By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS
â€œStrongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, â€œwe are Christians:â€ Because among these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world and they are not arrogant.
And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth in it. They pray: â€œ Our Lord! We believe; write us down among the witnesses.â€
Some of the best relationships to be had (especially in this part of the Christian-dominated world) are to be had with Christians. This is not strange to a great number of us who happen to be African-America and reverted back to Al-Islam after have being Christian, or something else. Most of our extended family members are Christian so naturally strong bonds are present.
My maternal grandmother ( may ALLAH rest her soul) holds a special place in my heart as I remember her to be one of the purest, gentlest people I have ever known; and she had never heard of Prophet Muhammad (s).
Also, King Negus of Abyssinia holds a special holds a special place in the hearts of any Muslim who is familiar with him.
He is an example of how the hearts and souls of spiritual men connect automatically across many miles, cultures, ethnicities and religious affiliations.
As Islam was being established in the 7th century, daily persecution, murder and torture were constant companions of the early band of Muslims. Things escalated so terribly that Prophet Muhammad (s) let some of his followers flee the persecution and seek refuge with the King of Abyssinia. The Muslims were being pursued by their persecutors who tried to convince the king to shackle the Muslims and return them.
But after listening to the words of the Qur`an, the king recognized the truth of it and determined that the differences between his religion of Christianity and Islam were only as wide as a line drawn in the sand.
Prophet Muhammad (s), to whom the Holy Qur`an was revealed, knew from miles away that this good Christian king, who possessed the spirit of God, would give refuge to other men who possessed that same spirit. The Muslim religion was virtually unknown outside Mecca, but still the king listened with compassion and granted refuge to the Muslims.
I, for one, have a special affinity for the King Negus as I, having come from a Christian background, can feel his spirit and be moved by it even today. It is doubly gratifying for me as well because this was an African Christian king; the same stock, blood and color from which I came.
In my estimation, this is one of the greatest events in the history of mankind, that highlights the Oneness of God and the universality of man. It is a great testament that there is only one God and if we submit our hearts willingly to the will of that one God, the greatness of the human being shines through.
Because ALLAH has seen fit to have us in the presense of so many Christians, let us take advantage of it and establish good relations with them whenever the opportunity presents itself. ALLAH knows what He has done, let us bask in it and be rewarded.
As Salaam Alaikum
(Al Hajj) Abdullah Bey El-Amin