The speech delivered by Ja‘far bin Abi Talib R.A to the Negus of Abyssinia to date is referenced as one of the most succinct and eloquent speeches that captured the moments of that era, and expressed the message of Islam concisely and clearly.
In the court of the Negus, Ja'far R.A eloquently expressed the beauty of Islam, reciting passages from Surah Maryam which caused the Negus and his bishops to shed tears. The Negus guaranteed safety and security for the Muslim refugees and returned the Quraish's gifts and envoys back.
After the second emigration of Muslims to Habsha (Abyssinia), Abu Jahl and Abu Sufyan, the two warlords of the pagans of Makkah, sent a delegation to Najashi asking him to expel the Muslims. The delegation brought many precious gifts for the king and his courtiers.
The envoys of Quraysh were Amr bin Al-As and Abdullah bin Abi Rabia (the two embraced Islam a few years later). The two envoys took valuable gifts for the king and his clergy in the hopes of convincing the king to return the new Muslims.
The pagan envoys presented their claim to the court, saying:
"O king, there is a group of evil people from among our youth who have escaped to your kingdom. They practice a religion that neither we nor you know about. They have forsaken our religion and have not embraced your religion.
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The respected leaders of their people, from among their own parents and uncles, and from their own clans, have sent us to you to request you to return them. "
The king looked toward his bishops, who had already been bribed. They said: "O king, they speak the truth. Their own people know them better and are better acquainted with what they have done. Send them back so that they may judge them themselves."
The king was angry with this response and said: "No, by God, I won’t surrender them to anyone until I myself call them and question them about what they have been accused of."
Najashi invited the Muslims at the court and asked their leader, Jafar,: "What is this religion which you have introduced for yourself and which has served to cut you off from the religion of your people? You also did not enter my religion nor the religion of any other community."
Jafar answered: "O king, we were a people in a state of ignorance and immorality, worshipping idols and eating the flesh of dead animals, committing all sorts of abominations and shameful deeds, breaking the ties of kinship, treating guests badly, and the strong among us exploited the weak.
He commanded us to speak the truth, to honor our promises, to be kind to our relations, to be helpful to our neighbors, to cease all forbidden acts, to abstain from bloodshed, to avoid obscenities, and not to appropriate an orphan’s property nor slander chaste women.
He ordered us to worship Allah alone and not to associate anything with him, to uphold Salat, give Zakat and fast in the month of Ramadan. We believed in him and what he brought from Allah, and we followed him in doing what he asked us to do while avoiding what he forbade us from doing.
Thereupon, O king, our people attacked us, visited the severest punishment on us to make us renounce our religion and take us back to the old immorality and the worship of idols.
They oppressed us, made life intolerable for us and obstructed us from observing our religion. So we left for your country, choosing you before anyone else, desiring your protection and hoping to live in justice and peace in your midst. Jafar R.A spoke these words to Negus.
Najashi was impressed and was eager to hear more. He asked Jafar: "Do you have with you something of what your Prophet brought from God? Please read this to me"
Jafar recited for him from Verses 19 to 32 of Surah Maryam in his rich, melodious voice.
Najashi stood up for Allah’s words and said: Certainly this and what Jesus had brought come out of one source. He turned to the Makkan delegates and said angrily: I won’t hand them to you and I’ll defend them. He ordered his courtier to dismiss the delegation and to return the gifts to them.
Negus then turned to Jafar and his group and said: "You’re welcome; your Prophet is welcome. I admit that he is the Apostle to whom Jesus delivered good news. Live wherever you like in my country."
The pagan delegation returned to Makkah with their gifts in despair.
The Negus guaranteed safety and security for the Muslim refugees and returned the Quraish’s gifts and envoys back to Makkah. The pagan delegation returned to Makkah with their gifts.
Negus said to the Muslims, Please go and live in safety and peace, far from any kind of assault, on the untouched part of my country. I will destroy anybody who harms you. "Even if they give me gold as much as a mountain, I will not sadden even one of you!"
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