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The Unlettered Prophet (11)
Khalid Masud
(Tr. by:Nikhat Sattar)

The Migration to Abyssinia


As Muslims continued to face difficulties put in their way by the Quraysh, the Qur’an impressed upon them to counter these with fortitude and firm belief, and predicted rewards in exchange for their sacrifices, far in excess of any expectations and dreams. The Qur’an also asked them not to despair even if they found that their own country had been made tough for them to live in. God’s earth was extensive, and if conditions were intolerable for them in that city, God would guide them towards another place where they might live in peace, and worship Him without fear, and where He would provide for them and for their safety. Did they not see how so many other living beings did not carry their provisions with them, but God gave them sustenance wherever they went, and they returned to their nests at night? Thus they should also rely upon God Who would make their trials easier to bear.


يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ أَرْضِي وَاسِعَةٌ فَإِيَّايَ فَاعْبُدُونِ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ثُمَّ إِلَيْنَا تُرْجَعُونَ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَنُبَوِّئَنَّهُم مِّنَ الْجَنَّةِ غُرَفًا تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا نِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ وَكَأَيِّن مِن دَابَّةٍ لَا تَحْمِلُ رِزْقَهَا اللَّهُ يَرْزُقُهَا وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ (٢٩: ٥٦-٦٠)

My servants who have believed, indeed My earth is spacious, so worship only Me. Every soul will taste death. Then to Us will you be returned. And those who have believed and done righteous deeds, We will surely assign to them of Paradise [elevated] chambers beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally. Excellent is the reward of the [righteous] workers, who have been patient and upon their Lord rely. And how many a creature carries not its [own] provision. Allah provides for it and for you. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing. (29:56-60)


When the oppression by the Quraysh became so severe that the faithful could no longer bear it, Makkah’s space began to shrink for the latter in reality. Anyone who mentioned Islam could no longer protect himself against the terrible onslaught from society. During this period, the Prophet (sws) made a request to God to strengthen Islam either through ‘Amr ibn Hisham or ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab. ‘Amr ibn Hisham was the real name of Abu Jahal, who was always in the forefront when opposing the Prophet (sws); ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab was well known for his strength and bravery, and enjoyed taunting weak Muslims. When the latter would complain to the Prophet (sws), he consoled them by saying: “Be patient, God will find a way out for us. Before you, nations have been oppressed by their opponents to the extent that they have had their heads cut off, but they did not give up their faith.”

When the situation became untenable, the Prophet (sws) allowed those who had been particularly targeted by the Quraysh, to migrate to Abyssinia, because the Christian ruler, Ashama was well known for his kind heartedness and sense of fair play and justice, and peace reigned in his country. The country was also close to Arabia, just west of the Red Sea. It was strange that almost all the Muslim youth of the Quraysh tribes were eager to migrate. The first group that did so included 11 men and five women. They were:


Banu Ummayyah    Uthman ibn ‘Affan (rta), with wife Ruqayyah, daughter of the Prophet (sws)

Banu ‘Abd Shams   Abu Hudhayfah ibn ‘Utbah (rta), with wife Sahlah, daughter of Suhayl ibn ‘Amr

Banu Makhzum       Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abd al-Asad (rta), with wife Umm Salamah (rta)

Banu Asad              Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwam (rta)

Banu ‘Abd al-Dar    Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr (rta)

Banu Zahrah           ‘Abd Rahman ibn ‘Awf

Banu Jumh              ‘Uthman ibn Maz‘un (ra)

Banu ‘Adi               ‘Amir ibn Rabi‘ah (rta), with wife Layla bint Abi Hathmah (rta)

Banu ‘Amir             Abu Sabrah ibn  Abi Rahm (rta), with wife Umm Kulthum bint Suhayl (rta) Hatib ibn ‘Amr (rta)

Banu Harith             Suhayl ibn Bayda’ (rta)


We learn, therefore, that while these young people suffered the pain of separation from their relatives for the sake of their faith, several tribes of the Quraysh, too, were affected. According to the biographers of the Prophet (sws), this migration took place during the month of Rajab, the fifth year of prophet hood.

