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whoever does not respond to Islam, we enforce on him the payment of jizyah and we offer to him

defense and protection. Our Prophet informed us that Egypt would open for us and advised us to be good

to its people, saying, Egypt will be opened to you after me, so you are advised to treat its Copts well, for

indeed, they have a covenant of protection and kinship relations,' so if you answer to what we call you to,

you will have protection and security."

No sooner had `Amr finished his words, than some of the priests and rabbis shouted, saying,

"Indeed the kinship of which your Prophet advised you is a remote kinship relationship, the like of which

cannot be reached except by the prophets." This was a good start for the hoped for understanding

between `Amr and the Copts of Egypt, in spite of what the Roman leader had tried to do to frustrate it.

Amr Ibn Al-'Aas was not among the earliest ones to embrace Islam. He embraced Islam with

Khaalid Ibn Al-Waliid, just shortly before the Conquest of Makkah. It is surprising that his Islam began

at the hands of An-Najaashiy in Abyssinia, and that is because An Nagaashiy knew `Amr and respected

him because of his several visits to Abyssinia and abundant gifts which he used to carry to An Najaashiy.

In his final visit to that country, mention was made of the Prophet who was calling to monotheism and to

the nobility of morals in the Arabian Peninsula. The Abyssinian ruler asked `Amr, `How could you not

believe in him and follow him, when he is truly a Messenger from Allah?" Amr then asked An-

Najaashiy, "Is he thus?" An Najaashiy answered, "Yes, so obey me, O `Amr, and follow him, for indeed,

by Allah, he is on the path of truth and he will surpass those who stood against him!"

`Amr traveled, taking the sea route, immediately returning to his country and turning his face in the

direction of Al-Madiinah to surrender to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

On the road leading to Al-Madiinah, he met Khaalid Ibn Al Wallid coming from Makkah, going

also to the Messenger to swear allegiance to Islam. No sooner did the Messenger see the two of them

coming than his face beamed with joy and he said to his Companions, "Makkah has gifted you with its

most noble leaders." Khaliid approached and swore allegiance. Then `Amr approached and said, "Indeed,

I swear allegiance to you provided that you ask Allah to forgive me my previous sins." So the Messenger

answered him saying, "O `Amr, swear allegiance, for indeed Islam disregards whatever preceded it."

`Amr swore allegiance and placed his wits and bravery at the service of his new religion. When the

Messenger passed on to Allah, Most Exalted, `Amr was appointed ruler over Oman and during the

caliphate of `Umar he performed his famous deeds in the Syrian wars and then in the liberation of Egypt

from the rule of Rome.

Oh, if only Amr Ibn Al-'Aas could have resisted the love of commanding and rule in his soul, then

he would have greatly overcome some of the positions which this love entangled him in. Yet, `Amr's

love for the authority of ruling, to a certain extent, was a direct expression of his nature, which was filled

with talent. Moreover, his external appearance, his way of walking and conversing, indicated that he was

created for commanding to the extent that it has been related that the Commander of the Faithful Umar

Ibn Al-Khattaab saw `Amr once approaching, so he smiled at the way he was walking and said, "It

should not be for Abu `Abd Allah to walk on the earth except as a commander."

The truth also is that Abu `Abd Allah did not forget the right. Even when dangerous events

overwhelmed the Muslims, `Amr dealt with these events in a commanding manner, as one who possesses

intelligence, wits, and a capability which made him self-confident and proud of his excellence.

Moreover, he possessed such a portion of honesty that it made Umar lbn Al-Khattaab - even though he

was strict in choosing his governor - choose Amr as governor over Palestine and Jordan, then over Egypt,

throughout the life of `Umar. This even though the Commander of the Faithful knew that `Amr had

exceeded a certain limit in the opulence of his life style, while the Commander of the Faithful demanded

from his governors to set an example by staying always at the level or at least close to the general level

of the people.

Even though the caliph knewabout the abundance of `Amr's wealth, he did not remove him but sent

Muhammad Ibn Maslamah to him and ordered `Amr to split with him, all of his wealth and possessions.