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Muqawqis is Invited to Islam


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(7th year of the Migration, the month of Muharram / AD 628)

Hatib b. Abi Baltaa, one of the Companions, set off to Egypt with the letter of the Prophet addressing Muqawqis. Hatib, who went on travelling day and night, gave the letter of the Prophet to Muqawqis in Alexandria. The following was written in the letter which Muqawqis had somebody read it:

“Bismillahirrahmanirrahim!

“From Muhammad, the slave and Messenger of God to Muqawqis, the leader of Copts!

“Peace be upon those who follow the right path!

“After this prayer, I invite you to Islam. Embrace Islam so that you will attain salvation. Embrace Islam so that God will reward you twice. If you refuse my invitation, may you be responsible for the sins of Copts!”

“Say: ‘O people of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not from among ourselves Lords and patrons other than God.’ If then they turn back, say: ye! ‘Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to God's will).’” (Aal-i Imran, 64)[1]

When the letter was read, Muqawqis said, “May it be good for all!” and entertained Hatib, the envoy of the Prophet. Then, he put the blessed letter of the Messenger of God into an ivory box and sealed the box.[2]

Muqawqis Accepts

One night Muqawqis summoned Hatib b. Abi Baltaa. There was only a translator with them. After talking for a long time, Muqawqis accepted the prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) though he did not become a Muslim. He said,

“I knew that a prophet would come but I thought he was going to appear in Damascus. For most of the previous prophets appeared in Damascus. In fact, I also saw in the books that the last prophet would emerge in Arabia, the land of hardness, scarcity and poverty.

This time is just the time of the prophet whose characteristics are written in the book of God.

However, Copts will not obey me if I become a Muslim. I cannot leave my sovereignty. 

This prophet will be sovereign in many countries; after him, his Companions will come and settle in our land; then, they will defeat those people over there.”[3]

With this talk, Muqawqis accepted the prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) but he did not mention it to his people lest he should lose his sovereignty; he did not become a Muslim, either.[4]Love of sovereignty and kingdom deprived him of the happiness of belief.

The Letter and Presents of Muqawqis to the Prophet

Muqawqis did not become a Muslim because the love of worldly sovereignty outweighed in his heart; however, he sent a letter, some presents and two women slaves to the Prophet.[5]

After that, he saw Hatib b. Abi Baltaa off in Alexandria and said to him, “Do not let Copts hear anything from you.”[6]

The two female slaves that Muqawqis sent to the Messenger of God were Ma­riya and her sister Sirin. Hatib b. Abi Baltaa explained Islam to them on the way and offered them to embrace Islam; thus, they became Muslims.

Later, the Prophet married Mariya and he married Sirin off to Hassan b. Thabit, the poet. [7]

The other presents sent by Muqawqis were:

* A white mule and a donkey,

* One thousand mithqal (4,5 kg) of gold,

* Twenty suits made of fine Egyptian fabric,

* A crystal glass,

* Aromatic honey, very nice perfumes, etc.[8]

The mule was given the name “Duldul” and the donkey “Ufayr”.

Hatib b. Abi Baltaa is in Madinah

After staying in the country of Muqawqis for five days, Hatib b. Abi Baltaa went to Madinah and told the Prophet what had happened; he also gave the Prophet the letter and the presents sent by the Prophet.

Muqawqis stated the following in his letter:

“From Muqawqis, the leader of Copts to Muhammad b. Abdullah!

Peace be upon you!

After greeting, I want to say this:

I received your letter and read it. I understood what you mentioned in your letter and what you invited me to do.

I knew that a prophet would come but I thought he was going to appear in Damascus!

I entertained your envoy. I sent you two female slaves respected by Copts and clothes; I also sent a mule for you to ride.

Peace be upon you!”[9]

When the letter was read, the Prophet said, “Miserable man! He could not risk his sovereignty but the sovereignty he loved so much will not remain!”[10]

The Original Letter that the Prophet Sent to Muqawqis

The blessed letter of the Messenger of God he sent to Muqawqis is kept in Istanbul Topkapi Palace Museum, in the Department of Holy Relics. 

The letter was found in an old monastery among Coptic books in the town of Ahmim in Egypt in H 1267; thereupon, Ottoman Sultan Abdulmajid bought it and made it sent to Istanbul.

The blessed letter, whose dimensions are 16x19 cm, was written on brown leather with black ink and have twelve lines.   

The seal of the Messenger of God is present at the bottom of the letter.

There are some holes made by moths in the letter.[11]

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[1]Ibn Qayyim, Zadu’l-Maad, Vol. 3, p. 72; Halabi, Insanu’l-Uyun, Vol. 3, p. 295-296.

[2]Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, Vol. 1, p. 260; Ibn Sayyid, Uyun al-Athar, Vol. 2, p. 266.

[3]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 1, p. 260; Ibn Sayyid, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 266.

[4]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 1, p. 260; Ibn Sayyid, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 266. Halabi, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 296-297.

[5]Ibn Sayyid, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 266.

[6]Ibn Sayyid, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 266.

[7]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 8, p. 212-213.

[8]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 1, p. 485; Halabi, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 297.

[9]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 1, p. 260; Ibn Qayyim, Zadu’l-Maad, Vol. 2, p. 72; Ibn Sayyid, Uyun al-Athar, Vol. 3, p. 266.

[10]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 1, p. 261; Halabi, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 266.

[11]Tahsin Öz, Hırka-i Saadet Dairesi ve Emanet-i Mübareke, p. 29-30.



14-04-2012 11:49:57