Seerah episode 42: The Wisdom of the Migration to Abyssinia

— Most Muslims fled to Abyssinia to establish a safe community for themselves in the tolerant kingdom. Only about a dozen high profile Muslims remained in Makkah, because they can’t be touched, like the Prophet & Abu Bakr

  • This was part of Prophet’s strategy

— During the khilafa of Umar bin al-Khattab, the ranks of Muslims were diverse. There were many Sahaba & tabiyoon (people who became Muslims after the Prophet’s death). The tabiyoon were generally less experienced & younger than Sahaba

  • The Muslim soldiers were standing in their lines to fight the Persians. Some were fully armored & some were not as well-shielded. The soldiers in the front lines were completely armored with steel from head to toe. The sun was at highest point in the day, so the steel shone brightly
  • One of the tabiyin looked at the front lines & said, “I don’t see anything but steel. I don’t see any humans. Just an army made of steel.” He says that out loud next to a Sahabi
  • The Sahabi replied, “You sound like you recently accepted Islam. You don’t sound like you have too much experience.”
    • Instead of acknowledging, “Yeah, they’re armed to the teeth,” or instead of motivating the tabiyin, the Sahabi continued, “We stood by the Prophet by the Battle of Badr and Battle of Uhud, when we had been sandwiched. We stood by the Prophet when we dug trenches around Medina & tied stones to our stomachs. We stood by the Prophet when thousands of Muslims fled during the Battle of Hunayn & only a few hundred remained to achieve victory for the Muslims. We stood behind the Prophet & made istighfar with him when we conquered Makkah. But you sound new to this situation.”
    • This is to show that the time with the Prophet was hard times and what the companions went through were very hard.

— The Prophet cared more about the preservation & continued spiritual development of the Muslims at this stage, so he exported 90% of his community & sent them to a safe place in Abyssinia. Now we might wonder why would he do that? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have of the people around you to lend support?

He told them to nurture their imaan so they can be strong enough to aid the Prophet for the day he needs them by his side

— The Prophet had a philosophy of protecting yourself from the fitna of evil people (refer to Surat Al Nas)

  • There’s the evil of shayatin (jinn). There’s the evil that’s also within people
  • To explain on this, there’s a story of what happened in Medina during Prophet’s time. In the Medinan period of Prophethood, when Islam and Muslims became well-established, the Prophet was sitting & enjoying the day with Aisha (ra), when the Prophet saw a person coming from a distance.
    • The Prophet told Aisha to go inside the house, “Because that is the worst man of his people. That’s trouble walking toward us right now.”
  • Aisha went inside but sat right behind the curtain so she can listen to the two men
    • When the man came, the Prophet welcomed him. They make small talk, & exchanged formalities & pleasantries
    • The Prophet excused himself, saying, “I have to take care of stuff.”
  • After the man left, Aisha asked the Prophet, “What was that? You told me to go inside because he’s a troublemaker & you chatted with him so nicely. You had such a normal conversation with him.”
    • The Prophet: “I was protecting my people from his evil and harm. I didn’t confront him. I didn’t call him out. I didn’t want to poke the bear and invoke his wrath & evil.”

— Now, let’s get back to why the Prophet had sent so many of his companions to Abyssinia. The Prophet realized that Makkah was irritated – the more visible & prominent Islam was becoming, it was like poking a bear

  • By removing the vast majority of Muslims from Makkah & moving them to Abyssinia, the agitation in Makkah went down several notches. There’s not much muslims around to rage the musyrikoon.
  • Two of the most high-profile conversions to Islam had occurred after the Migration of Abyssinia – Hamzah and Umar al Khattab.

— The Quraysh looked around Makkah & realized that 90% of the troublemakers are gone. They use their sources to find out that the Muslims have settled in Habesha

  • They tell each other, “We can’t have that. We can’t let them get away & be free. They’re gonna settle there, build an army there, & march over here to come after us. We can’t let these people get off there. We gotta go after them.”
    • They discuss their plans. “We’ll play our hands right.”

— The Quraysh start by recruiting a couple of people

  • Amr ibn al-‘As (ra)
    • He later accepts Islam, & brings Islam to Misr (Egypt))
    • He was recruited because he was most well-traveled of the Quraysh. He had been to Rome, Persia, Egypt, etc. He was very cultured, intelligent, & politically savvy
  • Umara ibn Walid ibn Mugira
    • He was also said to be very intelligent & likable. He was a little arrogant; he’s the son of a very powerful man & came from a powerful family. His father, Walid ibn Mugira, was one of the man that had confronted the Prophet to stop his dakwah.
    • The pretty face of Quraysh. A public personality.

