words that were sent to Moses. Therefore, go wherever you want. I hope you will attain all your wishes.’ And he swore he would never give them (the Muslims) to Quraysh. However, Amr ibn Al-As tried to win An-Najashi over the next day. Amr ibn Al-As said, ‘They have different beliefs to you about Jesus, the son of Mary.’ An-Najashi asked the Companions, ‘What do you say about Jesus, the son of Mary, and his mother?’ They replied, ‘We say what Allah told us about him; he is a word and spirit from Allah which was placed on the chaste virgin Mary who had never been touched or overcome by any man.’ The narrator said that An-Najashi then lifted his stick from the floor and said, ‘O people of Abyssinia, priests and monks, by Allah, they truly do not say more than what we say about him. Welcome and welcome to who you came from. I bear witness that he is the Messenger of Allah. This is what we have in the Bible. He is the Messenger who Jesus, the son of Mary, prophesized. Move anywhere you want (in the land). By Allah, if I did not hold the position of king, I would have gone to him (the Prophet) to be able to carry his sandals and pour water for him to do ablution.’ Then he ordered for the gift to be brought and he gave it back to the peple of Quraysh» [related by Ahmed].

After that, the Muslims were safe and their religion was protected in Abyssinia under the protection of An-Najashi, the just king.

Reports have stated that An-Najashi embraced Islam; books have been written that mention he entered the faith. As a result, his people started to rebel against him. Consequently and in order to protect the Muslims, he prepared ships for the Muslims to use if anything happened to him.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) announced An-Najashi’s death the day he died in 9 A.H., and the Muslims prayed the funeral prayer over him in absentia [related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim] [The Prophet’s Biography by Ibn Hesham].