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Comparative Religion

Comparative Religion

 

           By Dr. Meskerem Melaku, FROM ETHIOPIA, Personal assistant and Executive Secretary of His Eminency Dr. Hazrat Mohammed Nurul Alam, 43rd Direct Descendent of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

 

               Submitted to: World spiritual institute of New York

                                                 January 2009

                                                                                                Addis Ababa Ethiopia

 

THE WORLD SPIRITUAL INSTITUTE OF NEW YORK USA HAS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THIS GIGANTIC DOCUMENT AS A UNIVERSAL PUBLICATION FOR WORLDWIDE PUBLICITY BY THE MILLENNIUM TRADE LINK USA CORPORATION WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT.

His Eminency Dr. Hazrat Shah Sufi M N Alam

President World Spiritual Assembly of New York

President/CEO Millennium Trade Link USA Corp

Dated: March 1, 2010

 

               ACKNOWLOGEMENT

 

         I would like to send deepest gratitude to my Spiritual Guide His Eminency Dr Hazart Shah Sufi Mohammad Nurul Alam for his patience immense interest to constant help, Valuable Suggestions and Corrective comments from the beginning to the completion stage of this study.

Introduction

The word religion is derived from the Latin noun religion, which denotes both earnest observance of ritual obligations and an inward spirit of reverence. In modern usage, religion covers a wide spectrum of meanings that reflect the enormous variety of ways the term can be interpreted. At one extreme, many committed believers recognize only their own tradition as a religion, understanding expressions such as worship and prayer to refer exclusively to the practices of their tradition. Although many believers stop short of claiming an exclusive status for their tradition, they may nevertheless use vague or idealizing terms in defining religion—for example, “true love of God,” or “the path of enlightenment.” At the other extreme, religion may be equated with ignorance, fanaticism, or wishful thinking.

By defining religion as a sacred engagement with what is taken to be a spiritual reality, it is possible to consider the importance of religion in human life without making claims about what it really is or ought to be. Religion is not an object with a single, fixed meaning, or even a zone with clear boundaries. It is an aspect of human experience that may intersect, incorporate, or transcend other aspects of life and society. Such a definition avoids the drawbacks of limiting the investigation of religion to Western or biblical categories such as monotheism (belief in one god only) or to church structure, which are not universal. For example, in tribal societies, religion—unlike the Christian church—usually is not a separate institution but pervades the whole of public and private life. In Buddhism, gods are not as central as the idea of a Buddha (fully enlightened human being). In many traditional cultures the idea of a sacred cosmic order is the most prominent religious belief. Because of this variety, some scholars prefer to use a general term such as the sacred to designate the common foundation of religious life.

Religion in this understanding includes a complex of activities that cannot be reduced to any single aspect of human experience. It is a part of individual life but also of group dynamics. Religion includes patterns of behavior but also patterns of language and thought. It is sometimes a highly organized institution that sets itself apart from a culture, and it is sometimes an integral part of a culture. Religious experience may be expressed in visual symbols, dance and performance, elaborate philosophical systems, legendary and imaginative stories, formal ceremonies, meditative techniques, and detailed rules of ethical conduct and law. Each of these elements assumes innumerable cultural forms. In some ways there are as many forms of religious expression as there are human cultural environments.

 

1. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

 

For centuries in the world has been remembered by different kinds of religion which has large number of followers or dominant religion they are Christianity, Islam, Jewish, and other religion.

 

Each religion has its own principles and rules. But because of ideological difference and the interference of one religion to the other they leads to conflict or it creates war.

 

The main concern of this research is to identify the similarity and difference of dominant religions and to dig out some important concepts by showing each religion or each followers of the religion have there own true principles and to come to mutual understanding or agreement.

 

1.1 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

 

     To identify similarity of each religion

     To assess the difference of each religion

     To assess the reason of religious war

     To know what religion is

     The time carried each religion come to the world and Ethiopia

1.2 METHODOLLOGY OF THE STUDY

 

      This research used the primary and secondary data, field observation and unstructured interview for the former literatures, books, Internet, etc… are used

 

 

1.3           SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

 

The study might provoke the concerned bodies in to future research for better assessment in the case of religion. 

 

1.4               SCOPE OF THE STUDY

 

Due to our world have large number of religion this research limited to assess only Christianity, Islam and Jewish.

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

2.                  Christianity, Islam and Juddism

2.1) Context of Christianity

 

What is Christianity? And major principles of Christianity

What is Christianity?

Christianity is a religion based upon the teachings and miracles of Jesus. Jesus is the Christ. The word "Christ" means anointed one.  Christ is not Jesus' last name.  Jesus is the anointed one from God the Father who came to this world, fulfilled the Old Testament laws and prophecies, Christ died on the cross, and rose from the dead physically. He performed many miracles which were recorded in the Gospels by the eyewitnesses.  He is divine in nature as well as human.  Thus, He has two natures and is worthy of worship and prayer.

Christianity teaches that there is only one God in all existence, that God made the universe, the Earth, and created Adam and Eve. God created man in His image. This does not mean that God has a body of flesh and bones.  Image means the likeness of God's character, rationality, etc.  Because we are made in the image of God, every person is worthy of respect and honor.  Furthermore, this means that we did not evolve through random processes from a single celled organism into rational, emotional beings.

God created Adam and Eve and put them in the Garden of Eden and gave them the freedom to choose between right and wrong. They chose to sin. Sin is doing that which is contrary to the nature and will of God.  For example, God cannot lie; therefore, lying is sin.  The sin of disobeying God that Adam and Eve committed resulted in them being expelled from the Garden of Eden as well as suffering the effect of death.

As a result of their sin, their children and all of us inherited a sinful nature.  In other words, our offspring are not perfect in nature -- we don't have to teach children to be selfish.  They know it naturally.  That which is sinful cannot produce that which is not sinful.

Christianity teaches that God is a Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, not three Gods), that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity, that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead physically, that all people are under the righteous judgment of God because all people have sinned against God.  It teaches that Jesus is the only way to be saved from the coming judgment of God and that salvation is received by faith in the work of Christ on the cross and not by anything that we can do to please God

 Where all other religions in the world teach that we must do some sort of good in cooperation with God in order to achieve the right to be in God's presence, Christianity is the only religion that teaches salvation by grace.  This means that we are not made right before God by our efforts, sincerity, or works.  Instead, we are made right before God by faith in what Christ did on the cross. 

Christianity further teaches that once a person is "born again" (becomes saved) that the Holy Spirit lives in that person and the person is changed:  "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come," (2 Cor. 5:17).  This means that God actually lives in the person and the Christian then experiences a true and living relationship with God.

Therefore, "What is Christianity?" is best answered by saying that it is a relationship with the true and living God through the person of Jesus Christ by whom we are forgiven of our sins and escape the righteous judgment of God.

(www.carm.org/seek/God.htm )

2.2 The Foundational Principles of Christianity

The Basics

There are five basic principles which constitute the foundational teachings of Christianity. They are, in effect, the five pillars of Christianity. They are listed here in chronological order.

                        Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture

                        Virgin birth and Deity of Christ

                        Substitutionary atonement of Christ

                        Bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead

      Second Coming of Christ

Note that one or two Scripture references accompany each topic. These are meant as examples, not as exhaustive proofs. It is dangerous to build too much from a single verse. But that does not mean that there cannot be one representative verse for a subject (which is how this presentation should be taken). Remember, this site is for an overview of Christianity, not a thorough discussion.

The Word of God

The Bible was given by God and is Truth. God, the Creator and Ruler of this world and universe, has given us His Book, the Bible. The Bible is to serve as a guide for life.

Jesus Christ is God

The title just above this sentence pretty much says it all. There is more to it than just that, however, since He was also human. There is a verse given here to show that Jesus was a man, but that point does not seem to be doubted by anyone. This section is needed to counter the notion that Jesus was a good man, a good teacher, an angel, or what have you, but not God.

Jesus Christ Died for Your Sin

When Jesus was executed by means of crucifixion, there was a divine reason. It was part of the death and resurrection of a perfect man, to take, in your place, punishment for your sin.


Jesus Christ Rose from the Grave

The death of Jesus would be meaningless without His subsequent resurrection. Not only would He not be that much different from other men, but also He would not have as much authority to grant us freedom from eternal death. Everyone still must face the death of the body, but Christians do not need to fear the death of the soul.

Jesus Christ Is Returning Someday

The hope which motivates us as Christians comes from our future home in heaven. Those who have acknowledged Jesus as their Savior and Ruler will be welcomed to eternal glory with Him. No one can know when the transition from this temporary earth will occur, but we have the promise of it.

2.3 Types of Christianity

*     Protestant

 *    Catholic

     *     Orthodox

Protestantism, one of the three major divisions of Christianity, the others being Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Protestantism began as a movement to reform the Western Christian church in the 16th century, resulting in the Protestant Reformation, which severed the reformed churches from the Roman Catholic Church. The declared aim of the original reformers was to restore the Christian faith as it had been at its beginning, while keeping what they thought valuable from the Roman Catholic tradition that had developed during the intervening centuries.

The four main Protestant traditions that emerged from the Reformation were the Lutheran (known in continental Europe as Evangelical), the Calvinist (Reformed), the Anabaptist, and the Anglican. Despite the considerable differences among them in doctrine and practice, they agreed in rejecting the authority of the pope and in emphasizing instead the authority of the Bible and the importance of individual faith.

The term Protestantism was given to the movement after the second Diet of Speyer (1529), an imperial assembly at which the Roman Catholic majority withdrew the tolerance granted to Lutherans at the first diet three years earlier. A protest was signed by six Lutheran princes and the leaders of 14 free cities of Germany, and Lutherans in general became known as Protestants. The term Protestant has gradually been attached to all Christian churches that are not Roman Catholic or part of the Orthodox or other Eastern Christian traditions. In the late 1990s the world had about 400 million Protestants (including some 64 million Anglicans), constituting about one-fifth of all affiliated Christians.

Microsoft Encarta 2007. 1993-2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The Protestant movement actually preceded the 16th-century Reformation. Several dissident movements in the late medieval church anticipated the Reformation by protesting the pervasive corruption in the church and by criticizing fundamental Catholic teachings.

Beginning in the 12th century, the Waldensians (see Waldenses), followers of the merchant Peter Waldo of Lyons, France, practiced what they believed to be the simple, uncorrupted Christianity of the primitive church. The movement, concentrated in France and Italy, survived violent official persecution, and during the Reformation many Waldensians adopted Calvinism.

In the 1380s the Lollards arose in England, inspired by the teachings of the theologian John Wycliffe. Wycliffe denied the authority of morally corrupted church prelates, rejected transubstantiation and other traditional teachings, and advocated biblical faith. The Lollards suffered persecution but survived to play a role in the English Reformation.

Wycliffe’s teachings strongly influenced the Bohemian reformer Jan Hus (John Huss), whose followers, called Hussites, reformed the Bohemian church and achieved virtual independence after Hus’s martyrdom in 1415. Many converted to Lutheranism in the 16th century.

