How kings responded to prophets invitation to islam?
Following the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, a rasul sent to entire humankind, began inviting all lands within reach, near and far, to Islam. Such was, after all, the Divine Command:
“Say: “O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah, to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth…” (al-Araf, 158)
“O Messenger! Deliver what bas been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people…” (al-Maida, 67)
“And We have not sent you but to all the men as a bearer of good news and as a warner, but most men do not know.” (Saba, 28)
The Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- invited these people to Islam through written letters, the most famous of which are six or eight in number. Each letter of invitation was dispatched with a reputable Companion. When the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace- expressed his wish to have letters written to sovereigns, the Companions said:
“They will not read a letter, Messenger of Allah, unless it is sealed.” Thus, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- had a silver ring made with ‘Allah–Rasul–Muhammad’ engraved on it in three vertical lines. He thereafter employed the ring as an official seal. Engraved on the ring was the appellation ‘Muhammadun Rasulullah’, though out of respect, Allah’s name had been inscribed above on the first line, followed in the middle by Rasul and then on the bottom line Muhammad.
Dihyat’ul-Kalbi –Allah be well-pleased with him- took the Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- letter to Heraclius, the Byzantine Emperor. Returning from an emphatic victory against the Persians, Heraclius happened to be in Syria when the letter was eventually delivered to him. Upon receiving the letter, the Emperor was far from irritated, as was a common attitude of conceited kings. On the contrary, the letter aroused in him a deep interest and wanting to investigate further into the nature of this invitation, Heraclius commanded that the fellow townsman of the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- be brought to his presence, so that he could personally interrogate them.
Heading a group of Meccan merchants, Abu Sufyan, one of the then archenemies of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, just happened to be in Damascus at that time. The Treaty of Hudaybiya was still in effect. They were escorted by the Emperor’s men to royal presence. Heraclius, accompanied by his entourage, was at Ilia, in the vicinity of al-Aqsa, when the Meccans were delivered to him. Surrounded by Greek notables, the Emperor accepted the men in his presence and sent for a translator to act as a medium between him and the men of Quraysh.
“Who among you is of the closest kin to the man who says he is a prophet?” asked the Emperor via the translator.
“I am”, said Abu Sufyan.
“Bring him and his friends closer to me; but when I am speaking with him, let his friends remain a step behind him”, ordered Heraclius. Then turning again to his translator he added, “Tell his friends that I will ask certain question regarding that man. If he begins to speak lies, tell them to give us a signal.”
Indeed, Abu Sufyan did in fact confess, later down the track, “Had I not felt any embarrassment over how my friends would speak here and there about the lies I had spun, I would have surely lied about him!” What unfolded thereafter is recounted by Abu Sufyan himself:
“The first question the Emperor then posed was, ‘How is his lineage?’
‘His lineage among us is eminent indeed!’ I replied.
‘Was there another man before him who claimed to be a prophet?’
‘No’, I responded.
‘Was there a king among his ancestors?’
‘Those who follow him…are they from among the notables or the lower classes?’
‘They are from the lower classes’, I replied.
‘Are their numbers rising or dwindling?’ Heraclius then inquired.
‘They are on the rise…’ responded I.
‘Are there any people who, after accepting his religion, turn back out of dislike?’
‘Did you ever accuse him of lying before he made a claim to be prophet?’
‘Was there a time when he did not keep his promise?’
‘No, every promise he makes he keeps. But we have made a peace agreement with him in the time being. We do not know how he will act during this period’, I said. I could not find any other words to vilify him except for these!
‘Did you fight against him?’ then asked Heraclius.
‘Yes’, I responded.
‘What were the outcomes of these battles?’
‘On some occasions, he has defeated us; on others, we have defeated him!’
‘Well, then what does he command you with?’
‘He commands us to worship Allah and Allah only and not ascribe any partners to him and to abandon the idols of our forefathers. He enjoins us with salat, honesty, integrity and seeing to our relatives.’
The Emperor then said some things to his translator, who then translated his words:
“Tell him…I asked you of his lineage and you told me it was of the noblest of among you. Such are prophets. They are sent from among the noblest of their people.
I asked whether there was anybody else before him to have made this claim. You told me there was not. If there was, I could have perhaps said that he was imitating him.
