God, the Most Merciful and Most Forgiving

(Keywords: Mercy of God, Perfection of God, Repentance, Asking God for forgiveness, benefits of repentance, human’s weakness, regret and remorse, redemption, salvation, Paradise, Obedience to God)

 

قال الله عز وجل: { فَقُلْتُ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّارًا * يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِدْرَارًا * وَيُمْدِدْكُمْ بِأَمْوَالٍ وَبَنِينَ وَيَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ وَيَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ أَنْهَارًا } سورة نوح 10-12. ـ

قال الشعبي: خرج عمر يستسقي فلم يزد على الاستغفار حتى رجع، فأمطروا فقالوا: ما رأيناك استسقيت؟ فقال: لقد طلبت المطر بمجاديح السماء التي يستنزل بها المطر؛ ثم قرأ: {اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّاراً. يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِدْرَاراً}.
وقال ابن صبيح: ( شكا رجل إلى الحسن الجدوبة فقال له: استغفر الله. وشكا آخر إليه الفقر فقال له: استغفر الله. وقال له آخر. ادع الله أن يرزقني ولدا؛ فقال له: استغفر الله. وشكا إليه آخر جفاف بستانه؛ فقال له: استغفر الله. فقلنا له في ذلك؟ فقال: ما قلت من عندي شيئا؛ إن الله تعالى يقول في سورة “نوح”: {اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّاراً. يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِدْرَاراً}). ـ

Allah -the Exalted- says: { “I said (to them): ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord (make istighfar). Verily, He is Oft Forgiving.
11. He will send rain to you in abundance. 12. And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.’ ”} (Surah 71, verses 10-12).

Al-Sha’bi said: “Omar went out to pray for rain, and he did no more than make istighfar (ask Allah for forgiveness) before returning. Then it rained.
The companions asked him: ‘We did not see you asking for rain.’  He replied: ‘I sought rain with the real key by means of which rain is sought (Majadeeb Al-sama’; i.e., istighfar ).’ Then he recited the verse: {“Ask forgiveness of your Lord (make istighfar), verily, He is Oft Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance.”}.”


Ibn Sabeeh said: “A man complained to al-Hasan about drought, and he said to him: ‘Make istighfar (ask Allah for forgiveness).’
Another man complained to him about poverty and he said to him: ‘Make istighfar (ask Allah for forgiveness).’
Another man said to him: ‘Pray Allah to grant me a child.’ Al-Hasan said: ‘Make istighfar (ask Allah for forgiveness).’
And a third man complained to him about his dry farm. Al-Hasan said to him: ‘Make istighfar (ask Allah for forgiveness).’
So we asked Al-Hasan about that, and he said: ‘This is not my personal opinion; God -the Exalted- says in Surah Nooh: {‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord (make istighfar), verily, He is Oft Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance. And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.’}’ ”.


 

وعن أبي ذر رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « يقول الله تعالى: يا ابن آدم، إنك ما دعوتني ورجوتني فإني أغفر لك على ما كان منك ولا أبالي، ولو أتيتني بقراب الأرض خطيئة أتيتك بقرابها مغفرة ما لم تشرك بي شيئا، وإن أخطأت حتى تبلغ خطاياك عَنَان السماء ثم استغفرتني، غفرت لك» . رواه الترمذي وابن ماجه وأحمد.  ـ

It is also related that Abu Dhurr narrated that the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

“God -the Exalted- has said: ‘O son of Adam, as long as you call upon Me and hope in Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done and I shall not mind.

O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with an earthful of sins, I shall grant you an earthful of pardon if you have not associated anything as partners with Me.

O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask My forgiveness, I shall forgive you.‘ ” Related by Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ahmad.


