The letters of the prophet Muhammad (SM) (Part-5)



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4. The Envoy to Caesar, King of Rome
Al-Bukhari gave a long narration of the contents of the letter sent by the Prophet (SM) to Hercules, king of the Byzantines:

"In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
From Muhammad, the slave of Allah and His Messenger to Hercules, king of the Byzantines.

Blessed are those who follow true guidance. I invite you to embrace Islam so that you may live in security. If you come within the fold of Islam, Allah will give you double reward, but in case you turn your back upon it, then the burden of the sins of all your people shall fall on your shoulders.

"Say (O Muhammad (SM): 'O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), 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.' " [The Noble Qur'an 3:64] [Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/4,5]

The Muslim envoy, Dihyah bin Khalifah Al-Kalbi, was ordered to hand the letter over to king of Busra, who would in turn, send it to Caesar.

Incidentally, Abu Sufyan bin Harb, who by that time had not embraced Islam, was summoned to the court and Hercules asked him many questions about Muhammad (SM) and the religion which he preached. The testimony which this avowed enemy of the Prophet gave regarding the personal excellence of the Prophet's character and the good that Islam was doing the human race, left Hercules wonder-struck.

Al-Bukhari, on the authority of Ibn Abbas, narrated that Hercules sent for Abu Sufyan and his companions, who happened to be trading in Ash-Sham, Jerusalem. That was during the truce that had been concluded between the polytheists of Quraish and the Messenger of Allah (SWT).

Hercules, seated amongst his chiefs of staff, asked, "Who amongst you is the nearest relative to the man who claims to be a Prophet?" "I (Abu Sufyan) replied: 'I am the nearest relative to him from amongst the group.' So they made me sit in front of him and made my companions sit behind me. Then he called upon his translator and said (to him). 'Tell them (i.e. Abu Sufyan's companions) that I am going to ask him (i.e. Abu Sufyan) regarding that men who claims to be a Prophet. So if he tells a lie, they should contradict him (instantly)'. By Allah had I not been afraid that my companions would consider me a liar, I would have told lies", Abu Sufyan later said.

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