When the first group reached Abyssinia safely, and word got around that they had been received well, many people started to move out of Makkah. Some known names are:


Banu Hashim         Ja‘far ibn Abi Talib (rta) with wife Asma’ bint ‘Umays (rta)

Banu Umayyah      Khalid ibn Sa‘id ibn al-‘As (rta)

                              ‘Urwah ibn Sa‘id ibn al-‘As (rta) with wife Fatimah bint Safwan ibn Umayyah (rta)

Banu Asad             ‘Ubaydullah ibn Jahash (rta), with wife Umm Habibah bint Abi Sufyan (rta)

Banu ‘Amir            Sakran ibn ‘Amr (rta) with wife Sawdah bint Zam‘ah (rta)

                              ‘Abdullah ibn Suhayl ibn ‘Amr (rta)

Banu Harith           Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah (rta)


Other than these, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud (rta), ‘Utbah ibn Mas‘ud (rta) and Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari (rta)’s names are also mentioned. The total exceeded 80 people who had migrated at this time. Only those migrated who had suffered greatly at the hands of the Quraysh. The others remained behind with the Prophet (sws) to continue to gain spiritual benefit from their closeness to him. 


Pursuit by the Quraysh

When the Quraysh saw that Muslims had found refuge in Abyssinia and were leading a peaceful life there, they decided to follow them and prepared two men, ‘Amr ibn al-‘As and ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Rabi‘ah to present their case in front of Ashamah.  They went there, fully instructed, but also with presents for Ashamah and his religious leaders. They first met with the latter, to elicit their support, and then appeared before Negus, the king. They said: “O King, a few silly young men have come to your country. They have left the faith of their ancestors, and have not accepted your faith. They present a new religion which neither we, nor you are familiar with. Their elders have sent us to you, to request you to send them back to them, because only they can keep an eye on them.” Negus took counsel from his courtiers, all of whom agreed with the men from the Quraysh, but Negus hesitated. His argument was that when a group of people had come to him for protection, and chosen him and his country in preference to all others, how could he hand them over without listening to their point of view?

The king sent his steward asking the Muslims to come to his court. The Muslims decided that come what may, they would speak the truth, as they had been taught by God’s Prophet (sws). When Negus put forward the situation as described by the Quraysh, Ja‘far ibn Abi Talib (rta), speaking on behalf of the Muslims, said: “O’ King, before we accepted this new faith, we were idol worshippers, consumed dead meat, cut off connections with our blood relations and were engaged in obscene activities. We were in such a poor condition that God sent His messenger toward us. We were already well aware of his dignified lineage, his truthfulness, his piety and honesty. He gave us a call to worship one God and to stop praying to manmade idols. He taught us to speak the truth, deal with others with honesty, have mercy on our fellow human beings, be kind to our neighbours, perform our prayers, pay zakah and stay away from polytheism. He instructed us to abstain from all forms of lying, cheating, usurping the rights of orphans and obscene acts, and all other actions that could obstruct us from living a pious life. We witnessed that what he said was the truth, confirmed our faith in his message and are following his instructions. Our country men brought great tribulations upon us; they tortured us, penalized us and tried their utmost to turn us away from our faith. When it became impossible to live in our own country, we came to yours, selecting your country as a safe haven. We hope that we shall not find any injustice here.” On hearing this, Negus rejected the plea of the Quraysh.

When ‘Amr ibn al-‘As and ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Rabi‘ah returned unsuccessful from the court, they decided to incite Negus’ religious sentiments. They requested permission to come back the next day to his court and submitted to him that the new prophet presented wrong ideas about Jesus (sws), son of Mary. Negus again called the Muslims to clarify the situation. Ja‘far (rta) began to recite Surah Maryam, which contains the entire story of Jesus (sws) as well as the Qura’nic instructions related to him. Tears rolled down Negus’ cheeks as he heard the recitation. When it had ended, Ja‘far (rta) said: “According to this, Jesus (sws) was God’s servant, His prophet, His spirit and His word, which were entrusted to Mary.” Negus said: “By God! What you have just recited, and the guidance that Jesus had brought are light emanating from the same source.”

The Quraysh delegation had to return without meeting their objectives. The Muslims in Abyssinia had inspired the light of Islam within Negus, who accepted Islam soon after. Negus, it seems, belonged to the group of Christians who were against the innovations introduced by Paul and who had adopted the actual Jesuit faith. These were the same people about whom the Qur’an states that when they received the message from the Prophet (sws), they would start to cry, because they would instantly recognize the truth of Jesus’s prediction in it. They were the ones who accepted Islam by and large.


