Tigray (Ethiopia), Aug. 10, 2017 (TNE): The Turkish Government has completed the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the first mosque in Africa located in Negash in the Regional State of Tigray, Ethiopia.
The Chief Imam of the Mosque, Sheik Adam Ibrahim made this known while speaking with Nigerian Journalists and Tour Operators currently on tour of Ethiopia.
The tour is sponsored by the Ethiopian Airlines.
Ibrahim said the mosque was first established about 678 AD when the families of Prophet Mohammed (SAW) fled to the Negash historical town of Abyssinia.
He explained that the first set of visitors comprised 10 men and five women, adding that about 101 followers of Mohammed eventually lived and died in Abyssinia.
The Iman said Turkish Government decided to rehabilitate the mosque and the tomb of King As’ham Negash of Abyssinia because of the importance of the mosque in Islamic history.
The cleric said that the project was supervised by the Regional State of Tigray, Culture and Tourism.
“This is where Islam started in Africa, because when the followers of Prophet, Mohammed came here to take refuge, King Negash gave them shelter and accommodated them.
“Even when the prophet conquered Mecca and sent gifts to the king and asked that his people should return, the King declined because he fell in love with Islam.
“The king sent a message to Prophet Mohammed that not even a mountain of gift would make him release his visitors because of his love for Islam,’’ he said.
Ibrahim commended the Turkish authority for its commitment toward the promotion and preservation of Islamic history.
Mr Nur Yassin, Caravan Travel and Tour Agency, Addis Ababa, the Tour Guide said the,mosque is of significant importance in the history of Ethiopia and that of Islam in Africa.
Yassin said the place presently known as Negash, was popularly known as Abyssinia where Islam was first received and practised about 1,429 years ago.
He said that Negash became a tourist site because of the mosque.
The tomb site, which houses the tomb of the Abyssinian king also houses those of Arab Muslims who died in the place.
The tomb has also been transformed into a modern architecture. (TNE)