Microsoft Encarta 2007. 1993-2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

A number of conditions in 16th-century Europe account for the success of Martin Luther and the other reformers as compared to their predecessors. Both the Holy Roman emperor (see Holy Roman Empire) and the pope were declining in power and were preoccupied with the threat posed by the Ottoman Empire. The invention of printing in the 15th century made possible the rapid dissemination of the reformers’ ideas. Finally, the growth of secular learning, the rise of nationalism, and the increasing resentment of the pope’s authority among both rulers and ordinary citizens made people, especially in northern Europe, more receptive to Protestant teachings.

( Microsoft Encarta 2007. 1993-2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. )

Judaism, religious culture of the Jews (also known as the people of Israel); one of the world’s oldest continuing religious traditions.

The terms Judaism and religion do not exist in premodern Hebrew. The Jews spoke of Torah, God’s revealed instruction to Israel, which mandated both a worldview and a way of life—Halakhah. Halakhah derives from the Hebrew word “to go” and has come to mean the “way” or “path.” It encompasses Jewish law, custom, and practice. Premodern Judaism, in all its historical forms, thus constituted (and traditional Judaism today constitutes) an integrated cultural system encompassing the totality of individual and communal existence. It is a system of sanctification in which all is to be subsumed under God’s rule—that is, under divinely revealed models of cosmic order and lawfulness. Christianity originated as one among several competing Jewish ideologies in 1st-century Palestine, and Islam drew in part on Jewish sources at the outset. Because most Jews, from the 7th century on, have lived within the cultural sphere of either Christianity or Islam, these religions have had an impact on the subsequent history of Judaism.

Judaism originated in the land of Israel (also known as Palestine) in the Middle East. Subsequently, Jewish communities have existed at one time or another in almost all parts of the world, a result of both voluntary migrations of Jews and forced exile or expulsions (see Diaspora). According to the American Jewish Yearbook, the total world Jewish population in the year 2000 was estimated at 13.2 million, of whom 5.7 million lived in the United States, 4.8 million in Israel, 530,000 in France, and 438,000 in the former Soviet Union. These are the four largest centers of Jewish settlement. Other significant Jewish communities are found in Canada (360,000), Great Britain (276,000), Argentina (200,000), and South Africa (80,000).

( Microsoft Encarta 2007. 1993-2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.)

Roman Catholic Church

 The largest single Christian body, composed of those Christians who acknowledge the supreme authority of the bishop of Rome, the pope, in matters of faith. The word catholic (Greek katholikos) means “universal” and has been used to designate the church since its earliest period, when it was the only Christian church.

The Roman Catholic Church regards itself as the only legitimate inheritor, by an unbroken succession of bishops descending from Saint Peter to the present time, of the commission and powers conferred by Jesus Christ on the 12 apostles. The church has had a profound influence on the development of European culture and on the introduction of European values into other civilizations. Its total membership in the late 1990s was about 1 billion (about 52 percent of the total number of affiliated Christians, or 16 percent of the world population). The church has its greatest numerical strength in Europe and Latin America but also has a large membership in other parts of the world.

In keeping with early Christian traditions, the fundamental unit of organization in the Roman Catholic Church is the diocese, headed by a bishop. The church comprises nearly 2,000 dioceses and 561 archdioceses, which are more distinguished sees (areas of jurisdiction) that have certain responsibilities for governance in the dioceses attached to them. The major church in a diocese is the cathedral, where the bishop presides at worship and other ceremonies. The cathedral contains the bishop’s “throne” or “chair” (Latin cathedra), from which in the early church he preached to his congregation.

( Microsoft Encarta 2007. 1993-2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. )

Orthodox Church

one of the three historic and distinctive types of Christianity, along with the Roman Catholic Church and the diverse body of Protestant churches. Orthodoxy is the form of Christianity that developed first in the Eastern Roman Empire (which spanned present-day Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East) and later in the Slavic lands of eastern Europe. The Orthodox Church sees itself as the authentic continuation of the first Christian communities established by the apostles of Jesus in the cities of the ancient Mediterranean world and spread by missionary activity throughout eastern Europe. Today most Orthodox Christians live in Russia, eastern Europe, or on the Balkan Peninsula, but there are also large Orthodox communities in North and South America as well as Australia, and smaller numbers in western Europe, Africa, and Asia. By the year 2000 the Orthodox Church had about 210 million adherents throughout the world. Of these, about 15 million are Greek-speaking; the rest speak Slavic or other European languages, or Arabic. Alternative designations, such as Catholic Apostolic and Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, and Eastern Orthodox, are also used in reference to the Orthodox Church.

Christianity began in the Roman Empire in the first century. It flourished especially in the eastern territories of the empire. By the end of the 4th century, it had become the official religion of the empire. By late in the 5th century the Roman Empire in the Latin-speaking West had fallen into political ruin, but it continued in the Greek-speaking eastern Mediterranean region for another thousand years, with a succession of emperors, a powerful army, and a lively Greek Christian culture. The later Roman Empire is commonly known as the Byzantine Empire, with its capital at the “new Rome” of Constantinople (now İstanbul, Turkey). After the 5th century the religious cultures of Greek-speaking and Latin-speaking Christians began increasingly to diverge, and cultural alienation set in. In 1054 the leaders of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians formally condemned one another for having introduced innovations into Christianity, and the alienation was given formal status as a schism (division). Since that time Christianity in eastern and western Europe has had decidedly different histories.

The Orthodox Church asserts that it professes the original Christian faith, transmitted accurately through the centuries from the time of the apostles. The word orthodoxy, in fact, comes from Greek words meaning “right belief.” The church finds this original faith in the Bible; in the writings of early church bishops or so-called fathers—such as Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, and Saint John Chrysostom; and in the ancient traditions of the church, especially as expressed in the rites of worship.

The Orthodox Church is very conservative in regard to doctrinal purity. Even so, this characteristic concern for continuity and tradition does not imply obsession with the past for its own sake, but rather a sense of identity and consistency with the original testimony of the apostles. The Holy Spirit, bestowed on the church at Pentecost, is seen as guiding the whole church “in all truth” (John 16:13). The power of teaching and guiding the community resides in certain ministries, particularly that of the bishop of each diocese, or certain institutions, such as councils. Nevertheless, because the church is composed not only of bishops, or of clergy, but of the whole laity as well, the Orthodox Church strongly affirms that the guardian of truth is the entire “people of God.”

( Microsoft Encarta 2007. 1993-2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. )

2.4  the similarities and differences between various Christian churches including Roman Catholic Orthodox and Protestant churches?

The main differences are that the Orthodox Church was founded by Jesus Christ in the year 33 AD and has continued unchanged for more than 2,000 years, whereas the Roman Catholics were formed in 1054 AD and the Protestants were founded as late as 1517 by Martin Luther, and have split into literally thousands of groups since then.

This does not mean that all Orthodox are going to heaven and all Protestants are going to hell. But it does show that they have a completely different history from their very foundation.

Another major difference is that the Orthodox and Catholics honors the Blessed Virgin Mary and venerate holy icon, but the Protestants do not. Icons are venerated and honored (in the same way that we would honor a picture of our mother or father) but icons are not worshipped. Worship is reserved for God alone.

The Protestants also place all their faith on the Holy Bible, whereas the Orthodox place equal emphasis on the Holy Bible and the Holy Tradition. The reason for this is because the Early Church for many centuries did not even have a Bible, let alone a printing press or a population that could read or write. So the oral traditions of the Apostles which they handed down to us became the Holy Tradition. After all, it was this same Holy Tradition of the Church that gave us the Holy Bible we have today, and this was many centuries before the Protestant groups had even emerged.

The Roman Catholics place great emphasis on the Pope, whereas the Orthodox do not accept the supremacy of one man over the whole church, as this has never previously existed in the history of the church. The Pope is the head of the Roman Catholics whereas Jesus Christ is the head of the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church has a collegial hierarchy of equal Patriarchs and other bishops who preside over church synods and councils, which is similar to what the Protestants have, who also do not have a Pope.

2.5 Historical background of Christianity in Ethiopia

The adoption of Christianity in Ethiopia dates to the fourth-century reign of the Aksumite emperor Ezana. Aksum's geographic location, at the southernmost edge of the Hellenized Near East, was critical to its conversion and development. The kingdom was located along major international trade routes through the Red Sea between India and the Roman empire. The story of Ezana's conversion has been reconstructed from several existing documents, the ecclesiastical histories of Rufinus and Socrates Scholasticus. Both recount how Frumentius, a youth from Tyre, was shipwrecked and sent to the court of Aksum. Frumentius sought out Christian Roman merchants, was converted, and later became the first bishop of Aksum. At the very least, this story suggests that Christianity was brought to Aksum via merchants. Ezana's decision to adopt Christianity was most likely influenced by his desire to solidify his trading relationship with the Roman empire. Christianity afforded the possibility of unifying the many diverse ethnic and linguistic peoples of the Aksumite kingdom, a goal of Ezana's leadership. Aksum was one of the earliest states to develop a coin system in order to service its sophisticated and prosperous economy. Emperor Ezana was the first world leader to put the cross on coins that are the earliest examples of Christian material culture from Ethiopia.

 

Remains of distinctive Aksumite church architecture have been located in Aksum, Matara, and Adulis. These are oriented basilicas with stepped podia, which are accessed by a monumental set of stairs. These churches include an apse with lateral square chambers, introduced into the design of basilicas along the south coast of Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine by the fifth century. The construction of churches is believed to have served the religious needs of the new administrative and military officials settling in expanded territories. The growth of the Aksumite state ended after the Persian conquest of South Arabia, which displaced the trade routes of the Red Sea.

 

While its origins are unclear, the Zagwe dynasty arose sometime during this period of reduced wealth and international prestige and probably lasted until 1270. The almost complete lack of surviving manuscripts makes it difficult to obtain a clear picture of the period. After the abandonment of Aksum, the previous political and economic capital, the city of Roha, now called Lalibela, was established as the ceremonial center of the Zagwe dynasty. Churches most likely based on Aksumite precedents were hewn out of living rock in the mountains of Lasta. The Church of the Redeemer, the largest and perhaps most famous church at Lalibela, may be an architectural copy of the Cathedral of Mary of Zion at Aksum. The interiors of these magnificent structures were covered with paintings and murals.

Yekunno Amlak's overthrow of the reigning Zagwe dynasty in 1270 marks the beginning of the Early Solomonic period (1270–1530). Amlak based his claim to legitimacy on an alleged lineage with the ancient rulers of Aksum originating with King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. This period was one of dramatic social and cultural change and development. Extensive international trade returned to Ethiopia since Europeans were seeking alternatives to trading along Islamic-controlled routes. This resurgence lasted until the Portuguese rounded the Cape of Good Hope. Evoking the legend of King Solomon, rulers of this period established royal churches lavishly decorated with wall paintings, gold ornamentation, and precious fabrics. These included the famous rock-hewn churches of Tegre and Lasta. Through affiliations with monastic leaders, these secular rulers used artistic patronage, including the recruitment of European artisans, to establish their authority and enhance their prestige. This interface with Europe exposed Ethiopian artists to new mediums, technologies, and aesthetic sensibilities. These influences are reflected in wall paintings through a shift from rigid frontality and the widespread use of geometric patterning to a three-quarter pose, a greater fluidity of line, and the use of modeling to describe three-dimensional volumetric figures. This new style contained elements of both Byzantine and Italian prototypes.