 

عن أنس رضي الله عنه أن النبيَّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « كُلُّ ابْنِ آدَمَ خَطَّاءٌ، وخَيْرُ الخَطَّائِينَ التَّوَابُونَ» . رواه الترمذي وابن ماجه والحاكم. ـ

Narrated Anas -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “Every son of Adam is a sinner, and the best of sinners are those who repent.” Related by Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Al-Hakim.


 

وعن عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه عن النبيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « التَّائِبُ مِنَ الذَّنْبِ كَمَنْ لا ذَنْبَ لَهُ» . رواه ابن ماجه والطبراني. ـ

Narrated Abdul-Allah Ibn Mas’ood -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “The one who repents of his sin is like the one with no sin.” Related by Ibn Majah and Al-Tabarani.


وعن عبد الله بن عباس رضي الله عنهما قال: قال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « مَنْ لَزِمَ الاسْتِغْفَارَ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَهُ مِنْ كُلِّ ضِيقٍ مَخْرَجاً، ومِنْ كُلِّ هَمٍّ فَرَجاً، وَرَزَقَهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لا يَحْتَسِبُ» . رواه أبو داود والنسائي وابن ماجه والحاكم والبيهقي. ـ

Narrated Abdul-Allah Ibn Abbas -may Allah be pleased with them- that the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

Whoever maintains istighfar (asking Allah’s forgiveness) always, God will find for him a way out of every trouble, and relief out of every anxiety, and will provide for him from whence he does not expect.”

Related by Abu-dawood, Al-Nasa’ee, Ibn Majah, Al-Hakim, and Al-Beihaqi.

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The Broken and False Promises

(Keywords: The Fallen Monk, Barsisa the Monk,The ploy of Satan, Man and Satan, the Misleading of Satan, Deception and trickery of Satan)

      God -the Exalted- relates to us in Qur’an the true story of the fallen and misled monk. The purpose is for us to take heed and beware of Satan and his misleading ways, and his scheming and plotting.

God the Almighty says:

        قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: { كَمَثَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِذْ قَالَ لِلْإِنْسَانِ اكْفُرْ فَلَمَّا كَفَرَ قَالَ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِنْكَ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ فَكَانَ عَاقِبَتَهُمَا أَنَّهُمَا فِي النَّارِ خَالِدَيْنِ فِيهَا وَذَلِكَ جَزَاءُ الظَّالِمِينَ} سورة الحشر 16-17. ـ

قال ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما في تفسير الآية: ـ 

)

 كان راهب من بني إسرائيل [برصيصا الراهب] يعبد الله فيحسن عبادته، وكان يؤتى من كل أرض فيسأل عن الفقه وكان عالما، وإن ثلاثة إخوة كانت لهم أخت حسنة من أحسن الناس، وإنهم أرادوا أن يسافروا فكبر عليهم أن يخلفوها ضائعة، فجعلوا يأتمرون ما يفعلون بها فقال أحدهم: أدلكم على من تتركونها عنده؟ قالوا: من هو؟ قال: راهب بني إسرائيل؛ إن ماتت قام عليها، وإن عاشت حفظها حتى ترجعوا إليه.   فعمدوا إليه فقالوا: إنا نريد السفر، ولا نجد أحدا أوثق في أنفسنا ولا أحفظ لما ولي منك لما جعل عندك، فإن رأيت أن نجعل أختنا عندك فإنها ضائعة شديدة الوجع، فإن ماتت فقم عليها وإن عاشت فأصلح إليها حتى نرجع، فقال: أكفيكم إن شاء الله.    فانطلقوا فقام عليها فداواها حتى برأت، وعاد إليها حسنها، فاطلع إليها فوجدها متصنعة، فلم يزل به الشيطان يزين له أن يقع عليها حتى وقع عليها، فحملت. ثم ندمه الشيطان فزين له قتلها؛ قال: إن لم تقتلها افتضحت وعرف شبهك في الولد فلم يكن لك معذرة. فلم يزل به حتى قتلها.    فلما قدم إخوتها سألوه: ما فعلت؟ قال: ماتت فدفنتها، قالوا: قد أحسنت.  ثم جعلوا يرون في المنام ويُخبرون أن الراهب هو قتلها، وأنها تحت شجرة كذا وكذا، فعمدوا إلى الشجرة فوجدوها تحتها قد قتلت.   فعمدوا إليه فأخذوه، فقال له الشيطان: أنا زينت لك الزنا وقتلها بعد الزنا، فهل لك أن أنجيك؟ قال: نعم، قال: أفتطيعني؟ قال: نعم، قال: فاسجد لي سجدة واحدة، فسجد له ثم قُتل، فذلك قوله {كمثل الشيطان إذ قال للإنسان اكفر فلما كفر قال إني بريء منك} الآية).  رواه الطبري في تفسيره. ـ

