From: Islam in Africa, Through the Lens of Time
Translation: Aboo Aamaal, Misbaah Olagunju
The Excellent Brotherhood (I)
Indeed this hijrah (migration) of the Companions was unique from its kinds, because it wasn’t a transition from a land of disbelief to a land of Islam— as some of those who understand Hijrah would say—, moreover it wasn’t a transition from a place preferred to a better place, rather it was from the honoured Makkah to the land of Al-Habashah in Africa, and Al-Habashah was not a land of Islam, moreover Islam wasn’t that Islam had entered it afterwards (it did not become a land of Islam). Certainly, this or that interpretation of hijrah does not apply to this Hijrah.
Because the aim of this group was to flee with their deen (religion) and aqeedah (belief) for which they were being persecuted, to find a place to worship Allah freely without resistance. This was what became ascertained for them with An-Najaashi —praise be to Allah— before it became ascertained for them with other than him.
And what was apparent from the situation of this group and from the gracefulness which emanated from it, and at the same time from the context of their story, is that they were refugees and their concern was to find a land where they will exhibit the rites of their religion and worship Allah their Lord far away from restraint and persecution.
This is what was apparent from the story of the group. However Allah the All-Knower, the All-Wise had blessed this unique journey and it became the bearer of Islamic propagation to the maiden continent of Africa.
The Kufaar of Quraish fully comprehended the meaning of this when they realised that the emigrants had been welcomed with honour and respect, and had been accorded freedom of religion and had begun to worship Allah their Lord without fear or disguise.
From there on, entered upon them (the Quraish) the fear that the legalised Islam perhaps was a scheme with a code of conduct in Africa aimed at uniting the pure hearts of Africans and their free minds —if its affair was left alone— and it performs its operation in it (Africa), they would become triumph by the honour of accepting Islam early at a time when the people of Makkah had missed out on this honour.
Then they started brainstorming and evaluating to figure out what to do, and while they were upon this pondering and estimating, (as they gathered) on the day of Al-Badr to discuss the horrible defeat of the day in which Allah esteemed Islam and the Muslims, and shamed polytheism and the polytheists, then they intensified their brainstorming on the affair of the emigrants and the eminent ones eventually resolved to send delegates with the objective of making efforts to retreive the emigrants back to Makkah —If able— and the leader of their delegates was a man from the most shrewd men of Arab and the most enchanting in speech, Amr bin Al-Aas, one with abundant particularization.
The delegates arrived Al-Habashah and they were welcomed into the hospitality of An-Najaashi carrying with them lovely gifts to present to the ruler of Al-Habashah —according to the scholars of Islamic history—, then they quickly presented the gifts as soon as they arrived except for the penguins hoping that it would assist them in influencing An-Najaashi to release the emigrants to them, and they have wetted the floor and paved the way in their pretense —if the expression is correct—, however the parley brought about a contrary outcome, and that was because they bidded for An-Najaashi to release the emigrants to them before listening to the emigrants speeches, just by listening to their own garnished explanation alone.
Nonetheless, An-Najaashi did not agree with them on this point, he rather requested the presence of the emigrants so as to listen to their speech just as he had listened to others, and that is the proper methodology as demanded by sense and logic, moreover it was exactly the stance expected from An-Najaashi and it was from the things he was known for, since he was a King who was never unjust to anyone in his territory, according to the account of the Messenger of Allah —Allah raise his rank and grant him peace— nothing is greater than it in excellence. Hence, all his actions emanated from fairness, and it is a part of eemaan (faith) in status — An-Najaashi requested the presence of the emigrants to hear from them. And when the delegates (emigrants) arrived at the door of the king, they waited by the door before entering, imbibing the teachings of Islam, to seek permission before entry.
To be continued Inshaa Allaah.