 

Monasteries, for example the Dabra Hayq Estifanos monastery in Amhara, were established as centers of learning. These complexes often contained extensive scriptoria for extraordinary illuminated manuscripts, of which very few survive. The labor-intensive work of the scriptorium was often considered a crucial dimension in a monk's spiritual training. There were many monasteries in the region of Lake Tana, including that of Fr Seyon, one of two known artists of this period. Seyon is credited with the development of the devotional Marian Icon images and style. Mary became an extremely important figure in the Ethiopian church when Emperor Zar'a Ya'eqob (r. 1434–68) mandated the reading of the Miracles of the Virgin Mary and that she be honored at most of the thirty feast days in the liturgical year. Zar'a Ya'eqob was particularly successful at utilizing the power of her visual imagery to publicly emphasize teachings about her centrality to Christian salvation.

 

The Islamic jihads of 1531 through 1543 by the neighboring state of Adal destroyed many royal churches, libraries, and monasteries, resulting in the loss of all of their records. Rare examples of the extraordinary royal patronage of the Early Solomonic period that survived were preserved in extremely remote, inaccessible monasteries. A long period of chaos followed the Adalite invasion, including subsequent incursions by enterprising groups seeking to fill the power void left by the fall of the Aksumites. In the seventeenth century, the significantly reduced Christian empire established the new capital of Gondar. Until its assault by Tigray in 1769, Gondar was the spiritual, artistic, and political center of the empire and therefore was a site for the principle scriptoria and painters' workshops, as well as architectural innovations.

 

While earlier Aksumite churches were circular, later constructions deliberately attempted to mimic those of the description of King Solomon's temple in the Old Testament. The churches built in Gondar have a square sanctuary with two aisles running along the periphery. The interiors are entirely covered in both murals and paintings that were commissioned by the wealthy elite in order to assist in their ascension to heaven. This was a period of intense artistic production, including, in particular, considerable quantities of icons devoted to the Virgin Mary.

 

The Ethiopian royal dynasty remained intact until the overthrow in 1974 of Haile Selassie, the last Christian emperor, by a military coup.

1.5                          Christianity to the Ethiopian society and its practices( division)

 Ethiopia is the second-oldest Christian state in the world, after Armenia. Saint Frumentius of Tyre is said to have converted the King of Axum, King Ezana during the fourth century AD. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, an Oriental Orthodox Church which is the largest Christian denomination in Ethiopia (it claims that 50% of the Ethiopian population are church members) and was part of the Coptic Orthodox Church until 1959, is the only pre-colonial Orthodox church in Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

According to the 1994 Census of Government and the CIA World Factbook, 61.6% of the Ethiopian population is Christian [1] (these figures further state that 50.6% are Ethiopian Orthodox, various Protestant denominations (such as the Ethiopian Orthodox Tehadeso Church, P'ent'ay, and the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, are 10.1%, and the Ethiopian Catholics constitute 0.9% of the population). However, data from surveys of the U.S. Department of States claim that just over 50% of the country is Christian (40 to 45% of the population belongs to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, about 10% are members of Christian evangelical and Pentecostal groups)

2.3 Historical background of Islam

2.3.1 Context of Islam

What is Islam? And major principals of Islam

What is Islam?

Islam is an Arabic word that denotes submission, surrender, and obedience. As a religion, Islam stands for complete submission and obedience to Allah - that is why it is called Islam. The other literal meaning of the word "Islam" is "peace." This signifies that one can achieve real peace of body and of mind only through submission and obedience to Allah. Such a life of obedience brings peace of the heart and establishes real peace in society at large.

 

Those who believe and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of God-indeed it is in the remembrance of God alone that the heart of man finds rest-those who believe and act righteously, joy is for them, and a blissful home to return to. (13: 28-29)

 

This message was preached by all the Prophets of God, who guided man to the right path. But man not only veered away from the right path again and again, but also lost or distorted the code of guidance that the prophets had bequeathed. That was why other prophets were sent to restate the original message and guide man back to the right path. The last of these prophets was Mohammed, who Presented God's guidance in its final form and arranged to preserve it for all time. It is this guidance that is now known as Islam and is enshrined in the Qur'an and the life-example (Sunnah) of the Prophet.

 

The basic Islamic concept is that the whole universe was created by God, whom Islam calls Allah, and who is the Lord and the Sovereign of the universe, which He Alone sustains. He created man and appointed for each human being a fixed period of life that he is to spend upon the earth. Allah has prescribed a certain code of life as the correct one for mankind, but has, at the same time, conferred upon man the freedom of choice as to whether or not he adopts this code as the actual basis of his life. One who chooses to follow the code revealed by God becomes a Muslim (believer) and one who refuses to follow it becomes a kafir (disbeliever).

 

A man joins the fold of Islam by honestly believing in and professing faith in the oneness of God and the prophet hood of Mohammed. Both of these beliefs are epitomized in the kalimah (the article of faith):

La ilaha illa Allah, Mohammed Rasul Allah. (There is no god except Allah; Mohammed is His Prophet.)

 

The first part of the kalimah presents the concept of tawhid (the oneness of God) and its second part affirms the prophet hood of Mohammed.

 

 What does Islam mean?

 

 islam isn't just a title or name of a religion, it's also a word in Arabic which is rich in meaning and has many connections to other fundamental Islamic concepts. Understanding the concept of "Islam," or "submission," is critical to understanding the religion which derives its name from it — not only can it make critiques of Islam better informed, but there are in fact good reasons to critique and question Islam on the basis of the concept of submission to an authoritarian god.

 

Islam, Submission, Surrender to God

 

The Arabic term 'islam means "submission" and itself comes from the term 'aslama, which means "to surrender, resign oneself." In Islam, the fundamental duty of each Muslim is to submit to Allah (Arabic for "the God") and whatever Allah wants of them. A person who follows Islam is called a Muslim, and this means "one who surrenders to God." It is thus clear that the concept of submission to the will, desires, and commands and God is inextricably linked to Islam as a religion — it's an inherent part of the name of the religion, of the religion's followers, and of the basic tenets of Islam.

 

When a religion originally develops in a cultural context where total submission to absolute rulers and total submission to the head of a family are taken for granted, it's hardly surprising that a religion would reinforce these cultural values and add on top of them the idea of total submission to a god. In modern society where we have learned the importance of equality, universal suffrage, personal autonomy, and democracy, though, such values seem out of place and should be challenged.

 

Why is it good or appropriate to "submit" to a god? Even if we assume that some god exists, it cannot automatically follow that humans have any sort of moral obligation to completely submit or surrender to the will of this god. It certainly can't be argued that the sheer power of such a god creates such an obligation — it might be prudent to submit to a more powerful being, but prudence is not something that can be described as a moral obligation. On the contrary, if humans have to submit or surrender to such a god out of fear of the consequences, it merely reinforces the idea that this god is itself unethical.

 

We must also remember the fact that since no gods appear before us to deliver instructions, submission to any "god" entails on a practical level submission to this god's self-appointed representatives as well as whatever traditions and regulations they create. Many criticize the totalitarian nature of Islam because it seeks to be an all-encompassing ideology which controls every aspect of life: ethics, manners, laws, etc.

 

For some atheists, rejection of belief in gods is closely connected with believing that we need to reject all totalitarian rulers as part of the development of human freedom. Mikhail Bakunin, for example, wrote that "the idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation of human liberty, and necessarily ends in the enslavement of mankind, in theory and practice" and that "if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish Him."

 

Although the comments above focus on Islam in particular, they should not be percussive as limited solely to Islam. Other religions also teach that the most important value or behavior for believers is to submit to whatever that religion's god wants. Usually this principle is only made explicit by conservative and fundamentalist believers, but while more liberal and moderate believers may downplay the importance of this principle, none go so far as to teach that it's legitimate to disobey or ignore their god.

 

PRINCIPLES OF ISLAM

BASIC BELIEF

                        Allah

                        Angles of Allah

                        Books of Allah

                        Messengers of Allah

                        Al Qadar

                        Akhirah

PILLARS OF ISLAM

1.                     SHAHADA (The First Pillar of Islam)

2.                     SALAH (The Second Pillar of Islam)

                        Performance of Wudu

                        Adhan (call to prayer)

                        Iqamah

                        Performance of Salah

3.                     ZAKAT (The Third Pillar of Islam)

4.                     SAWM RAMADAN (The Fourth Pillar of Islam)

5.                     Hajj (The Fifth Pillar of Islam)

                        Pilgrimage has innumerable benefits

                        Manner of Ihram

                        After assuming the Ihram

PILLARS OF ISLAM

In Islam there are five basic duties which Muslims must perform. They are known as the five pillars of Islam (Arkanul Islam). These are: Shahadah, the establishment of prayer (Salah), the payment of Zakah (paying the poor due), the Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah and Sawm Ramadan (fasting the month of Ramadan).

SHAHADA (The First Pillar of Islam)

 “La llaha illal-lahu Muhammad resululah“

“There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah“

This declaration is called “Shahadah”.

1.                     Shahadah means that there is only One Lord, Allah, the Creator, the Organizer, the Planner and the Sustainer of the Universe.

2.                     Shahadah means that Allah has the most Beautiful Names and Qualities mentioned by the Qur’an or Prophet Muhammad (SAW). ALL names and qualities of Allah are taken without changing their meanings or neglecting them. We should keep in mind that ”Nothing is like unto Allah” (Qura’n 42:11). Therefore, it does not meet with Majesty of Allah to be confined with a time or a place and it is not accepted that Allah existed in any of His creation including Jesus Christ (peace be upon him).

3.                     Shahadah means that Muhammad (SAW) is the messenger of Allah, Allah Says: “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah and the seal of the prophets” (Qura’n 33:40). “And whatever the messenger (Muhammad) gives you, take it and whatever he forbids you, abstain from it”. (Qura’n 59:1). “Say (O Muhammad) if you love Allah follow me Allah loves you” (Qura’n 3:31).

Therefore, whatever any one says may be taken or rejected as to whether his sayings are in accordance with the Book of Allah (the Qura’n) or with the tradition of prophet Muhammad (SAW) (Sayings and deeds).

In order to become a Muslim, you have to utter “Shahadah” by your tongue and your actions should confirm the meanings of Shahadah.

SALAH (The Second Pillar of Islam)

The second pillar of Islam is performing Salah (prayer). The Muslim is enjoined to perform five obligatory prayers every day to keep himself in relation with his Lord, to invoke and implore Him, and to refrain himself from committing lewdness or indecency. These prayers not only ensure psychological rest to the Muslim in this present life, but they also pave the way to him to gain eternal happiness in the hereafter.

To perform prayer, one should be clean, wearing clean clothes and perform prayer in a clean place.

