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The Letter of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) to the Emperor of Rome

Narrated Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him): Abu Sufyan bin Harb informed me that Heraclius had sent a messenger to him while he had been accompanying a caravan from the (tribe of) Quraysh. They were traders doing business in Sham (Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan), at the time when Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) had a truce with Abu Sufyan and the Quraysh non-believers. So Abu Sufyan and his companions went to Heraclius at llya (Jerusalem). Heraclius called them in the court and he had all the senior Roman dignitaries around him. He called for his translator who, translating Heraclius's question, asked them, “Who amongst you is closely related to that man who claims to be a Prophet?” Abu Sufyan replied, “I am the nearest relative to him (amongst the group).”

Heraclius said, "Bring him (Abu Sufyan) close to me and make his companions stand behind him." Abu Sufyan added, "Heraclius told his translator to tell my companions that he wanted to put some questions to me regarding that man (The Prophet) and that if I told a lie, then my companions should contradict me." Abu Sufyan added, "By Allah! Had I not been afraid of my companions labelling me a liar, I would not have spoken the truth about the Prophet. The first question he asked me about him was:

“What is his family status amongst you?”

I replied, “He belongs to a good (noble) family amongst us.”

Heraclius further asked, “Has anybody else amongst you ever claimed the same (that is, to be a Prophet) before him?”

I replied, “No.”

He said, “Was anybody amongst his ancestors a king?”

I replied, “No.”

Heraclius asked, “Do the nobles follow him or the poor?” I replied, “It is the poor who follow him.”

He said, “Are his followers increasing or decreasing (day by day)?”

I replied, “They are increasing.”

He then asked, “Does anybody amongst those who embrace his religion become displeased and renounce the religion afterwards?”

I replied, “No.”

Heraclius said, “Have you ever accused him of telling lies before his claim (to be a Prophet)?”

I replied, “No.”

Heraclius said, “Does he break his promises?”

I replied, “No. We are at truce with him but we do not know what he will do in it.” I could not find opportunity to say anything against him except that.

Heraclius asked, “Have you ever had a war with him?”

I replied, “Yes.”

Then he said, “What was the outcome of the battles?”

I replied, “Sometimes he was victorious and sometimes we.”

Heraclius said, “What does he order you to do?”

I said, “He tells us to worship Allah and Allah alone and not to worship anything along with Him, and to renounce all that our ancestors had said. He orders us to pray, to speak the truth, to be chaste and to keep good relations with our kith and kin.”

Heraclius asked the translator to convey to me the following: “I asked you about his family and your reply was that he belonged to a very noble family. In fact all the Prophets come from noble families amongst their respective peoples. I questioned you whether anybody else amongst you claimed such a thing, and your reply was in the negative. If the answer has been in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man was following the previous man's statement. Then I asked you whether anyone of his ancestors was a king. Your reply was in the negative, and if it had been in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man wanted to take back his ancestral kingdom.

I further asked whether he was ever accused of telling lies before he said what he said, and your reply was in the negative. So I wondered how a person who does not tell a lie about others could ever tell a lie about Allah. I then asked you whether the rich people followed him or the poor. You replied that it was the poor who followed him. And in fact all the Prophets have been followed by this very class of people. Then I asked you whether his followers were increasing or decreasing. You replied that they were increasing, and in fact this is the way of true faith, till it is complete in all respects. I further asked you whether there was anybody, who after embracing his religion, became displeased and discarded his religion. Your reply was in the negative, and in fact that is (the sign of) true faith, when its delight enters the hearts and mixes with them completely. I asked you whether he had ever betrayed. You replied in the negative and likewise the Prophets never betray.

Then I asked you what he ordered you to do. You replied that he ordered you to worship Allah and Allah alone and not to worship anything along with Him and forbade you to worship idols and ordered you to pray, to speak the truth and to be chaste. If what you have said is true, he will very soon conquer this place here; and I knew (from the scriptures) that he was going to appear but I did not know that he would be from you, and if I could reach him, surely, I would go immediately to meet him and if I were with him, I would certainly wash his feet.”

Heraclius them asked for the letter addressed by Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) which was delivered by Dihya to the Governor of Basra, who forwarded it to Heraclius to read. The contents of the letter were as follows: In the name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful. (This letter is) from Muhammad, the servant of Allah and His Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) to Heraclius, the ruler of Byzatines. Peace be upon him who follows the right path. Furthermore I invite you to Islam, and if you become a Muslim, you will be safe, and Allah will double your reward, and if you reject this invitation to Islam, you will be committing a sin by misguiding your peasants. (And I recite to you Allah's Statement):

O people of the scripture! Come to a word which is common between us and you, that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall associate nothing in worship with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah; but, if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are Muslims. (3:64)

Abu Sufyan then added, "When Heraclius had finished his speech and had read the letter, there was a great hue and cry in the royal court. So we were turned out of the court. I told my companions that the question of Ibn Abi Kabsha (referring to Prophet Muhammad, may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) has become so prominent that even the King of Bani Al-Asfar (Byzantines) is afraid of him. Then I started to become sure that he (the Prophet, may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) would be the conqueror in the near future till I embraced Islam (Allah, The Glorified and The Exalted, guided me to it).” (Bukhari)

Calling non-Muslim rulers to Islam

It has been narrated on the authority of Hadrat Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that Allah’s Messenger (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) wrote to Chosroes (King of Persia), Caesar (Emperor of Rome), Negus (King of Abyssinia) and every (other) ruler inviting them to Allah, The Glorified and The Exalted. And this Negus was not the one for whom Allah’s Messenger (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) had said the funeral prayers. (Muslim)

Calling non-Muslims to Islam

Hadrat ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “When Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) appointed Mu‘adh bin Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) as governor of Yemen, he instructed him as follows: “You are going to a people who are the People of the Book. Invite them to the testimony that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger. If they accept it, then tell them that Allah has enjoined Prayers five times in a day and night. If they accept this as well, tell them that Allah has imposed payment of Zakat on the affluent, to be distributed among the poor. If they agree to it, then do not select the best of their goods as part of Zakat, and save yourself from the cry of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between the supplication of the oppressed and Allah.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Funeral Prayer for the king of Ethiopia

Hadrat Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Holy Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) gave the people the news of the death of the Negus on the day on which he died, took them out to the place of prayer, drew them up in rows, and declared “Allah is Supremely Great” four times (in the funeral Prayer). (Bukhari and Muslim)

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