The Holy Prophet's Ambassador Arrives in Iran
By: Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
When the Ambassador of the Prophet left for the Iranian court the ruler of that vast territory was Khusro Perviz. He was the second ruler after Anushirwan who ascended the throne thirty two years before the migration of the Prophet and had to face many bitter and pleasant incidents during this period. During his reign the strength of Iran was completely in a state of vacillation. At one time Iran penetrated into Asia Minor and extended its authority up to the proximity of Constantinople and the Cross of Prophet 'Isa, which was the most sacred thing amongst the Christians, was taken away by him to his capital Taisfun (Mada'in). The Roman Emperor requested for peace and sent an ambassador to the Iranian court to conclude a peace treaty. Now the frontiers of Iran coincided with the frontiers of the territories of the Achaemenians. Then, however, Iran came on the brink of downfall on account of wrong policies, immense pride and lavish living of the ruler. The conquered territories went out of control one after the other and the enemy's forces reached the very heart of Iran (viz. Dastgard near Taisfun). Consequently Khusro Perviz was obliged to flee on account of the fear of Romans. This shameful act on his part roused the wrath of the nation and eventually he was killed at the hands of his own son Shirviyah.
The historians consider the decline of Iran to be the consequence of the pride, egotism and luxurious life of the ruler. If he had accepted the message brought by the ambassador of peace, the splendour of Iran would have remained safe and peaceful.
If the Prophet's letter did not make the desired impression on the mind of Khusro Perviz it was not due to anything wrong with the letter or because the person who brought it was at fault. In fact his peculiar mentality and excessive egotism did not permit him to ponder over the invitation of the Prophet even for a few moments. Consequently when the interpreter had not yet finished the letter he shouted and having snatched the letter tore it into pieces. Here are the details of the incident: In the beginning of the seventh year of migration[According to Ibn Sa'd, (Tabaqat, vol. I, page 258) the Prophet sent the envoys in the month of Muharram, 7 A.H.] the Prophet appointed one of his brave officers named Abdullah Huzafah Sahmi Qarashi to carry his letter to Khusro Perviz inviting him to Islam. The letter of the Prophet is given below: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to the great Kisra of Iran. Peace be upon him, who seeks truth and expresses belief in Allah and in His Prophet and testifies that there is no god but Allah and that He has no partner, and who believes that Muhammad is His servant and Prophet. Under the Command of Allah, I invite you to Him. He has sent me for the guidance of all people so that I may warn them all of His wrath and may present the unbelievers with an ultimatum. Embrace Islam so that you may remain safe. And if you refuse to accept Islam, you will be responsible for the sins of the Magi".[ Tabaqat-i Kubra, vol. I, page 360; Tarikh-i Tabari, vol. II, pp. 295 & 296; Tarikh-i Kamil, vol. II, page 81 and Biharul Anwar, vol. XX, page 389]
The ambassador of the Prophet arrived in the Iranian court. Khusro Perviz ordered the letter to be taken from him. But the ambassador, said that it was necessary that he should deliver the letter to the king himself, and then he handed it over to him. Khusro Perviz called for an interpreter and he translated it thus: "This is a letter from Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to the great Kisra of Iran", The interpreter had not yet finished reading the letter when the Ruler of Iran got very much agitated, shouted loudly, took the letter from his hand, tore it into pieces and cried: "Look at this man! He has written his own name before mine". He ordered at once that Abdullah should be turned out of the palace. Abdullah came out of the palace, mounted his horse and left for Madina. On reaching there he reported the matter to the Prophet. The Prophet was displeased to learn about the disrespect shown by Khusro and signs of anger appeared on his face. He cursed him in these words: "O Lord! Break his kingdom into pieces."[ Tarikh-i Kubra, vol. I, page 260]
YA'QUBI'S FALSE VIEW
As opposed to the fact generally accepted by historians Ya'qubi says in his history: "Khusro Perviz read the Prophet's letter and sent him some musk and silk through his ambassador as a mark of respect to him. The Prophet distributed the perfume and said that silk was not fit for men. He also said: "The power of Islam will enter his territories and the Divine decree will be enforced soon".[ Tarikh-i Ya'qubi, vol. II, page 62]
However, none of the historians agrees with him, except Ahmad bin Hanbal, who writes that Khusro Perviz sent a present for the Prophet.[ Musnad-i Ahmad, vol. I, page 96]
KHUSRO PERVIZ CONTACTS THE RULER OF YEMEN
The fertile territory of Yemen is situated towards the south of Makkah and its rulers had always ruled as satellites of the Sasanian Kings. The Ruler of Yemen in those days was Bazan and the Sasanian King wrote in a proud and self conceited tone: "It has been reported to me that a person from amongst Quraysh in Makkah claims to be a Prophet. Send two of your brave officers to him to him so that they may arrest him and bring him to me".[ Seerah-i Halabi, vol. III, page 278] Ibn Hajar has quoted in al-lsabah that Khusro Parviz ordered Bazan that these two officers should persuade the Prophet to revert to the religion of his ancestors and if he declined to do so his head should be cut off and sent to him.
