Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) spread the message of Islam by Dialogue and Reasoning
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) was indeed the most courteous ever person. He was polite with the followers of other religions, and held dialogues with them to convince them of the truth of Islam. He did not force anybody to become Muslim, because such a conversion is useless, since real faith is from and heart and with conviction. When the Christians of Najran in Yemen sent a delegation to Medina to argue with him regarding the true faith, he allowed them to hold their religious gatherings in a corner of the Masjid an-Nabi, and for several days engaged with them in rational discourse, regarding Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and other common issues. When they stuck to their intransigent belief, God revealed the famous ayah of Mubahela (ayah 61 of Surah Aal-e Imran) challenging them to a unique contest to invoke the curse of God on the liars. And the next morning he entered the field, only with his nearest and dearest ones, that is, daughter Hazrat Fatema, son-in-law Imam Ali and two little grandsons, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (peace upon them). The Christians at once gave up their challenge and decided to make truce with Islam, and the Prophet accepted, without forcing them to become Muslims.
This is how Islam spread, through dialogue and discussion, and not through force, violence and the sword. In the battles the ignorant Arab pagans and the ever-rebellious Israelite imposed upon him, the Prophet used to invite them to Islam and would never initiate any hostilities, until the enemy attacked Muslims. During the hostilities started by the Bani Qaynaqa' Jewish tribe, he cautioned them of their rashness and called upon them to fear God rather than attack Muslims as the pagan Arabs do, saying that his name as Prophet has been mentioned in the Torah. During the Battle of Khaibar, after the Muslims had suffered losses at the hands of the Israelites, the Prophet, while giving command of the force to his dear cousin and son-in-law, Imam Ali (AS), told him to move slowly, invite them to Islam, and inform them of the dynamic rights in Islam for all people. He said, if even a single person is guided towards the truth of Islam, this entails greater rewards than having red-hair camels. As the Mercy to the entire creation, he never forced the Christians and Jews living under the protection of the Islamic state to change their faith, until they were convinced of the truth from the depths of their hearts. He allowed them to practice their religious rituals. The Prophet also used to consult with his companions in order to encourage them to participate in the affairs of the society, and in order to infuse confidence into them.
As part of his policy of peace, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) sent letters to the rulers of powerful empires inviting them to study Islam and come under its shade. All letters of the Prophet started with the phrase Bismillah-hir-Rahman-nir-Rahim, which means In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate. He used to say that reciting this dynamic phrase before embarking on any task would bring success. When the emperors of the two superpowers of those days, that is the Roman and the Sassanid, received the letters of the Prophet with the Name of God and invitation to monotheism and virtue, they were amazed. The Iranian emperor, Khosrow Pervez showed arrogant behaviour by tearing up the Prophet’s letter and ordering his governor in Yemen to attack Hijaz, but he was struck by divine wrath and was killed by his own people, for being unpopular and cruel. The Roman Emperor, Heraclius was rather courteous and tried to contemplate on the contents of the Prophet’s letter. The Prophet also invited the rulers of Abyssinia, Egypt, Yamama, and other places to the truth of Islam. His letter to Heraclius reads: In the Name of God, the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful: From Mohammad Ibn Abdullah to the Roman leader Heraclius. Greeting to whoever follows the truth. I invite you to Islam. Be Muslim in order to achieve salvation. In such a case, God will grant you two rewards – the reward of your faith and that of your people (for becoming Muslim). And if you refrain from doing so, the burden of the sins of those under you will also be upon your head.
The content of the holy Prophet’s letters also indicate that the Prophet called for dialogue at the international level. In other words, enjoining good and forbidding evil was among the messages of the Prophet’s epistles. The holy Prophet’s letters showed their positive effects within a short period. The Roman Caesar enquired about the Prophet’s life and felt deeply affected. In Iran, Khosrow Pervez burst with rage nd tore up the letter, but the Iranian notables pondered on the message from Arabia, and were impressed, and this was the beginning of the mass inclination of the Iranian people towards Islam. The ruler of Egypt, the King of Abyssinia, and the chief of Yamama also showed tendency towards the studying the life and message of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). In this way, through dialogue and reasoning the message of Islam spread.