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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.