The acceptance of Islam by the Abbyssinian delegation

Those who were believers in the original form of Christianity did not accept Jesus (sws) to be the son of God, or one of the trinity elements. They awaited the fulfillment of Jesus’ (sws) prediction about the last prophet, so that they would accept him when he gained prophethood. The arrival of the Muslims in Abbyssinia confirmed Jesus’ (sws) predictions. The Christians questioned the Muslims further about the Prophet (sws)’s prophet hood and his teachings, heard about what they had suffered at the hands of the Quraysh and observed the character of the Muslims themselves. A group of 20 individuals visited Makkah to make their own assessment and meet the Prophet (sws) in person. After questioning him in a meeting, they satisfied themselves that he met the criteria that had been conveyed to them in their books and by scholars through the ages. After answering their queries, the Prophet (sws) recited Qur’anic verses according to the situation. This convinced them even further. The truth was now clear to them. The fortunate group did not wish to waste a single moment. They immediately accepted Islam and returned to Abbyssinia1, since their purpose was not to stay in Makkah. It is obvious that they must have gained further knowledge of Islam from the Muslims who were already living in Abbyssinia. This was such a fruitful result from the migration that the Quraysh would never have dreamt of it. The Prophet (sws) wrote to Negus after this, inviting him to come within the fold of Islam, and the latter gladly accepted the invitation. The Prophet (sws) always prayed for him.

The disbelievers of Makkah were livid with anger when the Christians of Abbyssinia accepted Islam. Abu Jahal and his friends called them fools, to have come to review the situation, and gone back having converted to the same faith.

This event caused much agitation among the Quraysh. If people went to Makkah and became impressed by Muhammad (sws), his message would spread to other tribes, and if it reached beyond Makkah, it was likely to create even greater problems for them. They began to keep an eye on anyone coming from outside and if there was any attempt to meet the Prophet (sws), they did not hesitate to beat him up.


‘Amr ibn ‘Absah al-Sulami’s Acceptance of Islam

‘Amr ibn ‘Absah was one of the Hanafis. He believed that those who worshipped idols were wrong and that this practice had no logical basis. When he heard that a person was preaching a new faith in Makkah, he was curious to know more, and arrived in Makkah. On arrival, he found that no one was allowed to meet the person concerned because his countrymen were his enemies. He recounted that he found a way to meet the Prophet (sws) in secret, and asked him: “Who are you?” He answered: “I am God’s messenger.” I asked: ‘”Who is a messenger?” He answered: “God has sent me with a message.” I asked: “What message is this?” He said: “The message to worship one God, keep good relations with relatives and destroy idols.”  I asked: “Who is with you in this?” He answered: “Both the free and the slaves.” I wanted to become his follower, but he told me to wait because I was not strong enough. He said: “Do you not see how people behave? You should go back now. When you hear that I have gained the upper hand, come back to me.” ‘Amr says that he returned to his tribe, but kept himself informed of what was happening in Makkah. Finally, some people came from Madinah and told him that the Prophet (sws) had migrated to Madinah and that people were flocking to him and converting to Islam in large numbers. His nation had tried to kill him, but was unsuccessful. ‘Amr went to Madinah and met the Prophet (sws) who recognized him immediately. The former obtained knowledge of prayer and ablution from the Prophet (sws) on this occasion. 2  

This shows that it had been made extremely difficult for anyone to meet the Prophet (sws) in Makkah. ‘Amr ibn ‘Absah may have wished to stay with him in Makkah, but he was advised to return to his tribe and wait for Islam to rise to power.


