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Perseveranze
01-09-2011, 01:09 AM
Asalaamu Alaikum/Peace,

I just wanted to ask about the authenticity of one of the letters the Prophet(pbuh) sent to St. Catherine's Monastry. Before I begin, I am not sure what the traditional Muslim belief is, I think it's more towards the line that it is not authentic, though I'd appreciate if any brother has some research articles regarding this letter.

Anyways, here's a quote from Sunniforum to give a bit of background on it -

I heard about this document a few weeks ago from an episode of 60 Minutes and have been trying to find a translation of the document in question; well, I finally have--from The Washington Post' On Faith segment, reproduced here. It's a very interesting document.

In 628 AD, a delegation from St. Catherine's Monastery came to Prophet Muhammad and requested his protection. He responded by granting them a charter of rights, which I reproduce below in its entirety. St. Catherine's Monastery is located at the foot of Mt. Sinai and is the world's oldest monastery. It possess a huge collection of Christian manuscripts, second only to the Vatican, and is a world heritage site. It also boasts the oldest collection of Christian icons. It is a treasure house of Christian history that has remained safe for 1,400 years under Muslim protection.
The Prophet's Letter to St. Catherine's Monastery

"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)."

A video regarding this subject -



This letter is only a Copy and the original is not to be found, I've read in some places that the declaration of whether this incident is authentic or not isn't clear yet.

Maybe some knowledgable brothers/sisters can shed some light on this?
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Hossam Al-Deen
01-09-2011, 03:01 AM
I am interested in knowing about this as well. Especially the part about the hand of the Prophet (S) being drawn on the paper.
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Perseveranze
01-09-2011, 07:09 PM
Asalaamu Alaikum,

No one knows anything about this?
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syed_z
01-09-2011, 09:18 PM
Originally Posted by Perseveranze
Asalaamu Alaikum,

No one knows anything about this?

Salaam.. if we try understanding it under the light of Quran, then it seems very much authentic.

The letter says...


Originally Posted by Perseveranze
I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them.


(2:256) There is no compulsion and coercion in regard to religion.




Originally Posted by Perseveranze
Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
The Non Muslims are free to practice their personal laws in their personal matters. And in Islamic State Jizyah does not apply to women, children, old men and monks.




Originally Posted by Perseveranze
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.

(5:01) O You who have attained to faith! Be true to your covenants.


The covenants we make, we need to uphold them. For example treaty of Hudaibiya which Prophet (saw) made with disbelievers of Makkah, was upheld by the Muslims.

(6:108) Do not revile those whom they invoke other than Allah, because they will revile Allah in ignorance out of spite.


The Houses of worship of the non Muslims, are to be respected and they are free to go to their churches and places of worship. We cannot disrespect them.




Originally Posted by Perseveranze
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them.

The Jizyah , the tax that they pay to the Islamic authority, the authority then in turn protects them, their property, and if they are attacked, then the Muslim authority defends them against their enemies. If they choose to fight for the Muslims, then even the Jizyah which they pay, is also waived. But if they choose not to fight, they are free to do so.




Originally Posted by Perseveranze
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.


(5:5) This day all good things have been made lawful to you. The food of the People of the Book is permitted to you, and your food is permitted to them. And permitted to you are chaste women, be they either from among the believers or from among those who have received the Book before you...



So Quran does allow the Male Muslim to marry non Muslim women from the Ahlal Kitab , i.e Jews and Christians. Provided they are chaste, meaning of pure character. Since Christians sought protection of Muslims, meaning they would live under the rule of Muslims, Muslim men can marry them. If Muslim men were living in Darul Harb (Land of Non Muslims) then it would not have been permitted. Also in time of Prophet Muhammad (Saw), more non Muslims were coming towards Islam, and The Companions had learned Islam directly from Prophet (saw) himself and were staunch believers, and strong Muslims, they were permitted to marry Non Muslim Ahlal Kitab women and bring them in the fold of Islam, not under compulsion, but by their behavior and Islamic way of life.



So i don't know much about authenticity in terms of just looking at or reading the letter, but it can be verified from Quran that all those things said in the letter, could truly be from a Prophet of Allah who believes in Quran.

Hope this helps. Salaam :)
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YusufNoor
01-09-2011, 09:58 PM
:sl:

my guess is that it is not authentic. if you review the Seerah, the only place where the Messenger of Allah, Peace be upon him, signed his name Muhammad ibn Abdullah is at Hudaybiah when the kufar wouldn't accept Muhammad Rasulullah.

when signing a document as the leader of the believers, i would incline to view Muhammad Rasulullah as the formal use of his title.

if 628 BCE, did the Muslims control Sinai?

and Allah knows best!

:wa:
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Zafran
01-09-2011, 10:44 PM
Salaam

Intresting never heard of it - maybe some muslims could verify this for us.

peace
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Iceee
08-30-2014, 10:41 PM
Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achtiname_of_Muhammad

Salaam.

Today I learned The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) ratified a document giving Christians freedom to practice their faith without interference from Muslims.

I find this to be fascinating. I stumbled upon this while conducting some research a couple of years ago and have, since, been almost fixated on the ramifications. You are correct, it is neither intended nor written to apply to a single monastery. It applies to all Christians and sets forth the rules upon which it should be implemented - including such things as interfaith marriage between a Muslim and Christian.
I am hard pressed to find a reason why today's radicals are disobeying their prophet and dishonoring his word by failing to accept Christianity. It is rather thought provoking
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