I asked if a king had ever hailed from his ancestry and you told me there had not. Had there hailed a king, I would have said he is trying to reclaim his forefather’s dominion.
I asked whether you had ever seen him lie before he made this claim and you replied you had not. I myself know that a person who does not lie to humans can never lie on behalf of God!
I asked if his followers were mainly from the notables or from the lower class. You said they were from the lower class. It is them after all who follow prophets at the beginning.
Are they rising or dwindling, I asked; you said they were increasing. It is a characteristic of true religions for the number of their followers to continually rise.
I asked if there were people who turned away from his religion out of dislike after accepting it and you said there were not. That is what happens once faith spreads out its roots in the heart and becomes entrenched.
I asked if there was ever a time when he failed to keep his word; you said no. Such are prophets. They never turn back on their words.
I asked if you had ever fought against him. You said you did and that sometimes you lost and sometimes you won. At any case, prophets are like that. They undergo trials but victory finally belongs to them.
I asked you what he commanded you with. You said naught but to worship God without ascribing Him any partners, to abandon worshipping idols; and with salat, honesty and integrity.
If what you say is true, then that man will very soon reign sovereign ever over these lands on which I stand now. Besides, I knew of the coming of this Prophet, but little could I have guessed he would hail from among you. If I knew I could make it to his presence, I would undergo troubles of all kinds just to see him. If I were next to him, I would wash his feet.”
Heraclius then asked for the letter of the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-, delivered by Dihya -Allah be well-pleased with him- to the Governor of Busra, who then had it forwarded to the Emperor. It read:
“From Allah’s servant and Messenger Muhammad to Heraclius, the leader of the Romans,
Peace be unto those who follow guidance! I hereby invite you to Islam. Enter Islam, so that you are saved; and Allah will then double your reward! If you decline, then bear the sins of your peasants (who are your subjects).
‘Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him).’ (Al’i Imran, 64)
Abu Sufyan reports what unfolded next:
“After Heraclius finished what he had to say and the letter had been read, there erupted a tumultuous uproar; voices were raised from all corners. Thereupon, they took us outside. There, I said to my friends, ‘The reputation of Abu Kaabsha’s Son has gotten out of hand…even the King of Banu Asfar· (Heraclius) is afraid of him!’ It was at that moment that I developed an unswerving belief in his eventual triumph…and eventually Allah granted me guidance, too.”
Heraclius then invited all his nobles to royal presence. They all gathered in one of the palaces belonging to the Emperor.
“Byzantines…how would you like it if you received eternal salvation and sovereignty?” the Emperor said to them, implicitly inviting them to Islam. Then, like wild donkeys that have just been frightened, they all ran towards the exit doors, only to see they had all been closed. Realizing his statesmen remained aloof from accepting the call of Islam, Heraclius calmly called them back and turning back from his previous words, said:
“I was only testing your steadfastness and loyalty to Christianity…and I like what I see!” Reassured, the statesmen then bowed to him in appreciation. (Bukhari, Bad’ul-Wahy 1, 5-6, Iman, 37, Shahadat, 28, Jihad, 102; Muslim, Jihad, 74; Ahmad, I, 262)
Letting worldly considerations hold sway, Emperor Heraclius thus denied for himself the blessing of Islam, despite having examined and understood its truth. After having come so close to passing the threshold of an eternal bliss and dominion, he turned away.
It was Abdullah ibn Huzafah -Allah be well-pleased with him- who delivered a similar letter to the Persian Khosrau, whose reaction was a far cry from that of Heraclius. Fuming over seeing his name written below that of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, he madly tore the letter to pieces and threw abusive insults at the ambassador.
Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- kept his composure and pronounced the following to the Khosrau and his statesmen:
“You, Persian people, are passing your numbered days without a Prophet, a Scripture and with control over a mere portion of the earth…You are living the life of a fleeting reverie! The part of earth over which you exercise no influence is indeed far greater.
Many kings have come before you, Khosrau, and ruled with a desire either for the world or the Hereafter. Those who desired the Hereafter also received their shares of the world. As for those who desired the world, they squandered their shares of the Hereafter. Belittle what we offer you as much as you want, but by Allah, wherever you may be, when what you belittle comes to get you, you will be enshrouded in fear and be unable to protect yourself!”