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Ibn Abbas -may God be pleased with him- said concerning the interpretation of the above verse:

“There was a monk among the Children of Israel [The Monk Barsisa] who had devoted himself to worshiping God as best as he could.  He was a scholar so people would come from every land to ask him about religious rulings or jurisprudence.

At that time, there were three brothers who had the most beautiful sister [but who was sick], and they wanted to travel.  They found it hard to leave their sick sister behind without care, so they held a counsel about what they should do.  One of the brothers said: ‘Should I tell you about someone with whom you should leave her?’  They asked: ‘Who?’  He said: ‘The monk of the Children of Israel [the Monk Barsisa], for he would arrange her burial if she died, and would take care of her if she lived until you return.’

They went to the monk and said: ‘We want to travel, and we find no one that we trust more, nor more preserving to the trust left with him than you.  So if you could take care of her, for she is sick and in a lot of pain.  If she dies arrange her burial, and if she lives then take care of her until we return.’  The monk said: ‘I will take care of it, God willing.’

They left, and the monk took care of her.  He treated her until she was cured and regained her beauty.  He saw her once adorned, and Satan continued to tempt him and entice him to sleep with her and commit adultery (zina) with her, until he did so. She got pregnant.  Then Satan made him feel remorse and tempted him to kill her.  Satan whispered to him: ‘If you don’t kill her, you will be exposed, and you will not have no excuse, for your likeness will be recognized in the child.’  Satan continued to tempt the monk until he killed her.

When her brothers came back, they asked the monk: ‘What happened to our sister?’ The monk replied: ‘She died, so I buried her.’  They said: ‘You did well.’

Afterwards, the brothers would see in their dreams like someone informing them that the monk had killed her and that she was buried under so and so tree. They went to the specific tree, dug her body from under it, and found out that she had been killed.

The brothers went to the monk and took him away.  Satan came to him and said: ‘I am the one who enticed you to commit adultery (zina), and to kill her afterwards. Do you want me to save you?’ He replied: ‘Yes.’ Satan asked: ‘Would you obey me?’ The monk replied: ‘Yes.’ Satan said to him: ‘Then prostrate to me just once.’ The monk prostrated to him, and then he was killed.

And that is the interpretation of God’s statement: {(Their allies deceived them) like Satan when he says to the man: “Disbelieve.” But when the man disbelieves, Satan says: “Indeed, I declare my innocence of you, for I fear God, the Lord of the Worlds!” So the end of both will be that they will be in the Fire, abiding eternally therein. Such is the recompense of the Unjust (the polytheist, wrong-doers, and disbelievers)} Surah 59, verses16-17. Related by Al-Tabari in his Exegeses.

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            The Almighty God gives us an example of the ploys and plotting of Satan and how he misleads and tempts the son of Adam. Satan starts to tempt the son of Adam by promising him endless pleasures and limitless joys if he does one small sin. Once the son of Adam commits the first sin, Satan then draws him sweetly and entices him to a second greater sin, and keeps setting a trap after another until the son of Adam is ruined and only realizes his mistakes in prison and worse in death and Hell-fire.

