Amr bin As (r.a.)

As time passed, the light of Islam reached more people and the number of those who accepted Islam increased day by day.  The Muslims won the Battle of Khandaq and conquered Khaybar; the Treaty of Hudaybiyya turned out to be beneficial for the Muslims.

As days passed, the number of the people who became Muslims among the notables of the polytheists increased. In the meantime, Amr bin As, the genius of politics of the polytheists, was very upset and restless. He gathered a group of people from Quraysh who listened to him and were subject to him, and addressed them as follows:

"You know that the activity of Muhammad is developing rapidly. I have an idea for this. I do not know what you think. Let us go to the Negus together and take refuge in him. If Muhammad dominates us, it is better to remain under the domination of the Negus than Muhammad. If we win, they will not harm us."

The polytheists who listened to these words of Amr agreed with his idea and set off to visit the Negus, the King of Abyssinia. At that time, Amr bin Umayya, the envoy of the Messenger of Allah, was there. Amr bin As was surprised to see Umayya in the presence of the Negus; he became very angry. He escaped from Makkah from the Muslims but he met the Muslims even in Abyssinia.

Amr bin As consulted his friends. They decided to kill Umayya in order to take the revenge of Quraysh. However, to kill him in the land of the Negus could cause trouble for them. The best thing to do was to give the expensive gifts they brought with them to the king and to want Umayya from him.

Amr bin As went into the presence of the Negus, gave him the expensive gifts he had brought and said,

"O King! I saw a man coming out of your place. He is the envoy of a man who is hostile to us. Give him to us and we will kill him. For, he killed a lot of notable people among us. "

These words made the Negus so angry that he, as Amr put it, "hit his nose with his hand so hard that he almost broke his nose." Amr bin As became very embarrassed. (When Amr bin As narrated this incident years later, he said, "I was so afraid that I wanted to curl up and die.")

Amr bin As apologized to the Negus:

"O King! If I had known you would be dissatisfied with this wish, I would never have made such a request."

Thereupon, the Negus spoke as follows:

"You want me to give you the envoy of a person to whom Gabriel was sent in order to kill him. Is that right? Woe to you, O Amr! Listen to my advice and be subject to him. I swear by Allah that he is really honest. He will surely defeat those who oppose him like Musa (Moses) bin Imran (pbuh) defeated the Pharaoh and his army. "

These words of the Negus' shocked Amr bin As. He thought and believed that Muhammad (pbuh) was the true prophet and that Islam was the right religion.

He asked the Negus to accept his allegiance to enter Islam on behalf of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh). The Negus accepted Amr's request and reached his hand. Amr bin As became a Muslim there.

When he went out, he was afraid that his friends would harm him; therefore, he hid the fact that he had become a Muslim. He left his friends in order to meet the Messenger of Allah. When he reached a place called "Hidda", he met two people. They were Uthman bin Talha and Khalid bin Walid, who was a genius of war of Arabs, who had realized the truth and who were going to the Messenger of Allah in order to be Muslims.

They set out together in order to meet the Messenger of Allah. When they arrived at Abu Ataba Well in Madinah, they met someone. That person understood who they were and why they were coming. Implying Khalid bin Walid and Amr bin As, he said, "After these two, Makkan polytheists have lost their domination." Then, he ran toward the mosque of the Messenger of Allah. He wanted to give the Messenger of Allah the good news. Indeed, the Makkan polytheists would lose their domination after these two important people became Muslims.

In Harra, they made their camels sit, put on their best clothes and walked toward Masjid an-Nabawi.

At that time, the Messenger of Allah heard that they had arrived and were waiting with his Companions for them to come. The scenery was really exciting. Amr bin As, who once said "I do not think that I will become a Muslim even if all Qurayshis become Muslims", who struggled the most violently against the Islamic armies and who even looked for opportunities to kill the Messenger of Allah, was coming there to pay allegiance to the Messenger of Allah.

The Muslims were very joyful and happy. Amr bin As was also happy but he was thinking about his previous sins and mistakes; therefore, he approached the Messenger of Allah with excitement and fear.

First, Khalid bin Walid and Uthman bin Talha paid allegiance to the Messenger of Allah. Then, Amr bin As found himself sitting before the Prophet. He could not look at the Prophet's face due to his embarrassment. He said that he would pay allegiance to the Messenger of Allah on condition that he would pray for the forgiveness the sins he had committed up to that time. The Messenger of Allah said,

"O Amr! Pay allegiance. There is no doubt that Islam does not call people to account for what they have done before Islam. "

Upon this glad tiding, Amr bin As held the hands of the Prophet (pbuh) and paid allegiance to him.