— Once, when the Prophet was at the Haram & in sujood, some youths thought it would be funny to dump a whole bunch of camel guts on the Prophet’s back. Those guts were so heavy that the Prophet got pinned down underneath them

  • Either some family member of the Prophet or Abu Bakr removed the guts from the Prophet’s back
  • When the Prophet got up, he was very upset. A bunch of people around him were laughing.
  • There were 7 people who were part of this act, & Prophet went to them & warned them of Allah’s punishment
    • Umara ibn Walid was one of those 7 people. He was an ill-mannered person

— Now the Quraysh collect funds. They bought the most expensive gifts they could find for the King of Abyssinia

  • The King of Abyssinia’s name is As-hama, although some narrations say Mus-hima, which translates to “very pious man” or “righteous man”
  • He was known by title of an-Najashi (nigoos – the English pronunciation). The title “an-Najashi” is like the title Emperor or President
  • It was rumored that he was very fond of camel skins/hide, because camels weren’t common or native in Habesha, especially Arabian camels
    • Skins of Arabian camels were used as a blanket or cloak
    • The Quraysh found the largest red camels, slaughtered & skinned them, tanned the camel hides, & packaged them as gifts

— The 3rd part of the plan was for Amr ibn al-‘As comes to find out which key ministers in an-Najashi’s court has the ear of the king

  • Amr will approach those ministers to persuade them with the money & the gifts to win them over. Then Amr will persuaded those ministers to put in a good word so he can talk with the king

— With that, Amr ibn al-‘As, Umara ibn Walid, & a few others set out with all those gifts on a boat

  • In this journey to Abyssinia, Amr ibn al-‘As’s wife accompanied him
  • During this journey, Umara, being the wretched man he was, went up to Amr & said to him, “I find your wife attractive. Would you mind if I sleep with her?”
    • Amr, who is a very respectable man, said, “NO. What’s wrong with you? Didn’t your mother love you when you were a child?”
    • Amr was a smaller man in stature & very thin. Umara was a 6 foot tall & well-built guy
  • One evening, when Amr was off guard, Umara came up behind him & threw Amr off the boat into the water
    • Umara didn’t know that Amr was a good swimmer. Typically people in Quraysh didn’t know how to swim since they lived in middle of the desert. But since Amr had been to other places, he knew how to swim.
    • Amr swam back up to the boat with ease. He said, “You didn’t factor that in did you, smart guy? This is why I’m the brains & you’re just the pretty face. You might be pretty but you’re an idiot.”
    • Umara said, “If I knew that you knew how to swim, I wouldn’t have thrown you in the water.”
    • Amr replied, “You go sit in the corner before I have something done to you.”

— The Makkan party take care of their business in Abyssinia, but didn’t have much luck with an-Najashi

  • Umara messed around in Abyssinia as well. An-Najashi had an opposition party, a rebel group that tried to overthrow him
    • Umara tried to join in cahoots with the opposition party
  • Both the Prophet & An-Najashi made dua against Umara
    • While he’s in Abyssinia, Umara ended up becoming insane & ran away
    • No one could find Umara, so Amr ibn al-‘As had to leave for Makkah without Umara
  • Later on, they find Umara living out in the wilderness. He had completely lost his mind
    • Much later on, during khilafa of Umar ibn al-Khattab, when Muslims go in large numbers to Habesha, they find Umara in his insane state. They were surprised to see Umara, because by then everyone had believed him to be dead
    • The Muslims grab him & restrain him to help him
    • Umara kept screaming, “Let me go, let me go. If you don’t let me go, I’ll die.”
  • Umara had developed some sort of social phobia where he couldn’t be around people; he would become extremely paranoid when he was around other people
    • When people tried to restrain him and nurse him to health, Umara died by that evening

— Amr & Umara arrive in Abyssinia, make their way to the court of the king, approach the key ministers, give them gifts & tell them about the Muslim “slaves” that had run away from Makkah. One of the issue that Amr brought up is that those that left Makkah and cam to Abyssinia were slaves who ran away from their masters. But when it is asked to the Muslims, they denied that, telling Najashi that they were equals. And when Najashi asked the Makkan party to come up with proves, they cannot come up with it. Amr & Umara try to convince the ministers that the Muslims will become a problem for Abyssinians later on

  • Amr & Umara fatten up the ministers with the gifts & were able to confirm an audience with the King of Abyssinia for the next day

Link to the next episode


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s