 


 

There are three moral lessons that can be learned from the above true story:

First Moral Lesson:

            Satan is the sworn and most bitter enemy of the son of Adam, and tries everything in his power to mislead the human and make him a disbeliever.

      Satan’s enmity against man goes back to his being banished, expelled and disfigured when he disobeyed God by refusing to prostrate to Adam. God cursed Satan for his arrogance and pride and promised him Hell-Fire. Satan asked for a reprieve until the Day of Judgment and he was granted that reprieve. Then Satan made a promise to try to mislead the humans and take as many of them as possible with him to Hell-Fire.

Thus, the enmity of Satan is ancient and deep-rooted, and Satan spares no ploy or strategy but to mislead the son of Adam and make him disbelieve so that he would end up in Hell-fire. But God warned the humans to beware of the traps and ploys of Satan, and gave us many examples where Satan succeeded in misleading people until they died as disbelievers and thus ended in Hell-Fire.

The Muslim is instructed to take Satan an enemy and treat him as such. The Muslim is warned to be wary of Satan and avoid his tricks and traps. God the Almighty says in Qur’an:

{Verily, Satan is an enemy to you, so take him as an enemy. He only invites his followers that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire} Surah 35, verse 6.


 

Second Moral Lesson:

The Muslim is instructed to be cautious and defensive against this fifth column or enemy from within. Satan is not only a bitter foe, but he also employs the human Self to reach his goal.

    Satan often uses humans’ natural instincts and desires to set traps for them and make them fall into sin and disbelief so that they would join him in Hell-Fire. Thus, the Muslim should avoid slippery and dangerous situations that may lead him astray.

    The Muslim is instructed to avoid exposing himself to dangers and shaky grounds that give Satan greater access to him. The Muslim should avoid putting himself in situations where the Self takes control, giving free reign to his desires and lusts and thus weakening his defenses and allowing Satan an easier access.

    Some of these slippery situations include associating with the unjust and rich for little by little Satan would employ the person’s natural desire and love of wealth to make him one of the unjust; associating with the aberrant, radical and deviant for gradually Satan would use the natural inclination to power and control to make the person one of them; associating with an unlawful woman or man for step by step Satan would entice the person and promise her/him endless pleasures and enjoyment until the person commits adultery and falls into sin; and similar situations.

وعن ميمون بن مهران، قال: ( ثلاثةٌ لا تَبْلُوَنَّ نفسَك بهن: لا تَدْخُلَنَّ على سُلطَانٍ وإن قلتَ آمُرُهُ بطاعَةٍ، ولا تَدْخُلَنَّ على امْرَأَةٍ وإن قلتَ أُعَلِّمُهَا كِتَابَ اللَّه، ولا تُصْغِيَنَّ سَمْعَك لذي هَوًى فإنك لا تَدْري ما تَعَلَّقَ قلبُك منه). ـ

    It is related that the Scholar Meimoon Ibn Mahran said: “Avoid afflicting yourself with three things: Do not go to see a king, even if you had the intention of advising him to obey God. Do not go to see a woman, if you had the intention of teaching her the Book of God. And do not listen to an innovator in religion, for you do not know what of his speech will attach to your heart.

   The true story of the monk describes how Satan misled the monk through association with an unlawful woman. Although the girl was very sick at first, Satan used her to entice the monk until he committed adultery, then used the monk’s sense of guilt against him and made him kill her, and finally used the monk’s survival instinct and desire to live to make him prostrate to Satan.

The monk obeyed Satan in all three instances, and thus became a disbeliever. God then warned us that the end of both Satan and this monk is eternal damnation and Hell. The Muslim then should be wary of this enemy from within, and should supplicate God and ask His assistance and support in dealing with invisible foe.


 

Third Moral Lesson:

The Muslim is commanded to be modest and humble, for modesty and humbleness are the characteristics of the believers.

