Aksum

History

Aksum or the Kingdom of Aksum is certainly a treat for history and archaeology lovers.

The location of Aksum is on the northern edge of the Red Sea Coast.

Aksum is not just a city but an empire which was founded in the 1st Century CE.The Aksum empire consisted of Ethiopia,Eritrea,Djibouti,Somalia and Somaliland.

Aksum was not associated with any of the semitic Sabean empires but a local power.It became the greatest market of northeastern Africa.The first African state had their own coins minted and created their own script :Ge’ez which is still in use.

The name Aksum is derived from two words from local languages according to Ancient.eu.

  • The word Agew for water and the word shum for official in Ge’ez.

The water reference is because of the presence of a huge ancient rock cistern in Axum.

Though the land was mainly agrarian but from the 1st century CE Axum began to prosper.It really started to rise around 350 CE.At this Axum started to have influence on Himyar (Yemen)

Tribes nearby paid tributes to the Kings of Axum. (in the form of cattle). The kings were called Negasa Negast or King of Kings.Around 6th century Axum rose again and came to occupy a territory of 300 kilometres in length and 160 kilometres across.

Axum the City.

Located over 2000 meters above sea level close to River Tekeze.The city like ancient Egyptian counterparts had obelisks made of granite stone.Some of them survive and an example is 33 metres (108 ft).

Queen of Sheba (Bilqis in theQuran)

The Ethopian tradition holds Aksum as the home of Queen of Sheba or Queen Bilqis of Islamic traditions.

Queen Bilqis is a topic by herself not covered in this post

The Islamic story :

The area where Queen Bilqis lived ,now we know as Aksum was a strong bad great ruler.The land of Aksum being prosperous and fertile.

She lived at the time of Prophet Suliaman(Biblical :Solomon).

The Prophet Suleiman was both a Prophet and King. A similar offer was made to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) but he refused as mentioned in the hadith.

Prophet Suleiman had birds , Jinns and other creatures under his control. (He wanted a kingdom which nobody before him had and no one after him will not have.This is the reason Prophet Muhammad declined the offer.)

One day Prophet Suleiman was checking his army when he noticed the Hoopoe was absent.

He asked the bird why it was late in coming.(He could speak and understand the language of animals.His father Prophet Dawood or King David also could.).

The Qur’an mentions:

I come to you from Sheba with sure news.I found a woman ruling over the people ,since she has been given many blessings and has a mighty throne!I found her and her people worshipping the sun instead of Allah..”(Quran:–27:22-4)

Also the jinn were ordered to bring the throne of Queen Bilqis from the Sheba to Jerusalem.

A distance of 1500 miles.The faster jinn brought it before the blink of an eyelash.An average person blinks every 4 seconds.So speed of that jinn was 375 miles per second!

source –Al Quran:

A jinn is Islamic version of ghost,Bhoot (Indian ghost) ,Pori.They are invisible creatures made of fire and were created around 2000 years before the creation of mankind.The devil or Satan belonged to the jinn race though he was leader of the angels in paradise.Now days magicians try to take control of jinns but it us dangerous!

(The jinn were under the control of Prophet Sulaiman.Under his reign the books of magic were buried under the present Masjid Aqsa,Jerusalem. True or not ,Allah knows.)

The story is very long and you can read it in the link below.

Story link:

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Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant is a very big topic. You could write pages on this topic.

The Ark of Covenant or in Arabic is called Thabut.

What is it?

I used to wonder too.

The ark is called

This is a chest containing artefacts belonging to Prophet Musa and Bani Israel.

The Ark is called Thabut and inside is Sakinah.(Covenant ). This symbol was “ Vicegerency of God on earth by His Prophets and Messengers”.

It was first given to Prophet Adam while he was brought down by the angels.This showed the authority bestowed on the prophets by Allah. (Creator ).

Complete post on this topic:

https://sayyidamiruddin.com/2009/05/13/history-of-the-ark-of-the-covenant-an-islamic-perspective/

According to the site:

The Ark was sent from the heavens with Prophet Adam and later on was passed to Prophet Musa (Biblical :Moses).

Now Muslims know it to refer to the artefacts given to Prophet Musa and other Prophets.

It was supposedly taken away by King Nebuchadnezzar. (such a difficult name,but in Akkadian it is Nabu Kudumi usur ref :Wikipedia.)

The Qur’an says the following in reference to (Prophet Samuel ).

“And their prophet said to them, “Indeed, a sign of his kingship is that the chest will come to you in which is assurance from your Lord and a remnant of what the family of Moses and the family of Aaron had left, carried by the angels. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers

(Al Quran–2:248).

Sakinah or peace” (in Arabic) is in Hebrew called Shekinah.Note the similarity between two words.

https://www.islamicity.org/22248/from-shekinah-to-sakinah-one-word-with-two-holy-perspectives/

Axum is a place where the ark of covenant is supposed to be (Christian sources) but the Creator knows best.

Place to visit

Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion is the place the ark of covenant is supposed to be kept according to Christian Ethiopian sources.

  • Queen of Sheba Bath
  • Queen of Sheba Palace.

Islamic times

In the early times of Islam the Muslims were persecuted by the non Muslims of Makkah.

They were sent with cousin of the Prophet Muhamad ,Jafar bin Abi Talib along with a letter from the Prophet Muhammad.

The letter to the then King,Negus of Ethiopia is translated as below:

I begin with the Name of God, the Most Merciful, Most Gracious, From Muhammad, the Messenger of God to the Negus Al-Asham, king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia).

Peace be upon you, I praise God and I bear witness that Jesus, son of Mary, is the slave of God. He was created by the command of God and Mary the virgin, the good, the pure, conceived Jesus. As God created Adam, He created Jesus. I call you to God, the Unique without partner, and to His obedience, and to follow me and believe in that which came to me, for I am the Messenger of God.

I send to you my cousin Jafar with a number of Muslims, and when they come, I ask you to entertain and receive them. Peace be upon all those who follow True Guidance.”

The Negus provided refuge for the Muslims.Though another attempt was made by the then non believers of Makkah to persuade Negus otherwise.

The Complete story is in the below link

Muslims 1st emigration to Abyssinia.

The Ethiopians have proved themselves they acknowledge the truth.

  • The first time was in the 4th Century CE. when a Greek speaking missionary converted King Ezana to Christianity.
  • The second time was when Muslims were provided in supposedly 615 CE by Negus or Ashama Ibn Abjar.The mosque is in the north of Ethiopia known as Negash Amedin Masjid. (10 km from town of Tukro in Tigray region.)

The Turkish agency called TIKRA is restoring the mosque of King Negus or in Arabic Najashi.

Harar :- The city Muslims migrated to and known as Africa’s Mecca.Along with Axum it is also declared as a UNESCO site.

Places to visit in Axum

The historical places are:

  • King Ezana’s Inscription . An Ethopian version of the Rosetta stone dated to 330 and 350 CE.
  • Ark of the Covenant Chapel
  • Arabi Enessa Church
  • King Bazens Tomb
  • St.Mary of Zion Church Museum
  • Dungur (Palace of Queen Sheba Palace)
  • Queen of Sheba Bath (supposedly according to traditional legend).
  • Timkat
  • Archaeological Museum
  • Hosanna
  • Mehelela
  • Throne Stone

Restaurants

  • Antika Cultural Restaurant
  • Ezana Cafe
  • Empire Restaurant
  • Lucy Traditional Restaurant
  • Axum No Name Cafe
  • Kuda Juice
  • National Yared Juice House

How to get there:

Best place from the Indian subcontinent is:

From India with cost of around 236 US $.

Axum Travel & Tour Guide.

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