Introducing the Prophet of Mercy
For mercy there was sent a Prophet.
Not only to show it, preach it, and teach it, but to be it:
We have only sent you as a mercy to the worlds
(Al-Anbiya’ 21: 107)
In him mercy talked, mercy walked, mercy lived on the earth at one time.
That time began on Monday, the ninth of Rabi‘ I, in Makkah Al-Mukarramah [Makkah, the Honored]. This mercy was born of the noblest and purest lineage, from the best family among the Arabs, whose pedigree is traced back to Isma‘il (Ishmael (pbuh)), son of Ibrahim (Abraham r), the father of all the prophets (blessings of Allah3 be upon them).
Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdul-Mutalib bin Hashim bin ‘Abd-Manaf bin Qusai bin Kilab bin Murrah bin Ka‘b bin Luaiy bin Ghalib bin Fahr bin Malik bin An-Nadr bin Kinanah bin Khuzaimah bin Mudrikah bin Ilyas bin Mudar bin Nizar bin Ma‘d bin ‘Adnan, and ‘Adnan is from the children of Isma‘il, son of Ibrahim (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both).
With Prophet Muhammad r came the birth of the light that guides to the way of peace, mercy, and happiness.
There has come to you from Allah a light and a plain Book wherewith Allah guides those who seek His Good Pleasure to the ways of peace, and He brings them out of darkness by His Will unto light, and guides them to a Straight Path
(Al-Ma’idah 5: 15-16)
It is not possible to gather all the rays of this light in hands for humanity to read; but this book will try to draw closer to this most nobly-mannered man (pbuh), to his Message and mercy, begging help and support only from Allah.
Turning the pages of his noble, faith-filled, and faith-building life, and hearing the depiction given by a close eyewitness, Ja‘far bin Abu Talib t, to the Christian Emperor of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), nothing better can introduce the Prophet of Mercy r and the greatest aspect of this mercy, the bringing of humanity from darkness into light.
The light that shines from within through worshiping Allah alone and being Muslim.
We will sail backwards to hear Ja‘far’s words narrating the defeat of evil by the rebirth of good that Prophet Muhammad r makes happen in souls, and live with the first Muslims in the critical moment after they embraced Islam.
A group of persecuted Muslims left for Abyssinia where they sought asylum with its fair Christian king, who never wronged any of his subjects, just as the Prophet r had depicted him. The Quraish could not tolerate the prospect of a haven for the Muslims in Abyssinia, so they dispatched two sturdy envoys to demand their extradition on the grounds that they had abandoned the religion of their forefathers, and that their leader was preaching a religion different from theirs and that of the king.
The Negus summoned the Muslims to his royal court and asked:
The Negus: What is this religion for which you have parted with your people, and you entered into neither my religion nor the religion of any of these nations?
Ja‘far bin Abu Talib: O king! We were ignorant people who worshiped idols, ate dead meat, committed obscenities, severed the ties of the womb (kinship), ill-treated the neighbors, and allowed the strong among us to devour the weak.
We remained so until Allah sent us a Messenger from among ourselves. We know his descent, his truthfulness, his honesty, and his chastity.
He invited us to Allah, to believe in His Oneness and worship Him alone, and cast off the stones and idols that our forefathers and we used to worship besides Him. He ordered us to speak the truth, render back the trust, join the ties of the womb, treat the neighbors kindly, and refrain from bloodshed and things forbidden.
He forbade us from immoralities, making forged statements, devouring the property of orphans, and calumniating chaste women. He ordered us to worship Allah alone, associating nothing with Him, and to offer Salah9, pay Zakah10, and fast (Ramadan) Ja'far recounted to him the precepts of Islam].
We trusted him, believed him, and followed that with which he came. We worshiped Allah, alone, and associated nothing with Him. We considered forbidden that which he declared forbidden to us and we considered permissible that which he declared permissible for us. But, our people transgressed against us.
They have persecuted us to make us forsake our religion and revert from the worship of Allah to the worship of idols, and to make us deem as lawful the abominations that (in the past) we used to deem lawful.
When they oppressed us, wronged us, tyrannized us, and came between our religion and us, we immigrated to your country. We chose you over others and sought your protection. We hope not to be treated unjustly under you, O King.
The Negus: Do you have any of what (the revelations) he brought from Allah?
Ja‘far bin Abu Talib: Yes.
The Negus: Recite it to me.
Ja‘far recited to him the beginning of Surat Maryam (Mary: 19). On hearing the recited Ayat (Qur’anic verses), the Negus cried until his tears wet his beard, and the bishops of his realm cried until their tears wet their books.
The Negus: This, by Allah, and what Musa (Moses (pbuh)) came with emanate from the same lamp (source). Go, by Allah, I will never hand them over to you.
Yet, ‘Amr bin Al-‘As, one of the two envoys, swore to come the next day and censure them before the Negus, and tell him that they claim that ‘Isa (Jesus (pbuh)) was no more than a Servant of Allah.
'Amr bin Al-'As: O King! They say about ‘Isa, son of Maryam, a grave saying. Send for them and ask them about what they say regarding him.