All the efforts of the pagans of Makkah to stop the mission of the Prophet () failed. The Prophet () continued preaching Tawheed (Oneness of Allah), and the Quraysh deeply felt the power and strength of the Message. Now the Quraysh reacted violently. They tried to stop the Prophet () from entering the Ka’bah. They set their louts to raise a hue and cry against him. They called Muslims bad names. They made their movements impossible. They did not allow them to meet people from outside Makkah. They began to persecute the poor and the weak more intensely. Life became very hard for the believers. When the Prophet () saw this sad situation, he suggested to the Muslims to leave for Abyssinia whose Christian king, the Negus, was a just ruler. Sixteen men and four women were the first Muslim emigrants to Abyssinia. Among them was Uthman ibn Affan , who later became the third Caliph, and his wife, Ruqayyah, the daughter of the Prophet (). The Quraysh were very annoyed when they saw that Muslims were safe in Abyssinia, so they decided to send a delegation to the Negus to request him to send the Muslims back home. Amr ibn al-Aas and Abdullah ibn Abee Rabee’ah were chosen for the task. They took with them expensive gifts for the Negus and his Migration to Abyssinia Amr presented every one of the generals who attended the Negus’ court with a precious gift. He said to them, “Some of our foolish men have arrived in your land. They have rebelled against our religion. They have come up with a new faith. We have come as representatives of our leaders to request the king to return these people to us. When we make this request to the king, we hope you will advise him to grant it without taking the trouble of calling them and speaking to them.” The generals promised Amr and his friend of their support. When they were admitted into the court, the generals advised the king, “O king! Hand them over to them.” The Negus became very angry. He refused to accept what they said. He said, “A group of people have sought refuge in my land. They have chosen me over everyone else. I will not judge them in their absence. I will call them in first and give them a chance to see what they have to say about what these two men have accused them of. If I find these allegations true, I will hand them over to them. Otherwise, they will certainly enjoy my protection.” The Muslims consulted with each other when the king’s messenger delivered to them an order to appear at the court. They decided that they would answer every question put to them truthfully. They would state the whole truth as had been taught to them by the Prophet ( ). When they were admitted to the presence of the king, who was surrounded by his generals, he asked them, “What is this new religion over which you are in dispute with your own people, and which is also different from my own religion?” The Muslims had chosen Ja’far ibn Abee Talib ( ), the Prophet’s own cousin, as their spokesman. He said, “Until recently we were ignorant people. We worshipped idols. We ate dead animals. We committed all kinds of sins. We attached little value to keeping relations with our relatives. We behaved badly with our neighbours. We believed that might was right. This continued to be our situation until Allah sent us from among ourselves a Messenger. His good name, honesty and sincerity were well known to us. He called us to believe in Allah, the One and Only God, and asked us to stop worshipping idols. “He commanded us to speak the truth and to be honest, to be good to our relatives and neighbours, not to shed blood and to keep away from sins, robbery and false accusations against women. “He also commanded us to devote our worship to Allah and not to set partners of any sort with Him. “We gave him a good response. We believed in him. We gave him our full support. We followed the commands of Allah revealed to him. We began to worship Allah alone. We kept away from what he made unlawful to us. Our people, however, assaulted us. They tortured us to return to idol worship. They wanted us to return to our past sinful life. We were oppressed. We were denied the freedom to choose our faith, so we sought refuge in your country. We hoped that in your protection we will not suffer injustice at all.” The Negus asked Ja’far to recite to him something from the Qur’an. Ja’far recited the opening verses of Surat Maryam, which speaks about Prophets Zakariyyah and Yahya and relates the beautiful story of the birth of Prophet Isa (). The Negus was so moved that he wept until his beard was wet with tears. His bishops also wept until their books were damp with their tears. The Negus said, “This and what Jesus came with must have come from the same source.” He turned to the delegation of the Quraysh and said to them, “Go; by Allah, I will never hand them over to you.” The next morning Amr ibn al-Aas went to the Negus with a wicked plan. “O king! They say terrible things about Isa, the son of Maryam. You may wish to question them on that.” When the Muslims realized the reason for their second summons to attend the king’s court, they were alarmed. But they decided to stick to the truth and simply state what the Prophet ( ) had taught them, whatever the result. Ja’far again answered the king’s question about their view of Isa without hesitation, “Our view is that which is taught to us by our Prophet (). Isa is Allah’s servant and Messenger. He is His Spirit. He is His Word delivered to the Virgin Mary.” The Negus picked up a straw lying on the floor and said, “What you have just said about Isa does not go beyond the truth by the size of this straw.” He then said to the Muslims, “You are safe in my land. Whoever harms you will be brought to justice. I will not harm any one of you for a mountain of gold.” He then ordered his courtiers to return the gifts of the Quraysh delegation. The emigration of the Prophet’s companions took place in the fifth year of the start of the Qur’an’s revelation. The emigration to Madinah took place eight years after the emigration to Abyssinia. When the last of the Prophet’s companions, who went to Abyssinia, came back, they joined the Prophet () and his army at the conquest of Khybar, when the battle was already over. This took place in the seventh year after the Prophet’s settlement in Madinah. This means, Ja’far ibn Abee Talib and some of his companions stayed in Abyssinia for fifteen years. The Prophet () valued their contribution to the welfare of Islam. He considered that their stay in Abyssinia was a part of their work to establish Islam as a divine message for all mankind. Exercises A. Answer these questions. 1 . How did the Quraysh make life difficult for the Prophet () and his followers? 2. Why did the Prophet () tell his companions to leave Makkah? 3. What kind of a king was the Negus? 4. Whom did the Prophet’s companions choose to be their spokesperson? 5. What comparison did the Negus make to show that his views on Isa () were the same as those of the Muslims?