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First Dialogue Between Muslim and Christian

 

أول حوار بين مسلم ونصراني (النجاشي)

First dialogue between Muslim and Christian

 

They were hundred in all, 83 men and 17 women to be exact. They left Makkah in under the light of stars, traveled all the way upto port on their feet, caught boats and reached ‘Abyssinia’ where they were greeted by their brothers and sisters, who earlier migrated and seek asylum, which was granted by kind and just Christian king, "Negus".

This was fourth year since the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah on him) got first revelation and started calling people towards Islam. Opposition, anger and hatred have already seen such peaks that some of Muslims were cold-bloodedly murdered in day light, they were beaten in the middle of bazaars, tied and put behind bars with no provision of food for days and disgracing them was seemed to be everybody’s most enjoying pastime. The prophet (peace be upon him) himself was the main target of these adversities. The person, who was once most beloved and honored person of society, was now beyond doubt, the most hated and insulted for no reason but calling people to worship one God. During these dark days, prophet (peace be upon him) allowed his followers to migrate to the secure land of ‘Abyssinia’, ruled by Christian king. Thus followers migrated in two phases – once seventy in numbers and next time, hundred. They traveled in night because they were afraid of being tied up, beaten and tortured by their fathers/brothers/spouses who haven’t embraced Islam yet. To cut short, these initial followers reached ‘Abyssinia’, seek asylum and stared practicing Islam freely at home, a luxury which was denied to them in Makkah. While this happened, Makkans roared in anger, this first migration literally cut their society in many pieces, as if one is mourning his brother’s departure, then other is weeping for her sweet father. Similarly, close relatives of some elites of city also left which showed how deeply Islam has found place despite of all the opposition. This definitely angered them so much that their oppressing on Muslims left in Makkah and the prophet (peace be upon him) grew by leaps and bounds, they also decided to send a delegation with lots of gifts and royal presents to the Negus, king of ‘Abyssinia’, and ask him to send these traitors (as they call them) back.

Delegation was comprised of Amro-Bin-Aas (later converted to Islam) and Abdhulla-Bin-Rabiya, both known diplomats and best brain of Makkah. They reached Abyssinia and at first, presented highly valuable gifts to the high officers, close to the king, as a bribe so that they favor them next morning, when they’ll appear in front of the king. A move very sharply aimed and correctly rewarded. The delegation appeared, presented gifts to the royal treasure and they pleaded this way.
‘O the just king of Abyssinia, we want to request in your royal highness, some idiots youngsters have fled our nation and now have hidden in your land. They are traitors as they neither follower of our religion, neither they follow yours; rather they are follower of some other unique religion. Please expel them and return to us so that we teach them their religion back’. Bribed elites and officers of kings seconded the Makkans request but king said, “I’ll not pass any judgment unless I listen to the second party, so call those youngsters and I’ll talk to them”. So the Muslims were called and on the very second instant, they appeared in front of King, he asked them what has happened to them as they follow some newly invented religion and neither follow Christianity nor Makkans religion. Muslims were led by Jaffar Bin Abi Talib (May Allah Be pleased with him) He started with sketching the image of pre-Islam era in front of king and introduced Islam as;
“O king, we were ignorant, worshipping idols, eating dead animals, committing adultery, insulting our neighbors and the strong ones used to oppress the weak ones. We were in loathed in such bad habits when Allah almighty nominated a prophet among us, whose honesty, truthfulness, decency was already exemplary in society. He called us to worshipping Allah alone and leave all others that we and our parents used to believe. He ordered us never to tell a lie, to remain just, take care of relatives of kinship and neighbors, and refrain from adultery and other vulgar things. He asked us to offer prayers, to fast and to spend in the path of Allah”.

He further said, “We embraced Islam, worshipped Allah alone, obeyed the Prophet (peace be upon him) and started practicing all the teachings of Him. But our nation didn’t like this act of ours, they tied us, put us behind bars, tortured us and asked us to join and associate others with Allah in worship. They asked to make ‘Haraam’ (forbidden) things ‘Halal’ (allowed).They made our own land such place of misery to us, that we migrated to your land, preferring your land to others on hope that we’ll not be oppressed here”.

Now since the king himself was a real Christian and a real follower of Jesus Christ, he very enthusiastically asked.
“Do you have something of that, which is revealed on your prophet?”

they replied “Yes”.

He said: “Recite that for me”.

On this, Jafar (may Allah Be pleased with him) started reciting chapter of Mary (Surah#19) from vesre#1-35.