The Muslim should always cleanse himself by pure water. He should remove all traces of stool, urine, or any other dirt. Before prayer the Muslim should perform Wudu (ablution).

Prayer is the pillar of religion. It succeeds in importance the Shahadah Therefore, it is not only a duty on the Muslim to observe performing prayers from his maturity up to his death, but he should also order his household to perform it. He should also order his children to start practicing it from the time when they are 7 years old so that they may be accustomed to perform it. Allah Says:

 “enjoined on the believers.” (Qur’an 4:103).Performing prayers at fixed times has been

The prophet (SAW) said: “The obligation which distinguishes betus and the unbelievers is prayer”. Therefore, whosoever resists prayer, becomes unbeliever. Prayer is a duty on the Muslim in all circumstances. Even if he is sick or frightened he should perform his daily prayers, standing, sitting or even lying.

The five obligatory daily prayers are the Morning Prayer (Fajr), the noon prayer (Zuhr), the afternoon prayer (Asr), the evening prayer (Maghrib) and the night prayer (Ishaa).

The time due to Morning Prayer begins at true dawn and extends until the sun rises. It should not be delayed beyond this span of time. The time for noon prayer starts from the Zawal (a little after the sun passes the meridian) and extends till one’s shadow becomes equal to its own length plus the length of its noon- time shadow. The time enjoined for afternoon prayer starts after the end of noon-prayer time and extends until the sun turns yellow. One must hasten to perform it while the sun is still bright. The time for Maghrib prayer begins soon after sunsets and lasts till the disappearance of the twilight. Its performance should not be delayed. The time for Ishaa prayer begins after the disappearance of the twilight and lasts till midnight. If a Muslim delays one of these five prayers, he commits a grievous sin. He should turn to Allah in repentance and refrain himself from recommitting it. The Qura’n warns those who delay their prayers from its fixed times.

 “Woe unto those who pray but delay their prayers from its stated fixed time” (Quran 107: 7-4).

Performance of Wudu (Ablution)

Wudu is the act of washing those parts of the body that are generally exposed. The water should be pure clean and fresh with no change in its colour, taste and smell. Wudu is done as follows:

1.                     Make a full intention of performing the Wudu for offering prayer and recite. “Bismillahir – rahmanir – rahim“, (in the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful).

2.                     Wash hands up to the wrists three times, passing the fingers in between each other.

3.                     Rinse your mouth with water three times.

4.                     Rinse the nostrils with water, sniffing up water and blowing it out.

5.                     Wash the face from the forehead to the chin bone and from ear to ear three times.

6.                     Wash the right arm followed by the left up to elbows three times.

7.                     Brush up the whole head with wet hands.

8.                     Pass the wet tips of the index fingers inside and the wet tips of the thumbs outside the ears.

9.                     Wash the feet up to the ankles three times. The right foot is washed first and then the left, taking care to wash in between the toes.

The same Wudu may be used for several prayers. However, if a Muslim urinates, defecates, passes wind or loses his consciousness for any reason after Wudu he should re-perform it again before prayer.

If a Muslim is in a state of major impurity (discharged semen in erotic dreams, or practiced intercourse … etc), he should clean his body by taking a bath. Women also should carry out this cleansing bath to purify themselves after menstruation or childbirth. Allah has disburdened women and exempted them from performing prayer during menstruation and childbirth till blood stops (for a maximum of 40 days according to some scholars or 60 days according to others).

If a Muslim is in a desert area or on a journey and finds no water, or if he fears that using water will harm him (because of sickness), he is permitted to purify himself by using good clean earth or sand instead of water. This is called, Tayammum, (purification with earth). It is done in the following way: you intend by heart to perform it, then you strike the dust (or sand) with your hands and wipe your hands over your face, your right hand by your left hand and your left hand by your right hand. Purification with earth is also permissible to women after the period of menstruation or confinement if water is not available, or if its could harm them.

Adhan (call to prayer)

The person who gives the Adhan is called the mu’azzin (Caller).

While calling for prayer, he stands in the Minaret or in the courtyard of the mosque, facing the Qiblah and raises his hands to his ears and calls out.

Iqamah

Iqamah is another call to prayer said just before the actual start of Salah. The following is aid (in Arabic language):

1.                     Allah is great twice.

2.                     I bear witness that there is no god but Allah once.

3.                     I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger once.

4.                     Rush to prayer once.

5.                     Rush to success once.

6.                     The prayer has begun twice.

7.                     Allah great twice.

8.                     There is no god but Allah once.

9.                     It is similar to Adhan except that after Hayya alal falah the following added:

Performance of Salah

A prayer consists of either two, three or four Raka’at: A Raka’at is performed in the following way:

1.                     Stand erect, facing the direction of Ka’aba in makkah, and make the Niyyat (the intention) in your mind of what prayer you are about to offer, preferably uttering t to yourself, Raise both hands up to the ears and say:

Bring them down or place the right hand upon the left below the chest and above the navel.

2.                     Recite the Opening Chapter of the Holy ura’n (the Fatiha):

\ .

Alhamdu lillahi rabbil aalameen, ar-ahmanir-rahim, maliki yawm-id-deen, iyyaka na’abudu wa iyyaka nasta,een; ihdinas-siratal mustaqeema sirat-alla-zina an,ammta alayhim ghairil magh-doobi alayhim a-lad-daaleen (ameen).

The meaning of this glorious sura can be translated as follows:

“In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Most-Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds The Most–Merciful the Most Compassionate. The Master of the Day of Judgment: You Alone we worship, and you Alone we ask for help. Show us the straight way, the way of those whom you have blessed, who have not incurred your displeasure, nor gone astray.”

These verses of Quran, and all other verses, should be recited in Arabic language.

Then recite a passage from the Holy Qur’an. For this purpose any one of the small chapters may be selected as, for instance, the chapter termed, ‘The Unity,”

Bismillahir rahmanir rahim

“Kul Huwallahu ahad, Allahus samad, lam Yalid wa lam yulad, wa lam yakun lahu kufuwan ahad”.

In the Name of Allah the Compassionate, the Most Merciful

“Say: He is Allah, the One, Allah, the eternally besought of all.

He begets not no is He begotten. And there is none comparable

Unto Him“.

3.                     Say: “Allaho-Akbar” and bow down in Ruk’u and say thrice:

Subhan Rabbiyal-azeem (How gloriois my Lord the Great).

4.                     Assume the standing position, letting the hands remain on the sides and say:

 (Allah has listened to him who has praised Him; Our Lord, praise be to you)

5.                     Saying” Allahu-Akbar” and prostrate to perform the Saidah, saying thrice: Subhan Rabbiyal-a’la (All glory be to my Lord, the Most High)

6.                     Raise yourself sitting for a which in a reverential posture, termed Jalsah and say once.

Allahummaghfirli warhamni. (O Allah ! forgive me and have mercy upon me).

7.                     Perform the second sajdah exactly in the same way as the first one. This finishes one Raka’at.

8.                     Say “ Allahu Akbar, stand erct once again, repeat all that done in the perfomance of the first Raka’at.

9.                     After the second Raka’at second Sajdan is over, say “Allahu-Akbar” and sit down in the reverential posture and recite.

 

10.                 If more than two Raka’at are to be performed, say “Allahu Akbar”, stand up again, and complete one two Raka’at as the case may be, sit down in the reverential posture which is also obviously adopted if the prayer consists of two Raka,at only. In that reverential posture, recite in addition to Tashahud, the Salawat

11.                 Turn your face to the right and say Assalamu-alaykum wa rahmatullah (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah). Then turn it to the let and repeat the same. Here the prayer is complete.  .

ZAKAT (The Third Pillar of Islam)

ALLAH ordained every Muslim who possesses a certain amount a certain amount of property to pay annually of these possessions the Zakah to the poor, or to the other categories mentioned in the Quran.

The minimum amount in the gold liable to payment of zakat is 20 miskals ( miskal is equal to 4 68 grams ) and the minimum amount of Silver is 200 dirhams ( dirham is equal to 3.12 grams ) or an equivalent some of current money to these amounts.

There is also a minimum amount for goods of commerce liable to payment of zakat as for grains, its minimum amount is 300 saa’a (about 650 kg ) .the minimum amount for real estates prepared for sale should be estimated in accordance with its value but if the real estate is prepared for lease, the estimation is consid ered in accordance with its rent.

The annual amount of Zakah fixed on money, gold, silver and goods of commerce is 2.5% As for cereals grins and fruits, the fixed amount of Zakah fixed on money, gold, silver and of 10% the crop is the yield of an easily irrigated land (i.e. a land irrigated by rivers springs or rain). On the other hand if the land is irrigated with difficulty by man mad means as pump or other lifting apparatus, the amounts of Zakah become only 5% Zakah of grains fruits and crops is due at the harvest time. In case if a land yields two or other harvests annually, one should pay the Zakah for each harvest independently the amount of Zakah due on camels, cows, and sheep is explained in books dealing with this subject. Zakah is enjoined by the Qura’n.

In fact, the Zakah has a wonderful social role. It soothes the poor’s feelings, satisfies their needs, and strengthens the bonds of mutual love among poor and rich.

Zakah is not the only mean that Islam has used to maintain social solidarity and cooperation among Muslims, but Islam imposed also on the rich to support the poor at times of famines. Islam prohibits the Muslim form being sated with food while his neighbor is hungry. Islam enjoined also Zakat-al-fitr (fitrfeast-Due) on all Muslims and has made it a duty on every one of them to distribute a saa (a cubic measure) of elementary substances for himself and a similar saa for each one of those whom he supports, including his servants. The amount should be distributed among the poor, before the prayer of Feast day. Islam imposed also expiatory gifts on the Muslim who commits perjury (that is to feed ten poor or clothe them, or to fast thee days, if he is unable to feed or clothe the poor). The Muslim is commanded to perform his vows, and practice voluntary charity. Allah promised to give the best reward for those who spend their money for His sake. Their reward will not only be multiplied to ten folds, but to 700 folds, or even to a boundless number.

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him), who said:

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There will be seven persons sheltered under the shade of Allah on the Day of Judgement when there will be no other shade be-besides His shade. They are: a just ruler; a young man who passes his youth in worship and service of Allah – the Lord of Honor and Glory ; one whose heart is perpetually attached to the mosque; two such persons who love each other for the sake of Allah, they joined together for His sake and parted for His sake; a man who is invited for sin by a rich beautiful woman but declines, saying: I fear Allah; One who gives charity in a secret way without making a show, in a way that his left hand does not know what his right hand spent; and one who remembers Allah in solitude so that his eyes overflow ( fill with tears).

(Bukhari and Muslim)

 

SAWM RAMADAN (The Fourth Pillar of Islam)

The fourth pillar of Islam is to fast during the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Hijri calendar.

Before the dawn of the first day of Ramadan, the Muslim in-tends to fast this month, and abstains every day from drinking, eating, or practicing sex till after the sun sets, He performs the fasting till the end of the month of Ramadan, fulfilling by that the commandment of Allah, and seeking His pleasure.

