ISLAM IN AFRICA THROUGHOUT HISTORY – Book Sample
ISLAM IN AFRICA THROUGHOUT HISTORY
Islam Enters Africa
The continent of Africa was the first continent privileged and illuminated with the light · of Islam after the Arabian Peninsula. This occurred when Islam leaped from the honored city of Makkah and the first migrants from the Arabian Peninsula settled in a part of Africa known then as Abyssinia. Today, that area is known as Ethiopia; specifically, Eritrea. Islam settled in that part of Africa before it emerged in any other place, including Madinah, the land of migration. The disbelievers (of Makkah) harmed the Prophet of Mercy and his Companions severely, and his Companions were not able to worship their Lord freely.
Therefore, the Prophet • permitted his Companions to migrate to Abyssinia after they were assured, they would find a king in that land who did not oppress anyone in his vicinity. This king was an-Najashi At the time they migrated to him, he was still a Christian.
The Muslim migrants arrived from the honored city of Makkah after the roads of Makkah and its mountains-.. rather, the entire land, despite its length and width-became constricted for them. They arrived in the land of an-Najashi and found a man just as he was described by the Prophet •.
The Prophet said:
لو خرجتم الى أرض الحبشة، فإن بها مَلِكا لا يُظلم عنده أحد، وهي ارض صدق، حتى يجعل الله لكم فرجا، مما أنتم فيه
Verily, in Abyssinia there is a king who does not oppress anyone around him. Enter his country until Allah grants you relief and a way out from the difficulty you are experiencing.
He was a man blessed with a strong mind, resolve in his affairs, and amicable manners. He was a man not influenced by expensive gifts or embellished speech, even when speaking to the cleverest of men the Arabs-who were known for their superior discourse, excellent dialogue, and magical words12 those like ‘Amr bin al- –
The migration of the Companions was unquestionably unique. It was not migration from the land of disbelief to the land of Islam, as some people say. It was not a transition from a good place to a better place; on the contrary, it was from the honored city of Makkah to the land of Abyssinia in Africa.
And Abyssinia was not the land of Islam; rather, Islam had not yet entered Africa. Certainly, this migration did not fulfill either of the aforementioned goals. The purpose of their migration was to flee with their religion and their beliefs, which they were being punished for, so they could find a place where they could worship Allah freely without opposition.
They achieved this objective with an-Najashi-and all praises belong to Allah-before they achieved this with anyone else. It is apparent from their circumstances and the context of their story that they were refugees striving to find a land where they could display the rites of their religion and worship Allah, their Lord, free from pressure and persecution.
This was their obvious intent which can be extracted from their story. But Allah is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise; He blessed this peerless journey, so it became a journey of Islamic da’wah (Islamic propagation) to the pristine continent of Africa.
The Quraysh understood the potential of the Islamic da’wah when they learned that the migrants were accepted in Abyssinia with honor and support. They were granted freedom to practice their religion; thus, they began to worship Allah, their Lord, without fear or secrecy. Subsequently, the Quraysh became fearful of the tolerant religion of Islam, fearing that it would make a path in Africa, reaching the good hearts and open minds of the Africans if they left it unchecked.
Thus, it would flourish, and they would rush to accept Islam while the people of Makkah had rejected it. They began to plot while observing what was taking place in Abyssinia.
While pondering their next move, the pagans were surprised during the Battle of Badr by way of an awful defeat, the day Allah empowered Islam and the Muslims while humiliating polytheism and the pagans.
This only increased their apprehension about the migrant Muslims. They finally decided to send a delegation to seek the extradition of the migrants back to Makkah. At the head of the delegation was a man from the cleverest men of the Arabs, with magical speech: ‘Amr bin al-‘As, a man who needs no introduction.
ISLAM IN AFRICA THROUGHOUT HISTORY
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