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Writing to Kings

Auther : Haya Muhammad Eid
80 2019/12/10 2020/09/25

With trustful hands scattering the good seeds on the land, the Prophet of Mercy (pbuh)  started to invite kings and emperors: Chosroes, Heraclius, Negus, and every king, to the King of all kings.

In his letter to Negus, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)  wrote1:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Ever-Merciful. From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to Negus the great of Abyssinia. Peace be upon him who follows guidance. Then after:

I praise to you Allah, other than Whom there is no god, the King, the Holy, the One Free from all imperfection, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures. I testify that ‘Isa (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), is Allah’s (created) soul and His Word (“Be!” - and he was( which He bestowed on Maryam, the virgin, the good, the chaste. So she conceived ‘Isa from the soul created and breathed by Him, as He created Adam with His Hand. I am inviting you to Allah, alone, Who has no partner, and to adherence to His obedience; that you follow me and believe in what has come to me, for I am the Messenger of Allah. I am inviting you and your soldiers to Allah, the Exalted and the Glorious. I have announced (the Message) and advised, so accept my advice. Peace be upon him who follows guidance.

 

In his letter to Muqawqas, the Messenger (pbuh)  wrote2:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Ever-Merciful. From Muhammad, the Slave of Allah and His Messenger, to Muqawqas the Great of the Copts. Peace be upon him who follows guidance. Then after:

I am inviting you with the Call of Islam. Submit yourself (to Allah), you will be safe. Submit yourself (to Allah), Allah will give you your reward twice over. But if you turn away, upon you shall rest the sin of the Copts.

O people of the Scripture, come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah. Then, if they turn away, say, ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims (i.e. we submit to Allah)

(Al-‘Imran 3: 64)

In his letter to Chosroes, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) wrote3:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Ever-Merciful. From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to Chosroes the Great of Persia. Peace be upon him who follows guidance, believes in Allah and His Messenger, and testifies that there is no god but Allah alone, with no partners or associates, and that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger. I am inviting you with the Call of Allah; for I am the Messenger of Allah to all mankind, to warn whoever is alive and justify the word against the disbelievers. Submit yourself (to Allah), you will be safe. But if you turn away, upon you shall rest the sin of the Magi.

In his letter to Heraclius, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) wrote4:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Ever-Merciful. From Muhammad, the Slave of Allah and His Messenger, to Heraclius the Great of Byzantium. Peace be upon him who follows guidance. Then after:

I am inviting you with the Call of Islam. Submit yourself (to Allah), you will be safe. Submit yourself (to Allah), Allah will give you your reward twice over. But if you turn away, upon you shall rest the sin of the Arisiyin (all your subjects). (“O people of the Scripture, come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah. Then, if they turn away, say, ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims (i.e. we submit to Allah).’”)

After reading the letter, Heraclius ordered to seek for him any of his people (Arabs of the Quraish tribe) present there, to ask them about the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).

At that time Abu Sufyan bin Harb t was in Syria along with some men from the Quraish, who had come as merchants during the truce that had been concluded between the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and the infidels of Quraish.

Heraclius’s messenger found them somewhere in Syria and set out with Abu Sufyan and his companions until they reached Iliya.

They were admitted into Heraclius’s court to find him sitting in his royal council, wearing a crown and surrounded by the senior Roman dignitaries.

Heraclius said to his translator, “Ask them who among them is the nearest relative to this man who claims to be a prophet.”

Abu Sufyan said, “I am the nearest relative to him.”

Heraclius asked, “How close is the relationship between you and him?

I (Abu Sufyan) replied, “He is my cousin,” and on that day there was none of Banu ‘Abd Manaf in the caravan except myself.

Heraclius said, “Let him approach.”

He then gave orders, and my companions were made to stand behind my back, near my shoulder. He then said to his translator, “Tell his companions that I am going to ask this man (Abu Sufyan) about the man who claims to be a prophet. If he lies, they must contradict him.”

By Allah, had it not been for the shame on that day that my companions would impute falsehood to me, I would have lied to him when he asked me about him. But I was ashamed lest lying should be imputed to me. So I told the truth about him.

He then said to his translator, “Ask him what kind of lineage he has among you.

I replied, “He is of noble lineage (family) among us.”

He said, “Has anybody else among you ever claimed the same before him (i.e. prophethood)?

I replied, “No.”

He said, “Have you ever accused him of lying before he claimed what he claimed?

I replied, “No.

He said, “Were any of his ancestors a king?

I replied, “No.

He said, “Do the nobles among people follow him or the weak (the poor and oppressed)?

I replied, “Rather, the weak among them.”

He said, “Are they increasing or decreasing?

I replied, “They are increasing.”

He said, “Does anyone renounce their religion (i.e. Islam) after embracing it, being displeased with it?

I replied, “No.

He said, “Does he (Muhammad) betray?

I replied, “No, but we are now in a truce with him and we are afraid lest he should betray us.”