The Khosrau remained indifferent and arrogantly boasted of how sovereignty was his part and parcel and how defeat or the emergence of a rival could not cast fear into him. (Suhayli, VI, 589-590) He subsequently commanded his guards to take Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- out of the palace.
Abdullah ibn Huzafah -Allah be well-pleased with him- wasted no time in mounting his ride and striding towards Medina, thinking to himself, “By Allah, I would not worry over what may befall me of the two paths (back to Medina or death), for I have done my duty of delivering the Prophet’s letter.” (Ahmad, I, 305; Ibn Sad, I, 260, IV, 189; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, IV, 263-6; Hamidullah, al-Wasaiq, p. 140)
Coming to mind here is another account featuring Abdullah ibn Huzafah –Allah be well-pleased with him- that illustrates his enormous virtue and courage:
During the caliphate of Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him-, Abdullah ibn Huzafah was part of a Muslim army sent to Syria, to the region of Kaysariyya, to combat the Byzantines, where he was taken prisoner. The Byzantine officials, considering him a prized prisoner, took him to the Emperor, telling he was “…a Companion of the Prophet!”
The Emperor had Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- locked up in a house where he was deprived from food and water. Afterward, he sent the Companion some wine and pork. They observed Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- for three days on end; but he laid his hands neither on the wine nor the pork.
“He has really begun to struggle now”, the men told the Emperor. “If you do not take him out, he will certainly die!”
The Emperor had Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- brought to him.
“What is keeping you from eating and drinking what I have sent you?” he asked.
“Though necessity makes it permissible for me to eat and drink from what you have sent me”, replied the Companion, “I did not want to turn either myself or Islam into a laughing stock for you!”
Moved by his dignified stance, the Emperor offered Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- the hand of his daughter and, what’s more, governorship, on the condition that he became Christian.
“Even if you were to give me your entire realm and the Arab lands in return for turning away from Muhammad’s -upon him blessings and peace- religion just for duration of the blink of an eye,” Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- responded, “I still would not!”
“Then I will have you killed!” threatened the Emperor.
“That is for you to decide!” said Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him-.
The dignified Companion was subsequently hung on a crucifix. The bowmen shot at him but deliberately missed, compliant with the command they had been given, in order to give him a little scare. He was then, once more, given an ultimatum to renounce Islam but that noble Companion kept his head high.
“Either you become Christian”, the King shouted from afar, “or I will have you thrown in a boiling cauldron!” When Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- refused, a copper cauldron was brought, filled with olive oil and water, which was then boiled. The Emperor had another Muslim captive brought, to whom he gave the same ultimatum as Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him-. When he, too, refused, he was brutally thrown directly into the cauldron, in front of the gazing eyes of Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him-. His body instantly disintegrated in the scorching boiling water, as he died the most noblest of deaths.
The Emperor repeated his ultimatum to Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him-. Rejected once more, the Emperor then ordered for him to be also thrown into the cauldron. Right before being thrown, Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- began to shed tears. Thinking he had a change of heart, the Emperor had the Companion brought to him. There, he repeated his ultimatum but was rejected with anger.
“Then why did you cry?” asked the Emperor, stunned, to which Abdullah ibn Huzafah gave a legendary reply.
“Don’t you think that I cried from the fear of what you were about to have done to me. I cried over having only one life to give in the way of Allah. I thought to myself, ‘Now you carry one life, which is about to be thrown into the cauldron, and you will die at the instant in the way of Allah. But I would have wanted to have as many lives as the number of hairs on my body and in the way of Allah, be subjected to the same torment over and over again.’”
The tremendous attitude shown by Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- with the valor and honor of iman greatly affected the Emperor and he wanted to free him.
“Then kiss my forehead and I will let you go”, he said.
“Will you then release the other Muslim prisoners with me?” asked the Companion.
“Yes”, said the Emperor. “I will!”
Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- later said “At that moment I thought what harm could there be in kissing the forehead of an enemy among the enemies of Allah, in return for saving both myself and the other Muslim captives?”
That day, eighty Muslim prisoners were released. They explained their ordeal to Caliph Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- upon returning in Medina.
“Kissing Abdullah’s forehead is a duty upon all Muslims and I shall be the first person to fulfill that duty”, exclaimed Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- and he got up and kissed Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- on the forehead. (Ibn Athir, Usd’ul-Ghabah, III, 212-213; Dhahabi, Siyar, II, 14-15)
It was thus a Companion of the caliber of Abdullah ibn Huzafah -Allah be well-pleased with him- to have delivered the Blessed Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- letter to the Khosrau of Persia; to have courageously lectured him in the royal court, surrounded by henchman waiting for a simple gesture from their Khosrau to execute him.