Acceptance of Islam by Abu Dharr (rta) Ghifari

Abu Dharr (rta) of the tribe of Banu Ghifar had come to know that someone in Makkah claimed prophethood. He sent his brother Anis to Makkah to gather information. Anis returned after conducting research, having found out that the man taught morality and good dealings with others, and presented a text that was neither poetry nor a story. Abu Dharr, dissatisfied with these details, travelled to Makkah to see for himself. He got down in the Ka‘bah, and looked for the Prophet (sws), but could not locate him. He did not think it appropriate to ask anyone. ‘Ali (rta) took him to his house, as a mark of hospitality to a traveler. He returned to the mosque early in the morning, and repeated the routine the second and third day. Finally ‘Ali (rta) asked him what he was looking for and promised that he would not share this information with anyone else. When Abu Dharr (rta) finally divulged the reason for his arrival in Makkah, ‘Ali (rta) confirmed that the Prophet (sws) was indeed the prophet of God. He took him to meet the Prophet (sws) the next morning, at which time Abu Dharr (rta) accepted Islam, and was instructed by him to return to his tribe and instruct them accordingly and remain there until he heard otherwise. Abu Dharr (rta) took an oath upon God that he would make a public declaration of his new faith before departing. He went to the mosque and proclaimed loudly: “I am a witness that there is no God but Allah and that Mohammed is the Prophet of Allah.” As soon as he had spoken, people attacked him and began to beat him up. ‘Abbas ibn Muttalib warned the crowd that he was a member of the Banu Ghifar that lived on their trade route towards Syria. On hearing this, the attackers moved away and Abu Dharr (rta) was allowed to leave safely. 3

This incident also shows that the Quraysh had created such an environment of fear and intimidation for outsiders that no one could pronounce the Prophet’s name or meet him. If, by chance, anyone did meet him, he would be thrashed without any hesitation. During this period, the Prophet (sws) had advised people to stay away, and to make contact only after they had heard news of the Muslims gaining power over the disbelievers.


God’s Acceptance of the Prophet’s Prayer and Conversion of ‘Umar (rta)

The migration of Muslims from Makkah in large numbers merely so that they could practice their faith in peace, leaving the comfort of their homes in a manner as if they were thorns in their backs, was such an extraordinary event that it shook the core of the Quraysh who were forced to re-examine the emotional approach they had been taking so far. Among these people was ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (rta) who came within the fold of Islam in the 6th year of prophethood, after the migration to Abyssinia.

There are two versions of his conversion narrated in history.

The first version that has gained the most currency is that ‘Umar (rta) left his home intending to kill the Prophet (sws). He met Na‘im ibn ‘Abdullah (rta) on the way, who asked him where he was going. ‘Umar (rta) told him that he wished to decide about Muhammad. Na‘im ibn Abdullah (rta) asked him to take care of his household first, as his own sister and brother in law had accepted Islam already. ‘Umar (rta) enraged, went to his sister’s house, where she and her husband were studying the Qur’an from Khabab ibn al-Art (rta). When they heard him enter, they hid the papers. Since ‘Umar (rta) had heard them recite the verses, he insisted that they recite them to him too. When they refused, he beat them mercilessly. Their answer was to say that he could do whatever he wanted; he could never remove the love of Islam from their hearts. As ‘Umar (rta) calmed down, his sister placed the papers of Surah Taha, (according to some narratives, it was Surah Hadid) in front of him. As soon as he had read these, his heart went through a complete change. He asked Khubab (rta) where the Prophet (sws) was, and was told that he was in a house close to the Mount of Safa’. Putting his sword in its sheath, ‘Umar (rta) went across to the place. Someone inside the house saw him coming and warned the Prophet (sws), who asked for the door to be opened for him. On entering, he immediately accepted Islam. This version was passed on from the people of Madinah to Ibn Ishaq. 4  

Despite the fact that this version is the more commonly accepted one, several questions arise about its authenticity.


1.   It was a matter of far reaching consequences in the tribal life in Arabia if a person belonging to another tribe were to be killed. Had this been easy, the Quraysh tribes would not have impressed upon the Banu Hashim to restrain the Prophet (sws) from preaching.  They were afraid that if they were to take any action against him directly, a long battle would begin within Makkah, and it would then be difficult for anyone to disentangle from it.

2.     ‘Umar (rta) was a wise and far sighted man. He was aware of what might happen if he were to attempt the murder of the Prophet (sws), because his own tribe, Banu ‘Adi was weak as compared to the Banu Hashim.

3.     Sa‘id ibn Zayd (rta) and Fatima bint al-Khattab (ra) belong to the earliest group of companions, and were among the first to accept Islam after prophet hood. Their faith was not hidden, and their family members must have known about it. Every Muslim became known within a period of five years. This is the reason why the entire Quraysh were bent upon teaching a lesson to the Muslims, and the latter were ready to migrate to Abyssinia. The story seems to indicate that they had just recently accepted Islam, in the 6th year of prophet hood.