Fasting has innumerable benefits. When man refrains himself from lusts, abstains from eating and drinking for the sake of Allah, he does this only for one purpose; this is to obey Allah, worship Him and fill his heart with God-fearing.

Fasting has also innumerable hygienic, economic and social benefits which are perceived only be those who perform it with strong belief and sincere faith. The Quran states,

 “O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as was prescribed for those before you, so that you may be God-fearing”…

“The month of Ramadan, in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of guidance and the criterion (of right and wrong), whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and who is sick or on a journey let him fast the same number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desire not hardship for you. You should complete the period and you should magnify Allah for having guided you and you may be thankful.” (Qur’an 2: 183 – 185).

According to rules of the Qur’an and the prophetic traditions it is permissible for a sick Muslim, a Muslim travelling on a journey, a menstruating woman, or a confined woman not to fast, but to make up for what they missed.

Foster-mothers and pregnant women are also permitted to break their fast if fasting will harm them or their babies, but they should compensate this fully by fasting other equal days. If man drinks or eats absent-mindedly which fasting, he should get out what is still in his mouth as soon as he remembers that he is fasting. In this case his fasting is not broken and he can continue his fasting.

 

Hajj (The Fifth Pillar of Islam)

Pilgrimage (Hajj) is the fifth pillar of Islam. It is a duty for a Muslim to perform pilgrimage to the House of Allah once in lifetime, however it is permissible to him to do pilgrimage voluntarily more than once.

Pilgrimage has innumerable benefits:

1.                     In fulfilling this service, man expresses his devotion to Allah, not only by performing rites which need physical effort, but he expresses also his deep spiritual devotion to Allah and spends of his money for His sake.

2.                     Pilgrimage is an annual Muslim-congress, attended by Muslims from all over the world.

Muslims in pilgrimage meet in one place, Makkah, dressed in one uniform, worshipping Allah, the One God, and performing the same rites during the fixed period of Hijj. There is on discrimination between them since all are Allah’s bondsmen. No white man has preference over a black man, neither the rich over the poor. In this way, Muslims are acquainted one to the other, cooperate one with the other, and they remember the day when they will be resurrected and gathered before Allah who will account them for their deeds. Thus they prepare themselves for the Hereafter and do their best to obey Allah, their Lord.

The Kaaba is the Qibla of all Muslims. They direct their faces towards it when they perform their prayers. It should be well-Known that all the rites of pilgrimage, as circumambulating round the kaaba, attending Arafat, Muzdalafa, and staying for several for several days in Mina have one objective that is to worship Allah according to the method He commanded during the time He fixed. Worshipping is neither dedicated to the Kaaba nor to any of these other places which are no more than objects created by Allah and that can never bring benefit or cause harm to any one. Worshipping is dedicated to Allah alone, the Lord of everything, Who alone has the Absolute Sovereignty and Power.

According to Muslim faith, all forms of worshipping are enjoined by Allah and should never be based on individual judgement or taste. Therefore, hadn’t Allah commanded people to perform pilgrimage to the Sacred House at Makkah, Muslims would have never performed it. Allah say in the Qur’an:

 

Performing Umra (a lesser pilgrimage) once in lifetime is also a duty that a Muslim should fulfil either in Hajj time or in any other time.

It is not an indispensable duty for every Muslim to visit the Mosque of the prophet in Al-Madina in Hajj-time or in any other time, but this is an advisable deed and who performs it will be recompensed by Allah.

The Muslim leaving for Madina intends to visit the mosque of the prophet. When he arrives there, he prays in mosque and then visits the tomb of the prophet (SAW). The visitor salutes the prophet politely and leaves the place adopting by that the same manner that the companions of the prophet used to do. He should not ask the prophet or supplicate for any thing from him. In fact those who supplicate the prophet (SAW) for help or ask him for what they need, are committing idolatry and the prophet is innocent of their ill deeds.

After visiting the prophet’s mosque the pilgrim visitor also visits the tombs of Baqeih. He should ruin his noble pilgrimage .The prophet (saw) said: whatever flesh that comes grow out of illicit gains is rather doomed to Hell-fire. It also advisable for the pilgrimage to select a man of good faith to accompany him on the pilgrimage- journey. The pilgrim, whether travelling by car or train, assumes the Ih-ram as soon as he arrives at the miqqat (the station for Ihram), and the pilgrim by plane, assumes Ihram when he approaches the miqqat. According to prophetic traditions, there are five mawaqit (five stations for Ihram):

1.                     Zul Hulaifa ( abyar ali): for pilgrims from madina.

2.                     Al- Jahfa, place near, rabigh, for people coming from the direc-tions of Syria, egypt and maghrib.

3.                     Qarn al- manazil, for peolep coming from najd, al-Taif and oth-er regions of that direction.

4.                     Zat Irq, for people coming from Iraq.

5.                     Yal, for people coming yemen.

These mawaqit are not only people coming from the above- mentioned regions, but for those who travel by these ways.

As for inhabitants of Makkah and those who live within the area bounded by these mawaqit, they assume their Ihram from their homes?

2.3.2 Historical background of Islam

In the Arabic language, the word Islam means “surrender” or “submission”—submission to the will of God. A follower of Islam is called a Muslim, which in Arabic means “one who surrenders to God.” The Arabic name for God, Allah, refers to the God worshiped by Jews and Christians. Islam’s central teaching is that there is only one all-powerful, all-knowing God, and this God created the universe. This rigorous monotheism, as well as the Islamic teaching that all Muslims are equal before God, provides the basis for a collective sense of loyalty to God that transcends class, race, nationality, and even differences in religious practice. Thus, all Muslims belong to one community, the umma, irrespective of their ethnic or national background.

Within two centuries after its rise in the 7th century, Islam spread from its original home in Arabia into Syria, Egypt, North Africa, and Spain to the west, and into Persia, India, and, by the end of the 10th century, beyond to the east. In the following centuries, Islam also spread into Anatolia and the Balkans to the north, and sub-Saharan Africa to the south. The Muslim community comprises about 1 billion followers on all five continents, and Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world. The most populous Muslim country is Indonesia, followed by Pakistan and Bangladesh. Beyond the Middle East, large numbers of Muslims live in India, Nigeria, the former republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and China.

One of the reasons for the growth of the Muslim community has been its openness to new members. Children born to Muslim parents are automatically considered Muslim. At any time, a non-Muslim can convert to Islam by declaring himself or herself to be a Muslim. A person’s declaration of faith is sufficient evidence of conversion to Islam and need not be confirmed by others or by religious authorities

Around the year ad 570 Muhammad, the founding prophet of Islam, was born in Mecca, at the time the central city of the Arabian Peninsula. Some 40 years later Muhammad started preaching a new religion, Islam, which constituted a marked break from existing moral and social codes in Arabia. The new religion of Islam taught that there was one God, and that Muhammad was the last in a series of prophets and messengers. Through his messengers God had sent various codes, or systems of laws for living, culminating in the Qur’an (Koran), the holy book of Islam. These messengers were mortal men, and they included among many others Moses, the Hebrew prophet and lawgiver, and Jesus, whom Christians believe to be the son of God rather than a prophet.

During the early 7th century, a trader named Muhammad was meditating in a cave near Mecca in what is now Saudi Arabia, when he experienced a vision of the archangel Gabriel who declared Muhammad to be a prophet of God. Other revelations followed, and Muhammad began to preach to others, reciting in verse the instructions he had received from God. These revelations became the Koran, the sacred scripture of Islam. In this passage from Muhammad’s teachings, he teaches his followers, called Muslims, to lead a righteous life through their faith and works.

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Islam also taught that the Christian Bible (which includes the Hebrew Bible as the Old Testament and an additional 27 books referred to as the New Testament), and the Qur'an were all holy books. According to the Qur’an, the two earlier Scriptures had been altered over time from their original forms given by God, while the Qur'an would remain perfect, preserved by God from such distortion. In addition to distinguishing itself from the Hebrew and Christian traditions, the new religion taught that the God of Islam had provided humanity with the means to know good from evil, through the prophets and the Qur’an. Therefore, on the Day of Judgment people will be held accountable for their actions.

Muhammad’s teachings met with severe and hostile opposition, and in the year 622 he left Mecca and sought refuge in the city of Yathrib, as a number of his followers had already done. Upon Muhammad's arrival, the name Yathrib was changed to Medina (meaning “the city”). The date of Muhammad's immigration was later set as the beginning of the 12-month lunar Islamic calendar.

 

2.3.3 Historical background of Islam in Ethiopia

There is a common and established image and understanding about the spread of Islam in the world. Several people including intellectuals who write on the issue assume that Islam is a militant religion. Samuel P. Huntington, for example, in his so called thesis of “clash of Civilizations”, described Islam as a militant religion starting from its origin. However, one can find Ethiopia, the first country, which allowed the migrants of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) to exercise their faith peacefully. His Eminency Dr. M. N Alam 43rd direct dissecent of the Prophet of Islam, president of the world spiritual assembly New York USA, UN Head Quarter  Permanent representative of the UNECA, Addis Ababa since 1985 and 2004 visited this country. He has been here for the great respect of king Nejash and his contribution for the Prophet of Islam. I am lucky that I got to know him and took several life changing knowledge and experience. While I was trying to grasp knowledge of Islamic thought, His Eminency told me that, Ethiopia is a shelter for the good people as well as for the bad people. This shows that this country is an umbrella for those who were following the doctrine of Islam and for those who couldn’t find a place in their home place. During that time the king who ruled Abyssinia was a Christian king. This paper deals with biography of this great king Nejash. He was the contemporary of Prophet Mohammed. It was during his time that Arabian society including near and dear relatives of the Prophet Mohammed refused to accept Islam, which was introduced for the first time then by the last prophet of Islam and mankind. Because of this, the Prophet of Islam sent his people to Abyssinia. The king received them and asked about their faith, they answered that it is a monotheistic belief by refering some versions of the Holy Quran. His Eminency Dr. Alam’s opinion is that “human being is a crown creation of God. Descendents of Abraham, the Jewish, Christian and Muslim are cousin brothers”.   The king was convinced by Islamic teaching in accordance of the holy Quran and allowed them to practice their religion in the Abyssinian territory. So that today, in Ethiopia there are approximately 50% Muslim population while there are 20% Muslims in the African region.  Since then Islam has been practiced peacefully in all parts of Ethiopia. Till now there is a 100% freedom of the practice of Islam due to the current government’s effort of religious freedom in the country. In the later days, the king himself was convinced by Islam and became a believer of the faith

“The first Muslims in Ethiopia were refugees from Mecca, persecuted by the new leading tribe, the reactionary Quraysh. They were honerly received by the ruler of Ethiopia, whom Arabic tradition was named Ashama ibn Abjar, and he settled them in Negash. Located in the northern Tigray province, Negash is the historical center of Islam in Ethiopia and parts of East Africa” Berry (1991).

