Enemy as Witness – II
PROF G R MALIK
Continuing the account of Abu Sufyan’s conversation with Heraclius, the ruler of the Byzantine kingdom, Bukhari reports through Abu Sufyan’s lips:
Having heard my (Abu Sufyan’s) answers to his questions, Heraclius asked the interpreter to inform me that all Prophets of Allah have always hailed from noble families. Had anyone of the Prophet’s ancestors been a king, one could think that he was in search of the lost kingship and power. Like the followers of all the prophets that have gone before him, his followers are also the poorest and the most down-trodden people. If he has never told a lie about man, he can never tell a lie about Allah. The number of his followers is on the increase and no one ever renounces his religion after accepting it because once faith enters a heart, it never leaves it. If victory and defeat is now shared between you and him, this has been the way of Allah with all the prophets. Allah keeps on trying them, until their mission is complete and the final victory belongs to them. He has never betrayed you because no messenger of Allah ever betrays anyone. If anyone amongst you had claimed to be a prophet before him, one could suspect that he is emulating his example. After this Heraclius asked me to inform him of what the Prophet teaches. I said he asks us to pray and to spend for the poor and the needy through zakah, and to safeguard and honour relationships, and to be chaste and pure. Heraclius then affirmed that he (Muhammad) was certainly a messenger of Allah. ‘I expected a prophet to appear but I thought he will be from us. Could I reach him I will not only believe in him but wash his feet. One day his sovereignty will extend to where I stand now.’ Thereafter Heraclius had the letter of the Prophet (SAW) read out to him and this was the text of the letter:
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the Dispenser of Grace. This is a communication from Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah to Heraclius the ruler of the Byzantine empire.
Peace be on him who follows the right path. I invite you to embrace Islam; if you accept this you will attain to salvation absolute. If you embrace Islam Allah will bestow on you double reward (for having been a believer in a revealed religion so far and now accepting the religion revealed to Muhammad and a reward in this world and in the Hereafter). But if you reject this call, you will be held responsible for your own sins and the sins of the people of your kingdom. Allah (subhanahu wa ta‘ala) says:
‘O people of the Scripture, come on to the terms which are common between us and you, that we worship and obey none but Allah, that we associate no partners with Him, and that we do not take, besides Him one another as lords, but if they turn away, tell them to stand witness that we surrender in obedience to Allah’
History tells us that in spite of seeing the truth Heraclius did not, in the end, accept Islam for fear of losing his kingship in the face of stiff resistance put up by the nobles of his court. Right guidance rarely comes gratis; it always exacts a price. Besides, granting hidayah is the prerogative of Allah (SWT); He knows best whose desire and search for truth is pure and sincere and who deserves guidance.
The story of sworn enemies and committed adversaries testifying to the truthfulness and greatness of Muhammad (SAW) does not begin and end with Abu Sufyan but has continued unbroken to this day. It has continued from the reluctant and half-hearted admission of men like Gibbon and H. G. Wells through more-or-less objective avowals of people like Thomas Carlyle and Montgomery Watt to a frank admission of undisputed greatness and unquestionable superiority by a dispassionate assessor like Michael Hart, who is constrained by his own self-defined criteria to recognize the Prophet (SAW) as the greatest and most influential of all personages of human history. This is a practical illustration, one of the many tafseers, of the Divine promise of rafa‘al-dhikr (elevation of remembrance) to our Prophet. But following the avowal up with open acceptance of Divine guidance is, as it has always been, a gift from Allah to whom we pray for guidance and steadfast adherence to it.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Feb 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Feb 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 26 Feb 2010 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM FRIDAY FOCUS
LAWDA bids adieu to its executive engineer
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, Feb 25: In a typical example of communal harmony, the staffers of the majority community at the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority on Thursday performed the last rites of their Pandit More
Jammu, Feb 25: The Government has revised the construction rates for school buildings in the remote areas said the School Education Minister, Peerzada Muhammad Sayed while replying to supplementaries on More
GK NEWS NETWORK
New Delhi, Feb 25: The Centre Thursday approved implementation of projects for four-laning of the mountainous Jammu-Srinagar highway, the only road link to the Kashmir Valley which is extremely vulnerable More
- GK Business
FM PRESENTS ECONOMIC SURVEY
New Delhi, Feb 24: The Economic Survey presented in the parliament today shows serious concern over the hyper-inflation the food items have witnessed. The survey proposes measure to overcome shortage of More