Hearing the Khosrau had torn his letter and shouted abuses, the Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- remarked, “May Allah tear his dominion apart!” (Bukhari, Ilim, 7; Ibn Athir, Usd’ul-Ghabah, III, 212)
The Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- fateful miracle came true very soon afterwards, during the perioed of the Khulafa-i Rashidun, or the Righteous Caliphs, when the entire Persian realm came under Muslim control.
The Khosrau, still vexed, sent an edict to Bazan, the Governor of Yemen, asking him to bring the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- to him. For that reason, Bazan’s envoy arrived next to the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- and handed the Khosrau’s letter to him. After having the letter read to him, the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- smiled. He then invited the ambassadors to Islam. The ambassadors asked the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- to at least write a reply to the Khosrau, if he did not wish to come with them. The Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, through a Divine inspiration, then told them:
“Allah has set upon Khosrau his son Shirawayh. Shirawayh has killed him in such month, during such night and at such and such time past the night!”
The ambassadors were taken aback. “Should we write down what you said inform the Governor?” they asked.
“Yes”, replied the Messenger of Allah. “Inform the Governor with what you have heard and also tell him that my religion and sovereignty will reach beyond the dominion and kingdom of the Khosrau and stretch over the furthermost points where horses and camels tread. Also say to him: If he becomes Muslim, I shall grant him the lands under his governorship and make him king to his tribe of Abna (Persians living in Yemen)!”
When the words of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- were eventually conveyed to Bazan, he commented, “I swear this does not sound like the words of a king. I believe this man is a prophet like he says! Anyhow, let’s wait for the outcome of what he said regarding the Khosrau. If it turns out to be true, then he is a prophet sent to people by the Almighty. If it turns out be false then we will decide on the measure to take!”
“How did you find him?” Bazan then asked the ambassadors.
“We have never before seen a more majestic yet humble ruler afraid of nothing, despite having no guards around him; who moreover walks on foot like ordinary men! His friends do not raise their voices next to him and they speak in a soft tone…” they said and continued to give a report of what they saw.
They did not have to wait long for the arrival of the imperial letter declaring Shirawayh had killed his father. What’s more, the Khosrau’s time of death precisely matched the time given by the Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-. Governor Bazan simply remarked, “This man is most certainly a prophet sent by Allah!” The Abna, people of Persian origin living in Yemen, followed their governor in accepting Islam. (Ibn Sad, I, 260; Abu Nuaym, Dalail, II, 349-350; Diyarbakri, II, 35-37)
The Negus of Abyssinia was by far the most hospitable in receiving the letter of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- and its deliverer Amr ibn Umayyah -Allah be well-pleased with him-. Together with an open invitation to Islam, the letter sent to the Negus also comprised concise information on Maryam and Isa –upon them peace-. Having more or less already learnt Islam from the Muslims who had previously immigrated to Abyssinia and having adopted an encouraging approach towards it right from the start, the Negus took wing to the horizons of iman after receiving the official letter of invitation to the truth. He declared his faith in the presence of Jafar -Allah be well-pleased with him-, the elder son of Abu Talib, who was with him at the time. Then compliant with the wishes of the Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, he boarded the Muslim immigrants on two vessels and had them delivered to the other side of the Red Sea. He also sent a letter of his own to the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, declaring he had become Muslim. It read:
“To Muhammad -upon him blessings and peace-, the Messenger of Allah, from the Negus,
Peace be upon you, Messenger of Allah, and so too the mercy and abundance of Allah. Allah, apart from Who there is no god, has guided me to Islam.
Messenger of Allah…! I have received your letter in which you mention the situation of Isa -upon him peace-. By the Lord of the earth and theavens, Isa -upon him peace- said nothing more than what you mention regarding him. His invitation was, likewise, as you say. We have learnt the basics of Islam which you are obliged to communicate. We have accommodated your cousin (Jafar) and his friends who immigrated to our lands. I bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allah. You are true to your word. You are right and confirmed.
