*The extensive subject matter is courtesy of the notes taken from the lecture of Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick's Western Sunrise course held at Al Maghrib Institute*
(My notes): Any mistakes are surely mine without the intention of doing so, and May ALLAH forgive me, AMEEN.
The Quraish of Makkah persecuted the Muslims, which led to the migration of 12 male and 4 female Sahabah, including 'Uthman ibn Affan and Ruqayyah bin Muhammad (SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam) to Al Habasha in order to seek asylum. Travel during this time was an arduous task,therefore, the number of muhajiroon was small.
This was the first hijrah (religious migration) of the Muslims.
The Prophet (SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, "If you go to Abyssinia it would be better for you, for in it there is a King who will not tolerate oppression. It is a land of truth. Go until such time as ALLAH shall relieve you from your distress." (Ahmad)
The Muslims lived in Al Habasha/Abyssinia (Ethiopia) for a short time when they received word that the Quraish had converted to Islam. The muhajiroon returned to Makkah upon hearing the good news. Unfortunately, all was not as they hoped.
The Prophet of ALLAH (SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam) had recited Surah An-Najm, and the Quraish who were in his presence were overcome by the beauty of ALLAH's words, so they prostrated towards the Ka'bah. The polytheists of Makkah ostracized those Quraish who had been affected by ALLAH's words, and the Muslims were in a worse state of oppression than before.
The second hijrah consisted of 83 men and 19 women and was led by Ja'far ibn Abi Talib (Radi-Allahu anhu). The Muslims appealed to the kindness of the Emperor of Axum, As'hamah.
This time, the Quraish sent their own delegates who used bribery and deceit as their tools to convince the emperor to return the Muslims to Makkah.
Ja'far ibn Abi Talib (Radi-Allahu anhu) recited Surah Maryam, causing the emperor and his court to weep. Hearing truth in the words of ALLAH, Emperor As'hamah An-Najaashi granted the Muslims refuge and full protection in his lands.
The Prophet Muhammad (SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam) sent a letter to An-Najaashi, inviting him to Islam. An-Najaashi secretly accepted. As'hamah then sent his son Armah and 60 riders to Madinah announcing his conversion, but none survived, perishing in the Red Sea.
An-Najaashi died as a Muslim and the Prophet (SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam) made Janazah prayer for him in absentia.The following was revealed in response to criticism of the Janazah:
"And there is certainly, among the People of the Book those who believe in ALLAH, in the revelation to you, and in the revelation to them, bowing in humility to ALLAH: They will not sell the signs of ALLAH for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord, and ALLAH is swift in account" (Surah Al -'Imran: 199).
Fifteen Sahaba died during the Hijrah to Al Habasha. An-Najaashi is buried in Negash, Tigray Province with some of them.
Some of the recorded Abyssinian Male Companions of the Prophet (SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam):
Sayyidana Bilal ibn Rabah
Khalid ibn Rabah (Bilal's brother)
Manhaj al Habashi
Shuqran al Habashi
Abu Bakrah al Habashi
Dhu Makhmar al Habashi
Aslam al Habashi
Abraha ibn Sabah
Abraha ibn Fathoon
Ayman and Anjasha al Habashi
Umm Ayman [Barakah (dry nurse of the Prophet - SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam)]
Barakah, the servant of Umm Habeebah
Ghafeerah bin Rabah (sister of Bilal)
Nab'ah Al Habashiyyah
***32 Abyssinians migrated to Madinah with Ja'far ibn Abi Taalib.
Links for more information, InshaALLAH:
See Islam in Ethiopia
See the Muslims of A. Davey's "The Streets of Harar, Ethiopia" set
We used this map to trace onto our notebooking page.
Free notebooking pages
The Muslims of A. Davey's "Streets of Harar, Ethiopia" Photostream
Info on Ethiopia found here, here, here and here.