The Biography of

Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam

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Lesson 7
Migration to Abysinnia

When the persecution and torture became intolerable, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam advised his followers to migrate to the country of the Christian ruler, Negus of Abysinnia, who was known to be just and kind-hearted. This was the first migration in Islam. A group of twelve Muslims left for Abysinnia with Uthman Ibn Maz'un Radhi Allahu Anhu as their leader.

  Migration to Abysinnia  

The news that the Muslims were living in peace reached Makkah and the Quraish could not accept this. They decided to send Abdullah Ibn Abu Rabiáh and Amr Ibn al As Ibn Wa'il with lavish gifts to bribe the Negus and convince him to return the Muslims to them.

But, the Negus disliked forsaking those who had sought his shelter. He said, "No, By Allah, I will not surrender them." He summoned the Muslims to his court and asked them to explain to him what their religion was all about. Ja'far Radhi Allahu Anhu rose and explained :

"0 King, we were an unenlightened people plunged in ignorance. We worshipped idols, we ate dead animals and we committed abominations. We broke natural ties, we ill-treated our neighbours and our strong oppressed our weak. This is how we lived until Allah raised among us a prophet whose noble birth, lineage, truthfulness, honesty and purity we knew. He invited us to acknowledge the oneness of Allah, to worship Him and to renounce the stones and idols we and our forefathers used to respect. He enjoined us to speak the truth, to redeem our pledges, to be kind and considerate to our family and neighbours. He forbade us from every vice, bloodshed, shamelessness, lies and deceit and asked us not to encroach upon the wealth of orphans or to vilify chaste women. He commanded us to pay divine honours to Allah alone and never associate partners with Him. He ordered us to offer prayers, to pay the Zakaah and to fast.

We acknowledged his truth and believed in him. We followed him in whatever he brought from Allah. We worshipped only one Allah without associating partners with Him. We treated as unlawful what he forbade and accepted what he made lawful for us. For this our people persecuted us, they tried to mislead us from our faith and forced us to return to idol worship and the other evils we used to commit before.

When they tortured us, made us suffer under their tyranny and stood between us and our religion, we fled to your country having chosen you above others for taking refuge. We have come here, 0 king, to your country seeking your protection and we do hope that we shall not be dealt with unjustly."

When the Negus heard this he treated the Muslims with honour and pledged his protection to them. The next day the envoys of the Quraish hatched another plot to convince the Negus. They said that the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and his followers blasphemed Jesus. The Negus again asked Ja'far Radhi Allahu Anhu about this. Ja'far Radhi Allahu Anhu replied by reciting the opening verses of Surah Maryam. Negus wept until his beard was wet and the bishops wept until their scrolls were wet with tears. The messengers of the Quraish were forced to leave Abysinnia in shame. (1)

After a while the Quraish spread a false rumour that they had all accepted Islam. The emigrants thought it safe to return to Makkah. Only when they arrived did they realise that this was another shrewd plot by their enemies. They were again forced to flee for their lives. This time eighty-three Muslims left for Abysinnia.



Lessons to learn

  • It is acceptable for Muslims to move away from a place of danger in fear of their lives. This is because when they are few and weak they can regroup in an area of peace and escape the torture of their enemies.
  • Negus' acceptance of the truth of Islam showed that the link between divine religions of truth is great. As a united group their followers can be stronger than those who disbelieve or associate partners with Allah. This link is stronger than one based on friendship, blood or homeland, while disobeying Allah.
  • The deceitful plotting of the Quraish showed that the enemies of Islam will never stop planning. Whenever one avenue closes on them they will seek others to weaken the Muslim resolve.
  • The Muslims were caught by the false rumours spread by the Quraish and returned to Makkah. From this they learnt that it is always important to clarify the source of information. One should never act on the basis of rumours.
  • The disgraceful departure of the Quraishi delegation proved that those who oppose Allah and His servants can never be successful in this world or the hereafter.
  • Negus displayed his integrity and fairness by allowing the Muslims to defend themselves. His submission to the truth of Islam when it was presented to him further showed his intelligence and maturity.



Boycott of Banu Hashim

The spread of Islam among the other Arab tribes further aggravated the Quraish. They came together and decided to draw up a decree ostracising the Banu Hashim and Banu Abdul Muttalib. It was decided that nobody should trade with the Banu Hashim, marry their women or give their women to them in marriage. The tribes were forced to withdraw to the valley of Abu Talib. Weeks and months passed and the people of Banu Hashim lived in misery and hunger. The ban was so rigorously enforced that the Prophet's Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam clan was reduced to eating leaves. The cries of hungry children echoed all over the valley. The boycott lasted three years. (2)

Soon after the boycott the Prophet Sallalahu Alaiahi Wasallam lost two of his close family. The first was Abu Talib. His uncle's death, as a disbeliever, was hard to bear because the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam had given him the message of Islam, but he had chosen the pagan religion of his ancestors.

The other was his beloved wife Khadija Radhi Allahu Anha. She had shared in his torments and trials and provided for him a solid pillar to lean on. She was a virtuous woman and was given glad tidings of paradise through Jibraeel Alaihis Salaam.



(1) Ibn Hisham

(2) Bukhari, Ibn Hisham




Dua when in Difficulty

Meaning : Allah is sufficient for us and He is the best disposer of affairs. Upon Allah do we place our trust.


The most excellent prayer after that which is obligatory is one in the depth of the night (Ahmed).