Amr Ibn Al-Aas (rta)

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Laila Brence

Senior Editor at Hiba Magazine

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Vol 6 - Issue 1 Amr bin Al Aas rtaAmr Ibn Al-Aas (rta) was born in a very rich, high-class family of Makkah. His father, Ibn Wa’al, owned a perfume trade. By joining his father in his trade, Amr (rta) had the opportunity to travel to neighbouring countries and gain experience in dealing with different people. At a young age, he (rta) established friendly relations with many kings and governors both in Arabia and beyond.

Amr (rta) was educated during his childhood and possessed high mental capabilities. He was blessed with insightful, sharp thinking and sound planning skills. Amr (rta) also received excellent military training and was always ready to stand up for the interests of his tribe.

At the time when Muslims were severely persecuted by the Quraish leaders, Amr (rta) was among those who exerted all efforts to stop the spread of Islam. When some of the Muslims migrated to Abyssinia, the Quraish leaders became furious. The delegation they sent to the Abyssinian king Najashi to request him to expel the Muslims was headed by Amr (rta), since he had friendly contacts with the king and was known for his excellent negotiation skills.

However, the efforts of the Quraish were in vain – after listening to what the delegation of Amr (rta) and the fugitive Muslims had to say, Najashi not only refused to the hand over the Muslims but also promised them his protection for as long as he lived. At this point, for the first time, Amr (rta) realized that his excellent negotiation skills were useless.

Amr (rta) and other Quraish leaders tried to stop the migration of Muslims to Madinah as well. They even devised a plot to kill the Prophet (sa); however, thanks to Allah (swt) he (sa) managed to escape and reached Madinah safely.

After the Muslims had settled in Madinah, Amr (rta) convinced other leaders to wage war to stop the spread of Islam. They gathered an army of one thousand fully-armed soldiers. The battle took place at Badr, where with the help of Allah (swt), Muslims were victorious.

Although Amr (rta) was impressed by the victory of Muslims, he was not ready to give up so easily and began preparations for another war, which took place at Uhud. The Muslims were very close to victory even there, but were defeated in an unexpected turn of events. Feeling the approaching victory, the archers whom the Prophet (sa) had asked to protect the backs of the Mujahideen, left their positions and hurried to collect the booty. Amr (rta) together with Khalid Ibn Waleed (rta) took advantage of the situation and immediately attacked the Mujahideen from behind, inflicting heavy losses on the Muslims.

In spite of this setback, the newly established Muslim state continued to flourish. Soon, the Quraish decided to wage yet another war on Muslims. A huge army of ten thousand soldiers set out for Madinah under the leadership of Amr (rta). Upon their arrival, they were surprised to discover a wide trench preventing them from entering the city. Amr (rta) and his soldiers stayed at the outskirts of Madinah for nearly one month, but weren’t able to enter it. Finally, in deep humiliation, they had no other choice but to return to Makkah.

The repeated failures made Amr (rta) realize that Muslims were backed by some higher power. Although impressed by Islam, he (rta) was not ready to become a Muslim – his arrogance and the pride of the Quraish stood in his way. But he knew that eventually Muslims would triumph over their enemies. With this awareness, Amr (rta) decided to leave Makkah before Muslims took over it; he set out for Abyssinia hoping to live under the protection of king Najashi. He figured that if Muslims established a tyranny in Makkah, he would be saved from it and if the Muslim rule was favourable, he would safely return to Makkah.

Amr (rta) and his companions arrived with expensive gifts for softening the king’s heart. As they entered Najashi’s court, they saw the ambassador of the Prophet (sa) leaving. Amr (rta), fired up for revenge, asked the king to let him kill the ambassador. To Amr’s (rta) great astonishment, Najashi not only rebuked him for his anger, but even asked Amr (rta) to obey the Prophet Muhammad (sa), the true Messenger of Allah (swt).

In disbelief, Amr (rta) asked the king if he wholeheartedly believed that Muhammad (sa) was a true prophet. After hearing the king’s confirmation, Amr (rta) finally felt ready to become a Muslim. He immediately pledged allegiance to Islam in at the hands of the Najashi. Having done this, Amr (rta) left for Madinah, so that he could pledge allegiance to the Prophet (sa) himself.

On the way to Madinah, Amr (rta) met Khalid Ibn Waleed (rta) and Uthman Ibn Talhah (rta), who were also traveling in the same direction and for the same purpose. After all the efforts he had done to extinguish the light of Islam, Amr (rta) was embarrassed to enter into the presence of the Prophet (sa). Having said the Kalimah, Amr (rta) asked the Prophet (sa) to ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness of his past sins. The Prophet (sa) replied that such prayers were not necessary, as Amr’s (rta) embracing of Islam had already expiated all his previous sins.

The warm welcome of Muslims filled Amr’s heart (rta) with a great love for the Prophet (sa) and his companions. From that day onwards, he wholeheartedly devoted all his efforts to the cause of Islam. After being selected by the Prophet (sa) to destroy idol Sawa, Amr (rta) went to its temple and crushed the idol into pieces. Thanks to his excellent diplomacy skills, Amr (rta) successfully convinced Abd and Jeefer, the two brothers who ruled Oman at the time, to enter Islam, thus bringing it under the rule of Muslims.

During the time of the Prophet (sa), Amr (rta) was sent to conquer Egypt and introduce its inhabitants to Islam. Upon entering Egypt, he (rta) decided to avoid open battlefields. Instead, his strategy was to siege the key places of the country, advancing city by city throughout Egypt. His conquest of Egypt concluded in the 20th year A.H.

After this conquest, Amr (rta) was appointed as its ruler. The year he arrived there, the waters of the river Nile did not rise during the season as it used to every year. Egyptians believed that the Nile had a will of its own. This is why every year they threw a beautiful girl wearing rich attire and jewellery into the Nile, hoping to please the river. Right after sacrificing the girl, the Nile used to fill with waters.

This cruel tradition angered Amr (rta). He asked the Caliph Umar (rta) for advice in this situation. The Caliph sent a letter addressed to the river Nile, in which he requested the river to fill with waters, if it was flowing by the will of Allah (swt). Amr (rta) threw this letter into the Nile, and during that same night, the Nile flooded twice the level of previous floods.

Amr (rta) ruled as the governor of Egypt till the 43rd year A.H. He made Egypt into a strong country, known for its justice, freedom and equality. Amr (rta) passed away on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr and was buried in Egypt.

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