4.     ‘Umar’s (rta) insistence that his sister read out to him what they were reciting indicates that he was unfamiliar with the Qur’an. Yet, it was the responsibility of the Prophet (sws) to recite the Qur’an to his people. He had read it out to the Quraysh several times, and when offering the salah next to the Ka‘bah, would read its verses loudly so that people would hear them. The version as stated, therefore, contradicts this fact.

5.     It is also difficult to accept that Fatimah (rta) would read from the papers and hide them. In those days when Muslims were in a particularly repressed state, it was impossible for them to arrange for the Qur’anic verses to be available in a written form, and then to read from them. Very few people from within the Quraysh knew how to read and write, and there were hardly any women amongst these. Similarly, Khubab (rta) was a slave. His literacy is questionable.

6.     Surah Hadid is a Madani surah. It had not been revealed in the 6th year of prophet hood.

7.     Dar Arqam was a house that had become a centre for the Muslims and was known to all Makkans. The narrative mentions it as if it was an unknown place and ‘Umar (rta) was hearing about it for the first time.

8.     The story gives an impression that the Prophet (sws) was hiding inside the house. To the contrary, he moved freely, not only to the Ka‘bah, but also to the meetings of the Quraysh. According to several narratives, the Prophet (sws) recited the Qur’an loudly in his prayers, and members of the Quraysh listened to him from behind curtains. This also happened when resistance against the Prophet (sws) was at its peak. It was never difficult for anyone to meet the Prophet (sws). God’s apostles always did their work openly. They were assigned to their responsibilities by God and He took care of their safety. They were not required to protect themselves.

The second version is narrated from Umm ‘Abdullah bint Abi Hathmah (rta). ‘Amir ibn Rabi‘ah was a supporter of ‘Umar’s (rta) family. His family was preparing for migration to Abyssinia when ‘Umar (rta) came and saw what was happening. Until now, his attitude had been very harsh towards them and he had caused then great pain. ‘Umar (rta) asked: “Umm ‘Abdullah, are you leaving?” She answered: “Yes, your people have hurt us and tortured us. We will now spread out on Allah’s earth, until He opens a way out for us.” ‘Umar (rta) answered: “May Allah be with you,” and in so saying, his voice had faltered, and he left. It was clear that the departure of that family had hurt him deeply. Umm ‘Abdullah told her husband that if he had seen ‘Umar (rta), he would have noticed the signs of sorrow and pain on his face. She felt that it was very likely he would accept Islam soon. 5

This narrative appears true and natural. Here was a family with which one had had years of close relations, and with whose members one was emotionally attached. On what one judged as a temporary matter, one was excessively cruel and unfair, and the family decided to leave home and country, rather than give up on its new beliefs. The most hard hearted man would be forced to rethink his attitude, and wonder if he was not the one who was wrong, and the others who were on the right path? Events such as these change the course of our lives. It seems this is what happened to ‘Umar (rta), and after some thought, he accepted Islam.

According to a narrative from ‘Ata’ and Mujahid, ‘Umar (rta) went to the Ka‘bah one night and found the Prophet (sws) reciting the Qur’an in his prayers. He approached the Ka‘bah from the hatim, hid behind its cover, and listened to him. When the salah ended, the Prophet (sws) proceeded towards his home. As he came close, ‘Umar (rta) made himself known. When the Prophet (sws) asked him his reason for being there, he answered that he had come to accept Islam. The Prophet (sws) prayed for steadfastness in his faith, and this great hero of Makkah became a servant of Islam.6 The next day he announced in the mosque that he had become a Muslim and that he would offer his salah publicly. He dared anyone to stop him from doing so.

Thus the supplication of the Prophet (sws) made in ‘Umar’s (rta) favour was accepted by God. The Muslims were greatly reassured, and the Quraysh felt defeated.

‘Umar’s (rta) acceptance of Islam soon after the migration to Abyssinia is proof of the fact that the latter had shaken the Quraysh, as well as most of the youth. Contrary to their expectations, conversions to Islam continued at a rapid pace and the numbers of Muslims increased exponentially.


Revelation of Power to Muslims 

The migration to Abyssinia affected the Quraysh in another way. The manner in which Muslims had been accepted by Abyssinians, and the bent of their King towards Islam had created hatred and resentment in the hearts of the Quraysh for the Christians. Muslims, on the other hand, were deeply grateful to Christians and spoke well of them.

