Prophet Muhammad (AS) Letter to the Monks of St. Catherine Monastery

December 24, 2009  |  Thoughts

PROPHET MUHAMMED’s Letter to the Monks of St. Catherine Monastery from Haqqani OSMANLI on Vimeo.

The Letter Reads:

This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.

Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

No compulsion is to be on them.

Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.

No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.

Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.

The Muslims are to fight for them.

If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.

Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.

No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).

St Catherines monestary has this to say about their letter:

“According to the tradition preserved at Sinai, Mohammed (AS) both knew and visited the monastery and the Sinai fathers. The Koran makes mention of the Sinai holy sites. In the second year of the Hegira, corresponding to AD 626, a delegation from Sinai requested a letter of protection from Mohammed (S). This was granted, and authorized by him when he placed his hand upon the document. In AD 1517, Sultan Selim I confirmed the monastery’s prerogatives, but took the original letter of protection for safekeeping to the royal treasury in Constantinople. At the same time, he gave the monastery certified copies of this document, each depicting the hand print of Mohammed (S) in token of his having touched the original. ”

 


18 Comments


  1. This letter gave me the chills. Imagine if we could also read a letter that was written by Moses or Jesus (pbutb). Amazing. Thank you for sharing, Yursil.

  2. Sabah, Salamu’alaykum, you’re welcome, I’m glad you found it moving

  3. This is a beautiful letter indeed, however, I wonder as to its authenticity.

    1) Has it been carbon-dated?

    2) Is the seal of our beloved (saaws) actually on it? I did not ever hear of his hand print being his “seal”. I recall reading in the works of ahadith that his ring had upon it his Khatam (seal).

    3) Furthermore, who translated the above?

    Jazakum Allahu Khayran Sidi for the great find,
    Abu Layth

  4. BismillahirRahmanirRahim
    Salamu’alaykum

    1) As far as I know, carbon dating is not a technique advocated by any Muslim scholars.

    2) “According to the tradition preserved at Sinai, Mohammed )AS_ both knew and visited the monastery and the Sinai fathers. The Koran makes mention of the Sinai holy sites. In the second year of the Hegira, corresponding to AD 626, a delegation from Sinai requested a letter of protection from Mohammed (S). This was granted, and authorized by him when he placed his hand upon the document. In AD 1517, Sultan Selim I confirmed the monastery’s prerogatives, but took the original letter of protection for safekeeping to the royal treasury in Constantinople. At the same time, he gave the monastery certified copies of this document, each depicting the hand print of Mohammed (S) in token of his having touched the original. ”

    3) I am unsure of the translator, the text is widely available online.

    -Yursil

  5. Salam,

    If that picture of the Arabic manuscript is the one that is supposedly by the Prophet, then it is an obvious fake. The Arabic script that is shown there is a MUCH later development than what the Arabs of the Prophet’s time would have used. Compare the earliest copies of the Qur’an on http://www.islamic-awareness.org to see the development of Arabic script.

    Don’t get fooled with Christian polemics against Islam, as this video obviously is.

    Wa salam,
    Chicago.

  6. As they monestary themselves state, they don’t have the original. The original was taken to Istanbul by Yavuz Selim (R), who was Khalifa of Islam ending in 1520 (CE).

    Although kufic scripts are commonplace is early Quranic manuscripts, if you study the history of Arabic script, you will find that Kufic script was hardly the only script in existance during the Prophet’s (S) time, and cursive script styles were commonplace.

    Kufic was used for important, special work and cursive script was used for other communication. As noted by the picture, this letter does not contain any of the dialetical marks introduced later to support Quranic reading by non-Arab speakers.

    “Cursive scripts coexisted with Kufic and date back to before Islam, but because in the early stages of their development they lacked discipline and elegance, they were usually used for secular purposes only.

    Under the Ummayads and Abbasids, court requirements for correspondence and record keeping resulted in many developments to the cursive scripts, and several styles were devised to fulfill these needs.”
    http://www.sakkal.com/ArtArabicCalligraphy.html

    In the end, it’s your job to doubt and deny the Prophet’s (S) words. It was my job to distribute them.

  7. These comments remind me of our conversation the other day.

    This letter warms my heart, thanks for sharing.

  8. Salam,

    My apologies for veering off topic here, but I had a question about your earlier post of muharram 1999, where the shaykh was talking about the possible arrival of Imam Mehdi. Why did the shaykh believe that it was time for Imam Mehdi to arrive? Have all of the conditions been fulfilled?

  9. AA- Yursil,

    What? Are you implying that 60 Minutes was being disingenuous in presenting this piece on Islam? The horror!

    Seriously, this is the first time I’m ever hearing about this monastery in Sinai reaching out for protection to the Prophet (saw). I’m wondering what military/political authority did the Prophet (saw) have over that region that led them to ask for his protection?

