Abyssinia, Islamic Community, Muhammad


When Muhammad began preaching publicly in 613 CE, he encountered little opposition from local Arabian tribes. It was not until the Prophet began to denigrate the tribal deities-al-Lat, al-'Uzza, and Manat-that opinion turned against him. Meccan leaders from the influential Quraysh tribe worried that Muhammad's vociferous call for monotheism would decrease the number of travelers making the lucrative pilgrimage to pagan shrines at the sacred sanctuary of Ka'ba. They gave the Prophet several chances to recant or make peace, but he obstinately refused and their persecution of him continued. Although Muhammad's clan protected him, some of his followers were not as fortunate. Abandoned by their tribes, many Muslims endured extreme persecution because of their conversion to Islam. In the year 615, the Prophet advised those who could not find clan support to flee to the Christian kingdom of Abyssi nia (modern-day Ethiopia) for protection. There the Muslims found refuge under the benevolent rule of the Negus (King). Yet mysteriou sly, just three months after they left Arabia, the emigrants to Abyssinia returned to their homeland.