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The life of the Prophet Muhammad - Ibn Kathir - volume 2 of 4

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14 THE LIFE OF THE

14 THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD The Negus then said, "I swear, God took no bribe from me when He returned my kingdom to me. And He did not acquiesce to the people about me; so am I to acquiesce to them about him? Return their presents to the two envoys. I don't need them. And, you two, get out of my country!" The two men did depart in disgrace, with what they had brought having been returned to them. Umm Salama continued, "And so we stayed on there in comfort and security. "But soon a certain Abyssinian rose in revolt and challenged the rule of the Negus. And, I swear, nothing had ever caused us so much grief as this, since we feared that that rebel would defeat him and then there would he a king who might not recognise our rights as the Negus had done. "And so we began saying prayers to God, supplicating Hi to give victory to the Negus who went out to do battle. "The Companions of the Messenger of God (SAAS) then asked one another which one of them should go and witness the engagement to see which side would he victorious. "Al-Zubayr, one of the youngest of them, volunteered. "They then blew air into a skin which they attached to his chest and he set off on it, swimming across the Nile. He came out on the other hank, went to the site where the two sides were meeting and witnessed the battle. "God defeated and killed that rebel leader, giving the Negus victory over him. "Al-Zubayr then returned to us, waving his shirt and yelling, 'Rejoice! God has given victory to the Negus! "' Umm Salama concluded, "I swear by God we were never happier than at the Negus's victory. Thereafter we remained there with him, until some of us returned to Mecca while others stayed there." Al-Zuhri stated, "I related this hadith on the authority of Umrn Salarna to Wrwa b. al-Zuhayr and he asked, 'Do you know what was meant by the Negns's words? "I swear, God took no bribe from me when he returned my kingdom to me; so am I to accept a bribe about Him? And He did not acquiesce to the people about me; so am I to obey them about hi?"' "I replied, 'No; Aha Bakr h. 'Abd al-Ra?unm b. al-Haith b. Hisha, relating on the authority of Umm Salama, did not tell me that.' "Wrwa explained, 'Well, 'A'isha related to me that his father had been the king of his people and had a brother who had fathered twelve sons. Whereas his own father had only one son, the Negus himself. The Abyssinians discussed this among themselves and decided to kill the father of the Negus and to appoint his uncle over them in his place. For since the uncle had twelve sons of his own who would inherit the kingship, then Abyssinia would remain for a long time free from unrest. They therefore attacked and killed the father of the Negus and made his brother king.

IMAM ABU AL-FIDA' ISMA?L IBN KATHiR 15 "'The Negus then went to live with his uncle; eventually he had such influence over him that no one but he could direct his affairs. He was intelligent and judicious. When the Abyssinians saw his status with his uncle, they told one another, "We have seen how this young man ranks with his uncle, and we could never he safe if he ruled over us, because he knows we killed his father. If he became king, he would not fail to kill every nobleman among us. Let us therefore speak to the king about him so that he will kill or exile him from our land." "'So they went to his uncle and told him, "We have seen how this young man ranks high with you, but you know that we killed his father and put you in his place. We could never be safe if he ruled over us, for he would kill us. You should either kill him or exile him from our land." "'"What?" he responded, "You killed his father yesterday and today I am to kill hi! No, but I will exile hi." "'So they took him out and stood him in the market where they sold him to a certain merchant for 600 or 700 dirhams who put him aboard a ship and sailed away with him. "'When evening came, autumn storm clouds arose and his uncle went outside beneath them to pray for rain; he was struck by a thunderbolt which killed him. "'They then went in fright to his sons but they turned out all to be idiots, with not a good one among them. The Abyssinians were most disturbed at this and some said to others, "You realize, by God, that the only king fit to solve your problems is the man you sold this morning. If you are concerned about Abyssinia, then go and get him before he leaves." "'So they did set off to find him, located him and sat him on the throne and declared him king. "'The merchant then said, "Return to me my money since you have taken my slave from me." "'The Abyssinian replied that they would not and he said he would talk directly to the king. "'He went to him and said, "0 king, I bought a slave and those who sold it received the price for him. But then they acted unjustly with me regarding the slave by seizing him and not returning my money." "'The first thing told about the stability and justice of his rule was that he replied, "Let his money be returned to him or let the hand of his slave be placed in his own so that he may take him wherever he wishes." "'His people replied, "No, we will give him his money." And so they did. "'That is why he said, "God did not take a bribe from me, so am I to take a bribe when He returns my kingdom to me? And He did not acquiesce to the people about me; so am I to obey the people about him?"'" Miis2 b. Wqba stated, "The father of the Negus had been the king of Abyssinia but died when the Negus was a small boy. The king had entrusted him to his

  • Page 2 and 3: The Center for Muslim Contribution
  • Page 4 and 5: CONTENTS Foreword About this Series
  • Page 6 and 7: CONTENTS vii Chapter: On the birth
  • Page 8 and 9: In the Name of God, the Beneficent,
  • Page 10 and 11: ABOUT THIS SERIES THIS series of Ar
  • Page 12 and 13: CENTER FOR MUSLIM CONTRIBUTION TO C
  • Page 14 and 15: INTRODUCTION HE work at hand in its
  • Page 16 and 17: INTRODUCTION xvii rather rudimentar
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  • Page 22 and 23: INTRODUCTION xxiii Finally, the tru
  • Page 24 and 25: TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE xxv ave been i
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