The Muslim is warned to avoid conceit and self-admiration, for they lead to pride and arrogance when the person starts considering himself better than others. Having contempt for others and feeling superior to them are signs of pride and arrogance. Pride and arrogance are characteristics of Satan and the people of Hell-Fire. Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- described the people of Paradise as the modest and humble believing people of the world, while he described the people of Hell-fire as the proud and arrogant people of the world.

عن أبي سعيدٍ الخُدريِّ رضيَ اللَّهُ عنه عن النبيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « احْتَجَّتِ الجَنَّةُ والنَّارُ، فَقَالَتِ النَّارُ: فِيَّ الجَبَّارُونَ والمُتَكَبِّرُونَ، وقَالَتِ الجنَّة: فِيَّ ضُعَفَاءُ النَّاسِ ومَسَاكِينُهُمْ. فَقَضَى اللَّه بيْنَهُمَا: إِنَّكِ الجَنَّةُ رَحْمَتي أَرْحَمُ بِكِ مَنْ أَشَاءُ، وإِنَّكِ النَّارُ عذَابي أُعَذِّبُ بِكِ مَنْ أَشَاءُ، ولِكِلَيْكُما عَلَيَّ مِلْؤُها» .  رواهُ مسلم ورواه البخاري عن أبي هريرة . ـ

     Narrated Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri -may God be pleased with him- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

Paradise and Hell-fire argued. Hell-fire said: ‘I was favored with the proud and the arrogant.’ Paradise said: ‘What is the matter with me that only the weak, the lowly, and the humble of people enter me?’ So God said to Paradise: ‘Verily, you are only My Mercy, I bestow mercy with you upon whomever I wish among My slaves.’ And He said to Hell-fire: ‘Verily, you are only My punishment, I punish with you whomever I wish. And every one of you shall have its full.’ ” Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

   Thus, the Muslim is instructed to be modest even if he had a greater share of wealth, health, intellect or knowledge, for that is a blessing of God that he must thank Him for.

The Muslim should never show any conceit or self-admiration for that may lead to pride or arrogance, which in turn makes him have a sense of superiority for a blessing that only God has granted him.

Whatever man or woman shows pride or arrogance then s/he has shown ingratitude and exposed him/herself to punishment in this world and the Hereafter. But for those who show modesty, humbleness and thanks then their blessings would not only last but also increase.

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    Then in summary, we can learn three important moral lessons from the above true story.

First, Satan is man’s worst enemy and the human must treat him as such by opposing him and being wary of him.

Second, the human should not put himself in slippery and dangerous situations that may give Satan power over him through Self desires and lusts. Rather, the human should be defensive and should use caution to avoid the traps of Satan whose goal is to take as many people to Hell-Fire with him as he could mislead.

And third, the Muslim should show modesty and humbleness even when is favored with greater blessings, for these are the characteristics of the people of Paradise. The Muslim should avoid conceit and self-admiration which may lead to pride and arrogance which are the characteristics of Satan and the people of Hell-Fire. The Muslim should attribute the blessing to God, be grateful to Him and thank Him for it, for that’s how he ensures the continuation of the blessing and its increase. And God knows best.

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The Pious Man and the Tree

(Keywords: The ploy of Satan, Adam and Satan, Misleading of Satan, Deception and trickery of Satan)

عن الحسن، قال : ( كانت شجرة تعبد من دون الله، فجاء إليها رجل فقال: لقطعن هذه الشجرة، فجاء ليقطعها غضبا لله، فلقيه إبليس في صورة إنسان، فقال: ما تريد؟ قال: أريد أن أقطع هذه الشجرة التي تعبد من دون الله، قال: إذا أنت لم تعبدها فما يضرك من عبدها، قال: لأقطعنها، فقال له الشيطان: هل لك فيما هو خير لك؛ لا تقطعها ولك ديناران كل يوم إذا أصبحت عند وسادتك، قال: فمن أين لي ذلك؟ قال: أنا لك فرجع فأصبح فوجد دينارين عند وسادته، ثم أصبح بعد ذلك فلم يجد شيئا فقام غضبا ليقطعها، فتمثل له الشيطان في صورته، وقال: ما تريد؟ قال: أريد قطع هذه الشجرة التي تعبد من دون الله تعالى، قال: كذبت مالك إلى ذلك من سبيل، فذهب ليقطعها فضرب به الأرض وخنقه حتى كاد يقتله، قال: أتدري من أنا، أنا الشيطان جئت أول مرة غضبا لله، فلم يكن لي عليك سبيل فخدعتك بالدينارين فتركتها، فلما جئت غضبا للدينارين سلطت عليك). ـ

