Prophet's Letter To Najashi (King of Ethiopia) & His Response - Our Prophet 4 - Struggles In Mecca

Let us now go back to Najashi. So, Najashi was this just king who gave refuge to the Muslims. By the way, when he gave refuge to Muslims and he signaled his belief in what the Prophet taught to Muslims. Remember we talked about Surat Maryam and how Najashi said this is exactly what Jesus preached. And even when Ja'far Ibn Abi Talib, the brother of Imam 'Ali, 'alayhi as-salam, told him that our belief in Jesus is that he is not the son of God, he is the servant of God. Najashi even confirmed this. Now, this disappointed the bishops who were around the Najashi, like, what is going on? This Najashi believing in this religion, he does not believe Jesus is the son of God!

What appears from historical accounts is that a revolution took place in Abyssinia to overthrow Najashi because they accused him of defecting from Christianity and not preserving the original Christian beliefs. Look at what Najashi does. He tells the group of Muslims who are there, he tells them there is an uprising. I do not know if I will make it. So, here are boats I have made ready for you. If they overthrow me, quickly leave, escape and go wherever you want. And if I retain my power and stay as a king, you are welcome to stay here. Subhana Allah! Even though he realized that their presence sparked this revolution, he was so merciful with them.

Now Allah him grants him victory, and he retains his power as a king. The rebellion or the revolution does not become successful. Now, what happened to the fate of Najashi? While some Muslims throughout the upcoming years, they did go back, especially when the Prophet migrated six, seven years later to Madinah, many of them did go, but some of them stayed for 15 years in Habasha [Abyssinia, latter day Ethiopia].

Like Ja'far Ibn Abi Talib, when did he leave Habasha? He lived in the 7th year of the Hijrah. When the Prophet was in Madinah, right after the Battle of Khaybar, he came back. So, for 15 years, he was in Ethiopia, and they were spreading the teachings of Islam. And that is why, that is one reason why Islam spread in Africa due to those early Muslims people who were there.

Now, when Ja'far came back to Madinah, we will examine that later when we talk about the events of Madinah. The Prophet was so happy when he embraced Ja'far and he said, I do not know for which am I happier today, for the victory of Khaybar or for the return of Ja'far? So, he stayed there for 15 years.

Now, we have historical accounts that tell us the Prophet, when he went to Madinah, he sent a letter to Najashi. He sent him a letter inviting him to the religion of Islam. It is a beautiful letter, we actually have the text of that letter.

'Bismillahi al-Rahmani al-Rahim'- 'In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. 'Min Muhammadin Rasul Allah, ila al-Najashi al As-ham Malik al-Habasha'-' From the Messenger of God to Najashi. His first name was As-ham, the king of Habasha, Abyssinia.'

'Salamun 'Alayk'. The Prophet gives his Salaam to Najashi. 'Fa Inni Ahmadu Ilayk Allah, al-Malik, al-Quddus, al-Mu'min, al-Muhaymin. Wa ashhadu anna 'Isa Ruh Allah wa kalimatahu alqaaha ila al-Maryam wa al-Batul.' It is a beautiful letter in which the Prophet says, 'I testify there is only one God. I testify that Jesus is the word of God that He gave to Maryam, the pure. God created Jesus from his own soul and He blew into him from His spirit, just as He created Adam. And I invite you, Oh Najashi to believe in the one God without a partner, to worship God and obey Him and to follow me and to follow my religion. If you do that, and then he tells him that I have sent Ja'far, my cousin. He is the leader of the Muslim group. He thanks him for giving them refuge.'

And then he tells him that, I have made the proof clear to you. Either you follow me, Allah will save you, your world is good, your hereafter will be good. Or if you want to be stubborn and reject me, God will punish you. So, he sends him a letter like that.

Najashi is inspired by this letter and our historical accounts tell us that he became a Muslim. He embraced the religion of Islam. He believed in the message of the Prophet. He sends a letter back to the Prophet. He thanks him for the letter. He tells him, everything you have written, I believe in. I consider you a Messenger. It would be my honour to serve you and wash your feet. However, as you know, I have obligations here as a king. If you order me to come and serve you, I will come. If not, then I am sending my own son. He sends his own son. He says, my son will serve you. And he sends his son to the Prophet, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi.

The Prophet says no, stay there and, you know, be the king and invite people to worship God, the one God. So, in fact, we have indications that Najashi became a Muslim and he embraced the message of the Prophet, sallal Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi. We even have historical accounts that later Najashi sent a group of 14 priests or bishop to visit the Prophet in Madinah. When they entered Madinah, those 14 priests, the Prophet, sallal Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi, got up, now there were Christian priests, he became Muslim secretly, but they did not! He, the Prophet stood up to serve them with his own hands.

The companions told him, Ya Rasul Allah, this is not appropriate, let us serve them. He said, No, Najashi honoured the Muslims and he gave them refuge. And these are the people of the Book. So, I want to serve them with my own hands. And Subhana Allah, this shows you the spirit of interfaith, that the Prophet has. Bishops coming to his mosque, he gets up with his own hands, he serves them. And he refuses, he does not allow the companions to serve them. He wants to serve them himself, to show respect.

Now, Najashi dies when the Prophet, sallal Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi, was in Madinah. We do have Hadiths that when he died, the Prophet actually prayed for him. He did Salat on him, meaning he prayed for him and he asked Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, to forgive him. So that is the ending, you know, with Najashi. In the 7th year of Hijrah, all those Muslims who remained in Habasha, they returned back to Madinah with Ja'far Ibn Abi Talib.

So, it was really an interesting, you know, segment in the history of Islam. And those early Muslims planted the roots of Islam in Africa. And that is truly really amazing. Despite the Arabs being so racist, anti-African, you would imagine, why would any of those Africans become Muslim? It was because of acts like these, because of people like Ja'far, who really sacrificed for the sake of Allah. 15 years away from his home, just to sacrifice for the religion of Islam and to teach others about the religion of Islam.

We had later, Imams of Ahl ul-Bayt marrying women who were African slaves. African slaves! To shatter this racist idea that Arabs had. Nothing is more powerful than your leader in society marrying an African slave. Because he was sending a powerful message that she is equal to anyone else. That is why Africans, especially Northern Africa, they embrace the religion of Islam, because of acts like these.

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