I have sworn allegiance to you, Messenger of Allah, through your cousin, your representative. I have submitted to the Lord of the Worlds in front of him. I hereby send you my son Arha. On only my own soul do I exercise power; and if you want me to come to you, Messenger of Allah, I will do so at the instant. I bear witness that what you say is true. Peace be upon you, Messenger of Allah…” (Ibn Sad, I, 259; Ibn Qayyim, III, 689; Hamidullah, al-Wasaiq, p. 100, 104-105)
It was again during those days that the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, asked for a volunteer “…to deliver a letter to the Muqawqis of Alexandria, expecting its rewards from Allah” Khatib ibn Abi Baltaah -Allah be well-pleased with him- rose to his feet, at once, and volunteered to deliver the letter.
“May Allah make this mission holy for you”, prayed the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- .
Khatib -Allah be well-pleased with him- took the letter to the Muqawqis of Alexandria. The letter read:
“In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate,
From Allah’s Servant and Messenger Muhammad, to Muqawqis, the Leader of the Copts,
Peace unto those who follow guidance and keep to the right path. I hereby invite you to Islam. Become Muslim and find peace so that Allah doubles your reward. If you do not accept this invitation, then you shall bear the sins of the Copts.
‘Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him).’ (Al-i Imran, 64)”
Once the Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- letter had been read, the Muqawqis told Khatib -Allah be well-pleased with him- to approach him, gathering at the same time his prominent high priests. Khatib-Allah be well-pleased with him- recounts what happened afterwards:
“The Muqawqis told me he wanted to talk to me ask me certain things he wished to find out. ‘Certainly…Ask away’, I told him.
‘Is not your master a prophet?’ he asked.
‘Most certainly…he is the Messenger of Allah’, I responded.
‘If he really is the Messenger of Allah, then why did he not curse his people who forced him to migrate from his hometown and seek refuge elsewhere?’ he then inquired. To that I responded with a question of my own.
‘You would bear witness that Isa, son of Maryam, was a prophet of Allah, would you not? Now since he was, could he not have asked his Lord to destroy his people when they wished to execute him, instead of being lifted to the heavens?’
The Muqawqis was lost for words. After a brief silence, he told me to repeat what I had just said. I did. He went silent again.
‘You said well’, he then commented. ‘You are a wise man, who measures what he says; and from next to a wise man you come from!’ Encouraged, I then spoke the following.
‘There lived a man in these lands before you, who claimed to be the greatest lord. Then Allah the Almighty seized that pharaoh and punished him with the torment of both the world and the Hereafter. Take a lesson from those before you, so that you do not serve a lesson for others!’
‘We already have a religion’, he then remarked, ‘and we will not abandon that unless we are offered something better!’
‘Islam is definitely superior to the religion you are following now! We call you to Islam, to which Allah the Almighty has chosen as religion for mankind. Muhammad Mustafa -upon him blessings and peace- invites not only you, but also the entire humankind. The most vulgar and brutal towards him were the folk of Quraysh. The most malicious towards him have been the Jews. The closest to him, on the other hand, have been the Christians. Just as Musa -upon him peace- heralded Isa -upon him peace-, Isa -upon him peace- heralded Muhammad -upon him blessings and peace-. Our inviting you to the Quran is like you inviting the followers of the Torah to the Bible. Each one is obliged to follow the prophet of his time…and you happen to have made it to the time of Muhammad Mustafa -upon him blessings and peace-. We therefore do not distance you from the religion of Isa -upon him peace- when we invite you to Islam. Much the opposite, we call you to act in accordance with his prophethood.’
To that, the Muqawqis replied:
‘As far as I can see, the religion of this prophet neither commands abandoning the world nor prohibits the acquisition of those things which are accepted and desired. He seems to be neither a bewildered magician nor a liar who claims to receive news from the unknown. Much rather he carries signs of a prophet like having the unknown revealed to him and informing things before they ever happen. But still, I would like some more time to think.’
Later, he had the following written in response to the letter I had brought:
‘In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate,
To Muhammad ibn Abdullah, from the Muqawqis,
Peace unto you! I have read your letter and have understood that which you mention and invite me to. I knew another prophet would come but I had been expecting him from around Damascus. I have hosted your ambassador. I am hereby sending you two slave-girls regarded highly among the Copts and some clothes; and also a mule for you to ride on, as present. Peace unto you!’