 

Narrated Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: “There was once a group of people who took up a tree as an idol to worship. A pious man heard about that and decided to cut the tree for the sake of God and to please Him.

When he was about to cut the tree, Satan came to him in the form of a man and asked him: ‘What are you planning to do?’ The man replied: ‘I want to cut this tree because people are worshiping it instead of God.’

Satan said: ‘What harm does that cause you if you are not the one who is worshiping it?’ The pious man said: ‘Indeed, I shall cut it.’ Satan said to him: ‘Could I suggest something better; do not cut it and you shall have two Dinars every day at your bedside every morning.’ The pious man asked: ‘Who shall give it to me?’ Satan said: ‘I shall give it to you.’

When the next morning came, the man found two Dinars at his bedside. But later, when he woke up he did not find anything. The man became angry and went to cut the tree.

Once again Satan came to him in the form of a man and asked him: ‘What are you planning to do?’ The man said: ‘I want to cut this tree because people are worshiping it instead of God- the Exalted.’ Satan said: ‘You lie, for you shall have no access to it.’ When the man went forward to cut it, Satan wrestled him to the ground and strangled him almost killing him.

Satan then asked the man: ‘Do you know who I am? I am Satan. When you first came to cut the tree, it was purely for the sake of God, and I had no power over you. So I tricked you with the two Dinars, and you abandoned cutting it. But when you came the second time, it was for the sake of the money and I was able to overpower you.’ ”

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Al-Najashi (Negus, King of Ethiopia)

Editor’s note: The post is a follow up on the previous post on Umm Ayman. Both posts illuminate the important role played by black people in Islam’s early years, serving as important reminders for the need of establishing racial harmony and eliminating racism in Muslims.

Narrated Umm Salama Bint Abi Umayah Ibn Al-Mughira, the wife of the Prophet ﷺ: “When we immigrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), we were received by the best of hosts, Al-Najashi (Negus, King of Ethiopia), who offered us sanctuary to practice our religion, so we worshipped Allah the Exalted with no harm or hateful objection. But when the tribe of Quraysh heard about the peace the Muslim migrants enjoyed under the protection of Al-Najashi, they made plans to try to extradite them back to Makkah. Quraysh decided to send two powerful men with valuable and much sought after gifts from Makkah to Al-Najashi and to every single member of his clergy.  Al-Najashi used to like tanned leather, so the Qurashites gathered a large quantity of it and sent everything with two men, Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a Ibn Al-Mughira Al-Makhzumi and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas Ibn Wa’il Al-Sahmi. They explained the mission to the two men thus: ‘First, present to every bishop his special gift before you talk to Al-Najashi, then present to Al-Najashi his gifts, and then ask him to turn over the Muslim group to you without giving him a chance to speak with them.’

The two envoys set out to Abyssinia until they reached Al-Najashi, whose hospitality and security we [the Muslims] were enjoying. The two men first presented every bishop with his special gift before talking to Al-Najashi, and confided to each one of them: ‘Indeed, there have defected to the King’s land some ignorant young people from our tribe, who have renounced the religion of their forefathers and have not embraced your religion, but have come up with a new religion that neither of us recognize.  The noblemen of their tribe have sent us to the King seeking their extradition, so when we speak with the King about that, counsel him to deliver them to us without talking with them, for their own people are more cognizant of them and better acquainted with their beliefs and wrongdoing.’  The bishops agreed to do so.

Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas then presented Al-Najashi with their gifts, which he accepted. The two men then talked to the King and said to him: ‘O King, indeed there have defected to your land some ignorant young people from our tribe, who have renounced the religion of their forefathers and have not embraced your religion, but have come up with a new religion that neither of us recognize.  The noblemen of their tribe including their parents, uncles, and clansmen have sent us to you seeking their extradition, for their own people are more cognizant of them and better acquainted with their beliefs and wrongdoing.’

Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas wished for the King to not converse with the Muslim group and hear their speech. So the bishops spoke up and said: ‘They speak the truth, O King. Their own people are more cognizant of them and better acquainted with their wrongdoing, so send them back with the two men who would return them to their country and people.’

Al-Najashi became quite angry at that and said: ‘No, by God, I will not turn them over to these two men and will not dishonor a group of people who are my guests and who have chosen my protection over all others, until I call them and ask them about whatever these two men accuse them. If they are like what these two men have said, then I will hand them over to them. But if they are not so, then I shall offer them my protection and hospitality as long as they wish to remain with me.’

Al-Najashi then sent for the Muslims asking them to come to him.  When the King’s message reached them, they gathered and consulted with one another, asking: ‘What shall you say to the King when you stand before him?’ Others replied: ‘By Allah, we shall say what we know of the truth and of the commandments of our Prophet ﷺ, no matter what.’  When the Companions of the Prophet went to the court of Al-Najashi, they found that he had called his bishops who were seated around him with their Scriptures open before them to ask the Muslims about their beliefs.

Al-Najashi asked the Muslims: ‘What is this religion with which you have renounced the religion of your people, and have turned away from my religion and the religion of other nations?’  Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib acted as spokesperson and said: ‘O King, we were a group of people living in ignorance and immorality (Jahiliyya); we used to worship idols, eat the flesh of dead animals, engage in all kinds of debauchery, sever the ties of kinship, break the rights of neighbors, and the strong among us would take away the right of the weak.

We remained so until Allah sent to us a Messenger from amongst ourselves, whose lineage, truthfulness, honesty, and chastity were already well-known to us. So the Messenger ﷺ called us to worship Allah the Exalted alone and to renounce the stones and the idols that we and our forefathers used to worship besides Allah. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ commanded us to speak the truth, to keep our promises, to keep good ties with relatives, to be kind to neighbors, to avoid all forbidden acts and bloodshed.  He prohibited and warned us against all kinds of debauchery, against false testimony, against taking over an orphan’s property, and against false accusation of chaste women.  He ordered us to worship Allah alone and not to associate anything with Him, to establish the prayer, to give Zakah and to fast the month of Ramadan (he mentioned all pillars of Islam).

So we believed in him, affirmed his message, and followed his commandment. We worshiped Allah alone without associating any partners with Him, we avoided what has Allah has forbidden for us and did what He allowed us to do.  But our people persecuted us, so they subjected us to all kinds of torture to make us recant our faith and return to the worship of idols and the previous condition of immorality. When they subdued and oppressed us, made miserable our lives, and prevented us from practicing our religion, we sought refuge in your land, choosing you over others, desiring your protection and hoping to live in justice and peace under your rule, O King.’

Al-Najashi asked Ja’far: ‘Do you have anything with you that was revealed to your Prophet by Allah?’ Ja’far replied: ‘Yes.’  Al-Najashi said: ‘Then recite it to me.’  Ja’far recited for him the first portion of Surah Maryam which describes the story of Jesus and his mother Mary.

Umm Salama said: By Allah, when Al-Najashi and his bishops heard the verses of Quran, he wept until his tears moistened his beard, and his bishops cried until their tears moistened their Scriptures.  Al-Najashi then said: ‘The message of your Prophet and that of Prophet Moses come from the same lamp and source.’  He then turned to Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas and said: ‘Go, for by God, I will never turn them over to you and will never bring them any harm.’