Outside the Arab world, but adjacent to them were the great empires of the Persians and Romans. The Persians were polytheists, but the Romans, despite the introduction of Paul’s new concepts of the holy trinity, were believers in the Oneness of God. The Quraysh were not interested in the controversies between various sects of the Christians. They considered them to belong to the same religious group. The Persians and Romans often had skirmishes along the borders of Syria, which at times reached the level of a full scale war. In 616 A.D, Persia invaded a part of what was Rome and gained a strong foothold there. The Persian ruler, Khusru Parvaiz started dreaming of overpowering the whole of Rome. When this news reached Makkah, the Quraysh taunted the Muslims about the fate of their co-religionists. They made fun of the Prophet (sws) who had spoken of the power of the Muslims, saying that were he right, why would God have given victory to the polytheist Khusru over the monotheist Caesar? Now the situation was that the Romans could not find a place to live, and the Persian army was invading deep into their land. The Muslims, according to the Quraysh, were bound to suffer a similar fate. Since Muslim sympathies were with the Romans, they were embarrassed and had little to say. It was then that Surah Rum was revealed:


الم  غُلِبَتِ الرُّومُ فِي أَدْنَى الْأَرْضِ وَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ غَلَبِهِمْ سَيَغْلِبُونَ فِي بِضْعِ سِنِينَ لِلَّهِ الْأَمْرُ مِن قَبْلُ وَمِن بَعْدُ وَيَوْمَئِذٍ يَفْرَحُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ بِنَصْرِ اللَّهِ يَنصُرُ مَن يَشَاء وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ لَا يُخْلِفُ اللَّهُ وَعْدَهُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ  (30: 1-6)

This is Surah Alif Lam Mim. The Byzantines have been defeated. In the nearest land. But they, after their defeat, will overcome. Within three to nine years. To Allah belongs the command before and after. And that day the believers will rejoice. In the victory of Allah. He gives victory to whom He wills, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful. [It is] the promise of Allah. Allah does not fail in His promise, but most of the people do not know.  (30:1-6)


These verses reassured the Muslims that the victories gained by the Persians were temporary. The situation would change soon and in a few years, the Romans would gain dominance over their enemies. That would be the time when Muslims would rejoice and the polytheists of Makkah would be thwarted.

The Arabic term used for a few years is بِضْعِ سِنِينَ which means nine or less years. In reality, this is what happened. In the second year after migration to Madinah, the Romans overpowered the Persians completely. At the same time, in the battle of Badr, a mere 300 Muslims defeated the 1000 iron clad army of the disbelievers. The key leaders of the Quraysh who led the enmity campaign against the Prophet (sws) were slain. Thus, the prediction made at the time of the migration to Abyssinia came true and the faithful were given several reasons to celebrate their victory.


Return of Migrants from Abyssinia

After staying in Abyssinia for some time, 33 Muslims, including some wives, returned to Makkah. According to Ibn Ishaq, this return was caused by misinformation they had received. On coming back, they were worried on whose responsibility could they enter the city. The doors of their own home had been closed on them. Unless they gained the protection of some strong individuals, they would be vulnerable if they attempted to live on their own. Some Muslims, therefore, took protection of tribes other than their own. ‘Uthman ibn Maz‘un (rta) took refuge with Walid ibn Mughirah. When he saw that he was enjoying full safety because of Walid’s protection, while the Prophet (sws) and other Muslims remained in difficulty, he wanted to return his protection. Walid said that since he had given him protection in the mosque, it could be returned in the same place. ‘Uthman went to the mosque, and while appreciating Walid’s protection and his kindness, announced that he was returning it, and that from now on, he would be relying on God’s protection alone.

Abu Salamah took protection from Abu Talib, at which Abu Lahab was very angry and resisted it. Abu Talib answered that Abu Salamah was his nephew and therefore under his protection.

Those who had migrated forever to Abyssinia, migrated again to Madinah, and gained blessings from God for a double migration in the way of God. It is probably only among Muslims that some companions of the Prophet (sws) have been blessed twice through two successive migrations. 


(Translated from Hayat-i Rasul-i Ummi by Nikhat Sattar)






1. Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-nabawiyyah, vol. 1, 391-392.

2. Ibn Kathir, Al-Sirah al-nabawiyyah, vol. 1, 281.

3. Muslim, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, 388.

4. Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-nabawiyyah, vol. 1, 343-346.

5. Ibid., vol. 1, 342.

6. Ibid., vol. 1, 348.

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