Islam in Africa: In the Courtyard of the Negus (III)

Thursday 10-Jun-2021, 5:43AM / 677


(This is based on reports of Al-Imaam Muhammad Al-Jaamee - rahimahullaah - being translated by our brother Aboo 'Aamaal - may Allaah preserve him). 

Amr (bn Al-Aas) responded to all the three questions with negations, that is; they were not slaves nor killers nor thieves. 

An-Najaashi then asked: “What then are you asking of them?”

Amr responded: “We and them used to be upon the same religion, the religion of our fathers then they left that religion and followed something else”. 

Then it became clear to him that Amr had summarised the point of difference between them in that they left what their fathers used to worship and followed another new religion, and there was nothing else aside those two reasons.

So he asked Ja’far: “What is that religion that you left and what is the new religion you now follow?”

And by the response to these two questions, the truth was manifested and it became clear that falsehood had vanished because it always vanishes in the end and the end is always for the Muttaquun (those who are conscious of their Lord).

Ja'far said with courage and firmness —As we know him—: “As for the religion we used to be upon and later abandoned, it is the religion of shaytaan.”

Then he started describing it thus; “we used to disbelieve in Allah and worship stones, and as for the religion we changed to, it is the religion of Allah —Al-Islaam— brought to us from Allah by the messenger and a book similar to the book of Eesaa bin Mar’yam assenting to it.”

This last statement made a mark in the mind of An-Najaashi like it has never been impacted! So he said with great command, “take it slowly…”, he then ordered for a debate to be organised —as it was their custom— and for all the priests and monks to be gathered before him, then he said to them: “I ask you by Allah who revealed the Injeel to Eesaa, do you find after Eesaa and before the day of Qiyaamah any prophet sent with message?” they responded and said “Yes there is, Eesaa had given us tidings of him saying: “whoever believes in him has indeed believed in me and whoever disbelieves in him has disbelieved in me”. Afterwards An-Najaashi started asking Ja'far about what the prophet —Allah raise his rank and grant him peace— had come with? And what he has commanded them to do and what he has prohibited them from?

Ja'far responded with suiting details saying: “He read to us the book of Allah, and ordered us with goodness and prohibited us from atrocious acts, he ordered us to treat our neighbours with kindness and to preserve our kinship ties and be nice to the orphans, he also commanded us with the worship of Allah alone without associating partners to Him.” 

Then An-Najaashi started craving to hear something facile from what has been revealed to the prophet Muhammad —Allah raise his rank and grant him peace—, so Ja'far recited to him something from the glorious Qur'an and An-Najaashi eyes teared up and those of some of his companions, and regarding them, Allah the exalted had revealed the following: 

وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا۟ مَاۤ أُنزِلَ إِلَى ٱلرَّسُولِ تَرَىٰۤ أَعۡیُنَهُمۡ تَفِیضُ مِنَ ٱلدَّمۡعِ مِمَّا عَرَفُوا۟ مِنَ ٱلۡحَقِّۖ
“And when they (who call themselves Christians) listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger (Muhammad SallaLlahu alayhi wa salaam), you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognised.” - [Surah Al-Ma'idah: 83]

Qataadah and more than one other exegetes had said this.

Afterwards he continued saying: “recite more of this pleasant words to us”, then he read to him Surah al-Kahf, according to what some of the reporters said, while Amr bin Al-Aas was seated observing for an opportunity to seize so as to speak say something that will provoke An-Najaashi's anger.

And as soon as Ja’far started to give An-Najaashi more of that pleasant words from here and there and his eyes was overflowing with tears, Amr's anger became intense then he said in fury: “they do abuse Eesaa and her Mother!”. 

And it is as if Allah intended to manifest the truth even with this description, in accordance to one of His statement the exalted:

وَعَسَىٰۤ أَن تَكۡرَهُوا۟ شَیۡـࣰٔا وَهُوَ خَیۡرࣱ لَّكُمۡۖ
"and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you" - [Surah Al-Baqarah: 216]

Ja'far began reciting Surah Al-Mar'yam at once as a rebuttal to what Amr claimed, and when An-Najaashi heard what was brought regarding Eesaa and his mother he picked a staff from the floor and said: “Eesaa is not more than what these people had said, similar to this; indicating with the staff in his hand”. And this was his proclamation of his belief in the Arabian messenger Muhammad —Allah raise his rank and grant him peace— via a means that wasn’t ceremonial  —naturally—. So when some of their penguins snorted at those who disbelieve, An-Najaashi said to them: “if it snort at you (it is) by Allah”, Afterwards He told the emigrants: “go, you are safe in the land, whoever abuse you will be fined without indulgence.”

Some of the story transmitters said, he (An-Najaashi) said: “It does not please me to have a mountain of gold and then be someone who hurt a single man among you”. 

He then ordered: “return their gifts to them, I have no need for them”. Then he digressed saying: “I swear by Allah, Allah did not take any bribe from me when He returned to me my kingdom, then (should I) take bribe as a king and then people stops obeying me and I obey them instead”. 

The Quraishi delegates exited in futility, with what they brought rejected to them – [Al-Bidaayah: 3/66-79]

That was how Allah honoured An-Najaashi with Islam right there in his land when Allah blessed this fortunate journey, since it was made for Allah alone and whatever is for Allah persists (remains) and profits (yeilds).

That was how Islam entered the continent of Africa in these stringent circumstances at an early period of its emergence, at a time when Islam was hunted in it's place of descent and first locality. That is from the favour of Allah the One free of all blemishes.


(To be continued Inshaa Allaah)