[19.1] Kaf Ha Ya Ain Sad.
[19.2] A mention of the mercy of your Lord to His servant Zachariah.
[19.3] When he called upon his Lord in a low voice,
[19.4] He said: My Lord! surely my bones are weakened and my head flares with hoariness , and, my Lord! I have never been unsuccessful in my prayer to Thee:
[19.5] And surely I fear my cousins after me, and my wife is barren, therefore grant me from Thyself an heir,
[19.6] Who should inherit me and inherit from the children of Jacob, and make him, my Lord, one in whom Thou art well pleased.
[19.7] O Zachariah! surely We give you good news of a boy whose name shall be John: We have not made before anyone his equal.
[19.8] He said: O my Lord! when shall I have a son, and my wife is barren, and I myself have reached indeed the extreme degree of old age?
[19.9] He said: So shall it be, your Lord says: It is easy to Me, and indeed I created you before, when you were nothing.
[19.10] He said: My Lord! give me a sign. He said: Your sign is that you will not be able to speak to the people three nights while in sound health.
[19.11] So he went forth to his people from his place of worship, then he made known to them that they should glorify (Allah) morning and evening.
[19.12] O John! take hold of the Book with strength, and We granted him wisdom while yet a child
[19.13] And tenderness from Us and purity, and he was one who guarded (against evil),
[19.14] And dutiful to his parents, and he was not insolent, disobedient.
[19.15] And peace on him on the day he was born, and on the day he dies, and on the day he is raised to life
[19.16] And mention Mary in the Book when she drew aside from her family to an eastern place;
[19.17] So she took a veil (to screen herself) from them; then We sent to her Our spirit, and there appeared to her a well-made man.
[19.18] She said: Surely I fly for refuge from you to the Beneficent God, if you are one guarding (against evil).
[19.19] He said: I am only a messenger of your Lord: That I will give you a pure boy.
[19.20] She said: When shall I have a boy and no mortal has yet touched me, nor have I been unchaste?
[19.21] He said: Even so; your Lord says: It is easy to Me: and that We may make him a sign to men and a mercy from Us, and it is a matter which has been decreed.
[19.22] So she conceived him; then withdrew herself with him to a remote place.
[19.23] And the throes (of childbirth) compelled her to betake herself to the trunk of a palm tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died before this, and had been a thing quite forgotten!
[19.24] Then (the child) called out to her from beneath her: Grieve not, surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you;
[19.25] And shake towards you the trunk of the palm tree, it will drop on you fresh ripe dates:
[19.26] So eat and drink and refresh the eye. Then if you see any mortal, say: Surely I have vowed a fast to the Beneficent God, so I shall not speak to any man today.
[19.27] And she came to her people with him, carrying him (with her). They said: O Mary! Surely you have done a strange thing.
[19.28] O sister of Haroun! Your father was not a bad man, nor, was your mother an unchaste woman.
[19.29] But she pointed to him. They said: How should we speak to one who was a child in the cradle?
[19.30] He said: Surely “I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet;
[19.31] And He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and He has enjoined on me prayer and poor-rate so long as I live;
[19.32] And dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me insolent, unblessed;
[19.33] And peace on me on the day I was born, and on the day I die, and on the day I am raised to life”.
[19.34] Such is Jesus, son of Mary; (this is) the saying of truth about which they dispute.
[19.35] It beseems not Allah that He should take to Himself a ! son, glory to be Him; when He has decreed a matter He only says to it "Be," and it is.

On finishing recitation, when Jafar (may Allah be pleased with him) looked up, he saw the king and his entire close associated are all weeping, so much so that their beard were soaked in tears. This was (and still is) the impact of Holy Quran, book of Allah. The King said in weeping but determined tone,

“Certainly, this revelation and that which came to Jesus are from same source. You two (Makkans) go back, I’ll never hand over these people to you.”

Watching the impact of Quran, the Makkan delegate came up with an idea, they said. “Your royal highness, do you know what they say about Jesus?” This perplexed king as well, so he asked, “What are your beliefs regarding Jesus”.

Muslims thought for a second and then decided we’ll say only that which was taught to us by our prophet (peace be upon him”, so reply from Muslims was;

“Jesus was the slave of Allah, and his prophet, and his spirit that he introduced in virgin pure Mary”.

The King stood up and remarked, “By God, Jesus was none more than this”. “You two (Makkans) now get back at once and take away your presents with you as when God bestowed me this land, He did so without asking for any presents/bribe, so now when God’s word has reached me, how can I even think of accepting bribe to deny His words. I heard and I obeyed.”

Well, this was the story of first dialogue between Islam and Christianity. See the impact of Holy Quran, see the determination of Muslims and see the zeal to speak truth no matter what comes in front. And did I forgot to mention, ‘Abyssinia’ was the first country to come under Islam’s flag, and their kings also embraced Islam, Muslims remained there at peace while. Later few Muslims returned to their homeland when the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah on him) migrated to Madinah and later Makkah was conquered.

 

Collected and Revised
By
Hamadi Al-Aslani
Manager of Editing and Translation
B.A. Islamic studies
B.A. English language
Jeddah Dawah Center
With the compliments of www.worldreminder.com

 

 

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