The conversation between Ja‘far, may Allah be pleased with him, and An-Najaashi
The second emigration to Abyssinia – II
- Publish date:19/10/2009
An-Najaashi summoned the Companions of the Messenger . When the king’s Messenger came to them, they gathered and asked each other what they would say to the king when they came to him. They said that they would speak based on the knowledge and orders they received from the Prophet regardless of the consequences. When they came to An-Najaashi, who had invited his bishops who had their holy Books spread around him, he asked the Muslims what was the religion for which they departed from their people, and for which they did not enter the king’s religion nor the religion of any other nation.
Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that Ja‘far bin Abi Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him, spoke to him, saying
O king! We were a people in a state of ignorance and immorality; worshipping idols and eating the flesh of dead animals; committing all sorts of abominations and shameful deeds; severing ties of kinship and treating neighbors badly, and the strong among us exploited the weak. We remained in this state until Allah The Almighty sent us a prophet: one of our own people whose lineage, truthfulness, trustworthiness and integrity was well-known to us.
He called us to worship Allah The Almighty alone, and to renounce the stones and the idols which we and our ancestors would worship besides Him. He commanded us to speak the truth, to keep our trusts, to maintain relations of kinship, to assist our neighbors, to cease all forbidden acts, to abstain from bloodshed, to avoid obscenities and perjury, not to appropriate the property of orphans, and not to slander chaste women. He ordered us to worship Allah The Almighty alone and not to associate anything with Him, to uphold prayer, to give Zakah [obligatory charity] and to fast.
Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that Ja‘far, may Allah be pleased with him, listed to An-Najaashi what Islam calls for, then he said
We have believed in him and what he brought to us from Allah The Almighty, and we follow him in what he has asked us to do and we keep away from what he forbade us from doing. Thereupon, our people attacked us, inflicted the severest punishment on us to make us renounce our religion, and take us back to the old immorality and the worship of idols. They oppressed us, made life intolerable for us and obstructed us from observing our religion. So we left for your country, choosing you before anyone else, desiring your protection, and hoping to live in justice and peace in your land. [Musnad Ahmad]
An-Najaashi asked, “Do you have with you something of what your Prophet has brought from Allah?”
“Yes,” replied Ja’far, may Allah be pleased with him. An-Najaashi asked him to read it to him. Ja‘far, may Allah be pleased with him, read to him the opening of the chapter entitled Soorah Maryam. On hearing the words of the Quran, An-Najaashi cried until his beard was soaked as did his bishops, such that they even soaked their scriptures.
Then, An-Najaashi said, “The message of your Prophet and that of Moosa [Moses, may Allah exalt his mention], comes from the same source.” To ‘Amr and his companion, he said, “Go! For, by Allah, I will never surrender them to you, nor will I be impelled to do so.” [Musnad Ahmad]
Another attempt to sow discord among the emigrant Muslims and An-Najaashi
Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, said,
When ‘Amr bin Al-‘Aas and ‘Abdullaah bin Abi Rabee‘ah left the court of An-Najaashi, ‘Amr bin Al-‘Aas said, “By Allah, I will tell him tomorrow about their belief and thus, will exterminate them.” ‘Abdullaah bin Abi Rabee‘ah, who was the more righteous of the two men, told him not to do so, as the Muslim immigrants were relatives of theirs even if they had gone against them. ‘Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “By Allah, I will tell him that they claim that Jesus the son of Mary is a mere slave.” He went to An-Najaashi the following day, and said, “O king, they make an extremely grave claim about Jesus the son of Mary, so summon them and ask them what they say about him.” An-Najaashi summoned them and asked them about what they said.
Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that it had thus become a very difficult situation, and one that they had never faced before. The Muslims gathered and wondered how they would respond to the king if he asked them about Jesus. They said that they would say what Allah The Almighty Says and what the Prophet said. When they entered the court of the king, he asked them what they said about Jesus.
Ja‘far, may Allah be pleased with him, replied, “We say what our Prophet came with about him, that he is the slave of Allah, his Messenger, and His Spirit and Word which He cast to the Virgin Mary”.
Thereupon, An-Najaashi lowered his hand to the floor, picked up a stick and said that this description of the status of Jesus was not divergent from the truth even by as much as that insignificant stick. His bishops grunted in disgust when he said this, and he said to them, “Yes, by Allah, even if you grunt.”
He addressed the Muslims, saying, “Go, for you are safe and secure in my land. Whoever obstructs you will pay for it, and whoever opposes you will be punished. For, by Allah, I would rather not be given a mountain of gold than that any one of you should come to any harm.” Turning to ‘Amr and his companion, he instructed his attendants, “Return the gifts to these two men. I have no need of them, for by Allah, Allah did not take bribes from me when He gave my sovereignty to me, and He did not obey people concerning me such that I should obey people instead of Him.”
Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “They [‘Amr and his companion] left broken and frustrated with their gifts returned to them. We stayed on in the land of An-Najaashi who proved to be most generous and kind to his guests.” [Musnad Ahmad]
An-Najaashi embraces Islam
An-Najaashi embraced Islam and believed in the truthfulness of the prophethood of the Messenger . However, he hid his faith from his people because he knew their firm belief in falsehood and keenness on straying and upholding deviating creeds even if they contradict reason and transmission. It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that, “The Messenger informed his Companions of the death of An-Najaashi on the very day on which he died. He set out with them to the place of prayer, set them in rows and made four Takbeerahs [for funeral prayers].” [Al-Bukhari] It is narrated on the authority of Jaabir, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet said upon the death of An-Najaashi, “Today, a righteous man died, so stand up and perform the funeral prayer over your brother As’hamah [the name of An-Najaashi].” [Al-Bukhari]
May Allah be pleased with An-Najaashi and grant him pleasure! He died in the ninth Hijri year according to the majority of scholars, or before the eighth Hijri year - before the conquest of Makkah.