Muslims’ migration to Abyssinia: When did it happen?

History Contributor
migration to Abyssinia
© Pomiti |

The migration of Muslims from Makkah to Madinah is so famous in the history of Islam that it may be difficult to find anyone who does not know about this migration. But the fact that Muslims migrated to Abyssinia twice in the 5th year of the Prophethood before this massive migration is perhaps unknown to many. So today’s article sheds a little light on the Muslims’ migration to Abyssinia.

Why migration to Abyssinia?

The horrific cycle of injustice and oppression of the Prophet (SAW) and his Companions began at the end of the fourth year of the Prophethood. The level of oppression was low in the beginning. But as the days went by, the level of oppression increased. In the end, the situation became such that the survival of the Muslims in Makkah became somehow impossible. So they were forced to look for another way to get rid of this horrible oppression.

In this pitch-dark state of uncertainty and misery, Allah revealed, “Allah’s earth is not wide.” This verse basically hints towards migration.

Reasons to choose Abyssinia as a place of migration

After the revelation of this verse, the Prophet (SAW) began to think of emigrating for his Companions. He had long heard of the generosity and justice of the Abyssinian emperor Najjashi. Moreover, he heard that there was no place for injustice. The Prophet believed that if Muslims went there, they would have the opportunity to live safely. And maybe practice Islam without any hindrance. Considering all these, the Prophet (SAW) instructed his Companions to migrate to Abyssinia by the command of Allah in order to secure their lives and faith. And to have the opportunity to practice Islam without hindrance.

The beginning of the migration in the face of difficult situations

Following the instructions of the Prophet (SAW), the Muslims made extensive preparations for the migration. But this migration was very difficult. Because Muslims have tried to migrate once before. But due to little negligence, their journey was interrupted at that time. Now the disbelievers were more aware than the vigilant watchmen. They were determined to resist such attempts at any cost.

The level of devotion of the Muslims was much higher than that of the Quraish in achieving the desired goal. In addition, there was a special grace of Allah towards the innocent and just Muslims. As a result, Muslims reached the court of Emperor Najjashi of Abyssinia without any hindrance or obstruction.

A total of 82 or 83 men took part in this migration and 18 or 19 women were in the group. When they reached the court of Najjashi, they presented the reason for their migration to him.  The king granted them. He assured them a safe stay and welcomed them to practice their religion.

After this migration, Allah sent down,

“And those who emigrated for (the cause of) Allah after they had been wronged – We will surely settle them in this world in a good place; but the reward of the Hereafter is greater, if only they could know.” (16:41)

Muslims’ life in Abyssinia

Meanwhile, the infidels of Makkah became very angry when they saw that the Muslims had fled. They immediately sent a group of people to the port of Jeddah to capture the migrants. But they failed to find anyone and returned.

The Quraish called a consultative meeting. According to the decision of this meeting, a delegation consisting of Abdullah bin Abu Rabi’a and Amr bin Ach was sent to Abyssinia with various gifts to bring back the Muslims from Abyssinia.

They came to the court of King Najjashi and presented gifts to every member of the court. They wanted to make the king angry with the Muslims. But Najjashi understood this cunning strategy. He presented all the Muslims and listened to the allegations of the Quraish against them. The king was overwhelmed by the wise counter words of the Prophet’s own cousin Jafar bin Abu Taleb (R). The king then rejected the Quraish’s demand and when the last attempt of the delegation failed, they returned to Makkah confused.

Thus the Muslims in Abyssinia were able to spend their days in peace, and the Muslims stayed there, thanking the king.

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