1st Ramadhaan – Conquest of Egypt – Strict Negotiations – No Interfaith Prayers

1st Ramadhan 20AH during the Khilaafah of Ameerul Mu’mineen Umar Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu conquered Egypt. Hadhrat ‘Amr b. al-‘Aas Radhiyallahu Anhu was the commanding Sahabi Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu of the battle. This victory corresponds to the 16th August 641.

Virtues of Hadhrat ‘Amr b. al-Aas Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu

Hayaatus Sahaabah on page 484 (of the English) captures this incident:

Hadhrat Amr bin Al Aas Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu narrates that Rasulullaah Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam once sent a message to him stating,

“Get your clothes and weapons on and come to me.”

When he got to Rasulullaah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, Rasulullaah Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam said,

“I wish to send you out in command of an army. Allaah will keep you safe and grant you much booty. I shall also grant you a fine portion of the booty.”

Hadhrat Amr b. Al Aas Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu said,

“O Rasulullaah (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam) I did not accept Islaam for wealth but accepted Islaam for the love of Islaam.”

Rasulullaah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam said,

“O Amr! Good wealth is a fine thing for a good man.”

Hadhrat Amr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu Marches to Egypt

Hadhrat Khaalid Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu and Hadhrat Ubaadah Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu narrate that Hadhrat Amr b. Al Aas Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu marched to Egypt after Hadhrat Umar Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu had returned to Madinah (from Shaam). Hadhrat Zubayr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu followed him (with another battalion) and the two joined up when Hadhrat Amr b. Al Aas Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu reached a place called Ilyoon. There they were met by the chief priest of Egypt Abu Maryam who was there with another high priest and the Egyptian army. Maqoqis (the king of Egypt) had sent them to defend the country. When Hadhrat Amr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu arrived there, they immediately prepared to attack but Hadhrat Amr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu sent a message telling them that they should not be hasty and should first listen to their reason for coming, after which they could make a decision. The Egyptians were then called off and Hadhrat Amr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu sent a message stating,

“I am coming forward (to talk), so send Abu Maryam and he should come forth. The Egyptians accepted and each party guaranteed the safety of the other.”

Hadhrat Amr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu said to the two men,

You two are senior priests of this country, so do listen. Allaah has sent Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) with the truth and commanded us to follow it. Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam has conveyed this command to us together with every other command Allaah has issued. Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam then passed on. May Allaah’s choicest blessings and mercies be showered on him (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam).

However, he (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) fulfilled his duty and left us on a clear path. Amongst his instructions to us was to wish people well and we therefore invite you to accept Islaam. Whoever accepts shall be one of us and whoever refuses to accept shall be given the option of paying Jizya. We shall then do everything in our capacity to provide protection. Rasullullah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam informed us that we shall certainly conquer you people and advised us to be good to you to maintain the family ties that exist between us. If you accept this option (of paying Jizya), you shall have in your favour another right (of being family) in addition to the right of protection (that we will be obliged to give you). Amongst the commands that out Ameer had given are his words, ‘Treat the Copts well because Rasullullah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam has advised that the Copts should be treated well by virtue of the fact that they are relatives and deserve protection as well.”

To this, the Egyptians said,

“It is only the Ambiyaa who would maintain such distant relations. (Referring to Hadhrat Haajirah Radhiyallahu Anha, the wife of Hadhrat Ibraheem Alaihis Salaam, they said) She was a celebrated and honourable lady who was the daughter of our king. She belonged to the House of Manf who were the ruling family. However, the Hotise of Aynush Shams attacked them, killed many of them, seized the kingdom and the rest of them were forced into exile. She then became the wife of Hadhrat Ibraheem Alaihis Salaam. His coming was most welcome and a happy event for us. Do leave us in peace until we return to you (after consulting with the others).

Sahabah Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu Never Participated in Interfaith Prayers Rather they Firmly Propagated the Haqq with Firm Warnings

Hadhrat Amr bin Al Aas Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu said,

“You will be unable to fool the likes of me. You therefore have three days to ponder over the matter and to consult with your people. Otherwise (if you fail to return within three days) we shall have to attack you.” when the two priests requested an extension of time, Hadhrat Amr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu gave them an additional day. They then asked for more time and he added another day. –

They then returned to Maqoqis who seriously considered the alternatives. However, a person called Artaboon refused to submit and ordered an attack against the Muslims. The two priests said to the people,

“We shall do our best to defend you without returning to the Muslims. However, there are still four days left in which we can hope for nothing but peace from them,” The people of Farqab launched a surprise attack against Hadhrat Amr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu and Hadhrat Zubayr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu at night but Hadhrat Amr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu was prepared for the attack. He engaged the enemy and killed the people of Farqab along with those with them (Artaboon was also killed with them), after which the rest of them fled. Hadhrat Amr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu and Hadhrat Zubayr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu then left for Aynush Shams. Hadhrat Abu Haaritha and Abu Uthmaaan Radhiyallahu ‘Anhuma narrate that when Hadhrat Amr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu set up camp at Aynush Shams, the Egyptian people said to their king, what do you wish to do against people who have defeated Kisra and Caesar and occupied their lands? Enter into negotiations with them and draw up a treaty without yourself fighting them or leading us against them.” This took place on the fourth day. However, the king refused and the Egyptians attacked the Muslims. The Muslims repulsed the attack and Hadhrat Zubayr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu managed to climb the wall of their stronghold. When the Egyptians noticed this, they opened the gates for Hadhrat Amr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu and came out to enter into negotiations. Hadhrat Amr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu accepted their submission and Hadhrat Zubayr Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu descended the wall as conqueror.”

Source: Hayaatus Sahaabah pg 245 – 247

The Priest then Accepts Islam

Hadhrat Ziyaad bin Jaz states further, “Hadhrat Amr b. Al Aas Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu then sent a letter to the king of Alexandria, explaining to him the instructions that the Ameerul Mu’mineen had written to him. The king accepted the proposal and we then gathered all the prisoners with us. When all these Christian prisoners had gathered, we approached each one of them and allowed him to choose between Islaam and Christianity. When any of them accepted Islaam, we shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ louder than we did when conquering any town and took him into our protection. If any of them chose Christianity, the Christians would make a noise and take him into their protection. We would then impose the Jizya on him. When this happened, we were so grieved that it appeared as if one of us had defected to them. This continued until all the prisoners had been given the choice. Amongst those who came to us was Abu Maryam (whose name was) Abdullaah bin Abdur Rahmaan.”

Another narrator by the name of Qaasim says that he met Abu Maryam when he was chief of the Banu Zubayd tribe. Hadhrat Ziyaad bin Jaz continues saying,

“When we approached Abu Maryam whose parents and brothers were all Christians and gave him the choice between Islaam and Christianity, he opted to accept Islaam. As we took him into our protection, his parents and brothers darted across to pull him away from us and actually tore his clothing apart. However, he is now our chief as you can see.”

Source: Hayaatus Sahaabah pg 252

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