Amr, who once looked for an opportunity to kill the Messenger of Allah, stated the following after becoming a Muslim:

"No person has been dearer and higher to me than the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)." [1]

Hz. Amr felt embarrassed because of his enmity he had nurtured and tortures he had inflicted up to that time. In his inner world, he was thinking of finding ways of doing things to redeem himself. Once, he went to the Prophet and said,

"O Messenger of Allah! I had been trying to destroy this religion so far. Now I would like to show that I entered Islam. "

Our Prophet trusted in his sincerity. He said, "We will send you somewhere soon so that you will serve Islam." Finally, one day, the Prophet (pbuh) said to Amr, "Take  your weapon and come to me." Hz. Amr came with his weapon. He was very happy. He entered into the presence of the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah said, "I will send you somewhere leading an army. May Allah guard you and give you plentiful booty!" When Hz. Amr heard the word "booty", he said, "O Messenger of Allah! I did not become a Muslim for booty; I became a Muslim due to my love for Islam", thinking that it would harm his sincerity. The Prophet (pbuh) said, "O Amr! Halal things are so good for good people." [2]

Afterwards, the Prophet gave Hz. Amr the duty of inviting some tribes to Islam. Amr succeeded in this duty and was appreciated by the Messenger of Allah. Furthermore, Hz. Amr joined several other expeditions. Once, he was the commander of an army that included great Companions like Hz. Abu Bakr, Hz. Umar and Abu Ubayda bin Jarrah.

On the other hand, the Prophet wrote a letter to the ruler of Oman after the conquest of Makkah. He sent this letter with Amr bin As. He gave the letter to the ruler of Oman. After reading the letter, the ruler became a Muslim. This time, the Prophet appointed Amr as the collector of zakah.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) complimented Hz. Amr from time to time and prayed for him. Once, he prayed for him as follows. Hisham and Amr, the two sons of real believers. On another occasion, he prayed as follows: "O Allah! Forgive Amr bin As." [3]

Hz. Amr was a heroic mujahid in the way of Allah. He spent his life on horseback and in battlefields.

He made great efforts to suppress the incidents of apostasy that started during the caliphate of Hz. Abu Bakr. He persuaded those who did not want to give zakah in Oman. He was called to Madinah by Hz. Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr gave him the duty of punishing the tribe of my Quda. He persuaded them to return to Islam. Then, he returned to Oman. After that, he was assigned the duty of conquering Damascus. He made great achievements in the battles against the Byzantines. Hz. Khalid bin Walid and Abu Ubayda bin Jarrah obtained several victories leading and commanding separate armies.

Amr bin As took part in important conquests during the caliphate of Hz. Umar. He also took part in the conquest of Jerusalem. When the conquest of Damascus was completed, he told Hz. Umar that he wanted to conquer Egypt. Although Hz. Umar initially opposed it, he could not stand Amr's insistence. He believed that this genius of politics would conquer Egypt by the permission of Allah. Thus, he gave Amr the permission. In addition, he prepared an army commanded by Zubayr bin Awwam and sent it to help Amr.

Hz. Amr succeeded in the conquest of Babylon, Arsh, Aynshams, Alexandria, Barqa, Zuwayla, Tripoli and Siyra, in short, the whole Egypt. He sent somebody to Umar to give him the good news. He informed Umar that he wanted to conquer both Morocco and Tunisia if he allowed. However, Hz. Umar did not allow this. Hz. Amr He appointed Amr as the governor of Egypt.

Amr was a good administrator. He was interested in all kinds of affairs of Egyptian people. People visited him easily and told him about their problems. One day, a group of people came to Amr and said, "O governor! There is a customary thing that we do for the River Nile. The river will not overflow unless we do it. And there will be a drought."

Amr bin As asked, "What is this custom?" A representative among them said,

"On the 12th of June, we find an unmarried girl, persuade her mother and father, and adorn her beautifully. Then, we throw her into the River Nile."

When Amr listened to them, he could not believe his ears and got very angry. He could not allow such a wild custom to continue. He said, "There is no such thing in Islam. Our religion has eliminated all kinds of superstitious customs like that." He did not allow them to do it.

The people of Egypt began to wait for the month of June in fear. Finally, the month of June came. The river did not overflow. In fact, there was no connection between throwing a girl into the River Nile and its overflowing. However, Satan deceived them like that.

The people panicked because the river did not overflow. Some people came to Amr and told him that they wanted to migrate and asked permission from him. However, Hz. Amr did not allow them. He ordered them to wait for a few days. And he immediately wrote a letter to Hz. Umar to explain the situation.