    And nothing in the letter refers to the Monks of the St. Catherine Monastery in specific. It reads like a generic statement for ALL Christians. So how has this letter become attributed to this specific monastery?

    Just wondering.

  10. BismillahirRahmanirRahim
    Salamu’alaykum,

    Actually I don’t really care whether people like the report or not… dare someone say that the Prophet (S) ordered us to be good to Christians! Watch the whole video please. This is a very famous text and has been witnessed by multiple Muslim jurists.

    I think when Prophets (S) words reach your ears it’s time to make a decision. Accept like Abu Bakr (R) accepted the miraj without even questioning Prophet (S) for proofs, or knowing about carbon dating, or be like those who mocked the story with sarcasm and derision. Take your pick.

    As the tradition states, the monastery sent monks seeking a guarantee of protection during the upcoming and ongoing fitnah in their surrounding areas. That is why it is associated with them, however there is no need for it to only be applied to those particular monks. You can apply it to anyone. The treaty of Najran is similar and is a worthwhile read and as far as I know, no one is doubting that.

    Of course, I didn’t think I would be seeing such a horrible reaction from Muslims to their own Prophet’s (S) words for this case either. I hope people who have a mustard seed of doubt of their own Prophet’s (S) words, repent. Those who outright deny it, inshaAllah they shall be shown things with all the proofs they need on the other side.

  11. fahad, you can email me your question at yursil at gmail.com and I will answer there or post your comment on the relevant thread.

  12. Bismillah
    Asalaamu alaikum.
    i found the letter very moving, mashaAllah, and then watched the video, which i think is beautiful. i have non-Muslim friends who said they saw that episode of 60 Minutes and it moved them, mashaAllah.

    All i can say to the cynicism present in comments is subhanAllah. The mainstream media is well-known for distorting or misrepresenting things in a way that is hurtful to Muslims. For once, a mainstream media source has presented something positive, that shows Islam in a good light, and it is the Muslims who are angry about it and questionning the validity??? Woe to the Muslims who like to fight just for the sake of fighting, who cannot even accept kindness or anything positive if it isn’t a Muslim they like who is presenting it. May Allah soften us to the truth and beauty of Islam, ameen. For Muslims to be so upset that this deen teaches respect for others and kindness to non-Muslims is a sign of how far from the Prophet’s salalahi alahi wa salaam path we have come. Even if one felt in their heart some uncertainty of the validity of this particular letter, one should certainly recognize that it is perfectly in keeping with the teachings and proven actions of the Prophet salalahi alahi wa salaam. It is only arrogance that makes us believe that we are better than others. If we are sincere Muslims, we would not feel too threatened to show kindness to others, to affirm that there is no compulsion in religion, and that respect for people of faith is part of this deen.

  13. AA- Yursil,

    Not sure if the sarcasm in my initial statement was apparent, but I was displaying mock horror at the possibility of 60 Minutes being biased against Islam. MSM has a bad record when it comes to presenting Islam in a good light and this case was no different.

    Even when a clear text from the Prophet (saw) indicates tolerance and respect, they instead choose to focus on the Turkish government’s lack thereof. Not surprising at all.

  14. You should watch the video completely, including the word slides. The Turkish government has been no fan of Islam, so I don’t see how criticizing them has become an attack on Muslims. I think presenting the distinction between what the Prophet (S) ordered and what Turkey actually does is appropriate.

  15. Aaminah,

    You know, I’ve been seeing your blog comments here and there and Masha’Allah, I couldn’t say things better myself. Please stop by my blog sometime….I’d love to get to know you.

  16. Very relevant in my country Malaysia as our churches got torched yesterday. This is the true tolerant version of Islam. I wish my fellow country men who are Muslims have such a view.

    Reason for torching? Arguement over the right of the Christian church in using the word “Allah” in reference to God for our faithful who speaks Malay (the local language, and it has been influenced by Arabic over the many years of history). The local Muslims here believes strongly that the name Allah is exclusive to Muslims, while we all know that Christian Arabs also uses it.

    The use of the word by the church is only for internal use among us Christians yet the government put a ban to it resulting in a court case that have ruled in favour of the church. Thus the torching.

  17. Assalamu Alaikum,

    Nice letter, Masha Allah. But as far as I remember, there is nothing in the books of Prophet Muhammad’s biography that there was such a letter which Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) sent to the above said monastery. Maybe the letter has no origin/s dating back to Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him)’s time, but still we as Muslims must remember that we should treat all people as we would like to be treated ourselves, as Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said in more than a Hadith.

  18. wow I love this letter,it means that including Proph. Mohammed,never preached this frosty relatonship between christians and moslems.

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