This letter clearly shows the ignorance of the ruler of the time. He did not even know that the claimant of prophethood had migrated from Makkah to Madina six years earlier. He also did not realize that it was not possible to arrest, by sending two officers, or at least to summon to Yemen, a person who claimed to be a Prophet in a region whose influence had extended so much that he was sending ambassadors to the courts of the rulers of the world.
As ordered by the centre, the Ruler of Yemen sent to the Hijaz two brave and strong officers name Firoz and Kharkhusrah. They first contacted a Qurayshite in Ta'if. He guided them and said: "The person whom you wish to contact is in Madina these days". They then went to Madina and presented themselves before the Prophet. They delivered Bazan's letter to him and said: "According to the orders received from the capital, we have been deputed to take you to Yemen and we think that Bazan will correspond about you with Khusro Perviz and will do what he says, otherwise, however, war will start between you and us and the Sasanian power will destroy your houses and kill your men".
The Prophet heard their words with perfect calmness. Before giving them a reply he invited them to embrace Islam. He did not like their appearances as they had grown long moustaches, and said to them: "My Lord has ordered me that I may grow my beard and shorten my moustaches".[ Tarikh-i Kamil, vol. II, page 106] They were so much overawed by the greatness, formidableness and calmness of the Prophet that when he invited them to Islam, they were trembling. Then he said to them: "You may go today. I will let you know my decision tomorrow". In the meantime revelation came and the Archangel Jibreel informed the Prophet about the assassination of Khusro Perviz. On the following day, when the Yemenite officers came to the Prophet, he said: "The Nourisher of the world has informed me that when seven hours of the last night had passed Khusro Perviz was assassinated by his son (Shirviyah) who has now ascended the throne. The night which the Prophet specified was the night of Tuesday, the 10th of Jumadi I, 7 A.H.[ Tabaqat-i Kubra. Vol. I, page 260 and Biharul Anwar, vol. XX, page 382] The representatives of Bazan were very much astonished on hearing this and said: "Responsibility for what you have said is greater by far than the claim of prophethood which annoyed the Sasanian King. We have no alternative but to inform Bazan about it. He will send a report in this behalf to Khusro Perviz".
The Prophet said: "I shall be glad if you inform him about the matter and also tell him that my religion and power will reach those regions where fast steeds reach and if he embraces Islam I will leave to him the territories which are under his control at present". Then, in order to encourage the two persons deputed by Bazan, the Prophet gave them a costly belt which was ornamented with gold and silver and had been presented to him by some chiefs of the tribes. Both of them were perfectly satisfied and took leave of him and proceeded to Yemen. On reaching there they conveyed to Bazan the message of the Prophet.
Bazan said: "If this news is correct he is certainly a Prophet of Allah and should be obeyed". In the meantime he received a letter from Shirviyah with these contents: Be it known to you that I have killed Khusro Perviz. The wrath of the nation prompted me to kill him because he killed the nobles (of Persia) and dispersed the elders. As soon as you receive my letter you should obtain oath of allegiance for me from the people, and until you receive further orders from me don't be harsh to the man, who claims to be a Prophet and against whom orders had been issued by my father".
Thc letter of Shirviyah provided means for the embracement of Islam by Bazan and the government employees, all of whom were Iranians. Bazan corresponded with the Prophet and informed him about his own conversion to Islam as well as that of the employees of his government.