Due to this, The Prophet of Islam ordered all Muslims not to declare Jihad on Ethiopia. What makes Islam peculiar in Ethiopia, unlike from the rest of the world, is that, in the first place it was preached, spread and accepted peacefully throughout the whole territory of Ethiopia. Secondly, Islam always co-existed in peace with other religions. That is why that one can find family members in Ethiopia who exercise different religions in the same roof. I will try to say more on Islam and Ethiopia in the near future. This paper assess the background of the introduction of Islam to Ethiopia (the then Abyssinia). For this reason the lion’s share of the story gives emphasis on King Nejash.

 

KING NEJASH (Negash) OF ABISSYNIA:**

(Most powerful Christian King became Muslim over 1400 years ago by the influence of the founder of Islam, the Prophet Mohammad (SAW), the first refugee Asylum proclaimed and introduced to the world history)

 

There is a common and established image and understanding about the spread of Islam in the world.  Several people including intellectuals who write on the issue  assume  that  Islam  is  a  militant  religion. Samuel P. Huntington,  for example, in his so called thesis of “clash of Civilizations”, described Islam as a militant  religion starting from its origin.   However, one can find Ethiopia, the first country, which allowed  the migrants of Prophet  Mohammad (SAW) to exercise  their  faith  peacefully. His  Eminency  Dr.  M.  N  Alam  43rd    direct descendent of the Prophet of Islam, President of the World Spiritual Assembly, UN Head Quarter, New York, USA, Permanent representative of the UNECA, Addis Ababa since 1985 and 2004 visited this country.   He has been here for the great respect of king Negash and his contribution for the Prophet of Islam. His Eminency expressed that, Ethiopia is a shelter for the good people as well as for the  bad people. This shows that this country is an umbrella for those who were following the doctrine of Islam and for those who couldn’t find a place in their home place. During that time the king who ruled Abyssinia was a Christian king.   This paper deals with biography of this great king Negash.  He was the contemporary of Prophet Mohammed (SAW).  It was during his time that   Arabian   society   including   near   and   dear   relatives   of   the   Prophet Mohammad (SAW) refused to accept Islam, which was introduced for the first time then  by the  last prophet  of  Islam and  mankind.    Because of this, the Prophet of Islam sent his people to  Abyssinia.   The king received them and asked  about  their  faith,  they  answered  that  it  is  a  monotheistic  belief  by peacefulness and recited some verses of the Holy  Quran.   His Eminency Dr. Alam’s opinion is that “human being is a crown creation of God.  Descendents of Abraham, the Jews, Christians and Muslims are cousin brothers”.    The king was  convinced  by  Islamic  teaching  in  accordance  of  the  holy  Quran  and allowed them  to practice  their  religion in the Abyssinian territory.   So that today, in Ethiopia there are approximately 55% Muslim population while there are 20%  Muslims in the African region.   Since then Islam has been practiced peacefully in all  parts of Ethiopia.   Till now there is a 100% freedom  of the practice of Islam due to the current government’s effort of religious freedom in the country.  In the later days, the King Negash himself was convinced by Islam and became Muslim.

 

“The first Muslims in Ethiopia were refugees from Mecca, persecuted by the new  leading tribe, the reactionary 0o3.   They were honorly received by the ruler of Ethiopia, whom Arabic tradition was named Ashama ibn Abjar, and he settled them in Negash.  Located in the northern Tigray province, Negash is the historical center of Islam in Ethiopia and parts of East Africa” Berry (1991).

 

Due to this, The Prophet of Islam ordered all Muslims not to declare Jihad on Ethiopia.   What makes Islam peculiar in Ethiopia, unlike from the rest of the world,   is   that,  in  the  first  place  it  was  preached,  spread  and  accepted peacefully throughout the whole territory of Ethiopia. Secondly, Islam always coexisted in peace with other religions.  That is why that one can find family members in Ethiopia who exercise different religions in the same roof.

 

For  centuries,  the  then  Abyssinia,  Ethiopia  had  been  remembered  as  an Orthodox  Christian  state. There  was  no  separation  of  state  and  religion, secularism.  This makes the perception towards this state is that; Ethiopia is a state  of  Christians.         It  is  true  that  several  brutal  rulers  of  the  kingdom slaughtered  Muslims.         It  is  also  true  that  Muslims  were  considered  as secondary   citizens.   In   addition,   forceful   conversion   of   their   belief to Christianity was evident particularly during the reign of King Yohannes 4th.

 

This kind of system and perception towards  the system does not only have domestic consequences.  In addition, the perception and understanding of the international   community   towards   Ethiopians   Muslims   has   been   blurred. People know Ethiopia by its Christian kingdom and Christian kings.  Due to lack of the  separation of state and religion, also, the history of this country was recorded by the church.

King Nejash

Since Ethiopians evacuated from Yemen, the relationship with the Arabian Peninsula was interrupted. According to several Arabian authentic history and resourceful record, between the years 575-630 G.C, there were two attention-seeking kings in Ethiopia. The first king was ruling the state of Abissinya or the Habesha peole before the Holy Koran came in to existence as a guiding document of human beings. The second one lived during the era of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). The former one was known by the name Abhar while the latter’s name is Ashama Ibn Abhar. Ashama had a friendly relationship with the Arab world.

After a successful coup detats on the throne of king Abhar, he was assassinated. Architects of the coup brought his brother to the throne (who was the uncle to Ashama). Due to the fear of revenge from Ashama for his father’s death, they excluded him from rivalry to power.

According to Abubakar Bin Abdurahuman, Prophet Mohammed’s beloved wife Aisha (RA) said, “Except Nejash (Ashama), Abhar had no child at all. But his uncle who became a king had twelve sons and daughters. They were all members of the Habesha Royal family. The coups d’tat and assassination was also based on this calculation of lack of children except one Nejash”. The young Nejashi was obliged to live with his uncle. During his childhood, he was smart and able to attract the attention of his uncle. This success and attention seeking created insecurity within the coup makers. They demanded his uncle to avoid him or warned that they will kill Nejash. The king (his uncle) refused the plan of the assassination. And he suggested them to make Nejashi far away from the territory of their state. They took him to the market and sold him as a slave for 6 dihram and send him by boat to abroad. During the same night, the king was dead by a wave while he was praying in order to get a rainfall. All the sons of the king were unfit to the Palace. There were demands to appoint Al-Nejash as a king. Most people agreed on the suitability of his ability to become the king’s successor. “The responsibility of the kingship can only be accomplished by the boy who was sold this morning. If you are concerned for the Habesha people, bring him back.” Suggestions were strong like this.

 

By hardship they somehow found Prince Nejash and bring him back to the capital city. They gave him the throne. And he stayed as a king of Habesa until he passed away by the 9th year of the Hijira (Muslim calendar), as Prophet Mohammed migrated from Mecca to Medina. There are several names that are sited in different historical documents. For example Pankhurst and Hancock call him Armah. Tadesse identified him as AL-Asmaha, son of Abdjar and father of Arma. Munnro Hay refers to him as Asmaha Ibn Abjar. And others called him as Ashama, the Kings local name. His Eminency Dr. Alam 43rd direct decendent of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) acknowledged the information from the Hadis and several references of Islamic scholars quoted as the king Nejash as a great King of Abissynia became a Muslim in the beginning of the 7th Century from the Prophet Mohammed influence. After the king received Islam, the Prophet Mohammed put his name as Ahmed Al- Negash. His family members also accept Islam. And he was died after 15 years he left his kingdom of Aksum to Wukro which is found 60 kilo meters north of Mekele. He established spiritual kingdom with Negash’s new vision of Islam to preach Islam around the Abyssinian territories and across the African countries of Algeria, morocco, South Africa, Mauritania, Cameroon, Zambia, Nigeria, and other African territories. King Nejash died in 630 AD in his spiritual kingdom of Negash town and he was lay down in front of the Negash mosque with Prophet Mohammed’s important suhabis. They were trying to cross to Mecca but due to their old ages they are sick by the undesirable mysterious diseases. So that he couldn’t attend Haji (pilgrimage) and had no chance to meet the Prophet Mohammed directly. But his near and dear children and relatives succeeded to meet the Prophet in Medina, 630kms from the Holy city of Mecca. When the Prophet received the messages of the death of King Ahmed Al-Negash Prophet with his Caliphs and followers celebrate the prayer Gavai of Jenaza in holy Medina mosque. We feel proud the powerful orthodox Christian king become a Muslim caliph for African region. He preached Islam about 15 years in the African territories including Abyssinia. So that today 55% Muslim in Ethiopia. 95% in Cameroon, 65% in Nigeria, 80% in Sudan, 25% in Kenya are believed to be Muslim citizens.  

 R. Rudol Unf (western scholar who studied the Arabian and Ethiopian History), in his book, 2nd edition page 249: stated that “Historians agreed that, there was a king during the Era of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) in Ethiopia by the Name Asmaha (Armaha II).  There are archiological findings of coins minted by his name. The text on the coins reads as ‘king Armaha, the kind and peaceful one.’ Asmaha (Armaha II) is another name of King Nejash. The administration of the king prevailed justice and peace in the territories.

 

2,3,4 Major practice of Islam in Ethiopia

 

  The First March to Ethiopia

 

In the book written on the biography of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), Ibn Eshaq said the following:

“The Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) realized that he could not protect his followers form the attacks, and said ‘go to the Habesha, there is a Christian king there. There is justice in his kingdom. Habesha is the land of truth. Therefore, go there until we achieve victory with the help of Allah’ ”.

Amu Aymen, an Ethiopian woman, had influenced the psychology of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). She was the slave of Abdalah Bin Abdul Mutolib. She was there when Abdalah married the prophet’s mother, Amina. In addition, Amu Aymen was behind Amina when she gave birth to the Prophet. While Amina went to visit her relatives in Medina, Amu Aymen feed her breast to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Amina could not come back to Mecca, rather passed away while she was in the middle of her journey. Since then, Amu Aymen along with Arabian mother Halima, became the second mother of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). She nourished the Prophet while he was living with his grandfather Abdel Mutolib and his uncle Abu Tualib. The Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) witnessed this after he became matured by saying “she has been my second mother”.

This historical attachment made the Prophet to love and to have a positive attitude towards Habeshians. Therefore, Islam was introduced to Ethiopia before the majority sections of the quraysh societies in Mecca accepted it. The Prophet sent his relatives and intimate friends to Ethiopia (Habesha) due to the above-mentioned strong attachments that created confidence to him on the king and his people. By the leadership of Osman Bin Afwan, third Kalif of Islam and son in law of Prophet Mohammed along the Prophet’s daughter 120 people among them 26 are women, left Mecca to Abissynia.

Habesha became the first Diaspora for Islam. It was not a simple incident; rather there was prior trade and economic ties between the Habeshans and the Arab world.

The first march (Hijira) in 615 AD had a group of eleven men and four women. The list of the Sahhbas who migrated to Ethiopia in the first march includes the following.

1.                     Osman Bin Affan

2.                     Rukya Bint Resul (Mohammed)-The wife of Osman

3.                     Abu Huzeyfa Bin Outba

4.                     Shelet Bin seid-wife of Abu Huzeyfa

5.                     Zubeyr Bin Al-Awam

6.                     Musab Bin Oumr

7.                     Abdurahman Bin Awuf

8.                     Abu Selemah Bin Abdel Ased

9.                     Amu Selemah- wife of Abu Selmah

10.     Ousman Bin Mezun

11.                 Amir Abin Rebiah-Leader of the group 

12.                 Layla Bint Abi Asmah –Wife of Amir   

In the second hijirra to Al-Nejash there were 83 men and 11 women who started their life in Ethiopia.

