“Utruku Al-Habasha wa tarakukum”

An Ethiopian Journal

A leap of faith

Early Muslims looked beseechingly to Ethiopia and sought refuge in its territory from their persecutors, the polytheist Arabians. But the Christian kingdom, besieged for 15 centuries by Islamic states that formed a formidable ring around it, refused to succumb to the new religion. 

Gamal Nkrumah explores the often contentious connection between Ethiopia and Islam

Since time immemorial Ethiopia has retained her supercilious air. Throughout the centuries, the rugged Nile Basin country, bound to Islam from the religion’s inception, has attracted scant attention compared to Egypt. Ethiopia’s seclusion, however, did nothing to dispel its mystique. Ethiopia’s ambiguous identity fascinated those outsiders who cared to take a closer look. Black, but not black enough. Christian, but only partially so. At once both primitive and civilized.

Numerous Arab and Muslim chroniclers have lavished praise on the only land beyond Arabia’s borders that Prophet Mohamed turned to in his hour of…

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