I was not able to interpolate into my speech a word other than this with which to disparage him without being afraid of it being imputed to me as a lie.

Heraclius then asked, “Have you fought him or has he fought you?

I replied, “Yes.

He said, “What was the outcome of his battles and your battles?

I replied, “Ups and downs (i.e. alternate victory and defeat); one time he defeats us and the other we defeat him.”

He said, “What does he order you to do?

I said, “He orders us to worship Allah alone and associate nothing with Him, and forbid us from worshiping what (the idols) our ancestors used to worship. And he orders us to offer prayer, give charity, be chaste, keep our promises, and guard what is committed to our trust.

After I had said this to him, Heraclius asked his translator to tell me the following:

I asked you about his lineage among you and you said that he is of noble lineage. Similarly, all the messengers are sent from the noblest lineage among their people.

I asked you whether anybody else among you had claimed such a thing before him, and you said, “No.” If someone else among you had claimed such a thing before him, I would have thought that this was a man following a claim alleged before him.

I asked you whether you have ever accused him of lying before saying what he said, and you said, “No.” Therefore, I learned that he could not abstain from lying to people and then lie to Allah.

I asked you whether any of his ancestors had been a king and you said, “No.” Had any of his ancestors been a king, I would have thought that this man was seeking the kingship of his ancestors.

I asked you whether the nobles among people followed him or the weak, and you replied that it was the weak among them who followed him. These are the followers of the messengers.

I asked you whether his followers were increasing or decreasing. You said that they were increasing. And so is faith until it is perfected.

I asked you whether anyone renounced their religion (i.e. Islam) after embracing it, being displeased with it, and you said, “No.” Such is faith when its cheerfulness blends into the hearts; none can be displeased with it.

I asked you whether he was a betrayer, and you said, “No.” Similarly, messengers never betray.

I asked you whether you fought him and he fought you. You replied that he did, and that the battles between you and him were alternate victory and defeat; one time he defeated you and the other you defeated him. Indeed, such are the messengers. They were afflicted with trials and the ultimate victory was always theirs.

Then I asked you what he ordered you to do. You said that he ordered you to worship Allah alone and associate nothing with Him, and forbade you from worshiping what (the idols) your ancestors worshiped. He ordered you to offer prayer, speak the truth, be chaste, keep your promises, and guard what is committed to your trust. These are really the attributes of a prophet.

I knew (from the Scriptures) that he was going to appear, but I never thought that he would be from among you (Arabs). If what you have said is true, he will very soon own the place under my feet (i.e. his dominion would extend to this place that is under my feet). Had I any hope that I would reach him, I would go through troubles to meet him. And, were I with him, I would certainly wash his feet.5

Heraclius wrote a letter to a friend of his in Rome who was his peer in knowledge, and then left for Homs. It was not long before he received an answer to his letter from his friend who concurred with him regarding the emergence of the (Awaited) Prophet, and the fact that he (Muhammad r(pbuh)) was a Prophet.

Heraclius notified all the chiefs of the Romans that they should assemble in his palace at Homs. He ordered that all the doors of his palace be closed. Then he came out and said, “O Romans! If you wish success, right guidance, and permanence of your empire, swear allegiance to this prophet.”

On hearing the words of Heraclius, they rushed towards the doors of the palace like onagers, but found them closed. When Heraclius saw their aversion (to Islam) and despaired of their faith (in Islam), he commanded that they should be brought back.

(When they returned) he said, “What I have said earlier was just to test the strength of your adherence to your religion, and I have seen it.” They prostrated before him and became pleased with him.6

The Emperor of the Roman Empire asked precise questions about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and through the answers he realized his truthfulness, but his retinue shunned Islam. They said, “Are you calling us to leave Christianity and become slaves to a Bedouin coming from Hejaz!”7

Thus, bigotry and love of sovereignty prevailed over pursuance of truth, and religion was bartered away for worldly life. 

References

  1. Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, Writing to Kings and Emirs; a similar narration is also reported by Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, Zad Al-Ma‘ad, Writing to Kings and Other Sovereigns, vol. 2.
  2. Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, Zad Al-Ma‘ad, Writing to Muqawqas the King of Egypt, vol. 2.
  3. Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, Zad Al-Ma‘ad, Writing to Kings and Other Sovereigns, vol. 2.
  4. Narrated by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Jihad wa Al-Siyar, Hadith no. 2723; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (6, 4188, 5790), Muslim (3322), At-Tirmidhy (2641), Abu Dawud (4470), and Ahmad (2252).
  5. Narrated by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Jihad wa Al-Siyar, Hadith no. 2723; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (6, 4188), Muslim (3322), and Ahmad (2252).
  6. Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Bid’ Al-Wahy, Hadith no. 6; a similar version of the Hadith is also reported by Al-Bukhary (4188).
  7. Transmitted by At-Tunukhy: Musnad Ahmad, Book of Makkans, Hadith no. 15100.


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