How Nejash Treated the Immigrants?

The Quraysh Messengers

Fearing the spread and preach of Islam in Ethiopia, the Kureish people send delegates to Ethiopia (Al-Nejash). Two persons were selected.

1.                     Abdalah Bin Abi Rebiah

2.                     Amr Ibnel As

They also came up with lots of gift to Al-Nejash and the priests. During this time Abu Tualib was disturbed because his son Jafer was in Ethiopia. Therefore, Abu Tualib (the Prophet’s grandfather) sent a message to Al-Nejash in a form of poem, which demanded the safe living of the Muslims in Ethiopia or return back them.

Abdellah and Amr demanded Nejash not to accept those Muslims who betrayed their society and their traditional belief. And the priests supported them because of the gifts that they brought in. The king (Nejash) sent delegates to the Muslims who were living in Ethiopia and Jafer (the spoken person of the Muslims) answered the questions by going in presence to the king.

“We were ignorant, we believed in the gods, we ate dead animals those which are not halal), we performed adultery, we commonly had conflict with our relatives, abuse women, we didn’t like our neighbors. But Allah (SW) sent us the messenger and made us one under the umbrella of Islam and the Glorious Holy Quran” said Jafar. The king asked Jafer if he has any document, which is given from Almighty God to Mohammed (PBUH).

He said, “YES” and read them “Suretul Meryem”, the chapter of description of Jesus Christ and his Holy virgin mother. King Nejash cried and the Priests also cried and Nejash said, “This has similar source with the message that was brought by Jesus Christ. My religion and your religion Islam are almost same. I am very glad to say that to my council of Ministers, the prophet Mohammed followers and relatives may stay in Abyssinia in peace as long as they want. God Bless them”.  The Holywood film, “the Message, the Story of Islam” in a CD.

Then, Nejash refused the demands of Amr and Abdelah Bin Rabiah and expel them immediately from Abyssinia. According to sources the king said to them “If you have given a mountain of gold, I would not give up these people who have taken asylum with me”. Then, King Nejash cut of the relation with Abu Sufian who was the Kuraysh leader and king of Saudi Arabia. Considering the actions of that king at that point in time, we can say that, King Nejash is the one who introduced political asylum, care for refugee, human rights protection and care for the human nature irrespective of any prejudice or bias.

Their Relation after Islam achieved Victory

The relationship between Nejash and Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) created a very tight friendly and peaceful relationship between the Muslims and Christians in Ethiopia.

According to several sources the Holy Quran also   acknowledged the actions of Nejash. And the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said that: “In the Holy Kuraan, we found the positive contributions of Christians. It is concerned with king Nejash and his colleagues”.

In the first Hijira, I mentioned the issue of messengers who were sent from The Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) to King Nejash. In this section in will focus on the list of members of the Sahbas and Sahabyat. Their number amounts 94 Sahbas and 26 female Sehabyat. They are all listed as follows

 

The list of Sahabas who came to Ethiopia:

1.                     Arbed Ibn Humeyr

2.                     Aswed Bin Newfel

3.                     Beshir Bin Al-Haris

4.                     Temin Bin Al-Haris

5.                     Jafer Bin Abu-Tualib

 He was the spokesperson of the delegates and he was very articulate in his speeches.

 He lost his hands during the war

      He was shot more than 70 times while he was dead

6.                      Jehim Bin Keys Bin Abd

7.                     Al –Haris Bin Al-Haris

8.                     Al-Haris Bin Halid Bin Sohir

9.                     Haris Bin Abd Bin keys

10.              Hatib Bin Al-Hirs

11.                 Hatib Bin Amr Bin Abdshems

12.                 Hajaj Bin Hars Bin Keys

13.                 Hetuab Bin Al-Hars Bin Muimer

14.                 Halid Bin Hazam Bin Huweylid

15.                 Halid Bin Seid Ibnul As

       He accepted Islam following Abubeker Sediq

16.                 Huneys Bin Huzafa Bin Keys

17.                 Zubeyr Bin Al-Awam

18.                 Saib Bin Al-Hars Bin Keys

19.                 Saib Bin Mezur Bin Habib

20.                 Seid Bin Hewla Bin Amir

21.                 Seid  Bin Abdeyn  Keys Bin Lukeyt

22.                 Seid Bin Al-Hars Bin Keys Bin Seid

23.                 Seid Bin Amir At-Temimiy

24.                 Sufiyan Bin  Amir Bin Rezik

25.                 Sekran Bin Amr Bin Abdshems

26.                 Selemet Bin Hisham Bin Mugirah

27.                 Selit Bin Amr Bin Abdshems

28.                 Sehl Bin Wehib  Bin Rebiah Bin Amr

29.                 Sehil Bin Wehb Ibn Rebiah Bin Amr

30.                 Suweybit Bin Seid Bin Hermelah Bin Malik

31.                 Shejai Bin Abi Wehib Bin Wehib Bin Rebia

32.                 Shemenas Bin Ousman Bin Sherid Bin Haremiyi

33.                 Tolib Bin Azhar Bin Abd

34.                 Tuablib Bin Oumeyr Bin Wehil Bin Abd

35.                 Amir Bin Rebiah Bin Kaib Bin Malik

36.                 Amir Bin Abdeluah Bin Al-Jerrah Bin Hilal

                              He is one of those who were confirmed to be in the Heaven

37.                 Amir Bin Malik Bin Uhaib Bin Abdmenaf

38.                 Ubeydulah Bin Jehish Bin Rebab Bin Yeimer

39.                 Abdelah Bin Hirs Bin Keys Bin Adey

40.                 Abdelah Bin Huzafah Bin Keys Bin Adey

41.                 Abdelah Bin Sufian Bin Abdel Ased Bin Helal

42.                 Abdelah Bin Sahil Bin Amr

43.                 Abdelah Bin Abdel Ased Bin Hilal

44.                 Abdelah Bin Mehremah Bin Abdeluziza

45.                 Abdelah Bin Mesud Bin Gafil Bin Hubeyb

46.                 Abdelah Bin Meziun Bin Habib Bin Wehib

47.                 Abdelah Bin Mugera Bin Muaykeb

48.                 Abdurahman Bin Awf Bin Abdawf

He has been remembered in his Islamic charity

49.                   Abd Bin Jehsh Bin Rebab Bin Yeimer

50.                   Utbet Bin Gezwan Bin Jebir Bin Wehif

51.                   Utbet Bin Mesud Bin Gafil Bin Habib

52.                   Usman Bin Rabiah Bin Ahban Bin Wehib

53.                   Usman Bin Abd Bin Genem Bin Zehir

54.                   Usman Bin  Sherid Bin Suweyd

55.                   Usman Bin Affan Bin Abel As Bin Ummeyah

56.                   Usman Bin Mezun Bin Habib Bin Wehib

57.                   Adiy Bin Nedlah Bin Abdeluzza Bin Harsan Bin Awf

58.                   Urwet Bin Asaseh (Ibn Abi Asaseh) Bin Abdeluzza

59.                   Ammar Bin Yasir Bin Amir Bin Malik Bin Kinanar

60.                  Omer Bin Sufian Bin Abdelased Bin Hilal Bin Abdelah

61.                  Omer Bin Umeya Bin Hirs Bin Ased Bin Abdeluzza

62.                  Amr Bin Umeya Bin Huweylid Bin Abdelah

63.                  Amr Bin Al-Jehim

64.                  Omer Bin Abi Serh Bin Rabiah Bin Hilal Bin Malik

65.                  Amr Bin Seid Bin Al-As Bin Umeya Bin Abdshems

66.                  Amr Bin Al-As Bin Wail Bin Hashim Bin Seid

67.                  Amr Bin Usman Bin Keib Bin Seid Bin Teym

68.                  Omer Bin Rebab Bin Huzeyfah

69.                  Ayyash Bin Amr

70.                  Ayyad Bin Zehir Bin Abi Shedad Bin Rebiah Bin Hilal

71.                  Firas Bin Nedir Bin Hirs Bin Ilkima Bin Kuldah

72.                  Kudamah Bin Mezun Bin Habib Bin Wehib Bin Huzafah

73.                  Keys Bin Huzafah Bin Keys Bin Ady Bin Seid Bin Sehim

74.                  Keys Bin Abdelah

75.                  Malik Bin Zemah Bin Keys Bin Abdshemis Bin Abdowd

76.                  Malik Bin Wehib Bin Abdemenaf Bin Zahra Bin Kilab

77.                  Muhamya Bin Juzi Bin Abdyegus Bin Uweyj Bin Omer

78.                  Musab Bin Omer Bin Hashim Bin Abdmenaf Bin Abdedar

79.                  Mutolib Bin Azhar Bin Abdawf Bin Abdel Hirs Bin Zahra

80.                  Muateb Bin Awf Bin Amir Bin Al-Fedl Bin Afif

81.                  Meimer Bin Al-Hirs Bin Keys Bin Ady Bin Seid Bin Sehim

82.                  Meimer Bin Abdelah Bin Nedlah Bin Abdel Uzaz Bin Harsan

83.                  Muaykib Ibn Abi Fatimet

84.                  Mikdad Bin Amr Bin Seileba Bin Malik Bin Sherid Bin Rebiah

85.                  Nebih Bin Osman Bin Rebiah Bin Wehib Bin Huzafah

86.                  Hebar Bin Sufian Bin Abdel Ased Bin Hilal Bin Abdelah

87.                  Hisham Bin Abi Huzeyfa Bin Mehishem Bin MUgira

88.                  Hesham Bin Alas Bin Wail Bin Hisham

89.                  Yezid Bin Zemia Bin Al-Aswed Bin Mutolib Bin Ased

90.                  Abu Huzeyfa Bin Utba Bin Rebia Bin Abd Shems Bin Abdmenaf

91.                  Abu Rum Bin Umeyr Bin Hashim Bin Abdmenaf Bin Abddodar

92.                  Abu Sebret Bin Bbi Rehm Bin Abdel Uzza Bin Abi Keys Bin Abd

93.                  Abu Fekiha Mewla Beni Abdedar

94.                  Abu Keys Ibnel Hirs Bin Keys Bin Adiy Bin Seid Bin Sehim

The Women Sohabyat Who came to Ethiopia

1.                     Asmai Bint Selema (Bint Mehrem Bin Jendel Bin Abir Bin Nehshel)

2.                     Asmai Bint Umeys Bin Meibed Ibnel Hirs Bin Keib Bin Teym Bin Malik

3.                     Umeyma Bint Helef Bin Asad Bin Amir Bin Beyaduah Bin Sebi

4.                     Bereket Bint Yesar

5.                     Hasna Amu Shurehbil

6.                     Hamnet Bint Jehsh Bin Rebab

7.                     Hewlet Bint Aswed Bin Huzeyman

8.                     Raituah Bint Alhirs Bin Habilah Bin Amir Bin Keib Bin Seid

9.                     Rukyah Bint Muhammed, Daughter of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)

10.                  Remlah Bint Abu Sufian Bin Sohir Bin Harb Bin Umeya Bin Abdshems

11.                  Remlah Bint Abi Awf Bin Subeyret Bin Seid

12.                  Zeyneb Bint Jehsh Bin Reyyab

13.                  Sehlet Bint Sehil Bin Amr

14.                  Sewda Bint Zem’a Bin Keys Bin Abdshems Bint Abdwd Bin Nesr

15.                  Omra Bint Sedy Bin Wekdan Bin Abdshems Bin Abdwd

16.                  Fatimet Bint Al-MujelilBin Abdelah Bin Keys Bin Abdwd

17.                  Fatimet BinT Sofwan Bin Umeya Bin Muhris Bin Sheq

18.                  Fekiha Bint Yesar

19.                 Qehtom Bint Alkemah Bin Abdelah Bin Abikeys

20.                  Leyla Bint Abi Hasma Bin Huzeyfa Bin Ganim Bin Amir

21.                  Hamiyet Bint Khalid (Khelef)

22.                  Hend Bint Abi Umeyah

23.                  Amu Habiba Bint Jehsh Bin Rebab Al-Asedya

24.                  Amu Kulsum Bint Sehil Ibn Amr

25.                 Amu Yekezot Bint Alkima Amu Selit Bin Selit

26.                  Amu Aymen Bereket Alhabeshiya

 