The Muqawqis did nothing more; neither did he accept Islam. On my way out, he said, ‘Whatever happens, let not the Copts hear a word from you!’” (Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, IV, 266-267; Ibn Sad, I, 260-261; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, III, 530-531)
Evidently, the Muqawqis received the Prophet’s call amicably. He had been anticipating the arrival of the final prophet, yet had been expecting him from around the vicinity of Damascus. This supposition ended up veiling him from accepting the truth and subsequently the Muqawqis never became Muslim. But with Khatib -Allah be well-pleased with him-, he sent a ride and two slave-girls, the honorable Mariyah and her sister Sirin.
During the return journey, Khatib -Allah be well-pleased with him- made sure to introduce the two sisters with Islam, heartening them to become Muslim; and as a result, they did. They understood the eternal truth even before stepping foot inside Medina.
Once Khatib -Allah be well-pleased with him- conveyed the words of the Muqawqis, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- remarked, “The wayward man could not forfeit his rule…but what he could not forfeit shall not remain with him.” (Ibn Sad, I, 260-261; Diyarbakri, II, 38)
The Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- had Sirin wed to Hassan ibn Thabit -Allah be well-pleased with him-, while he himself married Mariyah, who later gave birth to his son Ibrahim. This wedding, contracted through Divine Will, reaped a number of political benefits. This left a long-lasting imprint on the Egyptians and had a lot to do in their deserting the Byzantines in their wars against the Muslims that were to take place in later years, enabling the Believers to march to victory with more confidence.
The Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- gave the following advice to his Companions, exemplifying the ideal conduct towards relatives:
“You shall conquer Egypt, a land where they use a scale called qirat. I advise you to treat its people with kindness. Keep my will, for we are their kins, of both ancestry and marriage.” (Muslim, Fadail’us-Sahabah, 226-227)
As known, the lineage of the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- reaches Ismail -upon him peace-; and as Hajar, Ismail’s -upon him peace- mother, was from Egypt, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- regards Egyptians as his relatives. As for the marital kinship, that comes from the honorable Mariyah.
Harith, the chieftain of the Ghassanid Arabs of Syria, acted arrogantly towards the Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- letter delivered by Shuja ibn Wahb -Allah be well-pleased with him-. He even asked an official permission of the Emperor of Byzantine to march on the Muslims. But the request was rejected.
Hawza, the leader of Yamamah, also denied the prophetic invitation conveyed by Salit ibn Umayr -Allah be well-pleased with him-. He died in the throes of his ignorance only a short while later.
The Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- gave important advices to each of his ambassadors prior to sending them. For instance, before having a letter delivered to the folk of Khimyar, he advised Iyash -Allah be well-pleased with him- with the following:
“If you arrive there at night, wait until morning to enter. Then take wudu in the best manner and offer two rakahs of salat. Pray to Allah for success and to be pleasantly received. Then prepare yourself, take my letter in your right hand and present it with your right hand to their right hand. If you do that, they shall accept you…”
Iyash -Allah be well-pleased with him- states, “I did exactly as the Messenger of Allah advised. They ended up becoming Muslim. The later events, too, unfolded in the exact manner he had foretold.” (Ibn Sad, I, 282-283)
These invites were the first steps Islam took towards embracing the entire world from Medina. Having come alive in the Arabian Peninsula, Islam continued to grow by the day. After all, the sturdy foundations of the triumphant walk were being laid by the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- himself.
 See, Bukhari, Ilm, 7; Muslim, Libâs, 57, 58; Ibn Saad, I, 258.
 For the name Abu Kaabshah used for the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, refer to v. 1, p. 164.***???
- Banu Asfar, literally the Children of the Blond, was what the Arabs would sometimes refer to the Byzantines as.
 An emperor of Byzantine was referred to as Caesar, a ruler of Persia as Khosrau, a king of Abyssinia as Negus, a sovereign of Egypt as Pharaoh; likewise, a governor of Alexandria was known as Muqawqis, a king of India as Batlimus and a king of Yemen as Tubba. These are general appellations not to be confused with particular names. (Ibn Kathir, al–Bidayah, XI, 228)
 As has been beautifully expressed in the proverb: One who fails to take lessons from history will be a lesson for posterity. Ibn Saad, VIII, 212. Ibn Hisham, I, 4. Ibn Saad, I, 261. Ibn Saad, I, 262.