Recently I came across a tradition of the Prophet in a book “Muslim conduct of State” by Mohammad Hamidulah. I want to find out its source as it was not given in the book. It has profound implications for a Muslim state’s relations with other states. A Muslim ambassador was killed in violation of international law in the Byzantine territory. The letter of the Prophet invites the Byzantine emperor to embrace Islam, or to pay the jizyah …if not then (at least) not to interfere with the (Byzantine) subjects if they embrace Islam or if they pay the jizyah” I want to find out the year of this letter and its source (book of Hadith) from which it was taken.
One of my friends has shown me another letter of the prophet to Heraclius Caesar with a different text in which the Prophet invites him to accept Islam. At that time AbuSufyan was also present in his court and he asked abusufyan questions about Islam.
Did the Prophet send two letters in different times to Heraclius?
It would not be very accurate to derive that the Prophet (pbuh) sent two different letters to the same emperor, both inviting him to Islam. The incidents that you have referred to narrate the Prophet’s invitation to two different rulers. One of them was the Byzantine ruler Heraclius, while the other was Shurahbil ibn Amr al-Ghassani, the provincial governor of Busra, under the Byzantine emperor, Heraclius. In the former incident, Abu Sufian was also present in the court of Heraclius, when the messenger of the Prophet (pbuh) delivered the message, while in the latter incident, the Governor – against all international traditions and treaties – captured and beheaded the messenger (al-Harith ibn Umayr al-Azdi) of the Prophet (pbuh).
Both these incidents, however, are reported to have taken place in the same year – the 6th year after Hijrah.
September 22, 2000