The Letter Exchanges between King Nejash and the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)

The relation between King Nejash and the Prophet Mohammed has dated back to the early years of the expansion of Islam. Through time there was exchange of messages between the two. Their relation became stronger due to the influence of Amu Aymen and Bilal Al-Habesh on the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). One of the letters of the Prophet of Islam reads as follows.

“In the name of Allah the most merciful the most beneficent, from Mohammed the Prophet of Allah to Alnegashi the king of Al-Habesha (Abyssinia), greetings I thank Allah the Almighty the all dominating and I witness and testify that Issa (Jesus) is the Spirit of Allah and his word which He gave to Merriam (Mary) the virtuous, and created him from his spirit. And I am inviting you very honestly to accept Islam and become a good Muslim. And rule in peace and prosperity to the Habesh-Abyssinia with peace and believe in Allah the Almighty only without any partner to obey him and follow me and what was revealed to me for I become the messenger and Prophet of Allah. I have sent my cousin designated as a special envoy Jaffer and my beloved Muslims. When they come to you, receive them well and stay away from arrogance and call you and your solders to believe in Allah. And I have given my message and may Allah’s blessings fall on those who follow the snail path”.

It is necessary to ask why the Prophet had chosen Abyssinia. There can be two main explanations. The first reason is the influence of Amu Aymen, a slave Habesha (Abyssinian) woman who shaped and nourished the Prophet during his childhood. According to several sources Amu Aymen is the most important figure to the Prophet of Islam. The second reason is what we can call the “Bilal effect”, who was another slave from the same origin and a slave bought by the Arabian king Umeyah and crown prince Abu Sufian and Princes Hindia, the cruel and unmerciful women at that time. They tried to destroy the kingdom of Islam, Prophet Mohammed and his beloved followers. The Great Bilal is the first person to make the prayer call (Azan) for Muslims. He upgraded himself from being an ordinary slave to become commander in chief for the Muslim world. He was very strong, obedient, brave, and innocent person. He made history and dedicated all of his life to the Prophet of Islam. His works are waking up calls for all the Habeshan people. According to His Eminency Dr. Alam direct descendant of the Prophet of Islam, in the visit of the grave of King Nejash on the 11th of January 2009, “the Great Bilal is now rest in Damasks, the capital of Syria”. 

Therefore, these two personalities played their own role to influence the Prophet’s perception towards the Habesha (Abyssinian) land. The Prophet Mohammed directed his followers to left Mecca immediately towards to Abyssinia. The Prophet cousin, the Great Hamza supported this journey which was led by Jafer Bin Abutualib along with Hazrat Osman Bin Afuan and Prophet Daughter Rukya and other 121 most influential Muslims left from Mecca to Abyssinia, to King Nejash, who was the Great Christian King who has a knowledge, spirituality, capacity and qualified in all testimony of bible which originated by Almighty from Allah to Jesus Christ. There is a prescription and declaration about Prophet Mohammed’s arrival with the glorious Koran. The holy Koran also indicates the human being is a crown creation of God. The Jewish, Christian and Muslim are cousin brothers who are the descendents of Abraham. According to these main religions, Jesus Christ will emerge and co creates heaven on earth with Imam Mehedy (PBUH). King Nejash understood that and in a humble way received the followers of Islam. And with dignity and status and assured them to stay in Abyssinia with peace as long as they want, and he converted to be a Muslim. According to Islamic literatures King Nejash is remembered among the first non-Arab African Muslim next to Bilal and Amu Aymen.

His Eminency advised his spiritual son Dr. Selahadin and Dr. Meskerem Melaku (Meryem) to send official proposal to the UN Secretary General from the World Human Rights Council to record King Nejash’s contribution to world as the first political asylum offer.  This was the first political asylum in world history. Unfortunately, the UN does not recognize this history. His Eminency argues that, Nowadays 55% of the Ethiopia people is Muslims. In accordance of His eminency Dr. Alam’s statement the Muslims of Ethiopia are neglected politically, officially and mentally by the Christian rulers for the last 1400 years.  

There were several letter exchanges between King Nejash and Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). The letter that was sent to the Prophet from King Nejash stated the following.

“In the name of Allah the most merciful and the most beneficent, to Allah’s Prophet Mohammed (SAW), from Alnegash (Abyssinia) Armaha the son of Abhar the king of Al-Habasha (Abyssinia). A greeting, the Messenger of Allah, there is no true God but Allah who guided me to accept Islam.I have received your letter and what you said about Issa. In the name of the God of the skies and the earth that Issa is exactly what you said he is in your letter. And we have received your cousin Jaffer, chief of the delegation and his companions, I witness that you are Allah’s Prophet and messenger. In the name of Allah, the Almighty I have sent you my son Arha son of Al Asmha the son of Abhar. If you wish I will come to you myself and I give my word that what I said is the truth”.

What we can see from this letter is that King Nejash has an interest to go and visit the Arabia as a Muslim ruler of Abyssinia. The final seat of King Nejash is found in “Negash” town of northern Ethiopia, which is named after the name of the great king. This town is found in the Plateau of the Wukro area which is located 60 kilo meters north of Mekele town, the capital of the Tigray Regional State. His Eminency visited the area with so much hardship by crossing the road from Addis to Negash. He Prayed Selatel Zuhur and Asir in the 12 & 13 of January 2009.

Several historic record and findings suggest that, King Nejash came to the south from his Palace which was situated between “Atsbi” (East of Negash) and Hawzien (west of Negash). Negash town is found in exactly equidistant from Atsbi and Hawzien. There are also arguments that King Nejash’s seat was in Aksum, one of the Ancient civilized areas of the world, before he came to the Negash area. This shows the seat of King Nejash was located in the Northen part of Ethiopia. The marching to the south was to cross to the holy city of Mecca. In his last years King Nejash stopped his political leadership and started to serve the Almighty Allah. And he had a plan of fulfilling one of the pillars of Islam by visiting the Holly City of Mecca for pilgrimage. However, King Nejash found the area of Negash comfortable to live with a suitable weather condition. Local residents and religious leaders witness that King Nejash stayed in that area for 15 years. It is in this location that King Nejash’s soul rest in peace. Even if king Negash could not make the journey to the holy city of Mecca, one of his sons was able to reach and reside there. Another son was dead while he was trying cross the Red Sea.

The settlement of King Nejash in the Negash area was accompanied by the sahbas who came from the Arabia. The grave of those Sahbas is found in there. Total of 15 descendents of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) were dead in Negash town, 10 men and 5 women. 12 of them rest together with King Nejash’s body. King Nejash was dead by 630 AD. Three of the Sahbas rest in the same compound but outside of the house in which King Nejash’s grave is found. The local residents have only the record of the name of those three:

1.       Hazrat Mussa Bin Harris

2.       Sharif Abdalla

3.       Alley Bin Nadla

His Eminency Dr. Alam 43rd decedent of the Prophet, as the capacity of the President of the World Spiritual Assembly and chief of the mission of the WHRSC and UNECA Civil Society Representative tried to find out the history of King Nejash. In the month of Muhrem 11th  January  2009, after 4 years of search, finally find out the King Nejash’s mosque and grave  accompanied by his spiritual son Dr. Selahadin and his secretary Dr. Meskerem Melaku (Meryem), Orthodox Christian, the gift of King Nejash.

        Summery and Conclusion

 

The study trays to assess comparability religions mainly dominate religion. These are Christianity Muslim and others.

The similarity of Islam and Christianity

The Islamic prayer, Jewish prayer Is similar than the Christian prayer. The researcher do not say that one religion is good and the other religion is bad. No, all are very good indeed, however one seems similar than the other.

To compare the similarity of Islam, Christianity and Others according to their prayer by there adoration, submission and supplication.

The similarity of those religion based on the basic concepts for example; God is omnipotent, omniscient, immanent within His creation yet transcendent, Have similar eschatology (pertaining to the last days or the end of the world) -- this world will come to an end someday and no-one knows when..

 

Moral code; fore example phase without work is useless (it is not enough to simply say ‘I believe’)

Recommendation

The researcher recommended that each religion have its own principles based on their belief

So the researcher cannot said that one religion is bad and the other is good so each religion follow their own holly book so their ideological difference should be tolerate each other by respecting one religion to the other

And the researcher concludes that one religion is true based on large number of followers and the time parade, which is founded, and the other is bad or false because of the small number followers.

So religion is different from one person to the other based on his or her preference no one is to be enforced to change his or her religion.

References

-Ofcansky, Thomas P.; LaVerle Berry (1991). Ethiopia and the Early Islamic Period

-Islam in Ethiopia. Mohammed Toib Ibn Yusuus Al-Yusuf Translated to Amharic by

-Edris Mohammed. Nejash Publishing, Addis Ababa

-The list is derived from the Arabic book by Mohammed Toib Ibn Yusuus Al-Yusuf, and Edris Mohammed’s “Ethiopia and Islam” Books.

-Authentic History of the World, By His Eminency Dr. Hazrat Shah Sufi Mohammed Nurul alam, President of the World spiritual Assembly; Chief of Mission to the UNECA, and UN Hear Quarter New York, USA.

-Tigray: The Open Air Museum.  Tigray Tourism Commission, Mekele, Ethiopia.

-Negash, “The Second Mecca” Brochure by the Tigray Tourism Commission.

-Interview with His Eminency Dr. Hazrat Shah Sufi Mohammed Nurul Alam in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 2009.

-Interview with the Administrator of King Nejash, Shek Ahmed Adem Dani and Shek Mohammed Zeynu Ismail, on January 2009.

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