May 23, 2017

The Story of the First Migration (Part 2)

Published Feb 19, 2006
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After the migration, the Quraish held consultations, and decided to send Abdullah bin Abi Rabiy’ah, half brother of Abu Jahl, and Amr bin As to Habash with precious gifts so as to persuade Negus to send the migrants back to Makkah. Umm Salmah (a wife of the Holy Prophet), who was among the migrants, has related this part of the story in detail. She says, “When these two clever statesmen of the Quraish reached Habash, they distributed the gifts among the courtiers of the King and persuaded them to recommend strongly to him to send the migrants back. Then they saw Negus himself and, presenting rich gifts to him, said, “Some headstrong brats of our city have come to your land and our chiefs have sent us to you with the request that you may kindly send them back. These brats have forsaken our faith and have not embraced your faith either, but have invented a new faith”. As soon as they had finished their speech, all the courtiers recommended their case, saying, “We should send such people back to their city for their people know them better. It is not proper for us to keep them here”. At this the King was annoyed and said, “I am not going to give them back without proper enquiry. As these people have put their trust in my country rather than in any other country and have come here to take shelter, I will not betray them. At first I will send for them and investigate into the allegations these people have made against them. Then I will make my final decision”. Accordingly, the King sent for the Companions of the Holy Prophet and asked them to come to his court.

When the migrants received the message of the King, they assembled and held consultations as to what they should say to the King. At last they came to this unanimous decision: “We will present before the King the teachings of the Holy Prophet without adding anything to or withholding anything from them and leave it to him whether he lets us remain here or turns us out of his country”. When they came to the court, the King put this problem abruptly before them: ”I understand that you have given up the faith of your own people and have neither embraced my faith nor any other existing faith. I would like to know what your new faith is.” At this, Jafar bin Abi Talib, on behalf of the migrants, made an extempore speech to this effect: “O King! We were sunk deep in ignorance and had become very corrupt; then Muhammad (Allah’s peace be upon him) came to us as a Messenger of God, and did his best to reform us. But the Quraish began to persecute his followers, so we have come to your country in the hope that here we will be free from persecution”. After his speech, the King said, “Please recite a piece of the Revelation which has been sent down by God to your Prophet”. In response, Jafar recited that portion of Surah Maryam which relates the story of Prophets John and Jesus (Allah’s peace be upon them). The King listened to it and wept, so much so that his beard became wet with tears. When Jafar finished the recital, he said: ”Most surely this Revelation and the Message of Jesus have come from the same source. By God I will not give you up into the hands of these people”.

The next day `Amr bin `As went to Negus and said, “Please send for them again and ask them concerning the creed they hold about Jesus, the son of Mary, for they say a horrible thing about him”. The King again sent for the migrants, who had already learnt about the scheme of Amr. They again sat together and held consultations in regard to the answer they should give to the King, if he asked about the belief they held about Prophet Jesus. Though this was a very critical situation and all of them were uneasy about it, they decided that they would say the same thing that Allah and His Messenger had taught them. Accordingly, when they went to the court, the King put them the question that had been suggested by Amr bin As. So Jafar bin Abi Talib stood up and answered without the least hesitation: “He was a Servant of Allah and His Messenger. He was a Spirit and a Word of Allah which had been sent to virgin Mary.” At this the King picked up a straw from the ground and said, ‘By God, Jesus was not worth this straw more than what you have said about him.” After this the King returned the gifts sent by the Quraish, saying, “I do not take any bribe”. Then he said to the migrants, “You are allowed to stay here in perfect peace.”

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