As soon as Hz. Umar received the letter, he wrote a reply to the governor. He wrote the following in the letter:

"It was good that you acted like that. I am sending you a piece of writing with the letter. Throw it into the Nile."

When the letter arrived, Amr immediately fulfilled the order of the Caliph. As a karamah of Hz. Umar, Allah Almighty raised the water level of the River Nile. The people became very happy. It was like a feast because the River Nile overflowed and a superstitious custom was eliminated. They would no longer have to sacrifice their children to make the river overflow. [4]

Hz. Amr, was among the outstanding people of Arabs in terms of intellect, knowledge and politics, had a very special place in the eye of Hz. Umar. From time to time, he appreciated Amr and said, "Things in a place under the administration Amr bin As will always run smoothly. When he saw an inconsiderate or imprudent man, he would say, "O Allah! You created both this man and Amr bin As."

Hz. Amr also loved Umar very much. He constantly declared that he was subject to Umar and said, "I am at your disposition. I am at your disposition." When famine appeared in Madinah, Hz. Umar wrote a letter to Amr and asked for help. Hz. Amr immediately prepared a lot of camels and sent them to Madinah. Hz. Umar distributes the camels sent by Amr to Muslims.

Hz. Uthman dismissed Amr bin As from the post of Egyptian governor. Amr bin As felt offended by this decision of Hz. Uthman. However, Hz. Uthman conciliated him. He always consulted him regarding the hard issues he faced. He settled very complicated matters.

After Hz. Uthman was martyred, he supported Muawiya regarding the conflict between Hz. Ali and Hz. Muawiya. Hz. Amr benefited a lot from this genius of politics. It can even be said that he owed the caliphate to Amr. He appointed him as the governor of Egypt again. Hz. Amr worked as the governor of Egypt until the end of his life.

Amr bin As was a genius not only in war but also in administration. He achieved tremendous success in administration, establishment of courts and tax collection. He had a mosque built in the town of Fustat. He had a 19-kilometer canal opened between Cairo and the Red Sea and transported food to Hejaz region by ships.

Hz. Amr gave advice to Muslims when he had the opportunity. He often reminded people the blessed words of the Prophet. He particularly emphasized the issue of not being connected to the world very much."

Hz. Amr became a Muslim late and spent most of his life in wars; therefore, he could not narrate many hadiths. He narrated only 39 hadiths. However, his son Abdullah became one of the distinguished figures of the science of hadith.

One of the hadiths Hz. Amr narrated is as follows:

"I was ordered not to lengthen speech and to cut it short. Verily, it is better to speak concisely. "[5]

Hz. Amr, who had a long life, became ill in 51 H. He understood that he would not be able to get rid of this disease. He was crying all the time. He turned his face to the wall. He said, "Dad! Why are you so sad? Did the Messenger of Allah not give you such and such glad tidings?" Thereupon, he turned his face to them and said,

“The most valuable thing I prepared for the hereafter is ‘Ashadu an la ilaha illalllah wa ashadu anna Muhammadar-Ra­su­lul­lah [I witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.] There are three phases of my life:

"There was no one I bore a grudge against anyone more than the Messenger of Allah.  If I had died at that time, I would definitely have been a person of Hell!

When Allah directed my heart to Islam, I went to the Messenger of Allah and said to him, 'Stretch your right hand so that I will pay allegiance to you.' When he stretched out his right hand, I pulled my hand back. He said 'O Amr! What is the matter?' I said, 'I want to lay a condition first!' The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "What is your condition?" I said, 'I want my sins to be forgiven.' He said, 'Do you not know that Islam eliminates previous sins that Migration eliminates previous sins and that Hajj eliminates previous sins?' From then on, there could not be anyone more beloved to me than the Messenger of Allah. I could not look at him for a long time due to my respect to him. If I had been asked to describe him, I could not have done it. For, when I looked at him with admiration, I could not see the shape of his face. If I had died at that time, I strongly hoped that I would have been one of the people of Paradise.

Then I was appointed to some posts. I do not know what my state would be like then.

When I die, do not let any women lament for me! Do not burn incense either. When you bury me, sprinkle earth on my grave. Then, slaughter a camel and stay near my grave until all of its meat is distributed so that I will get used to my place and think about the answers I will give to the questioning angels, who are the messengers of my Lord. "[6]

[1]al-Isaba, 3: 2-3.
[2]Fathur-Rabbani, 22: 340.
[3]Mustadrak, 3: 453; Hayatus-Sahaba, 3: 255.
[4]Ibn Kathir, 4: 464.
[5]Abu Dawud, Adab: 86.
[6]Muslim, Iman: 192.

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