This is another excerpt from Bill Warner’s book Mohammed and the Unbelievers, which is an abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sira. It skips poetry, avoids too many foreign names, and uses a modern language.
CHAPTER 6 TROUBLE
5:95 Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and be on your guard. If you do turn back, know that our Messenger is only bound to deliver a plain announcement.
All of the clans of the Quraysh began to persecute those Muslims they had any power over. If Mohammed attacked them, they would attack him through his converts. One slave, Bilal (to become famous later), was physically abused. He was placed in the hot sun with a huge rock on his chest and told to deny Islam. He refused. This was repeated until Abu Bakr, a chief Muslim, took notice and asked how long the owner would abuse him. The owner said, “You are one of those who corrupted him. You save him.” So Abu Bakr offered to trade a stronger, black, Kafir slave for Bilal. Then Abu Bakr freed Bilal. Abu Bakr did this with six other Muslim slaves as well.
MIGRATION TO ETHIOPIA
Since the Quraysh were resisting Islam and being hard on the Muslims, Mohammed sent many of his followers to Ethiopia as the Christian king there was tolerant of their religion. Eighty or ninety Muslims left Arabia to cross the Red Sea to Ethiopia.
The Quraysh decided to send two men to Ethiopia to persuade the king to send the Arabs back to Mecca.
They took gifts of fine leather goods since leather work was prized there. They gave the leather work to the generals of the king’s army and told them, “Foolish people from our country have moved here. They have forsaken their religion and have not accepted yours. They have an invented religion. Our nobles have sent us to see the king so that he will return these people to our country.” The generals agreed and went to the king to recommend he do as the Meccans had suggested. The king refused. To surrender someone to whom he had extended protection would violate his word, and his word was law and not to be changed.
I224 A member of the Abyssinian royalty, called the Negus, became convinced of the truth of Islam. He was accused by the Christians of leaving his religion. The Negus wrote on a piece of paper, “There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet. Jesus was a Muslim, born of Mary, conceived without a father.” He then pinned the statement under his shirt over his heart. [These are classical Islamic statements.] When the other Abyssinians accused the Negus of leaving Christianity and they said, “Jesus was the Son of God.” The Negus placed his hand over his heart (and the paper with the statement) and told the Christians, “I testify that Jesus was no more than this.” The Christians took him at his word and left him. When Mohammed heard this, he prayed for the Negus when he died. [This is a classical example of taqiyya, sacred deception.]