REMARKS ON CONVEYING THE MESSAGE
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.
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.1
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 re-consider the Message of Islam. Consequently, many leading figures, among
them Khalid and ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, accepted Islam.2
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 Islam3
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.4
to neighboring rulers
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:
Muhammad, God’s Messenger, to the Negus Asham, the King of Abyssinia;
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.5
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.
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:
Muhammad, God’s Messenger, from the Negus,
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.6
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.’
died, God’s Messenger performed the funeral prayer for him in absentia.7
following letter was sent to Heraclius, the emperor of Byzantium:
Muhammad, the servant of God and His Messenger, to Heraclius, the greatest
of the Byzantines,
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).
‘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)8
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 between them:
What is the family status of this person?
Did any of his ancestors claim Prophethood?
Was there a king among his ancestors?
No, there wasn’t.
Do th 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?
Has he ever broken his promise?
So far he hasn’t but I don’t know whether he will in the future.
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.’9
according to Imam Bukhari’s narration, the bishop of the area accepted
Messenger sent letters to some other kings, among whom was Muqawqis, the ruler
of Egypt, who responded with some presents.11
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.12
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.’
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.
Kathir, al-Bidaya, 5.120-1.
2. ibid., 4.272.
3. ibid., 4.273.
4. ibid., 4.271.
5. ibid., 3.104.
6. ibid., 3.105.
7. Bukhari, Jana’iz, 4.65; Muslim, Jana’iz, 62-7.
8. Bukhari, Bad’u l-Wahy, 6.
9. Bukhari, Bad’u l-Wahy, 6.
11. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, 5.324.
12. Bukhari, ‘Ilm, 7.1; I. Hanbal, 1.243.