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RESPECT!: An Islamic Tribute to HIM Haile Selassie & My Abyssinian (“Rasta”) Brethren

LettersRESPECT!: An Islamic Tribute to HIM Haile Selassie & My Abyssinian (“Rasta”) Brethren
July 31, 2008
 
The Editor Amandala
Sir,
 
1. Please find below an English translation of a letter sent in the sixth century of the Christian Era (C.E.) by the Prophet Muhammad (Salahallahu Alayhi Was-Salaam or May the Peace and Blessings of Allah/God Be Upon Him-SAW) to the Great King (or Negus) of Abyssinia or Ethiopia:
 
“In the name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful. It is from Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah – to the Great King of Abyssinia. Peace to he who follows the Guidance. As to what follows; verily, for you I praise Allah whom there is no God except Him, the King, the Holy One, the Source of Peace, the Trustee, the Protector, the Guardian. I bear witness that Jesus, the son of Mary, is the spirit belonging to Allah and His Word that He cast to Mary, The Noble, Chaste, Virgin, who then became pregnant with Jesus, then Allah created him from His Spirit and His Breathing. He was created in the same way that He created Adam with His Hand. Verify, I invite you to Allah the One who has no partner and I invite you to protected friendship with Allah, continuity and continuous governance in accordance with the will of Allah in obedience to Him. I invite you to follow me and to have absolute certainty in all that I come with. For truly, I am the Messenger of Allah and I invite you and your government forces to Allah, The Mighty, The Majestic. I have delivered the message and have given sincere advice – so accept my advice. Peace on him who follows the Guidance.”
 
2. In their introduction of the letter, the Nur Uz-Zamaan Institute states:
After suffering intense persecution from the pagan Meccans, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, instructed his companions – who had no tribal protection – to emigrate to Ethiopia (ard ul-Habasha).  He is reported to have said, “If you (all) would leave and go to Abyssinia (ard ul-habasha) (it would be better for you).  For verily, in it (i.e. Abyssinia) there is a king (malik) that does not do injustice to or oppress (la yadhlimu) anyone.  And it is a friendly country (ardun sidqun).  Therefore, seek protection with him until Allah brings about some relief from Himself for you.” So, in the 5th year of his prophecy the companions, may Allah be pleased with them, left for Ethiopia and found a safe haven. As Ibn Ishaq said in his seerah, “With that, the Muslims from among the companions of the Messenger of Allah left to go to Abyssinia (ard ul-Habasha); fearing the persecution (al-fitnah) and fleeing to Allah with their way of life/Religion (bi deenihim).  This was the first migration (hijrah) in Al-Islaam.”Above is a copy of the original letter sent by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to the king or Negus (an-Najashi in Arabic) years after the companions made hijrah there…This highly overlooked contact between this African ruler and the early, pre-Medinan Muslim community marks the beginning of Al-Islam on the African continent..
 
3. As a personal tribute to the late Emperor or Negus (Najaashi in Arabic) His Imperial Majesty, King of Kings, Haile Selassie the 1st, I am humbly requesting that you publish my letter for your readers and thereby assist me in belatedly contributing to this past weekend’s celebrations of his birthday (or “earthday,” as some of my Rasta brethren have styled it). In closing, let me say that this is a time of what we Muslims term rampant “Islamophobia,” or the irrational depredation of all things of an Islamic nature; as such, we Muslims need to share with our monotheistic brothers and sisters the fact that we share with them the same belief in ONE GOD as that of the great Prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus. It is my ardent desire to point out to all my Christian friends and colleagues the fact that, were it not for the gracious protection afforded the earliest adherents of the Muslim faith by the Negus of Ethiopia, a Christian King and direct ancestor of HIM Haile Selassie, I and many Muslims throughout the world may not have had a chance to embrace the “Deen” or faith of Islam; for that I say “RESPECT”!
 
Yours truly,
 
K. MUSTAFA TOURÉ; Email: [email protected]
 
SOURCES:
 
1. Nur Uz-Zamaan Institute Islam In Africa Webpage (http://www.nuruzzamaaninstitute.org/Islam_in_Africa.html), with a scanned copy of the original letter.
 
2. Arabic & English Translation of the Letter (http://www.nuruzzamaaninstitute.org/uploads/Prophetic_Letter_to_an_Najashi.pdf), including a rather lengthy ‘Afro-Centric’ essay about the letter.
 
P. S.: Emancipation Day Greetings to All!!!!

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