Could you give further information on the prophet's
conveying his message?
An important point to take note of, regarding communication of the
Message by the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, is that he set an
excellent example of ardour in the duty of guiding people. Like him, also
his Companions, following his way, tried their hardest to convey the
Message. For example, as stated above, Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr represented the
Message in Madina so competently and communicated it so sincerely that even
the most stubborn of the people of Madina like Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh became
Muslims. At first, Sa‘d reacted to Mus‘ab harshly, but when Mus‘ab said to
him mildly, ‘First sit and listen. If you are not pleased with what I will
tell you, do not hesitate to cut off my head with the sword in your hand.’
Sa‘d’s anger subsided, and he parted from Mus‘ab a Muslim.
God’s Messenger continued to dispatch his Companions to neighbouring
cities. He sent Talha to Duwmat al-Jandal, and Bara’ ibn A’dhib to the
Yemen. If a Companion was not successful in this duty – although this was
rare – he sent another in his place. When Khalid and Bara’ could not capture
the hearts of the people of the Yemen, God’s Messenger sent ‘Ali and, as a
result, almost all of them became Muslims in a very short time.9
Another important point to note regarding the communication of the
Message by the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, is his use of the
period following the treaty of Hudaybiya. The conditions of this treaty had
seemed to some of the Companions, at first sight, dishonourable (to the
Muslims). However, in the peaceful atmosphere that followed the treaty,
coming as it did after the years of disruptions and fighting, many of the
enemies of Islam found the opportunity to reconsider the Message of Islam.
Consequently, many leading figures, among them Khalid and ‘Amr ibn al-‘As,
God’s Messenger welcomed Khalid with the compliment, I was wondering how
a sensible man like Khalid could remain an unbeliever; I had a strong
conviction that you would one day accept Islam.11
He comforted ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, who asked him to pray for
God’s forgiveness of him, and said: Do you not know that a man is cleansed
of all his previous sins when he accepts Islam.12
Letters to neighbouring rulers
After the treaty of Hudaybiya, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace, sent
letters to the rulers of all of the neighbouring countries. He wrote in the
letter to the Negus, the king of Abyssinia:
From Muhammad, God’s Messenger, to the Negus Asham, the
King of Abyssinia;
Peace be upon you! On this occasion, I praise God, the
Sovereign, the Holy One free from all defects, the Giver of security, the
Watcher over His creatures, and I bear witness that Jesus is a spirit from
God, and a word from Him, whom He bestowed upon Mary, who was chaste, pure
and virgin. I call you to God, One with no partner.13
The Prince of the Two Worlds urged the conversion of the Negus by
beginning the letter with the greeting of peace for him. Second, since the
Negus was a Christian, God’s Messenger expressed his belief in the
Prophethood of Jesus, and affirmed the virginity and purity of Mary, thus
emphasizing the point of agreement between them.
The Negus received the letter, and, kissing it, put it to his head as a
sign of respect. After reading the letter, the Negus accepted Islam without
hesitation and dictated to his secretary the following answer:
To Muhammad, God’s Messenger, from the Negus,
I bear witness that you are the Messenger of God. If you command me to
come to you, I will do it, but I am not in a position to make my subjects
Muslim. O God’s Messenger, I testify that what you say is all true.14
The Negus was so sincere in his belief that he said one day to his
confidants: ‘I would rather be a servant of Muhammad than a king.’
When he died, God’s Messenger performed the funeral prayer for him in
The following letter was sent to Heraclius, the emperor of Byzantium:
From Muhammad, the servant of God and His Messenger, to Heraclius, the
greatest of the Byzantines,
Peace be upon him who follows the guidance. After that, I
invite you to Islam; be a Muslim and secure salvation, that God may give you
a double reward. If you turn away, you will be burned with, besides your
own, the sins of all those who turn away (among your people).
Say: ‘O people of the Book. Come to a word common between us
and you that we worship none but God, that we associate nothing in worship
with Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God. If
they turn away, say: ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims.’ (Al ‘Imran, 3.64)16
The Emperor was moved by the letter. He summoned Abu Sufyan, who was then
in Syria leading a Makkan trade caravan. The following dialogue took place
– What is the family status of this person?
– A noble one.
– Did any of his ancestors claim Prophethood?
– Was there a king among his ancestors?
– No, there wasn’t.
– Do the elite or the weak mostly follow him?'
– The weak do.
– Has any apostatized after conversion to his religion?
– So far, nobody has.
– Do his followers increase or decrease?
– They are increasing day by day.
– Have you ever heard him tell a lie?
– No, never.
– Has he ever broken his promise?
– So far he hasn’t but I don’t know whether he will in the future.
Although Abu Sufyan was then a most ruthless enemy of God’s Messenger, he
told the truth about him except in his last words which might cause doubts
as to the future trustworthiness of the Prophet. The Emperor showed an
inclination to acknowledge the faith but in the face of the reaction from
the priests beside him, he only concluded: ‘In the very near future, all
these lands I am resting upon now will be his.’17
However, according to Imam Bukhari’s narration, the bishop of the area
God’s Messenger sent letters to some other kings, among whom was Muqawqis,
the ruler of Egypt, who responded with some presents.19 Nevertheless, the
Chosroes of Persia tore up the letter, an incident predicting the end of the
Persian Sassanid Empire, which took place during the caliphate of ‘Umar, may
God be pleased with him.20
When, in the Qur’an, God ordered Muhammad, upon him be peace and
blessings, to communicate the Message, He addresses him, ‘O Messenger’, to
show that his is the highest rank among the Prophets. While all the other
Prophets are addressed by name, this form of address to the Prophet
Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, demonstrates that he is the
foremost in fulfilling Divine Messengership, in other words, in conveying
the Message. The civilization based upon the principles he conveyed over a
remarkably short period of time has attracted and astounded many – so much
so that, as recorded in Mizanci Murad Tarihi (History by Mizanci Murad),
Auguste Comte, the atheist French philosopher, after visiting the remains of
the Islamic civilization of Andalusia, made a brief study of Islam. When he
learned that the Prophet Muhammad was unlettered, he said: ‘Muhammad was not
a god, but he was not just a human being either.’
However, quoting al-Busiri, we say: The conclusion which we draw after
all the information we have gathered about him is that he is a human being,
but the best among God’s creation.
9. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, 5.120–1.
10. ibid., 4.272.
11. ibid., 4.273.
12. ibid., 4.271.
13. ibid., 3.104.
14. ibid., 3.105.
15. Bukhari, Jana’iz, 4.65; Muslim, Jana’iz, 62–7.
16. Bukhari, Bad’u l-Wahy, 6.
17. Bukhari, Bad’u l-Wahy, 6.
19. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, 5.324.
20. Bukhari, ‘Ilm, 7.1; I. Hanbal, 1.243.