09-19-2011, 06:29 PM
The People of the Ditch: Perpetrators of an Ancient Holocaust
During the reign of Justinian the Great, who was Eastern Roman Emperor from 527 to 565 AD..
Quote:Many Christian inhabitants of a city in Arabia named Najran (the centre of Christianity in the area) were massacred by a Jew-convert named Dhu Nuwas, the new ruler of the Himyar region (Modern-day Yemen). It is difficult to discern what actually happened, but it would seem that a Christian from Najran escaped to Ethiopia, and told the King, Ela Atzheba, of the massacre. Ela Atzheba would have sent troops to assist, but he had no way of transporting them to Himyar. Through the patriarch of Alexandria, Ela Atzheba apprised Justin of the situation. Justin dispatched transport ships for the Ethiopian army. In two campaigns Ela Atzheba conquered the Himyarite capital, killed Dhu Nuwas and set up a Christian ruler as an Ethiopian client.
The whole story of what happened to the Christian people of Najran is preserved in a long hadith told by Prophet Muhammed (570–632) to his numerous companions. The "People of the Ditch" as these Christians were called, are described to be Unitarians. Even though Justinian was an Orthodox Christian believing in the Trinity, it seems that Christianity could have been the common factor behind the retaliatory actions following this holocaust, if not an excuse to conquer Yemen.
Imam Ahmed narrated that Suhayb the Roman (a companion) reported that Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:
'There lived a king before you and he had a (court) magician. As he (the magician) grew old, he said to the king: I have grown old, send some young boy to me so that I should teach him magic. He (the king) sent him a young boy so that he should train him (in magic). And on his way (to The magician) the young boy found a monk sitting there. He listened to the monk's talk and was impressed by it. It became his habit to pass by the monk and spent the time with him listening to his teachings and then leave to the magician late. He (the magician) beat him because of delay. He made a complaint of that to the monk and he said to him: When you feel afraid of the magician, say: Members of my family had detained me. And when you feel afraid of your family you should say: The magician had detained me. It so happened that there came a huge beast and it blocked the way of the people, and he (the young boy) said: I will, come to know today whether the magician is superior or the monk is superior. He picked up a stone and said: O Allah, if the affair of the monk is dearer to You than the affair of the magician, cause death to this animal so that the people should be able to move about freely. He threw that stone towards it and killed it and the people began to move about (on the path freely). He (the young man) then came to that monk and informed him and the monk said: Sonny, today you are superior to me. Your affair has come to a level where I find that you would be soon put to a trial, and in case you are put to a trial don't give my clue.
At that, the young man began to treat the blind and those suffering from leprosy. He in fact began to cure people from (all kinds) of illness. When a companion of the king who had gone blind heard about him, he came to him with numerous gifts and said: If you cure me, all these things collected together here would be yours. He said: I myself do not cure anyone. It is Allah Who cures and if you affirm faith in Allah, I shall also supplicate Allah to cure you. He affirmed his faith in Allah and Allah cured him and he came to the king and sat by his side as he used to sit before.
The king said to him: Who restored your eyesight? He said: My Lord! The king got astounded: should it mean that your Lord is another One besides me. He said: My Lord and your Lord is Allah, so he (the king) took hold of him and tormented him till he gave a clue of that boy.
The young man was thus summoned and the king said to him: O boy, it has been conveyed to me that you have become so much proficient in your magic that you cure the blind and those suffering from leprosy and you do such and such things. The boy said: I do not cure anyone; it is Allah Who cures. The king took hold of him and began to torment him. Eventually the boy gave a clue of the monk.
The monk was thus summoned and it was said to him: You should turn back from your religion. He refused to do so. He (ordered) for a saw to be brought (and when it was done) he (the king) placed it in the middle of his head and tore it into parts till a part fell down. Then the courtier of the king was brought and it was said to him: Turn back from your religion. And he refused to do so, and the saw was placed in the midst of his head and it was torn till a part fell down.
Then that young boy was brought and it was said to him: Turn back from your religion. He refused to do so and he was handed over to a group of is courtiers. The king commanded: Take him to such and such mountain,' make him climb up that mountain and when you reach its top (ask him to renounce his faith) but if he refuses to do so, then throw him (down the mountain). So they took him and made him climb up the mountain and he said: O Allah, save me from them (in any way) You like and the mountain began to quake and they all fell down and the boy came walking to the king. The king said to him: What has happened to your companions (the courtiers)? He said: Allah has saved me from them.
He again handed him to some of his courtiers and said: Take him and carry him in a small boat and when you reach the middle of the sea (ask him to renounce) his religion, but if he does not renounce his religion throw him (into the water). So they took him and the boy said: O Allah, save me from them and what they want to do. It was quite soon that the boat turned over and they were drowned and he came walking to the king, and the king said to him: What has happened to your companions (the courtiers)? He said: Allah has saved me from them.
He said to the king: You cannot kill me until you do what I ask you to do. The king said: What is that? He said: You should gather people in a plain and tie me to the trunk (of a tree). Then take hold of an arrow from the my quiver and say: In the name of Allah, the Lord of the boy, then shoot an arrow and if you do that then you would be able to kill me.
The king called the people in an open plain and tied the boy to the trunk of a tree, then he took hold of an arrow from his quiver and then placed the arrow in the bow and then said: In the Name of Allah, the Lord of the young boy; he then shot an arrow and it bit his temple. He (the boy) placed his hands upon the temple where the arrow had bit him and he died and the people said: We affirm our faith in the Lord of this young man, we affirm our faith in the Lord of this young man, we affirm our faith in the Lord of this young man.
The courtiers came to the king and it was said to him: Do you see that Allah has actually done what you aimed at averting.
They (the people) have affirmed their faith in the Lord. The king commanded ditches to be dug at certain points in the path. When these ditches were dug, and the fire was lit in them it was said (to the people): He who would not turn back from his (the boy's) religion would be thrown in the fire or it would be said to them to jump in it. (The people courted death but did not renounce religion) till a woman came with her baby child and she felt hesitant in jumping into the fire and the child said to her: O mother, endure (this ordeal) for it is the Truth."
This hadith was transmitted by several Hadith scholars: Imam Ahmad, Imam Muslim and An-Nasa'i from the hadith of Hammad Ibn Salamah.