But when the two men left the King’s court, Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas said to Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a: ‘By God, I shall return to the King tomorrow and bring up something of their belief that will destroy them completely.’  Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a, who was the kinder of the two men, said: ‘Do not do so, for they are our relatives even if they renounced our religion.’  Amr said: ‘By Allah, I will tell the King that they claim Jesus, the son of Mary, is a servant of God.’  The next day, Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas said to Al-Najashi: ‘O King, the group of the Muslims say a terrible thing about Jesus, the son of Marry. Send for them and ask them what they say about him.’

Al-Najashi sent for the Muslims again asking them what they said about Jesus.  When the King’s message reached the Muslim group, they were apprehensive and gathered to consult with one another, asking: ‘What shall you say to the King if he asks you about Jesus?’ Others replied: ‘By Allah, we shall say what Allah the Exalted has said about him and what our Prophet ﷺ said, no matter what.’

When the Muslims went to the court of Al-Najashi, he asked them: ‘What do you say about Jesus, the son of Mary?’  Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, stepped forward and said: ‘We only say regarding Jesus what has been revealed to our Prophet ﷺ, that Jesus is the servant of God, His Messenger, His spirit, and His word which He cast into Mary the Virgin.’

So Al-Najashi struck the ground with his hand and picked up a small stick then said: ‘Jesus, the son of Mary, is no more than what you said about him except as much as this stick.’ The bishops around him snorted in disagreement, so Al-Najashi admonished them saying: ‘Even if you snort!’  He then turned to the Muslims and said: ‘Go, for you shall be safe and secure in my land. Whoever abuses you shall be punished, whoever abuses you shall be punished, and whoever abuses you shall be punished.  For by God, I would not like to have a mountain of gold while anyone of you should come to any harm.’  Al-Najashi then said: ‘Return these two men’s gifts for I have no need of them.  By God, when Allah returned my reign to me, He did not ask me for ransom, so I will not take ransom for this group, and people did not obey me then so I would not obey them against His pleasure.’

Umm Salama said: So Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas left the court of the King, humiliated and rejected, while we lived with the King, in the best hospitality and protection.”  Related by Imam Ahmad with a good (hasan) narration.

 

And it is related that Al-Najashi did testify to the Oneness of Allah and the true message of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.  Therefore, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ performed the funeral prayer on him in absentia, and called him a righteous man, as seen in the following narrations:

عن أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رضى الله عنه: ( أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَعَى النَّجَاشِيَّ فِي الْيَوْمِ الَّذِي مَاتَ فِيهِ، وَخَرَجَ بِهِمْ إِلَى الْمُصَلَّى فَصَفَّ بِهِمْ، وَكَبَّرَ عَلَيْهِ أَرْبَعَ تَكْبِيرَاتٍ)‏.  رواه البخاري ومسلم.

Narrated Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him: “The Messenger of Allah informed us about the death of An-Najashi on the day he died. He went out with us to the prayer site and we aligned in rows behind him.  The Prophet then led the funeral prayer for An-Najashi and said four Takbirs.”   Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

وعن جَابِرٍ رضى الله عنه، قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم حِينَ مَاتَ النَّجَاشِيُّ: (‏ مَاتَ الْيَوْمَ رَجُلٌ صَالِحٌ، فَقُومُوا فَصَلُّوا عَلَى أَخِيكُمْ أَصْحَمَةَ).‏ رواه البخاري.

Narrated Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him: “When An-Najashi died, the Prophet said: ‘A righteous man has died today. So get up and offer the funeral prayer for your brother Ashama.’ ”  Related by Al-Bukhari.

What a tremendous honor, to have the Prophet pray funeral prayers on someone despite him not being there! These men and women received such blessings because of their sincerity, struggle, and sacrifice for the truth. May Allah allow us to experience even a small portion of that zeal for faith.